Dropshipping Supplier Considerations
In this post, you’ll gain the information you need to make the best decisions for choosing a dropshipping supplier. I offer a brief overview of important issues, followed by a resource section containing valuable information you’ll want at your fingertips.
First Decide What Products You Want to Sell
You need to figure out what products you’re going to offer. You could choose to offer a variety of products, but if you focus on a niche, you’ll have a better chance of succeeding as a dropshipper.
For example, you could specialize in electronics on your eCommerce site, but electronics is still a broad category. You can narrow that down, for example, offer Smart TVs, then expand to home theaters, gaming systems, and so on. Now your site is about home entertainment, and that allows you to focus on customers who are interested in home entertainment.
Choosing Your Supplier
The dropshipping business model relies heavily on suppliers. Choosing the right supplier is an important step. The right supplier can help you thrive and make your business something enjoyable to run. Choosing the wrong supplier can ruin your business.
Your supplier holds the keys to the quality of the product, shipping, customer service, and warranties. If your supplier fails in any of these areas, you will fail as well. That’s why choosing a supplier is a critical step in your business.
What Is Your Supplier’s Reputation?
Research the reputation of the supplier you’re considering. Check reviews from people who have dealt with this supplier. How long has the supplier been in business? Suppliers that have been in business for only a few months could be a high risk to take on because they may not make it as a business. You’re better off dealing with a supplier that has been around for years and that has established a good reputation.
Where Is Your Supplier Located?
The location of your supplier is something to consider. For example, if you choose one in China, shipments could be delayed if the supplier doesn’t have warehouses set up in your country.
What Currency Does Your Supplier Use?
Verify what currency your supplier deals in. If you’re dealing with foreign currency, the prices will change with exchange rates, that’s something you’ll want to look into.
How Well Does Your Supplier Communicate?
Communication is a vital aspect. Imagine that you need to know if your supplier can fulfill an order of 200 units that someone has just placed–and then your supplier takes two weeks to respond to your request!
I’m sure you would agree that it would be a huge problem, and that’s one supplier you don’t want. You’ll also want one that speaks fluently in your language. You need clear, accurate communications provided in a timely manner.
Do You Have a Dedicated Account Representative?
Find out if you will have a dedicated account representative who will deal with your needs. Having someone dedicated to your account is much better than getting someone different every time you contact the company. A dedicated account rep will understand your business and needs as time goes on.
How Good Is Your Supplier’s Customer Service?
The service your supplier provides is very important. What if there is a problem with the product or delivery? If the supplier’s customer service is unacceptable, then you have a problem that falls back on you. Your reputation is at stake. You need to know what type of customer service is offered.
How Does Your Supplier Deal with Returns and Refunds?
How are refunds and returns processed? Is the return shipping paid by the supplier or the customer? Will the customer have a hard time making a return? These are important considerations you need to be clear about before choosing a supplier, especially if you are dealing with low-end products that have high return rates.
Try Out Your Supplier before You Commit
Once you have found a supplier you want to use, test the process! Make a purchase and process it like you would for a customer. Now you can see how long the product takes to arrive and the condition it arrives in. This allows you to experience what your customers will experience.
Now purchase the same product from a competitor and compare the results.
If all is good so far, return the products to check out the suppliers’ return policies.
Learn More: Attend Trade Shows
Trade shows are a great way to meet suppliers in person and learn how their operations work. When you attend trade shows, suppliers will compete for your business. You’ll gain a better understanding of the industry, and you’ll have the opportunity to discuss with others the challenges you’re facing and more effective ways of doing things.
Join Industry Networks and Groups
Industry groups and forums will allow you to see what other like-minded individuals are experiencing in the field. You may be surprised at the amount of information you can find in these groups. As a member, you can receive and offer advice, plus it’s a great networking opportunity.
Connect with Product Manufacturers
Not all manufacturers will sell directly to a retailer. Most will sell their products to wholesalers. You can look into this when researching your products.
When dealing with a manufacturer directly, you have cut out the middleman, and that may be beneficial, especially if the middleman is not offering any additional services.
A Hand-Picked Collection to Help You Find Dropshipping Suppliers
In this section, you’ll find an abundant amount of information you can use to help you choose a decent supplier for your dropshipping business. The articles are written by a variety of authors specializing in dropshipping. It’s like having a group of virtual experts at your side.
To gain the full benefit of these resources, take the time you need to go through them. You may want to bookmark this page so you can return as needed.