You’re agonized over which dropshipping suppliers to pair up with, painstakingly researched all your options, and, after a grueling search finally narrowed them down. Now comes the next challenge in your path — actually working with them.
In the dropshipping business , communication with suppliers is no less than necessary for success. You are two separate links of the supply chain, so your business as a whole is only as strong as how well you work together.
On the other hand, you and your suppliers are only humans, and human communication is prone to error. In this article, we go through 5 quick and easy tips to improve communication with dropshipping suppliers.
Always Pay Promptly
Maintaining a comfortable business relationship begins and ends with the money. If you’re paying late or erratically, it makes it harder for suppliers to do their job, which in turn makes your job harder.
You always want to pay promptly, and on a regular schedule. Sometimes, this alone is enough to keep suppliers happy and your relationship solid. If by circumstance you’re unable to pay on time for a cycle, give your supplier plenty of notice and maybe even offer some compensation as a show of good faith.
If you’re more ambitious, you can even use this to your advantage. Many suppliers are willing to give discounts to buyers who pay early and regularly, so if you can commit to paying sooner than expected, it could even save you money.
Check in Regularly
One common pitfall with the supplier-seller relationship is only talking when you need to. This may not seem like a big deal, after all you’re not supposed to be friends, but the truth is that checking in regularly helps everything run more smoothly.
Aside from just being friendlier, regular communication allows you to both keep each other up-to-date and address common issues as soon as they arise. If you make a habit of talking often, you’ll find discussing problems and solutions isn’t as awkward.
Ideally, aim for once a week or every other week. Conversations can be brief if there’s nothing to discuss — the most important part is offering the chance the talk about issues just in case.
Give Ample Time for Deliveries
When determining shipment deliveries, be as generous as you can without actually losing business. If you put your supplier under harsh restrictions, you’ll create a strained relationship that likely won’t last long. Besides, with proper planning and scheduling, you should be able to avoid last-minute orders altogether.
When you rush your suppliers, you indirectly tempt them to cut corners or make mistakes when trying to get the order out on time. It’s better to take a looser, more relaxed approach to let them do their job to the fullest.
Treat Representatives with Courtesy
Any employee of your supplier, whether a truck driver or attorney, represents your supplier, and so should be treated with accordingly. Go above and beyond when they pay you a visit and make them feel at home.
This isn’t that much of a stretch — even lowly representatives are still your business partners, just with a few extra degrees of separation. Treating representatives respectfully also has a way of getting back to the decision-makers at your supplier’s company, as does treating them poorly, so make a conscious decision.
Ironically, one of the best ways to improve communication with suppliers to is not communicate with them at all! Using dropshipping automation software removes human error from the equation, ensuring all your orders are processed correctly and on time — and giving your team one less thing to worry about.
Dropshipping software can automatically send sales orders as soon as the customer clicks “Buy.” This seamless process actually gets orders fulfilled faster than if you do it manually. Some even come with additional, time-saving perks like shipment tracking, syncing inventory levels, and accommodating multiple suppliers.
As a dropshipper, you and your suppliers are in it together. If you don’t make money, they don’t make money. It’s tempting to say “it’s just business” and stick to a more formal relationship, but with a little empathy and outreach, you’ll find your business can actually improve by just tweaking how you communicate.