So, you’ve decided to dropship, chosen an ecommerce platform(s) to sell on, and determined the niche of products you want to sell. What’s next? Well, you need to source dropship products from a supplier.
Selecting and establishing an account with a wholesale dropship supplier is an integral step to opening your online store. We’ve provided a quick guide on how to select and build a good relationship with a supplier.
Where can I find a list of dropship suppliers?
There are various online resources with a directory of dropship suppliers. We’ve listed a few popular ones below:
Wholesale Central categorizes dropship suppliers by product type. This makes it easy to quickly find a supplier in your niche.
Salehoo has a supplier directory of over 8000 companies and 75 product categories. You will have to pay a $67 upfront fee (with a 60-day money-back guarantee) gain access to the list.
Worldwide Brands is a longstanding company with an 8000+ supplier directory. To view the full list, you have to pay an upfront $299 lifetime membership fee.
Inventory Source is a dropship automation software that integrates your store with an expansive supplier network of over 180 suppliers. Access to the supplier directory is completely free – all you have to do is create a free account. In addition, every supplier in the directory has a verified working product data feed and accurate inventory.
How do I know which supplier is best for me?
Once you’ve selected a directory, make a list of suppliers with products in your specific niche. After you’ve reduced the list to a select few dropshippers, here are some things to consider before deciding which one(s) is best for your business:
- Check the quality of the products the supplier is advertising. Research the supplier, read reviews and ensure you’re sourcing from a reliable company. A supplier with a slew of negative reviews is a cause for concern. Becoming a reseller for a supplier is a partnership. Why would you want to partner with a company you can’t trust?
- Keep in mind the number and diversity of products the supplier offers. Having a limited number of products isn’t a big deal if you’re focused on a very small niche like dog toys. But, if you want to sell a variety of pet products, you’ll need a supplier with a large inventory.
- Pay attention to the different return policies for each supplier on your list. Owning an online store comes with the assumption that you will inevitably have returns. Compare each supplier’s return procedure and consider which one works best for your business.
- Monitor the customer service you’re receiving throughout the reseller application process. Does it take weeks to get your application decision back? Do you have to email them multiple times before they reply? If so, this is a clear sign the supplier may not be the best choice. Again, the reseller/supplier relationship is a partnership. You want to partner with a supplier that answers your questions promptly.
How do I build a good relationship with my supplier?
Your relationship with a supplier starts at the beginning of the reseller application process. Your first impression will positively or negatively affect your chances of being accepted. Make the best first impression with these tips:
- Start off with a professional email address. It’s not a good look to send emails from “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Instead, have an email specifically for your business with your domain name, like “email@example.com”.
- If you don’t have a domain name for your business, purchase one. You can easily buy one on an ecommerce store platform such as Shopify. Instead of the subdomain, “fl-pet-products.myshopify.com”, your domain should be “flpetproducts.com”. It is much more professional. It not only makes you look better from a supplier’s perspective, but from a customer’s as well.
- When corresponding via email (which will most likely be the majority mode of communication), double check your grammar. Write in a considerate and professional manner. Use short and informative subject lines that detail what your message is about, which makes it easier for suppliers to manage their inboxes. For example, instead of putting “please answer my question” as your subject line, use “Question About Your Return Policy”. Be courteous, check your tone, and always use salutations at the beginning and end of your emails like “Good morning” and “Thank you”.
- Review supplier FAQs before asking a question. Companies make FAQ pages for a reason, and if you’re not taking the initiative to search that page for an answer before sending an email, it may rub the supplier the wrong way.
- Create a business signature for your email account that includes your business name and contact details.
Conclusion: Be Vigilant. Be Kind.
Starting a business isn’t a stroll in the park. You must do homework. Spend time searching for the right suppliers and products. Those two decisions will make or break your business. Ask questions and don’t cut any corners during the decision-making process.
But, remember, you’re a business now. You need to act like a professional business owner. You can be vigilant and kind at the same time. Building a trusting relationship with your suppliers can take your business to the next level. By following the steps above, you will find it much easier to develop a good relationship with your supplier.
About the Author: Melanie Brodsky is the marketing coordinator at Inventory Source. Additionally, she started and runs her own online business, AuggieOutdoors.com, where she initially acquired her first-hand dropshipping experience. She currently resides in Saint Augustine, Florida.