But, these questions are all meaningless if you don't know how to find vendors with the products your customers desire. Further complicating things, these suppliers need to also be able to handle order fulfillment and tracking for you.
Read on to learn about dropshipping suppliers, how to find them, and how to find wholesale items to sell.
How to Find Suppliers For Dropshipping
Finding the right dropshipping suppliers is key to increase eCommerce sales and a big part of how to start a dropshipping business. Unfortunately, few suppliers advertise their services broadly, so you'll have to seek them out yourself especially if you want to use the reverse dropshipping model.
Here are some tips on how to get suppliers for dropshipping:
Once you have some dropshipping business ideas and know the dropshipping niches of products you'd like to sell, you need to start looking for suppliers that sell the best dropshipping products. One of the best ways to do this is to look through a wholesale directory for the industry you're in that sell high demand products. Look for companies that have a strong track record and are capable of handling your order fulfillment needs. If the suppliers you're looking at are overseas, you'll also want to research the steps and costs involved with shipping internationally as well. All of thsi information should be in your drop shipping business plan so all new hires or investors know the plan.
BlueCart eCommerce is a great tool for both buying and selling products, so it's a great way to buy wholesale products and increase wholesale sales. Whether you're buying, selling, or both, BlueCart can help. All BlueCart customers also get listed in our wholesale marketplace where their products can reach 95,000+ buyers.
Reach out to Prospective Suppliers
After compiling a list of suppliers that may be able to fit your needs, it's time to start making contact. Make cold calls, reach out to salespeople, or even sign up to receive eCommerce email marketing materials. The more information you can get, the more likely you are to make the right choice. You'll want to pay close attention to the quality of their customer service team and their responsiveness. Dropshippers need to have strong supplier relationship management techniques, so they're always aware of any stock or lead time issues. If there are any red flags at this step, it's best to move on. This may not be the case if you use the drop surfing method, but you still need to make sure your suppliers can be trusted.
Test the Supplier's Technology
One of the most important aspects of running a successful business is the different tools and eCommerce software you use. While many dropshipping suppliers have outdated websites and storefronts, it's the eCommerce shipping and inventory tracking system that matters most. Ask the suppliers for some insight into the programs and processes they use as well as a demonstration if possible. You may discover that the supplier wouldn't be able to keep up with the volume of orders you're looking to fill each month.
You'll also want to make sure that their technology is compatible with your own. This will let you automate data transfers and eliminate the risk of human error a la automated dropshipping. It will also speed up the process and get the products in customers’ hands quicker. If the eCommerce fulfillment software can’t automatically be updated, you’ll have to handle everything manually.
Purchase from a Competitor
Another way to get insight into the capabilities of a current or prospective supplier is to place some orders on your competitors' dropshipping websites. You may discover that your competitors' orders are filled first or that they have a deal with the supplier to use branded eCommerce packaging. Take notes on what the supplier does that you like and areas that you don't like. This is a great way to find secondary suppliers as well, so you can expand your product offerings without having to get rid of your primary supplier.
Using this method, not only will you be able to see the speed and efficiency of the suppliers, but also how your competitors work. This kind of competitor research is a great way to find areas that you can provide superior service. You can even start working on an eCommerce marketing strategy that highlights what sets you apart.
Manage and track your multiple vendors and streamline the entire procurement process. Download our free easy-to-use Wholesale Vendor Management Spreadsheet Templates.
One step that you should definitely take before signing a deal is ordering a few sample products based on their SKU number. This lets you test the speed and efficiency of the supplier's warehousing operations. It also lets you get your hands on some products to see the quality first-hand. Often, this is where you can run into issues, as some suppliers tend to offer low-cost, low-quality items. Many dropshippers take this route and end up failing when customer satisfaction dwindles, even if their customer service for dropshipping is good. This is why many have asked "is dropshipping dead" and "is dropshipping legal?"
Instead, try to find products of good quality, as this will give you a much better chance of sustained growth and long-term success. You can also markup these products a bit more to increase your margins (markup vs margin).
What Is Dropshipping Suppliers?
Dropshipping suppliers are wholesale vendors that supply products to dropshippers and handle all picking, packing, and shipping of products for them. These suppliers have more responsibilities than traditional suppliers and have a direct impact on your customers' satisfaction. These suppliers must also be able to handle customer returns.
When working with a dropshipping supplier, make sure that a packing slip and RMA are sent out in every package to make this process smoother. You won't need to learn how to ship a package, but that doesn't mean these small, important details should be neglected.
You should also get a hold of their shipping policy to share on your website. This is to ensure customers aren’t confused about when or how they’ll receive their orders. If you use a dropshipping website builder, there should be a template for this page.
How To Find Dropshipping Products
A dropshipping business is only as successful as their range of product offerings. This is so important that there are many dropshipping courses that focus entirely on sourcing products. That means that the majority of your efforts when setting up your business should be in sourcing the best products you can.
Here are some tips on how to find products to dropship:
Follow Demand Trends
If you want to know how to make money dropshipping, you need to follow demand trends. Perform eCommerce keyword research and talk to your suppliers about their most in-demand products. This will let you source the products with the best chance of selling. Make sure to map out three-months’ worth of demand to ensure you aren't jumping on a product near the end of their popularity, or you'll likely see fewer sales than intended. This is also a great way to perform demand planning as you continue growing your business.
Look at Competitors
You should always be looking at your competitors and their product offerings. Look at the breadth of products they offer, but really focus on the ones they spend the most time marketing. If it's featured on the front page of their website, there's a good chance it's one of their best-sellers. Then look to their email campaigns, social dropshipping ads, and other forms of DTC marketing. You can use this to source the same products, but find a way to differentiate your business from theirs to take control of the market.
Check Out Social Media
Sourcing products that your customers want can often be as easy as seeing what they engage with on social media. Many people will share content, engage with brands, or otherwise signify the products they're looking for. They'll also share the problems they've had purchasing products and things they don't want. Listen to what they're saying and try to match your business to their established needs. You can even directly engage with them on these platforms to get more insight and tailor your company to your target audience more easily. This is also a great way to learn more about affiliate marketing vs dropshipping.
Tell Me No Supplies
Finding the right dropshipping suppliers is the key to growing your dropshipping business. Find vendors that can handle order fulfillment with ease and that offer products of good quality. This will give you the best chance at growing your business in a sustainable way and make it easier to sell online. This will also be vital if you want to make enough to afford creating some new dropshipping jobs.
For more information on how to dropship, we recommend reading our dropshipping for dummies guide or picking up some of the best dropshipping books on the market. With these tools at your disposal, you can avoid costly dropshipping beginner mistakes and make a dropshipping profit margin in no time. You can also check out the best eCommerce books for even more ways to increase your revenue. You may even want to look into cross docking if you have a little bit of storage space and want more quality control.