Secrets to Finding the Right Drop Shipping Suppliers
By Angela Sanders Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 08:02 AM EDT
When you decide to pursue drop shipping as an eCommerce business, finding a reliable supplier can be one of the main reasons for your success or your failure. If you're not dealing with a company that properly updates customers and clients on inventory and new stock, you might as well just pack it up. So if you're serious about being a good drop shipper, you're going to need to do the legwork beforehand.
Research the Industry
It may seem like a great idea to start your business selling widgets, but if you don't know about the widget industry, you're going to spend more time scrambling than selling. Each industry has its own supply chain, and when you figure out where you fit in the process, you'll have an easier time speaking the language and navigating through. Depending on your size and needs, you may need to partner with a local supplier or the manufacturer.
Check Manufacturers First
Checking directly with manufacturers is the first step to actively pursuing your eCommerce drop shipping business. If you need a lot of inventory, it makes sense to tackle them first as they will provide you with the best price break on your bulk order and provide you with some inside information if you form a really good relationship. Having insider knowledge puts you in a better position than your competitors, which is always a good place to be.
Contacting manufacturers is not as harrowing as you may think. You can email them directly, but many tend to respond better to the old school approach: a phone call. Manufacturers usually fall into three categories that will help you quickly narrow your list.
- Those that drop ship and have a system in place to facilitate the partnership, including minimum order requirements.
- Those that don't drop ship but can guide you to the distributors they supply.
- Those that don't resell their products to anyone.
Clearly, the first type is the best for your needs. The second is workable, and the third will give you a quick way to eliminate some options from your list.
Deepen Your Research
If you weren't lucky enough to immediately find a manufacturing supplier that can help you, you're going to have to deepen your research. You can search using specific industry terms combined with the words like, "reseller," "dropship," or "distributor." Don't just look at the first page results. Drop shippers are more likely that they rely on a word of mouth and recommendations that search results because chances are their other distributors and drop shippers appreciate the manufacturer invisibility. If you come upon a site that's less sophisticated than what you're used to, don't discard it. You may have found a diamond in the rough that can help you build a good business.
As an eCommerce drop shipper wanting to work with a manufacturer, you may need to be registered as a business and provide your resale certificate or EIN number. As wholesalers, they're going to require the proof that you're not just a consumer but a business owner who is familiar with the practices and terminology.