Launch and grow your online business

HOW TO FIND DROP SHIPPING SUPPLIERS?

By Ecommerce Pro


Finding a supplier is a necessary step in order for you to launch and run your drop shipping business. There are a number of factors you have to consider when you are looking for the right drop shipping supplier, who provide you with the products that you’ll be offering on your online store.

If you’re not familiar with the process of finding a supplier, don’t worry about it. We’ve got you covered with this informative guide on how to find the best suppliers for you and how to approach them.


FINDING SUPPLIERS

Now that we are on the journey to finding your drop shipping suppliers, keep in mind that suppliers aren’t exactly known for being great at marketing themselves and it can take some time to find the right supplier for you.

If you’re using good old Google to look for suppliers, you might have to do so extensively and with caution. You’ll have to weave through some fake wholesalers, who typically have better marketing strategies. Here are three easy ways for you to look for legitimate and verified suppliers for your store:


1. Contact the manufacturer

This is a straightforward and easy way for you to find a legitimate wholesaler. Simply contact the product manufacturer of the items you wish to sell and ask for a list of their wholesale distributers. Once you have their list of wholesalers, you can contact them to make your inquiries on drop shipping and how to set up an account with them.


2. Subscribe to supplier directories

Supplier directories allow you to browse a large number of verified wholesalers by niche or product type. However, supplier directories aren’t free and they will charge you for their services. It’s nice to know your options though and supplier directories are a secure and easy way for you to find suppliers. You’ll be assured that suppliers are legitimate because these directories employ the use of a screening process to ensure legitimacy. This is a great option for you if you want to find verified suppliers quickly and you are willing to pay for this type of service.

Here are a few supplier directories you might want to check out:

  • World Wide Brands
  • Wholesale Central
  • Doba


3. Use Oberlo

Oberlo is also a great place for you to look for suppliers that are verified by Oberlo themselves. Oberlo allows you to easily find and even switch between suppliers. It’s generally a good place for you to find products and top-performing suppliers for you to work with. You’ll also be able to use some of their tools, like importing products directly from your suppliers to your Shopify store without much hassle.


DROP SHIPPING SUPPLIERS TO AVOID

It’s important for you to be able to spot and avoid fake wholesalers because they could really put a road block on your business. You don’t want to deal with fakes, but chances are, on your search for a drop shipping supplier, you’ll be coming across a number of fake wholesalers. Here are some red flags to look out for:


1. Ongoing fees

Avoid wholesalers who ask you for a monthly fee for doing business with them. This is just a way for a fake wholesaler to get more money out of your transactions with them. True wholesalers will not ask for ongoing fees.


2. They also sell to the public

Retailers who pretend to be wholesalers often sell to the general public as well. They advertise their products as being sold at “wholesale” price so customers will believe that they are getting a good deal. In reality, they are getting marked up retail prices.

If you come across a wholesaler who advertises their products publicly, then this is an obvious giveaway. Most wholesalers will not discuss their prices until you have approached them and will require you to provided proof that you are a legally established business.


3. They won’t sign a contract

This one is a dead giveaway. If a wholesaler won’t sign a contract with you or insists that a contract isn’t necessary for you to do business together, then they cannot be considered safe or reliable.


SPOT A LEGITIMATE SUPPLIER

Now that we have rooted out who you should avoid, here are some signs that tell you that you are dealing with a reliable and legitimate supplier:


1. An application process

Legitimate wholesalers will require you to undergo an application process. They will want to do things right by determining that you are a legally established business entity before they decide to do business with you. They will have to approve of you long before you can discuss product prices with them. Finding a supplier who follows a regulated process like this is considered a good sign of their legitimacy.


2. Pre-order fees

While wholesalers shouldn’t charge you with monthly fees to work with them, many will charge you small pre-order fees ranging from $1 to $5. The fee could depend on the size of the order, wherein single orders usually garner higher fees than bulk orders.


3. Minimum order size

Some wholesalers will require you to make a minimum order. This is not uncommon. It’s a way for legitimate wholesalers to weed out the people who don’t mean serious business at all.

For drop shippers, this could pose a problem. You might not want to pre-order $500 worth of products. However, most suppliers will allow you to pay the minimum order fee and charge it to your future orders as they come along during the course of your business.


4. They won’t be desperate to have you work with them

When you approach a wholesaler, it is you who has to apply and meet their requirements in order to work with them. Fake wholesalers, on the other hand, might try a lot harder to get you to work with them and go through lengths to get to your money. Legitimate wholesalers are less likely to go through such antics with you.


OTHER THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A SUPPLIER

Just because you’ve found a legitimate supplier, doesn’t mean there aren’t a few other things that you still have to consider besides their legitimacy. You want a supplier who is top-notch and offers you reliable and great services. Here are some things you might want to look for in a supplier before deciding to work with them:


1. They are organized and efficient

You want to work with a supplier with a competent staff that operates with a highly structured system of efficiency. A supplier who is constantly botching orders and making mistakes is less than ideal. You want smooth business transactions. What you can do is to test their efficiency by making a few orders to see what their process is like, from how long it takes them to ship their products, to how long it takes for the products to arrive.


2. Take orders via email

Having a supplier that takes orders through email is going to save you a lot of time, especially when your business starts picking up speed. You’ll be saved the hassle of over the phone transactions which won’t be sustainable when you start receiving hundreds of orders every day.


3. They provide support

A supplier with dedicated support representatives is a good feature to look for. It means that they care about the businesses they work with enough to providing them with a line in order to handle any questions or concerns that they may have.


4. Invested in technology

A great supplier will have invested in the right technology to make the business process smoother. Look for a supplier who offers dedicated tools and features that facilitate business transactions, like real time inventory trackers and searchable order histories.


BEFORE YOU CONTACT YOUR SUPPLIERS

Now you have found a legitimate supplier or two that you think are ideal for you to work with and it’s time to reach out and contact them. Before you do, make sure you’re all set by considering these things:


1. You need to be legal business

You’ll have to first make sure that you are a legal business before you begin contacting suppliers. Most suppliers won’t even show you their prices before they have made sure that you are operating legally. So, first thing’s first, make sure that you can provide them with proof that you are a legal business before ever contacting them.


2. Know exactly what you want

Show your supplier that you mean business by knowing exactly what you want when you call them, so that your time and theirs won’t get wasted. Make sure to approach them with a clear purpose in mind and be straight to the point. Ask yourself before you call: What do I want from this supplier, and what products do I want to offer in my online shop?

Make sure to ask if they do drop shipping at the earliest opportunity. Not all sellers do drop shipping, so you need to get this out of the way before you discuss anything further.


3. Call them

One phone call can accomplish the task of a dozen email correspondences. With a phone call, you’ll be able to get more information quickly. Our tip before you call is to make sure you know your intentions before calling by writing down a list of questions for the supplier so that the phone call can go smoothly.


OPTIONS ON PAYING A SUPPLIER

Let’s say you’ve finally found your supplier, you’ve worked out the details together, and made a deal. Now it’s time for you to consider the modes of paying your supplier. We’ll let you know how some suppliers like to receive payment so you’ll be prepared when the time comes.


1. Credit card

Many suppliers will require you to pay them with your credit card. It’s an easy and convenient way for both sides. Once you are an established and thriving business, using your credit card to pay your suppliers will remain a good option for all parties involved.


2. PayPal

Not every supplier will accept PayPal, but most will. PayPal might not be as great as credit card payments because of their fees, but some instances may render it necessary. Try to stick to credit card payments when possible.


3. Net Terms

Under a net terms arrangement, you will be given a number of days to pay your supplier for purchases. For instance, if you are given net 30 terms on your invoice, you’ll have 30 days from the purchase date to pay your suppliers.

Many suppliers use this method, but you’ll have to provide them with credit references, so don’t be surprised if they ask you to provide some necessary documents before using this mode of payment.


YOU'RE SET

When you have found your drop shipping supplier and you’re all set and doing business with them, this is the time you will really be able to see how efficiently and professionally they work. With a good supplier, everything should work smoothly.

Regretfully, some arrangements may not work out as seamlessly as we would all want them to go. If something isn’t working out for you, don’t hesitate to change your supplier and look for a better one.

We hope that you find this guide useful in finding the right supplier. If you have any questions on how to find a wholesale supplier for you online store, Ecommerce Pro welcomes them. Together we will find the best possible supplier for you.

About the Author

Ecommerce Pro content team crafts resources with the objective to provide advice for new and existing ecommerce entrepreneurs on how to effectively launch, grow and manage their online business.

FREE E-Commerce Business Plan

Get a one page business plan that will help in your initial stages of launching your E-Commerce business. Contact us if you need some help!


Got a project in mind?

Let's work together