The main reasons why some people are hesitant to start an online store are the start-up costs, as well as the fulfillment hassles.
However, imagine if someone steps in to pay for inventory costs up-front and manage all the fulfillment operations. Life and business would be a lot easier, right? You’ll likely want to get started because this gives you the freedom to run your ecommerce business almost anywhere in the world.
This is where dropshipping comes into the picture.
This article will discuss all you need to know about dropshipping, its definition, benefits, and how to find the right dropshipping supplier.
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping, in its most basic form, is a direct fulfillment method in which a store doesn’t have to keep all the products it sells in inventory. As an alternative, a store uses the drop shipping model partner. In other words, they partner with a wholesale supplier that stocks their products, transfers the shipment details and client orders to them. In turn, the supplier ships the products and goods directly to the customer.
The drop shipping model’s most significant benefit is that you don’t have to worry about any inventory and fulfillment issues that may arise in your online store. A private label shipping ships the products from the supplier with a return address and a customized invoice. Thus, it enables you to build a visible brand while drop shipping.
The Benefits of Dropshipping
We’ll talk about the number of compelling reasons why you should consider drop shipping for your online store today:
- You don’t need a huge capital- Dropshipping is one of the easiest ways to get started, selling your products online. It allows you to offer thousands of items and products to your consumers, without having to invest heavily in an inventory.
- The convenience it brings- Without a doubt, starting and growing a business does take a lot of work, especially if you have minimal resources. However, since you don’t have to worry on the fulfillment part, it frees up a lot of time for you to formulate a solid marketing plan, customer service, and other operations in your business.
- Mobility- Without fulfillment issues eating up your time, you’re mostly free to operate your business anywhere in the world as long as you have a pretty decent internet connection.
- It’s a tested model- A dropshipping model is already tried and tested. Even major retailers are already turning to it because of the host of benefits and convenience it brings.
Finding Good Dropshipping Wholesalers
More often than not, it’s relatively a challenge for you to find dropshipping companies that are certified. You cannot type on the internet the word, “dropshipper” without potentially running into middlemen or worse ‒ scammers. While Google is a highly efficient tool for finding information online, there will always be low-quality information and scams on the internet.
Familiarize Yourself with Distribution Channels
It’s vital for you to understand your particular industry’s distribution channels. You have to know where you fit on the supply chain as it helps you find the right supplier for your business.
To give you a clear picture, here are the different types of wholesalers:
- Manufacturer: There are some products that you need to get directly from the manufacturer. For instance, a boutique store usually buys products from smaller manufacturers.
- Importer/Exclusive Distributor: In some industries, a company has the exclusive right to import or distribute a particular product in a specific location or country.
- Wholesaler/Regional Distributor: These are usually regional dropshipping suppliers that deliver boxcar-sized lots, breaking them down into smaller boxes of products, and selling them to wholesalers.
- Jobbers, “wagon peddlers”: Are individuals who make regular deliveries to local groceries and retail stores.
As you can see, every product industry has different delivery channels. So when you’re just starting, chances are, you’ll be buying from smaller retailers at a much higher price. Eventually, as the volume increases, you’ll get better pricing at the products. Or even better, you’ll move to a bigger wholesaler.
Start From The Source and Have a List and Contact Each Dropshipping Supplier
If you already know what type of product you’re trying to sell, then the next thing that you can do is to get in touch with the manufacturer directly. Ask if they can provide you with a comprehensive list of wholesale distributors. Doing so ensures that you’re in contact with real wholesalers, making sure that you’ll gain a healthy margin of profits on your end.
Once you have the list, the next thing that you should do is to start contacting them via email. Some wholesale distributors don’t usually advertise that they drop ship. Sometimes, you need to email or call them personally to find out.
Be prepared. There are times that suppliers want to know if you already have experience selling online, or if you have a website to start with. So make sure that you present yourself and your business in a confident, and professional manner as possible. Think of the fact that you’ll be selling their products, earning both you and them (the supplier) significant profit.
Ask Search Engines
You can start your preliminary search using Google. However, as you continue to delve deeper, you might need to be a little more specific of the particular products that you’re looking for.
To help you with that, try doing Google searches for essential words like “wholesaler” or “distributor.” Then, add specific keywords that come from your product or niche. Use brand names, product names and model numbers to help you with your search.
Then, go through each result and search for a link for wholesale accounts to get contact details and other vital pieces of information.
Check B2B Online Marketplaces
When it comes to finding direct wholesaler vendors, an excellent option is to look for online marketplaces. If the volume of your goods and products are smaller, then B2B marketplaces can offer you the fastest services with a marginal discount on top of that.
Alibaba.com is one of the biggest B2B marketplaces for importers, wholesale distributors, and manufacturers. There are other B2B marketplaces you can find as well, such as Buyer Zone (US), Global Sources (US), Busy Trade (Hong Kong), and EC Plaza (Korea).
Join Social Media Groups and Forums
You also have to be aware of the fact that not all retailers are so eager to share supplier information, especially with fellow competitors. To stay ahead of the game, join forums, industry groups, and other professional networks. It’s also an advantage to create a solid social media strategy to find the best possible suppliers online, depending on their products and location.
Networking is an excellent way where who can find the best wholesale suppliers for your business. Once you start building strong ties with the industry’s insiders, eventually, you’ll turn into one of them as well. So don’t hesitate to create your LinkedIn profile, participate in online forums, build vital connections, and subscribe to industry newsletters. Doing so greatly enhances your professional network.
Be Present At Trade Shows
Being present at trade shows is one of the best ways to grow and build your business over time. Usually, these events are specifically tailored for retailers like yourself. When you have face-to-face conversations with wholesale distributors and manufacturers, you’ll eventually establish ties and relationships that are vital to your business. You’ll also get a feel of which people do you want to work with.
While attending trade shows will cost you time and money, as long as you do your homework, it’s definitely worth the investment.
Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes
Chances are, your very first wholesale supplier won’t likely end up as your lifelong vendor. Making the perfect supply chain requires a lot of trial and error mostly on your part.
Remember, your primary goal from your first supplier is getting a product that you can ship for a profit. While you may not get the best wholesale prices in the market yet, don’t worry! Usually, in the beginning, one of your very first goals is to get those products shipped. Over time, you can improve by trying other wholesalers.
Finding the right drop shipping supplier has the power to either make or break your business. The bottom line is that coming across the right suppliers does take a lot of hard work and research on your part. However, it’s vital to note that once your business is up and running, you’ll be glad that you invested so much time and effort in the beginning.
When managed correctly, dropshipping can be the very foundation of building a successful online store. It gives you an easy way to get started by giving you a chance to leverage on others’ capital, without having to invest thousands on your own.
By following these tips, you’ll know how to better get in touch with these suppliers. From there, you can come up with the best strategy that will fit you perfectly.