How to find the best DropShipping suppliers and wholesalers in 2020

How-To-Find-The-Best-Dropshipping-Suppliers-And-Wholesalers-Avasam

If you’re just starting your journey into the world of selling online, you’ve got a lot of research to do before you can get started. Once you’ve done appropriate product research, you’ll be looking to find the best suppliers for your business – and just like with your product research, that might not be as simple as it seems. You can just find a supplier online, but there’s a lot of other things to consider too. Through this post, we’ll take a look at the things you need to keep in mind while you’re searching for your supplier or wholesaler, as well as giving you some pointers to show you where you can start your search.

What is a supplier?

What is a supplier

A supplier is a business that provides products or a service to another business. They might provide stock to traditional retailers, or they might dispatch orders directly to customers on behalf of DropShipping businesses – or as in most cases, they sometimes do both.

In addition to providing those products, suppliers are responsible for meeting the legal standards that are required for the products. Suppliers are expected to provide equal, and fair opportunities between sellers. When it comes to pricing, they should provide good deals for their sellers while maintaining their own profit margins. Suppliers also deal with manufacturers, and they should be equally as fair in their dealings with them as they are with their sellers.

What is a wholesaler?

What is a wholesaler

A wholesaler is a business that sells products to businesses in large quantities. By selling in larger quantities, they are able to procure, and sell products to businesses at a much lower price. Wholesalers are not usually involved in manufacturing; they’re usually solely concerned with distribution of products.

Wholesaler won’t sell their products directly to customers at the same price that sellers pay. If a ‘wholesaler’ is selling to end customers at their lowest price, and don’t offer retailers a better price for buying in bulk, they’re simply a retailer. Although there are plenty of ‘wholesalers for customers’ online that are trying to prove otherwise!

For DropShipping businesses, it may be worth dealing with wholesalers if the wholesaler is able to arrange single order items at a price that allows you to maintain your margins. However, since you’ll be ordering fewer items from them, it is unlikely that they will offer you the same prices that they do for their clients that buy in bulk. It may mean you’re better off working with a supplier, rather than a wholesaler.

Why suppliers are so important to your DropShipping business

Why suppliers are so important to your DropShipping business

Ok, we’ll start with a little reminder for anyone who is new here and isn’t sure what DropShipping is:

DropShipping is a direct to consumer retail fulfilment method. That means – in plainer English – that the seller does not hold their own stock. Instead, when they receive an order from a customer, they immediately buy the item from their supplier, who (for a small fee) picks, packs and sends their order directly to the customer. The seller does just that – they sell – and they never see the order.

So when you’re DropShipping, it’s pretty clear how your entire business – and potentially your livelihood if your DropShipping business has grown sufficiently to support you – relies completely on your suppliers. There is no point in trying to sell products if you don’t have complete faith in your suppliers. After all, using every trick in your arsenal of marketing tools is pointless if your suppliers consistently send the wrong items, or poor quality items. Your customers will soon get fed up! You need your suppliers to ensure the standard of the products that you’re selling is high, and get orders to your customers as quickly as possible.

If a supplier lets you down, either by not dispatching orders quickly enough, shoddy products or because they’ve sent the wrong item, then you’ll end up with more work on your plate. Some of the issues you might end up with include:

  • Having to deal with a lot of extra hassle to sort the issue out. Extra time will be taken up with sending emails or calling your supplier – if you’re in the early stages of DropShipping alongside your day job, calling might not be an option, which makes everything much slower.
  • Customers may end up cancelling their order – especially if the product arrives too late, such as when the item is ordered as a gift.
  • You may need to refund the order, or pay for postage for returning the item. You don’t want money going back out of your account when you worked hard to make the sale in the first place!
  • Frustrated customers may vent on your social media, which can damage your reputation. Eventually those comments will disappear from timelines etc, but potential customers are likely to move on to find a seller with more positive feeds.
  • You might receive negative feedback on review websites – and the more negative feedback you receive, the less likely prospective customers will be to buy from you. Review websites won’t remove negative feedback (and if they do, you’re likely to have to provide extensive proof) and so those negative comments hang around for a long time!

Since working with an unreliable supplier is going to cost you time and money, it’s important to get things right from the start. Taking your time to do your homework before engaging with a supplier is a worthwhile investment in your business – so be sure not to rush it! On that note – let’s start looking at how to find a supplier.

How to find your suppliers

How to find your suppliers

Whether you’ve decided on the products, and the niche that you want to sell in or not, there is a lot to do before you can start selling – and in some cases, even before you make contact with your suppliers. If you follow our advice, rather than taking chances, you’ll end up with a much more solid business that you’ll be able to scale more quickly too.

Start by knowing what you want from your supplier

When you’re looking for suppliers to work with, there’s a few things you’ll need to consider, depending on what you’ve decided you’re going to sell. You’ll need to decide things like whether you’re going to work with domestic or overseas suppliers, whether you’re going to add extra products from your supplier’s range – even if you’re going to work with more than one supplier! If you’re looking for a range of products, then finding a supplier that has a lot of different items and just working with them might seem easier. But in the long term as your business grows, you’re likely to want to be able to extend your range of products – and that’s much easier if you’re working with several suppliers.

Be sure to have created a business plan that you can work with over the next few months, for a year, and five years. Having this kind of vision will help you to be able to identify what you need from your suppliers now, and in the future, but will also help you to stay focused, and on the right track for growth.

Finding suppliers to consider

There are plenty of ways to find suppliers for DropShipping businesses. It goes without saying that Google is likely to be the first place that you look for your suppliers – it’s where we start looking for almost everything today! But even the task of searching online for a supplier can be a massive drain on your time, because there are so many websites to look at. There are other options – such as using online directories (as we spoke about in this post) and using DropShipping platforms to connect directly with suppliers who have what you want. These options can dramatically speed up the process of finding suppliers, and most of the best suppliers will be listed on a directory as a bare minimum – so be sure to look at those. The most progressive suppliers – who are future-focused – are likely to have their product feeds on platforms like Avasam too.

Finding suppliers on a DropShipping platform

The easiest way to find reliable suppliers is by using a DropShipping platform. Some platforms connect you with suppliers on AliExpress, some will connect you directly to suppliers – but not all will allow you to be able to create strong working relationships with your suppliers outside of the platform. There are a number of popular DropShipping platforms, and here are four of the best:

Oberlo

Oberlo-DropShipping-platform

First set up in 2015, Oberlo is a marketplace that provides users with access to products that they can sell through their Shopify stores. Rather than connecting you with suppliers directly though, Oberlo connects you to products from AliExpress. If you’re looking for a way to set up an eCommerce store using Shopify, and to fill it with products from AliExpress, Oberlo is an easy way to get started. It’s free to sign up for an Oberlo account, and you’ll pay a subscription once you have sold a certain number of products.

There are a few downsides to working with Oberlo. Most of the issues are linked to the fact that the products are from AliExpress and all the potential problems that that presents, as we talked about earlier. But the big downside to using Oberlo is there are few direct integrations for other sales channels – so you’ll need to be aware that you’ll have to manage selling on Amazon and eBay separately, and the only website solution you can use with Oberlo is Shopify. (Which makes sense, considering Shopify have owned Oberlo since 2017!) In addition, if you find suppliers outside of Oberlo that you want to work with, you’re likely to need to set up a technology solution to get their products into your Shopify store, and any other sales channels you’re going to be working with. If you’re expecting to scale your business up dramatically, Oberlo and Shopify might not be the best long-term solution for you.

Dropified

Dropified-DropShipping-platform

Much like Oberlo, the Dropified offering focuses on products from AliExpress suppliers, but you can also connect with products that are already being sold on eBay. That means you’ll encounter the problems with AliExpress that we talk about in a moment, and of course, if you’re selling products from eBay on your website, you’ll have to give potential customers a very good reason to not go directly to eBay to buy the product from sellers there.

The upside to Dropified is that there are more sales channels available for you to sell on compared with Oberlo. You can still connect to Shopify, but you’ll also have WooCommerce, BigCommerce, CommerceHQ and GrooveKart to choose from for your online store. Just like Oberlo though, you won’t have direct access to selling on marketplaces like Amazon or eBay either, which means setting up your own connections.

After the 14 day trial period, Dropified subscriptions cost between $47 and $127 per month.

Doba

Doba-DropShipping-platform-logo

Doba is a US-based setup that connects sellers with products from US-based suppliers. There are over two million products on the Doba platform, which is a fantastic offering if you want to reach US customers. The downside is that there are few integrations that provide automation, and the ones that are available for sales channels have been provided by the sales channel, rather than Doba. That means if you’re selling elsewhere, you’ll need to manage getting the information about your products from Doba onto your sales channels separately – either using CSV files, or using an API connection.

If you’re outside the US, Doba is unlikely to be a good solution for you since they don’t offer international shipping. If you’re an established business looking to expand into the US market, Doba might be a good option for expansion. However, subscription fees might be prohibitive for new sellers. After the 30 day trial period, subscriptions cost between $29 and $249 per month – and you’ll need the more expensive package to access many of the tools you’re likely to need.

Avasam

Avasam-DropShipping-platform-logo

Avasam allows sellers to connect with suppliers that have a huge range of products from suppliers across the UK and Europe. Not only that, the Avasam platform also automates the processes of DropShipping, connecting with marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, website providers including Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce, and shipping providers. This means that your orders from your sales channels get processed efficiently, and customers receive updates from shipping providers automatically – which means you save time and effort.

We designed the Avasam subscription package to be affordable for brand new businesses to get started. You won’t pay a penny for your subscription until you’re getting more than ten orders per month, which means you don’t have to rush through your trial period, or while you’re getting set up. Once you’re making more than ten orders each month, it’s just £9 per month for up to 250 orders. From there, pricing gradually scales up to £149 per month – but you’re in control and you won’t need to move your subscription up until you’re selling more. Want to get your account started and see what the Avasam platform can offer you? Sign up here – you won’t even need your credit card.

Benefits of the Avasam Verified Supplier Programme

We know how tricky it can be to find a reliable supplier, especially when you search for ‘DropShipping supplier’ online. That’s why we established the Avasam Verified Supplier Programme – to help make it clear for sellers which suppliers are the ones that will provide the best service and products. We’re working on more accreditation options, but currently there are two awards that suppliers can achieve from us – the Avasam Verified Supplier, and the Avasam Verified Platinum Supplier.

Avasam Verified Suppliers have typically been in the business for a number of years, and have the expertise and resources available to ensure they can provide the best possible service. They have the best teams around them, and dispatch orders incredibly quickly – usually at the same speed as Amazon demands for Prime orders.

Avasam Verified Platinum Suppliers are the absolute best of the best. They not only meet the same criteria as the Avasam Verified Supplier, but they regularly exceed those requirements. They deliver over 99% of orders on time, and have typically had less than 1% of their orders disputed.

Although these are the suppliers that are the best, don’t worry if the supplier that has the product you want to sell hasn’t received an Avasam Verified status yet. We work closely with all our suppliers, and if a supplier has been approved to sell on Avasam, then they are certain to provide the standards of service you need for a successful DropShipping business. Our criteria to receive Avasam Verified status is incredibly strict, and some suppliers may simply need to have lowered their dispute rate, or change their shipping service before they will meet the criteria. We provide the information, and support they need to improve their service and be the best they can be, so that when we reassess them, they’re more likely to meet the criteria.

Working with suppliers on marketplaces

There is a lot of information available online about the potential to sell products that are currently being sold by suppliers on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and AliExpress. It is possible to do this, but remember – your customers have the same ability you do to find the item for sale from the original seller. Since you’ll need to keep your profit margins nice and high, you’ll need to sell at a higher price – and customers are less likely to buy from you if they find the lower-priced listing. Not only that, some marketplaces may suspend your seller account for selling in this way.

You can try to sell from one marketplace to another – particularly if you’re considering selling from an overseas marketplace like AliExpress, and you’re selling to customers on a domestic marketplace like eBay or Amazon. However, with selling from overseas marketplaces, there are more issues to contend with than just costings – as we’ll see through our next section about AliExpress.

DropShipping from AliExpress

AliExpress

We wrote a whole post about DropShipping from AliExpress a while ago – because there is just so much to say about it! There are some significant pros and cons of selling items from AliExpress. Of course, the biggest appeal of working with AliExpress suppliers is that you will have access to millions of products without needing to pay for anything upfront. That means you are in complete control of your product margins, and as soon as a product starts trending, you’ll be able to start selling it almost instantly – and to stop selling it without worrying about the risk of dead stock when demand quietens.

The downside to working with suppliers on AliExpress? Well, you’re not working with a known supplier the way you are when you’re working with a DropShipping platform like Avasam. You won’t speak with your suppliers very often, and so it is unlikely that you’ll start to build any kind of business relationship. That means if there happens to be an issue with an order, you might not be shown any kind of good will – as far as your supplier is concerned, you’re just another customer.

In addition, the majority of suppliers on AliExpress are mostly based in China, although there are starting to be some European sellers. However, the cheapest items are from China, which means longer delivery times and the increased probability of communication issues. Many Chinese suppliers speak English, but they may not be quite as accurate with their use of it. Considering that there are few westerners that speak Mandarin or Standard Chinese, there’s a strong chance of misunderstandings occurring, whether you’re talking by phone, email, or instant message through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Skype. Add to that the potential delays in communication due to the time zone differences (especially via email) and if you need to resolve a problem with an order for a customer, you might find that your cheap products from AliExpress add up to being rather a big headache.

However, although there are plenty of downsides to working with suppliers on AliExpress, there are lots of platforms that advocate the benefits of selling from there. Oberlo and Dropified both give you direct access to products on AliExpress. Clearly, there are a lot of sellers that manage to be successful this way, so we’re not saying that you shouldn’t use AliExpress for your DropShipping endeavours. In fact, adding products from AliExpress can actually be a really valuable addition to your offering, especially when it comes to trending products – but you do need to be aware of the issues that go with it, so you can plan for those issues, and have contingency measures in place.

Before engaging with a supplier

Before engaging with a supplier

Once you’ve narrowed down your shortlist and you’re relatively certain you know which supplier(s) you’re going to work with, it’s time to look a little more closely. Doing your due diligence is a phrase that you will hear regularly between individuals within the industry, and it’s absolutely crucial to do this. It basically means you’re taking care to cover all the steps you can to avoid problems – which is common sense really!

Check reviews for your intended supplier

Most of us check reviews online for almost any business we intend to work with these days. It’s so easy to do it, and it can give you really insightful information about the sort of standard of service you will receive. Even if you don’t check reviews for your personal purchases, it is imperative that you do so for your business. It’s a quick way to help dodge any potential mistakes. Just remember though, many customers add reviews when they’re dissatisfied with the service – so be sure to look at the reasons for low scoring reviews.

Google Reviews, Trustpilot, Reevoo and Feefo are some of the biggest review websites that you can find reviews on, but all you need to do is search for the name of the company followed by ‘review’. It won’t take long to find what you’re looking for.

Making contact with your suppliers

Before you start selling items from different suppliers, get in touch with your proposed supplier. Not all suppliers may fulfil DropShipped orders, and you need to know details such as whether they have a minimum order requirement, where they are happy to ship to and how they provide access to their product feed.

Much of this information may be available on your proposed supplier’s website, but it is still a good idea to get in touch with them, either by email or by phone before confirming your decision. How they communicate with you at this stage will give you a good idea of the service they will provide in the future.

Order samples

This isn’t a mandatory point in our guidance, but is a suggestion that we strongly suggest you don’t neglect. If you haven’t seen the quality of the products that your supplier is going to be sending to your customers, you can’t be confident in what they’re really offering. You don’t want to find out the hard way that your suppliers are despatching low quality tat to your customers – and unfortunately it happens. Some ‘suppliers’ (we’re using the term loosely here!) will advertise items online and what arrives with the customer is very different from the image they are using on their listing.

If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll end up needing to arrange returns or refunds, which could leave you out of pocket and with negative reviews, which will potentially damage your reputation before you even get going. You don’t have to order one of everything – but it’s definitely a good idea for the products you expect to be your best sellers as a minimum.

If you happen to be lucky enough to live near enough to your supplier to visit them in person, and it is an option, then that might be preferable – and as we talk about later in the post, doing so can start the process of building a strong working relationship with that supplier.

Looking at your proposed supplier’s competition

Even if you’ve tracked down a great supplier, spend a bit of time looking at their competition. There may be information you can glean from their competitors – such as how they group items on their website, or what they have connected as related products, for example – and they may have additional products that you can add to your offering.

Choose geographically close suppliers

The right supplier for your business might not be in the same country as you are, but if you can work with suppliers that are geographically close to where you expect your customers to be, it is likely to make things much easier. Shipping will be faster, and next day delivery is much more likely to be an option. If your customers encounter any issues – such as the product being damaged in transit – you’ll be able to get a replacement item to the customer much more quickly.

It’s not always possible to get the products you need from domestic suppliers – especially when it comes to fashion items, or specialist products. If you’re looking at working with overseas suppliers (especially if you’re using products from providers on AliExpress) then be sure to do as much research as possible to avoid any potential problems down the line.

Consider shipping

Since you’re reliant on your supplier sending products quickly and efficiently, if you’re unsure which supplier to go for, find out which shipping method they use as standard, and if customers have a choice of shipping options. Your customers will generally want their products as quickly as possible, but sometimes, customers may be prepared to wait if that means they have free shipping. Wherever your customers are ordering from you – whether that is from your website, or through a marketplace like Amazon or eBay, if your supplier can provide a range of shipping options – including international shipping – then you’ve got more potential opportunities to expand your business into other markets.

What to avoid when choosing a supplier

What to avoid when choosing a supplier

When you start searching for DropShipping suppliers, it won’t escape your attention that there are plenty of dubious looking websites making incredible promises about what they can do for your business. Some of these websites are clearly problems waiting to happen, but here are a few other points that should set off alarm bells when you’re doing your research.

Reliable suppliers don’t charge a monthly fee – unless they’re providing another service, like some kind of automation, most suppliers won’t charge a subscription fee. In order to cover costs, some suppliers may charge a minimum order size, which might mean you need to make upfront payments to cover your future orders. You’ll have per order fees too, but they’re standard for most suppliers that are meeting DropShipped orders.

We’re talking about individual suppliers here, but there are services that will require a fee – such as supplier directories, or DropShipping platforms. Those are services that you’re almost certain to have to pay for, either as a one-off fee or as a subscription.

They sell directly to the public – legitimate suppliers don’t deal with the public. As a DropShipper, you need wholesale prices in order to make a profit, and so if a potential ‘supplier’ that you want to work with also offers their best price to the public, it isn’t likely to be worth your time doing business with them. If they are pricing their products lower than you are, then customers will be more likely to go straight to them. So, if you spot a company selling as a ‘supplier to the public’, they’re just a regular retailer, and they’re probably already selling those products on Amazon, eBay and so on.

If a supplier has the right products and you want to work with them but they have their own eCommerce presence, you can still think about selling those products and making a profit where they are not. There are hundreds of marketplaces across many different countries worldwide where customers might want those products, so with the right research, and a careful strategy, you might still be able to profit from those items.

They don’t provide contact beyond email – there are plenty of reasons that a business might prefer email contact, but if a supplier doesn’t have their address and phone number clearly accessible on their website, be cautious. While you’re there, it’s a good idea to check if their company registration number is there – it’s a great indication whether they’re a legitimate company.

Likewise, if you’re trying to contact them and they’re not responding quickly (and don’t give you a plausible explanation when they do respond) then chances are they’re a bit dodgy, or their service might not be suitable.

They won’t tell you who they work with – if you ask them for a name of a company that they work with so you can get a reference and they balk at the suggestion, or worse, they flat-out refuse to tell you because of ‘privacy’ or any similar excuse, then again, you need to be very careful. Genuine suppliers with a good track record have nothing to hide – so any attempt to cover up the businesses that they are working with should sound alarm bells.

Scaling your business

Scaling your business

Once your operation has grown sufficiently, you’ll be looking at ways to increase your business. Your marketing activities will only take you so far! You’ll need to be looking at how you can increase the number of products you can sell, and how you can improve the service you provide for your customers.

Using multiple suppliers

Having more than one supplier is a good idea when you’re DropShipping – and especially when it’s time to scale your business up. In some cases – such as when you’re selling trending items – it might be absolutely crucial to, since if one of your suppliers goes out of stock, you’ll have covered yourself. Not only are you reducing the risk of being out of stock, but you’ll also be able to minimise your costs, while maximising the efficiency of your business.

Working with multiple suppliers means you’ll be able to:

  • Offer more products
  • Grow more valuable business relationships
  • Find and obtain better quality products
  • Provide a better experience for your customers
  • Build a more reliable and successful brand

There aren’t many suppliers that will take offence to you working with more than one supplier. It’s a pretty normal thing, and you’ll be able to make the most of the relationship with each supplier. If a supplier inflates their prices unexpectedly and destroys your profit margins, or starts falling behind on delivery times, you can simply switch to another supplier.

Keeping stock

When you’re scaling your business, you might decide the best way to grow is to have your own warehouse, or retail outlet. If that’s the case, you’re likely to want to find and buy products wholesale. This isn’t a decision to take lightly, and you’ll need to have done significant amounts of research in order to minimise the risk – you’ll be investing cash in stock, after all – so do your due diligence before jumping in.

Where can you find wholesalers?

If you’re in a position that you can invest cash in stock, and you have somewhere to store it and dispatch orders from, then you might decide to work with wholesalers instead of, or as well as DropShipping. Of course, this approach gives you much more control over the level of customer service you can provide for your customers.

Finding wholesalers can be pretty simple – there are plenty of resources available online. There are a couple of China-based resources that we can’t write about wholesalers without mentioning – Alibaba and DHGate.

Alibaba is the eCommerce powerhouse started by Jack Ma – one of, if not THE most famous of Chinese entrepreneurs. It’s the big brother of AliExpress, and it’s a marketplace for suppliers to add their feed to, and for retailers to buy their stock in bulk from. Of course, like all overseas marketplaces, there are pros and cons of working with suppliers from China. The upside is that you’ll be able to find your products at some of the lowest prices around, and some of the suppliers you’ll have the opportunity to work with will be fantastic. The downside is that there are some suppliers that really aren’t great at all, and the quality of the products may not be to your preferred standard – which could add up to difficulties if you need to return a huge shipment of items.

DHGate is similar to Alibaba in that it provides access to feeds from B2B suppliers from China. It’s a well-designed website, with easy filtering options to help you find what you need. However, there are plenty of reviews stating that they struggled to get the service they wanted (and needed) from suppliers on DHGate – so be sure to be extra careful when considering whether you want to work with suppliers on DHGate.

One of the best value resources when you’re looking for wholesalers is SaleHoo, which is a wholesale and DropShipping directory that is based in New Zealand but provides international contacts. They have over 8,000 suppliers and wholesalers in their directory, with some useful tools that help you to establish trending items, and potential profit. They even offer training and have community forums, which can be incredibly valuable when you’re just starting out in eCommerce. It’s $127 for lifetime access, or $67 for the year. That’s pretty decent value for the amount of information, training and access you get.

Wholesale2B is another tool that can help connect you with suppliers and wholesalers, and to connect you with some marketplaces. It’s based in the US but suppliers only deliver to the US and Canada – but if you’re expanding in those countries, working with Wholesale2B and fulfilment centres could be a good way to do it. Functionality is priced so the more you want from the tool, the more you’ll pay – but you can start small and add more in as your business grows.

Worldwide Brands is a huge database of wholesalers that gets updated weekly. The wholesalers are primarily US-based, but can work with international retailers, and you can make contact with each supplier individually. That means you’re building strong relationships with them – which is much more valuable in the long term compared to Doba. The directory is $299 for lifelong access, but the last time we spoke about Worldwide Brands, they were offering an April Fool’s Day deal on their price, which dropped the price by $75. As we checked while writing this post, there was a special Easter deal on their price, so it looks like there are special offers to be had year round.

Wholesale Central is a free directory of B2B wholesale suppliers. They’re mostly US based, but since this is a free resource, it’s well worth the effort to sign up – you’ll get access to the directory, but also a free subscription to Independent Retailer magazine. There are a few other useful resources such as a product locator service, and a trade event calendar that has potential to connect you with even more sellers and wholesalers.

Creating a strong working relationship with suppliers and wholesalers

Creating a strong working relationship with suppliers and wholesalers

Once you’ve found a supplier who suits your needs, you’ll probably want to keep working with them! Building a strong working relationship with your suppliers means that if something goes wrong with an order, they are more likely to act favourably towards you. Getting returns processed, or a replacement item delivered quickly is essential to keeping your customers happy – and happy customers mean your business is more likely to continue to grow.

There are a few ways that you can continue to strengthen the working relationship with your suppliers:

  • Arrange a meeting. If your suppliers are based in the UK, chances are they will be attending trade events a few times a year. Look to events such as White Label Expo and Spring or Autumn Fair, and when you’re speaking with your suppliers, see if they have the chance to get a coffee with you. Of course, time might be tight, especially if they are exhibiting – so don’t be offended if they decline. If you’re going to be passing by their location, see if you can pop in for a visit.
  • Be friendly in your communications with them. Whether you’re emailing or calling them, try and build a little bit more friendliness in each communication. It only takes a moment, and if you can make the person answering your query smile for a second, they’re more likely to remember you – which potentially leads to better service next time.
  • Pay on time. It should go without saying, but if you’re lucky enough to work with a supplier who is prepared to provide you with a credit account, don’t abuse it! If you’re having trouble meeting a payment – due to a delay in getting your cash from a marketplace, for example, get in touch with you supplier immediately. Communication is key, and suppliers are aware that DropShipping isn’t always easy. You don’t want your name to be mentioned between suppliers as one to avoid working with.
  • Pay it forward. If you are able to recommend your supplier to someone, or you can pass an opportunity to them, they’re going to appreciate it. If you can leave positive feedback, either on your DropShipping platform, or on Trustpilot, Reevoo or Feefo, then do so!
  • Ask about their plans for scaling their business. If they are going to be adding more products to their offering, being the first to be able to sell them is a potentially lucrative place to be – and if you’ve dramatically increased their profits with your sales, you might be able to negotiate a period of exclusivity.

The Takeaway

There’s a lot to consider when you’re starting out – and even when you are part of an established business – when you’re looking for suppliers. Doing research can be incredibly time consuming, and there are a lot of cowboys and scam artists that want to try and take your money for nothing. Our advice?

  • Know what you want from your supplier
  • Use a DropShipping platform or credible supplier directory to find your supplier
  • Do your due diligence
  • Consider using multiple suppliers
  • Create a strong working relationship with your supplier(s)

To find your suppliers the easy way, look to Avasam – we’ve got thousands of products ready and available to ship from Verified Suppliers across the UK and Europe. It’s free to sign up, and there’s no charge until you’re successfully selling more than ten items each month – which is easy with the extensive automation that the Avasam platform provides. Sign up here, or click here to find out more about the functionality the platform offers.

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Dawn Matthews

Dawn has worked in technical and customer supporting roles for over 20 years. Most of her career was spent in technical services at top rated UK universities, which has given her a keen eye for detail. A lucky escape led her to the field of eCommerce in 2017, and she’s never looked back.

Dawn studied in the field of social sciences with the Open University, achieving an MSc in Forensic Psychology at the same time as working two jobs. She regularly applies principles of psychology from her studies to her work, and outside of her role at Avasam she is busy writing her first book.

Follow Dawn on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/dawn-matthews

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