Most dropshipping businesses start small, but after a certain point, when you play your card right, it is easy to reach a 4-figure revenue. But going to 6 figures and beyond is another level of the game. As you grow your business and begin to process a larger volume of orders, it’s crucial to make sure that your suppliers can scale with you. The basic questions that you will have are:
- Do they have enough stock for me?
- Can they process the increasing orders on time?
- Can they handle the increased fulfillment duties without any error?
There are more questions you would ask yourself and feel worried about, even though you’re sure that the products you want to sell prove to be successful for your business, you need to make sure that your dropshipping suppliers can provide the high-quality service that your business deserves in a cutthroat market.
That’s why it’s essential that you know the criteria of the best dropshipping suppliers that can help you scale your business to succeed without any hitches.
9 Criteria of best dropshipping suppliers that can help you grow
When it’s time to scale your dropshipping operation, a critical step that you need to take is simplifying and streamlining your dropshipping business. You would need to find suppliers that will strengthen rather than compromise your dropshipping business.
Basic requirements of a good dropshipping supplier should have:
1) Enough inventory
When you found a product that was resonating with your audiences, and your ads were continuing to perform well. Having a dropshipping supplier that prepares you adequate supplies and saves you money without losing those sales is a great safeguard against the uncertainties all retailers face.
Lack of stock in the middle of a well-performed campaign is a disaster to every e-commerce seller. Because most e-commerce sellers use Paypal as their payment method. Your customers’ complaints on “Seller is not sending the product” will trigger suspicion from the folks over at PayPal. The money in your PayPal account will have a big chance of being blocked. Moreover, your customers’ complaints can be raised on the channels where you promoted your product, such as Facebook. Facebook can increase your ads cost or even block your ads account due to the negative reviews from your customers.
2) Competitive pricing
Because very little capital is required to start a dropshipping business, that low barrier to entry means a lot of competition, especially for a hot-selling product in the most popular markets. If you don’t have an exclusive deal with your suppliers, you cannot stay competitive and at a certain point, your dropshipping business becomes unsustainable.
With that said, any number of competitors could be selling your exact same product. And your rivals with years of experience have the resources you don’t to undercut your prices.
3) High-quality product
Your customers love quality products. Good quality can bring you positive feedback and constantly drive sales for your store. Vice versa, poor quality will destroy your brand trust and cause you a lot of complaints from your customers.
After all, your customers tend to prefer well-made products that function as advertised over cheap items that fall apart.
Higher-standard features of best dropshipping suppliers should possess:
On top of the above mentioned basic requirements, there are some higher standard features that best dropshipping suppliers should possess:
4) Excellent and proactive communication
As a great deal of manufacturing and assembly work is done in China and exported to the world, it is no surprise to see most of dropshipping business needs to source products out from China. However, one of the big challenges of sourcing from China is the communication barrier. When your dropshipping business is small size, you can easily dropship your products from the dropshipping platforms such as AliExpress with less or even without communication with the suppliers. Once you come to a big scale, it is a different ballgame – Communication becomes to plays an important role throughout your whole business operations from sourcing, purchasing, order processing, order fulfillment, shipping to customer service.
As for sourcing, the best droshipping suppliers can offer you their expertise on the products that you are sourcing and provide you the in-depth knowledge about the product features and even a breakdown of the raw material costs to help you understand its pricing structure. That can help you find a way of reducing your sourcing price for the product.
As for purchasing, the best dropshipping suppliers always keep you updated on the progress of the production for your order. In case there is a delay in the lead time, you would be the first one to know from the supplier. Besides, advanced dropshipping suppliers will have real-time inventory feeds. These are important for you to know when your inventory is ready and what is your inventory level to cope with your marketing campaign.
As for order processing, they can promptly communicate with you to solve the order processing issues such as missing recipient phone number, incomplete delivery address, missing postcode, wrong address, etc.
As for fulfillment, they can proactively communicate with you about how to pack your products to save shipping costs and prevent any issues during the shipment. For example, packing your product as small/light as possible with a safety consideration can save you an enormous amount of shipping costs; and packaging fragile products with extra protection will prevent damage on the long trip to your customer.
As for shipping, the best dropshipping suppliers can keep you updated on the status of the orders being shipped out. In any case, if your order is missing or lost track of, they can communicate with the courier and solve it on your behalf as soon as possible.
As for customer service, they can communicate and assist you answer and solve any question that your customer has.
5) 24-hours order processing time
Processing time is the time between when an order is placed by a customer and when the order is fulfilled by the business. Reviewing an order, printing shipping labels, packaging products, and handing over shipments to a shipping carrier all contribute to an order’s processing time. Best dropshipping suppliers have the technology to integrate with your online store that can automate order fulfillment. The main benefits of automated fulfillment are preventing backlogs, minimizing errors, and speeding up your entire operation. They can take care of the order processing for your daily orders on time and make sure that every order will be processed within 24 hours. And they can fulfill a huge volume of orders efficiently and effectively. Compared to the average 3~7 days processing time by AliExpress merchants, faster processing time and capability of fulfilling a huge volume of orders can offer you the advantages that your competitors don’t have.
6) Fast and reliable shipping
Customers don’t want to wait too long for their orders to arrive. If they can get the product in a short delivery time from your store, they’re more likely to come back to you again. Besides, having a fast delivery time means fewer customers are going to ask where their package is. This means less chance that your customers are going to ask for a refund while their order is still on its way. According to a survey of 1,015 US consumers conducted in Nov. 2017 published on MarketingCharts.com, the maximum delivery time that consumers would accept to receive free shipping is on average 4.5 days. That’s exactly why fast and reliable shipping is integral to scale your online business. Best dropshipping suppliers have a powerful network of fulfillment centers and they can help you determine optimal inventory placement across their fulfillment network to improve delivery speeds and reduce shipping costs. You can scale easily efficiently by distributing inventory into additional warehouses over time.
As most of your products are sourced from China, it is much convenient to find a reliable supplier who is specialized in sourcing & 3PL fulfillment service. E-commerce Express is a China-based, one-stop product sourcing and e-commerce fulfillment service company. It can provide:
- 24-hour sourcing
- 24-hour order processing
- 4~10 days international delivery to your customers from Shenzhen, China.
International fulfillment centers in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium, Australia, Japan, and Hongkong.
7) Branding kits
As aforementioned, the danger of dropshipping is that your competitors can swoop in and sell the same products at a lower price. Although sourcing a product at a competitive price can help you stand out from the competition, it won’t be a long-term solution as your competitors can trace your supplier and if there is more supply than demand on the market, the price won’t be able to stay invariable forever. The best way to protect yourself against the inevitable race to the bottom is by branding your business.
Building a brand is not an easy task. But it is a critical step that a successful dropshipping business needs to take. Your dropshipping brand is the foundation of your online business, especially when you are scaling to 6 figures and beyond. Good quality and fast delivery time are the basic requirements for building a brand. Custom product is the key component of branding. Best dropshipping suppliers can help you develop a custom product by offering a custom logo on the product, custom packaging box, custom bag, insert thank-you card, custom mailer bag, and other branding kits. These unique elements can give your product and store a personality that can immediately tell your customers who you are and what you stand for.
E-commerce Express is a good dropshipping supplier that can offer branding kits for online sellers. The company communicate your custom packaging requirements directly to the original packaging factories and warehouse your packaging at its fulfillment center for packing your branding set. You can check it out.
8) Samples for validation
No matter how many reviews or testimonials you get from the supplier, there’s no substitute for firsthand experience. That’s why the best dropshipping supplier can provide you samples and it is no surprise that they prompt you to order samples before placing a volume order. And even better is that they can offer you different quality samples, that said, you can choose the right quality to meet your target customers.
9) Backend team
As your business starts to scale, it becomes clear that you won’t be able to handle everything – monitoring inventory level, order processing, order fulfillment, and customer service – by yourself.
On one hand, you need to build a team that can help you with your customer service. You can outsource virtual assistants online and train them to handle it. These VAs can form your customer service team – frontend team; on the other hand, you need to have a good backend team that can help you take care of sourcing, order processing, pick, pack, and ship. Best dropshipping suppliers can be an ongoing and increasing trusted extension of your team, relieving you of product sourcing, monitoring inventory level, order processing, and shipping tasks. After spending some time training up your customer service team and working with your backend team, you will be able to step back and focus on the bigger task needed for scalings, such as finding hot-selling products and marketing.
Scaling your dropshipping business to new heights isn’t an easy task. It’s hard work, but the best dropshipping suppliers can help you automate and streamline your operation to save time and money. You need to make sure your suppliers are the best ones that can scale with you, so you should pick them carefully. Follow these 9 criteria above to choose the right dropshipping suppliers to scale your online business.
Need help getting to the next level? Check out E-commerce Express: we help growing dropshippers automate and streamline their operations to save time and money.