Finding the best dropshipping supplier for your company is a critical step. If you choose the right one, your business operations will run smoothly, your customers will be happy, you can quickly build your brand. A lot rests on making good choices so there are definitely a few things for you to consider as you navigate the selection process. Even if you already know what products you’re going to sell, that doesn’t mean you should agree to work with the first supplier you find who sells your products. You want to be 100% of the supplier you are selecting in order to give your brand the best chance of succeeding.
And that is why we have this article for you. We’ll give you some advice and tips on how to find the best supplier for you and your brand, and the signs you should look out for that tells you to avoid certain suppliers.
First and foremost, you need to set your expectations as to how long it’s going to take you to find a supplier. Dropshipping suppliers don’t advertise themselves because they don’t need to. Therefore, this process is going to take a lot of research and it’s important that you don’t give up through frustration. Just think about how many companies have been in the same position as you that are now large and successful businesses. You will never have the chance of reaching your goals if you give up on the first hurdle.
Additionally, be advised that it’s highly likely that the suppliers you communicate with will be based in Asia. This is where the vast majority are based and this is how you are going to get the lowest prices. However, this, of course, means that it’s also likely there will be a language barrier that could slow things down, or again, become frustrating. This is part and parcel of the process also, and you should exercise patience when communicating with the supplier – remember, they are not obligated to speak your language.
So, now that hopefully your expectations for time-frames have been set, let’s look at the points to considers when looking.
1. Your Product Type
Obviously, you want to find a supplier that already specializes, or at least makes the products you want to sell. Using a supplier that has never made your products before will not only slow the process down as they must trial and error the production, but the quality might not be what you want. Always stick with a supplier that has experience with manufacturing your products, you can check this by reviews, website or contacting a 3PL.
During the contact stage, make sure you ask questions about their manufacturing process, timelines, prices, legal requirements, etc. You should absolutely get the full picture of who they are and what you can expect working with them before you officially sign to use them. During this process, while you can ask questions, be patient and don’t be rude or abrupt. You want to build a good relationship with them, especially if you’re going to have a future with them.
3. Order a Sample
Do not sign a contract to work with the supplier until you have seen a sample of their work. You should expect to pay for this sample, although the cost will be low and it’s well worth the price for the peace of mind you will get by knowing what the quality is like. If you prefer, you can even order a few samples of different colors/sizes to get an overall picture.
4. Order from a Competitor
If you can, find a company that is using the same dropshipping supplier that you’re interested in. This will give you a good idea as to how the supplier packages the product, what the genuine delivery times are, and what the service is like. If you are not happy with the service you receive, then this supplier is not for you, and won’t help you expand your brand.
5. Online Reviews
Online reviews can tell you so much about literally any business and dropshipping suppliers are no different. However, because the supplier will most probably be in Asia, as we said earlier, you will likely have to conduct your reviews using Asian search engines or even writing in the corresponding language in order to find exactly what you’re looking for. Again, this will take time and requires patience but it’s worth it.
Suppliers to Avoid
So, what about the signs you should be looking out for in order to know if a supplier should be avoided?
There are, of course, the obvious signs that are immediate reg flags such as;
- Negative reviews online
- Poor communication and/or customer service
- Bad quality products
- The supplier not wanting to have a contract
Aside from these, you should consider the less obvious ones as well, including.
1. High and unreasonable pre-order fees. While it’s normal for suppliers to charge these fees, stay away from any that are just trying to take advantage.
2. Extra monthly fees shouldn’t exist. If you are paying for the products, the services, and pre-order fees, there’s no way that you should be paying more on top. If you suspect the supplier is making up extra charges then walk away as this could indicate that not only are they scamming you but that they are not the main supplier in the chain.
3. If a dropshipping supplier wants you to buy for an unreasonable amount of units upfront then this should be a reason for you to not work with them. Especially if you are just a small business. The financial pressure of having to pay for several hundred or even thousand products upfront is often too much to bear. You will never be able to work at building your brand if your entire budget has been sent to the supplier.
Without a dropshipping supplier, your business cannot function, however, if you choose the wrong supplier then you will end up in an equally bad or worse position than you started. The right dropshipping supplier can literally help transform your life and your brand so be sure to choose wisely.