While the barrier to entry s a dropshipper is low, the biggest hang-up is often finding a reliable supplier. A good supplier should act as a partner to you, and although you cannot except an exclusive relationship when you are just starting out, it’s important to understand what you are offering them and how you can best leverage this to negotiate a good deal. With that in mind, here is how you find a great dropshipping supplier and develop a great partnership with them.
Think of it as a Partnership
Dropshipping suppliers are not just people you are working with. They are fulfillment partners, and thus should be treated as the backbone of your dropshipping business. As such, finding a supplier should be treated with the same care and attention to detail as you would go about finding a business partner. When searching for a dropshipping supplier, make sure that you know what you’re looking for in the partnership. For example, if you opt to go the cheaper route and select a dropshipping supplier that is based in Asia, you may find that the language barrier poses a problem to your business relationship. Furthermore, it could cause mistakes down the road and for orders to not be fulfilled as to your specifications. This is very important to avoid, as these are products you are ordering on behalf of your customers. If there are frequent mishaps caused by your supplier, then you’ll find that your business’s reputation will quickly become negative.
Contact Suppliers and Try Their Products Before Committing
Just because you build an ecommerce dropshipping store does not mean that suppliers will be banging down your door, waiting to fulfill the orders from your website. Instead, you’ll need to be the one doing the outreach. Make sure that you do your research into a supplier before reaching out to them, and personalize your email. Tell them about how you found them and act in a professional and courteous manner. After all, they will not be generating much revenue from your partnership until you start sending them orders, so it’s best that you treat them with the respect that they deserve. Once you set up a call with the supplier, you should order samples and try the products themselves. If you are going to spend a significant amount of time and money marketing these products, you want to make sure that they are high quality and that they fulfill your expectations. You also want to test to see if there are any shipping delays or any other mishaps. If this happens with the product samples, it does not bode well for how they will handle larger orders on behalf of your customers.
When selecting a supplier, you want to make sure that this person acts as a real partner to your business, and not just someone you are hiring for a service. If you find that the supplier’s products are of good quality and that there are no shipping or logistics issues, then you should start with a sampling of their products in your dropshipping venture. If they start to sell through your marketing efforts, then make sure to build a personal relationship with your supplier down the road so that you can keep working with them in the future. Who knows? It may even lead to them lowering their prices and working with you more fully in the future.