Guide: The Search for Suppliers and Working with Suppliers (Chapter 3)

Before setting out to find suppliers, it’s vital to know how to spot retail stores claiming wholesalers, and the real wholesalers. An actual wholesaler purchases directly from producers and can always offer better pricing than the wannabe wholesalers.

Identifying Fake Wholesalers in Dropshipping

You’ll possibly meet numerous fake wholesalers because the actual wholesalers are not very active with marketing, so one hardly finds them. Apparently, middlemen will appear more in your searches for a good wholesaler, and there is the need to be very cautious.

These ideas will help you make a better decision when choosing a wholesaler:

They Want Ongoing Fees – Real wholesalers don’t charge their customers a monthly fee for the privilege of doing business and ordering from them. If a supplier asks for a monthly membership or service fee, it’s likely not legitimate.

It’s important to differentiate here between suppliers and supplier directories. Supplier directories (which we’ll discuss shortly) are directories of wholesale suppliers organized by product types or market and screened to ensure the suppliers are legitimate. Most directories will charge a fee – either one time or ongoing – so you shouldn’t take this as a sign the directory itself is illegitimate.

They Sell to the Public – To get genuine wholesale pricing you’ll need to apply for a wholesale account, prove you’re a legitimate business and be approved before placing your first order. Any wholesale supplier that offers products to the general public at “wholesale prices” is just a retailer offering items at inflated prices.

But here are some legitimate dropshipping fees you’ll likely encounter:

Per-Order Fees – Many dropshippers will charge a per-order drop shipping fee that can range from $2 to $5 or more, depending on the size and complexity of the items being shipped. This is standard in the industry, as the costs of packing and shipping individual orders are much higher than shipping a bulk order.

Minimum Order Sizes – Some wholesalers will have a minimum initial order size, which is the lowest amount you have to purchase for your first order. They do this in order to filter out window-shopping merchants that will waste their time with questions and small orders but won’t translate into meaningful business.

If you’re dropshipping, this could cause some complications. For example, what do you do if a supplier has a $500 minimum order, but your average order size is around $100? You don’t want to pre-order $500 of product just for the privilege of opening a dropshipping account.

In this situation, it’s best to offer to pre-pay the supplier $500 to build a credit with them to apply against your drop shipping orders. This allows you to meet the supplier’s minimum purchase requirement (as you’re committing to buy at least $500 in product) without having to place a single large order without any corresponding customer orders.

The Search for Wholesale Suppliers

Yay! You now know how to differentiate between the real deal and fraud when it comes to choosing a wholesale supplier. Moving on is how to find suppliers. While there are different ways one can find a supplier, some appear to be more effective than others. Now check out the listed methods below:

Reach Out to the Manufacturer

This method remains one of the most efficient ways of spotting legitimate wholesale supplier for your ecommerce business. Once you’ve decided on the products to sell, contact the manufacturer, perhaps via a call to demand a list of their wholesale distributors. When you get it, you can inquire about their dropshipping terms and open an account.

With this method, it is easier to find many more products within your specific niche since most wholesalers don’t just deal with a single manufacturer.

Ali2Woo - AliExpress Dropshipping Business plugin for WooCommerce

With just a few clicks, you can import products from your suppliers to your ecommerce stop, as well as ship to your buyers. Ali2Woo offers amazing features ecommerce store owners can’t resist:

  • Fill your store with products from suppliers
  • Automated order fulfillment
  • Auto updates of stock and prices
  • Automated pricing
  • Customization of products and many more

Google Search

It is possible to find quality suppliers using Google search, but there is the need to keep certain things in mind while doing this;

Make Extensive Search – Wholesalers are not obsessed with marketing and viral advertisements. As such; you may not see them top the list when you search. Digging through search results to find wholesalers’ websites listed way down the search result could mean finding the real wholesalers.

Website Should Not Be A Determinant – Wholesalers often have archaic website structures, but that doesn’t mean any good wholesaler website is illegitimate. Just don’t let the poor designs you might see on legitimate wholesalers’ pages kick you off.

Implement Modifiers – Wholesalers are not bent on doing the SEO thingy so you can find them on search engines.  So, it’s good to try different search queries. You may want to include distributors, supplier, warehouse, bulk order, and many more in your search phrase.

Order from the Competition

If you still find it hard finding a good and reliable supplier, you may want to fall back on the stale order-from-the-competition idea.  This is how to go; find a competitor who appears to be dropshipping well, and orders an item. When you pick up your delivery, search on Google to ascertain the location of the actual shipper using the return address.

Go To Trade Shows

Trade shows expose you to meeting many manufacturers and even wholesalers in a niche. With this, it’s easier to research and even choose your suppliers (when you already have a niche). This is possible for anyone to participate; when you have the time and resources, it’s wise to participate.

Directories

Many upcoming ecommerce online entrepreneurs are often confused about paying for a supplier directory or not. Just before you ask, a supplier directory has the database of different suppliers, and is arranged by the product, niche, and market. However, once your business is up and running, you may not need to check out the directory often unless you want to spot another good wholesaler for other products.

Check out some of the available directories online. Please note that these listings are not sacrosanct and we are not endorsing any or all. They are just options.

Worldwide Brands

Established in 1999, this directory has thousands of wholesalers and spots more than 10 million products and charges $299 for an unlimited membership plan. Worldwide Brands is an age-long supplier directory that set a standard for wholesalers.

SaleHoo

Established in 2005, this supplier directory has over 8,000 suppliers listed and has a $67 price per year. It lists suppliers that work mainly with eBay and Amazon merchants mainly.

Its annual pricing is quite compelling and comes with a 60-day-money-back guarantee.

Doba

This supplier directory was established as far as 2002 and has over 165 suppliers listed. With more than 1.5 million products, it charges $60 monthly.

Doba doesn’t just list suppliers; it integrates with dropshippers to make it easy to order from many warehouses. Thanks to its centralized interface. It also has a feature that allows members list products on eBay without hassle.

Doba’s offers better convenience more than many other directories due to its centralized system. If you value convenience and can find the products you need among suppliers on Doba, then you may not want to consider the cost.

On the other hand, you will save up to $700 yearly if you can spot quality suppliers and have deals with them directly.

Wholesale Central

This was established in 1996 and has about 1,400 suppliers with over 700,000 products. Just before you ask about the price, it’s free!

This supplier directory charges suppliers to get listed and also generate income from the ads they display on their website. Wholesale Central also pride themselves in their thorough scrutinization of all suppliers to ensure legitimacy and trustworthiness before listing them.

In as much as it’s free, you may need to be discriminating somewhat when using this directory because some offers the suppliers there are retailers who market at wholesale prices. The truth is, there are genuine and legitimate wholesale suppliers in this directory, but you have to do your due diligence properly.

Before You Reach Out to Suppliers

contact_supplier

After much research, you have found some suppliers you will most probably be working with.  But then, you need to get some things right before you contact these suppliers.

You Need to Go Legal – As said earlier, many real wholesalers would want you to provide proofs that you run a legal business before you can apply for a Dropshipping account. Some wholesalers even go as far as revealing their pricing to only approved legal customers. Now, these call for the need to go legal before contacting these suppliers.

However, it’s possible to get some basic information without signing up, but you don’t expect much.

Comprehend your Appearance – It’s vital to understand many wholesale suppliers will never go out of their way to help you kick-start because they get a whole lot of questions, business plans, suggestions and all that from people who end up not buying from them.

Don’t be obsessed with asking for discounts or spend much time asking much questions even before your first order. If you must make special requests, go direct to the point and don’t be skeptical. Likewise, if you already had a professional milestone in the industry already, you may want to let them know that.

It’s better to convince suppliers that the inconvenience they will encounter trying to fulfill your special requests will yield something better soon.

Don’t Be Scared of the Phone – Many people who still suffer supplier issues started by being scared of the phone. Pick up the phone and dial their numbers to get the information needed and possibly get started with your choice of supplier.

One thing to know is that suppliers are used to taking calls, and you’ll not be the first to call them. You may be lucky to have a friendly sales representative pick your call, and this will give room to asking your questions better. For better call experience, it’s wise to write down the questions you want to ask before placing the call.

How to Get Reliable Suppliers

In Dropshipping business where suppliers play an inevitable part in the order fulfillment process, it’s best to work with reliable and top suppliers.

Now check out some of the attributes of good suppliers:

Dedicated Support Team – Good dropshippers assign their customers, individual sales representatives who take care of their issues if any arises. Without this, problems take much time before they get resolved. That’s why getting a supplier who can guarantee you personal support personnel is paramount.

Technology – It feels better working with suppliers who invest and work in line with technology. With technology, a comprehensive online catalog, real-time inventory and many technology-based features are possible and make the entire process easier.

Accepting Email Orders – It might seem to be nothing at the initial time, but when your business booms and you have to call to place each order, then you’ll realize how much hassle it is. Good suppliers often support sending over orders via email.

Centrally Situated – Using a centrally located dropshippers in a large country is important for lesser shipping time frame. When you have your supplier based in one of the coats, shipping across the country can take over a week. Suffice it to be that centrally located suppliers give the avenue to promise faster delivery and save more from shipping costs.

Efficiency and Proper Organization – Suppliers with great and competent staff provide better order fulfillment process. If you can spot these suppliers, that will be a great step to choosing a good supplier. However, it’s not quite easy to identify an organized and efficient supplier without using their service actually.

Placing little orders as a test can give an insight into how they handle orders, how fast they ship, their tracking system and packaging abilities.

Paying Options for Suppliers

Most suppliers accept credit card payment or net terms.

Credit Card payment

In the beginning, most suppliers would want you to pay with credit card, and even when your business grows over time. It’s not just a convenient means of payment but allows you to gather many reward points.  It’s possible to rack up big volume of orders via your credit card without incurring many expenses as you’re just making purchases for buyers who already paid on your site.

Net Terms

Another means of paying suppliers is via Net Terms on an invoice. With this, you have a certain number of days to pay up for the goods bought. For instance, “net 30” terms means you have only 30 days to pay the supplier for items purchased. This payment could be via bank draw or by check.

Most suppliers would want you to provide credit references prior to enjoying net term payment options. So, you don’t have to be astonished when told to present some documents before you can be eligible for net terms payment.

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