5 Tips to Choose a Dropshipping Supplier
By Gonzalo Gil
The dropshipping fulfillment model can bring a number of benefits to your ecommerce business. Chief among them is that you don’t have to worry about storage, handling, shipping and other supply chain related costs. That becomes the job of your dropshipping supplier. Saving on these expenses gives you more capital and more time to focus on actually running your online store and getting sales.
However, you should not just abandon caution and trust just any dropshipper to serve as your supplier. After all, they will be taking over more than a few important parts of your business.
That is why anyone who is serious about their business must consider several factors before making their choice.
Here are five tips to help you choose the right dropshipping supplier for your ecommerce site.
1. Don’t Judge a Company by Its Website
A common rule of thumb for surfing the net is that the more dated the website looks, the less you should trust it. However, smaller suppliers do not always have room in their budgets for luxuries like modern web design. This is one instance where the website’s appearance is not necessarily an indicator of poor quality.
On this note, you should also be willing to look beyond Google’s first page. Legitimate dropshipping suppliers cannot always allocate resources towards boosting their SEO value. Older companies with more experience in dropshipping may not even know what SEO is, or why it is so important.
2. Observe How They Choose their Clients
All this research is necessary in part because you need to be careful. There are many businesses out there that present themselves as legitimate but are only looking to scam you. A false choice can prove to be a serious setback for you and your company. There are a few ways to determine whether to trust a supplier. One is to see how the supplier determines whether to trust you.
Illegitimate companies want to sign up as many people as possible, so they are not discerning in who they accept. On the other hand, a genuine wholesaler will not sell to just anyone. They will want to conduct their own research into the potential clients seeking their services. If a supplier demands to know whether your ecommerce business is what it claims to be, and requests documents like your business license, don’t feel insulted – feel relieved.
3. Borrow Ideas from the Competition
If you’re aware of any of your business rivals using a dropshipping supplier, then you may be able to save some time in your search. Your competitor may have done their own extensive research before choosing to work with their wholesaler, and you can test the process by placing an order with them (and return it to test their return process). This could provide you with at least one extra option for a potential dropshipping partner, and one that you can feel confident is legitimate.
Following this tip should be done in conjunction with the others, rather than as a shortcut. After all, there is the chance that your rival’s research was not so thorough, meaning their supplier may still not be the best fit for your own venture.
4. Make Some Calls
Even after your research on the web, you may still have questions about a supplier’s drop shipping practices, services, and prices. Some of these companies may not have informative or up-to-date websites. If you find this to be the case, you can always try calling them.
Speaking with potential suppliers personally may provide you with plenty of detailed information that you could use when making a decision. On top of that, it also gives you a better idea of how communication with them will be like. Being able to understand each other and receiving timely, effective service is crucial for building a successful drop shipping relationship.
5. Get Help from a Directory
Many companies like your own face similar challenges in looking for an ideal dropshipping supplier. Certain other companies saw that need and chose to fill it. Dropshipping directories can help lighten the load in your search by presenting you with a wide selection of suppliers and wholesalers. They can also let you search by location, products offered, and other categories, allowing you to find the perfect match for your ecommerce site.
Another feature of these directories is that they can aid you in finding not just any supplier, but a legitimate one. Some, such as Doba and WordlwideBrands, provide detailed information on distributors that make it through their screening process. Others allow users to rate their suppliers, meaning you can limit your search to those with the highest scores.
Gonzalo Gil is Founder and CEO of 3dcart, a leading online store builder ranked as the best shopping cart software for SEO. As an eCommerce expert, Gonzalo works with businesses of all sizes to help them build their online presence and succeed in selling online.