If you’re running a dropshipping business, you’ll know first hand how important and how crucial your supplier is for your business. First, without a supplier, you’ll have nothing to sell. Second, if your supplier is having trouble producing or delivering the product, it can impact your whole business operation. Third, if the product gets bad reputation, your business’ image will get dragged as well.
Therefore, for dropshipping business, supplier is probably the most important factor. Choosing a good supplier can help your business grow better, but make a mistake when finding supplier and you’ll reap the consequences later.
So, how to avoid the costly mistake of choosing dropshipping supplier? Here we have listed seven most important criteria for a good supplier.
1. It’s real and it’s active
If it’s your first time going into dropshipping, you’ll notice that there are so many interesting offers from various suppliers. But, before you go ahead and choose your supplier, make sure that the company is real.
Visit the website to see how professional it displays itself. Is it real, genuine business or is it a scam? It’s not hurt to check the background of the company online. Does it have any negative news or review? Finally, contact the website to see how fast and how professional they handle your inquiry.
If they fulfill this criterion, then let’s move on.
2. It has good selections of products
You’re going to sell products, so the availability, quality, and variability of the products are important factors to check before you decide on a supplier.
– Availability. You’ll want a supplier who seldom runs out of products they sell, especially products with high demand.
– Quality. Though high quality products are desirable, there are also market for cheaper products with less quality. Understand what your target market wants and choose a supplier accordingly.
– Variability. Customers these days know what they want, and it’s usually pretty specific. They’ll want options, and plenty of them. As a seller, you must provide what they want. So, choose suppliers who offers wide variability of products.
3. It offers competitive price
Don’t be surprised when you see the wholesale price from a supplier is higher than you expect. Usually, rate for dropshipper is indeed higher than rate for traditional reseller. This is because dropshipper usually order only one or two items per order, while traditional retailer tend to bulk buy.
Because of this, price difference is a sensitive thing for a dropshipper. You need to offer your product at competitive rate because you’ll compete with traditional retailer yet your purchasing price is higher than them. So, make sure to do your research thoroughly to make sure you get the supplier with the best price possible.
4. It has good customer’s service
Believe it, sooner or later you’ll encounter a problem with something related to your supplier, and you’re going to need to contact them. Here is where customer’s service becomes crucial. You don’t want to be hung up by them when your own customer is waiting for you.
You need to check how reactive they’re responding to your email or call. You’ll want to know how they handle complaint. All of this is not information you can get on their website contact page. You need to go deeper and find out on your own – via emailing or calling to experience their service first hand or find a long term customers of the supplier and ask about their experience doing business with the company.
5. It has clear explanation about operational procedures like purchasing, paying, or even returning products
Purchasing, paying, and returning products will be your day-to-day routine. You’ll want to know exactly how it is going to be conducted before you put both of your feet into it. Make sure to research your supplier about the procedure of doing these things. Does the procedure makes sense? Are the steps clear and simple? What will happen if you encounter a problem during the procedures?
These procedures are usually already laid out bare in the company website, especially in FAQ page. But, if it isn’t, don’t hesitate to contact them and ask about it (and check at their customer’s service at the same time).
6. It uses advanced technology for supply management
What business does a retail have with technology? After all, retail is not finance or IT which rely heavily on technology. Retail is just selling products, right?
Well, flash news for those who just started a retail business, retail is more than just selling. While selling definitely is the core of business, there are other aspects that are just as important, and one of them is inventory management.
Since you are not the one who handle the purchase/production, storage, and delivery, technology becomes important to make sure you can get information about inventory as accurate as possible. Some suppliers may update their inventory data manually, and they do it only at the end of the day. Avoid suppliers like this if you don’t want to display a product that has actually been sold out in your website. Choose suppliers who updates their inventory automatically.
7. It is trusted and reputable
The last criteria that will seal the deal is these two: trust and reputation. No matter how sophisticated the technology or how excellent the product, without honesty from the supplier, all of them will be meaningless.
You don’t want to depend the success of your dropshipping business toward supplier that has ever been caught lying or misguiding their previous dropshipper. Some supplier may have been deliberately lying about the quality or the originality of the product they want you to sell.
Find out in the news if the supplier of your choice has ever been involved in lawsuit with their previous dropshipper. Read reviews from experienced dropshippers. The more you research, the more you know how much red flag a supplier has to help you choose the best of them.
Once you finally get a supplier that fulfills the criteria above, you’re ready to go further. You’ll need one more step before launching your business: create your web store. But, fret not, because it’s actually the easiest step of them all. Just use professional dropship software like Ali2WOO which simplify the process of creating the dropshipping store.
So, ready to launch your dropshipping business?