As more and more people look to start their own e-commerce businesses, interest in dropshipping continues to rise sharply.
In a previous blog post, we covered how to find US-based dropship suppliers, as dropship entrepreneurs in the US are looking to avoid the long shipping times from China.
In the same way, we’ve heard from a lot of Canadian entrepreneurs that are either running or are looking to run their own dropshipping stores, and would love to know how to find Canadian-based suppliers that they can work with as well.
Why Dropship From Canada?
For those dropshippers that are based in Canada and want to sell products to fellow Canadians, they want fast shipping, cheaper shipping costs, high-quality products and to avoid Goods and Services Taxes on products shipped to Canada from other countries. We’ll touch more on each of these below.
While dropshipping products through AliExpress and other large Chinese vendors has made up the majority of all dropshipping sales, there is a big emphasis lately on finding more local, country-based vendors to work with because the shipping times from China to Canada can take several weeks to reach customers.
With the success of Amazon Prime and 2-day shipping, our customers now not only expect quick shipping, they demand it. So while they may give some leeway to smaller e-commerce vendors, they no longer have the patience to wait for weeks to receive their order.
Not only that, but companies like Facebook factor shipping times highly either for or against their e-commerce advertisers. Their algorithm knows when long shipping times are being complained about, and they raise the cost to run ads to penalize long shipping times. The bottom line is that customer satisfaction is a top priority for Facebook, and anything that negatively impacts that experience will get penalized in higher ads costs.
Another growing factor in trying to find non-Chinese vendors is finding vendors that produce high-quality products. This is not to say that there are not a lot of Chinese vendors that produce great products, but there are a lot of vendors that sell poorly made items.
When working with a local or country-based vendor, it’s much easier to quickly determine product quality and much easier to get ahold of someone in your own country, at least in theory.
There is also a lot to be said about wanting to support and do business with those from your own country, not to mention that your customers love to support more local vendors and companies. There is an intangible element and a certain amount of price that comes from buying from and supporting local businesses. It’s a real factor that must be carefully factored in, even if it costs a bit more. However, while it may cost more to produce, in many cases, you can increase your margins if your customers are aware of and embrace “buying Canadian.”
When you buy and sell locally within your country, there can also be an increased amount of customer satisfaction, because they believe the product quality will be better, shipping times are faster, the products are cheaper to ship and there is a certain amount of pride knowing it’s coming from fellow Canadians.
Higher Retail Prices
As we touched on briefly above, while the cost of the products from your vendors may cost more to dropship, products “Made in Canada” might command higher prices due to country pride, buying local and a feeling that the products produced in-country will be of much higher quality than “cheaply made product from China”.
With the political climate in the world these days, things can change quickly. So while shipping costs from China are really low right now, any disruptions in international agreements on shipping prices, shipping methods, ports of entry, taxes and more could quickly wipe out any profit margins in a flash.
However, when you buy, sell and ship within your country, you largely avoid these issues and potential disruptions.
Inventory Supply And Manufacturing Turn Times
Regardless of what dropship vendors you choose, you must know that they can handle your expected sales volume, along with the sales volume of any other sellers that may be using them for those same products.
So, as you review your vendors, how quickly can they respond to a sharp spike in sales? How long does it take them to produce new products, and what kind of turn-times do they have?
Bottom line, no matter how much you sell, you want peace of mind that they’ll never run out and can always meet your demand with no inventory downtimes.
Finding The Best Canadian Suppliers
Just as with any supplier, you need to do your due diligence and research. The regular factors you need to review should be the same for all potential suppliers, regardless of where they are located:
Trust / Feedback:
- What kinds of feedback have you found in your searches?
- Are they listed on the Better Business Bureau, Yelp or any other review sites?
- Are they part of any professional associations that list feedback or that can be reached to get feedback?
- When you reach out to them (and you must reach out to every supplier prior to doing business), do they respond promptly and professionally?
- Are they able to answer your questions accurately and thoroughly?
Shipping Cost and Time:
- Do they have the ability to dropship on your behalf, with your company info?
- Do they make it clear and easy to include accurate shipping costs?
- Do they ship out items quickly once an order is placed?
- Do they offer tracking? Does their system integrate with your dropshipping automation app so everything can be handled automatically?
Inventory Turn Time:
- How much inventory do they carry at any given time?
- How quickly can they replenish their inventory should you start selling their products fast?
- How much demand can they truly handle without ever running out of inventory?
- Do they require any additional fees to work with them?
- Do they require minimum sales amounts to do business with them?
- Do they charge extra for any dropshipping services, such as packing, labeling and inventory?
Returns, Refunds and Defects:
- How do they handle product returns?
- How do they handle refund requests?
- How do they handle product defeats and / or product quality concerns?
Canadian-Based Dropshipping Suppliers
There are many Canadian-based dropshipping suppliers to choose from, and we’ll list some of the more popular ones below.
However, YOU are the one responsible for doing your research and due diligence to make sure these companies meet your needs, are trustworthy and worth doing business with. This is also not a complete or comprehensive list, and these are NOT in any particular order.
They are also not necessarily direct suppliers – rather they act like AliExpress and offer a directory of suppliers according to their own criteria:
Sprocket is a Vancouver, British Columbia-based dropshipping marketplace that serves dropshippers in Canada and around the world.
Their marketplace boasts over 30,000 thousand vendors, with thousands of them based on Canada, so there are a lot of choices for Canadian drop shippers to ship from Canada.
While they are based in the US, Worldwide Brands has tens of thousands of vendors to choose from around the world, including thousands of Canadian-based vendors to allow inter-Canadian shipping.
This one gets an asterisk, as they do not currently have many vendors within Canada to ship from within Canada, but they have announced their intention of opening some Canadian shipping facilities in the near future.
AliExpress offers US-based vendors that can ship quickly to Canadian customers, but you will have to factor in shipping and Goods and Services Taxes.
The easiest way to find US-based vendors is to use the US Supplier Database inside the Dropified app.
For individual vendors, wholesalers and more, the Canadian Trade Index is a great place to start your research for Canadian-based companies to work with.
You will need to contact the specific vendors to see if they will work with dropshippers, so due diligence will be required to find vendors to partner with your store.
The Bottom Line
The better and faster you can serve your customers, the better you will do long term.
As a result, it’s a smart thing to begin to source, develop and begin to work with US-based products suppliers, because your customers are demanding faster delivery and better quality.
At the end of the day, you need to work hard to research and find solid suppliers that offer you high-quality products with dependable inventory and fast shipping times.
After all, the writing is on the wall that the pricing advantage that Chinese suppliers enjoy may quickly be coming to an end, and if you only offer Chinese goods, you’ll end up with higher cost products with long shipping times, and be left scrambling to find local suppliers.