Finding the right suppliers for your dropshipping business is one of the most important decisions you can make, and it can be the difference between running a successful business and one that doesn’t make it.
If you have NOT yet done your market research, we highly recommend that you start there first. After all, if you haven’t researched your market to find products you believe will sell well, it doesn’t matter what supplier you choose, because your sales may very well be doomed from the start.
Be sure to read this post on Market Research here right now before going any further.
This post will assume that you’ve already done your product research and that you are now looking for suppliers of the products you’ve determined that your market will be interested in.
Finding Your Suppliers
Once you’ve gone through and completed all of your market research and have narrowed down the products you want to sell…
…THEN it’s time to find your suppliers for those products to see if you can get them at a good price you can make a profit with.
A big factor to consider as you look for product suppliers is shipping times.
For many years now, most drop shippers have been sourcing their products from China, and as a result, the shipping times to their customers takes several weeks or more. While that was annoying to many customers, they still put up with it in order to get good deals.
However, with Amazon Prime being so popular, many customers these days really want their purchases to arrive in a few days, and complaints about the length shipping times from China are on the rise.
Even Facebook has gotten into the game of raising the price of advertising or even shutting down advertisers who are dropshipping from China due to complaints from buyers not receiving their orders in a timely fashion.
Newer and more affordable options have recently opened up for drop shippers to source and fulfill orders within the U.S., allowing for customers to receive their products in just days.
So we’ll cover finding suppliers in China and in the U.S.
For most new drop shippers, their first stop is searching for product vendors on AliExpress.
AliExpress is the retail side of the internet's largest wholesale dealer – Alibaba. Through AliExpress, you can directly buy from manufacturers and cut out the middle man, which many times can mean much cheaper prices than found in any retail store.
They have recently changed their feedback system, moving from various icons representing total sales, feedback and length of time selling, to more of an eBay style rating system. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing suppliers on AliExpress.
Once you have searched and found a product you’re interested in, there are few things you’ll want to review.
1. Product Feedback – ratings and reviews of the product itself
2. Store Feedback – The rating and reviews of the Store/Supplier selling the product
There are a number of factors that you’ll want to review regarding the product itself to see if it’s a quality item to consider selling.
Product Star Rating: There will be a rating from 1 – 5 stars based on direct ratings from buyers.
Total Orders: This will show you how many total orders of this particular product have been made.
Pricing: Some suppliers will have a single price for each unit, others will give a range of pricing, with the lower pricing based on ordering higher quantities. As a drop shipper paying one at a time, expect the higher price unless/until you begin to sell a lot of the time, then you may have negotiations room based on your buying history.
Shipping: This will display the average shipping time based on shipping method selected. You will want to look for products that offer ePacket shipping.
Quantity: This will display how many of each item they have to sell. If they have low inventory, you may want to pass on the item or reach out to the seller to see how often they get new stock.
Return Policy: You will want to read through this policy to see under what conditions they will accept returns and what you need to do in order to fulfill their return policy.
Seller Guarantee: The seller will display how long they will guarantee the protection of the product.
Payment: Review how they accept payment for your purchases to ensure they take your form of payment.
Buyer Protection: This displays what additional protections you have with this seller.
Product Feedback: If you click on the Star ratings, you will not a breakdown of how many votes that got at each star level, as well as any comments buyers have left for them. It’s important to read through these to see if/how the seller communicates with buyers and what issues those whom have had negative experiences have left. That way you can better evaluate if this is a seller you want to work with or not.
If you decide a product looks good and you might want to sell it, you need to look at the Supplier’s overall Store feedback as well to make sure you feel comfortable working with them as well.
When you click on the Store name, you will be taken to their store page where you can learn more about them and see what other products they sell.
At the top of the page, you will see how long they have been selling for an AliExpress. The longer the better.
Positive Feedback: You will see their overall satisfaction percentage, and then when you hover over the Positive Feedback section, a window will open showing you:
Their Seller Name
Where They Are Located
When Their AliExpress Store Opened: We like to see that they have been around for at least 3 years.
Detailed Seller Ratings: From 1 – 5 stars in the categories of Item as Described, Communication and Shipping Speed. You will also see how that feedback compares against all other sellers on AliExpress.
Feedback History: Similar to Seller Feedback on eBay, you will see a breakdown of each star rating and when they receive those ratings over the past 1 month, 3 months and 6 months.
Feedback Comments: You can read through all buyer comments that have been left to see if anything sticks out to make to want to work with them or not.
This may seem like a lot to work through, but as you begin reviewing them, the Good and Bad sellers become a lot more obvious to spot quickly.
Be willing to dig in here, because working with a great seller can help you grow fast, while working with a bad seller can cost you your business if you’re not careful.
One of the new options to open up recently that is changing the dropshipping game and giving sellers a big advantage over the China-only drop shippers is the ability to source and ship through U.S. suppliers using… eBay!
That means your buyers are getting their orders in just days…
…leaving all of your Chinese-tied competitors in the dust.
Now, you need to do the same kind of due diligence in researching products and sellers on eBay as well as you do with AliExpress to ensure your selling good quality products and the Sellers are good to work with.
So What Does This All Mean?
Well, simply that there are a lot of factors to consider before placing an order with a supplier.
The biggest tips here are to understand and follow the Seller Rating System the way that we suggest.
It’s also good to be impartial about a potential product and not to fall in love with it.
Yes, Do NOT fall in love with a product.
You are not shopping for yourself. You are shopping for products that fills a need and that will be purchased.
We sell all sorts of products that I have zero interest in (and in niches that I wouldn’t have even known about) that sell very well with some serious profitability. Falling in love with a product could cost you a lot of time and money in the long run.
You also always need to validate the product.
This means that you only want to purchase a handful of them to ensure that they actually sell before making a large commitment. We’re okay even trading “4 quarters for a dollar” just to prove the concept that the product actually sells. It’s easy to negotiate better deals and larger quantities once you know how you have a proven seller on your hands.
When sourcing a new product to sell, we also like to ensure that we can ship directly to the end consumer (without any invoicing).
This way you can test faster and see if there’s a demand for that particular product. This is a huge speed-to-market factor in testing multiple products at once before you have even touched them.
Bottom Line – if you follow this guide and do your research and due diligence…
…you will ultimately discover some great products to sell, and hopefully establish some long-lasting business relationships to help build your business.
Automation Is The Key To Success
Now, while most people can easily buy and ship through eBay and AliExpress manually, that’s not the way to build a business.
Instead, you need to be able to automate everything in order to grow and scale your business.
Until recently, however, the only way to work with eBay, even if you were using dropship apps, was to order through eBay manually.
However, one dropshipping app has automated the entire process – the Dropified App.
That means that you can find, import, sell, order, fulfill and ship – completely on autopilot through both AliExpress and eBay now. It is the only dropship app that has fully automated this process!
Please grasp just exactly how big this full automation process is – because it’s the difference in making decent money with your store, but still being involved in the day-to-day tasks…
…and growing a 6, 7 or even 8 figure business, while working less than you ever have, simply because virtually every step of the process has been automated for you.
And only Dropified can do all of this for you.
The best part is that you can get started with Dropified today for free, since there is a free trial period.
If you’re ready to start your dropshipping business, and you want to automate it completely from the beginning so that you can focus on growing and scaling (and not getting stuck working on mundane tasks daily, keeping your store small)…
…then start your Free Dropified Trial today.