With the sharp rise in people starting dropshipping businesses in the US, one of the biggest questions emerging is how to find US based dropshipping suppliers.
There are many reasons why this is the case, so let’s explore why and how to start dropshipping from the US.
Why Dropship From The US?
While most dropshipping automation apps like Dropified and Oberlo easily integrate with AliExpress and the thousands of Chinese vendors that supply millions of product options…
…there are a number of reasons dropshippers are looking for US based options as well.
The shipping times from China are probably the single biggest reason for wanting US options, as it still takes several weeks to arrive once your customer places their order.
Amazon Prime has conditioned most buyers to expect quick delivery, especially since they are so used to 2 Day delivery times. Now, most don't mind waiting a few days longer to get their orders when they order from a non-Amazon eCommerce store, but they still expect their order fast.
And it’s not just your US-based customers that are demanding faster shipping – it’s huge social media players like Facebook that also demand fast shipping.
How? Well, customer service and satisfaction is one of the biggest factors in the Facebook Ads algorithm, so drop shippers that run ads on Facebook are being affected by complaints on their ads, which in turn results in higher ad costs.
Yes, Facebook monitors ad feedback, and when it comes to dropshippers, one of the most pervasive complaints is the length of time it takes customers to receive their orders, and it hits your account with higher ad costs as a result. Conversely, dropshippers using US based suppliers with fast shipping times are rewarded by better feedback and ultimately lower ad costs by Facebook.
Another big reason that US drop shippers want more US supplier options is product quality.
While there are no doubt countless Chinese suppliers that provide excellent products, the sheer amount of suppliers available that can pop up on the fly leads to a lot of shady suppliers with poor quality products.
And when US dropshippers are so far from their potential and actual suppliers, it’s hard to reach them or hold them accountable if you receive bad quality items.
That’s why having US based suppliers is gaining popularity, because they are, in theory, easier to reach if there is a problem, and there is a comfort level that they can be met with personally to discuss issues if needed. I say “in theory” because there will always be people that act in bad faith or will just be straight up scammers, but that’s where due diligence needs to be done, just as with any supplier, to cut down the chance of this happening.
There is also the intangible reason of working with American companies versus foreign companies, and using “American Made” products.
In many cases, being able to market your products as “American Made” can not only help you sell more products, but it may even lead you to being able to charge higher prices.
As we touched on above, using US-based suppliers can also lead to higher Customer Satisfaction.
The factors listed above, such as faster shipping times, higher quality products, local or US-region phone numbers and contact information, as well as being made in America all can lead to better experiences.
When a customer knows they are doing business inside the US, they don’t really have any worries about issues popping up, and if there are issues, they trust they can get things resolved quickly and easily.
When dealing with foreign products being shipped from outside the US, there can be more worry about when the product will arrive and if it will be good quality. And if there is a product issue, they worry they will have to deal with someone that may be hard to reach and are to communicate with.
Higher Retail Prices
While American manufacturers and suppliers might cost more to work with, in many cases, you can charge more for your products when you advertise that they are American made.
As I touched on above, many US customers are okay with paying more if they perceive the products to be higher quality and know that the products are made here in the US. So, while the products may be more expensive to source and sell, you can maintain and even increase your margins if you market them with an American made emphasis.
Another factor that has been gaining increasing awareness lately is a political factor between the US and China. Right now, shipping costs from China are really inexpensive.
Since 1969, the US was part of the Universal Postal Union, allowing for steep shipping discounts to poor countries to ship goods to the United States.
Those steep discounts, subsidized by the United States Post Office, meant shipping rates for Chinese shippers were discounted form 40% – 70%.
The result meant that in many cases, it was more expensive to ship items within the US than it was to order a product from China, to be delivered in the US.
However, there have been recent discussions between the leaders of the US and China about pulling out of that agreement, and cutting the discounted shipping since China is viewed as no longer being a poor country.
If that shipping discount is removed, that also means the low cost advantage Chinese suppliers have counted on to undercut product pricing will vanish.
That also means any dropshipper using Chinese suppliers will see their shipping prices jump significantly. So not only will it take weeks for products to arrive, they will now no longer be super cheap.
As a result, the shift to US manufacturers and suppliers will jump quickly, and that could mean a bottleneck in supply.
Inventory Supply And Manufacturing Turn Times
One of the most important factors in deciding on which supplier to use is how much inventory they have available at any time, as well as how quickly they can turn out new inventory as it begins to run low.
Smaller suppliers may have a lot of inventory available, but may not have the resources to manufacture new inventory fast, so it’s important to know how quickly they can turn out new inventory.
After all, if you start selling a product fast, it’s only as good as you can keep selling it at volume. If you sell out the inventory and it takes several weeks for the supplier to get new inventory, then you can’t grow and scale.
Not only that, once you start selling fast, it can draw the attention of other sellers, and your supplier may now need to start supplying multiple sellers trying to capitalize on the same hot seller, leading to faster inventory sellouts.
With many Chinese suppliers being small fly-by-night operations that jump on hot product trends, they can easily be affected negatively by quick product sellouts and long inventory turn times… on top of the long shipping times,
That doesn’t mean US companies won’t have that same issue, you just need to be aware of it and do your due diligence to limit the possibility.
Finding The Best US 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?
US-Based Dropshipping Suppliers
There are many US 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:
According to Salehoo, they are a “powerful research tool, supplier directory, and online community for dropshippers, wholesalers, and e-commerce stores.”
They list 8,000+ trusted wholesale and dropship suppliers that they’ve personally reviewed and 1.6 million+ branded products you’ll recognize at prices that leave plenty of room for profit.
According to Doba, they’ve “brought hundreds of qualified manufacturers and suppliers into one marketplace.”
They list 2,000,000 products from hundreds of suppliers in one catalog and they offer a Supplier Scorecard to evaluate companies they work with.
AliExpress doesn’t just operate in China – they also have a lot of suppliers that are based in the US.
There are 2 quick ways to find products that ship from within the US on AliExpress:
- Do a search for the product you want on AliExpress
- Once you’ve done a search select the Ship From box at the top of the page above the search results and select United States. This will filter the results to all products that ship from with the US.
In Your Automation App:
Some automation apps like Dropified already integrate the database of US products from AliExpress right in the app dashboard. To find those products:
- Open your automation app (like Dropified)
- Click on the US Products Database
- Enter your product type in the Search box
- Review all the products you can sell!
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.