deliveryman with package and delivery van at the back

How to Find the Best Dropship Supplier for a Retail Business

When starting a business that depends on dropship suppliers, beginners ought to know that finding the best dropshipping suppliers could take a while.

You should also consider that a lot of the suppliers are based in Asia, and that you have to overcome or get used to the language barrier.

In the face of all these challenges, here are some tips to help you land the best supplier for your company:

Research

Once you have decided on what products you are going to sell, it is time to research which suppliers are out there, and who among them best suits your business needs. If your business specializes in women’s fashion, for example, you should look for clothing and jewelry dropshipping suppliers.

Depending on how many suppliers are available in your product niche, you might have to decide whether to go with an overseas or domestic supplier. Your choice should not only be based on pricing. You should also look into delivery times, service potential, and raw material sourcing.

Get in touch

Contact the dropshipping supplier that you think is suitable for your business, and start developing your relationship. Talking to them lets you ask questions about their service. They may even give you the contact information of some of their other customers so you can get first-hand accounts of how it is to work with the supplier before you commit to them.

By maintaining a healthy relationship with dropshipping suppliers, you will have built trust by the time you start doing business with them. Your communication will be more effective, questions from both parties will be answered quickly, and misunderstandings will be resolved right away.

Ask for samples

woman signing receipt of delivered goods

Once you have narrowed down your top potential suppliers to two or three, order samples directly from them. It lets you test the quality of their service, delivery time, packaging, and other aspects that you need to consider.

Ordering samples from dropship suppliers is essential to the selection process. You will experience for yourself how your future customers might experience your store.

Get to know your competitor’s supplier

If one of your competitors has the same supplier, ordering from that supplier lets you find out how they package your competitor’s products, and how they perform other services, such as custom labeling.

If your competitor has other suppliers, order from their suppliers. This will give you an idea about the level of service you should provide to outrank the competition.

The suppliers to avoid

Aside from substandard products, bad reviews, and negative feedback, there are other red flags that indicate a bad dropship supplier.

For one, look out for the minimum order quantity. While almost all dropshipping suppliers have a minimum order quantity, most of them are willing to charge you for the minimum order free but fulfill the orders as they come in as opposed to doing so in one go.

Say, their minimum order size is 200, you will pay for the 200 items upfront, and they will fulfill the 200 orders without charging for them as they come from your store. A supplier who refuses this arrangement is more suitable for dropshipping wholesale, and is not ideal for your retail business.

Be wary of unreasonable pre-order fees, too. Pre-order fees normally increase a bit depending on the complexity of size of an order, or decrease when ordering in bulk. During your research, you may come upon suppliers that charge unreasonable pre-order fees, and you must stay away from those.

Your dropship supplier should meet both the needs of your customers and your business. Most of all, they should be someone you can trust. Finding the right dropshipping supplier is not easy, but when you do, it’s smooth sailing from there.