There are unreliable suppliers everywhere!
That’s a statement you’ll readily agree if you’ve been in the eCommerce scene for quite some time. And the sad part is, finding the right one can seem near impossible.
If you’re sick and tired of having to deal with the same issue repeatedly, then you’re in the right place. We’re going to help you find credible suppliers so you can grow your eCommerce business.
No matter what your market and/or niche, these tips will work the same.
We’re going to share with you five tips that you can use to help you uncover reliable suppliers that you can work with to grow your eCommerce business.
1. Call The Manufacturer
The first thing you should do is to contact the manufacturer.
In most cases, they will not sell to you unless you can buy 1000’s of product at one time.
But don’t get discouraged. Ask them who their distributors are.
99% of the time, they’ll tell you exactly who to call. Sometimes the manufacturer is willing to sell in smaller lots too.
Whatever the case may be, it all starts with you taking the time to talk to them about your needs.
You just have to ask.
2. Talk to Distributors
Distributors are your next best bet.
They still have the prices low enough that you should be able to make 40% margins without any problem.
A distributor has marked the price up some, but not high enough to the point where it becomes unreasonable to purchase the products from them.
If the manufacturer recommended them, they’re a pretty safe bet. If you found them online, take the time to do some research (i.e. reviews).
Don’t use them unless they have a good online presence, or, at the very least, you have ascertained to some extent that they are credible people to work with.
The online reputation they have will be the online reputation you have if you chose to use them.
3. Talk to Influencers
Most of the time, social influencers are interested in earning affiliate income from the products they are promoting.
So, ask them who is paying them.
If you can’t find influencers, just go to Influence.co and do a quick search. From there, you can find tons of influences to connect and collaborate with.
Remember, they aren’t going to hide who is paying them, they just want credit for the sale (or in this case, the connection).
Let me say that influencers are great to work with not just in finding your suppliers. So here’s an advance tip: once you’ve established a connection or relationship with them, keep it.
You can maximize working with influencers in your ecommerce business, particularly in your marketing campaign.
Influencer marketing entails strategies for it to be successful, and one of them is nurturing relationships with influencers.
So if you have established or initiated that relationship, that’s a good first step. Keep nurturing it.
4. Go to Trade Shows
You can do this at the local level or all the way up to the global level.
Trade shows are where you can find new products, new innovations, and new companies.
Some of these new companies are looking for more marketing channels.
You are THAT new marketing channel.
In these trade shows, connecting is the name of the game.
Talk with them, find out how much inventory they can handle, if they’ve ever run out of their product, why did they run out?
You can even talk to them about getting discounts for ordering bulk.
As you talk to the supplier face-to-face in a trade show, you’ll be able to study their body language — helping you decide further if they are being truthful or not.
5. Check a Directory Of Dropshipping Suppliers
You can also check out a directory of dropshipping companies and suppliers conveniently compiled for you.
You can find links and descriptions of these platforms so you can select which one to try out first.
You can then connect with individual suppliers dropshipping platforms. The benefit is that you’re able to do so within a known network that can also provide additional information.
You will be able to probe more into these suppliers’ previous performance, quality of product and delivery, and more. Customer reviews and ratings can give you additional insight, too.
Read also: 8 Reasons Your Business Isn’t Performing The Way You Want
6. Use a Dropshipping plugin like Oberlo
However, instead of having to do endless research on the internet to find the contact information of suppliers, their reviews, and the products they’re selling (among other things), you can install Oberlo in your Shopify website.
Because Oberlo is an ecommerce marketplace, it has access to trustworthy suppliers making it easy for Oberlo’s users to find them.
What’s more, Oberlo also has a library of dropshipping guides to help their audience have a better understanding of how the business model works.
Using the platform is quite simple. You just need to install the Oberlo app into your Shopify website.
From there, you can search for the product that you’d like to sell and check out the results that Oberlo will bring you. (Check out the screenshot below).
Dropshippers are keen on using Oberlo because the platform makes for easier and a more painless product integration process.
You can integrate products from the suppliers to your website in just a couple of clicks.
Buyer Beware – Watch Out For Middlemen
So, we’ve given you some good ways to find credible suppliers for your eCommerce business, but we need to point out one thing to watch out for … middlemen.
Middlemen suppliers can destroy your profit margins if you aren’t careful.
Middlemen suppliers are buyers who bought wholesale and are acting as a distributor, without the benefit of the distributor and/or wholesale price.
For instance, you may be looking for sunglasses.
You find a company called BigsaleSunglasses.
They have the sunglasses you want at a price per piece of $6.99.
MSRP on those glasses is $9.99. That represents a $3.00 profit, right?
Not after you calculate shipping to you, plus your product packaging and postage. You’ll be lucky to clear $1.00 after everything has processed.
Here’s the thing, they bought those same sunglasses for $3.99 each. At $3.99 each, you would make about $4.00 per order at $9.99.
While this is a simple example, you can see that middlemen can cut into your profits drastically — sometimes to the point that it’s not worth it.
Avoid having to buy from middlemen. Find the highest level supplier you can buy from (i.e. manufacturer, distributor, jobber) and work directly with them.
Finding credible suppliers for your eCommerce business shouldn’t be difficult.
And yet, it seems it is.
We’ve gone over several ways to find credible suppliers for your eCommerce business.
The best way we’ve found is using a dropshipping solution like Oberlo that helps with product integration while helping you find trustworthy and reliable suppliers.
You can stay local by going to the trade shows.
You can reach out to the manufacturers and distributors.
Or you can find a reliable dropshipping supplier.
In any case, there are several reliable ways to find a credible supplier for your eCommerce business.
If you truly want to succeed, you cannot trust just any supplier. Afterall, they can be here today and gone tomorrow – then what?
Be diligent, be patient, and you’ll find the suppliers that can meet your needs day-in and day-out.