Finding the correct drop shipper for your e commerce business is vital because you are placing a serious responsibility on them which affects your business directly at Print On Demand All (PODA).
Acquaint yourself with the Supply ChainDecide your Drop Shipper NeedsSearch for Drop ShippersBuild a Contact list and Contact Drop ShippersOrder a SampleOrder from CompetitorsBe a Part of Social Media Groups and ForumsAttend Trade ShowsLook for Order Management and TransparencyFind how returns are managedCustom Shipping Notifications
How often do you come across someone who wants to share your workload? You are in charge of business development while the other company makes and delivers the product to your end customers. A Utopian concept, that’s what drop shipping is!
Unlike the failure of most Utopian concepts, dropshipping sails through the world of business remarkably well. There are drawbacks, certainly. But, for a person who wants to start young and invest carefully, dropshipping works wonders.
Let us enlighten you more.
Drop shipping Benefits
Dropshipping business model is one that works without an inventory. Let’s make this easier- You want to sell t-shirts online and you get a new website designed for your store. You list all your products online, but you don’t have all the products readily available. A drop shipping company’s association with you will put the responsibility of getting the product ready whenever the demand arises. They will then pack the product and deliver it for you to the end customer. This way you aren’t spending on the initial inventory cost and you have someone who is only focused on the product while you can manage other business operations.
If you are a new company that is choosing to invest smartly, then drop shipping is the option for you. Once your decision is made, a lot of questions arise. The first question being- How to find drop shipping wholesale suppliers for your e commerce business?
How To Find Dropshippers
It is crucial to decide on an ideal drop shipper because you will be depending on them to run your business smoothly. A reputable and trustworthy drop shipper can be found if you follow the steps below:
1. Acquaint Yourself With The Supply Chain
Before you begin to search for dropshipping wholesale suppliers, you should be aware of the supply chain and how it works.
Manufacturer – Wholesaler – Retailer (You) – End Customer
It is important to understand the industry supply chain because they determine how your product reaches the end customer and the pricing. If the wholesaler is also providing drop shipping services, then the prices might be lower. If they aren’t providing drop shipping services then it becomes expensive because of added factors such as increased shipping costs, extended travel time and longer wait time for customers.
It depends on your product too how the distribution channel will work. If they are fragile products it is advised to directly ship them to the end customer instead of all the middlemen. If they are durable and strong products, a longer distribution channel will be good and budget friendly.
2. Decide Your Dropshipper Needs
You need to be completely sure of your business goals and how you plan to communicate it to your drop shipper. Write down everything that you will be expecting from your drop shipping supplier and where you see your business panning out. Anything that does not align with your plan, can be easily dismissed because you are clear about what you want.
If you are expecting a higher profit margin, then your dropshipping and fulfilment process will have different supply chains. If you want to work more on brand image, the stress of product delivery can be shared with a dropshipper who delivers under your brand name.
Some drop shippers are looking to build a rapport and partnership with your company so they are driven in the same direction as you.
Options are many, you just need to know your goal.
3. Search For Dropshippers
You can use a variety of sources like software that list drop shippers or guides that direct you to them. The most convenient option is search engines as you will find drop shippers that are easily discover-able and you can read reviews about them.
Use the correct words with Google to reach what you really want to find. When you want to dig in deeper with your research, you will have to consider multiple questions that would arise in a person’s mind regarding drop shipping. Conversing with industry majors can also be a good way to get recommended dropshippers.
4. Build A Contact List And Contact Each Dropshipper
Once your research is in place you will have a list of drop shippers that come close to what you want from them. Contact each one of them personally because personal interaction will give you a definite idea of their functioning and if it is reasonable.
Discuss extensively on your business goals and if you see a sync in their response with your activities, you are good to go.
5. Order A Sample
The business is yours and you have to do everything in your capacity to seek out the best for it. Before you finalize on a drop shipper, we recommend you order a sample first to get a fair idea of how their customer experience will be and the quality of their products.
You may read more about ordering a sample here.
6. Order From Competitors
Find out competing drop shipping companies and order samples from both so you know the difference from a customer’s point of view. This will help you make an informed decision and give you a solid base for comparing and decision making. Do not make “price” as your only decision-making factor; instead, look at the product quality, the packaging, the branding, and the complete experience.
7. Be A Part Of Social Media Groups And Forums
Social media is much bigger than we estimate it to be. Over the past decade, its growth has skyrocketed in all spheres of communication which includes marketing and customer relationships too. Join Facebook groups related to your products and you will receive the latest news updates on your industry and easily make contacts that will lead you somewhere.
It would be good for you to also participate on discussion forums about your industry or check out forums of drop shipping companies and see what the existing customers have to say.
You will know the common opinion and also learn a lot about how this industry functions.
8. Attend Trade Shows
Being present at relevant events is extremely crucial to businesses because people might forget about your existence. If your presence is felt in trade shows and events, you will build more personal contacts and learn more about the industry than you could have ever expected.
It will help you understand which kind of people you can work with and establish a better relationship with them. It might be expensive but the time investment will be good.
These are some tips that you should keep in mind when you are looking for a dropshipping wholesale supplier.
9. Look for Order Management Process and Transparency
It is extremely important for you to be in sync with your drop shipping company in terms of order processing, order fulfillment and cost factors.
Look for companies that are giving you real time updates on the orders, for example- orders that are shipped, still in progress, previous orders etc.
The progress can be updated in stages like ‘Received’, ‘Processing’, ‘Ready to dispatch’, ‘Shipped’. This way you have more control over managing your orders.
10. Find how returns are managed
It can be difficult to manage returns on products since there is a third party involved. Your customer experience is already compromised since they didn’t get what they wanted.
Nevertheless, look for a drop shipping company that has a fair return policy and it is cost effective too. It shouldn’t hamper your profit margin vastly.
If it is a print on demand company, inquire about their replacement procedures, if there are added expenses to print again or would they do it for free, reverse shipping charges etc.
11. Custom shipping notifications
Your overall brand experience needs to be perfect and for that you need to choose the best services that are available. Most times once the product is shipped, the end customer receives SMS from the delivery company and not the seller website. This can confuse them and question the authenticity of your brand.
Check with the supplier if they are sending custom branded emails and SMS notifications or the generic ones about the tracking updates.
There is no business that comes without risk. Drop shipping can be a little overwhelming to understand but once you fall into the pattern of functioning, it becomes easier and more beneficial than other business models. So, tread through the process of finding the right drop shipper very cautiously as this will either make or break your business.