One of the most critical aspects of your dropshipping business is finding the right dropshipping suppliers. Things can get complicated with your customer order cycle if you do not get it right from the get when you partner with a dropshipping supplier. And with dropshipping becoming popular by the day, it is now more tricky to find reliable suppliers who can give your business all the advantages your business needs to succeed. There are more suppliers than there were a year ago as new dropshipping suppliers come into the dropshipping space every other month. But the big question is; do these suppliers provide optimal service for your dropshipping business?. We bring under review what to look out for when seeking a dropshipping supplier for your business using some of the important questions that you should be asking when you seek dropshipping suppliers for your dropshipping business.
What are the best places to look for dropshipping suppliers for your business?
Before we lay out the questions, you should be asking a dropshipping supplier before committing to a partnership for this important bit of your business with them, lets’s first give you a heads-up on places you can look when searching for dropshipping suppliers. Now there are large wholesalers, including AliExpress and SaleHoo, who can offer dropshippers a huge list of suppliers on their platforms. However, these platforms are better suitable for beginners who are currently only having 1-5 orders a day on their dropshipping store. They don’t provide the advantage that you get when you partner with a professional dropshipping company.
Purchasing from suppliers on these platforms does not entitle you to any special offers or preferential pricing, something you can benefit from by working out a partnership with a professional dropshipping supplier. Where and how then do you find professional dropshipping suppliers?. To find Pro dropshipping supplier companies, these are a few ways to go about it:
1. Facebook groups.
Facebook group that caters to dropshipping are a good place to find some very good and trusted Pro dropshipping supplier agents with good visibility in the dropshipping space. A number of them have their sales and marketing staff engaging in Facebook groups, and from these groups, you can reach out to them to further discuss your project. The good thing about this is that you can publicly ask for feedback on a dropshipping supplier and get real-time reviews by group members.
Tips: Facebook can be unsafe to find supplier agents as you can get scammed by someone posing to be an agent while they are not. So always ask to speak with a sales manager when you engage with any dropshipping supplier agent on Facebook. Also, make sure they have good visibility, website, very active social media accounts. And they must be listed as a business on any publicly available database.
This is another way to go as you can find a number of suppliers to work with from here. However, not all suppliers here like serving dropshippers and will often have very high MOQs in thousands or so. It is also a bit time-consuming to find a supplier that you can actually lock down on, but you are sure to get premium service when you do find suppliers here.
3. Fiverr and other job marketplaces.
Another way to go to find a dropshipping supplier is to do a search on Fiverr. Recently a lot of Pro dropshipping supplier companies are pushing their marketing and sales staff to get on Fiverr to find clients, so a search for dropshipping supplier on fiver will return a list of reliable suppliers you can work with. Always remember you need to know what you want per your business strategy and neds before you engage. For Fiver make sure to look at their rating for at least a 4.5 star.
4. Messaging an AliExpress supplier.
This is a very good way to find Pro dropshipping supplier for your dropshipping business. A good number of pro dropshipping supplier companies and agents actually list products on AliExpress. If you happen to find your winning product on AliExpress you might want to reach out to the seller and ask if they are a direct factory supplier or if they are willing to connect you to one. Also, you can get on the sellers stores home page to see if they are a dropshipping supplier company or agent listing product as they advertise this on their store’s homepage on AliExpress. If they are you can then message them to discuss your business and product.
5. Google search.
A google search for dropshipping suppliers will return some very useful results that you can filter to find suppliers that meet your dropshipping business needs. The best way to do this is to search according to the country you are dropshipping from. For example, searching for dropshipping suppliers from China on Google will produce the best results for dropshipping supplier companies in China if you are dropshipping from China. If a company is listed on this search, then there is a very good chance that they have been in business long enough to provide you with the best service for your dropshipping business.
What are the important questions to ask potential dropshipping suppliers?
It is important to be clear with potential dropshipping suppliers what your expectations are from them when you are in the process of partnering with them. It is expected that you may come accross dropshipping suppliers who do not have a good command of english language or your language. However, you will still need to establish a way to communicate that will deliver your question correctly and also deliver the answers to your questions correctly. In a situation you do not understand an answer, rephrase your question and go over again with your potential supplier. And make sure that every concern you have is addressed.
Asking a potential drop shipping supplier the following questions will help you make better choices when deciding on a dropshipping supplier to partner with for your dropshipping business;
1. What are the typical delivery times for your target countries?
One thing that deters customers from dropshipping stores is long delivery times. This is often associated with dropshipping stores. This can also leave a store battling with bad reviews becauce of delayed deliveries. Delivery time inquiries are the most asked by dropshippers as this is an important part of e-commerce. A dropshipping supplier may advertise a certain delivery time on their website. But it is however, still important to ask your potential supplier the time it will take from when your customer’s orders are received to when it is delivered to the customer. The best way to do this is to request tracking numbers for orders not older than two weeks from the date of your inquiry.
2. What type of packing do you use?
Remember you are delivering an experience with the product you sell, and this for many dropshippers who know what they are doing understand that unboxing experience tells a lot about your store and your brand. You want to know from the start that a potential dropshipping supplier has what it takes to deliver the kind of packaging you want to enable you to deliver the unboxing experience that you plan to deliver to your customers when they shop your products.
3. How long does your fulfillment process takes once orders are placed?
Do not confuse order fulfillment with order delivery in this question, and we will explain this quickly. In an ecommerce business model, being able to track order status through the entire order cycle is just as important as ensuring the customer receives their orders and on time. Customers feel unsatisfied when they can’t get updates on their order status after 24 hours of making the order. You want to work with a dropshipping supplier who has a 12-24 hours fulfillment process, and that is why asking this question before onboarding with a dropshipping supplier is essential.
4. How is the product going to be sourced?
There are two reasons why you should ask this question; the first being that you don’t want to be dealing with a supplier who is not sourcing directly from the factory as this will not return with a competitive price for you because there will be a price markup on the product already.
Secondly, if your product sells well, you don’t want to be dealing with a situation where there’s no stocks anywhere to serve your customers. Asking this question will let you know if your store is backed by a manufacturer who can always make stocks available whenever they are needed and in whatever volume they are needed.
5. Are you a pro dropshipping supplier?
Do not take this question lightly, this is because not all suppliers have their business set up to support dropshipping. It is the reason why some dropshippers face backlash from their customers after they receive the product ordered with invoice bearing 300% less of what they paid for or promotional offers that you didn’t advertise on your store. This is a very common mistake with suppliers that are not knowing dropshipping. And Aliexpress is where you are likely to encounter the bulk of them.
6. Do you provide branding services?
Some vendors may be able to include your logo on the goods as well as the packaging, but this will come at a cost. This is an important question to ask, especially if your long-term plan involves branding and product customization.
7. Are your rates standard or do they fluctuate with market conditions?
There is usually a bargaining room with the advertised pricing, so don’t hesitate to negotiate and offer what you think is best.
However, do not go to the supplier empty-handed; show them the prices of their competitors, and they will almost always offer you a better deal.
This is something you may do later if you are ordering a lot of products from the same seller. Then you might try to negotiate a lower price.
8. Is there a requirement for a minimum order?
On sales platforms like AliExpress, this is seldom a problem, but certain suppliers may have a minimum order requirement (MOQ), so it is crucial to ask this upfront.
You might be wondering how a company can require a MOQ for dropshipping. The answer is simple: this is standard in premium dropshipping service that ensure 3-5 days deliver and priority service. In this case, you will be required to put down a deposit on the items. And they will drop ship from that balance. Ensure that this arrangement is through the sales platform at first until you have established a rapport with them.
9. Do you handle customs fees, or have the customer handle this themselves?
You surely will run into this issue in your dropshipping business; your customer will contact you and tell you that they had to pay a release fee for the customs tax. Normally, the end customer was responsible for before the wave of reviews of tax regimes in the EU, UK, and other places in 2021. Pro dopshipping suppliers are able to take care of this, but it is important to request this from the start.
10. Do you have an after-sales service that handles returns and refunds?
If your consumer is unsatisfied with the product, you must have an arrangement in place with your supplier to manage the situation. Most of the time, they will just request a snapshot of the product problem; however, double-check that this is also the case with your dropshipping supplier to ensure they can provide this service.
11. What if the order is not delivered on time or there is a mistake with an order? How do you handle this?
In dropshipping business, just as in any other business model, things can go wrong from time to time. A common experience with dropshipping is the case of a missing order, damaged product on delivery, wrong order fulfilled, and more of such unpleasant happenings. Request your supplier to explain how each of these situations happen in the case they occur. The catch here is to figure out if your customer takes their customer service seriously. A dropshipping supplier that can go all the way to keep you and your customers happy by taking responsibility in offering solutions and compensations is likely one you should be working with.
If anything, having a good chat with potential suppliers helps create rapport and demonstrates that you are on top of things and take your business very seriously; it also establishes certain ground rules for all parties. Above all, keep in mind that suppliers all want your business boom and will usually be glad to answer any queries you may have. So ask as many questions as you want! Also, keep in mind that you do not have to send each query to each supplier. Send only questions that are relevant to your particular circumstance.