Choosing and managing the right supplier is one of the most important things for becoming successful in your dropshipping business/company.
If your supplier isn’t reliable or doesn’t provide high-quality products, your company will struggle to deliver well-priced goods and services that meet your customers expectations (and your own expectations of profits as well).
Choose the right supplier for your business
- Determine your criteria
- Examine your choices
- Request bids
- Analyze your bid submission
- Take a look at supplier performance
1. Determine your criteria
Write down the list of criteria that your supplier will need to meet in order to provide what you need. Here are some things to consider:
- Ideal lead time: How long you want to wait to receive your goods after placing a purchase order.
- Maximum and minimum order quality: These are the limits on how much you can order at one time.
- Capabilities of dropshipping: Supplier’s capacity to supply high-quality goods straight to your customers.
- Quality assurance processes: The measures taken by the vendor to guarantee product quality.
- Payment guides: The methods and means by which you pay for your purchase
- Return policy: The terms under which you or your customers may return products.
- Communication standards: The capacity to communicate across language boundaries and the response of your provider (especially important when working with overseas suppliers)
Prioritizing these particular criteria will enable you to take your store far, because communication and comprehension are key. By establishing the criteria in advance, you can evaluate potential suppliers based on each of the listed factors above, and make sure you don’t forget about any critical requirements.
At the same time, you might want to categorize your criteria into those that are optional and those that are required.
There’s always a chance you won’t be able to discover a provider who flawlessly checks every box because suppliers in every industry operate a bit differently. Similar to dating, knowing which qualities are essential and which are optional will help you swiftly sort the good candidates from the bad.
2. Examine your choices
If you know what kind of product you want to sell, you should look through a supplier directory to see which suppliers have what you need. Use this time to assess potential suppliers using the following criteria:
- Reputation: How are these suppliers being viewed by other business owners? Is it a trustworthy supplier, or will they steal your product concepts and hurt your company’s bottom line?
- Business type: You may need to select a wholesale provider, a dropshipping supplier, or a private label manufacturer, depending on your business model. Make sure you know who the vendors are, how they operate and their reviews as well if possible.
- Security: Reliable vendors provide insurance and fraud protection. Usually they have some sort of license or permit you can ask to view and verify.
3. Request bids
Once you’ve created a shortlist of reliable dropshippers, wholesalers, or vendors you’re interested in dealing with, you may issue a request for proposals.
You can also speak with vendors about their procedures and policies during this process. We strongly advise inquiring about the planning and sourcing of raw materials by possible vendors. Find out if the seller engages in any unsafe ordering procedures, or sources its supplies from shady places. By doing this, you can make sure the vendor you’re working with has a solid supply chain that won’t fail and result in product shortages on your end.
4. Analyze your bid submission
Consider your alternatives after receiving your bids. As you don’t want to select a supplier who overcharges for its items and reduces your profit margin, you should pay close attention to pricing as well.
Another check should be made at this point to make sure of the authenticity of your supplier’s offer. By acquiring a product sample and ISO compliance records from a dropship supplier or wholesaler, you may confirm their credibility.
5. Take a look at supplier performance
Nobody wants to do business with a supplier they can’t really trust. To make sure your vendor keeps their promises, keep an eye on them. You can use this information to work with your supplier to improve operations in a way that benefits both parties, especially if you discover they commonly ship orders late, send incomplete orders, or deliver low-quality goods. If it doesn’t work, you might be able to end your contract and sever relations with that source altogether. This gives you the opportunity to start over with a new (hopefully better) supplier.
In conclusion, you want to track cost-effectiveness over time. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the agreement you made a year ago is still a good one now. As long as you keep in mind the guidelines above, you can always find great suppliers for your online dropshipping business in 2023!