How to find dropshipping suppliers? And what are the things that you must consider when selecting suppliers? For example, delivery time, reliability, costs, and minimum order quantities are just the tip of the iceberg. Here you can learn how to find dropshipping suppliers, how to work with them, and how to network with them to get better pricing benefits. Let’s have a look.
By the way, if you are new to dropshipping, I would highly recommend you to read this free startup guide for dropshipping. It will help you to understand the basic concepts, tips, and tricks to start and run a profitable dropshipping store.
How to Find Dropshipping Suppliers?
There are three ways to find legitimate dropshipping suppliers for your business.
- Find suppliers on dropshipping marketplaces
- Use wholesale directories
- Contact product manufacturers
Other than the above three methods, you can always Google for the dropshipping suppliers for your niche. However, it might be time-consuming as most of the legitimate dropshipping suppliers are bad at SEO and marketing. So, in this guide we will be mainly talking about how to use the above three methods to find dropshipping suppliers.
1. Find suppliers on dropshipping marketplaces
If you are a dropshipping beginner, perhaps this method will be the easiest way for you to find dropshipping suppliers. There are some popular online supplier marketplaces like AliExpress, Oberlo, and Doba for this purpose.
2. Use wholesale directories
Wholesale directories are online listings of major wholesale suppliers around the world. There you can easily sort and find the suppliers for your dropshipping niche. The most popular dropshipping and wholesale supplier directories include Salehoo, Worldwide Brands, and Wholesale Central.
3. Contact product manufacturers
If you are after some special product from a manufacturer, you can always check with that particular manufacture and ask if they offer a dropshipping service. Otherwise, they will be happy to help you by contacting you with one of their wholesale buyers who supports dropshipping.
The difference between a Manufacturer, Wholesaler and Dropshipping supplier
It is essential that you understand these three terms before we start a dropshipping business.
The manufacturer is the person or the company that makes the product. In dropshipping, you would probably never be in touch with the manufacturer. And then, there are the wholesalers. Wholesalers buy from the manufacturers in bulk and sell at a higher price to the retailers. The dropshipping suppliers are the wholesalers who deliver these products to your customers on your behalf.
Sometimes you will also come across sellers who claim them as “Dropshipping suppliers,” but they are just middlemen buying from wholesale suppliers and selling again to the retailers for a higher price. So, as an online retail shop owner, you need to source products from real wholesalers who do the dropshipping as well.
Spot legitimate and fake dropshipping suppliers
So far we have learned where to find dropshipping suppliers. Most of the above services are wholesale directories and marketplaces. And, you have to select individual suppliers from those platforms to source your products.
Now we are going to discuss how to select a legitimate dropshipping supplier. Not every supplier directory and the marketplace have a screening process for their listed suppliers. So, there can be scammers out there – like everywhere else. Therefore, let us discuss some basic facts, which you have to consider when selecting a dropshipping supplier.
They are usually bad at marketing
Well, to be honest, legitimate suppliers are typically bad at marketing. They might not look credible in the beginning. But on the other hand, fake wholesalers (who pretend to be like the wholesalers, but can be just middlemen selling at inflated prices) are good at marketing. They can pop in your search quickly. Also, they can come up with great sales pitches which you can fall into.
Also, you may have noticed most of the suppliers and directories have basic websites that are poorly designed. And, they look like they were from the 90s. But, you can usually find some excellent dropshipping suppliers with super disgusting websites.
To be honest, one of my best dropshipping suppliers for pet products doesn’t even have a website. I found him through an online directory and emailed to start the business.
The suppliers who ask for a monthly or yearly subscription payments
Stay away from them. You can find a lot of legitimate dropshipping suppliers who do not ask for a subscription payment. So, those who ask for a subscription payment can be fake people, just trying to bag up some money before you learn that they are not real wholesalers. By the way, do not misunderstand this with pre-order fees. Some actual dropshipping suppliers may ask for a pre-order payment to cover the expenses for packing and shipping. This fee can vary between 2 – 5 USD. Usually, these fees go away once you have gained the trust of the dropshipping supplier, after several orders.
Those who sell their products to the public
Real dropshipping suppliers do not sell to the general public. They sell on agreements or only for the bulk purchases. So, if you can buy just a single product without even contacting them that can be just a middleman selling with a higher markup. Also, real wholesalers do not display their prices in public. You have to reach them to get a price. So, if this “wholesaler” you came across, displays their prices, maybe should move on.
Those who do not ask you to sign a contract
Real wholesalers always ask you to sign a contract, there will be an application process, and they will ask for your business incorporation as well. But the fake suppliers may not ask to sign a contract, or sometimes they will say that it is not required to apply or sign a contract.
Also, if you start dropshipping on eBay, you will need to produce the sales contract with your supplier. So, having a proper sales contract with your dropshipping supplier can always come in handy.
Some real wholesalers ask for a minimum order size for your first order with them. This is their way of screening out people who are not in serious business. So if they ask for a minimum order size, you may have to go with it. But, if it is unrealistically high, just try to have a professional negotiation with them. Most of the Chinese suppliers can be very friendly in this manner.
Or else, as you don’t want to buy lots of products to meet the first-order requirements without having actual customers, you can even ask for a credit account with them. So you can pay them upfront for the minimum order requirement without ordering anything, and use that credit to buy products for subsequential sales.
What else you should consider before selecting dropshipping suppliers
Now that you know how to spot legitimate dropshipping suppliers let us see what are the other factors you should consider before choosing a particular supplier.
How easy to place orders
Check the ordering process and how easy to practically follow that process. Some dropshipping suppliers take orders only by phone calls. In the beginning, you might think this is easy, but as your business grows, you won’t be able to handle this easily.
If your supplier is located in another country, the time differences may affect the communications. So, you should better find a supplier who takes orders over emails, or through their website. Also, you should check how easily you can get their stock details. Since you have to rely on their information to update your store’s stock levels, this information should be readily available anytime you need.
Supplier location and market location
If you are targeting the USA market, and if you pick a supplier from China, then you have to be ok with high lead times for the deliveries. You won’t be able to offer options like two-day delivery. Even if you find a supplier on the west coast in the USA, and if you have a target market on the east coast, under standard shipping options it can take weeks. Of course, you can deliver the products soon with better shipping options. But then the delivery cost will be higher, and your customer might turn away to another shop which offers free delivery.
This doesn’t mean that you cannot pick dropshipping suppliers from China, or from another country. It says that you have to keep in mind the lead times for the deliveries with such suppliers.
The effectiveness of the fulfillment process
This, of course, you won’t be able to check at the beginning. You can place a couple of orders to yourself and check how effective is the order processing. You should check for their order confirmation time, how fast they provide the tracking details, how quickly you get the package, the quality of the packing and the details in the packing. But just two orders won’t reveal everything about your supplier. That you can understand while working with them for some time.
How to deal with your Dropshipping suppliers
After you have listed down your potential dropshipping suppliers, now it is the time for us to work with them.
Get ready with your legal standards
Usually, the wholesalers ask for the business incorporation details for the application process. So, before you actually reach out, it is better to register your business to prove that you are in a serious business.
Before you actually call or email your dropshipping supplier compile the most important questions which you should ask. If you are planning to do long-term business with them, it is essential to have a good reputation in every aspect. You have to understand the fact that they would get the same type of requests from many other people like you. So, do not ask them hundreds of irrelevant questions. Instead, just prepare with your questions and keep it short.
Call the suppliers
Whenever you get anything to clarify, do not just email and wait for the answers. It would be a waste of your time. Instead, try to have the right contact person from your supplier and actually call him or her to get straightforward answers. If your Dropshipping supplier is located in China, sometimes they might be a bit reluctant to call. But, in that case, they are pretty fast on their emails.
Calling the suppliers can save a lot of time, rather than waiting for an answer to an email
Be precise about the payment terms with your supplier. Almost all Dropshipping suppliers accept credit cards. They will have CC number, and automatically charge your card with every order you place. This can work seamlessly and ease the whole process. Even though you use a credit card for the payments, with Dropshipping model, you already got paid for the product you order. So, nothing goes out of your pocket.
Some traditional Dropshipping suppliers use the Net terms as their payment methods. So if they offer “Net 7” as their payment method, you have to pay within seven days after placing your order. It is like buying for credits.
Occasionally some Dropshipping suppliers may use PayPal as their payment method. This is not as convenient as the previous methods. PayPal comes in with lots of fees which can be an unnecessary cost. PayPal offers a secure payment platform, but since you are in a business contract with your Dropshipping supplier, you may not need to pay extra for added security.
Links to the popular dropshipping suppliers for different niches
- The best dropshipping suppliers for general niches
- The best dropshipping suppliers for shoes and clothing
- The best dropshipping suppliers for cosmetics and makeup products
- The best dropshipping suppliers for electronics
- The best dropshipping suppliers for toys
- The best dropshipping suppliers for jewelry
Disclaimer: We are not affiliated by any of the brands that are mentioned in this article. We just provide you with information about the popular dropshipping suppliers, based on extensive online research. All these dropshipping suppliers have different advantages and disadvantages.
The best dropshipping supplier marketplaces for general niches
Aliexpress is the most popular choice for many dropshippers. It offers free sign-up and has a lot of plugins to automate connections between the popular sales platforms. It has millions of products in almost every niche that you can think of. One of the main drawbacks of using Aliexpress is there are many retailers on Aliexpress. So, you need to do your research to find the “real” dropshipping suppliers.
If you are using Shopify as your dropshipping store platform, you must have already come across with Oberlo. Oberlo is free to use, and you can find and add products directly into your Shopify store in few clicks with Oberlo.
Doba is a popular marketplace for dropshipping suppliers. The basic plan starts from $29 per month. Also, they offer a 14-day free trial. So, you can casually try and see if it suits your needs.
Salehoo is a wholesale dropshipping supplier directory that serves a large number of niches for the UK, USA, and Australia. You need to pay $67 as an annual fee. Salehoo also has a powerful research tool that helps you to see market trends and finding potential product pricing opportunities.
Worldwide brands is the industry standard wholesale and dropshipping supplier directory for 20 years, and they are still keeping up with the industry. They screen the sellers before listing, so your chances of finding a legitimate dropshipping supplier on worldwide brands are pretty high.
Wholesale Central is a wholesale directory, which offers more than 400k products from over 1000 real wholesale suppliers. It has a wide range of product niches, and it is free to use.
Dropship direct was around for more than 13 years, and it provides more than 100k products to more than 50k online retailers worldwide. They also have a pretty amazing data service, which helps you to connect to the popular marketplaces and storefronts like eBay, Amazon, Shopify, and Woo-commerce.
The best dropshipping suppliers for shoes and clothing
Apart from the above mentioned dropshipping suppliers for general niches, below we have listed the dropshipping suppliers, who are in the fashion niches.
Collective Fab offers a 14-day free trial, and you can select over 6k products in fashion and beauty niches to import into your dropshipping store.
Trendsgal is a global wholesale and dropshipping supplier. They offer dropshipping products including shoes and fashion apparels.
If you like to sell branded shoes and clothing products in your dropshipping store, brands gateway is your B2B marketplace for luxury designer brands.
Wholesale clothing also offers a dropshipping program for you to start your own fashion store. They provide unlimited access to their data feed, which updates every two hours.
Related: How to sell t-shirts online
The best dropshipping suppliers for cosmetics and makeup products
If you are looking for the dropshipping programs for cosmetic niches, you can either try the suppliers listed for general niches or find a suitable supplier from below list.
Beauty joint is a USA based cosmetic supplier that offers high-quality makeup brands including L’Oréal, Jordana and Milani. They also provide free international shipping, which comes in handy for your price calculations.
Fragrancenet is specialized in makeup products and fragrances. You can find a wide variety of products for both men and women. Also, they offer a clean return-policy for their products.
Strawberrynet is around for more than two decades now, and they provide high-quality skin-care products, makeup, and cosmetics. They have more than 33k products from more than 800 brands.
If you are selling to the US, Born Pretty can be the right choice for you. They have US warehouses, which can help you to lower the shipping times. They have more than 10k products including nail polish, nail art, makeup, and jewelry.
Related: How to sell makeup online
The best dropshipping suppliers for electronics
Albany is famous for low product prices. They offer more than 42k products for you to import to your dropshipping store.
China brands is a famous dropshipping supplier, which provides a wide variety of consumer electronic products. They have warehouses in most of the regions, which helps you to offer faster shipping times for your customers.
Dropship town was recently launched by the Novatech, which offers consumer electronics such as Apple products. Also, they provide ready to start dropshipping websites that are loaded with an inventory to sell.
Megagoods is a famous dropshipping supplier for consumer electronics and video game items. They were around since 2004, and offer some excellent prices and excellent customer service.
If you are looking for a dropshipping supplier for mobile phones, tablets and camera accessories from brands like Apple, Samsung, etc., Uniqbe offers a great dropshipping supplier service for such products.
The best dropshipping suppliers for toys
You can find verified US dropshipping toys suppliers on Toys directory. They offer free-signup, and you will find some great electronic toys categories on Toys directory.
Brybelly is another famous dropshipping supplier for toys and many other products. They offer both branded and generic products.
Aulola also offers a dropshipping program for their toys. Aulola is a UK based dropshipping supplier that has an extensive product range for kid’s toys.
The best dropshipping suppliers for jewellery
GND (gold and diamonds) is a USA based, popular wholesale dropshipping supplier for gold, silver and diamond products.
If you are looking for a dropshipping supplier to source silver jewellery, Richard Cannon dropshipping program can be the best choice. They also offer diamond and gold jewellery.
Sterling silver jewellery is catching up really well in dropshipping stores. So, if you ever wonder where to find sterling silver jewellery, you can use Plum Island, a popular US sterling silver jeweller to source your products.
Now you know where to find dropshipping suppliers
Now you know how to search for the best dropshipping suppliers. Also, here we have given a directory of the popular dropshipping suppliers for different niches. Remember to contact or pre-order from your supplier before selling it to the general public. So, you can make sure that everything would go well.
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