There are a range of ways to find the best supplier for your dropshipping store. Firstly, we’ll cover how to spot fake wholesalers that are looking to scam you.
Spotting Fake Suppliers
There are unfortunately an awful lot of fake suppliers out there looking to take your money and give less than you’ve paid for. Luckily, there are also a number of things to look out for to spot fake suppliers and avoid being scammed.
Ongoing fees. A supplier will never ask you to pay ongoing fees, only fees for each order and perhaps an initial minimum order fee. It’s important not to get a supplier confused with a supplier directory. A supplier directory is simply a list of reputable suppliers and there a number of these out there that you will likely need to pay monthly to access. These are not suppliers, though, they’re just lists of available suppliers.
They sell to the general public. A seller is not a wholesaler if it sells to the general public, this will likely just be a retailer advertising itself as a wholesaler but selling at an increased price. It’s best to purchase straight from a wholesaler as retailers tend to scale up their prices to make a profit. The closer to the source of the product you can get, the cheaper the price you’ll pay.
Finding a Supplier
Finding a supplier can be the most time consuming aspect of setting up your store but knowing a few handy tips can make the process a lot easier and less painful.
If you already know the product you’re hoping to sell then contacting the manufacturer directly and asking for a list of their wholesale distributors can be a great place to start
Google searching can also be a quick way of finding wholesalers. You may need to experiment with this to find exactly what you’re looking for, though. Use a range of keywords to improve your chances of finding what you need. Try using a few of the following, ‘distributor’, ‘reseller’, ‘bulk’, ‘warehouse’, ‘supplier’, ‘ecommerce’, ‘reseller’, ‘retailer wanted’, ‘become a reseller’ and ‘fulfillment’. You’ll need to search extensively, perhaps even to the 10th, even 20th page on Google. It’s important that you don’t judge the websites you find too as many wholesaler sites are pretty outdated and will not look great. This usually is not a reflection of their business, though, so don’t panic if the site is a little too 90s for your liking.
Buying from competitors can also be an easy way of finding a reliable supplier. You’ll just need to Google the return address listed on the product and make a phonecall to the wholesaler that comes up.
As mentioned before, subscribing to a supplier directory can also be a useful way of finding wholesalers, however this will require you to make recurring payments for the privilege of having access to these lists.
Online newsletters and trade magazines can also offer useful tips on how to find wholesalers and may list the most popular and reputable ones.
Going to a trade show can also be a very useful way of finding suppliers. They’re great ways to find contacts and chat with a range of suppliers and manufacturers. Trade shows are usually specific to a particular niche though so it’s important that you’ve found your niche before attending.
Should You Sign Up to a Supplier Directory?
A supplier directory is a collection of wholesalers/suppliers organised into easy-to-navigate lists, in order of niches, products etc. Many directories will have ensured that all suppliers listed are legit and genuine so you will not need to be wary of scammers.
Although useful, supplier directories are not at all essential for finding a reliable supplier. If you already know which niche/product you’re hoping to sell then you can usually find a wholesaler in that area yourself without the need to sacrifice your profits by paying for a supplier directory. If you don’t have much time and are willing to pay then they can be great but using the previously mentioned method you’ll be able to find a reliable supplier without having to pay to do so. You may need to invest a number of hours into doing so though. Below are a list of a few of the most well known supplier directories for if you choose to go down that route.
Worldwide Brands is probably the most well-known supplier directory and is a great one to use to find your supplier. You’ll also acquire a lifetime membership once signing up, however this sign up fee does cost $299 which is pretty high compared to the monthly/yearly costs of some directories.
Doba offers convenience for dropshippers in particular and will allow you to place a number of orders with multiple warehouses through their interface. The membership fee is around $60 a month which is reasonable so long as you’re able to earn this back in profits.
Wholesale Central is a free supplier directory that earns its profits by charging wholesalers to be listed and using ads. You may need to be a little more careful with this one though as a number of ‘wholesalers’ were found to actually just be retailers selling at ‘wholesale’ prices.