Dropshipping suppliers are just as important as the products you wish to offer on your website.
You may not be able to get all the services and products you require from suppliers. In this case, you may want to remove them from your list and find a new supplier who can provide the latest and greatest innovations that others can't, or you might uncover a need in the market that can be filled by a new supplier.
Dropshipping involves sending your product directly from a manufacturer or wholesaler to your customer. Between the time someone orders your product and when they receive it, you don't see it or touch it. It may trigger some entrepreneurial FOMO, but it's a worthwhile consideration for some brands, and here's why.
You can save time and money by shipping directly from point A to point B by reducing the time, organization, and space it takes to store, pack, and ship your inventory.
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You can use dropshipping to keep your staff and space manageable while maintaining your flexibility - one of the most important assets of any small business. But there's a catch.
There's the potential for new problems when another organization becomes involved with your business. You are still responsible for customer-facing issues such as inventory, packaging, or timeliness, even if your supplier ships your products. That's the way things work in business.
You have to decide if dropshipping is the right fit for your business and if the pros outweigh the cons. Dropshipping decisions should be made after talking to your supplier - ideally before you do business with them.
Before you begin a new partnership with a new supplier, there are a few questions that you should ask, they are as follows.
Do you only operate a B2B marketplace?
Whether your dropshipping supplier operates strictly as a B2B business is another very crucial question to ask. You may be dealing with an actual dropshipper if they are selling to the general public at the same prices they are selling to you.
This is a major red flag that indicates you shouldn't consider working with them and you should move on to the next dropshipping supplier that operates only as a B2B marketplace.
What is your customer service like?
As we have previously discussed, a dropshipping supplier can provide you with outstanding customer service. For you to be able to assist your customers effectively, you must communicate with your supplier promptly.
Consequently, your supplier must have adequate language skills and provide multiple channels through which you could quickly contact its team in case of any problem.
Are there any drop fees?
Drop fees are charges suppliers add to an order to cover the additional cost of packaging and shipping single items. Generally, this fee is around $5, but it can vary depending on the circumstance. Don't be alarmed by the fee - it's industry standard and shouldn't significantly affect your dropshipping margins.
Is it difficult to reach you?
Despite their 90s-style websites, wholesale suppliers are not notorious for being difficult to reach. You should be able to speak with someone about products over the phone. You should find someone who will give you the time of day if you're constantly getting the runaround from your supplier.
Is your capacity adequate to meet our needs?
You can get a good idea of the quantities they are used to supplying by finding out when the supplier was founded, how many employees they have, and who they already supply to. You should be able to give them an idea of the value of your orders and ask them honestly if they can meet those demands.
Can we grow together profitably?
If you want to build a long-term relationship with your prospective supplier, then ask this question to determine if it is willing to do so. Discover if your company plays a key role in their vision for the future.
Do they envision a future based on partnerships rather than just a series of deals to make money? At its best, the manufacturer-supplier relationship can be characterized by a strategic partnership.
What service level agreements do you have?
A service level agreement (SLA) is a contract between a business and its suppliers that specifies the service they must deliver as well as the level of service they must provide. The agreement also specifies responsibilities and priorities.
A service level agreement (SLA) is a contractual obligation that can be incorporated into any contract with a supplier. A typical SLA should include:
- Services offered
- Their commitment to high standards
- The time frame for delivery
- Supplier and customer responsibilities
- Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements
- Mechanisms for monitoring and reporting services
- Terms of payment
- Dispute resolution
- Non-disclosure and confidentiality provisions
- Conditions of termination
The SLA usually provides guidelines for compensation if your suppliers fail to meet their obligations, usually in the form of rebates on service charges. You should look for alternative suppliers if the SLA does not guarantee the service quality you need or consider contingency plans in case of problems.
Do you require a minimum revenue or order amount?
As you begin your dropshipping business, you might not be able to reach your target sales as quickly as you thought. In this regard, you should find out if your dropshipping supplier has a minimum order amount or revenue requirement before you begin working with them.
For a new store, committing to a certain target before sales begin can be risky, so consider this factor and look for a supplier who does not have a minimum order quantity.
Will you be able to meet my store's demand?
If you are championing the marketing of your dropshipping business, you need to be prepared for the time when your customers' demand is picking up.
To make sure your dropshipping supplier can meet the demand from your store, they must be ready and able to do so. When they're not, your business will suffer.
In what time frame do you ship?
Over the past few years, consumers have increasingly demanded fast shipping. To receive the merchandise they ordered within a week, they need a shipping time of no more than 5 days.
Hence, you should ask your dropshipping supplier this question. In most cases, dropshipping suppliers based in China fail to deliver fast since they have to move goods across the globe, so delivery can sometimes take up to six weeks.
Thus, it is best to work with dropshippers with multiple warehouses, preferably in Europe and the US, so that your products can be delivered quickly to your target market.
Can I track the orders of my customers?
Your potential dropshipping supplier should also be able to tell you whether the orders of your customers will be tracked. You will not only be able to run a smooth delivery process, but your customers will also have a better experience with your store by allowing them to track the progress of their orders.
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This will also give them the impression that you are a trustworthy and transparent seller, which will eventually result in good feedback and additional sales. Because of this, you must receive a tracking number for every order so that both you and your customers can always know the progress of the order.
Do you offer a dedicated account manager?
When you are just starting your dropshipping store, or even if you are an experienced dropshipper, hiring a dedicated account manager can be extremely helpful. You will have a dedicated account manager who will always be up to date with your business, so they can assist you as best as possible whether it is about your business strategy or technical problems.
What kind of packaging do you use?
Dropshipping means giving up control over how your orders are packaged and delivered to your customers. It is important to understand that your supplier may have to put its name or warehouse address on the packaging in some cases.
Some packages, however, can be left unbranded. When possible, you must ensure that your dropshipping supplier does not use their branding on packaging to maintain the integrity of your store.
Can you provide product information and images?
Your dropshipping business can benefit greatly from SEO-optimized product names, descriptions, and high-quality images. You will not need to take your product images, and you will rank higher in search engine results since the dropshipping supplier can support you.
As you become more familiar with the products that you offer to your customers, you will be better prepared to answer their questions regarding the specifications.
Can you sell in different currencies?
Dropshipping stores can target consumers all over the world, so they must offer items in their customers' local currency. It can be a time-consuming task to update your prices based on the actual conversion rate.
Therefore, you need to find a dropshipping supplier who facilitates currency conversion through their dropshipping plugin to sync your prices automatically and efficiently.
How often do you release new products?
You should also ask your dropshipping supplier how long it takes for them to provide you with new products so you can always offer your customers something new.
You will not be able to give your customers a reason to come back to your store frequently and browse your offering again and again if you keep offering the same products to them.
To stay relevant and offer new merchandise to your customers regularly, make sure your dropshipping supplier has new arrivals arriving every week.
Can you offer dropshipping retailers business support?
Whether it's from paid online classes or your supplier directly, you need to get the best business support you can get when you're a dropshipping novice. Dropshipping suppliers with years of experience have a wealth of knowledge about the dynamics of the eCommerce market.
When you ask your dropshipping supplier for business advice before working with them, you will not only receive support for your marketing and SEO strategy but will also be able to evaluate them.
Where do you keep your products?
When it comes to delivery times, your dropshipping supplier's warehouse or warehouses are crucial. This is not the only factor you must take into account, you also need to think about the country in which the products you are selling originate.
Taxes and customs fees are equally important from a consumer's perspective since they are viewed as added charges over and above the purchase price.
As a dropshipping supplier, you should always choose one that has warehouses close to the markets you wish to target, even better if the supplier has several warehouses around the world. In this way, you can provide the best possible service to your customers.
Are your products authentic?
If you intend to resell branded products, you should ask your dropshipping supplier this question before you start working together.
The end customer will have a legally binding contract with you, not your supplier, even if you are selling counterfeit items without your knowledge. If your products are not 100% authentic, you may be charged with copyright and infringement.
What is the return process like?
It is important to understand your dropshipping supplier's return policy for several reasons. You need to first make sure that your return policy is in line with your supplier's so that you won't have to pay for a faulty item out of your pocket.
It is also helpful to know the return policy of your supplier throughout the entire process to make it as seamless and easy as possible for your customers.
Is MOQ needed?
It is always possible to ask if they will go down. Let them come back to you if they're willing to go in at a lower price and pay a higher minimum (you don't want to offer the price). Ask them if they will lower the minimum if I pay a higher price, and how much?
Find out if the manufacturer has leftover products from other customers who canceled their orders so that they do not have to produce anything from scratch.
Dropshipping suppliers aren't the easiest to find for your online retail store. But by doing your research and finding a supplier that meets your business goals, you'll put your business ahead of the competition.
Answers to these questions will suffice for the most part. Of course, the answers will encourage more questions. Dropshipping suppliers should be willing to enter into a conversation about how to make both your business and theirs successful.