The Perfect Match
Working With Your Supplier(s)
Making a decision about choosing your supplier(s) is on a par with selecting the product you want to sell. After you sign up with us at Dropship Explorer, you’re offered a selection of around 100 suppliers to chose from and start your business with. The good thing is that we have already vetted those suppliers as genuine businesses – both manufacturers and wholesalers - willing to partake in dropshipping. This helps you not having to deal with potential ‘fake’ wholesalers who are actually retail stores posing as wholesale suppliers and who usually charge ongoing fees for doing business with them.
Let’s look into the mechanics ofworking with your suppliers:
1. It is a separate business relationship: So, after you’ve come up with a business idea, selected products you want to sell (check here for a how to) and opted for one of the plans we’re offering involving one or up to suppliers, you also need to enter into a separate business relationship with suppliers in order to be able to start selling. We at Dropship Explorer offer you the Magento-based dropshipping website and product onboarding, but we do not manage the relationship with the supplier(s) you choose. We can provide you with contact details of all the suppliers listed on our website and you take it from there. Also, if you want to select products from a supplier that is not on our list, just let us know and we’ll onboard their products for you for an additional fee.
2. Invest time and build trust: Since you are building a business relationship and you have to work out the details of how you are going to handle the day-to-day with your chosen supplier, all the dropshipping guides out there advise future e-commerce entrepreneurs to take time in reaching out to the supplier (don’t shy away from phone conversations) and investing effort in solidifying the terms of your mutual cooperation.
If you are dealing with a serious, well-established entity, you will most likely get a dedicated account/contact person who will be your go to for any and all issues/questions you may have during the course of your business relationship. This may not happen at the very beginning – you also need to prove your cred to the wholesaler/manufacturer, but, as the relationship evolves, you will probably have a designated contact point.
You need to be comfortable with the conditions of doing business with any supplier so that is why you need to invest time upfront and build mutual trust. If you’re looking to work with suppliers local to your place of residence/business, you may also want to go down the tried-and-tested, old-fashioned route and suggest a face to face meeting. Nothing beats the personal connection when building a new relationship.
3. Work out the details: This is where you get clear about your prices, any additional costs for shipping, whether there is a returns policy or not, how long does it take to deliver products, etc. Most of suppliers are likely to charge a per-order fee that can range from $2 to $5 or more, depending on the size and complexity of the items being shipped. This is standard as the costs of packing and shipping individual orders are much higher than shipping in bulk.
It is also possible that a wholesaler/supplier will have a minimum initial order size – the lowest amount to purchase for the first order. Some suppliers won’t do returns or the cost would be such that it would eat into a significant chunk of your profits.
Also, you need to work out the shipping time expectation for each and every one of the suppliers you’re working with as this is one of the most important information you need to give your customers. In addition, you need to check whether your supplier will deliver your orders as blind packages without your logo, or if they offer the option of incorporating your logo on the packaging. These are important details that can make or break your brand’s image. That is why you need to handle them at the very beginning to make sure that this particular supplier is the right fit for you and that your relationship will help your business thrive.
4. Test the waters: However much time you invest into setting up the relationship with your supplier, you will probably have to go through the growing pains together in order to make it really functional. Since you are relinquishing control over so much of the process to your partner(the supplier) – the packaging, the shipping, the speed of delivery, etc. - you need to experience it first hand in order to be able to tweak anything that may cause problems on your end – the holy grail of the selling process, the customer support. You have to monitor and be satisfied with how the orders are handled, how quickly the items are shipped out, the quality of tracking information and invoicing, and the quality of packing as this can win you or loose you loyal, repeat customers.
All of this requires work on your end and work that just needs to be done right at the very beginning in order to see the results and get your business off the ground. Working out the details with suppliers and making that part of the process run as smooth as possible takes care of most of the headache related to customer service and gives you time to dedicate to your customers and even further improve their experience with your business.