Let’s get started with the following scenario:
You’re the owner of an eCommerce store. A customer places an order for several items on your website. Following the order, you contact an eCommerce product supplier to provide you with the ordered items. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned. The supplier doesn’t send the merchandise in time, resulting in a frustrated customer whose expectations weren’t met. As a business owner, this is one of the worst things that can happen to your business and should be avoided at all costs.
These kinds of scenarios usually occur when you fail to find the right product suppliers. And that’s what we want to help you avoid with this blog. This article will outline some of the best tips you should follow to find suitable eCommerce product suppliers for your online retail business.
1. What Are The Most Popular Platforms to Find eCommerce Suppliers?
To keep your eCommerce store rolling, you need to supply your customers with products that meet their expectations. There are MANY wholesale suppliers for your products. Just type in “eCommerce wholesale supplier” on Google and you will get a wide range of product suppliers.
On any of these platforms, you can search for exactly the type of product that suits you. You can also filter them by type, price, shape, or other narrowing parameters. You can also search by popularity, allowing you to find what items are selling well and base your strategy off of simple market demand.
Some of the most popular platforms to find eCommerce suppliers include:
Oberlo is a dropshipping application that works with Shopify, and AliExpress, the giant Chinese online shopping platform that sells products at very low prices. Oberlo allows you to import any product from AliExpress to your Shopify store, no matter where you are.
Thus, all the details about a particular product will be copied to your website, i.e. description, colors, sizes, pictures, etc. However, you have the option to change these details once they are on your website so that they are better suited to the theme of your store. In addition, with Oberlo, you have access to all the trending products in your store.
For those who are considering getting into dropshipping, Oberlo is definitely one of the platforms that will be useful to you. Thanks to Oberlo, you can connect your store to AliExpress, which allows you to sell your products as quickly as possible. To access Oberlo, you can go to Shopify App Store or use the Chrome extension at the Chrome Store.
Sugarlips is an e-commerce platform for women’s clothing. The company was founded in 2002 in downtown Los Angeles, California. Sugarlips products are classified into two series: the Sugarlips fashion series and the Sugarlips seamless dress series. If you’re considering opening an online store and selling women’s clothing, Sugarlips is a platform to consider as your wholesale supplier.
The platform also offers dropshipping services. To dropship with Sugarlips, you must first select the product you want to sell and then view the product information. You upload these products to your site and then wait for your customer to place the order. Once the product is purchased by the customer, you will need to provide Sugarlips with the customer’s address information. Once the product is shipped, the after-sales service will be your responsibility.
FashionTIY is a wholesale distribution platform that offers a variety of fashion products at affordable prices, with the goal of establishing a new B2B supply chain. The company focuses on providing services to small and medium-sized wholesalers and retailers. FashionTIY helps you save time by relieving the need for guesswork from searching for products that can take you quite a while. The platform helps you find and import from almost all AliExpress product categories the products you need. On FashionTIY, products are sold at wholesale prices. You can import all kinds of items on the platform, ranging from clothes, luxury shoes, bags, home products, accessories, women’s beauty products, etc.
SupplyMeDirect is a wholesale supplier that supports dropshipping businesses. Unlike Sugarlips or Fashion TIY which are much specialized in selling fashion outfits and accessories, SupplyMeDirect offers products ranging from consumer electronics and computers to office & security and phone & communication. The app offers private labeling and reliable sourcing to sell branded products and increase profits. A support team is available to assist you 24/7.
2. Why Is Getting in Touch With a Range of Suppliers So Crucial?
Once the list of eCommerce suppliers you want to work with is established, you now need to define the business model you want to use with each of them.
Some of your suppliers will offer to hold all your products in their warehouse and then ship them directly to your customers when you get an order. This approach is called dropshipping. Although you no longer need inventory management, a physical storefront, or a warehouse through this method, it does come with some drawbacks.
See related: Dropshipping 101: 12 Must-Know Tips For Online Retailer
With dropshipping, your customers’ orders rarely pass through your hands, so you don’t have the opportunity to ensure that the products are in perfect condition. If you are unfortunate enough to have the supplier send an item that is not in optimal condition, your business will suffer. In addition, the margins are often much lower for dropshipping operations.
The second option is to execute the orders yourself. Before you receive orders from your customers, you can go to a local store, buy the products you need and store them in a warehouse. Following an order placed by a customer, you can ship the product. The con with this approach is that it is much more expensive than dropshipping. However, it allows you to have full control over the product you send. You can be sure that the customer will not be disappointed.
The second option is to execute the orders yourself. As soon as you receive an order, you can go to a local store, buy the number of products you want, and ship it to the customers. This approach is much more expensive than dropshipping. However, it allows you to have total control over the product you send. You can be sure that the customer will not be disappointed.
3. How To Find Backup Product Suppliers?
With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chains have become increasingly stretched and often have much longer turnaround times than businesses are used to. Instead of relying on one supplier, it’s best to find several to avoid unpleasant surprises and have a backup plan.
Handling backorders can take quite a bit of time, but it is also stressful and can affect your sales. So you always need to have another supplier you can rely on.
Be honest with your suppliers. Tell your leading supplier that you intend to buy from them regularly and in bulk. This way, you can negotiate a good price and help improve your margins.
Though you may have to pay a premium for products from your secondary suppliers, it’s still worth making sure you have a backup plan in place in case of an emergency.
4. How Do I Partner With Local Stores That Don’t Have an Online Store?
To meet your customers’ needs, wholesale suppliers aren’t the only ones who can sell you stock at cost. Many small eCommerce business owners partner with brick-and-mortar businesses to sell their products. Brick-and-mortar businesses are companies that own or lease retail stores, production facilities, or warehouses for their operations.
Let’s assume that there is a retail store in your local area that sells shoes, women’s clothing, and children’s clothing of all kinds. Instead of necessarily targeting individual customers who will place orders on your website, you can partner with the retail clothing store and become its supplier in case the latter is out of stock. This approach allows you to quickly sell your products and benefits the retail store in the sense that the products are shipped to them quickly.
Also, some retail or other small business owners want to sell their products online but have no idea how to start. You can partner with them, making them, in essence, a reliable wholesale supplier. Contact some local stores and ask them if they are interested in selling you some of their products that you will, in return, use in your online store.
5. Where Can I Check Reviews and Get References From Other Clients Before Signing a Deal?
Knowing what other customers think about the suppliers you want to work with is important before making any decision. If you want to use the most popular platforms like Alibaba and Aliexpress, you can see reviews from different buyers directly on their sales page.
You can also go to Quora to read the reviews of customers who have used the services of these suppliers in the past. If you find a provider other than the two mentioned above, reach out to other people who have already used them to get more information about the products and the quality of their services. The goal is to find a trustworthy supplier with whom you can work long-term.
6. How Can I Gather Samples and Quotes From Wholesale Suppliers For eCommerce?
Once you have done a background check of your wholesale suppliers and chosen the ones you want to collaborate with, it’s essential to collect quotes and price lists from them. Once this step is completed, have some products delivered to you (not necessarily in large quantities) as a test. Additionally, if it is possible to arrange a meeting with your supplier, we recommend doing so. Meeting in person will help solidify the relationship and foster more reliability and communication.
Ordering samples is a great way to test out the response time from the supplier, as well as get a better idea of the products that you’re selling. Remember, your customers will not have the opportunity to touch the product before receiving it, so it is best to have a clear idea of exactly what they will receive.
And once you have found the right suppliers, don’t forget to update your business plan, as well as the means of payment, delivery terms, shipping rates, and any other agreed-upon fees.
7. What’s the Best Way to Negotiate Costs and Get The Best Margin?
The best wholesale supplier for your business is not only the one who can offer you good quality products but also the one who can provide you with the best margins. To reduce the cost of purchasing the product, you need to have leverage. Generally, the best way to reduce the cost of buying your products is to buy larger quantities of products from the supplier. Whatever you can offer the supplier in exchange for lower margins will always help your business. Here are some effective strategies to negotiate with your suppliers:
Be a gateway to new markets
Your online store selling furniture and other decorative accessories is often confronted with an annual price increase from furniture and decorative accessories supplier. The supplier had patented its manufacturing process and its prices were lower than those of other suppliers.
But you’re about to enter other developing markets that your supplier had previously tried to enter but without much success. You realize that your supplier’s furniture products can enter these markets. The best thing to do is to offer the supplier a hard-to-refuse deal: In exchange for a 15% price reduction on your total orders, you agree to buy the supplier’s furniture and other accessories in the new markets.
Offer larger deposits to get a better discount
Just like any business, wholesale product suppliers are also concerned about their accounts receivable. Another strategy to get better margins is to offer your suppliers large down payments on your orders. If you assure your supplier that you will pay them 40-60% upfront, you are sure to increase your negotiating leverage and they may be more willing to negotiate on price.
Do not accept the first offer
One of the most important rules of business negotiation is to never accept the other party’s first offer. To get the best margin, it is advisable to propose a counter-offer to the supplier or to ask him to make you a more advantageous proposal which will make you come back to him. You can also justify your proposal by the volume of business you are offering, a long-term partnership, an opportunity for him to enter new markets, or because the price includes additional services or costs that do not suit you.
See related: How to Deal With Suppliers: 8 Supplier Negotiation Strategies
Facilitate Shipping and Order Management With the Right POS System.
Today, integrating a POS system with eCommerce operations is a must for any retailer doing business online. Integrating your POS system and your eCommerce gives you the ability to have a complete view of your customers’ orders and your business. Gift cards, inventory, orders, and more all sync up, providing you with more organization and efficiency and giving your customers a more enjoyable shopping experience. Our retail POS system, KORONA POS, helps you do just that by allowing you to manage orders, process shipments, and communicate with your suppliers directly, all through the POS system. All of this technology saves you time and reduces human error.
Finding the Right eCommerce Product Suppliers for Your Store: Final Thoughts
Finding an ideal eCommerce wholesale supplier is about finding someone you can trust and who can offer you products at the right price. Be sure to get references from other customers on potential suppliers you want to work with. Also, be sure to ask for samples of the products you wish to send to your customers. Your company’s reputation depends on it.
Finally, to better manage your online business, we advise you to integrate a POS sales system to better manage your orders and strategize your marketing strategy. Try KORONA POS for free now by clicking on the button below.