Growth Strategies

How to Source eCommerce Store Suppliers: 7 Best Tips

eCommerce Store Suppliers

It’s time to take the plunge and open your own online shop. You already know what products you wish to sell. You also know your target market. To keep it humming now you need to find eCommerce store suppliers.

It can be daunting to connect with wholesalers, especially if your business isn’t established yet. With a few tips, you can take control and find the right vendors to fit your needs.

7 Ways to Sourcing eCommerce Store Suppliers

This article will cover seven tips to make it easier. So you can establish your business plan with precise details about product pricing, margins, and profits.

1. Find eCommerce suppliers online

You might have noticed that finding a reliable supplier can be difficult if you already began your research.

To find reliable wholesalers, you will need to dig deeper.

Quick 101: Wholesalers either make products or buy products from manufacturers and then sell those products to retailers wholesale. You pay less per item when you buy bulk than you will if you purchase directly from the manufacturer. Wholesalers tend to only sell to retailers so you may need to prove that you represent your business in order to purchase from them.

Before you can talk to wholesalers, however, you must first find them.

Drew Estes of Massview, an eCommerce merchant marketing platform says that sites such as Aliexpress, IndiaMart, or Alibaba are great ways to search for options overseas. Sites like ThomasNet and Maker’s Row can be useful for domestic suppliers. If you are looking for a competitor, ImportGenius will help you find out where they source their products and then you can reach out to them directly.

Also read: Top 10 Shipping Software for Growing eCommerce Businesses

Top eCommerce suppliers for your online store

These are the eCommerce product suppliers Drew mentioned once again. We also have additional suggestions for you if you’d like to take a look at some options now.

  1. Alibaba is a wholesale marketplace that’s based in China and primarily features Chinese suppliers and manufacturers. It was created for businesses and not consumers.
  2. AliExpress is owned by the same people that run Alibaba. AliExpress is also located in China. AliExpress, unlike Alibaba, is open to consumers.
  3. IndiaMart is a B2B marketplace that connects Indian manufacturers and suppliers.
    ThomasNet is an online directory that lists suppliers from many industries.
  4. Maker’s Row is an online directory listing American suppliers and manufacturers.
  5. Worldwide Brands is an online directory that lists suppliers, drop shippers, and manufacturers around the globe.
  6. DHGate is a marketplace for suppliers that offers a variety of flash deals to help keep inventory procurement costs down.
    Beauty Joint is a wholesaler that specializes in beauty products and cosmetics.
  7. Ek Wholesale is a wholesaler that specializes exclusively in men’s clothes.
  8. NuOrder from Lightspeed is a wholesale platform for B2B that allows you to find new brands and order inventory. You can be confident that all brands have been thoroughly vetted.
  9. Kole Imports is a US-based wholesaler/importer with low prices. They also have a constantly updated inventory.
  10. Made in China is an online marketplace that offers customized products and services to Chinese suppliers.
  11. VR Distribution is a wholesaler that specializes exclusively in games, toys, and collectibles, with many exclusive products not available from other wholesalers.

2. Source backup product suppliers

Supply chains can be difficult to maintain. It is a good idea, therefore, to look for multiple suppliers for e-commerce stores to rely upon.

Each option should be carefully considered and a reliable list of companies that you can call at any time to order the products that you require. Back orders can be stressful and can negatively impact your sales. Make sure you have another supplier.

This is how Rick Hoskins (the founder of Filter King in Miami) approached the matter. He says honesty is the best policy. Tell your primary supplier you want to buy from them full-time. Negotiate a fair price that suits your budget. Keep the relationship open. Although backup suppliers might not like the fact that you don’t give them all of your business, you can assure them that they will supply you with what you need when it is an emergency.

3. You can find local shops that don’t have an eCommerce site.

Not all wholesale e-commerce suppliers can sell stock.

Many small e-commerce businesses are looking for brick-and-mortar partners to sell their merchandise. Many physical store owners are eager to sell their products online but don’t know how.

Reach out to local designers, artisans, and artists about selling their products on your online store. You can also sell their products for a fraction of the markup and advertise their full price on your site.

This could be a win-win situation for both you and your local business. They get unique product lines that aren’t available on any competitor’s sites, and more exposure online.

4. Look into international eCommerce store suppliers

There is also the option to go overseas. The cost of suppliers from overseas countries like India and China is typically lower than those from the country.

Stephen Light, co-owner and co-owner at Nolah Mattress, an online mattress store, stated that China is the best country to source products. They have many factories and years of experience in producing different goods.

For beginners, I recommend using B2B sites like Alibaba to connect businesses with suppliers. The easiest way to find suppliers is through B2B marketplaces. You can save money on fees by transacting outside the platform once you have established trust between your suppliers.

I recommend reaching out to at least ten suppliers to determine if they can accommodate your needs. Next, narrow down your list to three suppliers. Order samples to verify the quality of their products. Stephen says to choose the best value for your money supplier and then make a decision.

Jocelyn Trigueros, China Performance Group, believes that suppliers can be more dedicated if they have a good margin point. Large order volumes can be a great negotiating point for other terms, such as price level and purchase order terms. But always be mindful of the supplier’s capabilities.

Jocelyn believes that simple purchase orders can reduce order lead times. Jocelyn says that suppliers are not happy with small orders and a quick turnaround time. “Suppliers love buyers who have a plan for purchasing material and scheduling production.

Stephen advises online merchants who use B2B marketplaces to utilize trade assurance features. This will help them protect their business when they enter into new relationships with suppliers. Trust must be established through many successful transactions between suppliers and businesses. He says that only then can both parties be sure they are serious about establishing long-term business relationships.

Also read: 5 Steps to Complete a Supplier Selection Process

5. Common questions to ask suppliers during conversations

Asking questions during a supplier meeting is like asking questions at a job interview. It shows that you are interested in doing business with them. When you speak to a supplier for an eCommerce store, be prepared with the questions you will ask.

You might be a bit intimidated by talking with new suppliers. Here are some common questions to help. and a few questions that you should be ready to answer

Suppliers might have questions about your store

  • What number of items do you expect to sell over a certain time frame?
  • Who are your target markets?
  • What are your expectations in terms of delivery times?
  • Why this product?
  • Are you looking for dropshipping?
  • Are you planning to store stock in a warehouse or other storage facility?

6. Understand how dropshipping works

Camille Chulick is the co-founder and CEO of the skincare brand Averr Aglow. “Dropshipping” is a form of third-party fulfillment. Dropshippers promote a product or a whole catalog of products and then order the product directly from the supplier when a sale has been made.

Camille adds that the supplier could be a small business or a large manufacturer. The drop shipper doesn’t store any product, and sources products from many other businesses. Dropshippers’ retail websites look like other retailers, so it is not obvious that they are third-party retailers.

This is basically how stores the product is. Dropshipping services store it and ship it for you when you make a purchase. You have to convince customers that you are the right business to do the purchase. With less inventory management to manage, you can focus on customer service and marketing.

These are some dropshipping websites:

  1. Doba is an online marketplace for dropshipping that has 20 years of experience.
  2. Diecastdropshipper is a drop shipping company that specializes in hobby and toy products.
  3. Wholesale2B is a dropshipping service that offers tons of products, up to one million.

7. Request quotes and product samples

Once you have selected eCommerce store suppliers to your liking, you need to verify them before you do business. Begin by getting price lists and quotes from suppliers who meet your needs.

After that, schedule a trial shipment, or face-to-face meeting to verify the product meets your requirements. You could end up with poor-quality goods if you order a large shipment without testing the goods.

Online shopping is now easy because of the fast delivery. E-commerce entrepreneurs require substantial capital to stock up and meet customer needs. You’ll be a step closer to securing additional funds if you have all the information about your suppliers and fixed costs included in your business plan.

Finding the right supplier

You may not be able to touch, feel, or test products when you source suppliers from abroad. Samples will be required to ship the products. You may need to look through some duds before you can find the right e-commerce store supplier for your imports.

Domestic suppliers will be more costly, but they can still earn respect from customers who support local businesses.

You know best what is right for you and which suppliers will meet your retail needs. These seven tips will help you feel confident when doing your research and making the connections that will lead to the best products for your online store.

Written by
Aiden Nathan

Aiden Nathan is vice growth manager of The Tech Trend. He is passionate about the applying cutting edge technology to operate the built environment more sustainably.

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