Dropshipping may have a negative reputation in certain spaces but it is a legitimate way to quickly grow your eCommerce business. Dropshippers can make steady profits and last a long time, although it will require some creativity. You just need the right approach.
You probably have an idea of the products you want to sell. The most difficult part of dropshipping is finding a supplier to sell your products. Dropshipping is only possible if you have suppliers who can warehouse and ship your products. Your dropshipping business will be doomed without a reliable supplier.
Dropshippers can source suppliers anywhere in the world, but many dropshippers prefer to work directly with domestic suppliers. Anton Kraly from Dropship Lifestyle (DSL), shares his thoughts on why domestic suppliers are important and the 4 steps you can take to find them.
Why should you choose a dropship provider domestically?
AliExpress makes it easy to find low-cost suppliers abroad through platforms like this. Sign up and choose from a few suppliers to start your day. This is a common practice for new dropshippers, but it’s not always the best. A domestic supplier can be more beneficial to your brand if you want to build a lasting brand.
Better understanding and a lasting relationship
Suppliers from overseas can face language barriers and time lags. This option can cause confusion and delay, which can result in a lot more headaches for your business.
You will be closer to your domestic supplier if you choose them. Working together is easier when you understand and trust one another from the beginning.
Your customers don’t want 3 weeks wait for their product to arrive from China. This can lead to poor customer service, especially in these days of Prime 2-day shipping. You need to choose a domestic supplier because your customers expect fast turnaround times.
Dropshippers in the domestic market are closer to you. It’s faster to ship products from the United States to customers than from anywhere else, even if you live in Oregon.
Better product quality
There are many high-quality suppliers from overseas, which is fair. You can’t predict what you’ll receive. When you look to suppliers overseas, poor product quality is common.
Dropshippers can have quality problems, but it is easier to hold them responsible. It is easier to have a good relationship with them and help you resolve any quality issues.
Domestic suppliers are more likely to source high-quality goods. This will give you a better customer experience and reduce product returns. It is possible to justify higher prices for your products due to the quality of your products, which is always a win.
Credit terms allow for better cash flow management
Anton Kraly, a dropshipper, prefers to pre-pay products in order to earn credit card reward points. If you are just starting out, it is likely that you don’t have enough cash.
International suppliers may require an upfront payment. This can cause cash flow problems. Dropshippers in the United States will usually offer credit terms.
You will often get 30 to 90 days to pay your invoice if you find a supplier who has a good Minimum Advertised Price policy. This is a great boon for your cash flow. This allows you to address invoices once you have started selling your products. It also means that you can avoid getting into debt.
Dropshipping is no longer the future.
Dropshipping is possible for the rest your life. Is that enough to grow your business?
Dropshipping is a great way to start your journey as an eCommerce entrepreneur. You can turn your dropshipping business to a sustainable and profitable eCommerce store if you play your cards well.
You can’t reach this level with substandard suppliers. You should build strong relationships with your domestic suppliers so that you can move beyond dropshipping.
Steps to locate domestic suppliers
It is clear that you would like to work with a domestic supplier. However, it can be difficult to find them. Many of them don’t optimize their websites for SEO (if they do have one), so a simple Google search may not return a lot of results.
You want to work with the best suppliers possible. This allows you to negotiate better terms and ensure that your products are always in stock.
Although we don’t like AliExpress, these are 4 ways to find dropshipping partners in your area.
Ask the manufacturer
Are you able to identify the products that you would like to sell? Great! Contacting the manufacturer is the fastest way to locate domestic suppliers for this product.
You should choose products with at least 20 suppliers. This will allow you to identify the most qualified suppliers, even if half of them reject your application.
Ask the manufacturer for a list of approved suppliers. Many manufacturers will gladly give you their list. This can help save you time and money.
Make sure that the manufacturer is doing well. Kraly says that MAPs should be enforced by the majority of good manufacturers you are looking to partner with.
MAP pricing doesn’t affect the product’s perceived value and protects both the brand and its retail partners . If you are looking to establish a profitable dropshipping business, ensure that you select a manufacturer that uses MAP pricing.
Google searches may not always be useful in finding domestic suppliers. However, they can help. To see the results, search for “niche + supplier”. To sell sneakers, you can search for “sneaker supplier”, or “sneaker dropship supplier” to see the results.
While you can’t eliminate all of these results based on quality, reputation and location, a quick Google search can provide you with a few options that you can explore while you search.
Check a supplier directory
These directories offer a better alternative to Google and give you a great overview of the suppliers that you can find in your area. Here are some places you can start:
You can also look at Spark Shipping’s list of vendor integrations if you are too busy to search through a database. Our shortlist of dropship suppliers can help you quickly find high-quality suppliers.
Take a look at your competition
Your competitors are the last place to source domestic suppliers. Do other dropshippers work with domestic suppliers?
It is possible to find suppliers of competitors by looking through their websites, often in the fine print. If this fails, you can place a test order with your competitor. The shipping label should contain the information of the supplier when the package arrives.
How to get the best out of dropship suppliers domestically
Although partnering with a domestic supplier of dropshippers is a great way for you to get started in dropshipping, it doesn’t guarantee that you will make the most of your profits. These are Kraly’s top 3 tips for making the most of your domestic supplier relationships.
Select a reliable dropship supplier in your country
Domestic suppliers can come in many sizes and shapes. There are many suppliers that are better than others. It is important to know how to narrow down your options to find the best one for you.
To choose the best suppliers for you, find out if they offer a bronze, gold, or silver tier of service.
- Bronze – These suppliers don’t have a pricing policy like MAP. You will be asked to complete a form in order to sell their products. It will be done in an impersonal and hands-off manner. The middlemen that are bronze suppliers charge a lot of fees. This makes it hard for you to be profitable. They are also known for poor customer service and product quality. These suppliers are not worth the effort.
- Silver: This category will include most suppliers. These are usually big brands who want dropshippers to distribute their products. These suppliers are more selective than Bronze suppliers, and approval can take longer. They can protect their prices with MAP policies and have greater control over the quality of their products. They also offer excellent customer service.
- Gold: It can take these suppliers years to approve you for seller status. Because Gold suppliers are fiercely protective of their brand image, pricing and product quality, it can take years to approve you as a seller. Only a few dropshippers can work with Gold suppliers, but once they’ve accepted you, everything is good. You will be listed on their website as the best resource to purchase their products. Customers will be directed to you by gold-tier suppliers, which can help to reduce marketing costs and increase profits.
To find the right supplier for you, evaluate each one on customer service, professionalism and shipping times. You’ll be able to build a profitable business if you target domestic dropship suppliers of Silver- or Gold tier.
Rethink your product listing ads
Certain product niches are more highly competitive than others. Kraly suggests optimizing Google Shopping Ads if you are selling the same products to dropshippers.
Although this is a great source of traffic, paid ads can quickly drain your budget. Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is not a guarantee of conversions. So make sure you carefully consider this strategy.
Kraly suggests dropshippers concentrate on negative keyword and create tied campaigns. While Shopping Ads will still cost money, optimizing your campaign to convert high-quality clicks can help you save your budget.
Dropshipping traffic is a great way to make your own products
Imagine this: You’ve been dropshipping for years and have built a reputation selling other peoples’ products. You will start to rank in organic searches for product-related search terms in your niche.
Learn from dropshippers to build your eCommerce business! Dropshipping will give you better SEO and organic traffic, but with your own product line. This genius hack will allow you to bypass the traffic from your products and take your business to new heights.
The bottom line
Dropshipping can be difficult because it requires you to choose a product and source a quality supplier.
Dropshippers often assume that you need to source products from low-cost suppliers in China. While this may be great for your margins it is not the best business decision over the long-term. You’re essentially participating in a race for the bottom, which is bad for your margins.
Instead, work with domestic dropshippers. Although it takes a bit more effort to find reliable domestic suppliers, they will help you reduce shipping times, provide better customer service, as well as build your brand beyond dropshipping.