The internet has got to be the best place to find drop ship suppliers but there are also a lot of scammers out there. When you are looking for a drop ship supplier online, you need to take the following precautions:
- Check the age of the site. Online drop shippers and wholesalers go out of business all the time either (a) because it's a hard business to be successful in, or (b) because they are fraudulent. For these reasons, be very wary of dealing with new sites. Go to DomainTools.com and enter your supplier's full URL into the search bar. Check when the site was created by looking at the Registry Data and finding "created". SaleHoo recommends using only sites which have been registered for more than 2 years.
- Do they have any extra fees? Yes, some of the drop shippers do charge small account set-up fees. While by no means ideal, a small account set-up fee is fairly common practice among drop shippers. In most cases we can understand the charge because it costs the drop shipper time and money to process a new account. That said, not all drop shippers in SaleHoo charge a fee.
- Customer service is very important, especially in moments of crisis such as when a package doesn't show up or when an item is faulty, but sadly it is all too often neglected. Sending a test email will tell you a lot about the quality of service you and your customers are likely to receive from the company. For example, email the listed contact address and ask a few generic questions about the products e.g how much do I need to spend to get a discount? See how long it takes them to reply and look closely at the quality of the answers provided. Did they thoroughly answer your questions? Were they polite?
- Ask about warranties, guarantees, shipping policies and return policies. Everyone gets returns at some point so you need to make sure that you won't have to foot the bill.
There are several ways you can find the best drop shippers:
1: Searching Online - This is risky, but perseverance will pay off soon enough. Searching with keywords such as your product name '+ drop shipper' is a good way to start. Just remember the best suppliers site's aren't always on the first few pages of search results.
2: Trade magazines - Distributors and manufacturers pay to advertise in these magazines so it's an excellent way of finding current contact details. An easy way to find trade magazines in your area is to search Yahoo's Business directory.
3. ThomasNet - If you are looking for components, anything from boot heels and microwave components to seals and gaskets, then you will find the excellent online list of distributors and manufacturers on ThomasNet useful. The global register Thomas Global is also worth checking out.
4. Paid Directories - SaleHoo has an extensive list of reputable suppliers, but be careful - many paid directories are scams. It's not uncommon for users to pay for access only to find outdated links or links to sites asking for more money.
5. Trade shows - Trade shows are an excellent place to find some of the best drop shippers, although they are usually only for established retailers, so you'll need to be able to show sales figures (unless your business has just started), business cards and a tax ID.
When it comes down to it, there is no getting around the hours that good research requires. Taking shortcuts with your research only means you are more likely to lose out in the end - either because of a scam or because you haven't found the best prices and are not making enough profit.