Let’s say you’ve decided to open an ecommerce store but you aren’t sure if you have the space for warehousing inventory — you might have thought about taking advantage of the benefits of dropshipping. If you’ve been trying to figure out how to find dropshipping suppliers that can reliably handle orders from your customers, keep pricing consistent, and keep products in stock, we’re here to help.
Finding the right dropshipping partner is important because of how closely customer satisfaction is tied to the success of your business. The right dropshipping company will make sure your customers are happy with the fast and reliable shipping of great products.
That’s why we put together this how-to guide along with a list of dropshipping suppliers:
Complete Market Research
Let’s get started.
1. Complete Market Research
Market research is the first and probably most important step when you’re learning how to find wholesale suppliers for dropshipping. When you begin the process, it can feel like there’s too much information to absorb and too many businesses out there offering up their products and services.
Don’t get overwhelmed. Instead, look to these outlets to narrow your focus and find some dropshippers that might be a good fit for your business.
- Online groups or directories: There are a lot of groups out there for people who are in the dropshipping industry. They talk about dropshipping wholesalers, how to find domestic dropshipping suppliers, who is worth looking into, and who to avoid. If you’re looking for firsthand knowledge, this might be the best route to go.
- Trade shows: If you want to see which companies are out there manufacturing products you’re interested in carrying, a trade show is a great place to find them. In addition to checking industry-specific trade shows, there are trade shows for dropshipping suppliers.
- Manufacturers: If there’s a manufacturer whose products you know you want to sell, ask them which dropshippers buy from them.
Once you’ve done your market research, compile a list of the most promising companies you want to talk to.
2. Reach Out to Suppliers
After you’ve narrowed down the list of potential suppliers, you’ll want to get in touch with them to learn more. While many of the most trusted suppliers will have a lot of the information you need on their website, it’s never a bad idea to reach out to them directly with your specific questions.
While a phone call to the supplier might be the fastest way to talk to someone, sending an email gives you the chance to consider your questions carefully and it gives them a chance to respond in time.
Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask every supplier:
- What does your pricing look like?
- Do you have minimum order amounts?
- What are your per-order fees?
- How quick is your turnaround?
- Do you have any references you can provide?
Their answers will give you an idea of whether or not you want to work with each supplier.
3. Get Samples From Multiple Companies
After you’ve contacted a few manufacturers or suppliers (and further narrowed your list of potential partners), it’s time to order samples of their products. The best method for doing this is to order samples for similar products from a number of these companies so you can see how they compare.
Ordering samples from several suppliers at the same time can also give you an idea of what their shipping practices will look like. Pay attention to how quickly the items arrive and how well they are packaged.
4. Evaluate Samples and Pricing
Once you receive the samples, take your time evaluating them. While you can always change suppliers later, it’s better to start off with the best option.
Here are a few factors to consider when you’re analyzing the samples you received:
Quality: Quality is subjective, but unless you want your business to be known as the cheapest source of a cheap product, you want to make sure the samples are of a quality you are willing to stand behind. Critique each sample based on:
- How it looks: Does it look like the picture the supplier has on their website? Does it look good?
- How it feels: Does the product feel substantial or does it feel cheap and flimsy?
- How it smells: Does it have an unpleasant odor that doesn’t go away?
- How it functions: Does it do what it’s supposed to do? Does it feel like it will stand up to average use?
Cost: When you are looking at cost factors, consider the per-unit cost as well as what your margins would be. Look at competitors to see what they’re selling comparable items for.
Shipping time: Fast shipping is non-negotiable for modern consumers, so make sure the dropshipper can get products to your customers quickly.
5. Negotiate a Contract
Now that you have decided which supplier you want to work with, it’s time to negotiate a contract. Before you sign anything, make sure to read the contracts to ensure they are agreeing to everything they’ve told you and everything you expect.
Here are some things you should make sure are covered by the contract:
- Product prices
- Shipping prices
- Per-order fees
- Delivery times
- Reorder terms
- Marketing/website assets like product photos
Most legitimate, trustworthy dropshippers will send you a contract with all of these terms covered, but don’t be afraid to push back and ask for different terms if you think something should be adjusted.
4 Qualities of a Good Dropshipping Supplier
It can be tough trying to find a dropshipping company that checks all of your boxes. But if you’re starting a new business and you don’t have much experience with this kind of business, we’ve put together some qualities you should look for when evaluating potential dropshippers.
Reasonable Fees for Each Customer Order
All dropshipping companies charge a per-order fee. These fees are how the dropshipper pays for everything, from the products you sell on your site to the wages of the people shipping orders to delivery costs.
When you are contacting dropshippers, make sure these fees are not too high. If they are, you are less likely to make sales and you won’t make as much profit on each sale.
Depending on what you’re selling, reasonable per-order fees could range from $2 to $15.
Their Website Is Up to Date and Easy To Use
There are some dropshippers with older websites that are still functional and have everything you need, but the best companies are taking advantage of the latest technology to make their sites easier to use.
An updated site should:
- Make it easy to find the products you want.
- Provide you with the information you need to list the products on your ecommerce store.
- Show you what is in stock and what isn’t.
Remember, you are going to be using these sites a lot, so make sure you can navigate to the important pages easily.
They Ship Quickly
More than 50% of all shoppers worldwide viewed fast shipping as a factor in whether or not to make a purchase online. That means your dropshippers need to get orders out and delivered as quickly as possible. For most shoppers, two-day shipping has quickly become the standard, so it’s important to find out what a company’s shipping capabilities are.
The Quality of Their Items
The quality of a supplier’s items can be an indication of the overall quality of their operation. If they exclusively carry low-quality products, it might mean they won’t be a good fit. Remember to keep customer satisfaction top-of-mind if you want them to buy from you again.
How To Spot Fake Dropshippers
Not every dropshipper you come across will be legitimate. Some retailers will act like dropshippers in order to open another revenue stream, while others are just trying to rip people off. Look for the following red flags when you’re researching suppliers so you don’t get taken advantage of.
They Offer Their Products to the Public
Trustworthy dropshippers don’t offer their products directly to the public because they don’t need to. Their business model is based on signing up enough sellers (like you) to cover the cost of purchasing goods, paying for shipping, and paying their employees.
They Charge You a Monthly Fee
Most reputable dropshipping suppliers don’t need to charge a monthly fee because your per-purchase fees should cover their costs. Remember, they know exactly how much they need to make a profit, and that’s why their per-order fees are what they are. If they’re charging extra, it may be a bad sign that they are in financial trouble or that they’re trying to get as much money out of you as they can.
There Are No Minimum Orders
Most reputable dropshipping companies require you to pay for a minimum number of orders to secure products and cover their costs for shipping and handling. This is a standard procedure in the industry. These minimum orders provide security for both the supplier and you — if your supplier can’t keep their doors open, you won’t be able to, either.
Other Red Flags
There are a few other red flags to look for when you’re trying to spot fake or predatory dropshipping suppliers:
- You can’t find an address on their website: This is a sign that the company may themselves be using dropshippers to fill your orders or that they aren’t a real business.
- They don’t seem to have a good grasp on the industry: Dropshipping is not new, so if you have been communicating with a company and they don’t seem to understand how the process works, it could be because they aren’t a real supplier.
A good rule of thumb is to trust your instincts. If a supplier seems too good to be true or they are asking for extra fees, look elsewhere.
11 of the Best Dropshipping Suppliers and Tools
Below, you’ll find a list of some of the more trusted names in the dropshipping business. While these are some of the most popular, that doesn’t mean they are the only ones out there. Deciding on how to find dropshipping suppliers is a big step, so take your time to find the perfect one for your ecommerce business. We’ve also listed some tools, including directories, that you can use to find suppliers and integrate products into your online store.
Ready to learn about some of the companies that can help make dropshipping possible for your business?
Here we go!
Best for: Companies looking for a large variety of products
AliExpress is a Chinese company that provides access to many Chinese manufacturers to businesses all over the world.
|What they offer||Over 100 million products ranging from toys and electronics to health and beauty|
|Locations they serve||Worldwide|
Best for: Selling dropshipped products through Shopify
The Spocket app allows Shopify stores to connect with suppliers around the world to make ordering fast and easy.
|What they offer||Integration between dropshipping suppliers and Shopify stores|
|Locations they serve||Connected suppliers ship from the U.S., Europe, Brazil, and Australia|
Best for: Finding suppliers
The SaleHoo directory of companies is huge — there are currently more than 8,000 companies listed. They use AliExpress as their inventory source, so these suppliers are already vetted and set up to work with online marketplaces like Amazon.
|What they offer||Directory listings of dropshippers|
|Locations they serve||Australia, U.K., U.S.|
Best for: One-stop shopping
Doba works with 165 different suppliers and integrates all of their wares into one easy-to-use site. If you want to be able to easily order from multiple suppliers, this could be a good option, but they do charge a relatively high monthly fee for this convenience.
|What they offer||Over 2 million individual products|
|Locations they serve||Worldwide|
5. Inventory Source
Best for: Finding a dropshipping supplier and software integrations
Inventory Source is not a dropshipper but a directory and software provider that makes it easier for you to upload and sell products from many different dropshippers.
|What they offer||Access to a dropshipping directory with more than 200 integrated suppliers, and software integrations between suppliers and selling platforms|
|Locations they serve||Several countries around the world|
Best for: Trendy clothing, electronics, and lifestyle goods
LightInTheBox is a retail and dropshipping supplier that carries many kinds of trendy and stylish products. They’ve been in business since 2007 and are a wholesaler and a B2C retailer.
|What they offer||Clothing, electronics, lifestyle products|
|Locations they serve||200 countries around the world|
7. Sunrise Wholesale
Best for: U.S.-based shipping
Sunrise Wholesale is a U.S.-based company that dropships to customers in the continental United States. They have thousands of different products that ship within one to two days.
|What they offer||Electronics, home decor, jewelry, and more|
|Locations they serve||Continental U.S.|
Best for: Consumer electronics
Megagoods is a California-based company that ships from the United States and carries electronics of many different kinds, including office tools, kitchen appliances, audio gear, TVs, and more.
|What they offer||Electronics|
|Locations they serve||Worldwide|
9. Worldwide Brands
Best for: Finding a supplier
Since 1999, Worldwide Brands has served as a trustworthy directory of suppliers who have met or exceeded standards set by the company. This means you get access to better brands and over 16 million products across a large variety of industries, including electronics, jewelry, pet supplies, and much more.
|What they offer||A dropshipping supplier directory|
|Locations they serve||Worldwide|
Best for: Luxury brands
Modalyst is a dropshipping app that integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix, and many other platforms. It features many kinds of products, including some big and trendy names in fashion like Calvin Klein and Dolce & Gabbana. It uses thousands of shipping suppliers, so it’s easy to bring literally millions of products to your customers.
|What they offer||Fashion|
|Locations they serve||80 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Australia|
11. Wholesale Central
Best for: New business owners
Wholesale Central is a directory that doesn’t charge users. Instead, suppliers pay them to be listed. The directory is large and encompasses many suppliers and 700,000+ products. While it is great to have a free option when you are beginning to search for suppliers, be especially careful when vetting candidates on Wholesale Central.
|What they offer||A directory of potential suppliers|
|Locations they serve||U.S. (some suppliers may ship to other countries)|
Now that you have an idea of how to find dropshipping suppliers, it’s a good time to make sure you’ve found the right platform for your ecommerce store, or you can start selling on an online marketplace like Amazon.
However you go about building your ecommerce business, remember to spend some time evaluating all of the ecommerce tools available. The right tools, products, and sales and marketing strategies can help your ecommerce business grow.
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