5 Critical Questions to Ask Your Dropshipping Supplier for Q4
We’re happy to feature Doba, a leading dropshipping marketplace focused on helping online retailers increase their sales and grow their businesses as our guest blogger this week. They have THE critical questions you should be asking any dropshipping supplier to help fuel your Q4.
Finding the right dropshipping supplier for your online store isn’t an easy task. A Google search for the term “dropship supplier” yields over 800,000 results. How are you supposed to select the right supplier for your store from the crowd of thousands?
There are a few key considerations that will help you select the right supplier for your online store. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Questions to Ask Your Dropshipping Supplier
Does the supplier sell to the general public?
Some companies claiming to be wholesale suppliers will sell their products directly to the public. This is a giant red flag, and proof that the supplier isn’t really a wholesale supplier. True wholesale pricing isn’t offered to the general public, so if you run across a supplier offering these kinds of deals to anyone, they’re not the kind of company you want to do business with.
Do they charge a “drop fee?”
A “drop fee” is a charge suppliers attach to an order to cover the added cost of packaging and shipping single items. This charge is generally around $5, but that amount can be higher or lower depending on the situation. Don’t let this fee scare you off - it’s industry standard and won't affect dropshipping margins much.
Are they hard to get in touch with?
While wholesale suppliers may be notorious for having 90s-style websites, they’re not known for being impossible to contact. A phone call should put you in touch with someone whom you can talk to about products. If you’re constantly getting the runaround from people in the supplier’s office, it’s time to find someone who will give you the time of day.
Do they charge a subscription fee?
A reliable wholesale supplier won’t charge you a monthly fee just for the privilege of doing business with them. If you come across a potential supplier who wants you to pay them a monthly fee on top of ordering products from them, find a new supplier.
Do they have minimum revenue/order requirements?
Some suppliers will only work with retailers who are generating a certain amount of revenue per year, or commit to ordering a minimum amount of product for their first order. While these stipulations may not affect your business, seeing that a supplier has these rules shouldn’t make you think that they’re not legitimate.
Obviously, those aren’t the only ways to tell if a supplier is legitimate, but these considerations will go a long ways in helping you find the right supplier.
Once you’ve finally found a supplier that’s legitimate and one you feel you can have a good working relationships with, you need to start thinking about logistics. Some of those logistics might include:
- Pricing. Is this supplier’s pricing at a point where you can make enough profit? Don’t forget to factor in the drop fee when looking at potential pricing. Generally, wholesale suppliers will be able to give you a great price, and even with a drop fee and shipping charges, you’ll still make money. The margins become razor-thin in markets like electronics, however.
- Returns policy. An inevitable part of any retailer’s business will be the need to handle and process returns. Since you don’t handle the inventory when using a dropshipping supplier, it’s important to know exactly what your supplier’s returns policies are, and what you need to do in order to make the process simple for your customers.
- Shipping times. Not all suppliers can package and ship items as quickly as you’d like. While the vast of majority of dropship suppliers will be efficient at fulfilling orders, it’s good to know what you can expect from a given supplier.
Selecting the right dropship supplier for your online retail store isn’t the easiest process. But by putting in the time to research and find a supplier that will work with your business goals, you’ll get your company that much further ahead of your competition.
Chad Rubin is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Skubana, a multichannel e-commerce software the enables brands to unlock growth by unifying their back-office operations.