Whether you're just getting started with an online store or you're a veteran eBay Powerseller, drop shipping provides an easy entry point into wholesale buying.Drop shippers are simply wholesalers who are willing to send products directly from their wholesale warehouse to your customers' homes for you, one at a time.
For online sellers, this product sourcing method offers numerous advantages -- no inventory investment, no storage or shipping issues, and the ability to offer a much broader product selection.It's also an excellent model to test new products and identify hot sellers (so you can source them in bulk for even greater profits).
Of course, drop shipping does have its limits, two in particular: slimmer profit margins and occasional delivery problems.
Using drop shippers brings certain strengths to your Internet business, but that doesn't mean you should limit yourself to using only drop shipping. No single sourcing method will make you truly successful. Using only one method is like driving a car with only one wheel... four wheels works much better. Drop shipping provides a great complement to your other sourcing techniques, and should be one part of your overall product sourcing strategy.Unfortunately, locating real wholesale drop shippers isn't all that easy.
Most new Internet retailers start by looking in the search engines -- this is actually the worst place possible to look for legitimate wholesalers and drop shippers.You'll almost never find legitimate wholesale suppliers advertising in the search engines. The suppliers that advertise there are, with few exceptions, middlemen and scammers, trying very hard to convince you they're true wholesalers.There are a couple of different ways you can locate real, genuine wholesale drop shippers on your own:
Attend quality trade shows and meet with wholesalers and manufacturers who've been vetted by a trade association. Not every exhibitor at a show will drop ship, but many will, and you'll know that they're legitimate.
Call the manufacturer of the product you want to sell, and ask for a list of their factory-authorized wholesalers. Then start calling the suppliers on that list to see which ones drop ship. Once you know you're looking at genuine suppliers, you can start narrowing down the list of ones you want to work with. You do that by asking questions.The following are a few questions that can help you determine whether a drop shipper is a good fit for your E-Biz
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(some of these questions may also apply to other types of wholesale suppliers):
Do you work with online retailers?
The fact is that wholesalers aren't always eager to work with online sellers. Wholesalers operate on thin profit margins and make their money selling in large quantities.Most feel they're wasting the time and expense it takes them to set up lots of little accounts for e-tailers that they don't expect to place any sizeable orders on a regular basis. Many of them also have sales territories that they'd violate if they let their customers sell across the Internet.It's important to establish early in your conversation that you're talking to a wholesaler that will work with your online business.
Do you work with eBay sellers?
If you are mainly an eBay Seller, you'll want to ask this question too. Even if a wholesaler will work with online sellers, that doesn't always mean they'll work with eBay sellers. This is because the manufacturers of the products fear their items will be devalued in the market if they sell for too little there.If eBay is your main sales venue, you don't want to waste time setting up accounts, only to discover a supplier won't allow you to sell their products there.
Do you offer single-item drop shipping?
The key phrase here is single-item. If a drop shipper has a quantity minimum for drop shipping, then you can't offer their products to your customers Without imposing those same quantity demands. Look for suppliers who will drop ship items for you, one at a time.
What is your minimum dollar amount requirement for drop shipping?
Some drop shippers have a minimum dollar amount (sometimes called a minimum ticket). This limits the way you can offer their products -- you may have to bundle them, or simply avoid carrying any of their single items that cost less than their minimum order.
Do you offer blind drop shipping?
Blind drop shipping means the drop shippers' name doesn't appear on your labels, invoices, or inserts, so your customer is unaware of where package comes from. They may use a label that simply says "Fulfillment Center" or a blind PO Box.The end result is that they remain invisible to your customers, and your small business appears larger than it really is.
Locating genuine wholesalers is a tedious, pain-staking process: from tracking down manufacturers, to attending trade shows, to finding wholesalers willing to work with home-based E-Biz. You must be patient, take the time, and do the work to find authentic wholesalers.Of course, there's an easier way to find real suppliers:
At OneSource, the Internet's largest source of factory-authorized suppliers who will single-item drop ship for your online business.
Beyond drop shippers, OneSource lists every kind of supplier your business could ever need -- light bulk (low minimum) wholesalers, general wholesalers, liquidators, even direct import buys.