Is finding the right dropshipping supplier really that important? Can it really make that much of a difference? The short answer is: yes, it can! If you want your dropshipping store to thrive, you need to find the right business partner. So make no mistake: your wholesale supplier is your business partner. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, so it’s important to do your research.
That being said, let’s examine how you can find the best supplier. Today we’re going to focus on domestic, US-based suppliers. While it’s true that there are plenty of companies operating internationally, especially in China, choosing a US-based supplier usually means that you’ll be getting premium products and better customer service. So without any further delay, let’s take a look at how to find the right supplier for your dropshipping store.
How to Find a Dropshipping Supplier
Let’s take a quick moment to define dropshipping. This is an online retail model in which the seller does not actually keep any inventory. Instead, the dropshipping supplier handles the storage, packing, and shipping of products to the end customer. As a result, this model has considerably lower startup and operational costs than other online retail models. It also means that finding the right dropshipping supplier is absolutely critical to the success of your dropshipping store.
So, when setting up your dropshipping store, just be sure to follow these easy steps:
1. Review dropshipping supplier directories
Online directories and marketplaces are excellent resources for finding dropshipping suppliers based in the USA. Typically these directories and marketplaces list domestic suppliers by location, kinds of products they sell, along with their website address so that you can go to them right away and gather even more information.
These directories include:
Wholesale Central’s free directory service offers an exhaustive list, organized by category, of domestic wholesalers with details about their products and their location. However, it’s important that when selecting a wholesaler from the Wholesale Central directory, you check with the wholesaler to confirm that they indeed provide dropshipping services. Several of the suppliers listed in the directory are not dropshippers even though they’re listed under dropshipping wholesalers.
While SaleHoo also provides an extensive list of domestic dropshipping suppliers and international suppliers, you have to become a member to access those companies. The cost is currently $67.00 dollars annually for membership. The website boasts that it has suppliers with over 2,500,000 products and brands. SaleHoo are pretty confident you will find what you’re looking for. If not, the company says it’s happy to refund your membership.
Doba offers multi-tiered membership to access their listings of domestic and international dropshippers. The lowest annual membership is $29.00. Each membership tier offers features and access to other services the directory provides. These services include the ability to evaluate any wholesaler you’re considering working with. The directory provides you with the ability to organize lists of products for bulk import. Also among services, you would receive updates on wholesalers and new products. The more you pay, the more access you get to those services. To try out their listings, the company offers a 30-day free trial.
There are several other directories you can also search for a stateside supplier. Just remember, be sure to check any listing you come across to confirm that the wholesalers listed provide dropshipping services. Here’s a quick list of other directories you can use in your search:
- Worldwide Brands
- A Better Lemonade Stand
- Free Drop Shipping List
- Drop Ship Access
- Sunrise Wholesale
- Watchman Advisors
Most directories require that you become a member. So, if you’re trying to keep costs low, then this may not be the best choice for you.
2. Check the supplier’s inventory
It’s important to check the dropshipping supplier’s inventory. This means looking over their selection of products. Luckily, most suppliers allow you to browse their inventory for free.
While doing this, make sure you ask the following questions:
- Does the dropshipping supplier own their inventory or is it through a third-party wholesaler?
- Do they have brand-name products?
- Are their products made in the USA?
- Do the products appeal to your target audience?
Finding a dropshipping supplier with a great inventory means you can curate a selection of fine products that can attract online shoppers. This way, you’ll turn one-time visitors into regular customers.
3. Make sure there are no hidden fees
Most dropshipping suppliers charge an annual or monthly membership fee. However, you’re going to need to make sure that there aren’t any additional costs or fees that might eat into your profit margin.
In fact, you should take the time to ask their representative the following questions:
- How much does membership cost? Do they have different membership plans?
- What are the order fees? Are these negotiable?
- Are there any additional costs like delivery fees, fuel surcharges, expedited orders, or restocking fees?
It’s important you gather all this information upfront – you’ll need to have an accurate understanding of the costs in order to make the best choice for your online store.
4. Confirm that you can contact their customer service
Your dropshipping supplier needs to have great customer service. This is crucial for your dropshipping store to run smoothly. Do they have a dedicated customer service line? Do they have a representative who’s available 24/7/365? These are crucial bits of information.
Once you contact them, then be sure to ask the following questions:
- What are their shipping rates?
- Do they sell directly to consumers?
- What is the return policy?
- What is the warranty for the various products?
- Are there dedicated sales and/or service representatives?
5. Choose between a domestic and an international supplier
Nowadays, there are dropshipping suppliers located all over the world, especially in China. Because they’re generally less expensive, some online resellers may prefer these suppliers. However, this may not be the best thing for your e-commerce store. In fact, there are plenty of compelling reasons to go with a domestic, US-based dropshipping supplier, including:
- There’s no language barrier. This makes it much easier to do business and oversee day-to-day operations.
- The customer service is generally better. This is crucial – you need the customer service to be top-notch if you want your operation to run smoothly.
- Warranties and return policies are stronger. Sometimes returns are unavoidable, so why not go with the option that’s easier for you?
- The shipping times are shorter. Online shoppers expect their products quickly, so a US-based supplier is a safer bet to match their expectations.
- Higher quality items – yes, it’s true that Chinese suppliers are less expensive, but US-based suppliers generally have higher quality products.
So how do you go about making sure they’re US-based?
- Check their mailing address.
- Confirm the contact number.
- Speak to a representative and ask where their shipping warehouses are located.
Best Dropshipping Wholesale Suppliers
Now that we’ve talked about how to find them, let’s go over some of the best dropshipping suppliers around today, based on the types of products that they offer.
1) Food Dropshipping Suppliers
GreenDropShip offers over 20,000 natural and organic products for online retailers looking for premium quality food products. These include certified organic and fair-trade groceries. However, GreenDropShip also offers natural and organic beauty, body care, vitamins, supplements, essential oils, aromatherapy, and health and wellness products. We also carry a wide selection of vegan options. For resellers on Amazon, we even offer FBA prep services at no extra cost to our members.
Unfi offers over 35,000 non-perishable food products to online retailers. Their dropshipping program features no minimum order size or frequency requirements. The company also features health and wellness products.
This is a US-based food dropshipping supplier that focuses exclusively on protein bars, powders, and mixes. They cater to resellers looking to sell to athletic or health-conscious consumers with their performance food manufactured in-house. Their items adhere to keto and paleo diets and are plant-based. They’re also organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and kosher.
Deja Vegan specializes in vegan snacks. This supplier carries gluten-free, grain-free (paleo), non-GMO, macro-friendly, and kosher treats. Their popular items include vegan bars, vegan crackers, vegan cookies, and oatmeal cups. If you’re looking for great plant-based gourmet snacks to sell on your website, this is the place. The company also features a dropshipping program among its services.
2. Clothing and Apparel Dropshipping Suppliers
Unjena specializes in women’s swimwear featuring several lines of bikinis. Currently, they offer over 500 different kinds of bikini products as well as one-piece swimwear options. The supplier has multiple features included in their dropshipping program and offers discounts for online retailers who sell $10,000 or more.
This Arizona-based wholesaler specializes in clothing for children and infants as well as maternity clothing. The company actually manufactures its own clothing with an in-house staff of designers. They also offer seasonal specials to online retailers with constant updates on new products. While most of the clothing is for girls, they do carry boy’s apparel as well.
ModeShe is a dropshipping supplier for women’s apparel. With branches in major cities like Tokyo, Paris, and New York, this company prides itself on being cosmopolitan and international. This is important in the fashion industry as it can attract a high-end clientele. They offer products for every type of occasion, from formal dresses to sportswear. Their selection includes blouses, tops, t-shirts, lingerie, clubwear, and designer or boutique brands. Because of their excellent selection, ModeShe is popular with younger women interested in fashion and with a great sense of style.
Nordstrom is a beloved and popular store with a huge selection of fashionable products. While they are most known for their brick-and-mortar retail stores, they also offer a Dropship Program that allows resellers to order products on the Nordstrom website and have it shipped directly to customers. Their selection includes apparel for women, men, and kids as well as beauty products and home goods. They carry popular brands like Gucci, Birkenstock, Nike, Vans, CHANEL, Tory Burch, and MCM as well as the Nordstrom brands like Zella, Rachel Parcell, The Rail, Treasure & Bond, and Tucker + Tate.
Founded in 2003, Male Basics specializes in men’s underwear items and men’s clothing accessories. The company has a huge inventory of name brand underwear products from boxer briefs and thongs to classic cotton briefs and G-strings. They also offer swimwear items along with various jockstrap products.
3. Beauty & Body Care Dropshipping Suppliers
If your customers are looking to smell nice and feel their best, then this is the right supplier for those products. They carry over 17,000 brand name fragrances, including premium brands that command a significant retail markup. This supplier also carries cosmetics, haircare, and aromatherapy products for both men and women. Because they focus exclusively on brand name goods, FragranceNet does not manufacture any of the products in their inventory.
Beauty Joint offers a massive selection of beauty products, including makeup, skincare, haircare, nails, and even a special line of Korean cosmetics. Their premium brands include Maybelline, L’Oreal, and Milani Cosmetics. This supplier also provides up-to-date information to online retailers on the latest beauty trends and cosmetics supplies.
Based in New York City, MaxAroma offers several lines of cosmetics and beauty products. This includes fragrances for men, women, or unisex as well as signature celebrity perfumes. MaxAroma touts itself as the supplier for the fashion-conscious retailer who wants to sell value-oriented products to customers with impeccable tastes.
This distributor carries an extensive line of natural products for black hair care, including name brands such as Shea Moisturizer and Tropical Isle Living. Their product lines primarily focus on hair treatment products, conditioners, and shampoos.
Is It Better To Work With Multiple Suppliers Or A Single Supplier?
So we’ve established that there lots of options when trying to find the right dropshipping suppliers. Now ask yourself an important question: do I want to work with multiple suppliers or just a single supplier?
This depends entirely on your goals and what you’re looking to sell. Let’s just quickly go over the benefits of each.
Working With a Single Supplier
Working with a single supplier means that:
- You can have a niche that’s more defined. Choosing a niche is critical to the success of your store. Dropshipping has a lower risk than a traditional online retail model, so that means that there’s a lot of competition from other online resellers. Selecting the right niche means that you can tap into a segment of the market that may not be so saturated. However, you’ll have to do your research to find the right one.
- Your operational costs will be lower. If a supplier has a membership fee, keep in mind it will cost you more to work with multiple suppliers.
- It’s easier to manage. The key to a successful dropshipping store is to have an efficient system of listing products and forwarding orders to your supplier. Plus, working with a single supplier means you’ll likely have a stronger relationship with service representatives.
Working With Multiple Suppliers
However, if you want to expand your inventory to include items that your single supplier doesn’t offer, then you may consider adding other dropshipping suppliers. For example, let’s assume that your niche is vegan food. You find that it’s selling well and that demand is consistently high, so you decide to expand to another, related niche: vegan cosmetics. You can either find a supplier that sells both or add a second supplier.
Working with multiple suppliers means that:
- You’ll have access to more products. If a single supplier has a limited selection, then it may be beneficial to add more suppliers. However, it’s important to remember that your dropshipping store will likely be more successful if you stay within a well-defined niche. For example, a dropshipping store can’t really compete with online retail giants like Amazon or Walmart which offer every product you can imagine.
- There’s a lower risk of running out of a given product. Although you don’t actually store the items you sell, there’s still the possibility that your dropshipping supplier can run out of a product. This can be disastrous for the success of your store. That being said, it may benefit you to have multiple suppliers in order to have some redundancy in the availability of popular items.
- It’ll be easier to search for products. More suppliers mean more choices. Consequently, it may be easier to find a specific product in your given niche by searching the inventories of multiple suppliers.
If you decide to work with multiple suppliers, be sure you use the necessary tools to find them. You’ll also need to synchronize all the inventory and order data so that your store functions smoothly.
The 6 Attributes of A Great Dropshipping Supplier
There are 6 characteristics you should look for in a dropshipping supplier:
- Knowledgeable staff. They can inform you about the industry as well as help you craft informative and accurate product descriptions.
- Service representatives who are available 24/7/365. You’ll need customer service reps who are always available to help you.
- Tools and software to help you succeed. These include an easy to use dropshipping portal, detailed product information, up to date data feed, real-time tracking of inventory, and searchable order history.
- An easy ordering process. Managing orders to your supplier should be easy, convenient, and quick so you don’t waste valuable time.
- Premium products that are high-quality. Selling these items results in greater customer satisfaction, better product reviews, and fewer returns.
- Fast shipping and handling. Customers expect their items quickly, so it should never take your supplier longer than 48 hours to pack and ship items.
Each of these is important, so make sure you research the supplier thoroughly. Never underestimate the importance of learning about your dropshipping supplier – your store’s success depends on it!
GreenDropShip is a US-based dropshipping supplier with multiple warehouses throughout the country so that orders get to the customers as quickly as possible. Plus, we carry over 20,000 natural and organic products that are made in the USA. This means that there are all kinds of niches that you can carve out by offering these healthy and eco-friendly items. These include vitamins, supplements, beauty products, body care, aromatherapy, and groceries.
Contact us now to start your dropshipping business!