The ONLY 5 Places You Should Go To Find Suppliers For Dropshipping [Find Ecommerce Product Suppliers]
You find a product.
You sell the product on your website.
You make a profit. Right?
Well, it's not as simple as people make it out to be - to be successful with dropshipping, there's a ton of other factors one must consider before starting to sell products blindly.
It all starts with your product, after all, this will be your main breadwinner, and so it's crucial you spend the most time on this part as possible.
A lot of people follow what YouTube videos tell them to do which is "Find a manufacturer who sells a product and connects it with Oberlo then starts selling."
However, the type of product you choose isn't the only thing that matters here.
Although this works, there's an entire chunk of information missing, a chunk that can make or break your business.
See, the difference between successful stores and those that don't make it past the starting line is that the winners take the extra time to do their research and find the perfect suppliers.
Your supplier will be the reason you succeed with dropshipping, if you're able to find the right one, that is.
While there are many great suppliers out there to choose from, there are even more who sell terrible products and are only looking to make a quick buck off you.
Today, we're going to be discussing the only 5 places you should go to find suppliers for dropshipping.
The first and most popular place to find suppliers is the Chinese giant - Alibaba.
Alibaba has a market share of almost 70% in China alone, making it the world's biggest manufacturer for all products.
People and businesses from all around the world are able to trust suppliers from Alibaba with their products.
However, this does not mean you should trust any and every supplier on there.
While Alibaba is a great place to find products, there are still a ton of suppliers who are only out for your money.
Luckily, Alibaba makes it fairly simple to find good suppliers.
They have ratings and trust badges which can help one make a decision on whether a supplier is worth speaking to.
For example, the most important badges are the verified badge and the trade assurance badge.
These badges show you that a supplier has gone through Alibaba's verification and passed.
The trade assurance badge gives you comfort in knowing that you're safe from scams or damaged goods as you're able to request refunds through the Alibaba trade assurance program.
To start finding suppliers on Alibaba, it's very simple.
Visit their site and start to look for your products. From there, filter the suppliers who have good reviews and the badges we've discussed.
From here, you can search through the hundreds of suppliers available and start contacting those that appeal to you.
I would suggest contacting a lot of suppliers, no matter their pricing, as you can always negotiate better terms.
Another thing you can do is submit an RFQ (request for quotation) which will signal to suppliers that you're looking for a product that they might have.
I've started many conversations with good suppliers via RFQs and it's a great way to get suppliers to come to you.
The more retail side of Alibaba is Aliexpress. While this is more B2C-focused, you're still able to find suppliers who are looking for dropshipping partnerships.
You can repeat the same process as you did on Alibaba, on Aliexpress.
I recently learned about Indiamart.
As the name suggests, Indiamart is a company which offers a wide range of manufacturers and suppliers.
However, unlike Alibaba, these suppliers are not based in China, but in India.
India is another place where one can find many great quality products, and Indiamart makes it extremely easy to find reliable suppliers.
When I was working on my clothing line a while back, I was looking for clothing suppliers - most of which were based in India.
India is able to offer prices that sometimes beat their Chinese counterparts, so it's a great place to search if you're starting out.
Searching a product like 'Portable Blender,' on Indiamart, I was able to find products almost half the price of their Alibaba counterparts.
With Indiamart, you're also protected by the platform with their 'Payment Protection' system so you can buy with confidence.
Indiamart has a massive catalog of products, and so whatever your eCommerce business sells, you're likely to be able to find it here.
I would even go as far as to say that the Indiamart platform is more intuitive and easy to navigate compared to Alibaba and its ecosystem.
Given the ability to submit your requirements, it's extremely simple to find suppliers and start conversations that will lead to profitable outcomes.
One of the downsides of sourcing from India, however, is that it can be quite a lot further away from China, so delivery might cost more and also take longer to arrive.
This is more of a geographical issue, and so in some cases, it's not a big problem because you might be living somewhere closer to India than to China.
There are a few factors that are extremely important when it comes to dropshipping:
- Communication with suppliers
- Product quality
- Delivery times
If you have these things in place, your chances of success are much higher than if you didn't have them.
In fact, it's almost impossible to get away with building an eCommerce dropshipping business without these things in place.
One of the best solutions to ensure you have all 3 checked off is by going directly to domestic suppliers.
This means that, since I'm based in the UK, I'd find suppliers who are in the UK.
If you're a US business selling in the US, you'd find suppliers who are in the USA.
This immediately cuts out any language barriers you might find on platforms like Alibaba or Indiamart.
While most suppliers are really fluent in English since they know this is what their client base understands the best, you'll sometimes find anomalies where it's a little more difficult to understand one another.
The last time I was searching for suppliers, 1/50 of those suppliers did not understand me.
Nevertheless, the next most important factor to consider is product quality and delivery time.
As an eCommerce business, your competition is essentially Amazon - yes, the giant business that made over $400 billion in 2021.
That means that to stand a chance of competing, you need to offer what they offer, or better.
This means better quality, better branding, better experience, and fast delivery.
Although you're not guaranteed all of this with a domestic supplier, it's much easier to communicate and even go out and visit your suppliers personally if they're based where you are.
This gives you more freedom and flexibility with your relationship and it may even strengthen the relationship, leading to more discounts.
On the topic of discounts, however, domestic suppliers are usually more expensive - a lot more expensive than suppliers found on Alibaba or Indiamart.
It could be a good strategy to get up and running, however, it's important to negotiate new terms of find an overseas supplier later on to increase profit margins.
One of the most effective ways to find an overseas supplier is by going through an agent.
Hear me out on this one, because it's not going to be for everyone.
If you're a brand new dropshipping business, you might want to avoid going through an agent just yet.
They can be expensive, and usually, only work with established brands that are serious about growing their business.
They are able to help you find a supplier, however, these suppliers will want to find brands who are looking for long-term partnerships where large orders are constantly being placed.
This means that if you're dropshipping one product at a time, going through an agent might not be the best solution for you.
The way an agent works is simple.
You find them, negotiate terms, and they'll help you find suppliers for your products.
The most common agents are those in China - they're Chinese citizens who have key contacts within the manufacturing industry and are able to get you great deals on products that might cost more on Alibaba.
With an agent, you're able to save 20% or more than if you go directly through Alibaba itself.
Although they take a cut or a payment, it will still end up being much cheaper, especially if you're doing large quantities of orders.
Finding an agent can be as simple as searching on Google for 'dropshipping agents' and browsing through the results that pop up.
Another thing you can try is go on Upwork and put a job posting for dropshipping agents.
Restrict the location only to China so that only those in China (or wherever you source products from) can see it.
From here, speak to the applicants and learn more about them and how they work.
Finally, you could reach out to other dropshippers via Facebook groups and build relationships.
Some dropshippers will have agents or know other people who do and can get you in touch with them.
The fifth and final method you can use to find suppliers is by finding your competition's suppliers.
Yes, exactly! Your competition.
If you're selling insulated cups, you can find suppliers of brands like Yeti and see how they make 100s of millions per year.
Some people might love this little 'trick,' while others might hate it.
I understand it can be pretty 'anti-competitive' to go to your competition's suppliers, however, it's something that everyone can do and a lot of people already do it.
Although your competitor might not blatantly have their supplier's name or address on their products or websites, it's still very simple to find their suppliers.
Another note is that while this may work for some brands, it's not going to work 100% of the time, meaning you can't find every brand's suppliers.
This also mainly works on products that can be found on Amazon as we're going to be using a tool that specializes in helping Amazon sellers succeed.
To start, go and find the product on Amazon that you'd like to find the supplier for - while the products being sold might not be what's advertised by the supplier, they're able to make you the exact same product because they're the ones making these custom products for your competition.
Once you've found the product you want to find the competitor for, go on their listing page, and press 'control + F' to bring up the search page function.
Type in 'ASIN' and find the ASIN code on the listing page.
From here, you'll want to copy it over into a paid tool called Jungle Scout.
While JungleScout has better alternatives, I haven't seen another tool which is able to find the suppliers of other brands.
Sign up for the software and go into their 'supplier database'.
You're now able to copy and paste the ASIN into the search box which will likely bring up the supplier of the products you're looking at.
You can now start talking to this supplier, knowing they're a great supplier for a big brand.
Those were the only 5 places you should go to find suppliers for dropshipping.
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