Finding the right supplier is a critical step that every future entrepreneur needs to take. However, when you lack experience, it is easy to end up with someone who will not be able to keep up with your business.
Even when you have made up your mind on the product you wish to sell, lacking the right supplier will lead to problems and the business is not going to prosper.
If you're looking for a reliable supplier for your eCommerce business, consider partnering with a print on demand merchandise provider. With print-on-demand, you can offer a variety of custom-designed products to your customers without worrying about maintaining inventory or managing a supply chain.
This article will give you some tips on how to approach the problem of finding the right product supplier.
Tips to Find Supplier for eCommerce business
Tip #1 – Start with Research
It becomes easier to find the right supplier when you know the product you want to sell. Start with research and find out which suppliers could potentially become your partners.
Depending on the product, you may have to pick a domestic or overseas supplier. Some companies will provide you with everything, including shipping, packaging, and storage. Running an online store without these problems will increase efficiency.
A good example is Printify – print-on-demand eCommerce solution. They have over 250 different products, more than 90 printing facilities across the world, and store integrations. Working with Printify means that you do not have to worry about warehousing or inventory.
Printify is an ideal choice for those who decide to go with print on demand. And finding a supplier like Printify is exactly what you should strive for.
Tip #2 – Contact the Suppliers Directly
When you have a list of potential candidates, start contacting them directly. Cut the middle man. You want to speak with a person who is in the upper management and can make decisions.
Calling suppliers directly can be quite daunting, taking into account that a lot of them are located in Asia and don't speak good English. For this reason, it would be wise to hire professionals, Oberlo, etc.
It does not matter whether the first conversation is done via email or phone. The focus is to establish a contact so that you can communicate with the supplier directly. If you cannot get to talk with someone who manages things directly, it may be better to look elsewhere. Having troubles so early is a flag to suggest that there will be issues in the future as well.
Tip #3 – Make the First Contact Productive
Provided that you are speaking with the person you want to speak to, ensure that the first conversation goes smoothly. Establishing good relationships early will help further along the way. Moreover, if you find out that the supplier cannot work with you because your business is too small at the moment, do not think of it as a negative thing.
It is possible to get a list of recommendations of other reliable suppliers. Not all companies are in the competition so if you see an opportunity to inquire for some suggestions, go for it.
Overall, the correct approach to contacting the suppliers is meant to work as a foundation for building trust and maintaining good relationships. At the end of the day, it is much better to work together with those you are in a good relationship with, right?
Tip #4 – Ask for Samples
Not every supplier is willing to give out free samples, but the practice is becoming more common. And even if they do not provide a free sample, you can buy one yourself, especially if that supplier is one of the few you are considering to hire.
Samples are necessary because selling things you have not tried yourself is too risky. Imagine someone ordering from your store only to end up with a mediocre or bad product. You will get negative feedback which is detrimental to the business.
Trusting the word of a supplier is all well and good, but do not take their word for it blindly. Test the product yourself. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Tip #5 – Bargain for Better Prices
Bargaining before you even started working with a supplier is a bit risky. You cannot request a discount without any leverage on your side. On the other hand, if the supplier is willing to negotiate, it is an indication that you will have an easier time working with them later on.
What you can do is persuade the supplier that there is a potential to sell their product on a new market. Consolidating your purchase orders is also an option. Finally, you can mention how competitors offer lower prices. And if all that fails, perhaps they can offer you benefits other than better prices for products.
Tip #6 – Order from the Competition
If there are other brands that are using the same supplier, ordering a sample from them would give insight. You will find out how long it takes for a package to ship and reach the destination.
On top of that, you get to see how the supplier handles packing. Custom labeling and safety also play a prominent role in providing quality services.
Tip #7 – Avoid Certain Suppliers
The process of choosing a supplier for an eCommerce venture is hard no matter how you look at it. But there are some tell-tale signs that suggest certain suppliers should be rather left without thinking too much. Here are some examples:
- They insist on extra monthly fees.
- The products fail to arrive on time a lot, and packaging is damaged.
- The reviews on the supplier’s website do not appear to be genuine.
Tip #8 – Consider Having Multiple Suppliers
When things kick-off and your business finds its legs, you can look to expand. And having multiple different suppliers is a good expansion method.
First of all, you will have more products available at your disposal. A broader selection will attract new customers.
You will have a backup in case a particular product is out of stock with one supplier. If that happens, another supplier can take its place and cover you.
Building business relationships is also necessary to create a sustainable career as an entrepreneur online. Working with numerous suppliers will expand your network of contacts
Finally, you will have a selection of different quality products. Some customers cannot afford the best stuff as they are looking to save money. But if you can offer options for those who are not as rich, you will score more points towards establishing your brand and satisfying the needs of even more customers.