At a standstill finding suppliers

by QwnV
8 replies
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I need some advice please on which direction is best for me to go

My website design is complete which seems like took forever, now I'm trying to find distributors for my online headshop but having little to no responses.
I called and spoke with one distributor, I was able to have a rep assigned and a catalog emailed to me but they don't really dropship he said they did in the past but it got to be such a hassle. the rep said they would possibly work with me on it case by case situations

I really don't want inventory...but I'm thinking maybe I should consider it to establish a relationship? They have a $100 minimun

I've emailed 5 other distributors about a week ago and have heard nothing I plan on following up today.
#standstill #suppliers #suppliers or dropshippers
  • Profile picture of the author Andy Geldman
    Sourcing inventory is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, activity in ecommerce.

    There are many different approaches (some tips here) but the common theme is that you are going to have to work at it. You have already chosen what you are going to sell so I wouldn't get hung up on dropshipping if it doesn't fit with that - it's generally best for expensive/large items. eCommerceFuel is a good site for dropshipping advice though - look at the resources section.

    Hope that helps!
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    • Profile picture of the author QwnV
      Thanks for the tips Andy!

      I was feeling a little defeated yesterday, but I'm back on it. I will probably purchase some items wholesale and start from there.

      I just hope having inventory and shipping doesn't take away from me being able to market my website well. That is what I was most interested in getting to.

      Or what if I try FBA? But my only issue is running into problems with them handling my specific products
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      • Profile picture of the author QwnV
        I found a supplier to drop ship for me! Yay! I'm so excited. A small feat but I still feel good.

        What is the best way to set up an agreement/contract with supplier for dropshipping. The supplier wants to know what I need from them? should I draft a contract?
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        • Profile picture of the author Andy Geldman
          That's great news!

          I would definitely agree terms with them so you both know exactly where you stand on shipping speed, costs, wholesale price, returns, customer support etc. I Googled "dropshipping contract" and found a good example.

          Is this supplier new to dropshipping? To send out orders quickly, safely and accurately they need a good fulfillment process for short orders (e.g. single items). If they don't have that, it could be a steep learning curve for them with a good few problems along the way.

          I'm not saying that if they're not experienced dropshippers then it's not the way to go, but I'd recommend staying on top of what they're doing and be ready to smooth things over if/when there are problems.
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          • Profile picture of the author QwnV
            Hey Andy, I had to re-think a bit and decided I should carry some inventory and fufill small/short orders. Also I do believe they are new to dropshipping so I hope this doesn't pose too many problems. I hope by letting them handle mostly only large orders it keeps issues to a min.

            This means I will need to come up with the pricing and have them agree...which is something I don't know much about. Basic pricing should be dropshipping fee and shipping right?
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  • Profile picture of the author Andy Geldman
    That sounds like a good balance to me.

    On the pricing, it's up to you and them to work it out - there's no absolute rule. The way I see it at one extreme you pay them a flat fee per order to cover all their costs (handling, shipping and packaging) and at the other extreme they recharge you exactly what it costs them, perhaps plus a fee.

    The cost of the dropshipping service they provide to you (the fee) could be included in the wholesale prices you are quoted - which they might accept if they are only dropshipping large orders, because it's really just a case of them sending direct to your buyer instead of you. Or it could be an extra fee if it's more like outsourced order fulfillment that you ask for.

    You have flexibility by holding some stock yourself. So I wonder if you could agree a minimum order size at which they don't charge anything extra for sending it direct to the buyer, and a level below that where you pay actual shipping plus a flat fee for packaging and handling?

    Hope that helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author QwnV
    Bump....

    Is it a huge problem if the supplier that I want to work with (dropshipping) doesn't handle returns/all sales final due to the fragile nature of the products?

    I should still be able to handle returns?
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    • Profile picture of the author ShoppingSignals
      If they won't handle returns, that is going to cut into your margins. You'll just need to plan for that and see if the numbers still work.

      Back to the finding suppliers issue, there is a good lesson here for other newbies.

      Your safest approach is to secure a supplier/dropshipper BEFORE you build your website. Reduce your risk in any way you can.

      1. Find a Niche
      2. Find a Supplier / Dropshipper
      3. Build and Market your site (at the same time)

      My 2 cents.
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