So you already made the decision about the online business that you’re going to put up and you decided to host it using Shopify. You also thought about dropshipping to minimize the operational expenses and maximize your business’s earning potential. Dropshipping has been a popular business model among online shops and it has worked like magic for most if not all of those who chose to go toward its direction. Its simplicity really entices people but its effectiveness is what drives dropshipping to the top and it remains as one of the best business models for online shops today and even in the upcoming years.
But what’s the secret to succeeding in Shopify dropshipping and what are the things that need to be set up first so that moving to this model becomes a lot easier. And once everything in your Shopify store is already in place, how can you ensure that you’re picking the right supplier; one that can deliver products to your target countries and has enough manufacturing capacity to effectively serve the demand especially when your business suddenly grows?
These are hard questions that need some definitive answer and in this article, we will be answering them to the best of our knowledge and abilities so read on to glean some wisdom and understanding especially in the process of choosing the suppliers that you will be working with for your shop.
Technically speaking, dropshipping is like putting most of the burden of the business to your suppliers. This is because instead of having to rent out a space where you can keep stocks for your product, it is the supplier who’s going to handle that aspect. And instead of having to monitor inventory from physical shelves, it’s the supplier or manufacturer who’s going to update you on overall inventory status so you can focus more on the most important matters.
Dropshipping passes the responsibility of keeping stocks, monitoring inventory, and even the burden of packing and shipping of the products to the supplier’s shoulders so all you need to do is to keep the ads and other marketing efforts going while processing orders and updating product information as well as handling customer support. With this business model, your overall operational cost is significantly reduced which means that you will have extra amount to spend on marketing and promotion.
So now that you know what dropshipping is, let’s get into the tips that can serve as your guide in choosing the suppliers for the product that you’re planning to sell in your Shopify store.
The tips below will focus on suppliers that are found in the popular B2C platform known as AliExpress. Through the years, AliExpress has served several Shopify businesses and its sellers and suppliers have been a great source of wonderful products that made several online shops very successful. But how can you ensure that you are choosing the right supplier and what are the things that you need to watch out for when trying to seal the deal? How do you find a reliable one and what are the things that you need to do in order to make your business to supplier relationship last for a long time. Here are some tips that we’d like to share:
AliExpress allows customers to rate a particular shop or supplier using stars. When you try to look for your supplier, this is one of the things that you need to watch out for. Achieving a rating of 4 to 5 stars is something that tells about how well the supplier handles orders and how accurate they are in terms of their product description, product pictures, and overall product quality. Customers often leave a rating after they receive a product and once they are satisfied, a rating of around 4 and above is automatically the value that comes to their minds that is why you need to stick to that range when trying to pick a supplier.
Another important detail that you need to look out for when picking a supplier from AliExpress is the number of customers served. You can check this by going to the product page of the item that you want to sell and from there, you should be able to see how many orders that particular product has already had along with the product rating and many other details.
Checking on these details will give you a good glimpse at how feasible the product is and how sellable it can become in case you start selling it in your Shopify store. A product that has made thousands of orders simply means that it is a good one in terms of quality and other desirable aspects and features. So when looking for a supplier, make sure that you’re checking on the product as well because these two should get high ratings to ensure that your business will bloom.
Next, head to the customer comments and feedback section for both the supplier and the product itself and see how many of those customers had something positive to say about the product. A good supplier packs their products well and delivers it in the quickest time possible. The percentage of lost or undelivered orders should also be low and words such as “Excellent Quality”, “Satisfied”, “Great Supplier”, and other positive descriptive words should be in the comments that you see being posted by suppliers.
Finding such things in the section where customers are supposed to air-out their sentiments is a very good indicator that the supplier and the product itself is a going to be a good one to pick. But don’t just focus on the product that you want to sell, also try to check the other products that the supplier is selling and see whether it’s also got good ratings. Consistency is what you need to find and once you do find it, you’ve got for yourself a perfect business partner!
Next step is going to involve establishing contact with the supplier and trying to see how they handle potential business partners. A good supplier will be very accommodating and will even present their business model and dropshipping arrangements right after establishing that first conversation. Typically, suppliers will communicate through Skype or WeChat but there can be other ways that they would prefer to hold meetings and further discussions about your plan in partnering with them.
When talking about your plan, you need to be clear about the countries to which the products are going to be shipped to and ask how many days it typically takes for an order to reach at the doorstep of customers in that particular country. China-based suppliers already know which courier services are capable of shipping and delivering products in the fastest time possible and all you need to do is to confirm with them about the exact delivery time estimates. Be honest and set expectations so it gets clear to them what you are looking for in a supplier.
Lastly, to prove how efficient a particular supplier is, you will need to place test orders of the product that you want to sell so you will find out how well it is packed and how fast (or slow) it is going to arrive at your doorstep. Most China-based suppliers would promise 7-days delivery but often times; the orders will arrive within 3-4 days. If you feel like this is going to be a slow delivery time then look for a supplier that can do better or one that has an expedited shipping option through DHL, FedEx, UPS, and other premium couriers.
Placing a test order will also help you check the overall quality and appearance of the product itself so you can decide whether it fits the price that you’re thinking to sell it for or not. You can’t just pick a product out of those customer reviews and comments and those high ratings, you need to see the actual product itself. To see is to believe as they say but as a business owner, you need to be able to see and touch the product so you can be sure that it’s of the right quality.
Shopify dropshipping remains as one of the most feasible business model for aspiring businessmen and women seeking to make their debut on the online selling space. It has worked wonders and brought several Shopify stores to the top spot over the years and it remains a capable business model even this year and onwards. But success does not come easy so be sure to take every possible step in ensuring success and overall growth for your online shop.
Choosing the right supplier really plays a big role in running your very own online business and when you’re trying to find one, don’t forget to also look for at least 2 more backup suppliers just in case your first preference fails. Having multiple suppliers will ensure that you have enough supply even when your main supplier gets into trouble and will temporarily stop supplying products for your shop. Choosing additional suppliers work almost the same as the steps we have given above so finding good ones should not be that hard. You just need to spend time and couple it with patience and you’re sure to zero-in on the best suppliers out there!