Is AliExpress the only source of products to dropship? Today, we’re going to discuss the alternative ways for online businesses to find dropshipping suppliers! Also, we’ll explain how to make the best choice of products to sell from suppliers on AliExpress.
Usually, when talking about choosing the right products for your dropshipping store, we assume that you import these items from AliExpress. Still, it is not the only option.
Directories in your search of the perfect dropshipping suppliers to import products from
What do dropshipping newcomers do before making the very first steps on their business journey? That’s right! They look for reliable business partners to ensure the success of their future venture – dropshipping wholesalers. Such companies are called dropshippers, but people often use this term to refer to dropshipping retailers.
Some people expect to easily find lots of dropshipping manufacturers and suppliers with high quality products at wholesale prices on Google. Well, they will be disappointed. Unless they’re lucky enough, they’re unlikely to succeed in their search. Not to mention the fact that many wholesalers are not ready to do dropshipping.
Thus, due to having little to no experience in this field, they don’t only look for counselors and advisors. They also search for middlemen who can connect them with the most appropriate business partners.
Most typically, these middlemen are required for product-related tasks. So let’s imagine that the entrepreneurs know what they would like to sell. It might be difficult for them to establish contact with reliable and trustworthy manufacturers anyway.
This is why these beginners turn to dropshipping directories. Simply speaking, these are the specially assembled databases of trusted wholesale distributors.
There, you can find detailed information about suppliers. It’s all about their fields of activity, manufactured products, addresses, and, sometimes, financial position or sales value.
Thus, a dropshipping directory is a database of wholesale suppliers grouped by category, market or niche. Many directories carry out special checking procedures to ensure the suppliers are legitimate and genuine wholesalers.
How do directories work?
So, entrepreneurs make a payment to get access to a dropshipping directory database. After that, they add the images and descriptions of the selected products to their ecommerce stores.
Then, the traditional dropshipping business model works as usual. The customer orders placed on the dropshipping site get sent to the manufacturers. These suppliers, in turn, provide the full range of the necessary product-related dropshipping services.
They store items, arrange shipments, provide sellers with tracking codes, etc. If required, they also customize the delivered packages by designing them in the style of the dropshipping store they work with.
Sounds like a good option, doesn’t it? You get access to multiple wholesale dropshippers and can easily fill the inventory of your online store with top products. Your supplier will take care of packing and shipping the orders to the buyer.
However, few dropshipping businesses actually use directories.
Why directories aren’t commonly used to find dropshipping suppliers
It might seem that these verified lists of well-reputed suppliers are a smart decision for dropshipping newcomers. Unfortunately, some of the directories’ downsides might cause serious problems for the entrepreneurs.
The majority of directories charge a fee for access to their database. You either need to make a one-time payment or pay a yearly/monthly fee.
Some suppliers listed in dropshipping directories have a specific pricing strategy. In order to buy something from them at a wholesale price, you need to officially confirm that your business is legit. Then you need to be approved as a wholesale seller. Otherwise, you will purchase their products at usual, retail prices.
Usually, dropshipping directories consist of large-scale companies that are looking for long-term profitable partnerships. Many of them don’t consider working with small online businesses. Especially it refers to newcomers who are unlikely to order large consignments of goods.
It’s quite typical of these well-known manufacturers to dictate the terms of doing business. There might be requirements for minimum order size, or maximum allowed price markup, and so on. Certainly, it limits a dropshipping store owner’s activity quite significantly.
So, it is reasonable to pay for getting access to a dropshipping directory only if you deal with the following.
1) looking for appropriate product ideas
2) researching the market offers
3) looking for a highly specific product category that can’t be easily found elsewhere.
So, have you already chosen the niche? Have you understood what products you are going to sell? Then, you can find decent suppliers from some free ecommerce platforms on your own.
The best alternative option to dropshipping databases is AliExpress.
This is an ecommerce platform of global reach that contains products from millions of distributors worldwide.
The reasons to search for dropshipping suppliers on AliExpress
There are enough reasons why AliExpress is much more suitable for dropshipping products from suppliers than any dropshipping directory.
Generally, it is typical of manufacturers to focus on a narrow product segment. They are also likely to deal with a limited number of related categories. For example, they sell children’s clothing, toys, and stationery.
Or they concentrate on consumer electronics, gadgets, and gadget accessories, etc. In fact, it is clear. Managing an extended stock is quite a complicated and laborious task.
However, AliExpress is a huge ecommerce platform with an extensive variety of products. It facilitates the interaction between countless sellers and buyers. Any supplier can post their offers on the platform. And now, it has resulted in over 100 million products currently presented on AliExpress.
These products fall into various categories. So entrepreneurs can choose any items they fancy and adjust their dropshipping stores to a specific target audience’s interests.
Free access to the database of dropshipping suppliers
Please remember that dropshipping directories usually limit access to their databases. As a result, entrepreneurs can’t browse the list of wholesalers and their products before making the necessary entry payment. It certainly causes a significant problem to the newcomers, who can’t know for sure if it will pay off.
At the same time, AliExpress doesn’t charge any entry fees. The registration on the platform is free, and you don’t need to log in if you want to explore the products. Plus, the platform provides the ground to evaluate the seller’s performance and reliability.
Therefore, it lets businessmen choose only the best products from the dropshipping providers. It includes the business operation length, the percentage of positive buyers’ feedback, the number of orders placed by visitors, etc.
Dropshipping directories don’t simply charge monthly or yearly membership fees. By the way, these fees vary depending on each separate provider.
What’s more, they can also ask for a restocking fee. This is compensation for stocking and delivery expenses. It’s relevant for the cases of customers’ returns when items have no actual defects.
However, you shouldn’t worry about this if you work with suppliers directly through AliExpress. You don’t have to pay anything to start working with the distributors from the platform. Moreover, you certainly don’t have to make any additional payments during the whole process of business collaboration. All the expenses associated with refunds and returns are going to be your dropshipping suppliers’ headache.
No limits on markup
Unfortunately, dropshipping directories put your possibilities of making a decent profit at risk. It refers to some limits on markup. Entrepreneurs have to set a so-called recommended retail price on the seller’s items.
In other words, the initial price can only be increased by a limited sum of money. In most cases, it’s not more than 15-20% of the starting cost. Otherwise, the partnership agreement can possibly come to an end.
Meanwhile, the sellers from AliExpress don’t insist on a specific price. The items on AliExpress have very low prices in comparison to identical products elsewhere.
It means the possible markups, and, therefore, the profits, can be quite impressive. Even several-fold price increase in this case will not affect end buyers negatively. It will still result in adequate financial gains for the store owner.
No limits on sales volume
Again, dropshipping store owners are quite often obliged to place a certain amount of orders when they sell goods from directories. Unless they do, dropshipping suppliers can refuse to continue dealing with these entrepreneurs.
It’s never going to happen if you work with a seller from AliExpress. It’s not even necessary to bring to the suppliers’ attention that you order their products for dropshipping purposes.
No legal requirements
Most commonly, large-scale manufacturers and distributors only work with officially established companies. Some of them even prefer only businesses registered in the US.
However, none of this is necessary to contact a manufacturer on AliExpress. The platform is extremely popular with private individuals. Even with those who make purchases for their own use and not for reselling. This is why local dropshipping wholesalers gladly work with everyone regardless of legal status.
The ultimate benefit of starting a dropshipping business is the possibility to reach an unlimited number of customers. In most cases, they are the people who aren’t able to get these products in their own countries offline.
General wholesalers mostly offer shipping within Europe or the US. AliExpress, in its turn, makes it possible to arrange a delivery literally to everywhere in the world. It allows you to enlarge your target audience significantly.
Obviously, AliExpress is not the only online ecommerce platform created for clear communication between manufacturers and buyers. Still, our own research has indicated that for the purposes of dropshipping, it is probably the best solution on the market. Feel free to click the following links and learn about the possibilities and limitations of Amazon, eBay and Etsy for dropshipping.
Now you are aware of AliExpress benefits. So you are probably wondering how to pick the most reliable business partners on this platform? We know the answer!
How to choose the best dropshipping suppliers on AliExpress
Filter the product search results
The hunt for the perfect AliExpress suppliers starts on the search results page.
When you are writing your product query in the AliExpress search bar, don’t forget to tick the “4* &Up” box. In that case, only the high quality items will be shown to you.
Sort the results by the number of orders. So you will see the most frequently purchased items at the beginning of the product list. Take a look at the screenshot below.
Thanks to these simple actions, you won’t waste your time on poor quality items from questionable sellers. You will only deal with worthy offers that are tried and true. Moreover, they are approved by other buyers.
Explore the seller stats
Well, you need to go to a single product page on AliExpress. There, you can mouse over the store name and view the seller’s statistics.
You can learn how long the store has been operating, view the feedback score from previous buyers, etc. You are even able to see some additional helpful stats.
Look at the screenshot below.
As you can see, that’s a pretty young store. Even though its performance isn’t very bad. It doesn’t look inspiring either.
It seems that in their feedback, the buyers often note that the sold items don’t fully match their descriptions. What’s more, there are some communication issues, and the shipping time is quite long.
How do you figure out whether you still should trust this seller? Go to the next step!
Examine the potential dropshipping suppliers’ product reviews
Within the seller’s store, pick 8-10 items that have the highest number of orders, and go to their product pages.
Go to the Feedback tab on each of these product pages. There, read the customers’ reviews super carefully. It will help you understand what exactly is good and bad in the seller’s activity.
Pay special attention to the reviews that contain pictures. With the help of these photos, you can roughly evaluate the quality of the product. Beyond this, you can understand whether the buyers’ claims are fair.
Sometimes, people get annoyed by some tiny details that are not really relevant. The things that are just a one-time ‘glitch’ in the interaction.
However, sometimes several different buyers point out the same difficulties they had during the purchasing process. And that’s a bad sign. For example, it is highly important for the suppliers who offer clothes.
Do various buyers write that several different products don’t match the expected size? It might mean that the seller offers irrelevant size charts. Certainly, it doesn’t show this store in a positive light.
Check the potential suppliers’ shipping terms
On the product page, look at the available shipping costs and terms. Check whether the seller can ship your order to the country where the majority of your potential buyers live. Whether it’s the United States or any other.
Click on the tiny arrow to change the country of delivery. That’s how you’ll see whether the seller offers cheap and quick delivery directly to your customers. Your buyers wouldn’t want to wait for their orders for a long time and overpay for the short delivery times, right?
Such research is going to give you a better understanding of the seller’s activity. Eventually, you will certainly clarify your perspectives of cooperating with this distributor and make the right decision.
Want to deal with trusted and reputed sellers only? Check out AliDropship Insights – a FREE database of the best AliExpress sellers to partner with, the best niches to take, AND the most promising products to sell!
Tips on working with dropshipping suppliers
Don’t hesitate to contact suppliers
The sellers on AliExpress are entrepreneurs just like you. And they are always glad to cooperate if it brings them more sales. Therefore, if you’ve found a good supplier and his products are selling well, send him an email. Or contact him if you have questions.
In any case, this cooperation can result in many benefits.
Be polite and adequate
Always talk to a supplier in a friendly way, be polite, and keep your end of the bargain. Try not to cause unnecessary troubles and don’t forget to thank the partner for little and big favors (like unusually fast shipping or an extra discount).
It will let you build strong relationships with the seller and make things easier in the future.
Check the orders before redirecting them to the supplier
Although with the AliDropship plugin, you don’t have to fulfill orders manually, it’s still a good idea to check customer information before ordering the products on AliExpress. Buyers often make mistakes: they fill in the wrong fields or leave them empty.
As a result, the order may get sent to the wrong address, thus causing problems not only to you but to the supplier as well. Avoid such situations!
Check your emails regularly
Also, make sure you regularly check the messages you get from your suppliers. They may face an unexpected problem that needs your attention. Not responding in time can lead to shipping delays or worse.
And if there’s a problem and it was the supplier’s fault – don’t get mad! We all make mistakes, and most of them are not worth destroying your relationships. But of course, if a particular seller keeps making mistakes, you may want to reconsider working with him.
Find multiple dropshipping suppliers
Working with only one wholesaler is definitely easy. But it’s dangerous as well! If something happens, you will lose all your inventory at once.
That’s why our team recommends finding at least several suppliers. It doesn’t mean the more the merrier, though. If you have 8 suppliers, you can feel more or less safe and it’s not that difficult to manage them. Having 30 suppliers will hardly make any difference except managing them will get really tough.
We hope that our little research helped you understand how to find the best dropshipping suppliers. And we’re looking forward to seeing you fill your store with the most awesome offers from great sellers! Don’t you have your online store? Then, go and start your business to benefit from it!
Read the source: https://alidropship.com/find-best-dropshipping-suppliers/