As essential as it is to choose products for sale on your website, it is just as crucial to select reliable dropshipping suppliers.
Suppliers may be unable to provide you with everything you need. If they don’t offer the most cutting-edge innovations that you require, you may want to cross them off your list and look for a new supplier who does, or you may find a gap in the market that can be filled by a new entrant.
Why it is crucial to ensure that you are asking the right questions?
Direct delivery from the manufacturer or wholesaler to the end consumer is what dropshipping is all about. In the time between an order being placed and the product being delivered, you have no direct contact with it. It could cause some business owners to experience FOMO, but for some companies, this could be a good move.
Shipping straight from A to B can cut down on the effort, paperwork, and storage space needed to get goods from Point B to Point A.
Flexibility is a crucial asset for any small business, and dropshipping allows you to keep your staff and physical footprint small while maintaining this asset. However, there is a caveat.
When a new company enters into your business, it can bring about a whole new set of complications. Even if your supplier handles product shipping, you’re on the hook for anything that affects your customers, including stock levels, packaging, and delivery times. In business, things always work out that way.
Consider whether dropshipping’s benefits will outweigh its drawbacks before committing your company to the model. Your supplier should be consulted before making any dropshipping decisions, ideally before you even start doing business with them.
What You Should Inquire of Your Dropshipper?
Some questions to ask a potential supplier before starting a business relationship with them are provided below.
Do you only run a business-to-business market?
There is no more important question to ask your dropshipping supplier than whether or not they deal exclusively with other businesses. If the company is offering the same prices to the general public that they are offering to you, you may be dealing with a genuine dropshipper.
If they don’t strictly operate as a B2B marketplace, that’s a huge red flag that you shouldn’t even think about working with them.
How is your company’s support for customers?
We’ve established that a dropshipper’s customer service is often second to none. Timely communication with your supplier is crucial for providing adequate support to your customers.
Therefore, your provider should have strong linguistic abilities and provide multiple means of getting in touch with its team quickly in the event of an issue.
I was wondering if there were any costs involved with dropping.
Suppliers tack on “drop fees” to orders to make up for the money they spend on packaging and shipping a single item. This charge averages about $5 but can go up or down depending on the specifics of the case. There’s no need to be alarmed by the fee; it’s par for the course in the dropshipping industry and shouldn’t have much of an impact on your profits.
Have we had trouble getting in touch with you?
Although many wholesale suppliers still use websites from the 1990s, they are not notoriously difficult to contact. A phone number should be provided for product inquiries. If you’re constantly getting the runaround from your supplier, you should look elsewhere.
Are you able to handle our requirements at your current capacity?
By learning when the supplier was established, the number of employees they employ, and the companies they already supply to, you can get a good idea of the quantities they are used to supplying. If you want to know if they can handle your orders, you should be able to give them a rough estimate of their value.
Can we develop together?
If you want to establish long-term cooperation with your potential vendor, this is the question to ask. Find out if your business is integral to their future plans.
Do they foresee a future in which partnerships will play a larger role than a series of deals to make money? The ideal relationship between a company and its supplier is akin to a partnership.
What kind of SLAs do you have in place?
An SLA is a contract between a company and its suppliers that details the service the suppliers must provide and at what quality level. Roles and priorities are laid out in detail.
An SLA is a binding agreement that can be added to any contract with a supplier. The following are examples of what a standard SLA should contain:
- Providing a Variety of Services
- That they are dedicated to maintaining rigorous standards
- The estimated delivery date range
- Duties of the Supplier and the Buyer
- Maintaining conformity with applicable laws and regulations
- Systems for tracking and reporting service status
- Money-Paying Arrangements
- Settlement of Disputes
- Terms of non-disclosure and confidentiality
- Termination Terms and Conditions
If your suppliers don’t fulfil their responsibilities, the SLA will typically outline how much you can get reimbursed for in terms of service charge discounts. If the SLA does not provide assurance that the required level of service will be provided, you should look for another provider or make preparations for a contingency.
Is there a minimum purchase or sale that must be made?
It’s possible that your initial dropshipping business sales won’t match your expectations. For this reason, before starting business with a dropshipping provider, it’s important to learn whether or not they have a minimum order or revenue requirement.
Looking for a supplier with no minimum order quantity is preferable for a new store because it reduces the risk of committing to a specific goal before sales have even begun.
How confident am I that you can supply my shop with what we need?
It’s important to be ready for a surge in customer demand if you’re leading the charge in advertising your dropshipping company.
Your dropshipping provider needs to be prepared and able to keep up with your store’s demands. In cases where they are not, your company will inevitably fail.
When do you typically ship orders?
Faster shipping times have become increasingly important to customers in recent years. Within a week is ideal for receiving the goods ordered, so a shipping time of no more than 5 days is preferred.
Therefore, you should inquire about this with your dropshipping provider. Delivery times from China-based dropshipping suppliers can be as long as six weeks because of the distances involved in transporting goods around the world.
Because of this, it is recommended to find a dropshipper that has multiple warehouses, preferably in Europe and the United States, so that your products can be delivered to your target market quickly.
Customers’ orders: can I keep tabs on them?
Ask any prospective dropshipper if they will monitor your customers’ orders. By letting customers check on the status of their orders, you’ll be able to keep the delivery process running smoothly and give your customers a better overall shopping experience.
In addition to increasing the likelihood of positive feedback and repeat business, this will also bolster customer confidence in you as a seller. Because of this, it is crucial that you and your customers be provided with a tracking number for every order.
Do you assign a specific person to each client’s account?
Hiring a dedicated account manager can help you tremendously whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned dropshipper. Your assigned account manager will keep current on your business, allowing them to provide the best possible assistance with anything from business strategy to technical issues.
Just what sort of packaging do you employ?
With dropshipping, you have to trust your supplier with everything from packaging to shipping your customers’ orders. Know that in some instances, your supplier may be required to label its name or warehouse location on the packaging.
Nonetheless, unbranded packages are acceptable in some cases. If you want to keep your store’s reputation intact, you should request that your dropshipping supplier not put their logo on the packaging.
Do you have data and pictures of the product that I can look at?
Having well-optimized product names, descriptions, and high-quality images will do wonders for your dropshipping business. Having a dropshipping supplier means you can skip taking product photos and climbing search engine results pages.
You’ll be better able to assist customers with technical inquiries about the products you sell once you’ve taken the time to learn as much as possible about those products.
I’m wondering if you’re able to accept multiple currencies when making sales.
Since dropshipping businesses can reach customers anywhere in the world, they need to provide products in the currencies their clients use. Changing prices to account for fluctuations in the exchange rate can be a tedious process.
To sync your prices quickly and easily, you need to find a dropshipping provider that supports currency conversion via their dropshipping plugin.
How frequently do you roll out brand new offerings?
To make sure you can always provide your customers with something new, you should inquire as to how long it takes for your dropshipping supplier to send you new stock.
If you always sell the same things in your store, you won’t be able to keep customers interested enough to revisit your selection.
Make sure your dropshipping supplier receives fresh stock on a weekly basis so you can keep your inventory fresh and attract new customers.
Do you have resources to help businesses that focus on drop shipping?
When you’re just starting out as a drop shipper, you need all the help you can get, whether it comes in the form of paid online courses or advice from your supplier. Expert dropshipping vendors can provide invaluable insight into the inner workings of the online retail sector.
You can learn a lot about a prospective dropshipping partner and their approach to business, as well as how well they support your marketing and search engine optimization efforts, by simply asking them for advice.
So, where do you keep your wares?
Your dropshipping provider’s warehouse (or warehouses) is very important when it comes to shipping times. In addition to this, you should consider the legal framework of the country from which your products originate.
From the perspective of the buyer, taxes and customs fees are equally significant because they represent additional costs beyond the base price.
Whenever possible, work with a dropshipping supplier that has warehouses in close proximity to the markets you plan to enter. Ideally, you’d work with a supplier that has warehouses in multiple locations. This will allow you to give your clients the highest level of service.
Do you sell genuine goods?
This is a question you should pose to your dropshipping supplier before beginning business with them if you plan to resell branded products.
Even if you are unwittingly selling counterfeit goods, the customer’s contract will be with you and not the manufacturer. You risk copyright and infringement charges if even one component of your product is counterfeit.
How does it work when you need to send something back?
There are a number of scenarios in which knowing your dropshipping supplier’s return policy would be useful. First, check with your supplier to see if their return policy is consistent with yours to avoid spending money to replace a defective product.
If you want things to go as smoothly and easily as possible for your customers, it helps to be aware of your supplier’s return policy from the get-go.
Is a Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) Required?
You can always try asking if they plan on decreasing their prices. You don’t want to offer the price, so if they’re willing to go in at a lower price and pay a higher minimum, let them come back to you. Inquire if I can pay more to have the minimum lowered and, if so, by how much.
Check with the manufacturer to see if they have any unsold inventory from previous customers who cancelled orders.
It can be challenging to source reliable dropshipping partners for your e-commerce business. You can get a leg up on the competition, though, if you take the time to find a supplier that can help you achieve your objectives.
To a large extent, these questions and their answers will do. Naturally, the questions will increase in complexity after reading the answers. Suppliers who engage in drop shipping should be open to discussing how to mutually benefit both businesses.