Find Suppliers for Ecommerce Store

 

So now you’ve found a product you want to sell. But where do you actually get that product? How do you go from saying “I’m going to sell gym clothes” to “I have gym clothes I’m going to sell”?

 

The processes can be confusing. So let’s dig into it.

 

 

Start Locally

The best thing to do in any case, is to start your search locally. If you can find someone in your area that is selling or manufacturing the same (or similar) product you want to sell – you already have an upper hand.

 

Plus, if they’re a reseller or wholesale supplier, you’re golden.

 

The reason to search locally is because it lets you see the product for yourself much quicker than if you’re having the product manufactured, or sourced overseas. It’s a much faster, more hands-on, less expensive way to get started.

 

The easiest way to actually find these businesses?

Just do a simple Google search. Let’s say we’re selling gym clothes, and we want to find a seller locally. Here are some common search terms that are worth checking into:

 

  • “gym clothes new york”
  • “custom gym clothes new york”
  • “blank gym clothes new york”
  • “gym clothes buy new york”
  • “gym clothes resell new york”
  • “wholesale gym clothes new york”
  • “manufacturer gym clothes new york”
  • “dropshipping gym clothes new york”

 

Generally, just search for your product + location and you’ll find what you’re looking for.

 

Depending on what you’re looking for, you might have to be a bit discrete when first reaching out to the business. The reason being is well, you’re coming up as a competitor. If they know that – they just might not be willing to do business with you unfortunately.

 

 

Expand Past Local

Using the same search terms and strategy as previously mentioned, just tweak your approach for a more national approach. Rather than including a specific state in your search terms, just drop the state and include your country.

 

It can be difficult to vet which companies are good or not for you when you do this, but from experience the easiest thing to do is actually phone any leads.

 

So, for instance – you have a list of 15 different companies that manufacture or wholesale gym clothes. Being able to determine which one is best for you can take a long, long time if you’re emailing back and forth with the supplier.

 

The easiest thing to do is simply give them a phone call, speak to a customer service representative, and get a feel for how they work and what their pricing option is.

 

Keep in mind that in some cases, just because the price is higher – doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a better product.

 

 

Check Overseas

If you’ve struck out locally, your next best bet is to check overseas. There’s a plethora of different product listing websites available, but the most popular is Alibaba.

 

It is a great place to check out if you know that your product can be manufactured in China. In most cases, because of the industry that you are in, you will be able to find anything on Alibaba – and for incredibly cheap!

 

Alibaba

 

Alibaba Site

If you decide to wholesale or manufacture your product overseas then Alibaba will become your new best friend.

 

By the numbers, Alibaba is the largest eCommerce company in the world (bigger than Amazon and eBay combined) and it’s also the most comprehensive directory that connects suppliers (mostly from Asia) with buyers from all over the world.

 

alibaba ecommerce domincation

 

Alibaba literally has millions of products from hundreds of thousands of suppliers so there’s not much you won’t find on the directory.

 

The goal is to find a dream supplier. This means a supplier who is a Gold Member, will make cheap and quality samples, offers Paypal payments, and will respond to your messages quickly and effectively.

 

alibaba Gold Member

 

 

Everything You need to know about Ecommerce Business

 

6 Steps to Finding Alibaba Suppliers for Your eCommerce Business

Once you’ve chosen product idea that is a good fit for your target customers, your next step is to find suppliers who can manufacture, wholesale your products.

 

This is one of the most important steps in launching an eCommerce business! Finding a great supplier to create your product is just invaluable. But navigating vast supplier networks can be a challenge.

 

Using this short guide, you can quickly go from having a product idea to finding someone to supply those products — even if you don’t have much experience.

 

Step #1: Use filtered searches to find products

Since Alibaba is the world’s largest eCommerce company, it’s also the biggest site for finding suppliers and manufacturers. This is why it’s best to start your search here.

 

All you have to do is enter the keyword most relevant to your product, and type it into the search bar in the homepage. But you need to run a few filters if you want to get reliable suppliers.

 

alibaba supplier filter

 

Once you’ve done this, select “Gold Suppliers” among the filters under the Suppliers tab. Gold Suppliers are pre-qualified and pass Alibaba’s on-site checks.

 

This is a must-have criteria if you want to make sure you’re working with a trustworthy supplier. (Learn more about Gold Suppliers here.)

 

alibaba gold supplier

 

Here are the other criteria you can select to ensure that you’ll be getting quality suppliers:

 

alibaba gold supplier

 

 

 

 

 

Example of great suppliers : 

 

alibaba supplier

 

As you can see they from the photo above, these suppliers are:

 

  • Gold suppliers
  • More than 3 years old (very good sign)
  • Trade Assurance approved which is great for peace of mind
  • Response rate over 90% which proves they response fast
  • High transaction level which shows they work with a lot of companies

 

Step #2: Narrow down your supplier shortlist

Once you’ve chosen the filters that are important for your business, narrow down your list by selecting 10 to 20 suppliers to contact.

 

These could be the ones at the top of your filtered search results. Or, you could re-sort the list according to Response Rate if you want to start contacting the suppliers that tend to give a rapid response.

 

Step #3: Request more detailed information

Contacting a list of 20 suppliers might seem intimidating, but since you need the same information from every single one, you can just use the same message for all of them.

 

Here’s a script you can use:

Hello,

 

I’m getting ready to launch [Business Name], a company that [Brief description of your products and services]. I’m looking for a reliable supplier for [List products you need].

 

Can you send me a price list for these items, including shipping and other payment information? Please let me know other important details such as the minimum order quantity, payment and shipping methods, and manufacturing lead time.

 

Also, would it be possible to get some samples of these products? The samples would be shipped to [Your state/province and country]. You can send me the above information at [Your email address]. I look forward to hearing from you and possibly ordering from your  company.

 

Thank you,
[Your Name]

 

 

Alibaba’s Messenger App

If you don’t want to wait too long for a reply, you can use Alibaba’s TradeManager app to chat with potential suppliers. One advantage of using chat is that apart from getting instant replies, you can ask questions on-the-fly.

 

Of course, make sure that you’re chatting during business hours in the supplier’s country. In most cases these are in China or, more generally, in Asia.

 

Alibaba’s Messenger App

 

Step #4: Choose suppliers to test

Wait 24 hours to see which suppliers have replied to you. Work only with those who have responded within this window – you don’t want a non-responsive supplier, especially in emergency situations.

 

Through email or Alibaba’s TradeManager app, you’ll be asking them follow-up questions, giving them more information about your needs, and having your expectations set on what it would be like to work with each supplier.

 

Based on these interactions, select 2 to 5 suppliers to do a “dry run” with. Throw away the rest that respond late, are vague, difficult to talk to, or don’t give you the answers you need.

 

Step #5: Do a dry run

At this point, it’s time to do a dry run with the 2 to 5 suppliers that you selected from the previous step. They might send you free samples or, more likely, you’ll be buying a few samples from them.

 

Pay attention to the following:

 

  • Your shipping fees – Shipping alone will typically cost you $25 to $50 from an overseas supplier.

 

  • Your shipping schedule – Note the date you order the sample and the date it actually arrives. Compare this with the expectations the supplier set.

 

  • Payment methods – Pay only through your choice of escrow services or PayPal. Otherwise, you won’t have buyer protection in case you don’t receive the samples or the samples are in poor quality.

 

Other entrepreneurs even go the extra mile and contact the same suppliers under a different name, including ordering samples. This will let you know if their information and quality is consistent.

 

Step #6: Inspect the products for quality.

Once you receive the product, do your own quality inspection. Ask yourself the following questions:

 

  • Is the quality what you expected, especially based on product photos?
  • Are there any parts that don’t seem durable or long-lasting?
  • Are there any missing components?
  • Is the packaging material of good quality? Was the item damaged in transit?

 

Everything You need to know about Ecommerce Business

 

 

Check more articles:

Why Shopify Is The Best Ecommerce Solution

How Profitable Is Dropshipping ? You Should Rethink

How Do I Start A Dropshipping Business In 2022

How To Dropship On Amazon Step By Step – Complete Guide

 

Conclusion

While the above steps are simple, it will take a few weeks to go from searching for a supplier to inspecting their samples. But this is all part of doing your due diligence and finding a supplier who is trustworthy, communicative, and reliable.

 

After this process, you’re likely to find a company who can support your eCommerce business in the long run.

 

 

 

 

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