Finding and building a relationship with your supplier is important for any business, but in the world of drop shipping where the supplier is such a critical part of your customer fulfillment process, it is even more so. They are responsible for maintaining your brand and customer values. If an item is broken, poorly packaged, expired or late, when the customer receives it, it will reflect badly on your business, not the suppliers.
Finding the right company to meet your expectations can be a difficult task. To help, here are four attributes you should look for when selecting a drop shipping supplier:
- Centrally Located. Assess your target market and where you will be sending the majority of your products. Packages shouldn’t take more than two to three business days to arrive. If you find a great supplier in BC, but know the majority of your business will come from the east coast, then it could take more than a week to reach a customer. Finding centrally located suppliers will allow you to save you money on delivery fees and offer consistent delivery times
- Invested in Technology. Efficiency is the key to drop shipping.. And that efficiency is made a lot easier by technology. Suppliers who are invested in technology are simply easier to work with. Features like a streamlined website, an online catalogue, electronic payment platforms, real-time inventory and track and trace search functions can help you improve your own operations. Even the ability to email orders to the supplier, rather than calling them in, can significantly improve your time and profit margins on each order.
- Dedicated Expert Staff with an Industry Focus. Just because you have identified a niche in the market, does not necessary mean that you are an expert in the field. This is where finding a supplier with knowledgeable sales reps, who really know their industry and products, can pay huge dividends. Knowing you have a representative you can call with any of your or your customers’ questions or issues is invaluable.
- Organized and Efficient. Great staff and great systems are good measures toward achieving error-free order fulfillment. The trouble is that it’s difficult to know how competent a supplier is without using them first. If you have any doubts, place a few small test orders to give you a sense of how they operate under deadlines. You’ll then be able to see how they handle the order processing, shipping, tracking and the types of packaging they use.
Good product sourcing is vital for your business, so take time to do your research and find the right supplier relationship for your business.