Does your supplier give you peace of mind?
Finding a hot selling product is a great feeling for any online seller – unfortunately it’s often one of the most challenging aspects too and I was reminded of this just this week following lots of emails on this very topic from new Source Report members who took advantage of my recent exclusive offer and who are now successfully utilizing the huge amount of information, product suggestions, suppliers and resources available to them on the site!
One of the main questions was with regard to the reliability of suppliers found online – not only as to whether they are genuine but also whether they have the capacity to supply you constantly and consistently with the goods. To explain what I mean, perhaps you have been in the situation where you have researched and sourced a great product, listed it as a test item and found that it was snapped up instantly and for a profit? Now of course, all you need is a supplier who can regularly meet your need for that particular product, and potentially other items in a similar niche…
It sounds so simple doesn’t it. And often it is. However, on the down side, there are a huge volume of suppliers around and what you must remember is that unfortunately not all of them are worth your while. It’s important to choose a reliable supplier because ultimately you want peace of mind when running your online business and the worst thing for you would be to assume that you’ll always be able to get the stock you need, continually take orders, and then suddenly find that your supplier has let you down and failed to provide you with your requirements. You’ll end up giving them a piece of your mind rather than having peace of mind in that scenario!
Or what about if your supplier suddenly puts the price up, forcing you to look elsewhere? Or maybe your supplier literally can’t meet the demand that you require? There are all sorts of potential problems as soon as you start sourcing stock and it might sound like it’s all doom and gloom – but it’s not! For every supplier who can’t meet your needs there is always one that can, you just need to know how to find them!
Your first port of call when it comes to finding a supplier could be to head to the various directories online that can provide you with valuable information about the different suppliers within various industries. A quick Google search for ‘Wholesale Directory’ reveals a massive 1.6 million results; there is certainly no shortage of directories out there – but you need to be careful because not all ‘directories’ will be what they might seem!
Don’t confuse ‘directories’ with ‘wholesale lists’ that require you to pay for them. Look for bona-fide directories that are free or offer a free option. For example The Wholesaler – a genuine site which has been around for more than 13 years and which you can find here or The Trader which is here
Start to have a look through a few of the available directories – including The Wholesaler and The Trader – which are both very easy to use – and once you’ve narrowed your search down to the relevant category you will find suppliers that meet your requirements.
Now although these directories are a great place to get the ball rolling when it comes to discovering exactly what’s out there in terms of suppliers, they do tend to be quite limited in their information. Most directories will tell you what sort of goods are stocked by the respective companies and include contact details and website links where possible, but there’s no real information regarding the performance of the supplier – in other words, there’s nothing to let you know how reliable a company they actually are (although The Wholesaler do state that they check wholesalers rigorously before allowing them to advertise on the site). Never-the-less, you’ll need to make sure that you do your own due diligence before committing to an order with any supplier.
After exploring directories for some initial leads, your next stop should be to visit a wholesale or a drop ship forum where real users with real experience can leave comments and feedback about their experience with various suppliers. The Wholesale Forums is a large community of individuals and businesses that utilise the services of wholesale suppliers and you can search through the existing forums looking for a particular supplier that you might have found in a directory, or search for your own niche market to see if anyone has posted about suppliers that they have used in the past.
If you can’t find any information on the supplier that you’re looking for then you can always ask a question to other forum members to seek out relevant advice and receive real views on suppliers.
Forums are an incredibly useful resource for any seller just starting out with wholesale suppliers, or in fact for an experienced seller looking to start working with a new supplier. Joining a community like this can provide you with invaluable help, but make sure that you’re also willing to get involved and answer any questions as well! Forums are a give and take experience, so after you’ve been selling for a while you may be able to offer advice to another newbie.
So, next if your forum searching hasn’t revealed any solid clues as to the reliability of a particular supplier that you initially found on your directory hunt then it would be very useful for you to be able to see some reviews and there are two primary ways of going about this –
- Search for the name of the supplier within Google, along with the word ‘review’. It’s possible that another seller has written and posted a review online so this could show up some results. It won’t always be successful of course, as not every supplier will have honest reviews written about them, plus reviews online do tend to be of a negative nature. We humans are far more inclined to criticize than to praise, so you could end up turning down a perfectly good wholesaler based on one individual’s bad experience. With that in mind, don’t make a decision based on just one review – instead look at three or four or more.
- Ask the supplier for testimonials from their customers. It might sound a bit cheeky to request some reviews from a prospective supplier, but they’ll be used to it. It’s true, they’re hardly likely to show you any negative feedback that they’ve had, but if they do have positive reviews to hand that’s a good start. Try to make sure you get the names of any companies along with the testimonials so that you can double check to ensure a positively glowing recommendation hasn’t simply been made up!
So, if you’ve already run through those three ideas then you should hopefully have a good idea as to whether your chosen supplier is reliable. Before jumping in with an enormous order however, it’s essential that you give them a trial run. Ask if you can order a small sample quantity of a particular product to let you assess its quality, how well it sells and also to test the responsiveness, packaging and delivery speed of the supplier. You may have to pay a little extra per unit for a smaller order, but the peace of mind will be worth it.
If you’re still not sure about the supplier even after a test run, gradually increase your order sizes until you’re at the point you need to be. That way you won’t be investing a serious amount of money until you’re completely confident.
As always I wish you the best of success,