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-   -   How to find good product suppliers? (http://www.smallbusinessbrief.com/forum/showthread.php?t=31)

Logan 24th June 2004 11:29 PM

How to find good product suppliers?
 
I'm always looking to expand/improve the product lines I sell on the web.

But time and time again - the biggest hurdle I consistently encounter is finding quality suppliers of products at competitive prices who also provide drop shipping.

I noticed Linda is a "former queen of retail management" and suspect some may be able to provide direction on how to go about finding good suppliers of products. I don't expect anyone to lay down their list of specific supplier gold - but instead maybe some tips of what has worked for you in the past or any ideas/help. There is a lot of junk out there as we all know, and it seems to rare that I establish good new relationships with suppliers of products.

How do you go about finding suppliers of products?

Soyomb 30th June 2004 05:00 PM

Hey Logan,

Check out www.dropshipsource.com, I'm a member of their directory and I have been for over a year, have account with 5 of the companies listed there, they are direct authorized distribuitors of the brands they sell, and I believe the directory list thus far 500+ companies which is a little over 500,000 products.

Hope this helps!

Logan 1st July 2004 12:50 PM

thanks for the info Soyomb! It does look like their approach addresses many of the inherent issues with finding good drop shippers. I'll be looking into it further. :)

WiteKnite 1st July 2004 01:18 PM

Sometimes asking works...
 
Hi Logan,

I've used the dropshipsource site in the past and it has been helpful, so definitely check that out. Here's something else that might work.

One of my students already has a business and wanted to carry some of her suppliers' products on her site. Her business is in Canada, her suppliers are in the US and a lot of her Web site customers were in the US. It didn't make sense to send the products to Canada only to ship them back to the US. The suppliers didn't offer drop shipping, and we looked for other suppliers who had the same types of products and did, but couldn't find any.

Finally we decided to write to her suppliers, but before we did, we carefully considered how to approach them. (If you've never read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, I'd recommend it! The approach we used was almost word for word from that book.) Without going into details, her two biggest suppliers are now offering her drop shipping services!

Sometimes, all you need to do is ask... nicely, of course. :)

SteveO 1st July 2004 05:52 PM

www.dropshipsource.com, I'm a paid member there and I tried to find a true wholesale (dropship) company and after several let downs (their prices are not even close to wholesale) I gave up, but I will keep trying since I hear over and over how good they are...

Was going to use them for ebay - I still might I just cant seem to hook up with what I need from them.



SteveOOOoooo

Robert 1st July 2004 09:57 PM

Hi WiteKnite. Welcome to the forum! :)

Feel free to link your signature file to your site. If you need any help with this, just let me know.

Robert

Soyomb 2nd July 2004 08:56 AM

Some of the distribuitors for that directory have very high prices and some of them don't but unfortunetly you can't check them out until you open an account with the distribuitor, we have to remember though that the directory is just that, they do not have anything to do with the companies that they list other than make sure they are not middlemen and list them on their directory.

Now let me tell you my experience, when I wanted to start my paintball store, I could not find any dropshippers for these items so I had to become a distribuitor for Kingman brand, now there is one company that dropships paintball guns and one of the brands this company sells is Kingman (is not me, ok?), the prices that he is giving are like $10 to $12 dollars mark up from the price that I get from Kingman, so I'd say you have a really good deal there if you don't want to mess with inventory and all that. Some other distribuitors though like the ones for electronics, at least for plasma, projection and LCD TV's are way overpriced, you can get better deals off the internet, now if you want to sell that (I know I will here in the near future) your best bet is to find a local distribuitor and talk to him about dropshipping for you.

Logan 2nd July 2004 01:21 PM

thanks for that added info Soyomb and welcome to the forum WiteKnite!

do you agree it is always better to find a local distributor (or one from the town next door sort of thing) versus using a dropshipsource type service? It seems the reality of nickles getting squeezed out often makes establishing a good source via online resources unrealistic as many others are also already familiar with them. seems to be a crux to the issue when it comes to being competitive regarding pricing and at the same time making 'some' money.

Additionally, i haven't figured out any way to make any money on a product that sells for less than $50, as by the time you get done with product cost, shipping, fees, etc. there is no margin. Is there any way to profitably sell low price point products without establishing an inventory? Or do you just immediately cut those out of your list of potential products?

Soyomb 2nd July 2004 04:41 PM

It all depends on what niche you choose to dive in, I can tell you that the most I sell and more profitable items are the accessories on my fish finders, I have mark ups of at least 35% and still use dropshippers so I don't have to deal with inventory, with paintballs on the other hand is a pain in the neck, you have hundreds if not thousands of stores specialized just on that with some ridiculous prices and having to deal with inventory, packaging, shipping, returned items (I don't know why but it happens all the time with those) so you end up loosing your shirt.

The way I see it is if you are going to sell something below the $50 mark make sure that there are not a lot of web stores that sell those items and get yourself a good dropshipper, it does not matter if it's in town or way far from you, it drives your costs down period.

In my case I'm going to get a local distributor for the Home Theater products because is going to give me a lot of advantages that I would not have if buying from a dropshipper out of town, I can have my preferred freight company pick up the product locally, I can inspect the product and make sure that it was in good condition when shipped (is not the same to handle a return for a $300 item than a $4,000 one and have to give a refund or fight with the freight company), etc.
:thumbsup:

bragadocchio 10th July 2004 03:06 AM

Another place to potentially find a good product supplier, at least if you are in North America, is through the Thomas Register:

http://www.thomasregister.com/


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