This is by far the most frequently asked question I get:
“How do I find a drop shipper? I’ve been looking but everything I find is junk.”
A quick tip is DON’T GOOGLE IT. If you start looking for dropshippers like that, you most likely will end up with one of those services that has a warehouse and advertises their drop shipping services. This means that have hundreds or even thousands of people signed up under them, and they all sell the same stuff. Most of the stuff they sell is usually generic stuff you can buy at Wal-Mart, hardware stores or other common retail outlets. This means you’ll be competing with thousands of similar sites plus large retailers.
So how do you find a dropshipper for my niche product?
You simply look for people that already sell what you want to sell. My target dropshipper already sold rave & club type of stuff, so I gave them a call. You can generally tell if someone is a supplier if they have proper contact information, someone always picks up the phone and other small cues by looking at their website.
Often times the supplier with a warehouse will not have any sort of drop shipping program. You must create it. Simply explain to the head decision maker that you want to sell his products, and he ships them out whenever you send him orders. Usually a business owner will be happy to expand his business base if it’s not too much of an inconvenience.
Most likely several places will reject your offer before you find one that accepts. To get accepted faster, don’t call someone and say, “I wanna build a website and sell your stuff.” I suggest you first build a sample store, perhaps add some of the suppliers products on there for good measure and THEN call and say, “I can expand your customer base by selling your products, I’ve already got a store ready to go, check it out at …..” A business owner will take your request more seriously if you already have something in place and it looks like you’re experienced.
I started HouseOfRave before I had a supplier. I had already built the site and added some sample products, I just needed to fill it with a suppliers inventory. For this reason I quickly got someone to jump on board.
Think about it from the suppliers point of view:
1.) If your website appeals to a different niche than theirs but sells the same stuff, they can effectively expand into a different niche without doing a thing. For this reason, try to appeal to a different niche than your supplier, don’t just try to steal their customers.
2.) With you selling THEIR stuff on a different site, it creates artificial competition in the niche. It’s kind of like when you buy gum; whether you buy Juicy Fruit, Winterfresh or Double Mint, some profit always goes back to the Wrigleys company.
3.) From a search engine optimization perspective, if you type in a product, the supplier can be number in a top search results and so can you. This means if someone buys something based off a search result, the supplier is more likely to make money.
So to find the supplier I first compiled a list of websites and suppliers of rave/club products. I started calling. It took at least 10 calls before I found someone who was willing to work with me and didn’t require up-front payment (and didn’t ask how old I was). This was a very narrow genre of products, so if you’re looking for a more common product, expect to make A LOT MORE calls. Word of advice: Calling is more powerful than sending an email. The supplier in California I was working with imported all these products themselves, and even had their own website selling the stuff. I got an agreement to use their images and descriptions on my website, and get wholesale pricing on individual orders. I would pay them my balance at the end of each month.
ACTIONS TO TAKE:
1.) Identify a genre of products you would like to sell.
2.) Do your homework and compile a list of everyone that sells these products.
3.) Find out who actually sends stuff out (you don’t want to contact another drop shipper).
4.) Ask if they can drop ship for you.
5.) Start inputting the suppliers inventory in your store and start selling!
Word of Caution: If you want to sell a common item like MP3 players, computer parts etc, you have a very large uphill battle. There are thousands of other places already selling these things, some very established, and they will often kill you based on price and reputation. Imagine if you’re selling a digital camera that Wal-Mart also carries. Most people will order from a larger retailer just based on trust, and most likely they will never find your site in the first place. The larger places will also kill you on price.
I sell these 3-packs of Oggz for $49.99. The product was extremely successful in the smaller markets and eventually started selling at WalMart. The price at WalMart was $28.00!! My wholesale price wasn’t even that low! So to even TRY competing based on price I’d have to take a loss which is not an option. While people still order the Oggz at my $49.99 price, the price internet-wide has dropped once the product went mainstream and is being sold by hundreds of retailers.
So if you want to sell extremely common items like digital cameras etc, you probably have a better chance selling them on Ebay….however then you’ll REALLY be in a constant price war.
Having a unique offering of products always helps attract buyers to your site, because it’s often difficult to get such specific items elsewhere. This is why I chose such a niche genre of products such as rave/club items for my first business.
The best thing to sell is something no one else has. I didn’t have anything like that, so the next best thing was to sell items that very few people had.
Next >>> Part 4: Getting A Site Setup
The House Of Rave .com Story
Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: Finding Something to Sell
Part 3: Finding A Drop Shipper
Part 4: Getting A Site Setup
Part 5: Pros and Cons of Drop Shipping
Part 6: How It All Works