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25 Questions to Ask Your Dropshipping Supplier Before Getting Started

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Once you’ve familiarized yourself with what is dropshipping, it’s time to continue finding good dropshipping suppliers for your business. When you type into Google the keyword “dropshipping supplier,” your search results will come close to 5.5 million which is an overwhelming number when you’re looking for the best fit for your store.

Now the question of “How do I find the best match?” rightfully comes into your mind. There are certain key considerations you need to focus on when choosing your suppliers. So, in this article, we’ll focus on questions and evaluation points you need to ask your prospective suppliers to make sure they tick off all the boxes.

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Do you have customer reviews available?

When it comes to purchasing a product online, customer reviews have an astonishing impact on the purchasing decision, with 95% of shoppers claiming that they read a review before making a purchase, as reported by EarthWeb. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the fact that customer feedback says a lot about a company’s product quality and services.

So, always ask your suppliers if they have previous reviews available for you to read. If they have reviews on a credible rating website such as Trustpilot, like BrandsGateway’s 4.5 Trustpilot review, then you can make sure that they aren’t fabricated by the supplier to mislead you. If they say no, it should automatically be a red flag because if they’re as good as they say, they should have a bank of previous business owners who had a positive experience with them.

Are operating only a B2B-oriented marketplace?

Another highly important question to ask your dropshipping supplier is if they’re strictly operating a B2B business. If they do sell to the general public at the same prices as they’re selling to you, take it as a signal that you aren’t facing an actual dropshipping supplier. This is a giant warning and means that you wouldn’t want to do business with them and you should go on to the next dropshipping supplier that is operating only as a B2B marketplace.

How do you do customer service?

We have previously written about the importance of outstanding customer service as part of the dropshipping benefits from your supplier. It’s inevitable to be able to communicate with them promptly so that you can best assist your customers as well. To facilitate this, your supplier needs to have adequate language skills and use multiple contact channels through which you could quickly be able to reach its team in case of a problem of any kind.

Do you offer plugins for automation?

Automated dropshipping can save you a great deal of time as you can drastically reduce the manual work and focus your time on other aspects of your business such as marketing. Some suppliers, such as BrandsGateway, offer plugins that you can connect to your dropshipping store and benefit from:

This is the reason why this question is one of the most important ones to ask your potential dropshipping supplier upfront.

Do you offer a turnkey solution for a dropshipping store?

If you’re just starting up your dropshipping business and still don’t have an eCommerce store in place, having a supplier that’s also a turnkey dropshipping store provider can be a huge advantage. If you aren’t familiar with coding or the use of CMS (Content Management System) platforms or just don’t feel confident enough to build your own store’s website, having a ready-to-use webshop will take a huge burden off your shoulders. BrandsGateway, for example, offers clients its own turnkey solution, allowing dropshippers to get their business off the ground in no time.

Which marketplaces and eCommerce platforms are you supporting?

Dropshippers are creating their stores across several Content Management Systems such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and Wix, all of which have their own characteristics and ways of operation. But they don’t exclusively use their own stores’ websites to sell their products. For example, many choose to go with popular marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon as both of these platforms offer great selling opportunities for dropshippers.

Hence, it’s important to find a supplier supporting the eCommerce platform of your choice. For instance, BrandsGateway offers a plugin for Shopify, Shift4Shop, WooCommerce, and for Wix dropshipping. Moreover, you can request access to CSV files that are refreshed every four hours and allow you to bulk upload and update products in your Amazon or eBay store.

Do you have a minimum order amount or revenue requirement?

When you’re just starting up your business in the world of dropshipping, you might not be able to meet your target sales as quickly as you have thought before. For this reason, it’s essential to know if your dropshipping supplier has a minimum order amount or revenue requirement before you start doing business with them. Committing to a certain target before you have even started selling can be risky for a new store, so always consider this as a key factor and look for a supplier who doesn’t work with MOQ inventory.

Can you meet the demand generated by my store?

At the moment you might just be starting off your dropshipping store, but you have to be prepared for the time your customers’ demand is picking up, especially if you’re championing the marketing aspect of your business. Therefore, it’s highly important to make sure that your dropshipping supplier is ready and able to meet the demand that’ll flow into them from your store. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on good sales opportunities.

What are your shipping times?

Consumers’ demand for fast shipping has increased over the past years. They prefer a shipping time that is not longer than 5 days so they can get their hands on the merchandise they ordered within a week. Consequently, this is one of the most important questions that you can ask your dropshipping supplier.

Usually, Chinese suppliers show many cons in this aspect as they have to move products across the globe, and therefore, delivery can sometimes take up to 6 weeks. Bearing this in mind, it’s better that you work with suppliers that have multiple warehouses, preferably in Europe and the US, so that your products are quickly delivered to the audience you’re targeting.

What is your processing and dispatching time on dropshipping orders?

Another factor that’ll highly affect the time your end customers can receive their order at their doorstep is the time of processing and dispatching of their order. Fast order processing and dispatch will mean faster delivery and higher satisfaction for your customers. Normally, dropshipping suppliers are quick to ship orders out once they receive payment for them, but on occasions, it can take longer during busier seasons, for example, around the holidays. So, being aware of your supplier’s shipping schedule will help you manage your customers’ expectations more easily.

Will my customers’ orders be tracked?

Another key question to ask your potential dropshipping supplier is whether the orders of your customers will be tracked. Giving your customers the benefit of being able to track the progress of their orders will not only help you run a smooth delivery process but also improve your customers’ experience with your store. It’ll also give them the impression that you’re a transparent and trustworthy seller, which will eventually result in good feedback and additional dropshipping sales.

Do you provide a dedicated account manager?

Having a dedicated account manager can be a huge help both at the beginning of your dropshipping journey and even when you’re an already experienced dropshipper. Your dedicated account manager will be the one who is always up to date with your business and know how to assist you the best whether it’s about your business strategy or potential technical issues.

What kind of packaging are you using?

In dropshipping, as you surely know, you’re giving up your control over how your orders will be packaged and sent to your final customer. That being the case, you should be aware that in some cases your supplier might be obliged to put its name or warehouse address on the packaging. However, there are times when it’s possible to leave the packages unbranded. In order to be able to maintain the integrity of your store, it’s of key importance for your supplier – when possible – not to use their branding on the packaging. BrandsGateway, for example, is using unbranded packaging and sends the goods under a generic name when shipping in countries within the EU.

Do you provide product information and images?

Having access to SEO-optimized product names, descriptions, and high-quality images upgraded with photo editing apps can be a great help for your dropshipping business. Therefore, having your supplier provide you with such product information will help you rank better in search engine results. This also allows you to familiarize yourself with the merchandise that you’re offering to your customers so if they happen to have any questions regarding any product specifications, you can provide them with well-put-together answers.

Do you support selling in different currencies?

Dropshipping stores have the liberty to target consumers all over the world. Taking that into account, business owners should offer items priced in their customer’s local currencies. But at the same time, keeping your prices updated by the actual conversion rate can be a time-consuming task. This is why it’s wise to have a dropshipping supplier that facilitates currency conversion through their dropshipping plugin, such as BrandsGateway, so your prices can sync automatically.

How often do you offer new products?

The next important inquiry you should make is regarding how often is your inventory updated. If you keep offering the same merchandise to your customers, you won’t be giving them a reason to frequently return to your store and browse through your offering again and again. So make sure your dropshipping supplier can furnish you with weekly new arrivals so that you can stay relevant and offer new merchandise to your customers regularly.

Where do you store your products?

As mentioned before, the location of the warehouse or warehouses of your dropshipping supplier is key when it comes to delivery time. Customs fees and taxes are equally important from a consumer’s point of view as these are considered as extra charges on top of the purchase price. With this in mind, you should always look for a dropshipping supplier that has warehouses the closest to the market you’re aiming to target. BrandsGateway is such an example, operating from several across the globe. This will allow you to provide merchandise to your customers under the best conditions possible.

Do you offer business support for dropshipping retailers?

Again, when you are a dropshipping newbie it’s crucial for you to receive the best business support you can access whether its from paid online classes or coming directly from your supplier. Well-established dropshipping suppliers are usually in the business for several years, meaning they have a vast amount of knowledge of the dynamics of the eCommerce market and dropshipping statistics. BrandsGateway, for instance, provides its clients with a variety of resources on marketing and SEO strategies that assist dropshippers greatly in elevating their businesses.

What markup and margin you can ensure?

The reason that makes entrepreneurs ask ‘is dropshipping worth it‘ is because they aren’t sure what margins and markups they can establish when collaborating with their suppliers. Therefore, in order to make sure that you’re keeping your business profitable, you must make inquiries with your dropshipping supplier about how much revenue you can earn while working with them. Always inform yourself about the markup and profit margins you can achieve when reselling their merchandise so you can budget and calculate the return on your investment (ROI) as realistically as possible. Working with a supplier that provides high markups up to 250%, as BrandsGateway does, is the ideal scenario.

Do you sell authentic products?

This question is especially important to ask when you’re looking into branded dropshipping. Without a proof of authenticity, you could end up selling counterfeit without even knowing. As a result, you could face serious copyright and infringement charges. Therefore, aim for dropshipping suppliers that have authenticity assurance, like BrandsGateway, and ship and deliver their products in their original boxes and with the original branded tags.

How does your return process work?

Informing yourself about how your supplier deals with dropshipping returns is essential for several reasons, one of the most important being avoiding customer conflicts. By knowing this policy, you’ll know upfront how to manage situations in which refunds may be required yet still keep customers satisfied and maintain the reputation of your business.

How great is the variety of the merchandise you offer?

As a dropshipper, you should always offer the best and widest variety of merchandise within the niche you operate so you can increase your chances to make a sale. That being said, you must make inquires about your supplier’s stock diversity and evaluate if it’s extensive enough for you to work with them.

Ideally, your dropshipping supplier would have enough options at all times so your customers wouldn’t need to turn elsewhere. This is particularly important if you decide to sell clothing and accessories which are categories that are selling very fast. Selecting a dropshipping supplier that offers thousands of products from hundreds of brands is something that should be your primary goal when entering the fashion dropshipping niche.

What can our future prospects be?

If you start working together with a certain dropshipping supplier and you’re satisfied with how things are going, you would logically want to work with them in the long run. For this reason, you should talk about your supplier about what re their plans about your cooperation in future. It’s vital for you to know if they see you as an enduring partner or are just looking for a one-off occasion to collaborate and make money right away.

Will you support my marketing efforts?

As your supplier takes care of inventory management, fulfillment, and shipping, with dropshipping you have the chance to really excel in online marketing. But not every business owner is a marketing expert so it usually comes in handy when a supplier is providing you with supporting material. So be sure that you ask your supplier if they have any sort of ready-to-use guides on ads, such as Facebook ads, and either types of social media advertising or if they’re planning holiday campaigns going forward that you can line up with your marketing efforts.

What kind of payment methods are accepted?

When you’re in a business relationship with a dropshipping supplier, it’s likely that you’ll have to make payments to them on a regular basis. These payments will not only be for your monthly dropshipping subscription but also for the products your customers purchase from you. Therefore, you need to know beforehand what kind of dropshipping payment system your supplier works with and ensure they;d be able to facilitate you with different kinds of payment methods so you can choose the one that is best suitable for your circumstances.

To sum up

In order to make certain you’re always working with the best possible suppliers, we recommend that you refresh the list of your preferred suppliers from time to time. As time goes on, your business will be constantly changing so you’ll need to make sure that the suppliers you work with are still as suitable as they were at the beginning of your work relationship. To ensure this, you can repeatedly go through the questions we have listed above and re-evaluate each and every supplier you have at least on a yearly basis.

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About the Author

Lilla Stefanovszky

Fashion marketing professional turned digital marketer. My name is Lilla and I have been working in the fashion industry for 5 years. Currently working at BrandsGateway and helping with the development of the marketing strategy and on occasions writing articles for our audience. When away form the computer, I enjoy outdoors and running with my dogs.

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