The success of an e-commerce business is entirely dependent on its products and services. If you are able to provide your customers with the right product at the right time and the right price, there is nothing that could stop your business from being successful.
It is a fact that not all e-commerce businesses manufacture their products. A majority of the businesses procure products from suppliers residing across the globe and resell under their brand name.
Though it is one of the most convenient ways for small businesses to start their journey without worrying much about manufacturing, the lack of control over the quality and supply creates an issue.
Here comes the need to select your supplier after thorough research about their business ethics. This article would help you understand what factors should be considered when selecting a supplier?
E-commerce is a head-on competitive market with thousands of brands selling the exact product you are selling. If you compromise on anything, especially quality, you will lose your grip on the market.
So, before selecting a supplier, request product samples and do the quality assessment yourself. However, this is not enough because the supplier may send you quality samples, and the actual product could be of poor quality altogether. To avoid such fraudulent suppliers, do ample online research and go through the customer reviews to find out what others say about them.
2. Value for Money
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
– Warren Buffett.
The sole reason for mentioning Value for Money is because Price and Quality are a bit contradictory. Let’s be honest in saying that you need to check on the price tag to get your products at an affordable price as a small business.
But does that mean you would purchase low-quality products for the sake of lower prices? Definitely not. You have to find suppliers who could provide you with better quality products within your price range.
3. Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)
When you are purchasing products to resell, it is only profitable if you buy them at a wholesale price. The catch is that to procure products at a wholesale price, you must purchase in larger quantities.
Every seller sets up a minimum quantity of products known as MOQ that you must purchase to get a discounted price. The quantity could vary from 100 to 1000 or even more, depending upon the requirement drafted by the supplier.
As a small business, you might not want to stock up a lot of inventories initially due to capital shortage or other reasons like uncertainty about the success of your business. Therefore, find suppliers willing to give to accept small quantity orders.
4. Delivery and Reliability
If you are planning to become a Flipkart or Amazon seller, you must know that if you have a high Out of Stock (OOS) rate, it reduces the visibility of your products and thus hampers your sales. Also, there are chances that you miss out on additional services such as the ‘Buy Box’ feature of Amazon.
Even if you sell products through your own website, letting your products go out of stock quite often might make your customers lose trust in your brand. Hence, you need to check if the seller can deliver orders on time and has products always available in their stock.
Sometimes, you might also need to place orders in a short period. So, be sure that the suppliers can handle quick orders. However, maintain your inventory correctly and refrain from placing such orders repeatedly as you might also lose your suppliers.
5. Experience of the Supplier
Does the experience of the suppliers matter? Oh yes, it does. When you are ordering products from a supplier located in a different country, a full-fledged Import and Export occurs.
Every country has its Import and Export policy governed by the Foreign Trade Department, which both your supplier and you need to follow while making the trade. Adhering to the rules will ensure a smooth customs clearance without you having to pay any penalty.
An experienced supplier would know how to handle unforeseen situations that could arise while dispatching the products and could assist you with the same.
6. Flexible to Negotiate
“Negotiation is not a policy. It’s a technique. It’s something you use when it’s to your advantage, and something that you don’t use when it’s not to your advantage.” – John Bolton.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a big or small business; you must always keep your door open for negotiation. The aim of any business must be to provide good quality products to their customers at a reasonable price and at the same time reach the profit margin.
And therefore, negotiation is vital to add up minimal costs to your product. Not limited to price, negotiation should also be done on the MOQ, as stated earlier.
Remember, while doing a business, you should always watch out for your benefits. If you are partnering up with someone, what are they bringing to your table? Never shy from declining a supplier if their goals do not align with yours.
Many suppliers and sellers follow various illegal and unethical methods to evade customs duties and IGST. But to sustain for longer, be sure to stay away from such practices.