If you have decided to start an ecommerce store and sell products online, you must have understood by now that you need to figure out a lot of things.
With the idea itself arises tons of questions that need to be solved. What to sell? Where to sell? Should you manufacture your products or resell them? If you resell, where and how to find the supplies? Too many unsolved mysteries, right?
Oh, wait? Who is a supplier?
A supplier can be manufacturers, wholesalers or distributors who provide goods and services to other business entities.
In this post, we have discussed simple steps to find suppliers for your online stores to give you more insight.
- Decide Your Business Model
The first step to finding the perfect supplier for you is to decide what exactly would be your business strategy, whether you would manufacture products or become a reseller. Depending on your business model, you would contact suppliers to purchase raw materials to produce your own products or finished products to resell in the market.
For example, if you are a clothing brand that wants to create your own apparel line, you need to seek suppliers who deal in fabrics. Similarly, if you want to resell, say denim jackets, then you need to find suppliers who manufacture denim jackets, which can be branded or locally made again, depending on your business model.
- Consider Different Supplier Market
Once you know the type of suppliers you need for your business, you should find out where to source them from. You could either assemble products or raw materials from domestic or overseas suppliers.
Generally, businesses order products from the vast supplier market in Asia, like China, India, Thailand, Malaysia and other countries, because the suppliers located in these countries offer you supplies at reasonable prices. Here is how to reach out to suppliers online and offline.
2.1 Local Suppliers
Every city has its wholesale market, but the ones in the metropolitan cities of India, such as New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai, offer products at significantly lower prices. So, if you are from any of these cities, you can directly visit the wholesale market and contact different wholesalers of your niche. Otherwise, you can contact them over the phone or e-mail to make a deal.
You could get the contact details of suppliers from online directories, Google or YouTube searches, and other social media platforms.
2.2 E-Commerce Supplier Platform
Many e-commerce websites are available from where you can buy products in bulk. The websites generally have suppliers onboard who sell products at a wholesale price. Take a look at some of the e-commerce supplier platforms below.
4. Ek Wholesale
8. Indian Sadar Bazaar
9. Flipkart Wholesale
10. Amazon Distribution
2.3 International Suppliers
You could undoubtedly order your products from the e-commerce supplier websites from China, India, and other countries at a reasonable price, but if you want to negotiate more, you need to contact the international suppliers personally.
You could quickly get supplier details from the websites and call them or write them an email asking for a more discounted price. Remember, you have to bear a few other expenses as well for importing goods from overseas. So, do your calculations well before reaching out to the suppliers with your counter-offers.
- Contact Different Suppliers
You need to contact different suppliers before considering whom you want to do business with. It is advisable to make agreements with at least 2-3 suppliers so that the products are readily available and you don’t run out of stock at any point in time.
Having alternate suppliers helps you continue your business uninterruptedly in case suppliers back out or shut down their business. Also, multiple suppliers create a competitive environment that increases your bargaining power.
- Request for Quotes and Samples
Request the suppliers to provide you with price lists and product samples to ensure that it meets your financial and quality expectations. As stated above, there are other additional charges involved, for instance, packaging cost, delivery cost, import tax and customs duty, so make your price quote keeping in mind all the factors.
Do not hesitate to decline any offer if it doesn’t suit your estimate. You are the customer here, so never settle for anything without considering your benefit.
Some of the aspects to check other than the price before placing an order,
1. Minimum order quantity (MOQ)
2. Sample pricing
3. Any additional or hidden charges
4. Production price
5. Minimum delivery time
6. Payment terms and options
- Negotiate on MOQ
Prices are not the only factor you need to negotiate, but the minimum order quantity (MOQ) is equally essential. If you are a small business, you are obviously going to have a capital crunch, so purchasing a large number of items might not be convenient for you.
If the suppliers are not convinced to accept a lesser quantity of items, you could pay a little higher per product or order a larger quantity but request them to produce and deliver to you in small quantities.
The drawback of purchasing products from suppliers is a lack of control over the quality and the delivery of products. However, if you are a small business planning to enter the e-commerce market, sourcing products from suppliers is the best option for you. So, research before choosing a supplier and negotiate, but do not overdo it because you might lose on prominent suppliers.