Suppose you have been looking for a dropshipping agent. Using a few different methods to find dropshipping agents, you have found quite some potential candidates.
But how do you know which dropshipping agent is right for your business?
Picking a dropshipping agent can be tough. As you have probably seen, there are plenty of dropshipping agents to choose from!
Your dropshipping agent will become the backbone of your business. They are the ones who connect you to the best suppliers and handle the order fulfillment.
A good agent can completely change your business from a hobby to a full-time pursuit. So, it’s worth taking your time to do some research.
To help you in this process, we have put together this list of important things to consider before picking a dropshipping agent.
The first thing to consider before picking a dropshipping agent is something many people don’t think that much about; their location.
First of all, your agent needs to be based close to the product factory so that they can restock quicker. What’s more, you want your agent to ship to your target country as fast as possible, so it crucial that he or she is based in a location where there are good shipping routes available.
Since looking for a Chinese dropshipping agent is a common practice, I will give an example of how you should consider the location of Chinese dropshipping agents.
In China, there are two key locations that you want your agent to be in:
- Shanghai/Zhejiang (1)
- Guangzhou/Shenzhen (2)
Shanghai/Zhejiang is an important manufacturing region for China. Many factories that manufacture common dropshipping products are located there. Furthermore, it offers a good selection of shipping methods to the rest of the world.
The benefit of this region is that it’s likely that your dropshipping agent will be located close to the factory, which means that he or she will be able to quickly receive new products if they go out of stock.
The second location is Guangzhou/Shenzhen. Just like for the first location, thousands of factories producing all kinds of products are located here.
Besides being a manufacturing zone, the benefit of this location is that it has great shipping options to the rest of the world. This is also due to the close proximity of the Hongkong international airport.
So, if you’re looking for a Chinese dropshipping agent, make sure that they are located in one of these two regions. Other regions in China won’t have that many benefits compared to these ones.
2. Shipping costs and time
I already touched upon this a bit, but make sure that your dropshipping agent can offer great shipping options.
The shipping doesn’t only have to be fast, but cheap as well. As you know, you can get fast shipping on AliExpress as well if you want, but it will often cost you $50+ in shipping costs, which isn’t exactly beneficial for your pricing strategy.
If you’re used to dropshipping with AliExpress, you have probably seen these shipping methods:
- AliExpress Standard Shipping
- China Post
But did you already hear about these shipping options?
- CNE Express
- YanWen Express
These are all shipping options that Chinese dropshipping agents often use. They may be slightly more expensive compared to the AliExpress shipping methods, but they will be faster and way more reliable.
The best shipping options will depend on your target country and the specific dropshipping agent you will be working with.
Some agents will transport high volumes of packages with a company like YunExpress, which can cause them to receive additional benefits like a higher priority processing or a discount in the shipping costs. In this case, YunExpress could be the most attractive option to use.
All in all, the key takeaway here is to consider the shipping time and costs to send a package to your target country from your agent’s warehouse.
3. Processing time
If you’re doubting about two dropshipping agents that are very closely matched, their processing time could prove to be the deciding factor.
For instance, if one dropshipping agent can ship out your orders during the following day, while it takes the other agent four days to do that, the choice will already be much simpler.
Each day that a dropshipping agent can process your orders faster will result in a guaranteed decrease in your shipping times.
This isn’t beneficial only to you, but to your customers as well!
Your dropshipping agent will become the connection between you and your supplier:
Therefore, the communication between you and your dropshipping agent must be effortless.
- Be able to reach them quickly. In the ideal situation, you will be able to contact your dropshipping agent using a phone number or WhatsApp. This way, you can contact them in case of issues that need to be resolved on time.
- Get swift responses from them. Nobody needs an agent that takes days to reply to your questions. A good dropshipping agent will reply within a few hours.
- Be able to understand your agent. This is important to prevent miscommunications which can cause big problems for your dropshipping store.
So, when approaching a dropshipping agent for the first time, make sure they can speak English well and understand your needs.
Here’s an example of how your conversation should NOT look like:
5. Stock procedure
The next thing you should consider is the dropshipping agent’s stock procedure.
Most dropshipping agents keep a certain inventory for your product in their fulfillment warehouse. This inventory has been ordered from the factory to speed up the shipping times, as the products don’t have to travel from the factory to the fulfillment warehouse anymore.
However, this inventory has to be paid for.
Some dropshipping agents will require you to pay for it, while others will manage and pay for it themselves.
Sometimes, a dropshipping agent will require you to pay for this inventory for the first few weeks, so they know that you can bring in consistent orders. After that, they will offer to take care of it.
While this isn’t the most important thing to consider, it is definitely something to keep in mind. It’s always nice to work with a dropshipping agent who makes sure that there’s always enough inventory for your product in their fulfillment warehouse.
Ideally, you want your dropshipping agent to be flexible.
Especially if you didn’t scale up your business to its full potential yet, you don’t want a dropshipping agent that, for example, demands a minimum of 50 orders per day.
Even if you already have some days with 50 or more orders, working with such an agent might not be the best move yet. Every dropshipping store has some bad days as well, so it’s likely that you won’t meet this requirement in the long term.
Besides that, what if your store isn’t performing that well anymore suddenly?
In that case, you would pause your marketing efforts, try to improve your store, and try to increase your conversion rate, right?
Therefore, it’s great to work with a dropshipping agent who understands this and won’t mind that you may not get that many orders in the next one or two weeks.
7. The dropshipping agent’s network
Make sure that your dropshipping agent has genuine connections with local factories.
In general, you want to avoid dropshipping agents who try to source your product through Alibaba or 1688.com. That’s because sourcing from a platform like Alibaba is something which you can easily do yourself, so why pay a dropshipping agent for it?
Furthermore, a platform like Alibaba isn’t always the best place to source products. When agents have their own network of manufacturers, that’s when you will often find products for the best prices.
Fun fact: Did you know that you can do dropshipping with Alibaba? You can check out this article here to learn more.
In the ideal situation, you want your agent to call up factories, start relationships with them, and make sure they have the supply chain correctly managed.
When your agent has a good relationship with the factory, they will be able to communicate well with them.
At the time when you will be scaling your store, the dropshipping agent will be able to call the factory and let them reserve more production capacity for when you will be getting an increased amount of orders per day.
8. Package customization
If you want to take your dropshipping store to the next level, branding is something that you should really look into.
A part of branding your dropshipping store is to send out your products in branded packaging.
Here’s an example of how that could look:
Looks amazing, right?
It’s important to consider if the dropshipping agent that you will be working with is able to send out your products using branded packaging.
Here are some things you can do to make your store and packaging more unique:
- Custom packaging design
- Add your logo to the product and packaging
- Include your business card in the package
- Include a flyer with a discount code for follow-up orders
As an example, here’s a dropshipping agent that I found on Upwork who will offer package customization services:
9. Aftersale services
When working with a dropshipping agent, their sourcing and order processing isn’t the only important thing you should consider.
You want your dropshipping agent to provide you with good service even after they have shipped out the products.
During the shipment, many things can go wrong:
- A package might become lost in transit
- It might be damaged during the shipping process
- The package might be stuck at the customs for an excessive amount of time
- Or, your customer finds out that the product they have received is defective
A good dropshipping agent will take responsibility for all of these things and will resolve them promptly.
If you have been dropshipping on AliExpress, you might have experienced a situation where the package still isn’t delivered after 40+ days of waiting. When you try to get some compensation from the AliExpress seller, most of them will say something like: “Oh, please wait for 30 more days, just to be sure.”
But, your customer has already been waiting far too long, so you definitely can’t make them wait for 30 more days!
This is why it’s important that your dropshipping agent quickly resolves the issue by sending a new package or giving you a full refund.
So, remember to ask your dropshipping agent for their after-sales policy to find out how they deal with these situations.
10. Fulfillment process
One of the last things that you should consider when picking a dropshipping agent is their fulfillment process.
Generally, dropshipping agents will process your orders in one of the following three ways:
- AliExpress VIP pages
- CSV fulfillment
- App integration
Make sure that your agent works with the fulfillment process that you are looking for.
Some dropshipping agents will be able to create an AliExpress VIP page for you. Using this fulfillment method, you will be able to process your orders on AliExpress just like you may be used to.
However, in the end, it’s not the best fulfillment process, in my opinion, especially if you’re scaling your store.
The second option is CSV fulfillment. Here, you will send your agent an exported CSV list of new orders, and they will send you a list of tracking numbers back. This is already much more efficient than handling orders through AliExpress, but it still requires some manual work.
The final option is using app integration. Some of the better agents will be able to offer you an app that connects with your store and sends them your orders automatically. Often, this is the fulfillment process that requires the least amount of manual work for you.
Last but not least, take a look at a dropshipping agent’s reviews.
Obviously, this isn’t possible when a dropshipping agent is recommended to you through a Facebook group, but you will be able to find reviews when looking for a dropshipping agent through Upwork, for example:
Reviews will show you what kind of service and support you are going to get from your dropshipping agent. Consider them before making your final choice!
Those were all my tips for things to consider before picking a dropshipping agent.
It’s not easy to choose the best dropshipping agent that will help you scale your dropshipping business, but it is possible.
Often, it is hard to determine if a dropshipping agent can really keep their word and provide such a good service as they claim.
After looking at all factors that were mentioned in this article and narrowing down your list to just a few agents, it’s time to call or message the last agents to see what their services look like and make your final decision.
To make that final decision, you can compare their offers for your product and ask them to send you samples of some of the products that you will be selling.
That way, you can compare them and see if there are any differences in quality.
In the end, taking your time and finding the best possible agent for your business will almost always pay off.
As you know, a dropshipping agent will become an essential part of your business, so it’s crucial to pick a good one.
And if you’re not convinced about that yet, then check out these six reasons to use an agent for your business.
Or you can check out our list of the best 11 dropshipping agents here!
If you have any more questions about choosing a dropshipping agent, then don’t hesitate to ask them. You can simply leave a comment below, and we will reply as soon as possible.
Have a great rest of your day!
Why do you recomment to “avoid dropshipping agents who try to source your product through Alibaba or 1688.com.”?
That’s a great question!
In general, you want to avoid agents who simply source your product through Alibaba because you will pay them for something which you could also do yourself. Furthermore, Alibaba isn’t always the best place to source products. When agents have their own network of manufacturers, that’s when you will often find products for the best prices.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
So do you engage the agent from the get-go? Or should I get my feet wet and try doing everything myself first?
You can already contact an agent if you don’t have any sales yet, but it will depend on the agent if they are going to work with you. Some dropshipping agents accept people with fresh dropshipping stores, while others require their clients to already have a certain amount of orders per day.
I hope that answers your question, have a great day!