If you’ve entered the dropshipping industry, you’ve probably heard of the term “dropshipping suppliers” before. But what does it actually mean?
In this article, we will cover everything that you need to know! Plus, we even included ten supplier examples for you.
What is dropshipping?
If you’re completely new to dropshipping, then this part is for you! Let’s go over what dropshipping is:
Dropshipping is a business model where you sell products on your online store without keeping them in stock. Once you get an order, you forward it to your dropshipping supplier, who will ship the product directly to your customer.
The following image from Shopify does a great job of explaining the concept of dropshipping:
The big thing that you should remember now is that dropshipping is just a fulfillment method.
If you’re not sure what a fulfillment method is, then let me explain it real quick to you:
A fulfillment method is the method you use to fulfill your orders. There are three main ecommerce fulfillment methods:
- In-house order fulfillment. For example, you store the stock in your house and send the orders from there as well.
- Third-party fulfillment (or 3PL). This company will handle everything for you, from receiving your inventory from your manufacturer to restocking returned products.
- Dropshipping. With this fulfillment method, your dropshipping supplier will handle everything for you. (Producing the products, shipping, storing, etc.)
So what does that mean for you?
That it doesn’t matter what way you send your orders; the basics of ecommerce don’t change.
It doesn’t matter if you’re dropshipping or buying in bulk by using a 3PL, you will still need an online store.
Yes, a few things are different if you’re dropshipping. For example, if you’re dropshipping from China, then you will have to make sure that you make the long shipping times clear for your customers.
But you don’t need to learn dropshipping specific things; you can learn ecommerce in general!
For example, instead of reading dropshipping specific Facebook Ads articles, read an ecommerce in general Facebook Ads guide.
What is a dropshipping supplier?
A dropshipping supplier is a company that sells a product one-by-one to dropshippers.
Dropshipping suppliers are responsible for the manufacturing, storing, and shipping of products but do not deal with customers directly.
To put it really simple, here’s a list of tasks that you will have to perform yourself when working with a dropshipping supplier:
- Research. Before you start, it’s your job to do product research and figure out if you’re going for a general, niche, or one-product store.
- Store design. It’s your job to create a unique dropshipping store that converts well. (And yes, if you want, you can start dropshipping without a website)
- Marketing. You will need to find a way to get customers to your dropshipping store. If you’re new to this, check out this section of our blog.
- Customer service. As you can read above, your dropshipping supplier does almost everything, except that it doesn’t have contact with your customers. You will have to handle all the customer service. (For example, refund requests) You can learn more about customer service in our complete guide here.
But again, this is the simplified version; you will find more information at the end of this article on how to start dropshipping.
The pros and cons of using a dropshipping supplier
Now that you know what a dropshipping supplier is and what it can do for your business let’s look at the benefits and disadvantages of using one.
Below you will find an easy to follow table with all the pros and cons of using a dropshipping supplier:
|Pros of dropshipping||Cons of dropshipping|
|Quickly test products without inventory||The dropshipping mindset (Most people think dropshipping equals getting rick quick, thanks to these ‘gurus‘)|
|Not much startup costs||Almost no control over things like shipping times, package design, and the supply chain.|
|Your dropshipping supplier handles most of the work||Sometimes you can’t combine products for an order|
|You can open a store really fast||Potential quality control issues|
|Less profit than purchasing the products in bulk|
|Refunds can be complicated if your suppliers are on the other side of the world|
|Customer service can be difficult|
|A lot of competition|
As you can see, I tried to be as honest as possible; that’s why there are way more cons than pros.
But don’t worry though, you can learn how to beat these disadvantages by checking out this article here.
That article also goes more in-depth about the pros and cons of dropshipping.
What characteristics do good dropshipping suppliers have?
Before we continue this article, where we will cover how to find dropshipping suppliers, let’s start by analyzing some of the characteristics that good dropshipping suppliers have.
When picking a dropshipping supplier, make sure to think about the characteristics that are described below:
- Trustworthy. A good dropshipping supplier has to be trustworthy. You don’t want to work with a supplier that promises things like one-day processing, but can’t actually keep its promises. In the dropshipping business, you rely heavily on your supplier, so make sure you trust them.
- Fair prices. The main goal of dropshipping is to earn money. A supplier is of no use to you if their prices don’t leave enough room for a decent markup. If you’re interested in reading everything related to pricing in the dropshipping industry, check out this complete pricing strategy guide.
- Product range. A supplier must have a wide product range so that you will be able to choose and test many different products.
- Fast order processing. The best suppliers will have a one-day processing time, while others will take five days. This can cause a big difference since choosing a dropshipping supplier with fast processing times will save you at least three days in delivery time guaranteed.
- Customer service. Whenever there is a problem with the product or delivery, it’s crucial to be able to contact your supplier and get a response fast to keep your customer informed. So, whenever you are dealing with a new supplier, check how fast they reply and how good their English is.
- Safe payment method. Make sure that your supplier offers a secure payment method like PayPal. This is one of the payment gateways that is safe to use.
- Country targeting. When picking a dropshipping supplier, you always have to check if they support shipping to the country you plan to target. Some dropshipping suppliers such as Spocket, for example, are focused on select regions of the world such as the US & Europe.
If you don’t know yet which countries you will target, here’s a list of the best countries to target as a dropshipper.
As you can see, it’s quite an extensive criteria list! However, you do really need to find a dropshipping supplier that has these characteristics if you want to have the best chances of succeeding with dropshipping.
But how do you find a dropshipping supplier? Let’s find that out now:
How do I find a dropshipping supplier?
First of all, don’t forget that we included ten dropshipping supplier examples for you below to get you started.
There are a lot of ways to find a dropshipping supplier for your online business. One of the easiest ways is to use Google and search for “dropshipping suppliers” or “dropshipping wholesalers”.
Just don’t forget to look for suppliers based on the type of product that you want to sell.
For example, if you’re looking to sell organic products, then take a look at organic dropshipping suppliers.
We will publish a more in-depth article about this, so don’t forget to subscribe to our email list below, but for now, here are some awesome tips:
1. Using Google
To start, take a look at these Google search operators. This way, you will know exactly how to get to the most out of a Google search!
Here are a few keywords to get started:
- Dropship supplier
- Dropshipping supplier
- Dropshipping reseller
- Dropshipping product supplier
- Wholesale dropshipper
Now, if you know what products you might like to source (or sell) then try targeting those specific products. For example, you could use the following search terms:
- Clothing dropship supplier
- Hiking gear dropshipper
- Yoga mat dropshipping supper
- Pet supplies dropshipping supplier
If you’re interested in a product that you can private label, try typing this in the search bar:
Private label + product keyword + no minimum + country
For example, when I search for “private label yoga mat no minimum USA”, I get the following list below:
And there you go:
As you can see, they have branding and dropshipping options available. Plus, their products are made in the USA.
2. Using a dropshipping supplier directory
The next tip we have for you is to use a supplier directory.
The only thing is that you will need to ask the supplier how to manage the orders, sometimes it’s through manual orders, and sometimes the supplier has an integration with an ecommerce platform like Shopify, where you can directly sync the orders and inventory with the supplier. (More about this below)
The first, and most popular option, is to take a look at SaleHoo.
And you can take a look at Suppliersdata if you’re looking for dropshipping suppliers in the US.
3. Search your ecommerce platform’s app store
Another way to find dropshipping suppliers is by using the app store from your ecommerce platform.
For example, take a look at the app store from Shopify:
If you search for something like ‘suppliers’, then you will find so many suppliers as well:
As you can see, almost 260 results!
The great thing now is that they will all have an easy integration with your store since you saw already that they have a Shopify app!
And don’t forget that this also works on other app stores, for example, BigCommerce:
The only thing that you might see is that the Shopify app store has way more supplier apps.
How do I work with a dropshipping supplier?
Below you will find everything you need to know on how to work with a dropshipping supplier. We separated it into a few different parts:
- What questions to ask your supplier(s)?
- Should you use one or multiple dropshipping suppliers?
- How do you connect your supplier to your dropshipping store?
1. Asking the right questions
First of all, before you start working with your dropshipping supplier, it’s important to ask him/her the right questions.
Do you know why?
Well, because picking the right supplier is just as important as picking the right product, and this can only be done by asking the right questions!
If you’re interested in knowing what kind of questions to ask, check out the table below:
|What are the average delivery times for [TARGET COUNTRY/COUNTRIES]?|
|What is the average processing time once I placed an order?|
|Are you the manufacturer of [PRODUCT NAME]?|
|What kind of packaging are you using?|
|Do you facilitate dropshipping?|
|Do you offer branding?|
|Ask about their pricing [More information about this question above]|
|Is there a minimum order requirement?|
|What happens with returns or refunds?|
|Can you provide high-quality photos of [PRODUCT NAME]?|
|Do you pay the customs fee?|
|What happens if an order doesn’t arrive?|
|What if I sell out your inventory? How fast will you be able to produce new stock?|
|Ask about the product specifics [More information about this question above]|
Don’t forget that not everyone has to ask every question; it depends on your situation.
You can check out this article here, where we will go more in-depth on these questions, so you know the what and why for these questions.
2. One or multiple dropshipping suppliers?
Next up is understanding if you should do dropshipping with one or multiple suppliers at the same time.
Let’s first go over the pros and cons of having only one dropshipping supplier:
|Pros of having one supplier||Cons of having one supplier|
|Everything is shipped in one package to your customer||You’re putting a lot of trust into one supplier.|
If that supplier stops shipping or talking to you, then you don’t have anything anymore
|Easier to build a relationship|
Now let’s move on to having multiple dropshipping suppliers:
|Pros of having multiple suppliers||Cons of having multiple suppliers|
|Multiple options when one supplier isn’t there anymore||Everything is shipped in multiple packages to your customer|
|More products available|
|You have the chance of building multiple relationships, not just one|
If you’re not sure yet if you’re going to dropship with one or multiple suppliers, then take a look at our article here:
That article also covers that there is a difference between dropshipping suppliers on different platforms and on one platform like AliExpress.
3. How to connect your supplier to your dropshipping store
Let’s continue by understanding how to connect your supplier to your dropshipping store.
This can include things like managing your orders and importing the products from your supplier to your store.
Before we start with figuring out how to connect your supplier to your store, it’s important to know what ecommerce platform you use for your store.
Do you know why it’s important to know this before figuring out the rest?
Because some suppliers, as you will see below, have a direct integration with platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and so on.
This will make it much easier to manage everything!
Once you know that, let’s figure out how you can connect your dropshipping supplier to your store. These are the two most common options:
|What supplier do you use?||What to use|
|Do you use AliExpress?||Take a look at Oberlo.|
Or these Oberlo alternatives.
|Does your supplier have an integration app?||For example, Spocket and Syncee have a Shopify integration. (And more)|
If you’re not using AliExpress, and your supplier doesn’t have an integration app like, for example, CJdropshipping:
Then first contact your supplier to see what they normally use to progress their orders. As an example, some might use CVS files.
Another option is to look at one of the following apps:
To help you make a choice, I will quickly discuss these options now.
Importify lets you connect a store to many different suppliers like Alibaba, LightinTheBox, and more!
The next option is ShopMaster. It’s similar to Importify since it lets you connect to many different popular dropshipping suppliers as well.
10 Examples of dropshipping suppliers
Now that you know everything about the dropshipping fulfillment method and what a dropshipping supplier does let’s move on to the dropshipping supplier examples.
Below you will find ten examples of great dropshipping suppliers to get you started.
But if that’s not enough, or if you want a dropshipping supplier in a specific country, then you can check out one of these articles here:
- The 14 Best Dropshipping Suppliers in Europe
- The 15 Best Dropshipping Suppliers in the UK
- 13 Best US Dropshipping Suppliers (Fast Shipping)
- 14 Best Free Dropshipping Suppliers (+ Niche Suppliers Included)
Let’s get started with the dropshipping supplier examples:
We will kick off this list with Spocket. This is a platform that lets you discover dropshipping suppliers.
Most of these dropshipping suppliers (80%) will be located in the United States and Europe. Working with suppliers in these countries will often give you several advantages, such as faster shipping times!
Here’s a list of niches that you will be able to find products for within Spocket:
- The products are of great quality. Definitely, if you compare them to the usual AliExpress suppliers.
- You can order samples. With Spocket, you can order samples with a few simple clicks to test out the products and suppliers!
- Many integration possibilities. Spocket can be integrated with ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce.
- Branded invoicing. When scaling your business, you can consider upgrading to the Pro plan to unlock branded invoicing.
- Customized packaging not available. If you are looking to private label your business and ship your products using customized packaging, Spocket isn’t for you.
- No direct supplier contact. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to form a close relationship with your US dropshipping supplier since all communications have to go through Spocket’s customer support team. There is no feature to chat with your supplier directly.
- It could be expensive if you’re just starting with dropshipping because their paid plans start at $24 per month, and they don’t offer any free plan except a free trial.
- The prices of their suppliers are sometimes a bit weird. For example, sometimes the product cost + shipping cost is way more than their suggested selling price.
Let’s continue this list with Avasam.
Avasam is a fully automated dropshipping platform that provides you with all the tools you will need to source and sell high-quality products.
They are based in London and specialize in relations with suppliers from the United Kingdom.
When new suppliers want to partner with Avasam, they will first have to go through Avasam’s supplier verification program, which means that all suppliers on the platform will be preapproved and fully vetted.
Furthermore, all of Avasam’s suppliers in the EU currently offer over 120,000 products!
Something that is really unique about Avasam is that they integrate with over 60(!) different ecommerce platforms and marketplaces!
- Excellent customer service. When looking at Avasam’s reviews on Trustpilot, pretty much everyone mentions their great customer service team.
- Pricing. You can try out Avasam for free and get access to all of their features! Even after scaling your business, Avasam’s pricing is very reasonable.
- Verified UK suppliers. Thanks to Avasam’s supplier verification program, each supplier on the platform will likely be trustworthy.
- Integrations. Avasam’s integration possibilities are second to none. No other dropshipping supplier offers 60+ integrations.
- Shipping to the UK only. Currently, Avasam only ships in the UK. They don’t ship to other countries, like the US.
- PayPal. Avasam does not accept payments made by PayPal.
New dropshipping stores can try out Avasam and all of their features for free!
Once you start getting orders, you will have to upgrade to their £9 per month Starter plan. This plan will cover you until you exceed 250 monthly orders:
You can check out Avasam’s pricing page here.
Next up is Syncee, a B2B platform that offers you the possibility to work with a directory of dropshipping suppliers.
In the Syncee marketplace, you will find millions of products and reliable dropshipping suppliers from all around the world, including the US and Europe!
- Chat with suppliers. You can use Syncee’s built-in communication tool. This way, you can ask suppliers some important questions before working with them.
- Free for starters. When having 25 or fewer products published on your store, you will be able to use Syncee for free.
- Easy to use with Shopify. By offering an integration possibility with Shopify through a Syncee app, adding new products to your store will be a piece of cake!
- Supplier location filtering. You will be able to easily find local dropshipping suppliers since Syncee lets you filter on warehouse location, language, shipping type, product category, and more!
- No integration with other popular ecommerce platforms yet. If you’re using other popular ecommerce platforms like Woocommerce, Shopbase, or Magento, you won’t be able to easily sync Syncee’s product to your online store. However, they are available on Jumpseller.
For stores with more than 25 published products, Syncee’s pricing plans range from $29 to $129 per month:
Next up on this list is a supplier if you want to do something completely different; dropshipping coffee!
This supplier is called Dripshipper and specializes in dropshipping coffee for you.
The great thing is that all the coffee products will have your branding on them and nothing else. It looks like it came directly from you. (Private Labeling)
- Samples. You can order samples of the coffee before you dropship them. (Yes, they do cost money; more information about that here)
- Dropshipping something unique. Did you ever think about dropshipping coffee? I’m 90% sure that you did not.
- Private labeling. As I said at the beginning, they allow you to put your own branding on the coffee. (You can find more information here)
- Shipping costs outside the US. If you’re dropshipping inside the US, then shipping will be free, but they will charge for shipping on international orders.
The pricing of Dripshipper is simple, they only have one monthly plan of $30:
If you love high-quality products, you are going to love DropCommerce. Every supplier at DropCommerce is hand-picked for unique, high-quality products and fast shipping.
Some examples of products offered by DropCommerce are leather Airpod cases, tea tree soaps, and tiki time bbq shirts.
Looking for dropshipping suppliers in the US?
Well, that shouldn’t be hard on DropCommerce, since they offer a directory of 300+ suppliers, all of which are North American!
- Only US or Canadian dropshipping suppliers. Other platforms also offer Chinese dropshipping suppliers, but DropCommerce just offers 300+ North American dropshipping suppliers.
- No transaction fees. At DropCommerce, you will only have to pay a membership fee. No transaction fees will appear on top of the product prices.
- Fast shipping. Since all products will be shipped from the US or Canada, DropCommerce’s shipping time is only 3-5 days!
- Branded invoicing. Give your store a professional look by using DropCommerce’s branded invoicing feature.
- Missing features for cheaper plans. For some awesome features like automated fulfillment, you will have to pay for the most expensive plan, which costs $89 per month.
- Expensive products. Products on DropCommerce may be a bit pricey, making it more challenging to make a profit when selling them on your own store.
DropCommerce’s pricing plans start at just $19 per month. If you would like to have access to more advanced features and more than 25 products, you can also upgrade to their “Growth” or “Professional” plan.
Keep in mind that paying annually can save you more than 50% of the membership fee per month. Also, you can try every plan using a free 14-day trial!
If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own luxury fashion brands store, Brandsgateway is one of the best dropshipping suppliers for you.
Brandsgateway is based in Estonia but has warehouses and offices all over the globe:
To learn more about dropshipping with Brandsgateway, check this out here!
- Lightning-fast delivery times. Brandsgateway is able to deliver packages to your customer’s doorstep anywhere in the world in just five days.
- High-quality imagery. A subscription to Brandsgateway will provide you with professional product photos and descriptions, which you may use in your store.
- Advanced store integrations. Connect Brandsgateway to your store using their Shopify or WooCommerce plugins, enabling features like automatic inventory updates, real-time order syncing, and currency conversion.
- Pricing. Brandsgateway’s membership fee is definitely more expensive than the average dropshipping supplier. Their cheapest plan will set you back $2,077 per year.
You can see Brandsgateway’s pricing plans in detail here.
Although the annual plan is the cheapest per month, most people will probably pay for the monthly or startup package to try out Brandsgateway’s service first:
GreenDropShip is a US dropshipping supplier specializing in natural, organic & specialty products made in the US.
The team behind GreenDropShip has created this company focused on being a supplier for dropshipping businesses. That’s why GreenDropShip supports selling their products on popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon, and eBay,
In GreenDropShip’s catalog, you will find over 20,000 products in niches like food, beauty, and health!
- Great selection of products. GreenDropShip is the go-to supplier for natural & organic products, with over 20,000 products from various sustainable brands.
- Shopify app in development. According to GreenDropShip’s blog, they are developing a Shopify app, which will be available in February 2021.
- Next day shipping in the US. Since GreenDropShip is based in the US, they can offer speedy shipping times to consumers in the US!
- Limited to dropshipping in the US. Since GreenDropShip exclusively has warehouses in the US, they don’t support worldwide dropshipping.
To join Greendropship, you will have to pay an annual membership fee of $149:
CJdropshipping offers a wide selection of products, but has a few unique features too!
For example, they have warehouses in various regions, including the US:
- Sourcing requests. If you can’t find the product you’re looking for in CJdropshipping’s catalog, they can help you source it! However, you will first have to create an account, which you can do here.
- No hidden fees. There are no hidden fees on the platform; you will just have to pay the product’s price and the shipping costs.
- Many warehouses. CJdropshipping will definitely be able to help you ship products to your customers as fast as possible with one of their warehouses located in 26 different countries.
- User-friendliness. As a beginner, it can be difficult to find out how the user-interface on CJdropshipping works.
- High shipping cost. Particularly when dropshipping from a US warehouse, then the shipping costs can be between $5 and $15 per product.
CJdropshipping is free to use. The price for their service is incorporated in the product and shipping prices.
They currently have five different warehouses:
Using Printful, you will be able to design your own products like t-shirts, hoodies, earrings, posters and sell them online!
And, if one of them is selling very well, you can use Printful’s Warehousing & Fulfillment service to store it in one of their warehouses beforehand and save 2-7 days in your product delivery time (since the product doesn’t have to be created anymore).
- Relatively large product collection. Currently, Printful offers 268 unique products that you can fully customize to your likings. That includes products like bags, towels, and (of course) T-shirts!
- Great integrations. You can connect Printful to more than 20 ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.
- Long total shipping time. Before Printful can ship out your order, they have to create it first, which can take up to 7 business days. This causes the total shipping time to become around 7 to 12 business days.
- No refunds for orders in the wrong size or color. Since each product is unique, it will cost you money each time a customer orders something in the wrong size or color as Printful won’t refund it.
Instead of fixed monthly membership plans, Printful uses fulfillment fees.
To learn more about these fees and calculate your potential profits when using Printful, click here!
Let’s finish this list with the go-to supplier for dropshipping beginners: AliExpress.
It’s the best known dropshipping supplier and one of the most established ecommerce marketplaces!
Most dropshipping suppliers on AliExpress are Chinese, although some will have warehouses in the US or EU. In that case, don’t forget to check if they aren’t lying, as we explained here.
- Low-priced products. Generally, products on AliExpress are pretty cheap, which is great, especially for novice dropshippers. I recommend reading this article to learn about increasing your profit margin when dropshipping with AliExpress.
- Massive product catalog. You will be able to find pretty much any dropshipping product on AliExpress.
- Cashback opportunity. If you didn’t know already, you can get 4.3% – 5.9% cashback on all your AliExpress orders, which is great for your product’s pricing strategy. To read how, check out this article.
- Long shipping times. Shipping times on AliExpress are relatively long and can take between 10 and 60 days. To learn more about the best way to deal with these shipping times and keep your customers happy, click here.
- Transparent. Every competitor or customer can search for your product on AliExpress to find it there for a lower price.
- Dishonest suppliers: AliExpress suppliers are known for not always telling the truth. Click here to learn how to find the best suppliers on AliExpress.
AliExpress is entirely free to use!
There you have it; everything you need to know about dropshipping suppliers!
As you can see from the supplier examples above, there are plenty of dropshipping suppliers out there for you to choose from. Take the time to research these companies and see which one(s) will work best for your business.
If you have any tips for this article or if you have any questions regarding dropshipping, then let me know by commenting below or contacting me directly by pressing the “Contact Us” button at the top.
Good luck with your dropshipping journey!
Getting Started with Dropshipping in 2021
So, are you ready to get started with dropshipping? Or maybe you have already started, but you’re looking to get some inspiration?
If so, then I suggest reading this complete Shopify dropshipping guide.
It’s a huge article, but it contains everything that you need to know to create your own Shopify dropshipping store in 2021. It’s like a dropshipping course, but then for free!
Reading this article will surely help you to get started and to stay motivated while beginning and continuing your dropshipping journey.
Just don’t forget that success takes time. Keep improving each and every day!
And here are the articles I suggest you read next:
- The 13 Safest Product Examples for Dropshipping
- 18 Best Free Dropshipping Sites To Grow Your Store
- Dropshipping vs. Private Labeling: What Is the Difference?
- 14 Awesome Tips To Get Your First Dropshipping Sale in 2021