Today we’re going to take a look at some of the different factors you should look for when searching for a supplier, and how to find out if the supplier you’re thinking of using is a good one.
One of the most important things to find out with regards to the supplier you choose is their time frame for shipping. You CAN have a successful business model shipping from overseas with long shipping times, but it’s important to make the longer delivery times VERY obvious on your website so no one can miss it.
Some people won’t mind waiting for a while for a package if the price is right and the product is hard to find elsewhere, but if you’re selling common items and your price isn’t among the lowest, you may have a hard time convincing people to buy from you instead of a competitor like Amazon that offers fast shipping.
Try to find a supplier in your home country, if possible. (That is if you’re marketing mostly to people in your own country.) This should cut down on shipping times. But if you can’t, find a local supplier, be sure to make the longer shipping times very obvious.
You want to find a supplier that is willing to accept returns and doesn’t have extremely restrictive return policies. Some suppliers do not accept returns at all, while others charge a large restocking fee, or they have very restrictive terms.
It’s important to know the return policy of all your suppliers so that you can craft your own return policy to match, but you want to make sure you CAN send items back in the event that you need to, such as when the company send the wrong item, or if an item is damaged or defective.
It’s also very important to be sure the company has great customer service. Remember that your own customer service is only as good as that of your supplier. If a customer writes to ask you a question about a product and you have to wait seven days for a reply from the supplier, your customer will have to wait just as long for you to respond, and that’s not good.
One important thing you can do to check out your supplier is to place a few test orders. This is good for a few reasons:
- You can check the quality of the products
- You can see how fast their shipping is
- You can check their customer service yourself
- You can have a few items on hand in case of returns
Finally, be sure to look for reviews of your supplier. If you can’t find reviews of them, it’s even more important to do a few test orders before using them, but the most major supplier will have some reviews online somewhere.