How To Find A Dropshipping Supplier (Guide For 2023)

How To Find A Dropshipping Supplier - Yaguara

Finding a legitimate supplier becomes difficult when you have a plethora of sourcing options. At the same time, finding an agent who isn’t just focused on making huge bucks isn’t easy. 

How about evaluating all your options to pick the right suppliers at every stage of your dropshipping business? 

Wait, you have to switch suppliers based on your business stage? 


This article covers many such areas you might still not know about. In three easy steps, let’s dig deep to understand how to find efficient dropshipping suppliers

Who is a dropshipping supplier?

A dropshipping supplier is a manufacturer, wholesaler, or agent who supplies your products based on your specifications. Selecting the right supplier ensures you provide effective deliveries and establish a quality mark. No one wants the hassle of switching suppliers every few weeks. In fact, the initial stages of dropshipping demand quality products, reasonable pricing, and quick deliveries. 

How To Find A Dropshipping Supplier - Dropshipping Supplier

Characteristics of a fake supplier 

Legitimate suppliers fail to catch the attention due to poor marketing tactics, while the fake ones keep getting clients. Here are some traits to keep in mind while choosing your suppliers: 

  • No minimum order quantity (MOQ) requirement 

MOQ refers to the minimum number of units you must purchase from a wholesale supplier. Every supplier sets a MOQ requirement for dropshippers. A lack of MOQ requirement or too much of it signifies a fake supplier. 

  • Do not display their contact information. 

Legitimate suppliers always display their contact information, location, etc., on their websites or other platforms. Transparency helps develop trust and initiate a healthy relationship with dropshippers. 

  • Refuses to send samples

Suppliers provide samples either for free or at a special rate to dropshippers. No supplier denies samples until their products don’t match the quality they brag about. 

  • No premium-looking website 

Browsing a supplier’s website is enough to spot a fake wholesale supplier. Every legitimate supplier has a professional-looking website consisting of all relevant information. 

  • Too many negative reviews 

Go through the various available online sources to check reviews. Many suppliers might have positive reviews on one website, but the other source consists of highly-dissatisfied businesses. 

So, how to find and select a dropshipping supplier that helps you establish a solid brand reputation from the growing stage? Here are three steps covering the common queries dropshippers get stuck with. 

Step-1: Locate Your Suppliers: Domestic Vs Overseas 

Locating your dropshipping suppliers plays an important role in customer experience. While domestic suppliers provide quick deliveries, international suppliers have a wide range of products. Here is the meaning and a quick comparison to help you make an easier choice. 

What is Domestic Sourcing?

Domestic sourcing refers to locating suppliers and sourcing products from where you reside. Let’s say you reside in the US; then you look for suppliers in the United States only. The click-through rate is comparatively higher when ad copies mention domestic shipping. For instance, people will likely be more interested if it mentions ships from the US (for US residents). 

When to choose domestic sourcing over international sourcing? 

You should look for international dropshipping suppliers when:

  • You want to be known for timely deliveries.

Timely deliveries become a major reason behind preferring domestic sourcing. Top eCommerce brands like Amazon deliver products within three days. It becomes challenging to match their delivery speed with international suppliers. Some dropshipping suppliers provide one-day delivery. Quick deliveries combined with efficient product quality help in generating recurring orders. 

  • You expect low procurement and shipping costs. 

Large or heavy products have high procurement costs with international suppliers. Shipping costs can also get extremely high depending on the location, shipping mode, and package size. Going with a domestic supplier works better in this case. 

  • You want to avoid communication barriers.

International sourcing sometimes comes with communication barriers. Relying on a sourcing agent becomes necessary in this situation. It doesn’t add up well if you are focused on cutting costs. 

What is International Sourcing?

International sourcing refers to locating suppliers outside your country. It gives you access to millions of products you can barely find in the domestic market. Dropshipping businesses highly prefer China due to its never-ending varieties. 

When to choose overseas sourcing over domestic sourcing?

You should look for international dropshipping suppliers when:

  • You have expansion plans.

While you can satisfy your customers with quick deliveries, domestic sourcing has many restrictions. Catering to varied market segments becomes difficult, and limited reach becomes another challenge. 

Let’s say you are residing in the United States. What if you plan on expanding your reach and selling in other countries? The major benefits of domestic sourcing become irrelevant. Therefore, international sourcing is a better choice if you plan to expand into different market segments. 

  • You need access to a wide variety of products. 

Finding reliable suppliers becomes a hassle in the domestic market. You receive limited options with niche-specific products. But you can find thousands of suppliers if you target the international market. Access to different suppliers allows you to order samples, compare, and choose the best option. It also allows you to expand into different niches once your dropshipping business grows. 

Variety Of Products - Yaguara

Note: Deal with the hurdle of longer delivery time by maintaining an inventory of the most preferred items. Clear them out as the orders progress. 

Step-2: Finding Reliable Dropshipping Suppliers 

You will find thousands of dropshipping suppliers on marketplaces, online directories, referrals, etc. But how to locate and select reliable suppliers? Here we have covered reliable sources, filtering methods, and other relevant information to help you make an informed decision. 

Browsing Through Marketplaces 

Marketplaces help you look for suppliers with a proven track record of working with businesses, providing efficient quality, reasonable pricing, and quick order fulfillment. Amazon or eBay is suitable for domestic sourcing. There are many sellers with 2-day delivery across the country (in the US). Target international marketplaces like Aliexpress, Alibaba, and Oberlo for overseas sourcing. 

Browsing Through Marketplace

But finding suppliers on marketplaces require an efficient filtering process. Here are some simple steps you can follow to find authentic suppliers:

  • Identify what other businesses are saying about the suppliers. Go through the reviews and ratings to find out their experience. The positive and negative reviews help identify the chosen suppliers’ strong and weak areas. 
  • Most marketplaces provide various filters to make the analysis process easier. Use the filters to identify the years of functioning, average review score, etc. Shortlist companies with at least a 4-star rating, more than two years of operations, and minimal negative reviews. 

Why should you rely on marketplaces? 

Here are some reasons why dropshippers should find their suppliers on marketplaces: 

  • Easy one-click integration with platforms like Shopify eliminates the hassle of setting up your store
  • Availability of thousands of options to test in your niche. 
  • The automated fulfillment process removes the burden of manual processing. 
  • Most marketplaces allow you to place 30 orders at a time. It becomes convenient when you get orders between 10-30 daily. 

The disadvantages of relying on marketplaces 

What’s the need to search for manufacturers if marketplaces got you covered? Here are some reasons dropshippers prefer a direct connection with suppliers or manufacturers. 

  • Marketplaces charge way more as compared to direct contacts with manufacturers/suppliers. The involvement of intermediaries also hikes up the prices. Many resellers on the marketplace acquire products from manufacturers and sell them to you, thereby increasing the prices considerably. 
  • Suitable only till you have orders between 10-30. Manually placing orders exceeding 30 becomes a burden. 
  • Even after filtering through, there is still the possibility of finding fake suppliers. 

Finding suppliers in Dropshipping directories 

Dropshipping directories consist of a list of verified suppliers, wholesalers, drop shippers, etc. You can filter the options based on your niche. The suppliers contact these websites and pay them to get listed to increase visibility. The websites analyze their profile before listing them. Either you can browse through an online directory or choose a dropshipping platform. 

Dropshipping Platforms vs Online Directories: Which Should You Choose? 

Why should you prefer dropshipping platforms like Dropship Direct instead of online directories? 

The platforms provide automatic integration with your store. Firstly, it consists of a huge list of sorted dropshipping suppliers. Secondly, all relevant information, including product name, specifications, etc., is displayed on your website automatically. The platform tackles all back-end management, leaving you focused on generating sales. 

While online directories are generally free to access, dropshipping platforms demand a monthly or yearly subscription. But you will find your ideal suppliers quicker with the latter. You can filter the list based on product offerings, delivery criteria, minimum order quantity, quality standards, etc. 

Services like Salehoo and Doba provide a list of verified suppliers tested for their authenticity. It removes the effort needed in analyzing suppliers yourself. 

Some top free and paid dropshipping companies you can browse through are as follows: 

  • SaleHoo ($67/year) 
  • Worldwide Brands ($299 for a lifetime subscription)
  • Cjdropshipping (free) 
  • Doba ($29 monthly subscription and preferred dropshipping supplier in the US) 
  • Wholesale2B ($37.99 monthly subscription consisting of over one million products from verified suppliers) 
  • Alibaba (free subscription)
  • AliExpress (free subscription) 

Hiring a Sourcing Agent 

Dropshipping agents help you find suppliers after you provide them with basic requirements. Their decade-long experience and exceptional negotiation skills can help you get the best deals. There are many different dropshipping agents to choose from. But most of them are in the market to make huge profits. Here is how you can find a reliable dropshipping agent:

  • Referrals 

Network with fellow dropshippers and ask for recommendations. Your friends, mentors, or people in the industry can connect you with reliable agents. It frees you from the burden of interviewing agents and conducting a background check to determine their reliability. 

  • Post your requirements on Facebook groups 

The filtering process becomes hectic, but you can easily find leads in groups operated by dropshippers and agents. Post your requirements in these groups, and relevant people will reach out to you. But beware, as Facebook groups are filled with scammers. 

  • Quick Google search 

A simple google search will give you many leads to browse through. Go through the initial two SERPs to make a list of agents. Next, shortlist at most ten agents and initiate the interview process. However, it takes comparatively longer to find agents with this process. 

Step-3: Selecting/Switching suppliers based on the selling stage

Maintaining orders isn’t difficult when you are just starting. The real struggle and confusion begin when you grow. Changing suppliers based on growing stages ensures you maintain a good reputation. Here are the three stages showing when you should switch your suppliers. 

The Initial Stage ( 0-10 sales a day) 

Are you stuck with a low conversion rate or no sales in the initial stage? 

Don’t worry; you are not alone. 

But it’s normal to expect results when you carefully pick suppliers and spend money on promotions. You are using all the right tactics to promote products, yet disappointing results. It’s easier to believe there is something wrong with the supplier, and it’s time to switch. 

Remember that top-notch suppliers prefer being associated with businesses booming in sales. Reaching out to them might strain future prospective relationships with them. 

In the initial stage, focus more on bringing your product in front of your audience. Keep experimenting with marketing tactics, as consistent sales require patience and effort. Focus on catching attention, generating recurring sales, and leaving a quality mark. 

The Stage of Consistency (10-50 sales a day)

You finally found a winning product that generates at least ten sales daily. The stage of consistency demands reliable sellers to carry out orders. 

But why should you go with a reliable supplier after identifying your winning product? 

Because dropshippers face certain challenges after they start generating 10-50 sales every day, here are two common challenges we noticed: 

  • Order processing

Processing orders becomes a hassle, and automation becomes necessary. It involves posting sourcing requests, importing, and order fulfillment. 

  • Communication hurdles

What if your current supplier isn’t an efficient communicator? You are stuck with customers waiting for deliveries way past the said timeline. Tracking order status also becomes difficult in that scenario. 

It’s high time you find reliable suppliers on marketplaces like Aliexpress, Alibaba, and Oberlo. Go through these marketplaces and look for suppliers with excellent ratings (anywhere better, 4.0 to 5.0) and positive feedback. Shortlist the best suppliers and begin the comparison process. 

Note: Hire a sourcing agent if you are bad with researching and negotiations. An agent handles all communication with relevant suppliers based on your specifications. 

The Booming Stage (100+ sales every day)

Orders are at an all-time high in the booming stage. The three aspects that demand focus in this stage are── timely delivery, top-notch quality, and low procurement costs. Many ecommerce businesses in this stage prefer working directly with manufacturers. You can easily find manufacturer details after scrolling through big marketplaces like Alibaba. But you can connect with certain reliable manufacturers only with strong networking. It’s hard to find them with a few scrolls over the internet. 

“Networking becomes crucial when your dropshipping business is considerably growing.”

Focus on finding reliable manufacturers that tackle the entire order fulfillment process. While most manufacturers focus only on production, some agree to order fulfillment. 

What Questions Do You Need To Ask A Dropshipping Supplier?

Let’s assume you found a dropshipping supplier which is suitable for your business from the looks of their profile and pricing. But you still need to ask a few important questions before selecting them as your dropshipping supplier. Here we have compiled a few questions you need to ask a dropshipping supplier:

  • Are your prices negotiable, or are they rigid, as shown on your website?
  • Do I need to pay any additional costs besides the product cost?
  • Do you sell direct to consumers?
  • How do you handle returns?
  • What is the gross margin of other sellers, and how much will I make on average?
  • Will you change your prices in the future?
  • Does the product has any guarantee or warranty on it?
  • Can I answer a few of my product-related questions?
  • Do you sell custom items?

These are only a few questions that we have collected after research that you can ask. If you have other questions, then you should ask them as well. You should be satisfied with their answers before you make any decision.

What Makes a Great Dropshipping Supplier?

Not every dropshipping supplier you find on the internet offers high-standard services and top-notch products at the same time. Searching for an ideal dropshipping supplier is like finding a needle in a haystack. However, if you dig deeper and know what to look for in an ideal supplier, you can narrow down your search process and easily find a reliable dropshipping supplier in no time. Here are some qualities of a great supplier:

1. High-Quality Products 

Looking for an ideal supplier means searching for the ones who offer the best and high-quality products. 

If a supplier claims to offer high-quality products, you can check these things as proof:

  • Positive feedback on products
  • Fewer returns
  • High sales volume
  • High-resolution product images
  • Social proof 

If their product matches these properties, it will consider a high-quality product. Still, you need to calculate the profit margin before selecting the product for your dropshipping business. 

2. Fast Shipping at Affordable Range

The success of a dropshipping business lies in the supplier’s shipping time without damaging the product. Remember, dropshipping business is a highly-competitive market. Nowadays, buyers are willing to pay extra bucks just to receive their orders quickly. If you offer a great price, but your supplier takes multiple days or weeks to deliver your product, shoppers will choose the fast-delivery option over your products. 

So it is important for you to find a supplier that believes in delivering products on time. It will also give your product a competitive edge over your competitors. 

3. No High Per-Order Fees

Per-order fee refers to the overall cost that a supplier charges you before delivering the product to your customer. Per-order fees make sense in the dropshipping business because the supplier uses their time and resources to prepare and ship your orders to your customers. 

This fee also determines your profit margin. That means the higher the per-order fee is, the lower your profit margin you will receive. Sometimes, suppliers charge outrageous fees in order to provide their services. In such cases, you can use bargaining skills to settle the fees or look for another supplier that demands a reasonable per-order fee.

4. Tech-compliant 

As the eCommerce business grows, advanced technology is taking over to make sellers’ lives by providing automation services. Additionally, having the latest tech within your possession gives you an edge over the competition. But in dropshipping business, you just do the promotion. In reality, your dropshipping supplier runs your business in a true sense as they take care of all the fulfillment and other services. So it is important for your supplier to be tech-compliant so you can keep your business in check and you don’t have to rely on third-party resources to scale your business. 

5. Excellent Customer Service

Before you choose a supplier for your dropshipping business, you need to make sure they have a helpful customer support team that helps you with any queries and problems. Their customer staff must be available for support on business days and during office hours according to your local time. You don’t want to keep hanging with a problem and wait for them to pick up your call or reply to your email. You can talk about these situations with your supplier before settling a deal with them.

Conclusion: How To Find A Dropshipping Supplier

Sourcing high-quality products at a reasonable price are possible if you know the right sourcing strategies. Another core area is when to switch suppliers based on growing business stages. We hope the steps we mentioned help you find the right dropshipping supplier in 2022. Remember that a well-laid filtering process is crucial whether you search through marketplaces, directories, or hire an agent. 

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