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You have a successful dropshipping store or maybe just ready to launch, and it might be that at this stage you’re wondering whether it’s a good idea to use multiple suppliers, as you perhaps are selling different categories or would love to work with suppliers offering best quotation. Using multiple suppliers can bring many benefits, but it’s worth understanding more closely how to reap those rewards and drive even more sales without running into problems.
In this article, we will discover if you should use multiple suppliers and if so, the best ways to manage your store. Let’s start first by looking at the brief answer before we get into the details.
Should I Dropship using multiple suppliers? Dropshipping using multiple suppliers will assist with more competitive pricing, make sure you don’t run out of best selling products and give your customers a wider choice of stock to choose from. The most ideal way managing multiple suppliers is to work with dropshipping agent, and let the agent run errands.
Ok, so now we’ve got the short answer, in order to understand a little more about whether it’s a good strategy to use more than one, let’s start by finding out what a dropshipper does.
What does a dropshipping supplier do? And what is a dropshipping agent?
The two concepts are kind of mixed with each other; but technically a dropshipping supplier only sell you inventory, and they don’t necessarily take care of anything else such as warehousing, pick-and-pack or international shipping
Dropshipping agent is more than dropshipping supplier – The best way to think of a dropshipping agent is a business partner that consolidate all your backend operations. Your agent will help you choose, pick, pack and deliver your products to your customers, and data synchronization, leaving you and perhaps your VA to concentrate on the marketing, social media strategies, create campaigns, web design, customer communications and many other features designed to reach customers and run your business.
So who makes the best drosphipping agent/ dropshipping supplier? Many dropshippers go to the cheapest first. But remember that your reputation depends on your supplier so you are looking for those who can offer you:
- Good communication
- Punctuality with shipping times
- Flexibility on customization (private label)
So now we understand the types of suppliers you are looking for, let’s look at some of the situations you might encounter where you will use more than more suppliers.
When will I need more than one supplier?
- Multiple purchases from different stores You may use AliExpress dropshipping services and one of your customers buys a pair of sunglasses for example from store A and then purchases a dress from store B. Once the customer places the order, straight away you are into two different shipping suppliers as they will individually send the products out for delivery. Your customer will receive two different parcels at two different times from the dropshippers.
- Low stock of popular products It could also be that your usual supplier has run out of stock and you need to find a substitute.
- More diverse product offering Sellers often also work with multiple suppliers to offer a more diverse selection of products in their store and also will compare prices. For example, you might work with supplier A for shoes and with supplier B for clothes.
- Product availability More successful sellers with large sales volume will also use more than one seller so they are not relying totally on the product availability of just one seller, who may run out if that particular product is ordered frequently. It could be that a successful store owner may receive up to 200 orders per day, so it might be more effective in case one supplier runs out, to split the orders 50-50 between two suppliers.
So as you can see, it’s a fairly common occurrence when you are the owner of an eCommerce store, to be handling multiple dropshipping companies to service your deliveries.
So what are the key points to watch out for when you are dealing with more than one dropshipping suppliers?
Are there any disadvantages of using multiple suppliers?
One of the main disadvantages of handling your eCommerce store orders with more than one supplier is the fact that your customers think your store is the whole deal. It can burst their bubble and the perception of your offering if they haven’t been told they might receive orders from two different companies, in two different types of packaging etc. Most customers don’t understand dropshipping model and would treat it as scam.
With a dropshipping agent who can consolidate all your suppliers and orders, this issue could be avoided.
Do I tell my customers I’m dealing with more than one supplier?
According to experts, in 2021, over 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online. Thanks to the huge marketplace players such as Amazon and eBay, this increasingly growing number of online consumers are becoming more and more familiar with receiving multiple deliveries on different days.
However, as a drosphipper, it is quite crucial to be trustworthy and reliable. Use dropshipping agent that can consolidate and pick-and-pack, so that your customers can receive products in one parcel.
Nevertheless, you can use the fact you deal with multiple suppliers in your store as part of your unique selling point, as you are not dependent on any supplier and your goal is to bring best price and quality to consumers. The key takeaway is to let your customers know as it can be disappointing for them when they receive more than one parcel at different times if they haven’t been warned.
The bottom line is that you should never let customers know that you dropship from AliExpress (if you do). AliExpress is a shopping site that consumers can easily access, and it’ll be quite nasty if customer finds out you are a re-seller.
Send individual tracking codes if using multiple suppliers
One of the easiest ways to let your customers more fully understand that packages may arrive at different times is to ensure you submit separate tracking information.
Don’t send one tracking number for both items if they’re not being shipped together as this will give your customers the wrong impression and they might expect their items to be in the same package and delivered at the same time.
Ok so now we understand a little more about the do’s and donts of using multiple suppliers to handle your ECommerce customers, so what is the best solution?
Work with a dropshipping agent with a warehouse
A dropshipping agent who owns a warehouse works with suppliers directly. They also pick-and-pack themselves. This means that your customer’s orders will be more seamlessly handled and not potentially lead to customer confusion or complaints.
The best dropshipping agents will deal with all the suppliers required to fulfill your customers, order your behalf, and consolidate the parcels at the warehouse.
“customers orders will be more seamlessly handled and not potentially lead to customer confusion or complaints.”
What can a dropshipping agent offer?
As business grows, dropshippers tend to work with dropshipping agent for scaling. A dropshipping agent, which is essentially another word for a dropshipping supplier, will be able to offer:
- Better order fulfilment: the supplier should have access to factories and get quality products with lower cost
- Faster processing: the dropshipping supplier acts faster than AliExpress sellers
- Express shipping: Rather than using ePacket, which some dropshippers might opt for initially, means the dropshipping agent/supplier should be able to offer 7-10 day express shipping at a good price
- Branding options: A dropshipping agent will be able to offer great customer experience and be able to provide private label products and customized packaging
We hope this article has been useful for anyone with an eCommerce dropshipping store and finds themselves in a multiple supplier situation, for whatever reason.
For considerations of price, availability, private label and inventory level, it is best to work with dropshipping agent with warehouse that can help you manage multiple suppliers.