Is it still hard to imagine e-commerce without AliExpress, Amazon and other marketplaces? Let us show another way!
Most online store owners are working with marketplaces, like eBay, AliExpress, Amazon, Etsy or Alibaba. However, these product sources have a lot of drawbacks when it comes to drop shipping their items. Many people disregard this fact because they only know about this solution and do not look for an alternative. We realized that more and more store owners are complaining about the difficulties of operating such a store and ask advice from fellow entrepreneurs. This is why we thought to write an article to introduce a better approach to product sourcing and management. This is the use of local suppliers instead of these online sites.
Why should you use local suppliers instead of marketplaces?
There are many reasons to support the case of local suppliers. There are factors people consider crucial in e-commerce, but due to the comfortable method of importing from eBay and others, they do not want to look further, not even when there are problems with the store. Here are the advantages of real drop shipping suppliers that you need to think about when starting or refreshing your business.
Shorter delivery time
If you choose to work with suppliers, instead of reselling the products of Chinese retailers, you can significantly cut delivery time. Shipping is key in the method of drop shipping, described by its name as well, which can decide upon the success or failure of your Shopify store. When your target market is in the United States and you would like to offer them unique products, you shouldn’t turn to online marketplaces, because it will take around 30 business days until they get the parcel. Today, it is almost impossible to expect from a customer to wait that long, as we are accustomed to getting everything we need in an instant because of the rapid technological development and the Internet. Of course, if you do not deceive your customers with false information, such as promising them short delivery, but in reality, it will take a month, there is a chance they will be patient. But why should you offer products with long delivery time, when you can do it otherwise? Why would you make the customers wait if you have an option to fulfill their orders within a few days? Well, it is your task to ponder and decide upon, but keep in mind that your top objective should be the satisfaction of the customer.
More varied stock
Retailers on marketplaces usually offer the same cheap products in their store. If you are working with them, it is more difficult to have hundreds of relating products in your store, because most of the time they are only offering a handful of products or a couple of product categories. This is why Shopify merchants will need to rely on more retailers, which makes the whole order process complicated. In contrast, real suppliers are specialized in only a few product types and they offer a wide range of products in that niche. You will be able to browse their abundant stock and decide which products you would like to import to your store. As a result, you are able to offer more products to customers to choose from. Additionally, your store is going to look a lot better. There will be more product categories and pages, thus you will get a neater and more colorful site. Not to mention, that suppliers will give you quality product images, separate images for variants in most cases and detailed, quality-written and grammatically correct product description. Sometimes even in more languages, which is handy if you have a multilingual store and target more than one country.
As mentioned above, thousands of Shopify merchants are using the model of drop shipping and import from marketplaces. But they have already realized that this model is not nearly perfect as they have difficulties in differentiating the store from their competitors. Due to the fact that most suppliers selling on marketplaces are offering the same products, entrepreneurs from the same niche will import the same trending products from them. This trend results in a small difference between stores and high competition. Shopify dealers will have to work a lot in order to make their store unique, to offer something different from the others. This process requires many extra hours of brainstorming and unlimited creativity and marketing skills. Positioning already plays an inevitable part of store establishment, however, this way dealers need to put more efforts into the procedure to break into the market.
This argument is related to the previous one, but let me explain it a bit further. As suppliers’ product feeds are a bit harder to obtain, and it requires determination and a kind of commitment from the part of the Shopify retailer, there are fewer people right now who work with them. Because of this reason, there are fewer people from your field who are reselling the same products in their online stores. Thus, you do not have to worry about your customers abandoning your site and never returning, because it is easier to obtain the items you are offering from another place. Not to mention the fact that most products of suppliers are not available on marketplaces, which weighs a lot when we consider the market share of certain product categories in e-commerce.
There is one major motive why entrepreneurs are reselling items from marketplaces. This is the cheap price. The logic behind this is that they are able to add a lot more margin on these products. Of course, this practice is totally fine taking the financial aspect into consideration. However, it also has a pitfall, the quality. We all know that most of the time lower price goes hand in hand with lower quantity, from which drop shipping is not an exception. Even to the contrary, maybe drop shipping is the best example for this occurrence. Although working with local suppliers is different because they are, most of the time, selling their own manufactured goods, and they are responsible for its quality. The item prices are usually a bit higher than that of the ones sold on marketplaces, but this does not mean that you cannot add the same proportion of margin on them. Local suppliers can be trusted with quality, they are established companies in their market and country, they will not disappear without a trace. Your buyers are also looking for long-lasting and valuable investments for their money, so this is another compelling reason why you should choose a local supplier.
Not to mention the quality of the product information you get from different sources. Suppliers will provide you with high-resolution, nicely arranged product images. The product descriptions will be grammatically correct if you use suppliers. Moreover, there are some vendors whom you are also able to ask a source file form, which is in the language of your target market. This is hard to imagine when you work with noname sellers from eBay.
Lower return rate
As a consequence of the higher quality, you can expect a much lower return rate for the items you have sold. Additionally, you can count on suppliers in handling the exchange or the fixing of the products if necessary. Higher quality products equal more satisfied and happier customers, which is advantageous for you and for the number of sales you make as well. Most Shopify dealers are asking about warranty and how to do it right. Well, if you are working with a supplier instead of reselling products from an online marketplace, you can make your own job a lot simpler. This argument is logical, there is no need to expand it any further.
There are mysterious cases when the package never reaches the buyer or when the item they have ordered gets damaged during the shipment. As you are the one who is in contact with the buyer, you need to act as an intermediary when it comes to warranty services. You need to give the buyer sufficient information and also forward his case towards the source of the product. This process can take a lot of time if the buyer needs to return the package to the other side of the world. Moreover, we have already heard some cases when the original retailer disappeared, and the Shopify store’s owner could not reach them at all. What can you do in a situation like this? Unfortunately, not much. You will need to reimburse the expenses of your buyer who will most probably never order from you again. Moreover, you can consider yourself lucky if they do not leave a negative feedback on your site.
On the other hand, if you resell the products of a supplier, who has a known and trustworthy company, this process can be closed a lot comfortable and faster. First of all, as you chose a vendor who is close to your target market they will receive the faulty item in a few days and they will be able to act upon immediately. Your customer can finally get the perfect item they have paid for after a couple of days, and the process has been closed. There is nothing else you need to do, there are no additional expenses.
Faster and easier communication
As you are working with suppliers who are near your target market, you will definitely speak the same language. You can easily avoid the language barrier between you and your supplier if they are not on the other side of the world. Usually, Aliexpress and eBay retailers speak only broken English, which makes the communication difficult and lengthy. There can easily be misunderstandings between the two of you, which is a serious problem when conducting business. Have you ever ordered from these marketplaces for yourself? Then you probably experienced the story of unintelligible product descriptions and handbooks. Would you like your customer to have the same experience when they order from you? If it doesn’t bother you, you can disregard this argument of ours.
The language of the source file comes to the picture again, because real suppliers usually offer source files in different languages. Usually in languages of the countries where they are shipping to. This makes your life easier when you have a multilanguage store. Also, when you want to make sure that the product information is written by professional native speakers of that language.
Good customer service
Established suppliers have their own dedicated support team. Why is this important? Because you never know when you need to deal with issues, like warranty, refund, late shipping or anything else. This aspect is crucial, and also is in connection with the previous argument. They are usually native speakers, or at least they make sure to hire customer support representatives who can speak the language on an advanced level. They will help you right away, you can expect an answer usually within 1-2 business days or even earlier. Of course, the response time can vary due to their load.
No more scam or fraudulent retailers
Taking into consideration that these local suppliers are real, legally accepted companies in their country, they will not disappear from your sight. You also might need to write a contract, which might seem a bit scary for the first time, but believe us this serves your benefits too. As these contracts are legally binding there would be serious consequences if a supplier would not fulfill what it promised to you. This is the way you can pursue good business and flourish your company. These binding reliabilities are missing when you are importing products from marketplaces, so you legally cannot do anything if your eBay supplier disappears. This does not mean that only those suppliers are trustworthy whom you can write a contract with. Obviously, you need to check reviews about the supplier before you would start working with them, no matter what kind of paperwork you need to do.
There are no supplier labels on the product
When you order from marketplaces and get the package, you will see the original tags on the packages. Usually, these tags are in Chinese, which tells everything about the origins of the product you just sold. These flaws can make the buyer suspicious and make a research about the whereabouts of the manufacturer. After finding results, some of them may become disappointed, because they realize that they could have saved a lot of money if they ordered from Etsy. On the other hand, real suppliers will not place their logo on the package or will not add an accompanying letter to the items ordered. Even though the customer will see the address of the sender, it will show them a country which is close to them, not another country which is on the other side of the world.
Smaller difference in price
Shopify merchants who resell from marketplaces will also add 100-200% margin, or even more on the products in order to keep the store going. There is nothing wrong with this practice, as commerce works like this all around the world. However, you should know that the products you sell may already contain a certain margin if the seller is not the manufacturer of the product. As a result, your buyers will end up paying 4-5 times more for the same product they could get directly from the manufacturer. Moreover, as these marketplaces are very popular nowadays, people know about them. Your target market knows about them. Why would they order from a store which sells exactly the same products for a lot more, if they can get the product from Amazon without altering its quality or the shipping time? In contrast, as more real local suppliers are the manufacturers of their products, there is no chance that you will sell the products at an unreasonably high price. What is more, the customers cannot order directly from these suppliers. They need an intermediary, who will be you, to purchase those items. Due to the fact that these vendors are usually selling in bulk. Obviously, there are some exceptions.
If you want to find real suppliers, browse our list, which contains suppliers from all around the globe. Additionally, Syncee has a new feature, which enables you to select your perfect match and import their products with only a few clicks. This feature has been released in the spring of 2018, and already contains 60+ suppliers. Visit our Help Center if you need more information.
Guest-blogger at Syncee. Professional in SaaS & startup marketing, social media, and e-commerce. Passionately seeks new business opportunities, executes marketing campaigns and always ready to write new articles on the industry.