How to Select Dropship Suppliers to Avoid Returns and Refunds
Guest Writer

June 4, 2024

Dropshipping is a lucrative business that has become popular for aspiring entrepreneurs to start an online business. Sadly, most dropshippers fail because they selected a bad supplier.

These suppliers hurt dropshippers as they often provide faulty or low-quality products, resulting in numerous returns and refunds. This not only hurts the business’s profitability, but also gives dropshipping a bad reputation.

The negative consequences of unreliable dropship suppliers are not limited to the dropshippers themselves; it also affects the customers who receive faulty products. These customers are often left angry and dissatisfied. This leads customers to leave negative reviews, undermines their trust in the brand, and discourages them from coming back to buy more. 

That’s why it is essential for dropshippers to have a reliable supplier that can consistently provide high-quality products and a positive customer experience.

To help dropshippers avoid returns and refunds caused by bad dropship suppliers, we have developed a research method to select reliable suppliers. By following our method, dropshippers can find trustworthy suppliers who can provide high-quality products and a positive customer experience, which will ultimately lead to greater success in their dropshipping business.

In this post, we will discuss in detail our research method for selecting reliable dropship suppliers and provide helpful tips and insights for dropshippers to avoid returns and refunds caused by bad suppliers.

How to Discover Dropship Suppliers

Before we dive into the research method, let’s talk about finding the right dropship supplier for your business. Before you select reliable dropship suppliers, you need to know where to find them. There are many ways to find dropship suppliers and we are going to reveal the best places to find them.

Method 1: Search Engines

One way to discover dropship suppliers is by using search engines like Google. When you use Google, enter keywords related to your niche so that you can find potential suppliers who offer the products you are looking for. 

You can then create a list of the suppliers that you have found on Google on a spreadsheet to keep track of who you can potentially work with.

Picking out a dropship supplier from the Google search results will allow you to find dedicated dropship suppliers in your niche. However, there are a few problems, such as:

  • It is time-consuming – checking out each and every dropship supplier site in the search results is tedious
  • You cannot integrate their product directly to your Shopify store – supplier sites normally do not have built-in tools to help you integrate their product directly into your store, so you would have to add their product to your store manually
  • Fulfilling orders is manual – every time you get an order, you will have to manually go to the supplier’s site and place the order to dropship. Imagine if you are sourcing from the independent sites of multiple suppliers…it will be a nightmare.

That’s not to say that you can’t work with an independent dropship supplier site you found on Google. But there are certainly other alternatives to make your life easier when sourcing and fulfilling products from your dropship supplier.

Method 2: SaleHoo 

Using a dropship tool like SaleHoo Dropship can make your dropshipping journey a breeze. SaleHoo Dropship offers a pre-vetted list of AliExpress suppliers and allows for easy one-click integration for products to be added to your Shopify store.

Not sure what product to sell? No worries! You can use product research tools like SaleHoo Labs. SaleHoo Labs offers advanced search filters to find hot products to sell, so that you can decide on what hot dropship product to sell before finding your supplier on SaleHoo Dropship. 

SaleHoo Labs Advanced Search Filters

Method 3: AliExpress

Another alternative is Aliexpress. Aliexpress is like a marketplace full of dropship suppliers. So instead of scouring the internet for suppliers, you can just head to Aliexpress and find all of them there.

Aliexpress is a great site to use, but it is also infamous for having a lot of scammy suppliers that can send faulty products to your customers.

Hence, it is best you use Aliexpress alongside tools that filter out the scammy suppliers and leave you with the reliable ones. Tools like SaleHoo Dropship do this.

How to Evaluate Dropship Suppliers

Now that you know where to find dropship suppliers, it is time for you to learn how to evaluate their reliability.

Step 1: Look at Reviews

First, you will want to look at the Google reviews of the supplier. This is so you can check what the experience of others was like working with that supplier. If there are many good reviews, great! You can then proceed with checking out that supplier’s product offering.

When checking out the supplier’s product offering, ensure that the product photos are high quality with detailed descriptions of the product so you know what to expect in terms of product quality.

Step 2: Check Order Count

Take it a step further and take a look at their order count. Ensure that multiple people have ordered from them in the past. This can give you assurance that they have a track record of success fulfilling your particular product. You don’t want to be the first customer they are fulfilling the order for the product you want to sell.

Step 3: Compare Price

Price is also an essential factor in selecting a dropship supplier. Check if the supplier’s prices are reasonable and comparable to competitors. Some suppliers may offer discounts for larger orders, so it is worth exploring this option if it is available.

Step 4: Explore Shipping Options and Times

Timely and consistent shipping times are also essential in ensuring that your customers receive their orders on time. If you are getting a sample, make sure that it arrives on or before the expected shipping time stated by the supplier.

Also, check if the supplier provides multiple shipping options with transparent pricing. 

Step 5: Contact Supplier

The next step is to reach out to potential suppliers to ask questions and gather more information. Inquire about their policies and procedures for returns, refunds, and exchanges.

When in contact with the supplier, you should expect:

  • Prompt and professional customer service
  • Clear communication
  • Quick resolution of issues

It is also essential to confirm their inventory level and their willingness to work with you.

Step 6: Order Samples

Next, you should order samples from suppliers you shortlisted to test product quality, packaging, and shipping times. Then you will know what the customer experience will be like if you dropship with that supplier.

How to Develop Your Brand and Ensure Customer Satisfaction

Transition from Dropship to Wholesale Suppliers

One way to reduce refunds and returns in the long run is to transition from dropshipping to wholesale suppliers. With wholesale, you will have more control over the quality of the products you sell and you can ensure that they meet your customers’ expectations. 

Additionally, private labeling products with dropship or wholesale suppliers can increase the perceived value of your brand and help you stand out from your competitors. If you are looking for Private Label Suppliers, you can find them in supplier directories like the SaleHoo Directory.

Dropship Supplier Offering Private Label Options in The SaleHoo Directory

Ensure Customer Satisfaction

Choosing a reliable dropship supplier is not enough to reduce refunds and returns if you don’t take care of your customers on your end. 

To ensure customer satisfaction, you should provide clear and detailed product information to set expectations with your customers. This can include accurate details of the product. 

You should also respond quickly to customer inquiries and issues and offer transparent return, refund, and exchange policies. 

Being transparent on shipping times is also important to set expectations with your customers. By prioritizing your customers’ satisfaction, you can build a strong brand reputation and increase customer loyalty.

Grow Your eCommerce Business With Reliable Suppliers

Selecting reliable dropship suppliers is crucial for the success of your eCommerce business. 

Doing thorough research and evaluation of potential suppliers is necessary to ensure that they meet your needs and standards.

It’s also important to consider the transition from a dropship supplier to wholesale suppliers as your business grows to reduce refunds and returns in the long run. You can even further increase perceived value by private labeling products. 

Taking these steps will help ensure customer satisfaction and the long-term success of your eCommerce business.

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