You can set up an online business on a shoestring budget and sell hard goods from it. Not only are your costs minimal, but you can earn as much, if not more, than a brick-and-mortar business.
The Internet has made it possible for anybody with a computer and an Internet connection to level the playing field. You don’t need to raise huge start-up costs to be in a retail business for yourself. Using eye-catching graphics, some good product descriptions, customer testimonials, and order-taking applications, you can offer the customer more than enough information to make a purchase decision.
Using drop shipping, you can deliver the products to your customer with the greatest of ease because the drop shipping company will do all the packaging and shipping on your behalf.
How to Find a Local Drop Shipping Company
You can find a drop shipping company in your local area using industry-specific directories, Chamber of Commerce business lists, and even the phone book. Once you have found a few, here are five questions to ask to choose the best one:
- What is your area of coverage?
- How soon do you deliver after an order is placed?
- Is your business registered with the state and does it fulfill state requirements for drop shipping?
- Do you charge a membership or registration fee? (If they answer affirmatively, then scratch them off your list. Established drop ship companies don’t charge registration fees because they make money off each transaction.)
- What kind of products do they offer for drop-shipping? (Tip: choose a company that offers a large selection so that you can deal with just one company for all your websites. In the future, you may decide to either drop certain product lines or decide to open up a string of websites.)
These questions will shorten your list. There are now a few more steps that you must take to pick the very best company from your short list.
- The quality of the products. You don’t want a drop shipper with poor products or that has products close to expiry. Your business reputation depends on providing high quality, reliable, fresh products.
- The price of the products. Compare wholesale prices between the various companies on your list. The lower the wholesale price, the more profits your business will make because you will not have to have a high mark up to cover your costs.
- Verify product quality and deliverability by doing a test order. This will give you a good feel for the reality behind their promises and sales literature. Naturally, you should choose the company that will fulfill your customer orders most efficiently.
These three considerations will go a long way in assuring that you find the best local drop-shipping company. However, you also need to check out two more things before you sign any business contracts.
- Find out how they handle out of stock problems. Do they have an efficient back order policy? Do they provide you with adequate notification when their stocks are running low? A company that frequently runs out of stock or that renews products slower than expected can potentially ruin your business.
- Find out if they have a fair refund policy, something that you can feel comfortable posting on your website. Often customers are more likely to buy a product if they know that they can return it without having to pay a big “restocking” fee.
How to Find An Internet-based Drop Ship Company
Depending on the business you are planning on setting up online, you may want to consider working with an online drop shipping company. Although there are many drop-ship companies online, you have fewer options to check them out than you would if you were to choose a local drop ship company.
With that caveat aside, you will be pleased to learn that there is actually a short list of some of the best drop shipping companies online. Online retailers have consistently reported favorably on these three companies: Doba, World Wide Brands, and Salehoo.
Doba has a network of 300+ companies. These companies are craftsmen, manufacturers, and distributors. After signing up with Doba, you will be able to get full access to the product catalogs and drop ship wholesalers.
Here are some advantages of working with Doba:
- You can find a wide selection of products in one place.
- You can list, order, and track your orders from one place.
World wide brands offers wholesale memberships where you can get lifetime access without monthly or annual fees.
Here are some advantages of working with this World Wide Brands:
- You can get access to 8,000 certified drop shippers.
- You can choose from 8 million products to sell.
- New certified drop shippers are added on a weekly basis.
- The wholesales don’t charge registration or membership fees.
- You can do market research on all the products.
- It is easy to comb through the wholesaler database.
In addition, this company offers 25 hours of business training videos on how to correctly and profitably set up your online business.
This is another company that provides you with a large number of resources to set up your online business.
Here are some of the benefits of working with SaleHoo:
- A selection of 8,000 verified suppliers.
- The database is regularly updated with new suppliers.
- Suppliers will ship internationally.
- Suppliers don’t need minimum orders before they fulfill customer purchasers.
- Market and product research tools.
- Online business training options.
- A membership forum, with 75,000 members.
- One-on-one membership support and advice.
How to Set Up a Profitable Online Business
Using drop shipping it is possible to set up a profitable online business. You can obtain your supplier from your local area or from the Internet. Which is better depends, of course, on the type of industry you wish to focus on. A local drop shipper will be best if you are selling local crafts, products that can only be obtained from your corner of the world.
If you do choose to find an Internet-based supplier, it is better to go with a proven database of suppliers that can be obtained from Doba, World Wide Brands, or SaleHoo. While there are numerous other ways of finding a drop shipper online, it is advisable that you proceed with caution because, unfortunately, many unreliable drop shipping providers exist on the Internet.