Not all of us are talented or knowledgeable at creating things, or have money saved to invest in a new business. That though my friends, is not an “end of the world” problem. Dropshipping steps in to solve this problem. Due to the growing supply of eCommerce stores, more and more dropshipping companies and directories are popping up to enable everyone to sell online.
In today’s post, we’re going to take a walk down Dropshipping avenue. We’ll take a look at how dropshipping works, how to pick a dropshipper, and finally, a list of dropshipping services to pick from so you can start your business in the next few hours!
How Dropshipping Works
For those not sure how dropshipping works, here’s the skinny. You, the seller, partner up with a supplier (the dropshipping company). You then list the products for sale on your site.
When someone makes a purchase, you simply sign into your dashboard within the supplier’s website. There you select what products were purchased, pay the supplier, and have them ship into your customer! In some cases, the order fulfillment takes place immediately after the product is ordered on your site, without you needing to sign into another site to complete the process.
Image via The Dropship Factory
5 Thoughts for Picking a Dropshipping Company
1. Wholesale vs. Manufacturer
When dropshipping, more often than not, you’ll be able to get the products from one of two sources: wholesale or from the manufacturer. Either one of the two can still be considered a dropshipper is anyone who will ship a product for you directly to your customer.
- Manufacturer: the builder or producer of a product. Example: Nike produces the Air Jordan shoes.
- Wholesaler: someone that purchases the products from the manufacturer and resells to retailers at discount wholesale prices. In short, the wholesaler acts a distributor. For instance, the Nike Air Jordans are sent (for a cost) to the wholesaler. The Wholesaler will now dropship the shoes to other businesses (B2B).
In the ideal situation, you would dropship directly from the manufacturer. The reason for that is two-fold. Not only does dropshipping from the manufacturer cut out the middle man, but it can also cut costs for yourself (as a result of removing the middle man).
Just keep this in mind, and make sure that you are doing business with one of the two, and not a third party (the distributor of the wholesaler), because that could potentially lead to a mess (too many middle men).
Here you want to take a look at a few things. First, who do they do shipping with? Are they shipping with a known provider? Are they using multiple companies for the global scale? Do they provide a tracking number on all order or only domestic? The bottom line is that you want customers to make repeat purchases. For that to happen, the shipping standards need to meet your customer expectations.
Do they offer international shipping? You may only be selling domestically now, but what happens if in three months time your product becomes very popular in another country? You want to expand, but then you find out that there is no global shipping or costs are through the roof. Check this out before you decide on a supplier.
3. Order Placement
Some dropshiping companies have direct integrations with marketplaces or tools that enable them to know when an order is placed. They can then begin to fulfill the order. Other dropshipping companies require you (the seller) to contact them in order to place the order to the customer.
This is just one more element you should have an understanding of before finalizing with whom you’ll be dropshipping. How important is convenience to you?
This is a question that is important for your customers when they make a purchase on your site, and is not something to be overlooked. Although many of these companies work with more than one type of online payment solution, don’t assume they’ve got your favorite solution.
5. Return Policy
Is it flexible? Does it even exist (if not, that’s a big red flag)? You want to be able to dropship from someone that has a flexible enough return policy that you can also apply a normal return policy on your customers.
You need to not only take a look at the time frame, but also the costs. Are the costs too high for you to put on yourself? Will you need to charge customers for returns? This is something to take into consideration.
8 Dropshipping Directories
Not sure what you want to sell? If so, then dropshipping directories should probably be your first stop.
Alibaba.com is one of the leading platforms for global wholesale trade, with a large portion of their products being manufactured in China. One huge benefit of using Alibaba are the usually lower costs on products, because they are developed in China. Most of the members on Alibaba.com are manufacturers or trading companies or resellers who trade in large order quantities.
One of the leading American dropshipping directories, on it you can discover more than 2 million different products to dropship. With Doba, when a customer selects a product, you then need to relay that message to Doba. They then fulfill the order.
SaleHoo is a bit different from some of the other directories listed here (and from those not listed) as SaleHoo works on a membership fee. For $67 dollars per year, you get access to over 1.5 million products. At this time, the majority of their customers are on eBay and Amazon, however at the end of the day dropshiping is dropshiping so it does not matter where you sell, as long as you sell.
With over 10 million product available to sell to your own customers, Worldwide Brands has become one of the biggest and most popular destination for finding products to dropship. Worldwide Brands, like SaleHoo, also has a membership fee, however in this case it is a one time lifetime membership fee of $299.
On Wholesale Central there is no registration or membership fee. You simply pay for your products. There is no membership fee, as they explain, because instead they charge the supplier to list their products. You’ll also find that the directory has no shortage of ads, but maybe that’s better than paying an up-front fee? If not having to pay a membership fee sounds like the better route for you, then take a look at some of the over 700 thousand products they offer to see if the quality and prices meet your demands.
With this service you can get access and choose what to sell from over 1.5 million products. With Wholesale2B, there is no membership fee. All you have to do is create a free account, find products, activate a plan, and then start selling. Like the rest of the directories, the fulfillment is taken care of on their end so you never come into touch with the products.
Similarly to the previously mentioned service, Dropship Direct is also super easy to get started with. Dropship Direct work with over 57 thousand merchant sellers (like yourself), and just under 1 thousand manufacturers. There are no account or membership fees, however there is an application fee of $47 that is waived for being an active merchant.
Inventory Source works with fewer suppliers, but from the look of things, that does not make them any less attractive as a possible source of products to dropship. Their tools allow you to automatically pull inventory data from multiple suppliers, filter for the products or categories you like, and push across the channels you sell in. You easily control price markup, map to your custom categories, and choose to load new products as they come available. Plus they have almost 30 marketplace and store integrations that’ll probably make the entire process simpler.
23 Dropshipping Companies
If you have taken a look at the directories and gotten a better idea for the prices and different products, then take a look at these more specific dropshipping options.
Probably the leading service when it comes to dropshipping t-shirts and other products, Printful is also a very simple and intuitive service that anyone can understand how to use.
Whenever an order comes through, Printful know, and get to work. The customer pays you, and then Printful charges you for the fulfillment. From there on, the product is created and sent to the customer.
You can use Merchify to dropship tee shirts, mugs, and posters. With Merchify you upload your designs, and select what you want to sell (among the different products they support). Then, once you are ready to start selling, Merchify pushes all of your products to your web store.
Merchify will notify you when a purchase is made via email and will even, in most cases, send out a tracking number to customers (even for international shipping). All you really need to do is setup your store and then get to work.
Using Printify as your dropshipping service allows you to sell anything tee shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs and smartphone cases to your valuable customers. Create a design, and then have it printed on everything.
All of the design and setup is done within the Shopify dashboard (definitely a big advantage), and they automatically know when something has been purchased, so you don’t have to run to let them know that an order has been placed.
Like the other options, InkThreadable also goes beyond T-shirts, enabling you to also dropship embroidery, and even houseware. With InkThreadable, you get the order from the customer, and then all you have left to do is notify them.
Once they have got the order from you, they finish, pack and ship the order straight to your customer in plain cover (they can also include your company branding).
All in all, these are very similar services that vary as to the platforms they work with (Printful works with more than just Shopify), and also differ slightly in regards to their costs, and the manner in which they conduct their shipping.
We highly recommend trying all three (or four if you’re on the European side of the pond. InkThreadable is based in the UK) to see what works best for you.
Do you want to sell everything a woman needs? This will certainly get you quite close to that goal. As a dropshipper of Dresslink you can potentially gain access to a few thousand different products, ranging from lingerie, dresses, kids apparel, women’s clothing, and bags.
As they’ve got it set up, the more you sell, the more products you can begin offering. There are no fees for signing up to get started with them.
Similarly to Dresslink, with Trendsgal, the more you sell acts as an incentive. After you reach certain benchmarks you begin to receive a better cut from them. With this type of dropshipping, unlike Printful and the first few mentioned, in this case you are selling another brand’s products so there is no personalization.
Do you want to sell boutique style fashion pieces to women near and far? With Sugarlips, you get access to their garments and clothing articles to sell on your own site. You can literally just take all the products, images, and even product descriptions. Add what you want to your site, and then when an order comes through, you notify the team and they’ll fulfill the order to your customer.
Food and Drinks
This one actually came as a surprise: you can dropship protein bars! You can create your own line of protein bars and begin creating a community of protein bar lovers in weeks.
There is a one time fee that goes to setting up the fulfillment process with your site, so that order fulfillment can take place automatically (and without you needing to send an email every time an order comes in).
9. & 10. Coffee Bean Direct & Tattle Tea
One of the downsides of dropshipping are that the profit margins are less than stellar. One fix to that ‘problem’ is getting people to buy more of your product (more than just one). Odds are that if you are selling coffee or tea, that customers are coming to buy more than one bag of each.
Coffee Bean Direct is also the company that is behind Tattle Tea. Both dropshipping services enable you to resell their hot beverages. You’ll need to get directly in touch with them in order to get more information.
Kopi Luwak is a more exotic version of your daily coffee, one that is generally found in Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Naturally, an average Joe would think that they can’t sell this if they are not living in the area or have some high-end connections.
This supplier of the coffee wants to change that by allowing you to sell the exotic coffee to more people across the globe. With a lower cost that many other dropshipping products, there might be hope for higher product margins with this type of product.
12. Honest Green
You can dropship from Honest Green a selection of a little more than 15,000 green products that, according to them, is all grown from one location. They do not have a dropship fee, and also have no minimum order size. It’s not clear if there is a cost to returns, although they are accepted. Product categories include: hair care, bath & body, household, food & beverage, health supplements, and more.
Ever wanted to sell jewelry? Stop wanting to do that and start doing that! Amazingly enough, dropshipping has expanded to also include high-quality jewelry. Again, depending on how good of a branding and marketing artist you are, there may be plenty of room to wiggle in some nice profit margins with a product that is generally bought at three-digit prices.
14. Fragrance Net
If your passion is perfumes, then this dropshipping opportunity might be able to satisfy your passion. Just get in touch with their team at corporate, and then see if this is an opportunity that matches your needs.
Do you know people that stop short of completing purchases for perfumes and colognes because the prices are too high? Set up your own store and offer competitive prices that don’t turn people away with high prices (you have fewer costs and can offer a more competitive price). After a product sells in your store, collect payment from your customer, log in to your free Elaines Fragrances retailer account and order the product. They’ll then complete the rest of the process by shipping it directly to the customer.
Do you wish you could create an online store and sell products for those kind of people that are getting ready for the next natural disaster or the apocalypse? They dropship for no charge and provide everything you need to succeed in selling quality emergency survival products. Some of their products include survival kits, hurricane kits, earthquake kits, food storage, and emergency seeds.
17. JB Outman
JB Outman gives you access to hundreds (if not thousands) of different products that include archery, axes, swords, first aid tools, different outdoor wear, knives and more.
If you are more of a self-defense or hunting while in the wild kind of person, then Grey Eagle may have all the products that you are looking for. The products that you can dropship include weapons, swords, knives, LED/flashlights, and even some handy outdoor related tools. If you are on the lookout to create a men’s’ outdoor and weapon eCommerce site, then this might be the solution for you.
19. Roam Outdoors
With Roam Outdoors you can easily create your own branded camping equipment. They use your own branded purchase orders, invoices, packaging and marketing collateral while fulfilling orders on your behalf, making their involvement in your customers’ experience completely invisible.
20. CWR Electronics
Want to create the ultimate shopping experience for the outdoorsmen and women of the world, then this might be the dropshipping opportunity that you’ve been waiting for. With CWR you can dropship all of the following different categories of products: camping, climbing, running, automotive, cycling, and much more.
Pets and Animals
Pet Retail Supply offers over 20 thousand animal and pet care related products to choose from. Their categories include the following products for dogs: clothing, coats, collars, beds,boots & shoes, hoodies, harnesses, leashes, toys, and pajamas. There is no minimum order requirement, and it appears that there is free shipping (which is fantastic for profit margins). An added bonus is that you are able to ship directly from the manufacturer (cutting out the middle man).
For someone looking to create a store for more than just sales related to dog products, the dropshipping company Essential Pet Products might be the solution you’ve been looking for. Aside from dog related products, there are products for rabbits, birds, aquariums, and other products that could be helpful to any animal owner.
As a wholesale distributor, digPETS sells exclusively to other businesses (B2B) so they are not competing with you (another thing you should look for in a dropshipper)! With an inventory of over 25,000 products, including: collars, leads, harnesses, apparel and fashion, treats, supplements, toys, and beds. Like 99% of the good dropshipping companies, there is no minimum order requirement, and there is no added shipping charge for orders containing products from multiple vendors.
Recommended: This is Your ABC Guide to Dropshipping
Use This List to Start Dropshipping
Regardless of whether or not you have a current eCommerce business or not, you should start dropshipping! Why? Well, if you are currently not in business, then there is absolutely no better way to get your feet wet than with dropshipping (little financial risk).
If you already have an eCommerce business – whether it’s thriving or not – now is the time to start dropshipping. You can dropship to test out demand for certain types of products, test different marketing tactics on products that aren’t your own, do some much needed split testing on product pages, and of course, if you are a gifted seller/marketer then opening another store with dropshipping should be a great opportunity to add some green dollars to your bank account or to use it to drive more customers to your main store!
Ty is a digital marketing enthusiast that can't get enough social media marketing and content marketing. He is the inbound marketing manager at StoreYa where he spends his days searching for the newest social marketing scoop and creating amazingly awesome content. If you’d like to chat with him, feel free to connect with him on any social platform.
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