Dropshipping is a business model where retailers use suppliers to ship products directly to the end customer rather than managing the stocking and shipping themselves. Unlike traditional retail, dropshipping retailers do not keep physical inventory and only pay for the product when a customer first places an order.
The primary benefit of dropshipping is it lets retailers sell products without committing the large amounts of working capital required to buy, stock, and ship wholesale products. This can be invaluable for new companies or those experimenting with a new product before they commit the resources to purchase large amounts of inventory.
Tips for finding dropshipping suppliers
legitimate and reliable dropship supplier quality is crucially important for a successful dropshipping operation, there are some steps to ensure you find the right one:
- Read the reviews
If the supplier has customer reviews, see what people are saying about their products and customer service. This will give insights into how customers will perceive your own quality when you sell those products yourself.
- Review policies
Since supplier policies will effectively flow down to your customers, you’ll need to understand how they handle broken products, missing packages, returns, and more. If the policies are not available on the supplier’s website, contact them directly to ask.
- Try the products yourself
If there’s a product you’re thinking about selling, order it yourself to see the product quality and the shipping speed. Based on these results, you can develop an accurate estimate of how the customer will perceive the level of service — for better or worse.
- Understand the fees
Dropshipping often includes hidden fees and costs. You will want a firm understanding of the different shipping rates, monthly subscription costs, stocking fees, and more to understand how these will cumulatively impact your overhead.
- Look for automation
As your business scales, manually managing inventory levels, placing orders, and tracking shipments may not be feasible. Ideally, the supplier should have integrations with your ecommerce platform to automate these workflows, allowing you to focus on growing revenue streams.
10 best dropshipping suppliers
There are many different services and marketplaces which help you find great suppliers to align your business with.
AliExpress is an online marketplace owned by the Chinese e commerce company Alibaba. AliExpress has millions of products and is typically the go-to for many dropshippers. Unlike many suppliers on the Alibaba wholesale services, AliExpress allows you to order single units of items. This eliminates the need to store dedicated inventory off site, letting you ship directly to customers.
Retailers can sign up for free and find millions of products at affordable prices. You can order directly through the website without speaking directly to any suppliers, which is a plus if there’s a language barrier. AliExpress also handles all shipment tracking and notifications. There are also a number of very reliable automation tools for popular ecommerce platforms, such as Adobe Commerce, that automate order fulfillment.
The majority of AliExpress suppliers are in China. While this means cheaper prices and often worldwide shipping options, it can be slow to get products directly to customers in countries like the United States. The ePacket option makes this affordable but customers often have to wait weeks to receive products.
AliExpress is affordable, easy to use, and has a great product selection. Because of this, it’s often where dropshippers go to test out new products. However, given the slow shipping times for many products, it’s not always the best for a large or fast-growing ecommerce business that needs prompt and transparent shipping to avoid customer service issues.
SaleHoo is a wholesale and dropshipping directory. Based in New Zealand, SaleHoo provides one of the largest international directories of buyers and suppliers.
Given the size of its directory, SaleHoo provides a great way for buyers to find different types of suppliers from around the world for both dropshipping and traditional wholesale. Their $67 yearly subscription is also very reasonable relative to the competition.
SaleHoo does not allow retail orders as other sites such as AliExpress do. Its process is a bit more formal and requires direct communication with the suppliers. Therefore, you’ll have to build relationships and create communication channels with other businesses.
SaleHoo has a very large directory of suppliers around the world and offers services at a reasonable rate. However, given the formalities and direct contacts with suppliers, it’s a bit harder to get started and test new products. Therefore, this may be a better option for dropshippers with some experience with a particular industry or product.
3. Worldwide Brands
Worldwide Brands provides a directory of verified dropshippers, large and small volume wholesalers, and importers. The company is based in Florida and has over 20 years of experience in vetting its suppliers.
Worldwide Brands provides a simple way to find vetted suppliers. It also provides training material geared toward finding the right supplier and running online businesses. For US-based sellers, their Florida home base may allow for a bit more hands-on customer service.
Worldwide Brands is primarily a directory, so you’ll still have to make your own relationships and payment structures with suppliers. They also require a one-time lifetime subscription fee of $299, so it’s a bit harder to test out the service to determine a good fit.
Worldwide Brands has a vetted list of quality suppliers, along with US-based employees who can help you find the right supplier for your business. However, the upfront cost is high and you will still have to build your own business relationships.
Megagoods is a distributor of consumer electronics. Unlike other services, the California-based company actually owns and warehouses their own products, enabling fast shipping in the US.
Megagoods is great for dropshippers selling electronics to US-based customers as the warehouse and fulfillment operations are all domestic, meaning you don’t have to worry about international shipping times. They’re also fairly affordable at only $14.99 per month.
Megagoods is focused on consumer electronics, so their product offering is a bit more limited relative to the larger wholesale directories and marketplace. They also lack research tools or integrations with eCommerce platforms.
Megagoods is great for US-based electronics dropshipping. However, their products are a bit more limited — and since Megagoods is not currently integrated with any ecommerce platforms, you’ll have to build out a fulfillment process from scratch.
Doba provides an easy-to-use platform for sourcing suppliers, ordering and tracking products, and managing inventory. The company is based in the US and has live customer support, which can be useful for brands expecting to provide their own customer service.
Doba effectively provides an end-to-end solution by managing all of the operations and ordering. They also integrate well with eh ecommerce platforms and marketplaces, making it easy to get started selling products.
It can be difficult to contact suppliers directly to form a direct working relationship. For large brands that may have custom demands for their suppliers, this can present a variety of issues. Service tiers can also get expensive, ranging from $29-$249 per month.
Doba provides a platform that manages the sourcing, fulfillment, and integration needs, which lets dropshippers of varying experience levels get started quickly. However, they don’t allow you to work with the suppliers directly and they can get quite expensive for their higher-tier plans.