Product sourcing is one of the most important aspects of running a business. You always want to get the best products possible at the lowest prices. Product sourcing is basically finding wholesalers who can sell you quality products that you can sell for a decent profit. While it seems to be pretty straightforward, finding the right vendors is tricky as the quality of your products define your business.
You first need to decide the products you want to sell. Next, you have to do a lot of research and verification before you narrow down your wholesaler. Deciding the right vendors depend on more than just the cheapest prices, you need to check the quality of their goods, see if they can deliver on time, and understand if they offer good customer support.
The three main types of product sourcing that you can focus on are: handcrafted products, manufacturers and wholesalers, drop shippers. If you want to sell handcrafted goods, you control the supply for the demand but you’ll need to invest a lot of time making those items. If you prefer to go with manufacturers and wholesalers, you get to choose from a range of unique products but you will need to invest much more at the initial stage. If you’d rather opt for a drop shipper, manufacturing, packaging, and shipping won’t be your worry but, as there is already a lot of competition, the products you can readily dropship could be found in other stores as well.
While you can either opt for one of these, or you can have a blend of two or all three kinds, it’d be a good idea to use a combination of these three types that would suit your business needs. Here are some useful things to keep in mind when you are at the stage of sourcing products.
1. Research, research, research.
We cannot say this enough. Sure, diligent research takes a lot of time but it also saves a lot of time, trouble, resources, and energy in the future. If your products are bad, then there is very little you can do to solve your customers’ issues. It is always good to ask your wholesale vendors for their company details, tax information, and prove their record. Do a little research online to see if there are any complaints against them. Also, once you decide on a product, conduct market research within your target base and find out if they like it or not.
2. Be on a lookout for new inventory.
Sure, you have finally found your products, your vendors, your shipping company, and you are all set. But the work doesn’t stop there. The eCommerce industry is a challenging place to be as it is constantly evolving. You always need to be on your toes, looking for new products to add to your store. You need to make sure your products are relevant to current trends, are appealing to your customers, and make a reasonable profit for your business.
3. Partner with local manufacturers.
Like many other companies, you can always look to the east as a viable option to source products as a way to reduce the manufacturing costs. However, don’t overlook local manufacturers and wholesalers. Sometimes, local vendors can be beneficial as language wouldn’t be an issue, fraud or contract breach can be legally disputed much easier, and you can actually visit the factory much faster. Also, with the help of a freight quote calculator, you can also have much more control over shipping costs.
4. Find vendors both online and offline.
There are many ways to contact vendors, both online and offline. If you would prefer to do it just online, you will be missing some really good opportunities to connect with potential wholesalers who have a credible reputation. While online research is good, it should really be a combination of both. Visit trade shows and interact with manufacturers and wholesale distributors. You might be able to sample their products and even book a meeting to take talks further.
5. Avoid always buying bulk products.
While you can score a good discount off the original price, always buying in bulk means that you take a lot of risk before you even know if the product is a hit among your customers or not. Especially when you are just starting out, cut down on such risks and initially buy lesser number of goods to stock your inventory. Once you know that particular product is in high demand, you can splurge more to buy more.
6. Experiment with products.
Of course, it is a sound business decision to stock up on products that are trending, and are therefore high in demand. But that doesn’t mean that you should always follow trends. Mix up your potential catalog with timeless pieces that would always be needed, current trends that remain popular for a period of time and then fade away, and potential bestsellers that could turn to become your next trendy product. By experimenting with your goods, you automatically bring in a vast variety of products that could bring in a wider range of customers.
7. Cut out the middle men.
There are times when the company, regular customers and real clients get inconvenienced due to fraudsters, brokers, and middle men who come in between the manufacturer or wholesale distributor and the company. While they enjoy a share of the money, they tend to add more red tape to an already long process of sourcing products. So, as much as possible, try to reach out to the main source instead of going through middle men or brokers.
Product sourcing forms the backbone of any company. Only if you source a product accurately can you sell it profitably. To take it a step further, you can even source from manufacturers or wholesalers who create and sell products that are organic or environment-free in its nature. If you’re still unsure, try out multiple vendors till you find the right ones for your company.