The world of dropshipping is often considered the easiest way to sell products online. The biggest difference between drop shipping and the standard retail model is that in drop shipping, the selling merchant doesn’t stock his own inventory. Instead, the merchant purchases inventory as needed from a third party – usually dropshipping wholesalers or manufacturers – to fulfil orders.
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
Since finding a quality supplier 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 with your business with.
AliExpress is an online marketplace owned by the Chinese ecommerce 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.
Wholesale Central is a wholesale and dropshipping supplier directory. Based in the US, they have over 25 years of experience matching buyers and suppliers around the world.
Wholesale Central has suppliers from around the world and their platform is very easy to navigate and explore. Better yet, it’s free for buyers to use.
Wholesale Central is primarily an online directory and therefore any relationships, communications, or purchasing must be done directly with the supplier. Furthermore, the majority of their suppliers sell traditional bulk wholesale and do not dropship, so it will take a bit more exploring to find the right dropshipping partner.Wholesale Central has a solid repository of wholesale suppliers around the world. It is easy to use and free for buyers. However, it can be a bit harder to find suppliers that support dropshipping, and any relationships and processes must be set up directly with them.
Wholesale2B is an end-to-end dropshipping service that lets customers research products, integrate them with their ecommerce platform, and manage both buying and shipping processes. Based in the US, Wholesale2B is working to automate the dropshipping process with minimal need for communication with suppliers or other logistics providers.
Wholesale2B provides a quick, automated way to get started dropshipping all different types of products from suppliers around the world. It’s free to browse the service, and it comes with numerous integrations with ecommerce platforms and digital marketplaces.
While browsing Wholesale2B is free, they require separate monthly subscriptions for every service you want to buy from them. For example, if you want to dropship on multiple different platforms, you will pay separately for each of them. They also have limited customer service channels that are only available during business hours.Wholesale2B provides an automated dropshipping platform that makes it easy and inexpensive to get started selling on most ecommerce platforms. However, they charge different subscription fees for their different services that can add up quickly if you’re selling on multiple platforms or using their other services like web analytics.
8. Sunrise Wholesale
Sunrise Wholesale is a dropshipping service offering 15,000 to 30,000 products across various categories to buyers in the US and Canada. The Los Angeles-based company has been around for about 20 years and has numerous integrations with ecommerce platforms.
Sunrise Wholesale makes it easy to ship to US- and Canada-based customers. Since Sunrise Wholesale manages the inventory themselves, they can ship to customers in under a week, unlike a majority of international suppliers. They also integrate with ecommerce platforms to make selling products easy.
Since they manage most of the inventory themselves, Sunrise Wholesale has a relatively limited product selection, which typically ranges from 15,000 to 30,000 products — unlike millions available on other dropshipping services. They also require a monthly subscription fee of $49.Sunrise Wholesale can be a great solution for dropshippers trying to get products to customers fast in the US and Canada. However, they have limited product offerings and you cannot ship internationally outside of these two countries.
9. Inventory Source
Inventory Source provides dropshipping automation software that lets users sync products from various supplier networks, place orders, and track inventory. Based in the US, Inventory Source focuses on offering a flexible platform for managing the dropshipping process from start to finish.
Inventory Source is flexible in that you can connect to not only their own supplier network but also create and manage your own suppliers. This makes it a powerful option since you’re not restricted to their curated lists, letting you expand operations over time without moving to a new software provider.
While Inventory Source has a pretty large directory of suppliers and products, it charges extra for all supplier sellers select. For example, the basic plan includes one supplier integration for $99 per month and the plus plan includes two integrations for $125 per month.Inventory Source provides flexible dropshipping automation software to manage the entire process and can connect to their large supplier network. However, their billing structure makes it difficult for users wanting to buy from multiple different suppliers, which can be prohibitive if you have a general purpose store or operate multiple brands.
10. National Dropshippers
National Dropshippers is a simple service partnering with manufacturers and distributors around the US to dropship their products. Based in New Hampshire, the service offers fast delivery and flexible membership plans.
National Dropshippers offers fast shipping in the US by partnering with local suppliers. Sellers can browse their catalog before joining. They also have flexible membership plans to fit your operating needs at reasonable rates.
National Dropshippers only offers a few thousand products to sell. They also only provide limited ability to export certain sets of products to your ecommerce platforms, so ongoing maintenance is a bit more manual than other dropshipping services.National Dropshippers has some of the fastest shipping in the US by partnering with a network of domestic suppliers. However, their product selection is very limited along with minimal automation and integrations with other platforms.
Let’s see what international drop shipping challenges expect those who plan to go international. The following 8 issues should be thought over before you start an international drop shipping business.
Find suppliers – You may ask your current supplier if he/she dropships worldwide. Or use sources like Dropwow or AliExpress. On both marketplaces, there are merchants from China who drop ship internationally. If you are confused about choosing between US-based suppliers or China-based suppliers, read the answer.
Calculate delivery expenses – Contact your carrier to learn about expenses for further calculation. Or visit a product page on the Dropwow marketplace to see a shipping cost there.
Resolve customs charge issue – This information may also be provided by your carrier. However, non-expensive items which drop shippers often select don’t usually require customs charges.
Use ePacket – Work with suppliers who provide ePacket. This shipping method is the best one if you cooperate with Chinese merchants. It’s available for many countries, it’s much cheaper than other variants through it has limits (small and lightweight packages) that don’t actually limit dropshippers. Learn more about ePacket and its limits.
Find products – Choose products that may be easily shipped (lightweight, small, not delicate).
Set up shipping rates – You’re able to set up your shipping rates on your store. There are two variants to do it – by price or by weight. The shipping rate affected by price will depend on an order price. The other variant will depend on a total weight in return. Learn more about each variant and how to set up shipping rates here.
Apply currency converter app to help your customers. Find the app in the Shopify App Store.
Do not translate – Sometimes beginners ask if they should make a translation or not before they start promotion to other countries. In most cases, dropshippers do not do it. As there are no limits for targeting other nations like Germany, France, Spain, etc. The point is that it’s not about translating the text into a store. Your advertising, emails and online chat for customer support should be translated too and Google Translate will not help you much. Focus on your sales first but not localization.