You have written your business plan, you know exactly which products you want to sell to which target group and you have prepared yourself for your online shop as a part-time or full-time business. There is only one thing missing: a good supplier for your goods. This article explains how to find reliable suppliers for your online shop.
How to find the right supplier for your online shop
There are different ways to find a good supplier. Here we present the most important ones:
Searching Google can be exhausting
You may already have noticed that simply searching for suppliers on Google can be tricky. For example, if you sell clothes and type in “branded clothing offers” or “branded clothing supplier” on Google, you will get poor results. This is due to the fact that wholesalers are not geared towards private end customers, but rather business customers. Search terms such as “private label clothing wholesaler” will therefore give you better results. If you want to sell groceries, look for “catering equipment wholesalers” rather than “beverages and food wholesalers”. Think about how wholesalers would like to be found and use business terms.
Look for brands
Instead of looking for wholesalers, you can search for a specific companies and manufacturers as well as their distributors. Look for the contact details on the Internet and ask for the person responsible procurement. Make a note of your business tax number and / or your entry in the commercial register in your e-mail so that it is clear that you are making contact as a business customer.
What questions you need to ask before a trusted supplier?
After a while, you should have a list of around 50 potential suppliers. Please contact them now to arrange an appointment. The bottom line is that there will probably be around five suppliers who are interested in a discussion. You should definitely ask these questions while getting to know each other:
· Do you have your goods in stock yourself?
· What is the minimum order value?
· What is your company structure and how big is it?
· What are the payment terms (e.g. delivery on account)?
· What are your terms of sale?
· What are your delivery terms?
· In the case of foreign suppliers, you also ask these important questions:
· Why does the supplier want to bring their products to the German market?
· Which foreign languages do the employees speak?
· What is your previous experience with deliveries abroad?
Of course, the supplier would also like to know more about your ideas and plans.
Therefore, prepare answers to the following questions:
· How many jobs do you expect?
· Who is your target audience?
· How do you think you can reach this target group?
· Why are you interested in this product?
· How much time will you invest in your online shop?
· How well do you know these products and the market?
Don’t forget about offline business!
Wholesalers are not your only suppliers. Also think of retail businesses and shops in your immediate area that would like to offer their products online. Perhaps there will be opportunities for you to cooperate here.
Think about the neighboring countries
Take a look across the borders, because you can also find suppliers in Austria, Switzerland or the Benelux, China and USA countries. Some products are even cheaper in these countries than in Europe. However, you have to consider the higher shipping costs and longer delivery times and, in the case of Switzerland, also the customs duties.
Rely on a supplier from China- Checkout the wholesale marketplaces
China is rightly considered the workbench of the world and Chinese suppliers can offer you numerous goods at lower prices than their European counterparts. B2B marketplaces like Alibaba.com, eWorldTrade.com, AmazonB2B, Etsy, Ecwid have grown on this way. However, do keep potential barriers in mind, such as language problems, cultural differences, and customs / import costs.
Get help from online customer support
Find competent on-site support to get answers to your questions outside of the internet:
· Industry associations often already have entire lists of suppliers in the industry
· Trade fairs are an excellent opportunity to make contacts with potential suppliers at home and abroad
· The chambers of industry and commerce in the federal states and cities also offer help and support
Ask for samples and offers
If the above points have been clarified, you should now get an offer. If you like, request a sample to see the quality of the products for yourself before accepting the offer.