With the ever increasing demand for quality products at great prices from the internet shopping crowds, an ever increasing number of potential business people are looking to sell products through auctions, affiliations and their own websites.
The competition is fierce but if you are in for the long haul and provide a little something extra or go that extra mile, you could gradually build up a solid faithful customer base and enjoy a successful business.
Lets say you want to set up a website or estore that sells for example, sports equipment. You may have a love of sports and some useful knowledge which could assist you in deciding which products to market on your webstore.
You will need a domain name, hosting for your website and a shopping cart to process your customers payments and orders. Or you can subscribe to a shopping cart package which includes the website, this costs more money but can save a lot of time.
Either way you have a business that is almost ready to launch, now just to find the wholesale suppliers to supply inventory or dropship for your estore.
This is where things can get more than just a little frustrating!
Speaking from personal (and painful) experience I soon learned that sourcing legitimate, trustworthy and reliable suppliers who actually supply quality goods in a respectable time frame, made pulling teeth seem like a relaxing neck rub!
I can honestly say that I spent hundreds of hours researching and checking and double checking all manner of supposedly genuine suppliers. Some of these websites are fantastic looking but they really do put the “con” in “convincing”.
My estore was going to sell a wide range of product categories and like most people who want to set up an estore, I wanted to list digital cameras, MP3 players and video gaming supplies.
Therefore suppliers of these products were the first I looked for during my research.
I will always remember spending 2 entire days cross referencing the price of 1 digital camera, just 1 model, and I thought I had hit paydirt! Yes, these guys were going to be my suppliers for digital cameras and any other electronics I would be marketing. Then I did a quick check by ‘Googling’ the name of the company + scam, yikes!! the stories I read were a nightmare!
One guy told of how he saw the camera he wanted on the website and the price was by far the lowest anywhere. So he bought it from the website and received a phone call soon after thanking him for the order and would he like to buy the battery!!!! What do you mean battery? it comes with a battery right? well no because this is a special European battery and its extra, OK how much for the battery?
Well lets put it this way, the battery pushed the total cost of the camera way over the competitors prices!
Now this led me to some serious thinking. I had spent 2 days researching 1 single item and failed miserably. I also realised that if I had used these guys and a few customers of my estore purchased one of their items, my reputation would be ruined and I would be out of business pretty quick.
The truth is that I considered quitting the idea of having my own estore because it seemed almost impossible to find good suppliers.
Just take a browse through the dropship/wholesale forums, its jam packed with people asking the same thing “where can I find suppliers?”
There are many wholesale lists floating around out there for sale but when I researched those they were a waste of time also.
I thought my dreams were answered several times when I found ‘so called’ wholesale suppliers, again the websites looked great and they are packed with all the right buzz words that press all your buttons!
Alas, these turned out to be the ‘middlemen’ who don’t sell to you at wholesale but mark up the price and for good measure charge you a monthly fee for the right to buy from them, they also sell to ANYONE!
No points for guessing this leaves you with minimal room for profit if any at all, as many eBay dropship sellers have discovered.
Note this well, a genuine wholesale supplier will NOT sell to the public and will NOT charge a monthly fee, they may however charge a small dropship fee for single items shipped.
Do not even attempt to set up an account with a genuine wholesale supplier unless you have a business registered for this or the necessary tax ID#.
Heres a tip that could save you a lot of time, I mentioned earlier that most people (myself included) usually start out thinking about selling digital cameras and MP3 players etc but I eventually discovered that companies like Sony and Apple have rigid distribution networks in place with territorial rights and you will not find a genuine wholesale supplier for these kind of hot sellers.
But do not be discouraged by this as there are many avenues and small or ‘niche’ markets to be found and provided with your services.
Get off to the right start by separating yourself from the part-timers, those who aren’t serious about this and expect to make easy money buying from the same sources as every other Joe.
Do things correctly from the beginning, register a business, find an accountant, keep track of all expenses, research which products you will sell, register your domain name, set up hosting and/or a shopping cart package, learn how to market your company and drive traffic to your estore and expect success to take time for this is a long term project.
Oh yes, the suppliers……
I did eventually stumble across what I have to call my ‘saving grace’ which is where I found all of my suppliers. I did launch my estore and I would not even consider using a supplier that wasn’t on this list.
When I think of the cost of my time just for researching 1 item over 2 days, which turned out to be a dud. Then what it would cost to research all of the items I wanted to sell (hoping they were legitimate) the cost would be in the many thousands of dollars.
I saw a post in a forum where a successful estore owner told how it took 9 months of research before he started his estore!
and I for one have no trouble believing that.
I also read of some really novel ideas of how to find out who supplies “bricks and mortar” retailers, like getting friendly with the staff over a few days and then asking to use the bathroom which is usually where the stock is. Once there you slip out a small knife and cut off the supplier details from the packaging boxes!
Another idea is to go through the old boxes outside the rear of the building or wait for the delivery truck and ask the driver where the warehouse is!
Or how about not doing that at all, fortunately I didn’t have to and never would have.
If like me you are serious about starting a professional business and you want a no-nonsense safe haven of genuine checked and verified wholesale suppliers how much would you be willing to pay for that information? think about it for a minute, what is all that research worth to you? I know what it means to me every single day, suppliers are the least of my worries!