Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit and the only thing missing is the goods for your e-shop? Whether you’re starting a business from scratch or just want to expand your product range, we’ll give you advice on how to find a supplier. What options are there and how should you proceed?
3 ways to get goods for your e-shop
There are several ways to source goods. The most common are the following three:
1. Own production
You can produce the goods yourself. This is the most comprehensive solution where you take care of all the business from A to Z. You buy the resources, pay the employees, test the quality of the products, and then sell, package and ship the goods yourself.
- Benefits: You are in full control.
- Cons: You must take care of all areas at the same time. It is often a costly and very time-consuming solution.
2. Supplier of goods
The most acceptable thing for most e-shops is to cooperate with a supplier of goods. The supplier manufactures the goods (or buys them from manufacturers) and delivers them to you – you then keep them in stock and sell them. We’ll look at just how to find a supplier later in the article.
- Advantages: You don’t have to manufacture the goods, so you can concentrate on running your e-shop and marketing.
- Cons: Difficult to find and select a supplier. You need your own warehouse.
Dropshipping is a service that involves running an e-shop with someone else’s goods. The goods are stored in the supplier’s warehouse, from where they are shipped directly to customers. You only manage the e-shop and take care of sales and marketing. Everything else is up to the suppliers.
- Advantages: speed and simplicity. You don’t need your own warehouse.
- Cons: Multiple e-shops selling the same product. You have a limited selection of products to sell.
4 ways to find suppliers
Have you decided that a supplier is the right choice for you? Then you’re facing the hardest part: finding the right one.
1. Friends and acquaintances
Don’t underestimate the power of networking and cast your net over all your friends and acquaintances. Ask around in your neighbourhood and post on social media that you’re looking for a supplier. You may have someone around you who is producing the goods and you don’t even know it.
Another effective way to find suppliers for your e-commerce store is to go to an industry trade fair or exhibition. There, you’ll run into entrepreneurs in the industry you’re interested in, establish business relationships, and if nothing else, pick up a lot of valuable contacts and business cards.
3. Catalogue of suppliers of goods
There is no comprehensive database of suppliers in the Czech Republic. However, if you search hard enough, you will certainly come across several catalogues on the Internet that deal with at least one region or sector. This is a painstaking job – before you find the supplier you need; you will probably spend a while reading through the databases and verifying the data.
4. Uncle Google
The final solution is good old-fashioned Googling. But even that can take a while – because remember, Google often displays sites that have well-honed SEO in the top positions, rather than the sites you need. So, you might not find the right information until you’re several pages into the search results.
How do I reach my suppliers?
Keep all the contacts you get when you search for a supplier in your contact database. This can take the form of a spreadsheet with the name, contact, location and, for example, price for each supplier. This will keep all the data together and make approaching suppliers easier and faster.
You can reach out to suppliers of goods through different communication channels:
- by phone
- by email
- on social media
- in person
The most convenient thing for you is probably to write an email or pick up the phone. Of the social networks, we mainly recommend the professional network LinkedIn for reaching out to contractors.
How to find the right supplier? Negotiate
You will need to negotiate several terms and conditions with your supplier. Don’t underestimate the negotiation process and make sure that you have really agreed on everything that is important. If anything escapes your attention, you risk getting a nasty surprise.
The most important things to clarify with your supplier are:
- The price of the goods. Is the price quoted with or without VAT? Does the supplier require any shipping or packaging charges in addition to the price of the goods themselves?
- Payment method. What will be the due date of the invoices? In what currency will payments be made?
- Responsibility for the goods. Who will be responsible for the goods – you or the supplier?
- Other terms and conditions. Is it possible to return the goods? How will returns be handled?
What to look for when looking for a supplier of goods
Finally, we’ll give you some tips on what to look out for when searching for a supplier.
Quality of goods
If a supplier is offering goods suspiciously under-priced, ask for a sample or demonstration. This is because with cheap products, the price is often at the expense of quality. Therefore, always check the price/quality ratio of a supplier.
Speed of delivery
Do not underestimate the speed of delivery. Especially for goods with a shorter shelf life, this can be a key aspect to consider when choosing a supplier.
Don’t rely on advertising texts on the web that praise the supplier to the skies. Check all claims. Look for ratings, reviews and testimonials from other customers.
Tip: Don’t forget that in the same way that you verify the supplier, the supplier is likely to verify you. Therefore, post several references on your e-shop – it will make finding a supplier easier.
Different suppliers offer different prices. But before you automatically look for the cheapest one, think about which costs are included. Does the supplier quote a final price including packaging and shipping? Will you have to take your own photos and create labels for the goods, or will the supplier provide all the marketing materials for free?
You can’t do without thorough research
In order to find a suitable supplier for your e-shop, you will need thorough research. Leave it to us. We’ll research the market for you, get the information you need and compile a list of suppliers who meet your requirements. See how our service works.