Success on Amazon isn't just about offering high-demand products at competitive prices; it's also fundamentally tied to securing robust supply chains with reliable providers. If your suppliers can’t deliver, quite simply, neither can you.
Numerous vendors globally claim to offer unbeatable services. Given such a large pool of options, finding stellar suppliers can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. There are thousands of potential business partners within your reach. So, how do you weed out the inadequate ones and select only those that can elevate your Amazon venture?
In 2023, identifying where to get products to sell on Amazon requires a strategic approach. It demands an understanding that goes beyond just Amazon product research.
Yes, you need to have your finger on the pulse of what sells and meets your target market's needs. But more than that, you need to cultivate a keen instinct for identifying the right supplier.
The good news is that finding suppliers doesn't have to be an overwhelming task. This 10-step guide will help you through the process, offering practical direction whether you’re sourcing domestically or internationally.
Step 1: Understand the types of Amazon suppliers
Before you begin your search, make sure you know the different types of Amazon suppliers. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.
Manufacturers produce goods directly and often offer the best pricing. They can customize products, maintain quality control, and provide faster production times.
Working directly with manufacturers can give you a competitive advantage in terms of cost and product differentiation. On the downside, they often have high minimum order quantities (MOQs) and may require significant upfront investment.
Wholesalers purchase products in bulk from manufacturers and sell them to retailers at a higher price. They offer convenient access to a wide range of products and often have lower MOQs compared to manufacturers.
Wholesale suppliers can provide you with a one-stop solution for sourcing products, allowing you to quickly expand your inventory. However, their prices may not be as competitive as working directly with manufacturers. Other retailers who buy from the same wholesalers may also pose competition.
Dropship suppliers handle the inventory and shipping for you. You list their products on your Amazon store, and they fulfill the orders on your behalf. This model gets rid of the need to invest in inventory upfront and makes it easy to scale up.
Dropshippers also provide a wide range of products that you can test without buying in bulk. However, please remember that fees and commissions in dropshipping can impact your profits. Additionally, you have less control over product quality and shipping times as you have to rely on the dropship supplier for these aspects.
Liquidators buy surplus, excess, or returned inventory from manufacturers, retailers, and distributors. They then resell these items at deeply discounted prices. Collaborating with them can be an opportunity to find products to sell on Amazon at incredibly low prices.
Liquidators often offer a variety of products and can be a great source for sourcing unique or niche items. However, the inventory availability can be unpredictable, and the condition of the products may not always be pristine.
Step 2: Establish your product sourcing needs
The next step is to analyze your online business model and determine which supplier type fits your specific sourcing needs. To help you with this process, here are some important questions to consider:
Answering these questions helps you set clear expectations and narrow down your supplier search.
Step 3: Formulate criteria for supplier evaluation
When considering suppliers, it's important to set criteria to choose the best one for your Amazon business. Here are some key factors to consider:
Additionally, consider factors such as guarantees, warranties, and refunds. These are important for protecting your relationship with customers in the event of any issues.
With these criteria in hand, you can objectively compare and assess potential suppliers.
Step 4: Choose between local and overseas suppliers
Choosing the right supplier for your Amazon business requires considering whether to source locally or overseas. Each option has advantages and challenges that can affect your sourcing strategy.
Local sourcing refers to finding suppliers within your own country or region. Here are some pros and cons to consider:
Overseas sourcing means working with suppliers in other countries, like China or India. Here are some pros and cons to consider:
When deciding between local and overseas sourcing, consider the specific needs and goals of your Amazon business. It may be advantageous to start with local suppliers for certain products or categories while exploring the possibilities of overseas sourcing.
Ultimately, your decision should align with factors such as cost, product availability, quality control, and your ability to manage the supplier relationship.
Step 5: Leverage online product sourcing platforms
Online supplier directories are your gateway to a broad range of potential business partners, both local and overseas. They host vast databases of suppliers and provide useful functionalities such as filtering by location, product category, or certification.
If you’re looking for local suppliers, consider the following platforms:
For overseas product sourcing, these platforms are particularly useful:
While navigating these platforms, remember that thorough due diligence is crucial. Research and vet potential suppliers before making any commitments to ensure that they meet your specific requirements and standards.
Step 6: Reach out and communicate with suppliers
To have a good relationship with your supply partners, you need to communicate clearly. Begin by introducing your business and explaining the types of products you want to source. Then, ask them questions about their capacity to materialize your product idea.
Provide as much detail as possible about your sourcing needs. Include information about product requirements, expected lead times, shipping methods, and so on.
The dialogue that ensues from this step often serves as the first indicator of the supplier's responsiveness, professionalism, and alignment with your needs.
Step 7: Request and test product samples
Before placing a large order, make sure to ask suppliers for product samples. This allows you to assess the products first-hand.
Ask your supplier about their sample policy; some may provide free samples while others might charge. Either way, consider that this is a worthwhile investment for reassurance on what you're going all-in with.
Test samples rigorously, as if you're buying products as a customer. Pay close attention not only to aesthetic appeal but also to material strength or longevity where applicable. Do wear-and-tear tests for garments or lifespan checks for electronics.
If you find any problems during testing, contact the supplier right away to talk about solutions before sealing the deal. Open dialogue could save unexpected hiccups later down the track when high volumes get involved.
Step 8: Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate
Pricing is a critical factor in your business's profitability. So, once you've found potential suppliers and tested product samples to satisfaction, it's time to get into negotiations.
Negotiating with suppliers isn't just about getting the lowest possible price. Cost is important, but don't forget about payment terms, delivery schedules, and order quantities. These factors can also affect your bottom line.
The key here is open communication. Be upfront about what you're looking for and show your willingness to understand the supplier’s standpoint. It's important to find a middle ground where both parties feel they are benefiting from the business relationship.
Suppliers may offer lower or wholesale prices to buyers who make big purchases but don't overextend yourself. It's important to make sure the new partnership works well on a small scale first.
Step 9: Place your initial order
Now that you've agreed to terms with your supplier, it's time to order. This is a critical milestone in establishing the foundation of your relationship.
Ensure all relevant details are stipulated accurately in a Purchase Order (PO) agreement or contract. It’s essential that both parties understand their responsibilities explicitly here to avoid any future complications.
This step cements the partnership corroborating many previous steps’ groundwork into actionable processes. Approach it meticulously to create a strong foundation for long-term success.
Step 10: Build a long-term relationship with your supplier
To succeed at Amazon, focus on creating sustainable relationships instead of making one-time transactions. Treat your suppliers as vital extensions of your operation — because, in fact, they are.
Share insights about product performances or customer experiences where valuable to them. Celebrate successes together when milestones get hit like sales records. At the same time, work through challenges together whenever issues arise.
Remember: while supplier relationship management takes time and effort, the rewards are many and substantial. From optimized production to increased sales and reduced costs, strong supplier relationships are what make it possible for an Amazon business to thrive.
Sourcing reliable suppliers is fundamental to your Amazon business success. The right supplier brings more than just products; they’re partners in your growth, contributing quality goods and services crucial to customer satisfaction.
Finding the perfect fit requires comprehensive research, careful evaluation against set criteria, communication skills balanced with negotiation finesse, and a dedication to nurturing lasting relationships. Master these steps and inject due diligence into every decision process along the way — you'll be well on your path toward building an Amazon business that's sustained by dependable supply partnerships.