You have used the same supplier for years now, you know them and trust them, but is that what’s best for your business?
It is crucial to stay up to date with the best the industry has to offer in all aspects: high-quality inventory, competitive prices, flexible and consistent delivery, and communication.
Sometimes it is easy to know when it’s time to switch, like if your supplier is inconsistent or they are constantly raising their prices. Other times you don’t know it can get better until you go out and look for improvement.
Manage Relationships with Sellers
It is vital that you select the right supplier for your business to ensure your products are of high quality, correctly priced, and promptly delivered.
To achieve this you need to hold your suppliers accountable.
It’s necessary to set boundaries on pricing, order sizes, return policies, shipping standards, and quality guarantees, etc.
Setting the boundaries ahead of time makes sure you and your supplier are on the same page and so you know what you can’t afford to compromise on.
Communication and professionalism are key. You can find out more about how to manage eCommerce relationships here.
There are many different ways to find viable suppliers. You can post in trade publications and call for supplier bids or do your own research and approach companies directly for a quote.
Speak to other people in the industry, ask about their suppliers and past suppliers. Networking can be a useful tool, especially in the eCommerce industry where everything is constantly evolving and there is a surplus of new ideas.
Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to consider new companies.
Give yourself or your search team a specific time frame to make sure days don’t become weeks or months.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a concise list of options, request a formal proposal or quotation (RFP/RFQ). This should be very detailed!
Include product descriptions and quality assurance, typical and irregular order sizes, and delivery specifics- including logistics, dates, and times.
Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions either like “why should we choose you?” or “how confident are you in your materials/ manufacturers?” These answers really say a lot about the type of company they are and their values.
Analyze each submission for your specific criteria and see if their actions and past track records match their answers.
Compare the suppliers to each other and to your list of requirements.
Don’t settle on anything you decided was important at the beginning.
Next, you can move into contracting.
Even after the initial contract is drawn up the process is not fully over; keep your supplier accountable! Mistakes can happen but should not happen frequently.
Make sure your supplier has a direct contact at your company for any questions that might arise and for performance reviews. The open communication will help efficiency along the way and for when it’s time to consider contract renewal.
Monitoring supplier performance will directly contribute to productivity and profitability.
And for all our sellers located in London, Las Vegas, or Frankfurt, the White Label World Expo is coming to your city! Look here for your city’s specific dates.
The White Label World Expo is the most informative and exciting eCommerce Expo to date. They specialize in negotiating with and meeting new suppliers, finding new products and niches, and accessing wholesale deals. There are speakers talking about everything eCommerce related, like digital disruption, using social media to increase sales and scalable customer acquisition.
If you have any further questions on suppliers (or eCommerce in general) definitely check this expo out!
The key to eCommerce success is truly in the resources you use.
Whether it be product research, market research or supplier exploration, the more information and options you have the better.
Make use of a product research tool like Algopix that helps to source profitable items and sell them in the right place at the right time, go to expos and speak with industry leaders, and of course, read our articles and explore eCommerce blogs to translate your sales effort into success!
If you’ve got additional tips, questions or comments, feel free to reply down below.
We’d love to hear from you.
The Algopix Team