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  • Product Sourcing Solutions for Online Retailers

    General  

    Dec 29 2008

    I cannot tell you how often I hear people tell me that they have this idea of something they want to start selling online through a website, but just don’t know where to start and where to get the product.  Just about 2 hours ago I was eating lunch with an Aunt of mine and she said that exact thing…”I want to do something that will just give me a little more income that I can sell online,” she then explained her idea to me and then said, “but I just don’t know where to start and where to get the product from.”  This is a question that can dampen the spirits of any budding entrepreneur, well guess what…I’m about to share the answer with you, the same answer I shared with my Aunt.  It’s simple, there are literally hundreds of companies out there waiting to help you that have products and will ship them right to your customer through what’s called drop shipping.

    Drop shipping is a supply chain management technique in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock, but instead transfers customer orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer. As in all retail businesses, the retailers make their profit on the difference between the wholesale and retail price. — Wikipedia.

    The problem is that if you don’t know the right places to look then you’ll spend a ton of time wading through middlemen resellers that will probably end up with you tossing in the towel because you won’t be able to find enough profit after their cut to make the business worth your time.  So here are some sites worth spending some time on that can really help.

    1. ThomasNet — (FREE) ThomasNet allows you to search their database of manufacturers in North America.  Chances are if you type in a keyword on their site you’ll find a result of at least 1 company that either sells what you want to sell, or can make it for you, and they often will drop ship.  This is probably the best resource online for finding products to sell.
    2. Alibaba — (FREE) Alibaba is owned by Yahoo! and is touted as the largest global trade solution for businesses.  Through Alibaba you can connect with suppliers and manufacturers from all over the world. Typically you deal in broken-bulk purchases through Alibaba, but often can find drop shippers located in the USA on the site as well.
    3. Wholesale Match — ($$) Wholesale Match is a drop shipping directory service.  You can join by paying a membership and then gain access to their directory of drop shipping approved companies.  They can help connect you with literally thousands of products and also offer services to help connect you at trade shows, etc.  There are similar companies such as WorldWideBrands that do the same thing and you pretty much get the same directory service from either company, the advantage to Wholesale Match is the trade show directory an international directory they offer.
    4. Doba — ($$$) Doba is a one-stop solution to gaining access to thousands, if no millions of products that can be drop shipped.  Once you join you can access their products and place orders to be shipped to your customers.  The only problem here is that the margins are pretty slim on most items.  If you do your homework though you can find a few great items you can sell and can make money on.

    So, this is where I suggest you start.  Especially is you are only looking to do a little something where you can make some money on the side, or just want to bring in a little extra income like my Aunt.  If you are looking to establish a competitive online business in a competitive market, you’ll probably need more help in this arena and in the arena of online marketing, and that is where we come into the picture.  Best of luck with your new ventures!