How to Find Dropshipping Suppliers (Unrevealed Tactics)

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In my experience, beginners to dropshipping often spend too much time choosing which products to sell and not enough time finding the right supplier for their business.

Your supplier determines your product price, quality, packaging, shipping, returns, inventory management and more. Come to think of it, they do more than you!

For this reason, it’s vital that you take the time to find and vet the right supplier for your dropshipping business. Most beginners opt for suppliers such as Spocket, Salehoo or Zendrop. These are not the suppliers I often recommend as the best suppliers can be more difficult to locate.

In this article, I’ll guide you through how I source my dropshipping suppliers, and the best part is you can do it for free.

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6 Ways to Find Dropship Suppliers Domestically (USA, UK, Canada, Australia)

Directories are a common way of sourcing suppliers that are located outside of China. Whilst there are a few decent directories available (I list one below), most of them are a little limited. The other problem is other dropshippers have access to the same suppliers which can cause an abundance of competitors.

I always prefer to find my own suppliers as taking a unique approach often results in working with suppliers everyone else doesn’t already know about.

I suggest you think outside the box when it comes to sourcing and don’t rush the process, remember that a supplier is essentially your new business partner!

The 6 strategies listed below for finding dropship suppliers apply to any Country including the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and the list goes on.

1. Strategically Search Google for Dropshipping Suppliers!

This is the most common method for finding local dropshipping suppliers, but it’s also where many people make a mistake. Typically, when individuals search for dropshipping suppliers, they simply enter “Dropshipping Suppliers” into Google and browse through the initial search results.

However, this approach often leads to a list of websites that feature the same set of top 10 or 20 dropshipping suppliers, along with some directories that require payment for access to their lists.

To enhance your search, it’s crucial to be more specific. For example, let’s say your niche is camping and you’re looking for suppliers based in the USA.

Try searching for keywords like:

  • Camping Dropship
  • Camping Wholesale
  • Camping Manufacturer
  • Camping Supplier
  • Camping Distributor
  • Camping Reseller

For each keyword variation, include “USA” as well as the names of major cities and States across the United States in your search. This can give you varied results that may not have been shown if you’re only using the Country.

Don’t limit your exploration to just the first few pages of Google results, as many suppliers may not appear there. While this approach may be time-consuming, thoroughness is key to uncovering suppliers that others might overlook.

Don’t assume that a supplier doesn’t offer dropshipping just because they don’t explicitly mention it on their website. Many suppliers prefer not to advertise their dropshipping services to avoid attracting the wrong type of retailers.

Instead, reach out to them and present yourself as an experienced online retailer, even if you’re relatively new to the business. This personalized approach can yield valuable results.

2. Find Dropshipping Suppliers on Inventory Source

Inventory Source is an excellent free resource for discovering dropshipping suppliers globally. It offers a paid version, but for sourcing dropshipping suppliers, the free version is perfectly sufficient.

To get started, sign up for a free account, which grants you access to their comprehensive supplier directory. From there, you have various filtering options to narrow down your search for the ideal supplier. These filters include:

  • Supplier type
  • Allows dropshipping
  • Minimum order
  • Ships from
  • Ships to
  • Categories

Currently, Inventory Source boasts an impressive selection of 2,069 dropshipping suppliers on its platform.

Finding dropshipping suppliers using Inventory Source
How to find dropship suppliers on Inventory Source

When you click on each supplier, you’ll find a detailed profile along with product listings for many of them. Undoubtedly, Inventory Source stands out as one of the most valuable free resources for dropshipping available.

3. Find Suppliers from Manufacturers

This step involves you collaborating with the right contacts and minimizes unnecessary middlemen involvement.

Start by reaching out directly to the manufacturers of the brands you intend to work with. Clearly convey that you’re an online retailer interested in showcasing their product line on your eCommerce store. This approach might enable you to establish a direct partnership.

In cases where that isn’t feasible, they can provide you with the contact details of their primary distributors, particularly those servicing the regions where you plan to engage in dropshipping.

Now, how do you identify the brands within your niche that are open to dropshipping partnerships? Visit your competitors’ websites and compile a list of the brands they feature. Proceed to initiate contact with each of these brands.

Your primary competitors are online-only stores, as numerous brands exclusively collaborate with brick-and-mortar establishments. You can still attempt to engage with these brands, but be aware that your chances of acceptance may be lower. If online-only stores are selling specific brands, it indicates that you can do the same.

To determine if a store is online-only, check for a physical address on their website. Some online-only retailers might include an address to enhance their legitimacy, but in reality, they operate solely online. To confirm this, input their address into Google Maps and utilize Street View to inspect whether they have a physical retail presence.

4. Sourcing Suppliers on Online Marketplaces!

Another viable option is to explore suppliers on alternative online marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy. Frequently, suppliers list their products on these platforms, making them readily accessible.

To begin, enter a niche or specific product into the search bar and peruse the individual product listings. Typically, you’ll encounter an option to access seller information, which, when clicked, leads to a profile page for each seller. From there, you can initiate contact.

This method may involve sifting through multiple sellers to identify a suitable supplier, which dissuades many individuals. However, the benefit lies in the potential to discover suppliers that others haven’t, granting you access to products in less saturated markets.

5. Find Dropship Suppliers on TSNN

TSNN (Trade Shows News Network) is a widely recognized directory for trade shows worldwide. Suppliers from across the globe present their products at various trade shows, and you can easily identify which brands will be participating in these events.

Finding dropshipping suppliers using TSNN
Dropship suppliers on TSNN

To begin, utilize the search function located on the right-hand side of the screen. Enter your niche and the specific location you intend to target for dropshipping. This will generate a comprehensive list of upcoming trade shows related to your niche. Subsequently, you can visit the websites of these trade shows and review the list of exhibitors who will be in attendance.

While not all of these suppliers may offer dropshipping services, it provides you with a substantial list to reach out to. You’d be surprised at how many suppliers can be persuaded to consider dropshipping when they understand the benefits.

Another viable option is to personally attend the trade shows listed. By doing so, you can establish connections with various suppliers, nurture relationships, and physically assess product quality, gaining valuable insights.

6. How to Find Your Competitor’s Dropship Supplier

While this method may be considered somewhat unconventional, it can serve as a last resort option. You might want to explore this approach if you find that your competitors are successfully selling a line of products you’re interested in but are unable to identify their suppliers. If your competitors are running advertisements for these products, it’s a clear indicator that there’s profit potential.

To proceed, you can place an order for the product from your competitor. When the package arrives, it will contain a return address. With this return address in hand, a simple Google search can reveal the identity of your elusive supplier.

This approach not only helps you discover the supplier but also provides you with a sample of the product. You can use this sample to assess product quality and examine how your competitors package their products. You may choose to retain the product for personal use or keep it as a spare for potential customer replacements.

How to Find Dropshipping Suppliers on AliExpress?

AliExpress was not created for dropshippers, it was created as an online marketplace. Over time, dropshippers realized it was a gold mine for dropshipping with its low product prices and massive range of products.

Whilst most suppliers on AliExpress are more than willing to dropship, some are much better suited for dropshipping than others. Below are the best tips for finding the best AliExpress suppliers for dropshipping.

  • Evaluate their Feedback scores
  • Contact each supplier prior to dropshipping and confirm they blind dropship
  • Read reviews
  • Check the supplier’s business info and Google their business name and address to confirm their legitimacy.
  • Ordering samples will allow you to identify suppliers with high-quality goods.
  • Contact your supplier and ask if they can provide a VIP link if you start making consistent sales.

If you want to know more, I have articles on how to contact AliExpress for dropshipping and the most common problems with AliExpress dropshipping.

How to Find Dropshipping Suppliers on Alibaba?

Alibaba is primarily used for buying wholesale in bulk from manufacturers and trading companies. However, I’ve used Alibaba effectively in the past for dropshipping and I’m going to share with you a few options for finding Alibaba suppliers that dropship.

Alibaba Dropship Center

The Alibaba Dropship Center was launched in 2021 and is a tool that connects merchants with suppliers who offer a dropshipping service. This is an effective solution for those looking to find suppliers on Alibaba but do not want to purchase in bulk.

How to use Alibaba to find dropship centers

Contact the Supplier Directly

Many suppliers on Alibaba will not deal with merchants who are dropshipping individual products. However, if you approach them correctly they can often be persuaded into dropshipping. This is a strategy I have used in the past to find some of the best suppliers on Alibaba who are willing to dropship.

I have an article on this called How to Dropship from Alibaba if you want more information.

Use a Sourcing Agent

Chinese-based sourcing agents can help you in a number of ways and dropshipping is one of them. Firstly, they can help you find factories and trading companies within China who are able to dropship for you.

Secondly, many agents have storage and fulfillment capabilities and can dropship individual products for you. If you’re looking for agents who can dropship, I have an article with a free list of agents.

Find Suppliers Using Import Yeti

I consider Import Yeti as one of the secret weapons to succeeding with dropshipping over the years. Import Yeti collects data from customs sea shipment records and organizes it into a database.

Based on this information, you can type your competitors into the search bar at Import Yeti and receive a ton of helpful information. This way you can find your competitor’s suppliers and manufacturers.

Find a company's supplier with Import Yeti

Conclusion

While platforms like Zendrop, Spocket, and Inventory Source can offer a curated list of suppliers, it’s also crucial to engage in proactive research. Reach out to manufacturers and brands directly, attend trade shows, and even unconventional methods like inspecting competitor packages.

Remember that building strong partnerships with suppliers can be a game-changer for your dropshipping venture. Prioritize communication, transparency, and quality when evaluating potential suppliers.

If you’re primarily looking for directories to source suppliers, I suggest SaleHoo as they have a large directory, however, it will cost $67 whilst most of the methods above are free.

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