How to Source Products to Sell Online
Planning to start a new e-commerce business? You must have found a niche product with a competitive edge to make great profits, right? But wait! Did you find reliable suppliers to source your products if you are not manufacturing them? Well, product sourcing is the most crucial step when starting an online store.
In fact, it is not only the foundation but the style of your business. Wondering what product sourcing is? Then let’s quickly get into it.
What is Product Sourcing?
Product sourcing is the process of attaining products to sell in your store. This is the first and most important step for a business; hence you should have a proper product sourcing strategy even before you launch your business.
There are three options for sourcing products that include:
- Working with suppliers
However, there is no ideal option among these. Choosing how you source your products should depend completely on your business circumstances and resources. Each one comes with unique advantages and drawbacks as well. So, let’s discuss the 3 product sourcing types to decide which one suits the best for your business.
Manufacturing Your Products
Manufacturing own products to sell is the old yet modern way of doing business. With time, the demand for DIY products is rising due to quality and customization. So, if you can manufacture your products, then you stand chances to attract more customers. Besides, you can also enjoy other advantages such as stated below.
Benefits of making your own products
Firstly, you will have control over the quality and design of your products. Hence, you can react to changes in the market immediately.
Secondly, since you can customize the products based on your target audience, so you stay pretty ahead of your competitors.
However, making your own products is easier said than done. Because there are many factors you should look into.
Factors to consider when manufacturing your products
1. Firstly, know where to get the material to craft your products and how much they cost.
2. Calculate how long it takes to manufacture products.
3. You need to decide if you are going to keep the inventory or manufacture on demand.
4. If you are not printing on demand, decide where you will store the inventory.
5. You need to pay attention to packaging as well to provide a great unboxing experience for your customers.
6. Consider how you are going to ship the orders, whether you are hiring a shipping service or choosing a UPS store or postal service.
7. Finally, you need to have product line planning to scale your business.
Thus right from getting material to shipping the product, you need to invest energy and time along with money. However, if you are planning to bring your customers something new, this is the best option.
Working With a Supplier
Working with a supplier simply means you are partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler. This works great if you are unable to manufacture the products. Again, working with suppliers has many benefits. Let’s discuss them below.
Benefits of working with a supplier
1. You can focus on strategizing or marketing your business while someone else is making the products for you.
2. You can avoid material and labor costs.
3. However, you can still convey your ideas and get the products based on your requirements.
Although, like a coin has two sides, this option comes with a challenge as well. You need to find the right and reliable partner to run your business in the long run. For this, you need to take a few things into consideration.
Factors to consider when choosing a supplier
1. See the reputation of the supplier before you make a contract with them.
2. Ask for the cost of production and any hidden fees to avoid unwanted surprises.
3. Check with how much they take to deliver the products and how they ship. Make sure you don’t experience any issues with supply chain management.
4. Read the contract carefully to check if there is any room for errors.
5. Last but not least, ask for the samples from the suppliers to test before you sign the contract.
Although you eliminate the stress of manufacturing here, shipping orders to customers is still stressful.
You need to make sure that all the orders are shipped properly and received by customers. Else, not only you lose reputation but also you will have to pay refunds. So, you should have a parcel tracker and manager handy to track all your orders and ensure everything is going well.
This is a low profit yet one of the easiest methods to start an online business. When you choose dropshipping, you need not deal with manufacturing, inventory, or shipping the orders. You will just buy products for a wholesale price and sell them in your store for a profitable price.
For instance, you can resell the products you bought from retailers such as AliExpress for a better price and bag little profit. Dropshipping through AliExpress is quite easy as you just need to list products, buy and resell. The online retailer takes care of shipping the orders to your customers.
As this requires no energy from your side, this acts as a great option for starting a new business. Also, it lets you expand your business easily. However, since it is easy to start a dropshipping business, there is a hectic competition out there. So, you need to invest a lot in marketing to sustain and grow your business.
So, as you see this is how existing businesses source their products to sell and how you should source your products too. As said, there is no perfect product sourcing option for every business, consider the benefits and challenges of each option to pick the right one. Whatever way you choose, make sure you market your products and brand well and sell high-quality products. Also, provide great customer service by ensuring timely delivery.