Want to become an ecommerce retailer without worrying about keeping inventory on hand or even fulfilling customer orders? If so, opening a dropshipping business may be the way to go.
In case you're unfamiliar, the business model allows you to sell products in your online store without purchasing them first. Here's how it works:
You locate products being sold by dropshipping companies at wholesale prices.
You upload the products of your choice of ecommerce platforms at a markup price (be sure to include shipping costs).
When a customer makes a purchase, you pay the original cost and keep any money left over from your markup.
The dropshipping suppliers you work with will ship the purchase straight to the customer, so you never have to worry about keeping inventory on hand.
While dropshipping can be a lucrative choice for the right ecommerce store owner, the importance of finding the right dropshipping supplier can't be overstated. But in your quest to find suppliers, you'll likely run across several options, from dropshipping manufacturers to directories.
We'll break down some of the best dropshipping companies to choose from and several other tools designed to help simplify the dropshipping process. You'll also learn the difference between dropshipping wholesale products and custom, print on demand products.
Dropshipping suppliers can greatly simplify the supply chain and lower overhead costs for online retailers.
When searching for a dropshipping supplier, consider the supplier's minimum purchase requirement, shipping costs and times, product offerings, and reliability.
Dropshipping suppliers come in all shapes and sizes, from small local suppliers to dropshipping platforms that offer access to millions of products from multiple vendors on a single platform.
Before we delve in, let's clarify the difference between a dropshipping supplier and a wholesale supplier. Unlike dropshipping suppliers, who will handle inventory storage and shipping, wholesale suppliers generally sell products in bulk to physical or online stores.
The stores then markup the price of the products and either them to individual customers or resell bulk orders to other companies. That said, it's also possible to work with dropshipping wholesalers if you don't have the space to store your inventory.
Dropshipping wholesalers work a lot like regular dropshipping suppliers but in bulk. For instance, instead of dropshipping one t-shirt to a customer, you might open an online dropshipping store that sells boxes of 100 t-shirts.
Print on demand (POD) is another popular business model that combines all the perks of dropshipping with the ability to customize products to sell online. Print on demand companies like Gelato offer a wide selection of product categories, each of which can be customized with your designs.
You can then offer your custom products in your ecommerce store without having to purchase them until they've already sold at a markup price. Your POD supplier will ship the product to your customer when you get a new order.
POD tends to be an excellent option for establishing a competitive dropshipping business with higher profit margins. While there are now plenty of great dropshipping suppliers out there, there's also a great deal of competition when it comes to selling their products.
Offering customized products is a great way to set yourself apart from the pack. It's also an easy way to start your online business with minimal overhead costs.
Unfortunately, plenty of fake dropshipping wholesalers are out there looking to scam unsuspecting retailers. Ensuring you work exclusively with vetted suppliers is vital to protecting both your profit margins and your reputation.
Luckily, a little research can go a long way when spotting sketchy dropshipping suppliers. Beware telltale signs such as:
An unprofessional or poorly designed website
Non-existent or vague contact information
They seem hesitant to provide samples of their products
Bad or non-existent customer reviews
Claims that sound too good to be true
Hidden costs or fees
Without further ado, let's look at some of the best dropshipping suppliers and services in the business. From top dropshipping companies to directories that can help you find the right supplier, here are several sites worth looking into.
Business model: Print on demand
Unlike traditional dropshipping suppliers who provide online sellers with ready-made products, Gelato combines the best of dropshipping with print on demand. We offer creators the opportunity to use our free design editor to turn any of our high-quality products into customized DTG-printed merchandise.
Simply upload your designs, select which product categories you'd like to feature them on, and offer your creations in your online store. Our integrations make it easy to connect your Gelato account with the ecommerce platform of your choice, whether it be Etsy, Shopify, or your website.
Gelato's automatic fulfillment system ensures you'll never have to worry about managing inventory or investing in anything up-front. With a focus on sustainability, we utilize a vast network of local production partners in 32 countries to provide fast, reliable shipping with fewer carbon emissions.
We work hard to ensure we're among the best dropshipping suppliers for creators everywhere by offering excellent product quality, exceptional customer service, and a greener, smarter, faster way to do business. Choose from a wide range of customizable product categories, including:
Business model: Wholesale and Dropship supplier
When it comes to the most well-known dropshipping suppliers, AliExpress is at the top of the list. Based in China, Aliexpress is an international dropshipping and wholesale supplier that delivers to over 250 countries, including the United States.
One of the reasons Aliexpress dropshipping has become so popular is that it's 100% free, so you'll never have to worry about paying so much as a monthly fee. Another is that Aliexpress offers hundreds of millions of items, so if you can sell it, they can probably supply it.
Some Aliexpress suppliers simply markup and offer products from the platform in their stores. When a purchase comes through, they order the item directly from Aliexpress and enter the customer's delivery address rather than their own.
Others sell products from the platform using dropshipping software like DSers, which integrates with ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Wix, and WooCommerce. No matter which way you go, you'll enjoy plenty of different products to choose from, ranging from furniture, consumer electronics, and computers to jewelry, pet supplies, and fashion.
However, the biggest drawback of Aliexpress dropshipping is that, like many international suppliers, shipping times can be pretty slow. Standard shipping to the US can take between 15 - 45 business days or 7 - 15 days if you're willing to spring for premium shipping costs.
Business model: Dropship supplier
If you're hoping to find dropshipping suppliers closer to home, then Sunrise Wholesale is a solid company to look into. Based in Los Angeles, Sunrise Wholesale offers over 30k products, complete with same or next-day delivery options.
While their product selection tends to rotate, the site does offer inventory update emails to let you know if they're running low on a certain product. Sunrise Wholesale members also enjoy handy tools like product data, sales reports, and automatic price adjustments, ensuring you'll always net the same profit margin.
The plus side of Sunrise Wholesale is that it's possible to get genuine wholesale pricing on products ranging from electronics to home decor. The downside is that Sunrise Wholesale doesn't always accept new members, so you may have to keep checking back for an opening.
Business model: Dropship supplier
While Megagoods may not have a super fancy website, the company is a legit dropshipping supplier based in Santa Clarita, CA. If you're looking to create a dropshipping store that offers products like video games and equipment or consumer electronics, Megagoods is worth looking into.
While the site offers a smaller selection than some larger dropshipping suppliers, it does offer a solid collection of name-brand products, from video game accessories to Bluetooth products. Megagoods is also a good place to find nostalgic electronics like turntables and portable DVD players.
However, if you're not super into electronics, you may be better off looking elsewhere. After a 30-day free trial, Megagoods charges a $29.99 monthly fee and a $1.50 fee for every dropshipping purchase.
Business model: Dropshipping platform with access to multiple dropship suppliers
If you want multiple dropshipping suppliers to source inventory, then Doba may be the right choice for your ecommerce business. Doba is a middleman between multiple suppliers and retailers looking for dropshipping and wholesale products to sell in their online stores.
Rather than searching through different product suppliers, Doba allows you to place orders with multiple dropshipping vendors from a single, centralized interface. Part of what makes Doba such a great dropshipping platform is that it comes with plenty of great tools for market research, data management, and shipment tracking.
You can sign up for a free 30-day trial to take Doba for a test drive, after which you'll have several subscription options designed for dropshipping businesses of various sizes. Doba also features a great product selection, with categories ranging from fashion and beauty products to home and garden, electronics, and pet supplies.
Business model: Supplier directory, Aliexpress supplier, and educational offerings
For an annual fee, SaleHoo offers access to its supplier directory, a list of over 8,000 different dropshipping suppliers, as well as its Market Research Labs tool and month-by-month sales trends. The idea is to help you find the best pre-vetted dropshipping suppliers for you with advanced search options and information.
While not a dropshipping supplier in itself, SaleHoo's "dropship" feature sources items from Aliexpress. It also lets you import up to 500 products with a single click and offers filters based on fast shipping and high-profit margin possibilities.
SaleHoo's educational offerings are designed to teach you everything you need to know about dropshipping on either Amazon or Shopify. While it's possible to find free guides for both, SaleHoo Educate may be worth considering if you're looking for one-on-one support.
Business model: Dropshipping platform with access to multiple dropshipping suppliers
As far as dropshipping services go, Spocket has plenty going for it. Much like Doba, Spocket offers to connect members to quality product suppliers from all over the world.
That said, about 80% of the dropshipping suppliers on Spocket are based in the USA or Europe, which can help ensure faster shipping. The platform also offers a generous range of products, from consumer electronics and tech accessories to fashion, toys, home goods, and more.
It also offers easy integrations for a number of different ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, eBay, and WooCommerce. You can sign up for Spocket for free to browse their inventory, but if you decide it's the right dropshipping service for your store, you'll eventually need to choose from one of their paid subscription options.
Business model: Supplier directory
If you're looking for a definitive guide to dropshipping companies around the world, then look no further than Worldwide Brands. While Worldwide Brands isn't a supplier, it offers the world's largest directory for finding dropshipping and wholesale suppliers.
A one-time fee will grant you lifetime access to a comprehensive selection of dropship suppliers to choose from. Whether you're looking for a dropshipping wholesale supplier, local suppliers, or wholesale distributor, Worldwide Brands' directory can point you in the right direction.
Business model: Dropship Automation Software
The free supplier directory you'll find at Inventory Source is also a great way to find dropshipping suppliers in your niche. Not only will the directory point you toward the best dropshipping vendors around the world, but it also includes product data and all the info you need to contact suppliers directly.
But Inventory Source also offers several automation tools that may be worth looking into if you run a larger dropshipping company. A monthly Inventory Source subscription comes with ecommerce platform integration for hundreds of suppliers, auto-upload product data, multi-supplier split order routing, and more.
Finding the right dropshipping supplier for your ecommerce store can literally make or break your success! While there are plenty of quality suppliers out there, selecting the right one for you can come down to everything from which ecommerce platform you use to which dropshipping service offers the type of products you're interested in selling.
If you're looking to sell products featuring your own unique designs, then Gelato would love to hear from you! We'll help you establish a competitive ecommerce business selling high-quality custom products without worrying about supply chain logistics, inventory, or shipping.
Sign up for a free account today to turn your great ideas into revenue. You'll enjoy unbeatable POD dropshipping services and customer support that you can rely on.