E-commerce businesses in the US made $861.12 billion in 2020. It is a whopping 44% year to year growth, according to Digital Commerce 360. One of the main reasons behind this growth is the Coronavirus pandemic. People have now got the gist of online buying more than ever. The market size is projected to grow even more in the upcoming years.
For businesses, at least, it is inevitable that there is plenty of money to be made in the e-commerce industry. However, there is also a lot of competition. One good news is that there is a wide variety of products available to sell nowadays. There is a customer group for whatever you make. You need not even make the products yourself in this business line.
Before starting your e-commerce business, the most crucial consideration you need to make is how to source products to sell online. In this article, we will take a look at the four primary ways for sourcing items to sell online. These four ways will include DIY, manufacturing, whole-sellers, drop-shipping. To better understand the pros and cons of each method, let's break them up and see which one will be suitable for your new online business.
1. DIY or Making Your Own Products
Designing and making your own goods is the perfect and oldest way to start your online shop. Many famous enterprises have evolved out of the hobbies of individuals who enjoy producing their own stuff. You will have the ability to continue to do what you love while supplying your company. You can make cakes, clothes, candles, or whatever you are good at!
It will also help you have total control of your stock's quality when manufacturing your own goods. The attention to detail while developing a new brand can set you apart from the competition. It is also a way for you to start small and build your company as demand grows. The odds are that you can do it from home with reasonably short startup costs. Also, you might have already purchased some equipment you need and have the expertise in place.
However, all of these advantages can quickly go in vain. Some considerations need to be made before finding the solution to sourcing items to sell online.
- Once your hobby becomes a company, you have to complete things in order, and it cannot remain as fun as before.
- Being in both the development and distribution side of the business can be very demanding of your time and effort.
- When the organization expands, you will no longer have the resources to do all the duties you need to do. You may need to outsource, which we will come to later.
- There are health and safety concerns for certain handmade products. You must adhere to the stringent guidelines on sanitation, protection, and labeling before selling to the general public.
DIY is an excellent place to start on the question of how do you source products to sell. But not all products can be handmade—some need special attention to a unique technology. As your business grows, you may need to work with a manufacturer. With that, we come to the second way of product sourcing strategy.
2. Working with a Manufacturer
Working directly with a manufacturer can be the answer to where to source products to sell online. It is perfect for many e-commerce businesses because it leaves out the intermediaries. Building partnerships with others available to private label or white label products are also great. It may be a struggle, though, to develop a professional affiliation with manufacturers.
- Lowest per-unit rate. Exporting gives you higher margins on your goods, as they have the lowest cost per unit.
- Controlling the brand. It also allows you to build a brand. You can mold your product in whatever direction you choose limitlessly.
- Quality Control. Working with a manufacturer gives you the ability to monitor the quality of the goods that wholesale buying doesn't have.
- It's possible to scam you. You can be ripped off by foreign suppliers, a possibility that could bring every company to its knees.
- Minimum Order Quantities. It could cost you an arm and a leg to build your product. For several startups low on funds, this can be debilitating.
- Long Process. Manufacturing is a long process that includes various stages such as prototyping, sampling, etc. It can be tough to get your product in the market.
Working with a manufacturer adds many administrative tasks like submitting specifications and ironing out information such as imports from the factory. All that will take time and can deter you from working on your e-commerce business.
And that leads us to our next step, which is...
3. Working with a Wholesaler
For sellers who are not going to create or assemble their goods themselves, this choice is perfect. It's also cool because it makes it easier for you to scale up your company. In other words, as the brand expands and your customers demand more, you will add more products.
Wholesalers can also take care of all the burden that comes with shipping and handling the material. You don't have to go anywhere, because there are no customs to deal with. Placing your orders is the only thing you need to do. You can stock the goods as per the demand and availability. To satisfy your market requirements, you may choose:
Purchasing from Online B2B Platforms
Online markets and B2B channels will help you source the right quality products and succeed in the competition. The advantages of placing online orders for your company are:
- You can get imported items for your store without ever visiting physically.
- The choice, selection of items, price comparison, and placing of orders would be easier for you to discover.
- You can request a quote from more than one whole-seller and put an order accordingly.
- Multiple organizations may request the quotation and put an order accordingly.
Purchasing from Traditional Wholesalers
The conventional wholesale industry has been meeting needs for eternity. One of the easiest ways to bring exclusive items to the store is to visit the factory. Few wholesalers are now using WhatsApp to satisfy the needs of their clients. However, it's complicated to showcase all the samples. Also, it's equally challenging to win the trust of wholesalers because of the success of e-retailers.
Working with a wholesaler for sourcing items to sell online will connect you with like-minded people and improve your business network. Also, your e-commerce site will be flooded with trendy products because of the agility this strategy provides.
4. Partner with Drop Shippers
In recent times, drop-shipping is one of the most profitable ideas for product procurement. Especially when you don't have a lot of resources to spend in your inventory. You take advantage of supplying manufacturers and wholesalers' goods without directly acquiring their item by collaborating with the drop shippers. It will let you launch an e-commerce site right away.
You can get total access to their catalog by partnering with dropshipping firms. In your shop, you can pick the items that you want to sell. You will market and educate your customers about those items. When the consumers send an order request, it will also be submitted to the drop-shipping site. Now, the company will sort, bag, and ship goods on your behalf with the aid of their shipping partner. That's the best thing about drop shippers while deciding how you source products to sell.
- Less Investment. You will be in a position to start this sort of business without actually spending a lot of money in the startup stages.
- Practicality. You don't have to think about your address while you're in the e-commerce market. As long as there's a reputable shipper, you can perform your business anywhere in the world.
- A Wide Range of Commodities. Drop-shippers can sell their customers the most products. As you don't need to keep any stock, you can showcase a wider variety of products for your consumers.
- Excessive Competition. Competition in this sector from both dropship partners and other vendors is a threat because it is not easy. To earn revenue, you may need to branch out and explore distinct outlets.
- Poor Margins. Because of its advantages and easiness, there is too much competition in drop-shipping. Prices can be so cheap that you cannot compete with the existing drop-shippers.
In an ideal world, everyone would choose drop-shipping on how to source products to sell online. You will have to deal with plenty of products in this way as the profit margin will be meager. However, with very little initial investment for starters, it is still the best way to start your e-commerce journey!
No matter where to source products to sell online, it's essential to build an environment that appeals to your target buyers. Whether you source your products from wholesalers, manufacturers, or drop-shippers, you always need to keep your consumers in mind. Knowing the value proposition is the biggest thing, especially when there are many rivalries out there.
Amazon is kind of swallowing up a lot of business. There is also competition from Walmart and other major companies. So, if you're just starting out, it's wise to concentrate on one niche rather than selling a lot of products. You can't even you want. Focus on becoming a product specialist and offer good content on your blog. Then concentrate on supplying the shoppers with excellent customer service with a great experience.
These things will set you apart from the major competitors that sell on price and delivery pace only. Hope that you have got the answer. If yes, you're now all set to start your own e-commerce site.