Ecommerce is experiencing a golden age where everything can be done without leaving the comfort of your home. To run an e-commerce store, you don’t need to produce the products. All that’s required is the skill to source your eCommerce products online and list them on your e-commerce website. In this article, we've curated a list of the best places to source your eCommerce goods from.
What is Ecommerce Product Sourcing?
Ecommerce product sourcing is the process of searching and sourcing for products to sell. To get products to sell on your eCommerce website, you’ll search other online stores, wholesalers, creators, etc.
By deciding to source your goods online, you have completely taken your hands off manufacturing them. This is a great way to run an eCommerce business if you don’t have any personal effects to sell or you are not keen on manufacturing. With product sourcing, you’re able to focus on other aspects of your brand, such as running the marketing effectively and providing excellent customer support.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the best places to source your eCommerce goods from and fulfil your dropshipping needs. With product sourcing, you can either decide to hold products and ship them yourself (When you source products from the manufacturers.)
You can also decide to employ the services of a dropshipping supplier, this way, you have a completely hands-off experience. Meaning the suppliers handle everything from getting the products to shipping them to the consumer.
How to Source Your Ecommerce Goods or Products
There are essentially three methods to source goods for your e-commerce stores. You can either source products from
- Wholesalers – To sell third-party goods
- Dropshipping supplies for a completely hands-off experience
- Become a manufacturer if your business entails selling custom-made goods.
If you haven’t decided the best business model to take to source your eCommerce goods, you should. As each of these models plays a vital role in the development and operations of your eCommerce business.
Let’s break each model further.
- Partnering with Wholesalers.
This method of sourcing your eCommerce goods means partnering with wholesalers to buy items in bulk and handle and ship to customers yourself. If you’re just starting to source your eCommerce and have the capital and the storage space, this is a good idea.
With dealing with wholesalers to sourcing your eCommerce products, you’re going to need cash upfront and storage space. In dealing with wholesalers, the more goods you buy, the lesser the price of the goods and the more profit you end up making.
There are cons to dealing with wholesalers to source your eCommerce goods such as storage space, capital to begin with and product validity. The latter is a concern that must be seriously addressed. For example, if you buy 1000 pairs of socks and can sell only 700 pairs, the leftover 300 pairs become a problem.
Also, as your business grows and your product catalogue grows, you’ll need to address these issues on even larger scales. These are some of the major problems you’ll face with deciding to source your eCommerce goods from wholesalers.
- Sourcing your eCommerce goods with dropshipping.
Deciding to source your e-commerce goods with dropshipping is the simplest way to run an eCommerce store. Dropshipping in eCommerce means you source the products from a dropshipping source, list the products in your eCommerce store and market them. Whenever a customer buys a product from you, the supplier is notified and they handle all the delivery needs. With dropshipping to source your eCommerce store, you’re not required to buy products, and this creates a great opportunity to scale without any financial risk.
The downside to dropshipping is that it doesn’t guarantee profit. Also, you have to put in more work to make sure you’re not selling generic products like everyone else.
NB. It is always advisable to have more than one supplier for a particular product, especially your best selling products. This is easier said than done, but in the long run, it is the best option to make sure you always satisfy your customers, and there’s never an out-of-stock banner hanging over a particular product on your eCommerce website.
With dropshipping, it is advisable to source your products from online stores that let you communicate directly with suppliers. If a product kicks off on your eCommerce store, it would be more profitable for you if you had a means of communicating with the supplier directly.
Also, if the product is non-perishable and most of your customers aren’t overseas, you can turn into a part wholesaler and buy in bulk from the suppliers directly.
- Manufacturing your products
Among the three models of sourcing your eCommerce products, manufacturing is without a doubt the most challenging method to source your products.
There are different stages to manufacturing your products. First, you start with designing your product and liaising with manufacturing companies to create your products. With manufacturing as a method of sourcing your eCommerce goods, you also have to deal with all the stress of choosing wholesaling.
If you’re sourcing your goods with manufacturers abroad, this creates an entirely new set of problems.
There are lots of downsides that come with choosing manufacturing as a method to source your eCommerce store. But if you have a unique product that no other retailer is selling, then choosing to manufacture as a method to source your eCommerce website may be the best way to go.
Additional Method to Source Products online
Outside dropshipping and wholesaling, there’s an additional method to shop goods for your e-commerce store.
Be on the Lookout for Local stores without an Online Presence
Many brick-and-mortar stores are trying to sell their products online but aren't sure how to do it. For someone with an eCommerce store, this is a potential goldmine for you and the physical store owner, primarily if they manufacture their goods.
With this, you officially put on the coat of a wholesaler and a manufacturer without having to worry about upfront cash input, storage space, or any of the troubles associated with manufacturing your goods or wholesaling.
Best Places to Source Your Ecommerce Goods from
After deciding the route you’re going to take to source your eCommerce goods, it’s time to look at some of the best websites to source your eCommerce products from.
Alibaba and AliExpress
Alibaba is a household name in sourcing products to sell as a wholesaler. Alibaba is the largest B2B marketplace in the world and it has goods from over 190 countries and regions around the world, with most of the supplier base in China. Alibaba is best for wholesaling because many suppliers on the eCommerce company don’t supply single products.
AliExpress on the other hand allows you to order single units and also lets you ship directly to the customer. As an eCommerce store owner, AliExpress is an easy place to source goods because it is free to sign up and there are millions of products to choose from.
The con, however, is the slow delivery period. Many of the suppliers are in China. And while this means cheaper products, it also means slower deliveries. Customers have to wait weeks and in some cases, over a month before they receive their orders.
Oberlo is a dropshipping platform that makes it easy to source products to sell in your eCommerce store.
Oberlo is home to a wide variety of goods and a wide variety of categories. With Oberlo you can search for products from suppliers worldwide and add them to your eCommerce store.
Oberlo offers a wide assortment of shipping offers. So, delivery time can vary depending on where you want the items to be shipped to.
Oberlo is free to register and it costs nothing to list the products on your eCommerce store. They have a free plan that you can use forever.
If your eCommerce store deals mainly on clothes or you offer print-on-demand services, Printful is a great option for you to source products for your eCommerce store.
Printful lets you design and dropship custom products all over the world. Printify lets your customers choose from a range of artwork to be printed on hoodies, t-shirts, phone cases, etc.
Printful also offers you the opportunity to deliver products in branded packaging. Whenever a product is shipped, you receive a tracking number. Printful's dropshipping service starts at $29 per month.
Wholesale2B is a drop shipping service that lets eCommerce store owners source products and integrates with their eCommerce platforms.
Wholesale2B is free to use and can be integrated with numerous eCommerce platforms. If you don't have an eCommerce store and you're selling on eBay, Amazon, WooCommerce and the likes, you can integrate Wholesale2B's products on these websites.
While Wholesale2B is free for users, it comes with additional costs for every platform you want to dropship on. So, if you're dropshipping on a lot of platforms, it can tally up.
Doba is a U.S based dropshipping platform to source your eCommerce store. They manage sourcing suppliers, ordering and tracking of products. Doba performs an all-around service where they manage everything including delivering. They also integrate well with eCommerce platforms.
However, with Doba, if you need to contact a supplier directly on Doba to start a relationship with them, it can prove to be complicated. Doba's pricing ranges from $29-$249 per month depending on the service tiers.
Inventory source is a product sourcing tool that offers two options to eCommerce store owners. You can either Sync the supplier’s product directly on your platform (Inventory automation), or you can sync the entire purchase flow. This means that your orders are placed automatically with the supplier, and they handle everything (full automation)
With Inventory Automation, the product is sourced from the supplier that means all products are always up-to-date on the colours, sizes, etc. Inventory automation is $99 per month, while full automation is $199 per month. However, there's a free account that lets you view all the products and dropship suppliers for free.
When sourcing your eCommerce store online, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. As products are different, so are eCommerce platforms different, and so is your business model. We’ve listed the best places to source your eCommerce goods from, but it is up to you to decide the model you’re going to take and the best platform to either service your wholesale or drop shipping needs.