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The Complete Guide to Sourcing from Alibaba and Building an Online Business

Whether you’re looking to start up an online business or diversify your offering to scale your current ecommerce business, you need two very specific things:

  1. a product idea. 
  2. a sourcing method.

Product ideas can be difficult to come by, especially ones with true market viability.

But coming up with the idea is often less challenging than the sourcing of those products – so I found out.

Sourcing is a crucial business process for every retailer, and there are four main ways to do it:

  • Make
  • Manufacture
  • Dropship
  • Wholesale

There are pros and cons to each method and many retailers use a combination, or all four, to truly scale.

Typically, only those brands with high revenues and margins can account for the initial spend, and continuous upkeep, required to offer customers the best of all sourcing methods: unique products in combination with anything and everything else for which they may be looking.

These brands are often considered lifestyle brands, offering everything a customer might need to live a particular way –– think Goop, ShopBop, Madewell, ModCloth, among others.

Small businesses have long been hindered by the price barrier here, but one big name brand making serious headlines is changing all of that – enter,

What is Alibaba?

If you follow business or ecommerce news in the slightest, you’ve heard of Alibaba, the Chinese ecommerce company providing manufacturing sourcing options for businesses of all sizes at incredibly affordable prices.

In all, Alibaba doesn’t operate exactly like any other ecommerce company out there.

For one thing, Alibaba is a comprehensive directory of suppliers, connecting them directly to buyers from all over the world (i.e. retailers).

Alibaba presents millions of products to source, all from the suppliers themselves.

In essence, you are  getting supplier prices at insider rates, typically at a price point only senior and seriously connected merchandisers have before been able to nab.

Alibaba levels the sourcing playing field for legacy brands and small businesses alike.

How do I know that Alibaba is leveling the playing field for all businesses?

Because I started an online business myself, sourced from Alibaba and am seeing huge success.

Here’s exactly how I did it (and you can, too).

How To Source Products from Alibaba to Start an Online Business

I’ve always wanted to start my own online business.

But wanting to start your own business is one thing; actually doing it is another.

So, in 2017, I made a New Year’s resolution to start an online business – and I kept it.

I finally was able to get my business off the ground.

The sense of fulfillment, excitement and pride that I’ve experienced every day since starting my online business has been unmatched.

And I did it by starting with sourcing from Alibaba to get my brand up and running, and making money.

In this, you’ll learn how to :

  • Use Alibaba to make money
  • Use Alibaba to start a business
  • Find the right supplier on Alibaba
  • Source products from Alibaba

Plus, I’ll cover FAQs I hear from folks when I talk about this subject, as well as things I wish I’d known when I began.

Let’s get going.

Finding a Profitable Product Niche on Alibaba

One of the most difficult parts of starting my business was finding a product.

I had dreams. I had passion. I didn’t actually have anything to sell.

Here’s where I was mentally:

  • How would I even find a product to sell?
  • What are other folks selling?
  • Would I fail?
  • Would I get lucky?
  • Was I pretender?
  • A contender?

I had no idea. And I soon came to learn, that’s OK.

Fear is good.

Fear is what got me to start. It’s what pushed me to search harder. And it’s what brings me to today, a year later –– when I’m able to share with you exactly how I did it, and how you can, too.

1. Do market research to find a product to sell.

I did some research on items selling well online, as well as some inner reflection to see if I could find a product that would help solve a problem I experienced in my day to day as a dog owner, athlete, urban dweller and traveler.

Using Google Trends, I was able to understand search volume and interest in a number of different products.

Google Trends is often a great place to find whether items are trending.

And then one day, that proverbial light bulb went on.

As an avid music fan that attends a number of concerts and music festivals, I noticed a need for lighter, compact bags that would be able to hold festival essentials:

  • Sunglasses.
  • Water bottles.
  • Wallets.
  • Keys.

Security restrictions prevented the use of larger backpacks and bags.

Festival attendees were left stranded.

Where there’s pain, however, there’s opportunity to do something better.

I decided I could fix this. I could be a part of the solution.

Could I Be the Next Bag Guy?

I decided to start my own private label brand of bags and fanny packs: Who’s Your Fanny .

Early on, I decided that my business would begin as a private label business.

I’d sell via a ecommerce site on BigCommerce and Amazon.

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2. Validate your idea.

Great. So, I have an idea. That’s a start.

Now that I had an idea that resonated with me, I needed to validate that this was actually a problem.

Moreover, I needed to validate that even if it were a problem, that I could solve it.

Most importantly, I wanted to hear from prospective customers.

So, I asked:

  • Friends (and friends of friends).
  • Random people on the internet.
  • Co-workers.
  • Google, and evaluated search volume trends.

I asked questions like:

  • What pain points have you experienced.
  • What sorts of bags have you purchased in the past.
  • How much have you paid.
  • How much would you be willing to pay, etc.

I also pulled up that Google Trends thing again.

And it looked like fanny packs (or bum bags, waist packs, sling bags – whatever you want to call them) were rising in popularity:

My “mini focus groups” had a lot to say. I had no idea people were so passionate about what they used to carry their stuff.

But through that, I identified some crucial elements any solid fanny pack would need to have.

I quickly learned that my target customers wanted:

  1. Multiple pockets. Compartmentalization was a must.
  2. An adjustable belt was key.
  3. Some preferred low price; others preferred a cute design.
  4. Amazon was where they often began their product search.
  5. Guys and girls had different tastes.

And there I had it.

  • I had a product.
  • A product that customers would be interested in buying.
  • And my focus group could also serve as my first customers.

But, I still had no idea how I would source this magical fanny pack.

Off to finding a supplier or a manufacturer…

3. Find the best way to source your product.

There are several options to source a product, including:

  • Direct wholesale.
  • Privately branding your own products.
  • Dropshipping, etc.

I had to narrow my search.

So, as I picked an option, I determined that I would pick the path that best met the below criteria:

  • Sourcing must be easy.
  • Cost of goods sold must be low to ensure good margins.
  • Products must be tested, reliable and high quality.
  • Manufacturer must be scalable and grow with my business.

Criteria To Make Sourcing Easy

Running a business often means, on any day, you’ve got 99 problems and I really didn’t want sourcing to be one.

I wanted to make sure I had this down pat so that I could focus on running the day-to-day of my business.

In general, the framework I used to determine whether my sourcing option was easy often came to whether I could find my ideal product.

My criteria for my product being:

  1. Is the product light and easy to ship?
  2. Is the product price low enough per unit to have a solid margin?
  3. Does the product have health risks? No food. No electronics. Nothing like that.
  4. I wanted to know my product and have used one before: As an avid festival goer, I had.
  5. Confirmed there was a market for the product: My mini focus group did that.
  6. Confirmed there was an easy place to source the product from: For this my options were clear –– now I had to decide where I’d source from (Spoiler alert: Alibaba).

4. Decide where you are going to source.

I explored a number of options including:

  • Dropshippers like Printful and Printify.
  • Wholesale marketplaces like Alibaba and DHGate.
  • Local manufacturers/wholesalers.

Today, a year later, the business operates with a mix of suppliers.

But back then, a year ago, I started with Alibaba as my only supply source.

Why I Chose Alibaba

I chose Alibaba for several reasons.

  1. I wanted to find reputable fanny pack manufacturers who had been doing this for a while, and Alibaba had plenty of those.
  2. I was looking for a known marketplace so that there would be a lot of information on the web about how to use it. Alibaba checked that box.
  3. I wanted to ensure that there were rules and regulations on the marketplace to protect myself and any investment I made. On Alibaba, there are rules on how manufacturers and suppliers should behave. There are also tools out there to make sourcing easy on Alibaba. There are reviews of manufacturers, trade assurance options, various security levers. All of these things gave me confidence in exploring it as a sourcing platform.
  4. I needed something could fit my budget, so that my investment wasn’t monumental on an idea I was only testing. This was the biggest winner for Alibaba. There, I quickly found products that fit within my budget, manufacturers I enjoyed working with and ones that gave me confidence to move to the next steps in building my business.

Now that I had chosen Alibaba, let’s dive in to what happened next and how you can do the exact same thing.

Exactly How to Use Alibaba to Source Products

1. Setup your Alibaba account.

I did a lot of research prior to beginning my journey but today, I’ll save you all of that time and share what I learned.

The first step to using Alibaba is to set up a User ID and password.

This is fairly easy to do and straightforward. While Alibaba is based in China, the user interface is in English (and other languages) and caters to a number of different markets.

2. Understand Alibaba.

When you get into Alibaba (after you’ve decided on a product), you’ll want to search for a manufacturer.

On Alibaba, you have 2 types of manufacturers:

  1. Factory: This is the actual factory that will be producing your sourced goods. Many factories have their own sales teams to deal with retailers like you. Often times, trading companies will source from factories.
  2. Trading Company: A middleman that sources straight from the factory and sells to you. In some cases, it may be difficult to find a factory that produces your goods, but a trading company can assist.

It’s important to pick which option is right for your business. Many of these manufacturers are flexible in how they work with your business.  

Both a trading company or straight from the factory can be a good option, so it’s really up to you to determine how you like to work, your relationship and comfort level with the company, the quality of the product and so on.

3. Be smart how you search Alibaba.

In the next few sections, I will detail the steps to source a product on Alibaba.

Sample Product Search on Alibaba

In this example, we’ll be taking on the role of a hypothetical hat manufacturer because it meets the criteria we established earlier (easy to ship, low cost, etc.).

We’ll source for our hat company together and will go through the below steps:

  • Finding a Supplier
  • Picking a Supplier
  • Contacting the Supplier
  • Securing a Sample
  • Reviewing Your Sample
  • Placing Your Mass Quantity Order

In this journey, we’ll be (together) starting a hat company.

I’ve picked hats because it meets all of our sourcing criteria:

  • Hats are light and easy to ship
  • We can source at a low price and sell at a competitive price
  • Hats have few health risks
  • I feel like I understand the market for hats (I’ve worn one)
  • There is a market for hats.

First, go to Alibaba and type in “hats” into the the search bar under “products” and hit Search.

In this instance, we’ve picked a broad search term, but the more specific you can be, the better.

For example if you are looking for a “winter beanie for women” then you should start with a search for a term like that to get you the best supplier options.

There you’ll find a number of options. Immediately, you’ll ask yourself “how do I choose…”

In order to navigate Alibaba, here’s a “cheat sheet” on the need to know terms.

Alibaba Vocabulary:
  • MOQ: This is the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) requirement on Alibaba. It specifies the lowest quantity of a certain product that a supplier is willing to sell. If you cannot reach the MOQ requirement, then the supplier is not willing to enter production.
  • OEM: OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturing. You can come with your own specifications, your own requirements, your own detailed visions of your product and hand them off to an OEM factory. The OEM will start manufacturing your product from scratch. This is the kind of supplier you should looking for if you want a unique product under your brand name.
  • ODM: ODM stands for Original Design Manufacturing. An ODM factory will give you products ideas. Give the factory some expected functions, some expected performance and some expected ideas of the conceptions and the factory will suggest some final product options. Don’t know how to build a product? An ODM factory can help.
  • Trade Assurance: If you have a dispute with your supplier, you can submit a claim to Alibaba. They’ll review it, and If they agree that the factory has not made good on their promises, they may give you your money back. Just keep in mind that from the very beginning your sales agreement must list the points that could cause a dispute, like QC, lead times, etc.
  • Gold Supplier: The factory is paying Alibaba to appear more favorably in the search results. It’s a good thing. The factory is pushing their business forward, so take it as a good sign.
  • Assessed Supplier: Alibaba has had a third-party company visit the factory to check out their facilities.
  • QC process: Alibaba has lots of quality control processes and terms. Here we go:
    • IQC: Incoming Quality Control means the control of raw materials or anything that enters the factory (the workplace) for the manufacturing of goods and products.
    • OQC: Outgoing quality control is concerned with the finished goods ready for shipment.
    • QC & QA: Quality Control and Quality Assurance are the ways that quality is controlled and assured during all the process.
    • IPQC: In Process Quality Control is made during all steps of the manufacturing of a given product.
  • FOB: Free on Board (or Freight on Board). This means that the cost of delivering the goods to the nearest port is included but YOU, as the buyer, are responsible for the shipping from there and all other fees associated with getting the goods to your country/address
  • CIF: Cost insurance and Freight (named port of destination). Seller must pay the costs and freight includes insurance to bring the goods to the port of destination. However, risk is transferred to the buyer once the goods are loaded on the ship.

Back To Our Product Search

So, looking at our hat search one more time, we have a number of options.

  • Knowing that this is my first search, I’d like to ensure there are controls in place with a reliable supplier so I select trade assurance, which allows me to pay via escrow after I receive my goods.
  • Also, for added protection, I select “Gold Suppliers,” Alibaba’s top suppliers. While Alibaba is largely safe, there are still all sorts of suppliers on there and these can help you feel more confident you’ll interact with an honest supplier.
  • To further narrow my search, full well knowing that I’m just getting started, I select a manufacturer with a low MOQ of 100.

You can select a MOQ that you are comfortable with but 100-200 is a good range for just getting started.

Per unit prices will start getting much less expensive at the 500+ range, but you will get there in due time.

4. Pick a supplier on Alibaba.

After we’ve inserted this criteria, a number of suppliers will appear.

As you look through the options, you’ll want to consider a few things:

  • Price.
  • Minimum order quantity.
  • Time listed on Alibaba.
  • Time listed as a Gold Supplier.
  • Supplier reputation and reviews.

In evaluating supplier reputation and reviews, I ask myself a few questions as I evaluate whether the supplier is legitimate.

For example:

  • How structured and detailed is their page?
  • Do they have pictures of the factory? Detailed information about the location and history?
  • Do they have professional descriptions and images of the products?
  • Do they describe their QC process and delivery times?

Asking and answering these questions should take out much of the fear from your Alibaba search and can help ensure that you work with legitimate factories and suppliers.

It’s unfortunate, but there are definitely scammers and fraudsters on Alibaba. However, there are ways to avoid them.

Many of the details in this article can help ensure you are working with well-intentioned, reputable, reliable, secure manufacturers.

In this example, I quickly identify a supplier that has a good track record, a number of transactions, and has a good response rate.

The MOQ is slightly higher than I’d like, but it’s OK.

Now, you’ll want to email several suppliers.

5. Contact the supplier.

Now that you’ve identified some suppliers that meet your criteria (low MOQ, gold, trade, etc.) you’ll be able to shoot them a note and get additional details.

Here are a few tips on outreach:

  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Introduce yourself & your business
  • Describe what you are interested in  
  • Inquire about shipping times and sample cost

In short, your end goal is to determine which suppliers can meet your basic requirements.

Depending on your budget, you’ll want to engage a few suppliers for your product. I typically reach out to 5-10 and track my findings in a Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet.

When you engage these suppliers, you’ll interact with them to secure a sample.

A few things to know about samples:

  • Samples are important because you’ll want to see the product prior to selling it and investing more money into inventory.
  • Many manufacturers will charge for express shipping via DHL, UPS, FedEx to ensure you get your samples quickly.
  • In some cases, they’ll also charge you for a sample, which can often be refunded once you pick them and place a larger order.
Why do Alibaba Suppliers Charge for Samples?

Alibaba suppliers often charge for samples and sample shipping to vet that you’re serious about the business relationship. Both sides (you and the manufacturer) want to establish trust.

For a business starting out, I’d also suggest sticking to low MOQs to test and validate products before going all-in.

This allows you to build trust with your manufacturer to ensure they’ll be able to deliver larger high-quality orders when the time comes.

As you build a relationship with an Alibaba supplier, you’ll be able to purchase in bulk, which will give you lower per unit items.

But in this initial stage, you’re focused on delivering a viable product.

A note like this should work:


I am a retailer exploring supplier options for my business in Austin, Texas. I am interested in a sample of your hat and am curious as to how much it will cost to ship this item to Austin, Texas. Additionally, I would like to confirm the price per order for your minimum order quantity, as well as turn-around and delivery time.



Most Alibaba suppliers respond within 24-48 hours.

In your communication you’ll want to look out for a few things:

  • Does the prospective manufacturer answer all of my questions?
  • Do they communicate clearly?
  • Do they show that they can meet your basic requirements?

I’ve been very impressed with the relationship management Alibaba suppliers offer. Seriously, no complaints there at all.

With that said, Alibaba suppliers are bombarded with emails on a daily basis and it’s important to let them know that you are a legitimate customer.

You will want to ensure that you respond in a timely manner to any Alibaba correspondence.

6. Secure the sample.

Eventually, your supplier will reach back out to you.

They will provide answers to your questions and in some cases, offer to chat via WeChat or Skype to further discuss your request.

If you have the time, definitely take them up on it.

There you can discuss more details about any product customizations you are requesting, pricing and other questions in deeper detail.

With that said, it is not required and you can still place your initial order via email.

After confirming details with you, they’ll either ask for a small nominal charge plus shipping for the sample.

This small fee does two things:

  1. It often weeds out non-legitimate customers
  2. Pays for express shipping.

One thing that is important to remember is that sample costs can quickly add up.

Be selective in who you request samples from otherwise you may find yourself having lost a small fortune as you scope out new vendors.

At the end of the day you’re looking to source a quality product that will still deliver your target profitability per unit. It’s OK to be selective.

If it is a trade assurance supplier, they will send you an order in your Alibaba Control Panel confirming your order and transaction details.

You can pay for your order via Credit Card, your bank account or AliPay.

Since you have Trade Assurance, payment will not be charged until after you receive the goods. This builds shopper confidence as you are only charged once you confirm receipt of the goods.

If you’ve used a trade assurance manufacturer, at this point you’ll be able to pay for the samples and upon receipt, will be asked to confirm via Trade Assurance.

Depending on whether you are private labeling your product or selling the product as-is, the next steps might be slightly different.

If you are planning on selling the product as-is, you’re done. If you’re private labeling like I did, continue.

7. How to private label products from Alibaba.

There are two types of private labeling that is possible with products from Alibaba.

  1. ODM
  2. OEM

Let’s look at both.

What is ODM on Alibaba?

With ODM, you are essentially buying a relatively finished product and throwing your label on it. You may have a few small tweaks as well.

If you’re planning on private labeling the product, you most likely will have a set of designs you expect to print on the pre-manufactured item as well as a tag that has your brand name and other information.

For this, you can use “ODM.”

What is OEM on Alibaba?

OEM is when you start something completely from scratch.

In your discussions with the manufacturer, if you have a design that you’d like on this hypothetical hat, you can send them artwork (often in the form of .jpg, AI, etc.) and for a small charge, they’ll be able to put this on your sample.

This is often called “OEM.”

I would highly recommend securing a sample prior to placing a large order, especially if this is your first product.

If you are opting for the private label route, you can also often put a tag on the product with your brand.

A copy of my own private label used in my fanny packs.

And Now You Wait

It will take a few days/weeks for the sample to arrive, but being the budding entrepreneur you are, this gives you time to build out other elements of your business.

Use this time to learn more about Amazon and set up your ecommerce site with stock photography and sample descriptions.

If you are sourcing additional products continue explorations. Sourcify is a great option for this.

8. Analyze samples to ensure quality.

Once your sample arrives, you’ll want to check for a few things:

  • Does this sample look like the pictures?
  • What is the quality of the product? Is it durable? How’s the stitching?
  • Is the packaging what I expected? Do I need to request something different?

Feel free to take the product for a test run.

Pretend you’re a customer buying your product:

  • How does it feel?
  • Does it accomplish the task?
  • Does it solve the problem you’re solving?
  • Feel free to also show others.
  • Remember that focus group? Maybe you bring it as your next show-and-tell item. Find your least shy friends that also sit in your target market. Ask and hold your breath.

I’m just kidding. Don’t hold your breath. But definitely get feedback! Feedback is important.

Additionally, you’ll want to be sure that the price for this product will deliver you your targeted profitability per unit.

If the sample is amazing, but the per unit cost will come at an unprofitable price, you should continue to explore additional manufacturers/suppliers.

9. Place your order.

We like our sample and are ready to move forward.

At this point, you can reach back out to your supplier to let them know that you like the sample and to discuss terms for your larger purchase.

These details include:

  • Price per unit
  • Order quantity
  • Delivery time
  • Shipping method
  • Address.

The supplier will send you a trade assurance order form and you’ll place your order.

From there, you’ll wait for your products, most likely anywhere from 15-45 days, depending on order size, factory and backlog.

For example, if you’re ordering from China during Chinese New Year, expect a delay as many factories shut down for the holiday.

At less busy times, you might be able to receive your product sooner.

They’re Here! They’re Here!

In a couple of weeks (depending on the size of your order), you should receive your products.

When they get to you, be sure to inspect them (you’ll want to do this for your future orders as well).

Hopefully, the count you ordered, the design and the workmanship will be similar to your sample (and you should be ready to start selling).

At this point, take a picture for your product photography and get your products live on your site. And you have your private label product!

10. Continue to get feedback on your product.

After you launch, be sure to monitor your inventory levels.

Ultimately, you’re going to want to decide as to whether your product will remain viable (i.e. maintain margins, low return rate, etc.) or whether demand is actually quite low.

If you do find that your product is successful, you can reach out to your supplier and place larger orders.

Remember to continue getting feedback on your products from prospects and customers.

For any entrepreneur pursuing a private label business, I would encourage you to “follow a passion” or “sell something you know.”

Take it step by step and have fun!

I continue to grow my business and learn more and more each day.

I am so happy that I made that tipsy New Year’s resolution in 2017 and look forward to hearing about your journeys as well.

Sourcing from Alibaba FAQs

How does Alibaba work?

Once you create an account with Alibaba, you can begin sourcing your products immediately.

Unlike dropshipping, when you source through Alibaba you will need to house all products yourself. Whether you do that in your home garage or a distribution center is up to you, though there are particular small business tax benefits in the U.S. for designating a spot in your home for this, especially for small businesses.

Also keep in mind that you will need to buy your products via Alibaba in bulk (i.e. by the dozen or more).

You will also want to be sure that the products you purchase are market viable, meaning that there is a demand for what you will sell.

Things to keep in mind as you browse products on Alibaba:

  • Unit Price: Because Alibaba allows suppliers to sell directly to retailers, prices are generally much lower than you’ll find for similar products elsewhere. This means you can increase your margins. That said, you’ll see FOB often on Alibaba. FOB stands for Free On Board and means that the seller is responsible for all costs associated with getting the product to the dock. After that point, the buyer is responsible for all costs related to transportation from the dock to the store owner.
  • Minimum Order Quantity: This is simply the minimum order amount that the supplier is willing to accept. Keep in mind that this is negotiable, especially with the increased fees associated with shipping once the product reaches port.
  • Payment Options: For most buyers, you’ll likely want to utilize PayPal as your payment option. Escrow is also a good option for buyers, and more often preferred by suppliers. Check out Alibaba’s Payments Page for more information all all available payment options.

How does Alibaba handle quality control?

Like any online platform, scammers and hackers are always a possibility.

Alibaba consistently works to track down and take out those who are masquerading as manufacturers (but whom simply mark up prices, then buy from the suppliers themselves, effectively making them middlemen), and scammers.

For buyers, there are multiple ways to ensure that you avoid falling prey to these activities.

  • Choose Escrow as a Payment Option: The escrow payment option holds your payment in escrow (i.e. does not go to seller) until you report back that you have received the products and they are to the quality and quantity expected. This payment option will save you from scammers, though not necessarily false manufacturers. This method will also give you the power to actual see and feel your product before you pay, essentially solving for quality control issues despite your supplier preferences.
  • Contact the Supplier: Sourcing products from overseas can be a bit daunting and frightening for many small businesses. If you are wary about who you are purchasing from, ask them for a contact and set up a call. Skype works perfectly for this, plus you’ll be able to get a sense of the business and the people you will be working with.
  • Request a Quote: RFQ (request for quote), is a simple process and part of the daily interactions between suppliers and buyers. This is your opportunity as a buyer to feel out a supplier’s process as well as negotiate. Simply send the supplier an email and be sure to request information regarding minimum order quantities, production time and pricing, pricing for samples and payment options.
  • Verify Suppliers: Much like eBay and Amazon, Alibaba has a verification system for suppliers, alerting buyers to the historical accuracy of individual manufacturers. Below is a chart showing the different levels of verification. Look for these before you decide to purchase from a supplier.

Is Alibaba Safe? How can I avoid purchasing counterfeit goods? provides a very easy way for trademark owners to report and remove counterfeit listings.

But, since not all brands know about the issue, nor do all brands monitor frequently, there are still many counterfeit goods available.

To reduce your risk of importing and selling counterfeit goods unwittingly, try to avoid sourcing any branded goods on

This is a particularly sensitive issue for luxury retailers. So, if you are looking to diversify within that space, it is recommended that you go through the luxury brand itself to ensure that you are acquiring the trademarked items in question. offers its own advice and best practices for avoiding fraudulent suppliers, below:

  • Fraudulent suppliers will sometimes offer unbelievably low prices, then ask you to pay through untraceable methods such as a Western Union or wire transfer. If such a case happens, you are advised to be cautious.
  • If a supplier places much attention on the payment process (they want to be paid quickly), please take extra care with all elements of the transaction. Generally, suppliers are just as careful as you are about fraud and they will take extra caution and time just to make sure they get your order correct before discussing payment.
  • Call the supplier’s telephone and fax numbers to verify your negotiations with them verbally. Bigcommerce addition: Skype can also be a great facilitator for this.
  • Be cautious if a supplier’s company name and personal name are identical, or if they use free email services such as Yahoo or Hotmail as their primary business email.
  • If you are still unsure of the supplier’s legitimacy, ask to pay for a sample to ensure the supplier’s product is able to meet all your expectations.

To answer the original question: yes, Alibaba is safe — if you take the right precautions.

Why are there significant price discrepancies between Alibaba products that look the exact same?

On, you will often find a huge range of pricing for a single product.

Here’s why:

  • The product was listed at a time when the cost for the item was higher. Now, the price has fallen and those listing the product are pricing it correctly as of current.
  • The quality for one of the items is better than for the other.
  • The company is a trading company rather than a manufacturer (more on this below).
  • The company with the higher price wants to earn a higher profit via their margins.

Many businesses looking to source from assume the price differentiation is due to the latter option, leading them to choose the cheapest item.

However, most successful products on are copied by multiple manufacturers and trading companies in order to pull in more business.

To do so, some of these suppliers may lower the product quality in order to maintain margins, but present a cheaper price.

In all, do your due diligence when sourcing your products and request samples. Business that are successful when sourcing from often:

  • Reach out to more than 10 of the suppliers they are considering
  • Go with the one that is the easiest to work with, taking into account pricing and quality.

What are Alibaba’s shipping costs, and why am I not receiving a response from the suppliers?

It is wise to contact a supplier before finalizing a transaction.

Simply emailing them a letter of inquiry requesting a quote (yes, you can negotiate the posted price on the product page) and samples.

Here are a few good things to be sure to inquire about within your email:

  • Minimum Order Quantities
  • Pricing for Samples
  • Production Pricing
  • Production Time
  • Payment Terms

Of course, not all suppliers will reply. In order to increase your response rate, be sure to keep your inquiry short and sweet.

The below sample email suffices for most situations:


I’m the ecommerce manager over at ABC company. I’m looking to place an order for Product A, but have a few questions for you before I do so. I’d appreciate your timely response on the following:

  • What is your minimum order quantity?
  • What is your cost per unit and do you offer quantity discounts?
  • What are your payment terms for new customers?
  • How long is typical production time for a minimum order quantity of Product A?

Once I know this, I’ll be requesting a sample and will pass along my mailing address. Thank you so much and looking forward to doing business together.


Jane Smith

The cost per unit questions should provide an answer for the cost of their samples, at which point you can ask to have them shipped to your address.

In all, if you do not receive a reply, don’t worry. Move on to the next supplier. also offers guidelines for increasing your supplier response rate, below.

Keep in mind that is merely the platform that connects suppliers and buyers worldwide.

The company is not responsible for suppliers who do not respond to inquiries.

  • Write inquiries that are detailed and specific. This is to help suppliers better understand your sourcing requirements.
  • Check the “Sent Box” of your “Message Center” to confirm your inquiry has been sent. If your inquiry is not in the ‘Sent Box,’ we recommend re-sending your inquiry again.
  • Chat with suppliers in real-time using our instant messenger service, TradeManager. Click here to download TradeManager
  • Call or fax suppliers directly. Their contact information can be found in the ‘Contacts’ page of the Company Website.

What is the estimated shipping time for my products?

Shipping from Alibaba’s Chinese manufacturers can take a while depending on where you live. Expect in some cases to be waiting up to six weeks for your items.

For cost savings, many orders are shipped by boat to foreign buyers (which means if you are sourcing from an Asian manufacturer and you live in North America, your items will likely be shipped).

Be sure to plan accordingly.

Also, if you are especially concerned with the timing issues related to shipping, you can always source your products from a closer manufacturer. is akin to the Yellow Pages for manufacturers, and not all of their suppliers are Asia-based.

As the platform grows and more international customers begin to use the platform, sourcing options near you will incrementally add up.

What do I need to know when it comes to import duties and taxes, as well as customs clearance for the items I’m buying?

A great way to handle customs when sourcing products internationally is to hire a customs broker like PCB.

At the very least, you can start reading some of the information they have on their site and find a customs broker that services your country.

Customs fees are a big variable that will depend on the product, the country of export and the country of import. A great solution to figure out customs is to use

Of course, many of the suppliers on have U.S. warehouses.

If you choose such a supplier, the products themselves will be shipped directly to you and you can avoid import duties and customs clearance.

What’s the difference between a trading company and a manufacturer?

A trading company often acts as a middleman between the buyer and the supplier.

For the most part, businesses prefer to buy straight from the manufacturer in order to cut costs.

Trading companies often price their products a bit higher in order to produce revenue.

The upside, however, is that trading companies can offer a larger variety of products, allowing a buyer to source from one supplier rather than multiple – as may be the case if a buyer chooses to buy solely from manufacturers.

Here is a quick breakdown of how to tell trading companies from manufacturers:

  • “Factory” means manufacturer on Trading companies buy from factories and then re-sell to profit from the price difference. Generally, buyers can get a better price buying from factories directly. Some trading companies unfortunately list themselves as factories, so, be aware. In general, if a company supplies an array of items, rather than a quality selection of a single category (i.e. if they supplied apparel versus if they supply sneakers –– the latter here is likely the actual factory).
  • Ask to see a copy of a factory license. If you are unsure of whether or not your supplier is a trading company or a manufacturer, ask the manufacturer to supply the factory license. After all, you’re already requesting samples.
  • Don’t be so quick to judge. If you find a quality trading company via which you source multiple products without any problems, that’s great! The convenience of finding a good supplier and sourcing all or multiple of your products from them can be worth the extra spend.

Can I sell my Alibaba products on Amazon?


If you’re planning on selling on Amazon (and depending on the size of your product) you can work with your manufacturer on ensuring it is in the right type of packaging (i.e. if clothing and apparel, a poly pack).

Again, many suppliers on Alibaba are excellent professionals and want to set you up for success.

So, if you have a question, just ask. Many are quite responsive.

Any tips for getting samples from Alibaba?

In your first order, decide how much inventory you want and how to ship the items.

In your initial order, since you’re most likely testing concept, you may pay a bit extra to get the items shipped to you via air.

At this point, this is OK. Focus more on getting your business live, testing, validating and then expanding your business.

Begin Your Alibaba Selling Journey

In all, sourcing products and receiving shipments from can be a groundbreaking opportunity for your ecommerce business to expand its product offering and ultimately scale into additional categories.

Its direct from supplier capabilities can also increase your margins and double your revenue, even if you don’t decide to source additional product categories.

As with all platform and technologies, however, you must do your due diligence.

Find suppliers, talk to them, build a network, earn trust and take your online business to the next level and grow safely with Alibaba.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Alibaba &How To Sell Online &sourcing Alex Medviediev 06 Feb 2018 Comments Off on The Complete Guide to Sourcing from Alibaba and Building an Online Business

Finding Dropshipping Companies & Suppliers (Free Directory Updated for 2018)

Are you looking to start an ecommerce business without the need to stock inventory yourself?

Or are you wanting to expand your existing business by offering more products?

Dropshipping may be the way to go.

What is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping allows you to partner with a supplier to display their products in your store. In other words, you can sell their goods. 

The supplier retains each product in their own warehouse until the item is ordered.

When an item is ordered from your site, the supplier will then ship the product directly to your customer.

The product itself never passes through your hands.

dropship suppliers

Dropshipping can be a convenient way to offer your customers more products or to launch your own business. 

But there’s a reason why not everyone is getting in on the action.

Here’s the truth of it: it can be difficult to find a reputable, affordable dropshipping supplier in your business niche.

Many dropshippers are tiny companies without much marketing power, meaning they barely show up in Google search results. That makes them incredibly difficult to find with a simple Google search.

Others may turn out to be a scam just trying to swindle you with an exorbitant sign-up fee.

There are other options too – like turning to general, more well-known dropshipping marketplaces like Alibaba or Salehoo, which grant you access to many suppliers at once. These, however, often come with a yearly fee.

Between scams, fees and just plain difficult to find suppliers – using dropshipping to launch or expand your business is often cumbersome, and expensive in both time and cash.

That is why we’ve put together this guide. 

We’ve compiled a list of both general and niche dropshipping companies, many of which charge only for the cost of the item and shipping.

About Our Dropship Suppliers Directory:

The goal of this directory is to help you find potential partners for your dropshipping business.

*Please Note: We suggest doing your due diligence to ensure that these providers are a good fit for your company. Communication with potential suppliers is key to a successful business relationship.

Each section below has a list of providers with their fees. You can then scroll down to learn more about each. 

Find lists of companies that dropship the following product types:

  • General Dropshipping Companies.
  • Clothing & Apparel.
  • Shoes.
  • Jewelry.
  • Furniture.
  • Beauty & cosmetics.
  • Home decor.
  • Electronics.
  • Toys.

General Dropshipping Companies

The dropshipping companies below compile a large number of suppliers into one platform so you can pick and choose products to dropship on your online store.

Company Product Category Sign Up Cost
AliExpress General Free Sign Up
Salehoo General $67/Year
Doba General $29/Month
Wholesale2B General $24.99/Month
WorldwideBrands General $249 (One-Time Fee)
Wholesale Central General Free Sign-Up
Dropship Direct General Free Sign-Up
Sunrise Wholesale General $99/Year
MegaGoods General $14.99/Month
InventorySource General $50/Month
National Dropshippers General $19.99/Month or $89.88/Year General $69/Month

1. AliExpress.

AliExpress is a wholesale and dropshipping platform that connects dropshippers to suppliers and products. The platform offers millions of products from suppliers in 40 niche categories like electronics and apparel. AliExpress also offers free sign-up.

2. Salehoo.

Salehoo is a wholesale supplier directory that connects dropshippers to suppliers. It includes suppliers in a variety of niches that serve the United States, UK and Australia.Signing up for Salehoo costs $67 (per year) and has a 60-day money back guarantee.

3. Doba.

Doba is a marketplace that compiles manufacturers and suppliers into one place. With Doba you can search through products in your industry and consolidate them into custom lists. Their basic service plans starts at $29 a month; more plans are available.

4. Wholesale2B.

Wholesale2B is a supplier integration system that allows you to choose from 1 million products, offered by 100s of suppliers, and sell them on eBay, Amazon, BigCommerce, Shopify or a custom website. Different apps and pricing plans are available for different platforms — the BigCommerce app starts at $29.99 a month or $149.99 per year.

5. Worldwide Brands.

Worldwide Brands is a comprehensive directory of dropshippers and bulk distributors. They continually update their list with new suppliers across all niches and certify that each is reputable and reliable. Receive access to this directory for a one-time fee of $249.

6. Wholesale Central.

Wholesale Central is a directory of wholesalers and dropshippers. This directory is free to access and is categorized by product type, with niches such as eyewear, books, candles and pet supplies represented.

7. Dropship Direct.

Dropship Direct is a general dropshipper that provides access to over 100,000 products, all shipped from their own warehouse. They feature products in health and beauty, sports, apparel, electronics and more, and also provide metrics like order cancel rates to help you gauge the success of your dropshipping. Dropship Direct offers free sign-up.

8. Sunrise Wholesale.

Sunrise Wholesale is a general wholesaler and dropshipper that offers 15,000 products in categories like home decor, sports and fitness, jewelry, garden decorations and more. This platform is able to be connected to eBay, Amazon, BigCommerce, Shopify and more. Membership is $29.95 a month or $99 a year.

9. MegaGoods.

MegaGoods is a distributor and dropshipper for goods like clocks, cameras, kitchen appliances, televisions and bluetooth products. Their general service fee is $14.99 a month.

10. InventorySource.

Inventory Source is dropship network that provides access to 150 suppliers and allows you to sync inventory and auto-upload product data. It connects to platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, eBay and Amazon. Pricing plans start at $50 a month.

11. National Dropshippers.

National Dropshippers is a wholesale product source that offers over 250,000 products at prices such as 50% below MSRP. They carry a wide range of products, from pocket knives to umbrellas to barbeque grills. The service costs $19.99 a month and dropshipping costs $2.49 per order.

12. is a general dropship platform that carries over 1,700,000 products from 890+ suppliers. Their products include beauty products, electronics, jewelry and more. Pay a one-time $99 fee to access their list of dropshippers, or pay $69 a month to access these products through

Clothing Wholesale Suppliers

clothing dropship suppliers

It isn’t easy selling clothes online. There is a ton of competition and you often compete with major brands.

However, if you find the right niche and build an audience interested in your products, dropshipping clothing can be very profitable.

Also the fashion industry is seeing nice growth.

According to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index, fashion industry sales growth is forecasted to nearly triple between 2016 and 2018 (from 1.5 percent to between 3.5% – 4.%).

Below are some apparel dropshipping suppliers that have products for men, women, children, babies and even boutique clothing.

Company Product Category Sign Up Cost
Nordstrom Clothing No Fees
Trendsgal Clothing Create an account to view pricing
Collective Fab Clothing $29/Month
Brands Gateway Clothing €295/Month
Buy2Bee Clothing Starts at $199/Month
CCWholesaleClothing Boutique Clothing $19.99/Month
Clothing Showroom Boutique Clothing Prices vary depending on type of order
MOY Fashion Boutique Clothing No services fees unless you choose the “automation” add-on, which costs $6/month
ModeShe Boutique Clothing No services fees; receive free shipping on orders $60+
Ah Goo Baby Baby Clothing Contact for Pricing
Mom Innovations Baby Clothing Create an account to view pricing
Sparkle in Pink Baby Clothing No Fees
Dollipops Kidz Baby Clothing No Fees
Pout in Pink Baby Clothing No Fees

1. Collective Fab.

Collective Fab provides over 6,500 products in fashion and beauty (including women’s clothes, jewelry, shoes, etc.). Their dropshipping services cost $29 a month.

2. CCWholesaleClothing. is a women’s clothing wholesaler and dropshipper based in Los Angeles. They offer over 3,500 items, with new items added weekly. They also provide marketing materials. See their pricing page for more information on their plans and to sign up.

3. Clothing Showroom.

Clothing Showroom is a clothing wholesaler that also offers a selection of its items for dropshipping, including tops, bottoms, dresses and plus size. Contact them for more information about their dropshipping program.

4. Nordstrom.

Nordstrom is now offering a dropshipping program in which suppliers can order products on the Nordstrom website and have it shipped directly to customers. Visit the Nordstrom Direct Drop Ship Program page for more information.

5. Trendsgal.

Trendsgal is a global seller that offers dropshipping services in clothing, jewelry, shoes, accessories and kids clothes. Register on their website to view more information.

Finding Boutique Clothing Wholesalers:

Looking to target customers who are interested in boutique or trendy clothing? There are dropshippers for this. Here are some suppliers:

  • BrandsGateway. A Swedish B2B dropshipper of clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories and more. They offer worldwide shipping and brand names such as Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Armani and more. Visit their dropshipping page for more information on their services.
  • MOY Fashion. A women’s boutique fashion wholesaler and dropship supplier located in Los Angeles. They specialize in women’s tops, dresses, cardigans and plus-size clothing. View more information on their dropshipping program here.
  • ModeShe. Another women’s boutique fashion wholesaler and dropship supplier. They offer products in dresses, tops, plus size, swimwear and lingerie. They also offer free shipping on orders of $60+. View more information on their dropshipping program here.

Shoe Wholesale Suppliers

shoe dropshippers

Company Product Category Sign Up Cost
Trendsgal Shoes Create an account to view pricing
Collective Fab Shoes $29/Month
Alonai Women's Shoes No fees other than costs associated with product
Brands Gateway Women's Shoes €295/Month
Star Bay Women's Shoes Prices vary depending on type of order
Buy2Bee Shoes Starts at $199/Month
Silvert's Adaptive Shoes No sign-up fees, pay a flat shipping fee of $9.95 per order
Led Sneakers Sneakers Create an account to view pricing

1. Trendsgal.

Trendsgal is a global seller that offers dropshipping services in clothing, jewelry, shoes, accessories and kids clothes. Register on their website to view more information.

2. Collective Fab.

Collective Fab provides over 6,500 products in fashion and beauty (including women’s clothes, jewelry, shoes, etc.). Their dropshipping services cost $29 a month.

3. Brands Gateway.

BrandsGateway is a Swedish B2B dropshipper of clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories and more. They offer worldwide shipping and brand names such as Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Armani and more. Visit their dropshipping page for more information on their services.

4. Nordstrom.

Nordstrom’s online collection includes women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, as well as jewelry, shoes, home goods and more. Visit the Nordstrom Direct Drop Ship Program page for more information.

5. Born Pretty.

Born Pretty is a consumer-facing webstore that also offers dropshipping for no additional charge. They specialize in nail polish and nail art, makeup, jewelry and other cosmetics and beauty products.

Sneaker Wholesalers:

Looking to sell sneakers specifically? Here are some potential dropship suppliers:

  • Led Sneakers. An online sneaker retailer that offers dropshipping services to customers who have purchased with them before. They specialize in women’s, men’s and kids’ sneakers with light strips at the base. Create an account to receive more information and pricing.
  • Nordstrom. Offers a selection of women’s and men’s sneakers in their shoe category, which includes Adidas, Nike and Vans. Visit the Nordstrom Direct Drop Ship Program page for more information on dropshipping.

Jewelry Wholesale Suppliers

jewelry dropship suppliers

Company Product Category Sign Up Cost
Danforth Pewter Jewelry Contact for Pricing
Gold-N-Diamonds Inc. Jewelry Contact for Pricing
Plum Island Silver Jewelry Contact for Pricing
Richard Cannon Jewelry Jewelry Contact for Pricing Jewelry Contact for Pricing

1. Danforth Pewter.

Danforth Pewter designs, manufactures and markets pewter jewelry.

2. Gold-N-Diamonds Inc.

Gold-N-Diamonds Inc., is a leading USA manufacturer and wholesaler of jewelry, including diamonds, gold, silver and much more.

3. Plum Island Silver.

Plum Island Silver offers sterling silver, gold-filled, and stainless steel jewelry pieces of the very best quality and price.

4. Richard Cannon Jewelry.

Richard Cannon Jewelry is a leading manufacturer and wholesaler of fine jewelry with a dropshipping program.

5. is a offering jewelry wholesale services located in Memphis, TN.

Finding Watch Wholesalers:

Looking to sell watches? There are dropshippers for this. Here are some suppliers:

  • Watch Wholesalers. A webstore that includes both wholesaling and dropshipping services and offers an extensive collection of men and women’s watches, including brands like Timex, Croton, Casio and more. View their FAQs for more information on their dropshipping services.
  • COOKOO. A webstore that offers a selection of “connected” watches, which has the aesthetic of a traditional watch but connects to the wearer’s smartphone to display call and message notifications and control music. These watches are available for dropshipping with no sign-up fees.
  • Trendsgal. A global seller that offers dropshipping services in clothing, jewelry, shoes, accessories and kids clothes. Their watch selection includes fashion watches, digital watches and smart watches. View the full collection here or register on their website for more information.

Furniture Wholesale Suppliers

furniture dropshippers

Is there opportunity dropshipping furniture?


According to, the global market for furniture and floor coverings is forecasted to reach $695 billion. Also, companies selling bedding are seeing rapid growth in their online sales (according to Furniture Today – a leading source for news in the furniture industry).

Below are examples of wholesale suppliers for couches, coffee tables, lamps and other home furnishings.

Company Product Category Sign Up Cost
Fast Furnishings Furniture Contact For Pricing
Mod Made Furniture Contact For Pricing
Modloft Furniture Contact For Pricing
VIG Furniture Furniture Contact For Pricing
Wholesale Interiors Furniture Contact For Pricing

1. Fast Furnishings.

Fast Furnishings provides quality home furnishings at affordable prices. Contact them directly for more information about their furniture dropshipping program.

2. Mod Made.

Mod Made is a contemporary furniture wholesale provider based in Southern California that dropships to the 48 continental United States. Contact Mod Made for more details about their dropshipping program.

3. VIG Furniture.

VIG Furniture is a wholesale and dropshipping supplier that offers contemporary furniture inspired by European design. Their products include furnishings for the living room, dining room and office, plus outdoor furniture and home decor like paintings. Costs must be covered by the person dropshipping.

4. Modloft.

Modloft is a supplier of modern furniture and home furnishing, including beds, bookcases, dining room tables, mattresses, sofas and more. Contact them for more information on shipping and prices.

5. Wholesale Interiors.

Wholesale Interiors offers wholesale and dropshipping services with more than 1,500 different SKUs in their inventory. Their products include dining room furniture, bedroom furniture, restaurant furniture and more for commercial and residential furnishings. Contact them to see if you qualify for a dropshipping account.

Beauty & Cosmetic Wholesale Suppliers

cosmetic dropship suppliers

Company Product Category Sign Up Cost
ISO Beauty Beauty & Cosmetics Contact for Pricing
Fragrance.Net Beauty & Cosmetics Shipping begins at $5.95
Born Pretty Beauty & Cosmetics No fees other than costs associated with product
Beauty Joint Beauty & Cosmetics Contact for Pricing
Volcanic Earth Beauty & Cosmetics No fees other than costs associated with product

1. Born Pretty.

Born Pretty is a consumer-facing webstore that also offers dropshipping for no additional charge. They specialize in nail polish and nail art, makeup, jewelry and other cosmetics and beauty products.

2. Beauty Joint.

Beauty Joint is a wholesale and dropshipping store that offers a wide selection of women’s beauty products, including makeup, nail polish, body paint, skin and hair care and Korean makeup. Fill out an application to become a dropshipper and view their pricing.

3. Volcanic Earth.

Volcanic Earth is a cosmetic supplier that specializes in skincare products featuring tamanu oil, which is a natural, eco-friendly solution to acne, psoriasis and more. Their products are available for dropshipping; visit their consultants page for more information.

4. ISO Beauty.

ISO Beauty carries hair straighteners and twisters, blow dryers, hair extensions, hair shampoo and other products, and mineral makeup. Contact them for pricing information or learn more about their dropshipping program.

5. carries over 17,000 beauty products, from fragrance and makeup to haircare and skincare. Contact them for more information about their dropshipping program.

Home Decor Wholesale Suppliers

home decor dropship suppliers

Company Product Category Sign Up Cost
East Wind Wholesale Gift Distributors Home Decor Pricing Based on Size of Order
Koehler Home Decor Home Decor No fees other than costs associated with product
Park Designs Home Decor No fees other than costs associated with product
Brybelly Home Decor Contact for Pricing
Wholesale Interiors Home Decor Contact for Pricing
Nordstrom Home Decor No fees other than costs associated with product

1. Eastwind Wholesale Gift Distributors.

Eastwind Wholesale Gift Distributors carry a large selection of home decor and unique gifts, such as wall decor, lamps, vases, figurines, kitchen accessories and more. Visit their FAQ for more information on their dropshipping program.

2. Koehler Home Decor.

Koehler Home Decor is a wholesale and dropshipping supplier specializing in home decor and gifts such as accent furniture, lamps, planters and more. They also include themed decor items such as country home decor, French decor and shabby chic decor. View this PDF for more information on their dropshipping services.

3. Park Designs.

Park Designs offers dropshipping for a selection of their products, including rustic-style area rugs, benches, decorative clocks, lanterns and more. These items are available to ship for no extra cost.

4. Wholesale Interiors.

Wholesale Interiors offers wholesale and dropshipping services with more than 1,500 different SKUs in their inventory. Their products include home decor, dining room furniture, bedroom furniture, restaurant furniture and more for commercial and residential furnishings. Visit their dropshipping page for more information or email [email protected] to see if you qualify for an account.

5. Brybelly.

Brybelly offers both branded and non-branded products in categories like home goods, kitchenware, toys and more. Contact them for more information on their dropshipping program.

Electronic Wholesale Suppliers

electronics dropship suppliers

Why should you dropship electronics? Because there is huge demand from consumers.

According to IBISWorld, consumer electronics saw a 2.4% annual growth (from 2012-2017) globally.

There are many types of electronics you can dropship such as laptops, phones, televisions, and drones to name a few.

Below are examples of dropship suppliers you may be able to utilize to easily sell electronics online.

Company Product Category Sign Up Cost
Albany Distributing Electronics Create an account to view pricing
Cost Tag Electronics, Computers Contact for Pricing
D&H Electronics, Computers Contact for Pricing
Laptop Plaza Electronics, Laptops Become a vendor to view pricing
Novatech Electronics, Computers, Cell Phones Contact for Pricing
Hypercel Electronics, Cell Phones Contact for Pricing
Uniqbe Electronics, Cell Phones No fees other than costs associated with product
Reiko Electronics, Cell Phones Accessories Submit an application to view pricing

1. Albany Distributing.

Albany Distributing is a wholesale and dropshipping supplier that offers a large selection of electronics, including laptop and desktop computers, printers, and phone accessories, as well as office supplies, camera supplies and more. Create an account for more information on selling and pricing or view their FAQs.

2. Novatech.

Novatech is a wholesale and dropshipping company that holds over 50,000 products in its catalog, including electronics like Apple computers and phones. It offers a package that helps you set up a webstore or inventory and begin dropshipping.

3. Uniqbe.

Uniqbe is a wholesale and dropping company that carries cell phones, tablets, cameras, accessories and more from brands such as Apple, Google, Samsung, LG, Motorola and more with no sign-up fees for dropshipping. View their website to see prices on individual products or view their dropshipping information page.

4. offers a variety of technological products, from computers and tablets to appliances and musical instruments. Contact for pricing and more information about their dropshipping services.

5. Hypercel.

Hypercel is a wholesale distributor based in California. They specialize in brand-name mobile phones and accessories such as charges, cases, earbuds and more. Contact them for more information about their services.

Finding Laptop Wholesalers:

Looking to sell laptops? There are dropshippers for this. Here are some suppliers:

  • Laptop Plaza. Works with manufacturers to distribute new and refurbished laptops and tablets. They offer brands like Apple, HP, Leveno, Acer, DELL and more. Sign up on their website to learn more about their dropshipping program.
  • D&H. Distributes over 75,000 IT and electronic products, such as computers, game consoles, software products and even sports equipment and home improvement tools. Contact them for more information on dropshipping and pricing plans.
  • Novatech. Includes both Apple and PC laptops in its inventory of 50,000 products. Create an account to view specific pricing.

Toy Wholesale Suppliers

toy dropship suppliers

Why should you dropship toys? Because there is insane potential.

According to The Toy Association™, Inc., the toy industry grew sales by 3% to $11.95 billion (in the US from January through October 2017).

You can dropship toys such as action figures, dolls, stuffed animals, and puzzles just to name a few.

Below are some examples of toy dropshippers to help you get started!

Company Product Category Brybelly Toys
Brybelly Toys Contact for Pricing
Die Cast Dropshipper Toys Contact for Pricing
Duplay Toys Apply for Account
Hibba Toys Toys Contact for Pricing
Aulola Toys No Fees

1. Brybelly.

Brybelly offers both branded and non-branded products in categories like home goods, kitchenware, toys and more. Contact them for more information on their dropshipping program.

2. Aulola.

Aulola is a UK-based wholesaler and dropshipper that offers toys for kids, as well as electronic accessories that include phone cases and screen protectors, camera accessories and Apple Watch bands. View their website for product pricing or view more information on their dropshipping program.

3. Die Cast Dropshipper.

Die Cast Dropshipper specializes in model cars and other vehicles, including cars, ambulances, motorcycles and more from brands like BMW, Chevrolet, and Ferrari. They currently carry over 4,000 products. Sign up on their website to view product pricing or view more information on their dropshipping program.

4. Duplay.

Duplay is a UK-based dropshipper specializing in children’s toys. They offer baby toys, role-play toys, kids’ furniture, trampolines, bouncy houses, video games and more. Apply online to see individual product prices or check out their dropshipping program.

5. Hibba Toys.

Hibba Toys is a UK-based dropshipper whose claim to fame includes a wooden toy box that was once purchased as a present for Prince George. They offer traditional children’s toys such as wooden toys, rocking horses, doll houses, educational toys and more. Contact them for more information on their dropshipping program.

FAQs About Dropshipping Suppliers

What is the Dropshipping supply chain?

The dropshipping supply chain is often long and tedious.

First, the product is produced at the manufacturing level – at which point it’s at its cheapest).

Then, the product is stocked by an initial wholesaler, who typically marks up the price of the product before making it available for dropshipping.

At this point the product is often transferred to an additional wholesaler, who may mark up the price even further or act if as they’ve received it directly from the manufacturer.

Beware of this, as the price of the item may now be so high that you won’t make much profit by trying to dropship it.

Warning signs of a fake or additional wholesaler include a spammy looking website, no requirement for a dropshipping application, or a part of the website that sells directly to the public.

Next the product is purchased and stocked by you, the wholesaler, before reaching its final destination: the end consumer.

Are there free dropshippers with no membership fees?

There are many free dropshippers in both general and niche categories.

Though some larger dropshippers charge yearly or monthly fees, most only ask that you pay the cost of the products you’re shipping to the customer.

Some charge additional shipping costs or fees.

What are some examples of free dropshippers?

There are many dropshippers across all niches that offer dropshipping with no sign-up fees or monthly services, such as the ones listed below.

Before signing up for an account with a supplier it’s always best to contact them and confirm their pricing policies.

  • Nordstrom (Clothes, Shoes, Jewelry, Home Decor).
  • Pout in Pink (Children and Infant Boutique Clothing).
  • COOKOO (Smart watches).
  • Koehler Home Decor (Home decor and furniture).
  • Aulola (Toys and Electronic Accessories).

How do dropship suppliers handle returns?

To return an item you’ll often need to get a return merchandise authorization, or RMA, from your supplier, which aids the process of your customer shipping the product back to their address.

Make sure you also have all other item information on hand to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

Once the item is shipped and received the supplier refunds you and you refund the customer.

Beware of extra fees from your dropshipper, like a restocking fee.

Are there any dropshipping legal issues to be aware of?

Before you begin dropshipping, familiarize yourself with counterfeit and trademark regulations in your region to ensure that you and your dropshipping supplier avoid crossing any lines, especially with branded products like Apple phones.

It’s also a good idea to create a written dropshipping contract with your supplier that specifies all terms and conditions.

Can I dropship on Amazon?

You can dropship on Amazon, though you must first apply for an Amazon seller account and be approved as a dropshipper.

Amazon restricts dropshippers to selling through their Fulfillment By Amazon program (FBA) and prohibits shipping products with packing slips or information other than your own.

View more on their dropshipping policies here.

Can I dropship on eBay?

You can also drop ship on eBay.

However, on this platform you’re often competing with sellers who mark down their products to unreacheable depths, such as direct manufacturers or sellers from international regions.

Because eBay is focused on the product with the cheapest price, it’s hard to make much of a profit margin dropshipping items here.

Can I dropship on Etsy?

In the past Etsy has restricted its marketplace to items that are handmade or unique.

However, they recently loosened their regulations to allow “production partners,” which includes manufactures or dropshippers that help produce your product.

You must disclose this information on your product listing.

Recommended Next Reads

  • The Pros and Cons of Dropshipping
  • Guide to Shipping: Dropshipping 
  • Alibaba 101: How to Scale Your Business with the Chinese Giant
  • BigCommerce Apps + Integrations: Dropshipping

Want more insights like this?

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How To Sell Online Alex Medviediev 13 Jan 2018 Comments Off on Finding Dropshipping Companies & Suppliers (Free Directory Updated for 2018)

The Secret Amazon Pricing Strategy to Crush the Competition

Wrong pricing, fake reviews or just bad customer service can kill your Amazon adventure faster than you think.

To many, this makes Amazon complicated, but…

Your pricing strategy on Amazon must be dead simple, and lead with the customer in mind.

Your goal is to generate as many sales as possible, get authentic product reviews and provide the best customer service to your Amazon customers.

In this chapter, I will detail the exact strategies we used to build our private label brand KAVAJ from scratch in 2011.

Further, I’ll give you insight into our approach to pricing on Amazon.

We are selling our products solely as a marketplace seller via Amazon (Europe, USA, Japan) and have sold more than 500,000 KAVAJ products, making more than $19 million in revenue.

Before we begin, always remember your ultimate goal:

You want your products to be within the top three spots on the first page of the search results for your most relevant keywords.

amazon pricing strategy

Example: Organic Search Results on for “iPad case genuine leather brown”

Further, you want to build a long-term brand on Amazon which will result in Amazon promoting your products throughout your product detail page.

In the KAVAJ example below you can see the effect of building a brand on Amazon.

In the “Customers who bought this item also bought” section, Amazon will automatically promote all your other products.

how to price on amazon

Example “Customer who bought This Item Also Bought”

Take This Book With You

This full guide (all +17 chapters and +50 experts and their insights) is more than 35,000 words. That’s a lot to read on a screen.

So don’t! Download the guide below to print it out, take it with you, and start selling more on Amazon.

Download Now

3 Steps to Selling Successfully on Amazon

1. Optimize your product detail page.

The basics just aren’t very good.

Before you even start thinking about generating traffic, putting any marketing budget to work, or refining your Amazon pricing strategy, you have to do the basics.

On Amazon, this means you have to optimize your Amazon product detail page for Amazon’s organic search results.

The vast majority of sales on Amazon happen through search and more than 70% of it on page one of Amazon search results.

So, it’s best to spend time optimizing your products for Amazon’s search.  

Bryan Bowman details every aspect on this topic in his part “A Seller’s Guide to Amazon SEO.” Make sure to read that first.

2. Set your prices for Page One on Amazon.

If you get your pricing wrong, you will either lose money or won’t sell anything.

Setting the right price on Amazon doesn’t have to be that hard for private label products where you don’t have any competition on your Amazon product page.

In general, there are two variables you need to consider for every single product you sell on Amazon.

  1. You want to be profitable (Find your lowest price)
  2. You want to maximize profits (Find your highest price possible)

First, you need to consider all of your costs, and what your prices would be for you to be profitable on Amazon with those costs included.

You need to calculate your floor price.

Second, your price must be competitive related to your most important search terms to get your product on page one of Amazon search results.

More than 70% of sales on Amazon happen on page one of organic search.

No one will find and order your overpriced product on page 23.

How to Calculate Your Amazon Floor Price:

To operate in the green, you need to know all your costs, take all of them into account, and then determine your price floor.

You can find below the list of costs which you have to take into your equation.

Product Acquisition Cost
  • Shipping
  • Customs
  • Payment wiring
  • Amazon Commission
  • Amazon FBA Fees
  • Customer Return Fees
    • On all returns, Amazon keeps 20% of the original commission as a return fee
  • Your own returns-related fees (return shipping, disposal and product write-offs fees)
  • Variable overhead allocation costs

There are also category-specific costs which you need to consider. For example, if you sell clothing, Amazon will charge you FBA fees related to customer return shipping costs.

How to Find Your Upper Price Floor:

Forget about overpricing your product! Amazon will tell you your upper price floor.

Always remember, your ultimate goal is to have your products ranked on page one of Amazon search results. This is where the magic happens, and you can really sell volume.

However, it is one thing to get your products to page one with deep marketing pockets (e.g. deep launch discounts, giveaways or a big Amazon Sponsored Products budget), but you want your product to stay on page one and generate sustainable, profitable organic sales.

To get your products to stick on page one, you must consider the competition around you.

This is easy to evaluate. Just search your top three keywords for your product and review the pricing of the search results on page one.

Now, answer this question: are your prices within a reasonable range of the prices you find there?

From our experience, you can be 20% more expensive than the highest price on page one of search results.

For example, the highest price you can find on page one is $40. Your upper price floor thus should be $48.

If your price is higher, you will most likely never make it to the top of Amazon search results.

3. Keep your prices stable, with exceptions.

To build customer trust and a sustainable long-term brand on Amazon, keep your prices stable.

There are, of course, exceptions.

  1. The number one reason for price deviations is to increase your sales rank, which results in more organic sales later.
  2. The second reason for price cuts is cross-selling your products, which in the end also results in better sales rank for all products included in the cross-selling promotion.

Usually, this means cutting your prices close to break-even or below profitability. This is most often done during new product launches.

My company deviates from our standard prices mainly in the following contexts:

  • New Product Launches
    • We offer 15% launch discount for all customers
    • We offer up to 50% price cuts for repeat customers on our email list
  • Cross Selling
    • We offer up to 40% discount for bundles sales. e.g. If a customer buys an iPad case, he will get a 40% discount for an Apple pencil case
  • Black Friday or Other Holidays
  • Stock Clearance
    • In case you have overstock, this can help get rid of your overstock. It can also revive a dead product.

Finally, before you even think about cutting prices below profitability, always keep in mind that you will only have fun (i.e. be successful) selling on Amazon once you can generate organic sales with a decent profit margin.

How to Drive Traffic to your Amazon Products

Without traffic, there are no sales. Just listing your product on Amazon and hoping for traffic and sales is not enough to be successful.

Today, you need not only the organic traffic on Amazon, but you need to drive traffic from external sources to your Amazon product page.

Paris, here we come… (A Case Study)

Not long after leaving Amazon to start my own company, my team and I had a brilliant marketing idea. We were so convinced that it would work that we boarded a plane from Germany to France.

Before we left, we printed off thousands of flyers and planned on handing them out in front of the Apple store in Paris. We knew that tons of people would be standing in front of the store waiting to get their new device, and we knew that we would have a captive audience.

We gave away every single flyer that we brought.

People genuinely seemed interested in our product. They liked the design; they liked meeting us as the creators, and we had several promising conversations that we believed would turn into sales.

When we got home to Germany, we were eager to check our dashboard for sales. We logged in and were totally shocked. We had sold just one case.


We immediately knew we had to change our strategy to drive traffic to our products.

Here are our the three key strategies we are using today to drive most of our traffic to our Amazon product pages.

1. Build an email list.

An email list is a great way to boost your sales at product launch.

  • We use our list to send our customers directly to our new product pages on Amazon.
  • We also give them a discount code for the purchase of the products and often see a good jump-start on sales from that.

As a seller on Amazon, you might be wondering how you can build a list since you don’t get the real email addresses from customers and also are not allowed to write them for marketing reasons.

Begin with these three, easy-to-implement ways to start building your own list:

  1. Add a sign-up field on your website, like a newsletter sign-up, an ebook download, or the like.
  2. Communicate your newsletter sign-up option on your social media channels and on your packaging.
  3. After your sale at Amazon, you can send one email to your customer. Point them to your newsletter sign-up page in this email.

Our current tool of choice is ConvertKit, which has a very easy-to-use interface and allows us to easily tag our customers and build individual newsletter campaigns.

2. Place targeted Facebook ads.

In 2014 we shifted a big part of our external ads budget from Google to Facebook.

Today,  Facebook Ads are our most important external paid traffic source.

On Facebook, you have multiple advertising options, and you don’t need an existing fan base for that.

The great thing about Facebook Ads is that you can define your target audience and create a post which will show up directly in a user’s Facebook feed.

For example, for our new iPhone 6 cases, we created a target audience for women between 30 and 35 with kids younger than 3 years AND an interest in photography.

We generated awesome results from these ads.

We only had one issue with our Facebook Ads: we could not tell if the ads were profitable.

We spent one-and-a-half years developing analytics with quantified markets.

Today, it is impossible for us to imagine doing business without analytics –– and now you have the opportunity to use it as well!

Working with this Amazon conversion tracking tool catapulted our Facebook marketing performance into entirely new dimensions. The bottom line is that with analytics, you finally know whether:

  • Your Facebook advertising is worthwhile
  • You are really addressing the target groups that buy your products on Amazon
  • Your advertising is actually generating revenue

3. Use Amazon Sponsored Product placements.

Amazon Sponsored Products is by far the fastest way to get your product on the first page of Amazon search results.

Amazon Sponsored Products work similar to Google AdWords, where you bid on search terms.

If a person is searching on Amazon for your product, you can buy an ad relative to those search terms, and your offer will appear next to the best results.

The great thing about Amazon Sponsored Products is that it is very easy to set up. You can do it in a matter of minutes.

We did realize pretty early in the process, though, that even in a simple interface, you have to manage your account carefully and regularly to avoid an exploding marketing budget.

There are two main reasons for this.

  1. First, Amazon is continually improving the algorithm, meaning your successful campaign today will lose money tomorrow.
  2. Second, the competition on your ads is getting tougher as more sellers enter the marketplace. Amazon has also opened the sponsored products program to Amazon Retail clients.

I recommend either having someone in-house watching your campaigns very closely or working with MarketPlaceClicks, who is managing our account for us.

4. Point all product links to Amazon.

You might ask:

“Why should I send my customers over to Amazon if I already have my own website?”

The number one reason is that your ultimate goal is to be on the first page of the search results and, if possible, in the top three listing. This is where the big money is made, not by a single sale on your site.

Apart from our website, we point every link on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, our blog posts and our email newsletter to one specific Amazon product page.

Expert Tip

You can build high search engine ranking for your own online store through content marketing and influencer outreach work to gain backlinks from relevant, high-quality sites.

5. Get your products in the hands of bloggers and Youtubers.  

Youtube is the second biggest search engine in the world.

It’s really good to have a ton of reviews about your products on there so that you show up first in search no matter where they search for you.

Remember, Google owns Youtube.

Choose the Youtubers and bloggers who fit best with your product and brand, and offer them free review samples.

Here are few tips for outreach:

  • Be sure to word your outreach genuinely, and help solve a problem for their audience.
  • Know that they receive tons of these emails regularly.
  • Keep a running list of who you are reaching out to and who responds.
  • Use this to build yourself an influencer list.

If you give your products away for review, only give them your top-selling product.

Put all your eggs in one basket.

Remember, you want to have this product in the top three of the first page of search results, so you have to ensure that all the traffic is going to that one product.

6. Maximize your product packaging.  

Every case we ship includes a small booklet and two business-card-sized inserts with 10% discount codes for customers to give their friends or use on their next Amazon order of a KAVAJ product.

Customers are telling their friends about us and they’re buying more cases for themselves.

We also use our best customer testimonials to build trust.

We put our best quote on the outside packaging and, for our most important products, we include a customer case study inside a small booklet.

7. Create effective Google Ad campaigns.

We spent a lot of money on Google in our early days. However, Facebook Ads and Amazon Sponsored Products totally changed the game.

Today, you should use Google AdWords as follows:

  • Focus on brand name: Focus your efforts on your brand name and the most specific keywords in the long tail. We get most of the traffic from Google from people searching for our brand “KAVAJ.”
  • Focus on long-tail keywords: In the long tail, we only create very specific campaigns for our products, which must include the device name, the material, and the color. For example, those words that are keywords to our product, phrases like “iPad Air 2 case leather black.”

How to Get Real Product Reviews

Without product reviews, you won’t sell anything on Amazon.

The amount and the quality of reviews are the most important aspects of your reviews to increase your conversion rate.

Unfortunately, only 1 out of 100 customers writes a review.

Here are a few ways to increase your number of authentic product reviews.


Before getting into the details, this subject requires a quick warning, as Amazon is currently cracking down on sellers buying fake reviews.

Never mess with Amazon.

  • Avoid review clubs and excessive giveaways, which do not comply with Amazon’s Terms of Services (ToS).
  • Don’t give away a free product in exchange for an Amazon review.

Your goal should be to build trust with your customers and a long-term brand on Amazon.

Even if the customer is leaving a disclaimer that he got the product for free, it will hurt your product and there is a high chance that Amazon will either delete all those reviews or even suspend your seller account.

This is what you should do instead.

1. Email your customers after purchase and ask for reviews.

You can use tools like Feedback Genius to automate this process.

  1. Send the email a few days after the purchase.
  2. Ask in a neutral way and don’t force them to leave a positive review.
  3. Provide a direct link to the review page, as a lot of your customers have probably never written a review before.

You can also use this opportunity to make sure the product was delivered correctly and give the customer a chance to tell you about their experience (good or bad) so you can make the most of the interaction and build lifetime brand loyalty.

2. Use “wrong” positive seller feedback to get product reviews.

People often confuse seller feedback with product reviews.

Unfortunately, the often really good product feedback is not very visible for other customers.


Review your seller feedback regularly for people who actually provide positive product feedback and ask them via email to also write a product review.

3. Comment on reviews.

Everything on the Amazon product page is public.

In particular, the reviews and comments sections will be read by almost all future customers. This is your chance to stand out.

Be sure to comment on any negative product reviews or on reviews where a customer has a question. This is your opportunity to build trust and increase your conversion.

Further, many customers who initially gave your product a negative review might even change it for a positive one because they are grateful that you cared about their issue.


4. Ask customers who email you for feedback.

The easiest way to get product reviews on Amazon is by simply asking customers who tell you how much they love your product.

Whenever you receive an email, a customer service call or positive feedback on your social media channels, just ask them politely if they are willing to share their experience with other customers on Amazon.

How to Provide Outstanding Customer Service

You can’t do anything wrong if your Amazon customer benefits. Amazon itself is the most customer-centric company in the world. They expect the same standard from you as a seller.

Your best marketing tool on Amazon today will be outstanding customer service.

Your goal should be to create a “wow” experience which will help spread word of mouth.

To explain, what I mean by “wow” experience, I want to share a success email we received:


We not only exceeded his expectation but we “surpassed anything that I could have expected!” In the end, he helped us fix the issue by sending us images and he will recommend our iPad Pro cases to his management team.

This how you turn a negative into a positive.

1. Start your customer service on your Amazon product page.

This is the place where all your customers start their customer journey, read reviews, ask questions, check out your seller feedback and finally click the “Add to Cart” button.

I recommend implementing a daily routine for your product pages including the following actions:

  • Comment on negative product reviews and offer instant help
  • Answer questions in the Q&A section
  • Manage your seller feedback actively

2. Answer your customers fast and be generous.

The 2nd pillar of your customer service is email. You must answer all emails within 24 hours or faster and strive to resolve every customer service issue in a single communication.

I recommend to apply the following four principles:

  • Answer all emails within 24 hours
  • Provide a solution in your first reply
  • Make it simple for your customer
  • Be generous

3. Be responsive on your social media channels.

Your customers will talk about or to you and they expect you to engage with them on their favorite social media channel.

We recommend using Facebook and Twitter as your first customer service channels. You can exceed expectations here and “wow” your customers if you reply to all questions within an hour.

We also recommend creating a FAQ section on your website that answers common questions. Finally, offer an easy-to-use contact form on your website.

How to Go International on Amazon

One final note on your Amazon strategy: this entire process works the same worldwide and the potential is huge.

More than 300 million active customers are waiting for you.

As a German company, we started out in Germany, which is still our biggest market.

With Fulfilment by Amazon, it has never been easier to sell your products worldwide. You can see screenshots below of one of our iPad cases, which we sell in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan. KAVAJ iPad Air 2 Case Berlin cognac

selling-on-amazon-32 KAVAJ iPad Air 2 Case Berlin cognac

selling-on-amazon-33 KAVAJ iPad Air 2 Case Berlin cognac


Next Steps for Your Brand on Amazon

What are you waiting for?

Selling on Amazon worldwide has never been easier. Apply the Amazon pricing strategies mentioned in this guide and get started.

For the final time, always remember that your ultimate goal on Amazon is to get your product on page one of Amazon search results to benefit from the organic sales of the massive Amazon customer base.

From our eight years of experience, the best way to achieve this is to focus on generating sales, getting authentic product reviews and providing outstanding customer service.


Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Amazon &How To Sell Online &multi-channel &omnichannel David Venne 17 Dec 2017 Comments Off on The Secret Amazon Pricing Strategy to Crush the Competition

Amazon Selling Pitfalls Even the Savviest Sellers Forget [Infographic]

So you’re up and running as an Amazon seller, and you think you’ve figured out the Amazon marketplace. The good news is, if you’ve made it out alive (and profitably) through your first holiday shopping season, you’re doing well.

But, there are a number of issues that even large or long-term Amazon sellers don’t figure out.

Selling on Amazon is endlessly complex, with traps that even veterans fall into.

I’m pleased to unveil the pitfalls to you now –– but like a child who thinks she’s figured out how a magician does a trick, you still will need to work hard to avoid the common problems many sellers encounter when they start selling on Amazon.

Knowing these will at least set you up to be more aware of where those pitfalls might be hiding. Use the infographic to help visualize the issues and read through exactly how to solve them in the article below.

Take This Book With You

This full guide (all +17 chapters and +50 experts and their insights) is more than 35,000 words. That’s a lot to read on a screen.

So don’t! Download the guide below to print it out, take it with you, and start selling more on Amazon.

Download Now

Tax Setup

It’s a little shocking how many sellers never set up state tax collection options on Amazon, thinking that Amazon somehow automatically takes care of all sales tax issues from sales on the Amazon marketplace.

It turns out nothing could be further from the truth.

While Amazon is happy to collect state sales tax for you (for a small fee), it’s up to every seller to indicate in which states it wants Amazon to collect tax, and to manage the remittance of the taxes to the appropriate tax jurisdictions across the country.

There are many tax remittance services available for online sellers, but the seller ultimately has the responsibility of paying its taxes.

Here are a few services that can help:


While a seller may choose not to collect state sales tax (choosing to absorb that as a cost of doing business), the responsibility of remitting the tax is not optional.

A seller can designate its account to collect state sales tax in particular states.

Unfortunately, however, Amazon’s default when setting up new listings is to designate each SKU as having a no-tax label, which can overwrite the seller’s general request to collect state sales tax across all of its catalog.

Set your taxes up right the first go around

My advice is to, immediately upon signing up a new seller account, go into the Settings –> Tax Settings, and designate not only in which states you want Amazon to collect state sales tax, but also set the “Use default Product Tax Code” setting to “A_GEN_TAX.”

Amazon typically defaults to A_GEN_NOTAX, where no tax is being collected.

While the seller may offer products that warrant a slightly different tax rate, that level of tweaking can follow later.

If the seller is using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and isn’t proactively collecting state sales tax in all of the tax-collecting states where Amazon has fulfillment centers, it won’t be long before the seller accumulates tax liability from having incurred tax nexus by way of FBA inventory being stored – even briefly – in these states’ fulfillment warehouses.

Pro Tip

Each FBA seller should invest in a tax consultation with an online seller tax consultant to understand the responsibilities and potential liabilities of using FBA.


Too many sellers focus on top line sales numbers rather than bottom line profits.

“I want to sell $1MM/year on Amazon” or “If only I could get to be a $10MM/year seller on Amazon.”

Honestly, other than ego and maybe a few volume discounts, there isn’t much long-term benefit to being a big, but not particularly profitable seller on Amazon.

Focus on bottom growth and account for all costs upfront

I’d much rather see any seller grow its bottom line profits year-over-year much faster than its top line sales.

That typically requires a SKU-level understanding of profitability, incorporating overhead and indirect costs into each SKU’s profit calculation.

This includes certain less-than-obvious Amazon fees, and product write-downs/write-offs.

While I’ll discuss this matter much more in a subsequent chapter, it’s important to focus on those parts of your catalog that make you money and shed those parts that don’t make you money.

Stop averaging everything out, and looking only at your overall sales numbers and margins.

Start thinking about every SKU you sell on Amazon as having its own P&L, its own market forces, and its own level and types of competitions.

Such an approach has helped many a seller rationalize its catalog, focusing on bottom line growth ahead of all other financial goals.

Fulfillment by Amazon

Fulfillment by Amazon – commonly referred to as FBA – is exactly what it sounds like. You send your products to Amazon’s warehouses and they pick, pack and ship your items to meet their strict shipping and delivery timelines.

The Issue with Co-Mingled SKUs

There are a number of problems here, and I’ll start with the use of co-mingled “stickerless” SKUs.

As mentioned in a previous chapter, a seller has the option of sending product into FBA without having to provide SKU-level stickers on each unit.

Such stickerless inventory has the potential to get mixed in with the inventory of other FBA sellers of the same SKU.

Then when a customer places an order from one FBA seller, Amazon pulls the most convenient inventory, even if that inventory isn’t actually the inventory that the seller sent into FBA itself.

And, if other sellers have sent in counterfeit product or used-condition product that they are trying to pawn off as new-condition product, now the seller with this new sale may get itself into trouble with Amazon for selling problematic product to a customer.

Amazon responds when customers complain about product quality –– and the heavy lifting falls on the individual sale-level brand.

At roughly $0.20/unit for Amazon to sticker items or whatever a seller’s own warehouse costs are, we see the costs of stickering FBA units as far lower than the implied cost of having one’s seller account suspended for apparently selling counterfeit co-mingled product to a customer.

Stickerless v. Stickered Inventory

The other complicated issue around stickerless vs. stickered FBA inventory is when a seller designates its account to be stickered.

By default, each new FBA account starts off as stickerless.

When a seller creates a shipment of product to send to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, that stickerless designation will be applied to the seller’s SKUs and will remain forever going forward with that SKU.

So, if the seller wants its FBA product to be stickered, the seller has to change the default setting before creating its first shipment to FBA.

Otherwise, the seller will have to create a duplicate stickered offer on the same product listing.

We’ve seen many sellers not get this sequencing right, leading to situations where they think they changed their account to stickered, only to discover that certain SKUs remain stickerless because they were initially sent to FBA before the whole account got switched over to stickered.

If in doubt, flip everything to stickered (not co-mingled) immediately upon turning on FBA (but before creating the first FBA shipment). Or contact Amazon Seller Support to get clarification if any SKUs in your catalog are unknowingly stickerless.

Bottom line: when you start off, make sure you read up on how to sell on Amazon FBA so you don’t fall victim to these pitfalls.

Repackage Unsellable Customer Returns

Next, Amazon defaults every FBA seller’s account to enabled for “Repackage Unsellable Customer Returns.”

This means when a customer returns an FBA order, if that product’s packaging is damaged, Amazon may apply its own packaging to make the unit resellable.

Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for customers to see this Amazon repackaging as potentially an identifier of counterfeit or used product, resulting in a customer complaint or even an infringement against the seller for selling used-condition product as new-condition product.

Unless you sell your product in a generic polybag or generic cardboard box (with no logos on the packaging), I suggest turning off this repackaging feature immediately, and handling all repackaging yourself to ensure only the highest-quality product (with proper packaging) is presented to Amazon customers.

The Amazon Seller’s Solution Provider Directory

Optimize your return flow by connecting with an Amazon solutions expert. For a full list of recommended experts, visit our Amazon Solution Provider Directory.

Listing Optimization

There are a number of sources of data available within Seller Central that can be used to improve the listing quality of your catalog.

For many sellers, the process of building and optimizing listings is a one-time deal, as they understandably turn their focus to other operational matters.

1. Use the Sponsored Product Ad campaign reports.

A significant opportunity, however, lies in using the reports from the Sponsored Product ad campaigns.

In these reports, you can see the exact keywords that were connected to Amazon customers buying your products.

By examining these reports periodically (specifically for automatic targeting campaigns), you’ll find that there are keywords leading to sales that you never anticipated being effective.

Lifting those terms directly into your generic keywords will improve the SEO discoverability of your listings.

I encourage sellers to repeat this process every three months to make sure that customers’ behavior specific to certain words haven’t changed.

And with the generic keyword capacity for words now much larger than ever before, there is room to add many more keywords and get click benefit through SEO rather than paid efforts.

2. Include answers to previous product inquiries on your product page.

It’s also worth paying special attention to the inquiries that you get from Amazon customers.

If customers are asking product-specific questions, newly addressing these issues in your product detail page content is likely to improve customer conversation over time.

For too many Amazon sellers, the customer inquiry process doesn’t include an indexing of questions and answers back to specific SKUs, thereby causing a seller to lose out on known product clarifications or embellishments that are needed.

3. Ask for the category listing report.

I’m a big fan of the “Category Listing Report,” a report available in the Inventory Reports section, but only when requested through Seller Support.

This report will recreate your product listings’ flat file, making it much easier for you to identify any data gaps in your listings (including missing bullet points, generic keywords, improper tax codes, etc.).

While you request this report for only a finite period (i.e., seven days, 30 days), it’s worth pulling this report at least quarterly to make sure your product listings contain all of the necessary data you believe they should.

Boost Your Product Rankings

Read our chapter on optimizing Amazon Search to get more tips on boosting your product rankings.


And now the biggest category of all.

Managing the operations of an Amazon seller business is the most time-consuming part of every seller’s day.

Too many sellers don’t focus on the right activities, leading them to work too hard to make Amazon money.

1. Returns.

Do you have a clear process for handling returns efficiently?

Do you have a way of testing or grading returns, upgrading packaging where needed, and recovering as much revenue as possible by making these items sellable again on Amazon (or some other channel, as needed)?

For too many sellers, handling returns is something done at the end of the month when they have time, rather than something that is managed strategically through analytics and continuous improvement.

Yes, returned products aren’t likely to be 100% recoverable as new condition products.

However, if you carefully track the return rate of each SKU, the recovery rate of each SKU (i.e., what proportion of expected new-condition revenue you actually recover from each SKU), and which products are most likely to be returned damaged by customers, you can identify which products you need to remove from your active catalog.

You’ll also identify with which products and brands you may need to negotiate a returns allowance with your suppliers/distributors/brands.

Once you have this data in hand, you’ll likely be surprised to discover just how much financial loss you incur because of high return rates and high write-down/write-off costs.

Some of the best sellers on Amazon know, for each SKU, exactly where to sell returned products to get the highest recovery rate.

It’s worth talking with other sellers to figure out if you are unknowingly leaving a lot of money on the table by mishandling returned products, or if you are appropriately managing returned products as a core part of your overall seller business.

2. Duplicate Listings from competitors.

Duplicate listings on Amazon can be an effective way for competitors to divert traffic away from your product listings back to theirs.

It’s worth, at least once a quarter, to search the whole Amazon catalog for duplicate listings of your items.

If you find other listings of the same products, consider filing tickets with Seller Support to get duplicate listings merged.

And, if the duplicate listings were created maliciously by sellers using incorrect data (e.g., irrelevant UPCs or incorrect brand names), it may be worth also filing tickets reporting violations against those sellers.

I have seen far too many sellers confused about why their sales are dropping on top-selling items, only to find that the sales are being diverted to a duplicate listing newly created by a coy competitor.

3. Inventory management skills are required.

Inventory management skills require constant refinement on Amazon, whether it’s actively addressing soon-to-be stale inventory or rebalancing products based on changing customer preferences.

While I see most sellers ramping up inventory levels for the holiday shopping season, few sellers stock up enough products to cover most of January as well.

Often this leads to unnecessary stock-outs caused by higher than expected demand in December or inadequate time to replenish in early January when your suppliers are closed for the holidays.

Either way, I like to see sellers planning their holiday shopping inventory levels in such a way that they potentially overstock a little bit for January and February, thereby giving themselves a little bit of breathing room in December, January and February.

Such an approach is especially relevant for products that are expected to continue to have some meaningful sales after December.

4. Test-buy your competitors.

Test-buying your competitors’ products on Amazon is a very easy way to figure out what your competitors are up to, regarding how they package product, how they follow up through email to customers, and how they handle customer returns (if needed).

While you and your competitors may be selling the same products, there are likely some aspects of your competitors’ overall offering that you can learn through periodic test buys.

5. Plan for Pricing and Procurement.

Finally, with so many changes to competitors and prices on Amazon, I have watched too many sellers be slow to plan how to evolve their catalogs over the next three to six months.

Sellers should, at least once a month, focus a few days on the procurement of new selection, as some portion of their existing catalog will likely become unprofitable or below an acceptable margin threshold, leading to a need for better use of capital on other product selection.

This is particularly the case for resellers that don’t have exclusive sourcing relationships.

It’s only a matter of time before some competitor with a lower margin threshold starts selling the same product, and makes your offers unsellable.

While a brand may think it has decent control of its distribution, Amazon is a very efficient marketplace for gray-market or diverted product to surface, leading you to find that you have to cut your prices just to match some new entrant.

For private label sellers on Amazon, remember that that your product sales successes on Amazon are an invitation for the next private label seller to copy your product and make a lower-priced version; so keep evolving and stay nimble.

The active catalog you have today isn’t likely to be as profitable or relevant in 6 to 12 months from now.

Want more insights like this?

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Amazon &How To Sell Online &multi-channel &omnichannel admin 16 Dec 2017 Comments Off on Amazon Selling Pitfalls Even the Savviest Sellers Forget [Infographic]

The Definitive Guide to Selling on Amazon

As a former journalist, the plethora of clickbait headlines across the web is nauseating.

I’ve had to draw the line plenty of times in my writing career, refusing to call something “definitive,” comprehensive” or “all-inclusive” if it wasn’t that.

This piece of content required no such moral delineation.

This book’s headline, Definitive Guide, is the only possible way to describe what you will find in the subsequent chapters.

It is by far the most complete and actionable information out there discussing how exactly to sell on Amazon.  

Here are some things you’ll find throughout the book.

Topics You Will Learn About In Our Selling On Amazon Guide:

  • The benefits of selling on Amazon.
  • Amazon success stories for inspiration.
  • How to determine if you should sell on Amazon.
  • Actionable Amazon SEO strategies.
  • Understanding the Amazon a9 algorithm.
  • 7 skills you must have to win on Amazon.
  • Pitfalls that trip up even the best Amazon sellers out there.
  • A step-by-step guide to determining your actual Amazon revenue.
  • How you could lose on Amazon by winning – and other tips and tricks to avoid a double-sided sword.
  • How expanding to Amazon helped a Water Polo company successfully sell swimwear to Alaska.
  • How to win the Buy Box, as told by Feedvisor, the unencumbered champion of Buy Box wins, where 82% of Amazon’s sales happen.
  • Why mobile matters most – 70% of Amazon customers made purchases on Amazon’s mobile site – and how to optimize for it.
  • Pricing and repricing strategies for both resellers and private label sellers alike – plus tips to make you more, faster.
  • How to get a 320% increase in sales in less than 10 minutes (hint: Amazon has SEO, too).
  • What The Mountain has to do with Amazon customer review legend – and how you can jump start your own with a simple email.
  • Growth hacking tips and tricks that could earn you $5,000 for every hour you spend focused on Amazon.

Take This Book With You

This full guide (all +17 chapters and +50 experts and their insights) is more than 35,000 words. That’s a lot to read on a screen.

So don’t! Download the guide below to print it out, take it with you, and start selling more on Amazon.

Download Now

This is actually the second publishing for this book – an updated version for 2018.

The original book was eight months in the making –– with the first email sent out to a subject matter expert on January 21, 2016. That first book launching in August 2016.

That timing is critical.

BigCommerce had just recently published the first ever Amazon Sellers’ Solution Provider Directory –– highlighting more than 200 solution providers across a wide range of Amazon needs and complexities.

It was our most downloaded piece of content at that time.

James Thomson, former head of Selling on Amazon and an an author you’ll see plenty of times throughout this book, was the mastermind behind that project.

His name and proposal landed on my desk in the hibernation days between Christmas and New Years, when most Americans and almost all retailers are in the throes of a rest period following the holiday rush.

“I know it’s the holidays, but please just hop on a call with him,” a colleague pleaded. “You’ll like what he has to say.”

That 30-page book published two weeks later, forcing itself to the top of priority cycles that typically take much longer –– especially with multiple team members out on vacation.

It was all hands on deck – and I had called them there, asking many to spend a few extra hours to help me make this book come to life.

I was putting my neck on the line – calling in favors before the first day of the new year even began.

It was that good.

Soon, I was sending James emails asking him to review a table of contents for a longer-form, more comprehensive piece on how to sell on Amazon.

It’s safe to say that my call with James that late December day was a light bulb moment for me.

“This stuff is complex,” I told him, “but the revenue opportunity for our customers is too ridiculous to ignore. Our merchants need the absolute best, most pertinent information to make this work. I won’t waste their time.”

He agreed, and the vetting process began. That first email went out. This 35,000+ word book had its first heartbeat of life.

The 2016 version had 15 chapters, featuring the insights of more than 30 Amazon subject matter experts.

This year’s version for 2018 has 17 chapters, featuring the insights of more than 50 Amazon subject matter experts.

A few include:

  • Andrew Tjernlund, Multi-Million Dollar Merchant and Amazon Consultant
  • Bryan Bowman, Founder, AMZ Profit Pros
  • Eyal Lanxner, CTO, Feedvisor
  • James Thomson, Partner at the Buy Box Experts, Founder of The PROSPER Show, Former Head of Selling on Amazon
  • Kai Klement, Co-founder and Multi-Million Dollar Merchant, KAVAJ
  • Kevin Rizer, Founder, Private Label Podcast
  • Lauren, Shepherd, Senior Marketing Manager, Teikametrics

We left no stone unturned, nor did we include any information we believed to be superfluous.

You will find everything you need to start selling and winning on Amazon in this book.

I can also assure you it will be a vital resource you continue to reference as you grow Amazon as a revenue channel.

Even for those sellers already highly profitable on Amazon, there are nuggets of insight to even further increase sales and operationalize your Amazon business.

What are you waiting for?

  • Dive in.
  • Take action.
  • Grow your business.

And let us know if you have any questions.

In the meantime, here’s the quick start list of everything covered in this book, boiled down to 8 steps.

How Do I Quickly Get Started Selling On Amazon?

  1. Decide on items you will be selling through Amazon.
  2. Choose your Amazon selling plan. The professional plan costs $39.99 per month and individuals pay $0.99 per item sold.
  3. Register to start selling.
  4. List your products.
  5. Drive traffic to your listings (described in detail throughout the guide).
  6. Generate sales.
  7. Ship orders.
  8. Get paid — payments when will be deposited in your bank account.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Amazon &How To Sell Online &multi-channel &multichannel &omnichannel admin 13 Dec 2017 Comments Off on The Definitive Guide to Selling on Amazon

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