Convincing your suppliers to start using bulk orders

DropShop doesn't really work if you have nowhere to send bulk files to. So, in order to start using DropShop you will need to convince your supplier to accept a bulk file by enticing them with a proposal for a time saving solution that will benefit both of you.

Step 1: Reaching out to your supplier

For the greatest level of success with your proposal, and to ensure that you can pay the supplier confidently, it is best to ensure that you have an existing working relationship with the supplier that you are trying to engage with. This existing relationship can mean having placed single orders with them previously in a drop-shipping manner, or having placed test orders with them in the past. This is a mutual step, as the supplier needs to be able to trust you, as much as you need to be able to trust them.

Supplier sources

You can find suppliers on sites like AliExpress, Ebay, or even Etsy. You can really find suppliers everywhere in any marketplace, however, we would recommend AliExpress to start, as it is most compatible with other single order drop-shipping apps. It will also let you build a relationship with your suppliers with the safety net that AliExpress customer service and refund policy extends to its customers.

Step 2: Beginning Negotiation

This may seem like a daunting or scary task, but your suppliers are people too, and you both just want to make money while providing valuable goods to your customers. Once you have an existing relationship with a supplier, you can begin to reach out to them via email about starting to use bulk orders to place your orders. The challenge at this stage is often there can be a language barrier between suppliers and store owners. 

Be patient and persistent. Remember, the marketplace is big. If a supplier is unwilling to switch to bulk orders, you can always switch to a supplier that is willing. In the long term, it WILL pay off in time savings and personnel cost savings.

We remember times when our virtual assistants were staring down at pages and pages of single AliExpress orders (managed with another single order app system). After some minor negotiations, these dozens of pages turned in to one page as we were able to convert our best sellers to a bulk ordering arrangement.

There are really many ways that this can go. But, a good starting point is to get your suppliers email and reach out to them with a message like the following:

Hello there {{ supplier-name }},
We have been doing business together for a bit of time now, I am user {{ your AliExpress/Ebay/Etsy username }} and I have placed about 100 orders with you. I want to start sending you bulk orders in CSV files, then I will pay you in bulk, and you will send my tracking information. Would this work for you?

Sometimes it helps to also include a sample file with your email (if you have low volume it may be necessary to save up a few days worth of orders so that you can tempt the supplier into agreeing).

If there is a language barrier, use simple language and be persistent. You can always try with a different supplier

If you are really stuck, you can also attempt to use a translation service to mediate between yourself and the supplier.

Step 3: Agree on Prices and get SKU numbers

After you agree to start sending orders in bulk you will need to get the suppliers SKU numbers and  associate them with your products in the Shopify admin. Usually you can ask a supplier for a list of specific products by referencing their AliExpress/Ebay/Etsy listings and inquiring specifically about those products. They will usually send you details in the body of an email, or an a spreadsheet attachment.

Bulk discounts

Normally suppliers will offer you the same prices of their listing within AliExpress/Ebay/Etsy, but occasionally they will offer special bulk discounts (10%, 15%, or even buy X get Y free deals). It is up to you to negotiate to see what you can get. Don't be afraid to apply pressure about switching suppliers.

Convince an existing bulk order supplier to pick up more products

Suppliers that you have healthy existing relationships with, that you are already have engaged in the bulk ordering process with, will be open to getting additional products that you are willing to sell. Suppliers will usually only add products to their catalog that are similar in type or style (for instance if your supplier sells jewelry they are more likely to also pick up a new piece of jewelry you have found). 

Just send them reference to an Ebay or AliExpress listing, and ask them if the will pick up the product so that you can start selling it.

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