Canadian online retailers and individual sellers are eagerly pursuing the opportunities that drop shipping brings, only to hit a brick wall when it comes to finding Canadian wholesalers/manufacturers/distributors who offer drop shipping services.
There can be a lot of legwork involved with finding niche suppliers, especially if you’re looking for Canadian companies. It’s a simple, if tedious matter of tracking down wholesalers & distributors, checking their website, and emailing them to ask if they drop ship.
How to Approach Wholesalers About Drop Shipping
You’ll find individual companies that offer dropshipping to Canadian sellers. Some have active public programs, while others may consider it if you contact them directly. The Canadian Trade Index is a great place to start if you want to contact companies about drop shipping their products.
Please read the following articles to help you with your search:
We have a list of wholesale drop shippers that will work with Canadians in Wholesale Drop Shipping for Canadian Online Sellers.
For print-on-demand, read 6 Print-on-Demand (POD) Drop Shipping Suppliers for Canadian Sellers.
Will They Work With You?
Many new online sellers are surprised to learn that wholesalers can be very picky about who they work with. Wholesalers usually receive many emails from merchants and they’ll quite often ignore any that don’t seem serious or professional. The best way to receive a positive response is to be totally professional and include the information they need to make a decision.
A lot of suppliers may be willing to try drop shipping their products to your customers on your behalf, but they aren’t familiar with the practice. You can briefly explain that you would like to place orders for them to ship directly to your customer, so they’re clear on what exactly you need from them. Small brands can be goldmines for unique products with low competition, but they may need some hand-holding to get started.
When you’ve found a potential supplier, go through their website to see if they have information about wholesale and drop shipping services if they provide them. Don’t waste their time asking questions you could have answered yourself. If they don’t mention drop shipping services on their website, you’ll have to contact them to ask if it’s something they do or will consider.
Note: Most wholesalers & distributors require a business registration or tax number of some sort before they’ll agree to sell to you. They may accept your GST registration number, but find out their requirements early in the relationship. You’ll have to provide your business address and phone number as well.
Your email should be in a concise, easy-to-skim format. Keep it simple so it’s easily translated by those who speak another language.
Before you contact a supplier, know exactly what you’re looking for in regards to products and be specific. Include a link to the product if you can, along with identifying product details like a model number. Images are usually helpful. Include a brief explanation of why these products are a good fit for your store, to help convince suppliers to deal with you.
Make a list with standard questions and bring it into a spreadsheet. You can track responses and use it to make your final decision. Keep the information on hand so you’ll have backup suppliers if you lose one.
The first question, of course will be “Do you offer drop shipping services?” but there are other important questions to ask if they do. Begin by introducing yourself and ask them about drop shipping initially, then ask more questions if they agree. They could send you additional information with their reply, so read that first before asking questions. They might direct you to an application to fill out before proceeding as well.
Additional questions may be about:
- Availability of the products you’re interested in and the stability of the inventory.
- Order processing
- Prices / margins / total cost
- Shipping policies and cost.
- Their ability to work with drop shipping apps, your eCommerce platform or marketplaces for smooth ordering and fulfillment, product feeds and so on.
- Branding, such as packing slips and labels.
- Payment terms
- Return policy & warranty
- Product samples
Adjust your approach for each company you’re contacting. You’ll have a different experience with large wholesalers than you will with small brands, for example.
If you have a domain name email address for your website (firstname.lastname@example.org), use that. Emails from free accounts, such as Gmail, set off alarms and look unprofessional. You can usually start using your domain email address before your website is live. Contact your website host to find out how to set it up.
A Few More Tips
Be aware that you’ll encounter plenty of scams and fake wholesalers, especially if you find your potential suppliers by searching the internet. For example, you may see offers for dropshipper lists. Do you know how many legit, dropshipping wholesaler lists/directories I’ve seen in over twenty years of working online? ONE, which is Worldwide Brands, a truly excellent directory of verified drop shippers. You’ll also be navigating middlemen, apps and any number of other dangerous options, so stay alert and be ruthless in your due diligence.
Always accept the decision to not drop ship with grace and professionalism. Wholesale can be a brutal environment and drop shipping just isn’t always feasible. That doesn’t mean they won’t reconsider later, so don’t burn your bridges. Note their response, thank them for their time and move on.
If you continue to run into brick walls when searching for wholesalers who drop ship, consider buying in bulk and have it shipped to a third party logistics company for storage and distribution. It requires capital and you assume more risk, but if you’re sure you can move the product it can be another hands-off solution for you.
If you can’t find suppliers for a specific product in Canada, expand your search to other countries. In fact, you don’t have to ship to the Canadian market at all if you don’t want to. That’s the beauty of the virtual marketplace, a world of consumers are available to you if you choose to serve them.
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