Where do you source your products?

Herts, England - Not specified -
Kudos: 12,651
Joined: Jan 1, 2001
Where do you source your products?
18 Jul 2015
I'm not expecting you to share the details of where you get your inventory just the kind of sources you use.

For example, do you source from:

  • Stock liquidation - like overstocks or returns
  • Traditional wholesalers or distributors
  • Manufacturers abroad
  • Local manufacturers
  • Offline or online retail (arbitrage/flipping)
  • In-house manufacturing
  • Dropshippers

  • And what's missing from that list?
    Andy Geldman, Web Retailer
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    Max Meadows, VA United States
    Jax Music Supply
    Kudos: 2,513
    Joined: May 25, 2009
    Re: Where do you source your products?
    18 Jul 2015
    @Andy I source my products from distributors and manufacturers in my niche. This method is not as inherently profitable as closeouts, retail arbitrage, salvage, etc. It relies much more on operational efficiency, inventory management, product selection, and pricing skill. A big advantage is that you do not have to list new items all the time as you just reorder your inventory. I know retailers who hire people to do nothing but list their items and they spend all their time sourcing.
    San Francisco, Phoenix, LA United States
    Kudos: 76
    Joined: Apr 15, 2015
    Re: Where do you source your products?
    18 Jul 2015
    @Andy several of the sources on list but I look at Amazon product ratings, media releases and my competitors
    London United Kingdom
    Matt Thorpe
    Kudos: 204
    Joined: Oct 15, 2014
    Re: Where do you source your products?
    18 Jul 2015
    @Andy, aside from offering internet marketing consultancy, I sell my own brand of laptop bags and I source directly from the manufacturer. It took me a while to find a reliable partner who maintained excellent quality control but I have that in place now.

    Other retailers who I work with tend to buy products from distributors because they can sometimes offer drop-shipping facilities so the retailer never touches the product.
    Seattle, Washington United States
    Cascadia Seller Solutions
    Kudos: 60
    Joined: Jun 23, 2015
    Re: Where do you source your products?
    24 Jul 2015
    @Andy - from a compliance perspective, items sourced through liquidation and online sales can have the most potential for defective or counterfeit merchandise, and are the most risky domestic sourcing method. Traditional wholesalers and reputable distributors are usually the safest, as well as local manufacturers. Manufacturers abroad are the most risky because as the importer, you're on the hook for all legal and regulatory compliance issues - and failure there can result in goods seized at the port, or account suspension by Amazon (say if you private label an item under patent and the patent holder complains to Amazon), or regulator inquiry. So, the potential for profit is greater on the sourcing methods with the greatest risk. Not unlike one might reasonably expect.
    Rachel Greer
    Founder/Principal Consultant
    Cascadia Seller Solutions - 206-202-4012
    India India
    Kudos: 26
    Joined: Jul 28, 2015
    Re: Where do you source your products?
    28 Jul 2015
    @Andy - As an E-Commerce service provider, I can only talk from the experience of our clients, and what I've seen them do.

    Sellers Commerce, the platform they use, enables them to enter into drop shipping contracts without having to go through all the trouble of contacting each supplier individually and negotiating prices. Brand Syndication by Sellers Commerce allows the retailers to simply subscribe to the Supplier Catalogs from the cloud and pull in all the product data to their online store to sell. When an order is made by a customer, it is instantly sent to the supplier who will fulfil the order.

    From experience, I can say that Drop Shipping is only suitable for those who are just starting their businesses, and this can be seen in our retailers. As you scale your business, you need to keep a very tight track of your inventory in order to fulfil the increasing orders. This is especially important when you have a strong focus on customer service, and do not want to disappoint them with out-of-stock messages.

    When our retailers reach this stage, they go on to procure their products through the suppliers directly, with whom they have already built a good relationship through the sales that they were enabling. This allows them more room for margins, while also having a better inventory control. This also enables them to still use the product data from the same suppliers from the cloud, instead of hiring resources just for updating such data.

    Although, one observation I made is that due to the expanded scale of operations, there are still some times when the retailers opt for drop shipping during this time, when they are eyeing a faster delivery, though that's done strategically and not too often.

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