Use Your Future Competitor’s Websites To Find Suppliers

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John Murphy
May 9, 2022

So you identified a niche from the research.  It’s time to check on your future competitors and use what you learn to find your future suppliers.

After the niche selection you have the niche and a list of the dropship stores selling those same products.  These are now your competitors.  What you need to do next is go through each website and make a list (I know, another list!) of all the brands these stores are selling for.  Your competitors will likely have a category or filter so shoppers can shop by ‘Brand’.  If they do, great.  Just list all those brands.  

If they don’t list the brands they sell it may take a little more browsing around on their catalog to identify the brands.  List all the brands from all the competitor websites.  You will find the same brands listed on many of those stores but some stores will have more so list them all.

When you have the full list of brands you move on to the next phase. Getting the phone numbers and emails for all these suppliers.

These brands will have some presence online so it’s usually not difficult.  They could also sell their products on their own store or at least have a website to show off the products.  

If you don’t find their website, just search on google for the brand name and search online directories for business listings.  Brands want to be found so you should not have too much trouble finding contact details for them.  They may even have social media pages so look their too.  A Facebook business page will have a link to their site and likely also a phone number.

Once you have all the contact details you can find, you should get your store looking presentable.  

The reason you build out the store, even to a modest way, is because when you contact a customer and you’d love to become a dealer and sell their products online, they will want to see your website.  So get something ready to show.  These brands/suppliers get calls all the time and if you just tell them that you are full of intentions but have nothing to show they’ll just brush you off.  

There are dozens of very good courses and youtube videos about starting a Shopify store and a video is better than me explaining it over words.  So I recommend you look for a good tutorial.

When adding products and collections to your store before contacting suppliers there are a few didn’t trains of thought.  
You can load some products from Brand A, then call Brand A and tell them you’re building the store now and you wanted to show them what their products would look like on your site.  

I took a different approach.  I didn’t want to tell suppliers I was just starting, I wanted to appear like an established business.  I followed this process:
Let’s say there are 3 brands I want to work with.  I list all 3 collections and products from Brands A,B & C.

In Shopify you can ‘unpublish’ a collection temporary by just unflagging a box.  Very simple to do.

I would unpublish Brand A and call Brand A.  I would say I’m already selling Brands B & C and would like to add their products.

Then I would publish Brand A, unpublish Brand B and call Brand B and have the same conversation.  

Then publishing Brands A & B and calling Brand C.  I did this until I had enough approved suppliers that I didn’t need to pretend.  Most of the time honesty is the best policy, but if you’re not that confident you can try appearing more established than you are for the first few suppliers.

When calling suppliers I recommend calling those that are listed on all the other competitor stores.  Reason being they likely agree to work with everyone, and getting a few Yes responses starting out is good for moral.  Those that are only on a select few competitor sites could be harder to convince so best to get practice with those first calls.

Once you have got a bunch of suppliers to agree to work with you, you’ve uploaded the products to your store, you’re ready to get traffic.