Is product sourcing for your home micro business a constant bother as it is for many others? There is no doubt that product sourcing is vital for any home business, and both you and the suppliers with whom you deal must give it proper respect. Part of the problem is not understanding the scope of the field. Many people, for example, think of product sourcing only in terms of wholesale suppliers and drop shipping. Moreover, many think of selling only on eBay without realizing that as big as eBay is, it is only one option out of many that exist within the ecommerce market.
Your product sourcing needs will be determined by your business. That may be obvious, but many people miss that point. The product you sell follows from your business plan, and your product, to some degree, will determine the logistics of supply. For example, if you selling mass market auto parts, then you will probably be relying on a conventional wholesale supplier who may or may not provide drop shipping for you. In that sense, your sourcing problem is handled, and if the supplier dropships, your means of delivery is handled as well. However, if you are selling items produced by local artisans, then the logistics of supply and deliver will be a bit different. There really isnt a one-size-fits-all solution to product sourcing.
When we are dealing with online, retail ecommerce in the context of small home business, then product sourcing becomes even more important. That is, there is much less tolerance for error should there be supplier mistakes in inventory and delivery. The fact is, product sourcing involves more than just the relative cheapness of the product. Price is important, but if you only think in terms of price, you may suffer later on. Long term success will depend also on quality of goods, having inventory on hand to sell, and delivering your products in a timely manner.
When you engage in business, you are extending a promise of customer service to your potential buyers. When you advertise, you are essentially saying that you will provide your customer with a certain kind of experience, and when you exchange product for payment, you have made a kind of contract with the buyer. Part of that contract includes good customer service. You can have the best of intentions of keeping your promise, but if the products you sell are inferior, or if your supplier cannot get the items to either you or your buyers, then you will not be trusted, word will get around, and people wont buy from you.
Most beginners run up against two basic problems. First, how to find products and figure out what products to sell. Second, how to find suppliers. These problems may seem insurmountable, but in reality they are not hard to solve. If you are at this stage, the first step to take is to make a business plan. It isnt necessary to write a book, though some plans may turn into books. What you want to do try to answer some basic questions, such as, who are your customers? What niche are you trying to satisfy? and, What business model do you want to use? When you begin to answer these kinds of questions, the how and where of sourcing products will start to fall into place.
Once you have got an outline of a business plan under your belt, you will know what it is you want to sell, and you can start getting your products. Your first inclination may be to do an Internet search. While this can give you some good leads, there are a great many middlemen suppliers that are sometimes difficult to distinguish from real wholesalers. Try the Internet but do not stop there. The fact is, many legitimate wholesalers simply do not worry about search engine visibility because they do not rely on the Internet for business. One of the most reliable ways I know to find product suppliers is to contact the manufacturer of the item you want to sell, talk to a sales rep, and ask who their authorized distributors are. That works every time if you are professional and honest in how you approach the company.
Another solution available online are wholesale drop ship memberships. Salehoo, World Wide Brands, and Aid and Trade are three well-known examples, though you will find many others if you look. Such memberships claim to offer contact information to thousands of suppliers across many different product categories and often provide a means to network with other people engaged in ecommerce. Wholesale memberships can be helpful if they fit your business model. It is important to do your due diligence and remember that they are just one resource at your disposal. Keep in mind that successful product sourcing begins with your business plan.