Get Your Website BEFORE You Get Suppliers [Step-By-Step Guide]
How To Create a Website Worthy of Supplier Approvals
It is now time to learn what you have to do to increase your chances of getting approved with the Drop Shippers.In other words, you have to get suppliers to WANT to work with you. Click To Tweet
It can seem scary and difficult, but it's not. Based on my experience, all drop ship suppliers are looking for certain traits in their retailers. If you follow our “how to get approved with any drop shipper” checklist, your odds of being approved will increase exponentially. Ready? Let's dive in!
First, let's look at it from the suppliers' perspective. They want you to sell their products. After all, when you do that, you help them make money.
Drop ship suppliers want to approve retailers who:
- Already have a quality website already in place
- Can clearly define how they will generate sales
- Can explain why their company offers exceptional customer service
Before you pick up the phone to call a supplier, before you send an e-mail out asking how to get approved for an account, before you even think of contacting anyone in your chosen niche- you should follow these steps.
Create a website for the Drop Shipper to review:
This is extremely important. You can not e-mail or call a supplier and say you are thinking of starting a website selling “paddle boards” and ask them if you can sell their products on it.
Suppliers need to protect their brand and they want retailers who offer a “store” that meets or exceeds their expectations. The better the store, the better your chances of getting accepted.
A lot of people will get stuck here and complain that they do not want to waste their time creating an online store before they know if they have suppliers to work with. I know it can be frustrating but it is something that you must do. Without the website, you’re not going to get approved for accounts, it’s that simple. Think of the time you spend creating the website as an investment in your future business. If you follow my guide, it won't take you long.
DO THIS NOW: If you are ready to start reaching out to suppliers but do not have a new eCommerce store already set up, follow my Building a Highly Converting Shopify Store for FREE tutorial. It should only take you one or two hours to complete (even with no experience) and it will drastically increase you chances of being approved for an account.
Build a Shopify Store for Free:
Shopify is an eCommerce CMS (content management system) that includes an easy to use online store builder, eCommerce hosting, a secure shopping cart, hundreds of Apps and a fully customizable design.
As you may or may not know, I have been making money online via eCommerce since 2006. I've sold some of my online businesses for six figures. When I first decided to open an eCommerce store, I began by researching solutions and found dozens that seemed to offer the services that I needed.
In 2006, things were a bit different. Back then I had selected to open a Yahoo Store (the Yahoo Small Business CMS) and I saw great success with them.
Over the years, I have tried and tested different CMSs while always trying to find a better pricing deal and more ease of use. Until about two years ago, I always ended up going back to Yahoo… then one day a fellow internet marketer introduced me to Shopify and everything changed.
Within a few months, I had transferred all of my online stores to the Shopify CMS and I started to open all of my new stores on their platform.
The main reasons I prefer Shopify is because they charge a low “per transaction” fee, they have an “App Store” that you can log into from your account where you can add all kinds of great features to your store with the click of button, they have a free iPhone app that you can run your business from, and most importantly you can build an online store that looks professional and that CONVERTS VISITORS INTO BUYERS without paying thousands of dollars to a web designer.
DISCLAIMER: Before you follow this guide and modify a free Shopify template, it is important to note that although you do not need programming experience you do need a basic understanding of web design.
If you are uncomfortable designing your own store by following this tutorial or if you just don’t feel like doing it yourself, feel free to contact me and I or my team will help you out.
Follow These Steps to Create Your Own Shopify Store
Step 1: Click here to sign up for Shopify (they offer a 14-day free trial & no Credit Card info is required.)
Step 2: Select your FREE Shopify Theme
- Click “Themes” in the top right corner, then click “Visit The Theme Store”
- Click “Free Themes” then review all of your options and choose the theme that you feel best fits your niche
- Select “Install and publish as my shop’s main theme”
- Go to “https://YOURCHOOSENSTORENAME.myshopify.com”
Step 3: Modify your themes color, logos, and image sliders to match your niche
In your store Admin Panel click “Themes” then go to “Theme Settings”. This is where you will control all visible variables for your store. Spend time in this section. Change colors, text, images, and links until you find a perfect combination that you feel “fits” with the product niche you have selected.
Step 4: Add categories, a navigation, and products to your store
I am not going to go into detail on how to do this because Shopify has an AMAZING wiki with all of that information here:
Step 5: Add Content to your Shopify Store
Here are some sample page templates that you can use (you should modify them for your own store):
About Us Page Template
It is very important that your eCommerce store has an About Us page. Customers will almost always look for one before making their purchase decision. Here is the About Us page we use on our eCommerce Stores. Feel free to modify it to fit your needs:
Copy and Paste this onto your “About Us” Page:
[OurWebSite] is an online retailer providing competitive prices on [our niche products]. We aim to provide a memorable experience when you shop on our online store, offering quality products with a top-rated customer service.
We are based in [location], with offices nationwide. We distribute worldwide via FedEx, UPS & First Class Priority Mail.
We have been operating for over [time frame] and have managed to build up a reputable establishment online. We have a great team offering our customers the best [our niche products] available.
If you have any questions about our products or would like to check the availability of an item, please use the support tab to get in touch.
Shipping and Returns Page Template
It is important to have clearly defined Shipping and Returns policies on your eCommerce store. Customers always have the same questions before checking out and this page will serve as an FAQ page to save you a lot of time answering the same inquires over and over.
Below are the terms we use to protect ourselves. They work very well on all of our eCommerce websites. Review them for yourself and feel free to copy and paste them onto your eCommerce store.
Copy and Paste this onto your “Shipping and Returns” Page:
As soon as you place your order you will receive an order confirmation e-mail. This means that we have received your order in our system and pre-authorized your credit card for the purchase.
As soon as we receive your order we automatically reach out to our suppliers to confirm that it is in stock and available for immediate shipment.
If your item is on backorder or unavailable we will void the pre-authorization and reach out to you via e-mail. If your item(s) are available for immediate shipment (within 5 business days) we will process the charges and submit the order for shipment.
If your order is stock and we process the charges to your credit card it will ship within five business days from the date of your order.
We will send you tracking information within 24 hours of your order leaving the warehouse to the e-mail address your provide when checking out.
If you do not receive tracking information from us within six business days of your order feel free to follow up with us at [email protected]
Please inspect the packaging of your item(s) when they arrive, if you notice any damage you should make note of it when signing for delivery. If you item(s) do arrived damaged please send photos to [email protected] and we will process an insurance claim on your behalf.
Cancellations & Refunds:
All orders canceled after 48 hours are subject to a $20 administration fee whether or not your order has shipped. If you order has shipped, you (the buyer) will also be responsible for actual return shipping charges. Refunds will only be issued to the original credit card that you use when placing your order.
Price Guarantee Template
Once an online shopper decides which item they would like to purchase, they will often go to at least three different websites before making a purchase. This is because they are trying to find the BEST PRICE. It only takes them a few minutes to visit many different websites and comparison shop but in reality all drop ship suppliers enforce a MAP Policy or Minimum Advertised Price Policy (a policy stating that all of their retailers sell items at the same exact prices).
The online shopper obviously does not know this, so they go from online store to online store trying to find a good deal and eventually check out at whichever online store they feel most comfortable (or the one they land on when they give up on finding a better deal).
Once you have the online shopper on YOUR website it is your job to STOP THEM FROM LEAVING. Whether you are the first site they land on or the tenth, it is your job to get them to go from comparison shopper to customer. One way we can do this is by offering them a “Price Guarantee”.
We will tell our potential customers that if they find a better price online within six months of making a purchase from our online store, we will refund them the difference.
Why this works:
- The customer feels secure and comfortable making the purchase RIGHT AWAY. They trust that you stand behind your pricing and they feel confident that they are getting the best deal.
- The customer does not need to spend the rest of their day researching where to buy from. They can place their order and look for better prices within the next six months. This allows them to do what they went online to do, place an order.
- If you followed this blog and read previous articles, then all of your suppliers enforce a MAP policy (Minimum Advertised Price policy), this means NO ONE is allowed to sell the same products online for less than you. Everyone must sell the products at the same price. So, you are truly offering your customers the best price available.
What if another retailer violates the manufacturer MAP policy?
- Your “Price Guarantee” Policy will protect you.
Copy and Paste this onto your “Price Guarantee” Page:
Price Guarantee Policy:
We work very hard to ensure that we offer the absolute best prices online. If you find another online store that offers a lower price then us within six months of your purchase date please let us know and we will refund your original payment for the difference. We want you to feel confident that you are getting the absolute best price for the product you are ordering. If you find that our own website has a lower price for the same item you have ordered within six months of your purchase date will refund the difference as well.
To request your partial refund simply e-mail us a link to the same product on our website, or on our competitors website within six months from the date of your order and we will process the credit accordingly.
Our 100% Price Guarantee has some limitations:
- You must purchase the item from our website before requesting your Price Match Guarantee
- Promotions such as rebates and buy one, get one free offers are not eligible
- The item must be in stock on the competitors website
- The competitor must be an online store, they may not have a retail location
- The website can not be a discounter or auction website (ie; eBay, overstock, etc..)
- The competitor must be an Authorized Retailer for the product in question
- The Price Match Guarantee includes the item price and the shipping charges, it excludes sales tax
Having this on your website makes you look very professional to suppliers as well as customers. It took me a few years to realize that this is what suppliers wanted to see! Next, let's look at more ways to make sure you get approved my these suppliers.
Explain to the Supplier Why Your Website Will Bring Them Sales
Dropship Suppliers have to dedicate company time for every new account they approve. They have to assign you a sales rep, send you all the necessary paperwork, and answer all of your questions once you have an account.
They are not willing to do this for everyone who contacts them asking for an account. They are willing to do it for retailers who contact them and CONVINCE them they will bring in orders. To do this you will need some basic knowledge of eCommerce Marketing.
Read through the eCommerce Marketing section of this website and educate yourself before reaching out to the suppliers on your list. You will need to explain to them which marketing channels you will use to bring in sales.
If you already have a basic understanding of eCommerce, then great. You will need to explain to them which marketing channels you will use to bring in sales. Here's how:
Tell the Supplier Why Your Customer Service Is Exceptional
Another reason drop ship suppliers do not just approve accounts for everyone that applies is because when it comes down to it, they accept all of the liability if you do not perform your job.
Picture this scenario; you open an eCommerce store and get approved for an account with Supplier ABC, you follow our marketing plan and before you know it you have sales flowing in. You sell twenty items for Supplier ABC in the first week but you decide you are not going to send the customers anything. You are going to pocket all of the money and shut your website down. Now twenty customers are out of their hard earned money and you are nowhere to be found.
Guess who the customers are going to start calling and posting negative reviews about? You got it, Supplier ABC. This is why A LOT of trust goes into getting approved for accounts.
If you want to want to succeed in the business, you need to offer exceptional customer service and be able to convince suppliers that you are not some “fly by night” company. As Harvey S. Firestone said, you need to built trust.
Getting Approved for Drop Ship Accounts Checklist:
- Did you build your eCommerce Store?
- Have you studied up on the eCommerce marketing techniques you will be using?
- Do you feel confident explaining why your company offers exceptional customer service?
If you answered yes to all the above questions, you are now ready to start contacting drop ship suppliers.