Last Updated on July 29, 2023 by Ewen Finser
If you are trying to understand how the ecommerce supplier ecosystem works and where to start, you are in the right place!
In this guide I’ll go over the distinctions between the different types of suppliers and recommend some top options to start with, based your needs.
As I continue to build out our supplier resources, this page will also serve as a reference point, linking out to specific guides on various ecommerce supplier strategies and networks.
Let’s get started with some common supplier options by sales platform…
This is probably first place to start as this is often the first stop for a new ecommerce store.
Dropshipping allows you to get the benefits of an ecommerce storefront, without the hassle of holding inventory. There’s often LOWER margin in dropshipping (although profitable pockets exist) and the trade off is that it’s MUCH easier to get started with minimal capital investment.
Suppliers for Amazon Dropshipping
If you are specifically looking for Amazon dropshippers, these are the top vendors I’d recommend starting with:
- Salehoo: Salehoo is a beginner friendly Amazon supplier, with both wholesale contacts and direct dropship integrations & tools. A perfect place to start, although margins might be a bit tighter.
- WorldWideBrands: A massive database of some of the most reputable wholesalers and dropshippers. Don’t let the archaic interface fool you here. They also charge a lifetime access (one-time) fee, so you won’t get hit with recurring charges.
- Doba: Doba is an intermediary, so you won’t always get the same margins BUT you also don’t have to sift through all the junk to find the good suppliers. Worth it even just a research tool to find legit suppliers you can later source directly from.
- Inventory Source: Inventory Source is an excellent scalable software system for managing large dropshipping operations. Everything is seamlessly integrated with Amazon, meaning you can get started with a LOT of ASINs quickly. Just be careful how you enable the pricing settings as it could lead to a flood of orders at negative margin.
- Wholesale2B: More of a wholesale solution, they also offer dropshipping datafeeds for easy Amazon integration. Worth checking out.
- Alibaba: The “Amazon of suppliers”, Alibaba is one of the largest and most complicated mazes to navigate, but there are so many diamonds in the rough. If you can’t find it anywhere else, there’s someone on Alibaba who sells it, can make it, or can modify it for your brand.
Suppliers for Shopify Dropshipping
If you are looking to launch first on Shopify, here’s how I’d focus your search for well-integrated Shopify dropshipping apps (specifically for the Shopify app ecosystem):
- Oberlo: This is one of the most popular Shopify dropshipping apps. It allows you to easily import products from suppliers directly into your Shopify store and ship directly to your customers.
- Spocket: Spocket is a highly rated app that offers dropshippers a wide selection of US and European based products.
- DSers: DSers is an efficient and easy-to-use order processing solution for dropshippers. It allows you to place multiple orders to AliExpress in just a few clicks.
- Zendrop: Zendrop is a full-service dropshipping solution offering faster shipping times and a wide range of products from numerous suppliers.
- CJDropshipping: This platform provides a place where you can find products, have them stocked, and shipped directly to your customers. They also offer a product customization service.
- Trendsi: Trendsi is a Shopify App that offers access to hot selling, trendy women’s clothing and automatically fulfills orders.
- Printful: This on-demand order fulfillment and warehousing service offers custom print products like t-shirts, posters, and more.
- Modalyst: Modalyst allows you to dropship from a wide range of high-quality products. They offer fast shipping for a wide range of products.
- Dropified: Dropified is a great tool for automating your dropshipping business. Think of it as a highly usable platform layer built on top of AliExpress. Also great for eBay (see below).
- Doba: As mentioned before, Doba offers access to millions of products from hundreds of suppliers in one catalog.
- Aliexpress Dropshipping: This is a Shopify dropshipping app that allows users to find and sell Alibaba products on your Shopify store.
Suppliers for eBay Dropshipping
Similarly, if you’d like to integrate closely with eBay, these are some of the first options I look at for dropshipping inventory:
- Doba: Doba provides you with products for your eBay store and also takes care of the shipping. They offer a variety of product choices through multiple suppliers.
- Wholesale2B: Wholesale2B has a vast list of different products from a wide array of categories. They also provide tools for eBay integration.
- SaleHoo: SaleHoo offers a supplier directory with over 8,000 companies and 1.6 million products. They also provide market research for most profitable products to sell.
- Inventory Source: This supplier offers automated product uploading to your eBay store, along with automated order processing.
- Megagoods: Megagoods is a distributor of consumer electronic products, perfect if you’re looking to sell electronics on eBay.
- Sunrise Wholesale: This supplier offers branded products and a seamless eBay integration.
- National Dropshippers: With a vast catalog of products in various categories, National Dropshippers is a comprehensive platform for your eBay dropshipping needs.
Best Print on Demand Suppliers
Print on Demand (POD) is a fast growing and popular way to get started online. If you have some amazing designs or access to creatives who do, print on demand companies provide all of the production & fulfillment for you.
You pay a bit more than if you screen printed and carried your own inventory, but a winning design means that these unit economics can be fairly insignificant. Most people who have an eye for design & marketing, probably don’t also have the aptitude to figure out complex supply chain logistics.
So where should you get started with Print on Demand services?
- Printful: This platform offers a wide range of products to print on, from clothing to home goods. It integrates seamlessly with most ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and more. Printful operates on a per-order pricing model, meaning you only pay when a customer places an order. Their user interface is easy to navigate, and they have a reliable customer service team that offers 24/7 support.
- Printify: Printify also offers a large product catalog with various ecommerce integration options. It’s free to use on a per-order basis, but they also offer a premium subscription at $29/month for lower product costs. The interface is user-friendly and customer support is available via email or live chat.
- Gooten: Known for its wide variety of unique products, Gooten offers a free platform with competitive product pricing. It integrates with Shopify and Etsy, and its user interface is straightforward. Customer support is reachable via email.
- SPOD: SPOD is a print-on-demand service by Spreadshirt. It offers a product creation time of just 48 hours and integrates with Shopify. The platform is free to use, and the user interface is simple and intuitive. They provide customer support via email and phone.
- Zazzle: This platform is unique because it offers both a marketplace and a print-on-demand service. Zazzle has a free-to-use model and offers a wide variety of products. Its user interface may take some time to get used to due to the many features it offers. The customer support is comprehensive, with phone, email, and live chat options.
- Teespring: Teespring is more than just a print-on-demand platform; it’s also a marketplace where you can sell your designs. It’s free to use, and pricing is based on the products you choose to print on. The user interface is easy to use, and customer support is available via email.
- RedBubble: Another marketplace and print-on-demand platform, RedBubble offers artists a chance to sell their designs on a variety of products. It’s free to use, with artist margins decided by the artist. The platform is user-friendly, and customer support is available via email.
- Teelaunch: Known for its robust product offering, Teelaunch is a free to use platform that integrates seamlessly with Shopify. It offers a user-friendly interface along with email support.
- Sellfy: Sellfy is a versatile platform that allows you to sell both digital and physical products, including Print-On-Demand. It has a monthly subscription model starting at $19/month, and offers a straightforward user interface along with email and forum support.
- Society6: Society6 is a community of artists selling their work on a range of products. It’s free to use, with artists determining their own margins. Its interface is intuitive, and customer support is available via email.
- Spreadshirt: With Spreadshirt, you can create and sell custom clothing, accessories, and more. It’s free to use, and the pricing is determined by the product and design. The platform is user-friendly and offers email and phone support.
- Gelato: Gelato offers global print-on-demand services, making it ideal for businesses with a worldwide customer base. It operates on a per-order pricing model and integrates with various ecommerce platforms. The interface is easy to navigate, and they offer support via email and phone.
Best Clothing Suppliers & Wholesalers
Outside of the the dropshipping platforms, clothing is one of the top categories for online merchants. This is because clothing is easy to ship, generally has a fixed cost (think t-shirts), and can be almost infinitely customizable with unique designs.
But where to start? Here are some of the most reputable clothing suppliers and wholesalers on the market currently:
- Trendsi: Trendsi is a great platform for finding stylish, on-trend clothing at wholesale prices. Note, they ALSO support dropshipping and integrate with Shopify natively.
- Alibaba: You can find a wide range of clothing manufacturers and wholesalers from around the world on Alibaba.
- Global Sources: This platform provides access to a large number of clothing suppliers and manufacturers, especially from Asian countries.
- Wholesale Central: Here, you can find a comprehensive list of US-based clothing wholesalers.
- SaleHoo: This online wholesale directory can connect me to over 8,000 clothing suppliers.
- Doba: This dropshipping supplier has a large selection of clothing items you can sell online.
- FashionGo: This is a B2B marketplace for fashion where I can connect with many clothing suppliers.
- eWorldTrade: It is a global B2B marketplace where I can liaise with clothing manufacturers and wholesalers.
- National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW): You can find a directory of wholesalers from various industries, including clothing.
- Trade Shows: By attending trade shows, You can meet with potential suppliers and see their products in person.
- Local Manufactures: Depending on where you are located, you can also contact local clothing manufacturers for supply.
Best Hand Made Product Suppliers
Hand made products are a hot trending category and often feature excellent margins due to the diverse product types and multitude of cottage crafters and makers.
These are some of the top aggregators for these products:
- Etsy Wholesale: A popular platform for unique and handmade items. It’s a great place to discover artisans who can supply handmade products for your online store.
- Handshake: A Shopify-owned marketplace that connects online retailers with unique, US-based suppliers who offer handmade and boutique products.
- IndieMe: Formerly known as Wholesalecrafts, IndieMe is a leading marketplace for handmade products from artists and artisans across the globe.
- Global Crafts: This is a fair-trade wholesaler offering handmade items from artisans in developing countries.
- Made Trade: A curated online shop with ethically-sourced, handmade products from around the world.
- Faire: An online wholesale marketplace where retailers can discover and buy unique products from makers all over the world.
- Tundra: Tundra offers a wide range of products including handmade items from various suppliers across the globe with free shipping.
- Aftcra: An online marketplace where you can source handmade products made in the USA.
- Maker’s Row: An online directory of American manufacturers, including many who produce handmade items.
- Artfire: A marketplace for artisans and crafters, offering a wide variety of handmade products.
Final Note on Suppliers
This reference page is a work in progress! Be sure to bookmark and check back as we uncover more suppliers, categories and angles to source top quality products for your store.