Today's issue is the second part of the series about drop-shipping on
the Internet. I've received a lot of great feedback so far on
yesterday's issue and I hope that you like this second part too.
Anyway, one of our editors here is writing NetworkNewz and wanted
to put a blurb in about his excellent newsletter in this issue. So,
here it is:
I hope that you enjoy it.
Ok, back to the search engines. I cleverly dodged all the people who
wanted to sell me a "complete turnkey web site package with products
ready to sell". I wanted to put my kids through college, not theirs.
I finally located someone who claimed that he was the owner of an
import company that drop shipped hundreds of great products. I paid
fifty bucks for a "membership", and got a no-name catalog in return,
with a "wholesale" price list. "Great!", I thought, "here we go!" I
searched, and found, many of his products for sale on the 'Net on
other sites. The products were identical, but guess what? Their
RETAIL prices were the same as my "WHOLESALE" prices. In other
words, I had ZERO profit margin. The guy I signed up with was just
another reseller like me, and he was now fifty dollars richer. I was
Finally! (sort of)
With a grim sort of last-ditch determination, I dug, and I dug,
until I found the source of this no-name catalog I had paid fifty
bucks for. It was a manufacturer and importer in Texas, and they
were actually the source of the products! To make a long story
slightly longer, my partner Gary and I set up an account with
these people and began selling their products. A little later,
we found another company ("3,500 products you can sell on your own
web site".sound familiar?) and spent weeks sifting through more
resellers who were posing as sources until we found that manufacturer
outside of LA.
We sold products from these two companies for about 6 months, and
actually did about $12,000 in sales, but we weren't happy. The
products were imported knock-offs. We wanted the shiny new name
brands that look so cool on your web site, and that everyone wants
to buy. After dealing with about the umpteenth customer who wanted
to return his patched leather made-in-Kuala-Lumpur backpack because
he wasn't happy with the quality, we had had enough. It was Name
Brand or bust.
750 Name Brand Products
After another exhaustive search of the 'Net, I found a company in
Arizona who offered 750 name brand products that they would drop
ship. Of course, there was a catch.you had to use their web hosting.
After much wrangling, they agreed to let us mirror our current site
to their server, and sell their products in both places. The stuff
was great! Everything from Panasonic to Shop-Vac! They sent us the
catalog, and we spent two week working on the site, replacing most
of the knock-off stuff with the Holy Grail of Name Brand Products.
Then they sent us the price list.
They had done it to me again. The "wholesale" prices we were supposed
to purchase this stuff at was in most cases HIGHER than other sites
were SELLING it for! Needless to say, my partner had by this time
decided I was pretty much an idiot, and I was royally peeved.
Right from the Horse's Mouth
When I was a kid, and my mother was angry with someone, she would go
right to the top. I remember her bulling her way through to the
President of a national bank when she was furious about having to
wait 6 days to cash a large check. He experienced The Wrath of Mom,
and she walked out of the bank with thirty thousand in cash that same
day. I decided to try it. Nothing left to lose, right?
I went to the Westclox web site, since that was one of the lines we
were supposed to sell through that company in Arizona. Turns out
Westclox is owned by General Time, Inc. in Atlanta, GA. So is Seth
Thomas Clocks. I found the number for General Time, and asked for the
Sales department. I explained my situation, and asked if they could
refer me to anyone who could drop ship their products for me. "Oh,
no problem," said Jason, the salesman, "we drop ship single units for
you right from the factory."
It took me a full ninety seconds to crank my jaw back up off the
After about ten minutes on the phone, I was well on my way to
establishing an account directly with General Time. Talk about
wholesale prices on Name Brand products! This was the real thing!
They sent me catalogs, price lists and all the info I needed to get
started right away. For FREE!
The Rest is History
So there it is, folks. That's all you have to do. CALL THE
MANUFACTURER. As of today, we have accounts with so many name brand
manufacturers and distributors that we can't get products on our site
fast enough to keep up. We sell everything from Coleman Camping
products to Panasonic TVs. Some of the brands we're not even bothering
Look up the manufacturer's web site. The phone numbers can be hard to
find. They hide them, or don't post them at all. With one company, it
was hidden so well that I just called their Product Support number
and said, "Whoops, I must have the wrong extension. Can you transfer
me to Sales, please?"
Most of them won't drop ship directly from the factory. If they tell
you they can't, TALK to them. Ask for a short list of their largest
distributors, then call THEM. If THEY can't help you, ask them who
CAN. So far I've gotten every single brand name I've gone after, with
the exception of a good source for Sony, and I will crack them,
sooner or later.
You'll find that some companies are owned by others. START AT THE
TOP. It's ok if you get trickled down to a subsidiary. At least you
know that everybody else is buying there, too. If you have to deal
through a distributor, make sure they ARE a distributor, NOT a broker.
(Brokers charge higher prices, and rarely have a lot of stock).
Well, that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it! You CAN get name
brand product drop shipped for your site. You just have to know
who to talk to.
Shelley Lowery is the Webmistress of Web-Source.net.
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