How to Find the Best Dropshipping Agent (2024)
A dropshipping agent can be an invaluble asset to your business.
For example, did you know that a whopping 99% of all retailers lose revenue due to unsold stock? As the ecommerce era heats up, it’s no surprise that manufacturers are making more than ever to meet demands. The question is, what do you do if you have too many products left over?
2024 promises to be the year of evolved ecommerce. As we welcome augmented engagement, social selling and a new AI advantage, there are new pressures on online businesses to deliver speedy turnarounds and a seamless brand experience.
However, as consumer engagement fluctuates around seasonal spending, the stocking process has become a concern on the mind of every small business retailer.
Enter dropshipping. With approximately 23% of all sales online now fulfilled through dropshipping, it could be time to find the right dropshipping agent to ship your orders directly to the door.
With this in mind, let’s have a closer look at how to find best dropshipping agents, and how they can help you grow your eCommerce business to new heights.
What is Dropshipping?
Defined by experts at Shopify, “dropshipping is a way of selling products online without needing to keep them in stock.
When an order is received, the seller sends it to another company that ships the product straight to the customer. The seller is a middleman between the customer and the company with the product.”
The dropshipping process essentially links your customer-facing store and a supplier. This can either be done manually or by using a dropshipping agent.
Not only does a dropshipping agent take the pressure off the stocking process, but the process as a whole allows your business to be more flexible during revenue highs and revenue lows.
Put simply, if you see a sharp decline in sales and your money happens to be tied up in excess stock, you’ll quickly go under as an online brand.
Made.com is just one example of an overstocked brand falling into administration. With too many items within their inventory, the furniture business turned to widespread discounting, which reduced profit and prevented the business from staying afloat.
“Made.com’s crash was a wake-up call to everyone in retail about the dangers of excess stock,” added Sara Arthrell, Inventory Planner and CMO. “Discounting cripples margins and is not sustainable over the long-term with the cost-of-living headwinds all retailers are facing,” stressed Arthrell.
Integrating dropshipping into your retail strategy aims to eradicate this worry for business owners, as suppliers only create products to demand, leaving you with no leftover stock.
What is a Dropshipping agent?
A dropshipping agent is a middleman in e-commerce, simplifying the process for online retailers. They act as intermediaries between you (the retailer) and suppliers/manufacturers.
Instead of managing product sourcing and fulfilment, the agent handles these tasks for you. You don't need to stock products; the agent sources items directly from suppliers when an order is placed.
Shipping logistics are taken care of by the agent, ensuring products reach customers seamlessly. Dropshiping agents can help you deliver a better customer experience, and many of the best dropshipping stores use them.
Dropshipping agents, open up your business to thousands of different suppliers, meaning that your online business has more flexibility when it comes to retailing products.
Here are some of the tasks dropshipping agents can aid:
- Sourcing suppliers: Dropshipping agents can source a supplier from a wide range of options, including price, location and availability, making it easier to be flexible with your product listing.
- Quality checks: Dropshipping agents not only ship your products, but they perform quality checks before posting company goods to ensure consumer satisfaction for the brand.
- Optimized tracking: Some dropshipping agents, such as AliExpress, also have their own apps that contain real-time tracking details and a number of aftersale services.
- Product research: The best dropshipping agents know how to find winning products and predict what will sell well. They can advise on trends before they’re flooded with competition.
- Automated aftercare: Dropshipping agents are also known for enhancing your consumer aftercare. As we see a rise in the use of AI in ecommerce, a number of dropshipping apps now use AI to create customized lists of trending products which aims to keep your pages conversions climbing post-sale.
“Dropshipping is often seen as a no-hassle, get-rich-quick scheme. But it’s not. Just like any other ecommerce website, it takes dedication to get your startup running and successful,” says Corey Ferreira, growth marketer at bench.
“Done well, dropshipping companies can become reliable and convenient partners to growing ecommerce businesses to expedite order and fulfillment processing.” Adds Corey.
How to Find a Dropshipping Agent
If you’re interested in partnering with your own dropshipping agent, then it’s time to start searching for the best service for you.
Before you reach out to a dropshipping company, there are a few questions to consider. Does the dropshipping agent offer tracking and returns? Is there a minimum order quantity? Will you have to pay a drop fee?
There are plenty of resources to consult before choosing the best dropshipping agent for you, but here are some of our tips for finding the best service for your business needs.
1. Start searching on Google & Facebook
The easiest place to start is an online search. Make sure you’re using keywords such as ‘e-commerce fulfillment’ and ‘dropshipping agent’ to find the most accurate results.
The key here is to look for a service that offers supplier sourcing and fulfillment, especially if you’re new to dropshipping.
Dropshipping agents such as CJdropshipping and Niche Dropshipping are great examples of a ‘full package’, which is best for small business owners dipping their toes into the dropshipping pool.
You can also join various Facebook groups for dropshipping. Here you can post your request for a dropshipping agent and connect directly with dropshipping agents in China or elsewhere.
2. Use a freelance marketplace
Another way to search for a dropshipping agent is to use a freelance marketplace such as Upwork or Fiverr.
These platforms are full of private dropshipping agents that are trusted and reviewed by lots of entrepreneurs alike. Simply type your keywords into the search bar and many will pop up.
Better still, on marketplaces such as Upwork, you can search via location. This means that you can find an agent close to where your products are sourced.
3. Ask for recommendations
Don’t forget to ask for recommendations. In such a densely populated e-commerce sector, it’s easier than ever to get recommendations from other e-commerce business owners.
Better still, why not consult review pages, popular dropshipping forums and even Facebook groups? There are plenty of ways to lean into word-of-mouth marketing here.
Some of the best dropshipping forums to consult are Dropshipping.com: Dropshipping Premium Community and Shopify’s popular dropshipping forum.
4. Post your request on Reddit
Similar to Shopify forums, there are lots of dropshippers and dropshipping agents on Reddit.
You can create your own post outlining your requirements and get helpful responses from pros in the industry.
Post your request in subreddits like r/shopify, r/dropshipping and r/ecommerce for best results!
5. Use a dropshipping agent service
There are several dropshipping agent platforms such as AutoDS and Spocket that help you with product sourcing and fulfillment. These companies are an alternative to working one-on-one with an agent.
They offer a less personalized service - especially if you're used to working with a top-tier sourcing agent. However, they also offer benefits like a wider range of products and 24/7 on-demand customer support.
Plus, many dropshipping agents require a minimum sales volume before they'll work one-on-one with you. If you don't meet these requirements most dropshipping agent services doesn't require a minumum sales volume. So, they're a great place to start.
Most platforms offer a free trial period, so they’re definitely worth checking out to see if they meet your needs. We’ll discuss more about the best dropshipping agent services at the end of the post - so keep reading to discover which ones you should try.
The Best Dropshipping Agent Services to Use This Year
If you’re ready to start working with a dropshipping agent, we have you covered. Here are our ten favorite dropshipping agents to use in 2024.
AutoDS is a dropshipping agent service that’s probably the best all round dropshipping app in our experience.
With AutoDS, automation is the name of the game – you don’t need to spend hours finding trending products – you can simply import hundreds of proven products in a couple of clicks.
What’s more, you can automate everything from product importation, to order fulfillment and product page edits with over 25 global dropshipping suppliers, including Amazon, Walmart and AliExpress.
One of the best features is built-in Enjoy pricing and stock monitoring – which means there’s no need to update them yourself.
Dropshipman stands out as a top-notch dropshipping agent platform. Users rave about the apps user-friendly interface.
Dropshipman offers a wide product range at competitive prices, making it a valuable resource for both new and experienced dropshippers.
By all accounts they’ve got awesome customer service. When it comes to dropshipping agents, quick responses are a significant advantage.
The app's in-depth product information, automatic order processing, and real-time inventory management contribute to seamless operations. The product sourcing tool, order tracking, and returns management are highlighted as beneficial features, enhancing the overall dropshipping experience.
Dropshipman's integration capabilities with other apps, coupled with a free plan and upgrade options, add flexibility for merchants.
3. CJ Dropshipping
If you’re interested in creating a Shopify store, CJ Dropshipping is another great platform to use as an agency service.
Pros: With a huge marketplace and zero subscription fees, it is easily imported into a Shopify store, making it a great choice for dropshipping beginners.
Cons: CJ Dropshipping is known for having an overwhelming interface, making it hard to navigate for first-time users.
Spocket is also a dedicated dropshipping service for Shopify. Letting users import a number of products from dropshipping giants such as AliExpress and Alibaba, it is used by a number of different ecommerce businesses across the globe.
Pros: Spocket has one of the most user-friendly interfaces, so it’s perfect for beginners. They also have a lot of US and EU-based suppliers which makes for very fast shipping times.
Cons: Relatively expensive tiered pricing system can reduce your profit margin.
uDroppy is also a relatively new dropshipping agency. Integrating seamlessly with your Shopify store, you can search for available products and suppliers from straight within your store.
Pros: uDroppy’s one-click fulfillment feature is its best-seller. Instead of manually fulfilling each order, the service automates sourcing a product as soon as you generate a sale.
Cons: uDroppy is still relatively new, so it does not have the extensive reviews and trust that its competitors have. However, this shouldn't stop you from trying it out.
Did you know that Wholesale2B offers clients over 200 suppliers to choose from? This platform is great for medium-sized businesses looking to order products in bulk from their supply of 1.6 million items.
Pros: Wholesale2B is a shipping pro. With real-time tracking available, businesses can ship with peace of mind.
Cons: It has received some negative reviews regarding reliability. However with the opportunity to process an unlimited number of orders at once, it could be one to try when faced with heightened consumer demand.
Yakkyofy has risen up throughout the years as one of the most popular dropshipping agents in the industry. With over 12 million products at its disposal, it’s a great choice for B2B companies in particular.
Pros: Automated stock updates and automated fulfillment. This agent takes care of the entire dropshipping process from start to finish.
Cons: Raises prices based on current industry trends, making it a more expensive option. However, their reviews are a testament to their service.
Sourcebox is an excellent choice for those looking to connect with a dropshipping agent via your mobile.
Pros: As an all-inclusive dropshipping agency, Sourceinbox can be easily controlled by an intuitive app.
Cons: While Sourceinbox promises an all-in-one fulfillment service, including a dedicated dropshipping agent, product sourcing and selection and tracked shipping, their prices are still regarded as too high for dropshipping beginners.
9. Ecomm Ops
Last but not least, let’s talk about Dayu Yang’s Ecomm Ops. With a great understanding of the challenges associated with international dropshipping, Ecomm Ops promises that all teams communicate in fluent English.
Pros: Their customized sourcing process differs from competitors, choosing to source products directly from factories, instead of a general marketplace. In doing this, the dropshipping agent can take more care of the quality control.
Cons: While Ecomm Ops has a special shipping line that goes directly to the UK and the US, it has been known to carry long shipping times of 15 days plus.
Should I use a dropshipping agent?
If you're planning to use a dropshipping agent for your e-commerce business in 2024, there are a number of things you must consider.
While partnering with a dropshipping agent promotes lower overhead costs and is easy to set up, the process still poses challenges.
With less control over your stock, you are unable to be a part of the quality check process, which, when done incorrectly, could lead to more returns and unhappy customers.
With this in mind, let’s look closer at the pros and cons of using a dropshipping agent.
Pros of using a dropshipping agent
In most cases, the pros of using a dropshipping agent outweigh the potential cost.
With the overall value of the dropshipping industry expected to hit $301.11 billion in 2024, it’s clear that more and more online businesses are investing in dropshipping.
Let’s find out why:
1. Faster shipping times
Dropshipping agents are really good at getting your products to customers fast.
If you usually do dropshipping from China using AliExpress, you've probably heard of shipping methods like: AliExpress Standard Shipping, ePacket and China Post.
Lots of people go for AliExpress Standard Shipping or ePacket because they think those are the quickest ways to ship from China. And, well, if you're using AliExpress, that's true.
But here's the cool part: some dropshipping experts can give you even faster shipping, especially if they're in places where those speedy methods are available.
Chinese dropshipping experts are often in places like Shanghai, Zhejiang, Guangzhou or Shenzhen
Guangzhou and Shenzhen are awesome for shipping worldwide because they’re super close to Hong Kong International Airport.
So, these Chinese dropshipping agents use shipping methods such as:
- CNE Express
- YanWen Express
And a good dropshipping agent knows exactly which 3PL service is best for each country. For example, they might use 4PX for sending stuff to Germany and YunExpress for Austria. Fast shipping can be a game changer for your customer experience, especially if you're building a high-ticket dropshipping store.
2. Private labeling & custom packaging
A dropshipping agent can enhance your brand's image by offering custom packaging solutions.
By collaborating with manufacturers and suppliers, the agent can facilitate the design and production of personalized packaging tailored to your brand aesthetic.
This allows you to create a unique and memorable unboxing experience for your customers, reinforcing brand loyalty. Custom packaging not only adds a professional touch but also sets your products apart in a crowded market.
The dropshipping agent acts as a liaison, ensuring that the packaging aligns with your brand identity and meets quality standards.
This level of customization can contribute significantly to customer satisfaction and brand recognition, fostering a positive association with your online store.
3. Lower overheads
One of the key benefits associated with dropshipping is lower overhead costs. In a competitive eCommerce environment, businesses need as much movable capital as possible to pour into online campaigns and fluctuating consumer demands.
If you have your capital tied up within warehouse operations and inventory costs, you quickly put your business at risk.
Using a dropshipping agent solves this issue, as your supplier takes care of your inventory and releases stock on demand. This helps businesses avoid overbuying stock and contributes to lower running costs overall.
4. A wider product selection
Dropshipping agents are the middleman between your business and a supplier.
Dedicated to helping your store find the perfect products, dropshipping agents such as AliExpress and Alibaba are contented to thousands of potential suppliers from around the globe, meaning that they can offer you a much wider product selection.
5. Lower-risk selling
With all dropshipping models, an element of risk is removed. With the ability to supply on demand, dropshipping gives online businesses more flexibility to test new product ideas and push the boat out within their niche.
Using a dropshipping agent further eliminates the risk of potential supplier scams. A dropshipping agent is able to distinguish between reputable suppliers and potential threats. If you’re new to the dropshipping process, this can ensure that your business and its consumers are safe.
6. Easier to grow your business
Dropshipping promotes business scalability. Traditionally, if your sales double, it’s up to your team to do double the work to account for new demands.
However, when using a dropshipping agent, an increase in order volume is managed by your agent and its supplier.
Dropshipping, therefore, reduces the pressure on business leaders to hire more employees and contributes to flexible, scalable growth at little cost or risk for the company.
Cons of using a dropshipping agent
While dropshipping is widely praised by the ecommerce industry, there are still a few challenges that should be met with caution when partnering with a dropshipping agent. These cons are more so related to dropshipping as a whole, but it's still good to be aware of them.
1. Control over product quality
While a large amount of stress is relieved by a dropshipping agent, taking a step back from the shipping process can cause new anxieties for retailers.
While using a dropshipping agent typically offers better quality control over ordering from manufacturers, you still risk sending customers something that doesn't meet their standards.
With so many products to ship, dropshipping suppliers are often met with damage control issues that could potentially harm customer satisfaction.
Unfortunately, a lower level of quality control is just an aspect of dropshipping that’s largely unavoidable.
2. Shipping complexities
Many dropshipping suppliers operate in China. If your customer is on the other side of the world, it’s only natural that shipping complexities can occur.
While a dropshipping agent can help manage your suppliers, they cannot change the fact that your products could be shipped from multiple suppliers via a number of different couriers.
This in itself raises your costs and can make it harder to track your product’s shipping. An alternative is to buy stock yourself, and fulfill it using a Shopify 3PL supplier - however this requires an investment in inventory
Be sure to keep an eye on this and raise your shipping prices accordingly.
How Much Does a Dropshipping Agent Cost?
The price of using a dropshipping agent can vary between $10-$300 per month and $10-$100 per order.
Depending on the model the dropshipping agent uses and your general product and shipping costs, these prices can vary.
Typically, dropshipping agents charge based on three different types of price models. These are the commission fee, fixed price per order fee or the subscription fee.
Let’s have a closer look at how dropshipping agents charge for their services.
1. Fixed price per order
This pricing model is pretty self-explanatory. Most commonly used by private dropshipping agents, a fixed price per order is charged based on the number of suppliers contacted, products shipped and service hours.
These types of dropshipping agents can be found on online marketplaces such as Fiverr and can charge $5-$100 per order based on how many suppliers they source.
2. Subscription fee
This is the most common form of service charging in the dropshipping industry. Used by many of the best dropshipping agents, you pay a monthly subscription fee for their dropshipping services.
These fees can range from just $10 per month to a more substantial $300 per month based on how many features, stores and services you require.
For example, a premium subscription plan with a dropshipping agent could give you access to more stores per account and more control over the suppliers you deal with. However, on lower-priced plans, your dropshipping agent may only work with a single store.
3. Commission fee
Last but not least, there is the commission fee pricing model. This model is often used by platforms like Etsy, which aim to take a cut of the profit you make rather than change for the services separately.
These fees range from around 1-5% of the total order value, making this option one of the most cost-effective for small business owners.
Find the Best Dropshipping Agent Today!
Finding the perfect dropshipping agent in 2024 is difficult. With so many great options to choose from, it can be overwhelming for small business startups just entering the world of e-commerce.
As the ecommerce sector expands, using a dropshipping agent helps reduce hefty overhead costs while your business deals with fluctuating levels of demand.
Our advice is to do your research before you choose your own dropshipping agent. From online reviews to dedicated forums full of specialist advice, it’s never been easier to gain insight into the advantages and disadvantages of your product suppliers.
Dropshipping Agent FAQ
Let's quickly cover some of the most commonly asked questions relating to dropshipping agents.
What is a dropshipping agent?
A dropshipping agent is a third-party service that helps facilitate the shipping and fulfillment process for online retailers. They act as intermediaries between the seller and the manufacturer or supplier, managing inventory, order processing, and shipping logistics.
How to find a dropshipping agent?
To find a dropshipping agent, research reputable platforms like Alibaba or AliExpress, explore industry forums, and consider using specialized agent directories. Look for agents with a proven track record, positive reviews, and transparent communication.
How much does a dropshipping agent cost?
Dropshipping agent costs vary, typically comprising service fees, shipping fees, and possibly product costs. Be sure to understand the fee structure before committing. Some agents charge a percentage of the product cost or a flat fee per order, so compare options to find the best fit for your business.
Why should you use an agent with dropshipping suppliers?
Utilizing a dropshipping agent provides several advantages, including streamlined logistics, reduced shipping times, and access to a wider range of products. Agents can negotiate better deals with suppliers, handle quality control, and enhance overall efficiency in the dropshipping process.
What does a dropshipping agent do?
A dropshipping agent manages various aspects of the supply chain, including order fulfillment, inventory management, and shipping coordination. They liaise between the seller and suppliers, ensuring smooth transactions and timely delivery. Additionally, agents may assist with quality control and resolving any issues that may arise during the dropshipping process.