As we embark on our journey to expand and optimize our online stores, one of the key challenges we all face is securing the right products to offer our customers. Once we’ve set up our digital stores and are ready to start making sales, we wonder how to get products for our online store.

Well, luckily, we’re about to delve into the realm of product sourcing—the art and science of finding the perfect merchandise to fill our online shelves. Through this article, we will explore many ways to source products for an online store: we’ll unravel the diverse avenues available.

Moreover, we’ll reveal top-notch strategies and tips to optimize your product sourcing game, ensuring a thriving online store. So, fasten your seatbelts as we dive into the exciting world of product sourcing together!

Key Takeaways

Product sourcing is a crucial aspect of managing an online store, and there are various methods to obtain inventory: dropshipping, wholesalers, manufacturers, trade shows, and DIY.

Dropshipping offers advantages like low initial costs, flexibility, reduced risk, convenient testing, and fast market entry, making it a popular choice for online retailers.

Working with reliable dropshipping suppliers is essential, involving a thorough examination of reliability, product quality, shipping times, and additional fees.

Tools like Google Trends for market validation and tools like AutoDS for product sourcing simplify the process and provide insights into trending items, easing the challenges.

Researching the market, understanding customer behavior, and working with multiple suppliers enhance adaptability and stability in an evolving marketplace.

Start Now For $1

What Is Product Sourcing?

Long story short, product sourcing is the way we find stuff to sell online. In the dropshipping world, this usually means getting products from suppliers and then selling them. But the truth is there are different ways to do product sourcing. We can source our products directly from a manufacturer to make custom products, buy ready-made goods from a wholesale seller, and more.

Using some of these methods, especially dropshipping, we don’t have to store or ship items ourselves. The supplier we work with handles all that stuff, which frees us to pay attention to other crucial things for our store, like branding, ads, and customer service.

To better picture product sourcing, imagine you’ve partnered with a store that sells trendy phone cases. You don’t need to keep these cases in stock or send them out when sold—the store takes care of it all! Instead, you can focus on marketing these cases, making your brand shine, and assisting your customers.

How To Get Products For Your Online Store

When it comes to filling up our online store shelves, there are various paths we can take. The ways to source products for our online store are as diverse as the products themselves. Let’s explore these methods together and find the best fit for our store.

Work With A Dropshipping Supplier

dropshipping suppliers for product sourcing

Embracing the dropshipping method is like having a magic wand for our online store. With this approach, we partner with suppliers who handle everything from stocking products to shipping them directly to customers. This means no handling or storing inventory on our end—making it a hassle-free way to operate.

Dropshipping grew substantially in the United States in 2023, with an estimated 30% of online retailers using this model. The method’s popularity is with reason. Between some of dropshipping’s main benefits, we can find:

  • Low Initial Costs: No need to buy and store products upfront, saving money on inventory.
  • Flexibility: Adding or removing items from the store without financial risks is easy.
  • Reduced Risk: Less chance of being stuck with unsold inventory or losing money on unpopular products.
  • Convenient Testing: We can try various products or niches to find what works best.
  • Fast Market Entry: Quick and straightforward way to start selling online without huge investments.

At AutoDS, we’ve got your back with a vast range of Dropshiping Suppliers. We’re all about simplifying sourcing! Our platform allows you to explore a massive collection of over 500 million popular products from our trusted suppliers worldwide, whether you prefer to work with established suppliers, exclusive private suppliers available only through AutoDS, or even with our own warehouse. The options are vast, and AutoDS automates all for efficient and profitable dropshipping!

No matter what dropshipping supplier we choose, doing it wisely is crucial. We should thoroughly examine potential partners, checking reliability, product quality, shipping times, and extra fees. Some suppliers may charge subscription or per-order fees, affecting our margins and profitability.

Finding a reliable dropshipping supplier is like finding a good business buddy. We must ensure they match our store’s rules and beliefs for successful teamwork.

Tip: Discover all there is to know about dropshipping suppliers here.

Purchase From A Wholesaler Supplier

wholesale suppliers google search

A Wholesale Supplier is a critical player in the supply chain. We’re talking about a company that sells products in bulk quantities at discounted rates. These suppliers are essential for businesses looking to stock their shelves with products for resale. Unlike retail, which caters to individual customers, wholesale involves larger quantities, making it a crucial link for online stores.

Choosing a wholesale supplier offers several advantages for online store owners. First, buying in bulk often means discounted prices, which can significantly impact our profit margins. Second, these suppliers usually offer a wide range of products, allowing us to diversify your store’s inventory and attract more customers. Additionally, wholesale suppliers’ large inventory quantities ensure a steady product stream, reducing worries about running out of stock. Finally, building a solid partnership with a reliable wholesale supplier can create a consistent and reliable supply chain, providing our business peace of mind and stability.

A few essential factors to consider when picking a wholesale supplier are:

  • Reliable Shipping: Choose suppliers partnered with major carriers for swift deliveries.
  • Flexible Return Policy: Look for hassle-free returns, like a 14/30/60-day return policy.
  • Order Quantities: Find suppliers with no minimum order or small quantity requirements for efficient dropshipping.
  • Competitive Pricing: Prioritize suppliers offering competitive prices to boost your profit margins.
  • Proximity: Suppliers closer to your customers cut down shipping times.
  • Payment Options: Ensure your supplier offers flexible payment methods.
  • Product Range: Opt for suppliers with diverse catalogs to offer a wide variety to your customers.
  • Customer Reviews: Positive reviews indicate high-quality products and reliable service.

Directly Source Products from Manufacturers

Turning to manufacturers can be a game-changer when we’re eyeing something unique or want to put our own spin on an existing product. Working with manufacturers gives us control over the product’s design, quality, and branding. However, diving into this method requires careful consideration because it often means investing a substantial amount upfront. That’s why we need to ensure there’s a market demand for our idea before diving headfirst.

It’s crucial to validate our product idea to ensure it’s something people actually want to buy. Researching the market for demand is essential.

Imagine we’re thinking about introducing pet shoes. They might seem like a fantastic idea, especially during certain seasons. However, building an entire business around just one product without knowing the market demand might not be a solid plan.

Tools like Google Trends are invaluable for measuring market interest. For instance, by typing in “pet shoes,” we can see whether this product has a consistent or growing interest. Yet, remember, even if there’s a spike in interest, building a business solely around seasonal trends might be challenging. That’s why examining if the product aligns with a consistent market need is crucial before diving in.

product sourcing research in google trends

Understanding White Label and Private Label

White Label and Private Label are two ways to sell products with our own brand. White-label items are generic things a company makes, and we can put our brand names on them. Private label means manufacturers create products just for us, as we want them, with specific details we ask for, like design or special features.

For example, let’s say we want to sell water bottles. With a white label, we could buy generic bottles from a company and put our logo on them. But with a private label, we could work with a manufacturer to create bottles in specific colors or shapes just for our brand.

Both ways let us put our brand on products, but it’s important to study the market first. We need to ensure people really want these products before investing too much in them.

Attend Trade Shows

product sourcing in a trade show

Attending trade shows allows us to physically see and touch the items we’re interested in selling. They offer a fantastic opportunity to get hands-on with products before making any commitments. Trade shows are very useful because they allow us to compare various products, suppliers, and prices in real-time. It’s like having the whole market in one place, making it easier to decide which products might work best for our business. Besides, bargaining becomes more accessible as competitors are right next door, making reps more eager to close deals.

However, it’s crucial not to rush into making deals at these shows without thorough research. Although the atmosphere might be exciting and deals seem appealing, we must step back and ensure we’ve checked out the company and the market prices.

Before attending a trade show, it’s wise to do some homework. We should always look for trade shows with solid reputations and a broad scope. For instance, the Magic Las Vegas trade show, a huge fashion event, draws around 70,000 attendees and 4,000 exhibitors. It’s a vast platform that showcases a wide array of fashion-related products. Attending well-known and expansive trade shows like these can provide a comprehensive view of the market trends and available products, helping us make more informed decisions for our business.

DIY – Make Your Own Products

product sourcing DIY

Creating our own products from scratch is an exciting idea, but it’s crucial to consider the time and effort involved in this process. DIY projects take lots of time and might not bring in profits as quickly as other methods, like dropshipping or buying wholesale. While there could be exceptions where creating unique products becomes a successful venture, it often demands significant investments in time and resources.

The path of making our own products requires various steps, such as sourcing materials, designing, manufacturing, and testing. These steps take time and might not guarantee quick returns. Conversely, with dropshipping or purchasing from wholesalers, we can start selling products almost instantly and potentially earn profits faster.

Each method has its pros and cons, but it’s essential to consider the trade-offs. On the one hand, we can agree that DIY projects might offer the satisfaction of creating something unique. However, on the other hand, it’s clear that dropshipping or sourcing products from wholesalers might be the more favorable route for those aiming for quicker profits and ease of getting started.

Optimizing Product Sourcing: 5 Key Tips for Online Store Success

Let’s amp up our online store game by exploring five powerful strategies to optimize product sourcing. These tips will set us on the path to dropshipping success. By using these tactics, we’re not just sourcing products; we’re crafting a winning strategy that elevates our store above the competition.

1. Use AutoDS’ Product Sourcing Feature

AutoDS product sourcing feature

Make sourcing a breeze by tapping into AutoDS’ specialized tools. Our platform offers an array of features designed to simplify the sourcing process. With AutoDS, we gain access to an extensive network of reliable suppliers, making it convenient to select and swiftly add trending products to our store. Utilizing this tool can streamline our product sourcing efforts, ensuring we’re always ahead with the latest market trends.

For instance, AutoDS Marketplace is an incredible tool designed to make sourcing products for your online store super easy. It’s like having access to a treasure box filled with all the popular and trending items customers are eagerly looking for. This feature offers you a wide array of products that are in high demand, saving you time and effort while making it easier to find the perfect items to add to your store’s inventory. On the other hand, AutoDS Warehouse and Private Suppliers is an invaluable resource, providing exclusive access to a vast inventory sourced from reliable suppliers.

By leveraging AutoDS’ product importing capabilities, we expedite the process of adding new and exciting products to our store. The platform’s automation doesn’t just stop at sourcing; it extends to product importing, allowing us to integrate new items into our inventory swiftly. This automation streamlines our operations, saving time and effort while ensuring that we’re continually offering fresh and relevant products to our customers.

Additional Product Sourcing Features

Additionally, the Product Sourcing feature within AutoDS is another game-changer. It opens up a safe and efficient way to get items from China for your online store without any worries. With our tool, your products go through our warehouse, ensuring their quality meets your standards before reaching your customers. We also help tackle any communication problems that might come up when dealing with suppliers from China. Plus, our system helps speed up delivery times, ensuring your customers get their orders faster and with better service.

In essence, AutoDS’ suite of automation tools works as your trusted ally, fueling your journey towards a successful and thriving online store.

2. Conduct Market & Product Research

market research for product sourcing

Understanding our market is key to sourcing the right products. By delving into market and product research, we gather insights into what customers actually want. We should analyze trends, demand, and competition to pinpoint products that align with our store’s niche. Research gives us valuable knowledge, guides our sourcing decisions, and helps us stay ahead in a competitive market.

Conducting product research means analyzing various aspects of potential items we wish to source for our store. We must explore if people want these products, look at how these items are doing in the market, and compare them with similar things sold by other sellers. This helps us find products that our customers will really like so we can sell more and make our customers happier.

On the other hand, market research involves a broader analysis of the market landscape, customer behavior, preferences, and overall industry trends. It helps us comprehend the market’s dynamics identifying opportunities, threats, and gaps in the market. Understanding market trends through research allows us to adapt our product offerings, positioning ourselves to meet consumer needs effectively. This research is crucial as it enables us to make strategic decisions, refine our business approach, and stay competitive in a constantly evolving marketplace.

Pro Tip: Check AutoDS’ Product Finding Blog Section to discover the top dropshipping products for your online store.

3. Work With Multiple Suppliers

Working with various suppliers offers flexibility and mitigates the risks associated with relying solely on one source. It broadens our inventory, ensuring we’re not dependent on a single supplier for all our products. By diversifying our supplier base, we create a safety net against unforeseen circumstances, reducing the likelihood of severe disruptions affecting our inventory or operations.

This approach ensures continuity in product supply, enabling us to maintain consistency in delivering products to customers, even in the face of supplier-related challenges or market fluctuations. Ultimately, a multiple-supplier strategy fortifies our business against potential risks, enhancing its stability and adaptability in a dynamic marketplace.

We should never forget to collaborate with high-quality suppliers to ensure us:

  • Product Quality: They must meet our standards and align with our store’s quality expectations. We can request samples if necessary to verify the product’s quality firsthand.
  • Delivery and Shipping Times: Swift shipping is crucial for customer satisfaction and timely order fulfillment.
  • Returns Policies: Reviewing the supplier’s return policies is a must. A transparent and customer-friendly return policy is essential for addressing any potential issues or returns, ensuring a seamless shopping experience for our customers.
  • Customer Complaints: Researching and gathering information about customer complaints or feedback related to the supplier is a necessary strategy. We must be sure about the supplier’s reputation and reliability.
  • Capacity/Availability of Products: It’s crucial to confirm the supplier’s capacity to consistently provide the required quantity of products. If we can, we must check for availability and potential fluctuations in inventory to avoid supply chain disruptions.

4. Get Samples From Your Suppliers

Before committing to large orders, it’s wise to get samples from suppliers. Sampling helps us evaluate product quality, packaging, and overall supplier reliability. By physically assessing samples, we ensure the products meet our standards and resonate with our brand image. This step prevents potential issues and guarantees that our customers receive high-quality items.

Also, getting samples from suppliers helps us see how well they communicate, handle orders, ship items, and package products. When we ask for samples, it shows that we’re serious about working together and forming a solid partnership with the supplier.

5. Make Your Online Store Unique

Set your store apart by infusing it with uniqueness. Whether it’s through curated collections, personalized packaging, or exclusive offers, carve out a distinct identity for your store. Focus on elements like your website’s design, branding, and user interface to offer a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

The best dropshipping websites are the ones that stand out and persist in time, and we want to become one of them. How? Well, here are a few essential secrets:

  1. Use high-quality images that truly represent each one of your items, and avoid generic visuals. Consistent and authentic images build a positive brand image and trust among customers.
  2. Make your website design responsive. Integrate your website with essential tools and ensure a responsive design across different devices.
  3. Easy navigation. Ensure your customers can effortlessly explore your website and find what they need. Make it using user-friendly website layouts and SEO techniques. 
  4. Social media presence. Share engaging content, interact with your audience, and run targeted ads. Solid social media profiles drive organic traffic, build customer trust, and encourage customers to explore your store.
  5. Add a ‘contact section’. Ensure your customers can easily reach you by incorporating a visible ‘contact’ section on your website. Being accessible helps build trust and allows customers to address their concerns directly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Get Products For My Online Store?

You can get products for your online store by using various methods like working with dropshipping suppliers, purchasing from wholesalers, sourcing directly from manufacturers, attending trade shows, or making your own products.

How Can I Find Reliable Suppliers?

Finding reliable suppliers involves checking their product quality, delivery times, return policies, customer feedback, and product availability. Researching and conducting due diligence on potential suppliers are crucial to finding trustworthy ones. We recommend checking our Suppliers landing page for more information on reliable suppliers.

What Is The Best Method For Sourcing Products For Dropshipping?

The best method for sourcing products in dropshipping depends on your business needs and preferences. Working with a reliable dropshipping supplier or using AutoDS Marketplace, which provides access to multiple trusted suppliers, can be effective methods.

What Does Shopify Sourcing Mean?

Shopify sourcing refers to the process of finding and adding products to a Shopify store from various suppliers or sources. It involves sourcing products from different channels to populate a Shopify store with diverse inventory for selling online.


And that’s a wrap! The most important thing to remember is that the quest to find the perfect merchandise is an exciting adventure in itself. We’ve explored plenty of avenues – from the magical realm of dropshipping to partnering with third parties. Each method offers its unique set of opportunities and challenges.

What’s evident throughout this exploration is the key role of smart choices and well-informed decisions in crafting a thriving online store. By embracing AutoDS’ suite of tools and resources, the path to product sourcing becomes simpler and a strategic process to elevate your online store above the rest. Remember, the key lies in continuous adaptation, research, and innovation. With each step, we pave the way for an online store that not only meets but exceeds customer expectations. Have fun sourcing and building your thriving online store!

If you feel like diving deeper into the product-sourcing world, here are a few links for you: