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4 Steps to Ensuring the Integrity of a Supplier

Wholesale suppliers are all over the Internet today, but those that are reliable and reputable are unfortunately much rarer. To ensure you find wholesalers that keep up their end of the bargain, you have to do some checking before you place your first order.

We have four steps every e-commerce business owner should take to verify the integrity of a wholesale supplier before agreeing to do business with them.

Verify Company Details

Indeed, it can be scary to order merchandise from a company representative that you may never meet with face to face. However, you can take steps to verify the validity of the company, without having to travel overseas to see the warehouse for yourself.

Begin by asking for the company’s registration or tax ID number. Next, verify company information through a national registry, such as the Better Business Bureau in the United States or the Office of Fair Trading in the UK. While this verification won’t give you a complete picture of the wholesale supplier, it could raise red flags for companies that are unscrupulous.

Verify Contact Information

Most wholesalers will offer a variety of contact information, including a website, email address, physical address and phone numbers. It is a good idea to verify every part of the wholesaler’s contact information before agreeing to do business together.

Call your wholesaler at the posted number – during business hours, but at a time when he is not expecting your call. Listen to how the phone is answered and whether it sounds like a legitimate business phone. Verify the prefix of the phone number against the physical address of the wholesaler to make sure they match up properly.

Verify Service and Communication

Most wholesale suppliers will not rate high in customer service, but they should communicate information to you in a clear, precise manner. Test out the supplier before you buy by making very specific inquiries about their products. If they come back with a vague answer, proceed with caution. If they respond with specific information directly related to the product you are asking about, you probably have a legitimate company – even if their response is rather curt and impersonal.

Look for References

Threads on verifying wholesalers are an excellent source of information about wholesale suppliers directly from the businesses that use them. Legitimate, professional wholesalers understand the importance of positive customer referrals as well, and they will often be happy to supply references upon request.

If the company has shipped to your country in the past, ask for referrals close to home. If not, begin with former customers in other countries to at least gather basic information about the wholesaler. You can also search the Internet to find out if former customers have posted any complaints about the company in the recent past.

Working with wholesalers online can be nerve-wracking, but there are plenty of steps you can take to protect yourself and your business. With these easy steps, you can verify the integrity of a wholesale supplier before you place your first order with the company.

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    Olive
  • January 18th, 2011
I usually do a Whois search to check a supplier’s website. However not all suppliers choose to display their business information on this site specially established companies.
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    shopaholic
  • January 19th, 2011
I personally contact the phone number my suppliers provides. Forums are also your best pal when it comes to researching your suppliers’ reputation. Due diligence is important in every business deals to avoid being scammed.
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    cherryc
  • January 21st, 2011
With regards to phone numbers, legitimate businesses should have land line telephone numbers instead of mobile phone numbers.
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