How to Dropship If You Don’t Live in the USA (Part 1)

Often, one of the biggest frustrations for people located outside the United States who are trying to start an online business is the fact that they’re not American. You would think that e-commerce is global, but in fact many suppliers only want to work with Americans and many online businesses located in the States don’t want to ship outside their own country. However, if you’re not American, all is not lost – you can still dropship-retail.

First, some background on dropshipping:

Dropshipping is a well-established supply-chain management system in the United States, but it is not quite as common in other countries yet. In the good old US of A, state laws help facilitate this kind of trade, but in places like Canada, the various provinces have tax strictures which make things a little more difficult. The good news is that dropshipping is becoming increasingly prevalent in countries outside the US. If you’re located in Canada, Australia, or the UK, rejoice because more and more suppliers are offering dropshipping in your respective countries.

What are your options if you want to dropship products but you don’t live in the US?

1. Use local suppliers

Using local suppliers will allow you to bypass customs issues and avoid problems like American suppliers who demand an American Reseller’s Permit and Tax ID Number. The downside to using only local suppliers is that your selection of suppliers and potential products will be more limited. If you can’t find a supplier for your desired product, you might consider isolating the manufacturers you would like to work with, and ask if they would be willing to set up a dropshipping, wholesale, or affiliate program with you. Many companies are interested in the concept of dropshipping and might be willing to jump on the bandwagon if you demonstrate how it would be beneficial to their business.

2. Use American dropshippers

Some American dropshippers and wholesalers have no problem shipping outside the country, and will accept foreign documentation such as a Canadian business number in lieu of an American tax ID number. Canadians are particularly able to take advantage of American suppliers because the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows many products to be shipped duty-free if they are for customer’s personal use (they usually have to be manufactured in either Canada or the US, however). It is certainly worthwhile to look at the available American suppliers in addition to the ones located in your own country.

More to come in Part 2 of the How to Dropship if You Don’t Live in the USA.

By master