Choosing the fabric you use for your project is a big decision - perhaps one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when planning your project.
Looking through your choices, you may have already decided that the benefits wholesale fabric offers are too good to ignore. But chances are, the wholesale fabric supplier you are considering isn’t a quick trip down the street.
Today’s digital age makes it easier than ever to order fabric from a supplier or wholesale fabric distributors. But you may be wondering: Is wholesale fabric online safe?
Yes, ordering wholesale fabric online is generally safe. However, before you click the “place your order” button, keep the following in mind to ensure you have peace of mind while shopping for wholesale fabric online:
- Choose a domestic supplier to minimize potential issues.
- Customer service is always a big clue to how your order will be handled.
- Ask for references before placing an order.
- Don’t overlook online shopping safety precautions, such as too-good-to-be-true deals
- Site security - This one is big!
Choose A Domestic Supplier
Wholesale fabric suppliers are located throughout the world, but should you work with one located outside the United States?
While there are certainly reputable wholesale fabric suppliers and distributors located in dozens of countries all over the world, you may run into several issues that can impact your order…issues that even the best suppliers can’t avoid, such as:
- Difficulty communicating and overcoming time zone barriers
- Longer shipping times due to distance
- Potential delays at customs
- Fewer buyer protections in place if an order is not fulfilled correctly
It’s also important to note that even if you have the ability to visit a foreign distributor onsite, that may not be possible for some time due to several travel restrictions currently in place. Working with a supplier in the United States affords an easier opportunity to visit onsite.
There are also fewer time zones to overcome, shorter shipping times, no customs that you must deal with, and more recourse should an order not be fulfilled correctly. Being able to pick up the phone and reach the company with any questions can provide an additional sense of security that your online order is being fulfilled in a timely manner.
Keep An Eye On Customer Service Details
How a wholesale fabric supplier responds to your online inquiries can either offer reassurance that you are in good hands or send up red flags that should be viewed with an abundance of caution.
How quickly and how well a wholesale fabric supplier responds to your interest in its product can be very telling. The last thing you want is to feel like just another number. The best fabric suppliers will answer all your questions in a timely manner and will be happy to supply you with examples of their work.
Even without making contact with a supplier, reviews online and references can provide some context, as we’ll explore below.
Ask For References
Just like any service you require, asking for references is an important step to ensure you receive the highest quality experience and are working with a reputable company.
Reviews online can offer some input into other people’s experiences with a particular company, but asking for a list of references from a supplier that you are considering that offers online ordering can yield more accurate assessments.
This offers two benefits. First, speaking with references allows you to hear about the experiences other professionals have had with a supplier you are considering. Ask for the names of other clients who have worked on projects similar to yours to get a clearer picture of any challenges or good experiences they had.
Secondly, asking for references affords you the opportunity to learn about the supplier’s textiles themselves. Ask questions about the quality of the fabric and other features, like durability, customization techniques other clients have ordered, and any other experiences that may be pertinent to your project.
Apply Online Shopping Safety Precautions
Whether you’re shopping for wholesale fabric or a new toaster, it’s important to keep in mind overall online shopping safety precautions you should take.
For example, the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” applies with wholesale fabric online as well. Working with a domestic supplier can help keep scams at bay, but it’s important to recognize when a good deal may in fact be a bad deal.
Any wholesale fabric supplier that allows you to purchase material online should also have a secure site. Look for an icon in the browser bar of the site that looks like a lock. This ensures the site features a secure encryption. Secure websites also start with “https” rather than “http.”
While ordering online provides many conveniences, the best wholesale fabric companies will also allow you to order material by phone as well.
For added peace of mind, make sure you are talking to an actual representative of the company rather than an outsourced customer service company. An outsourced company will not be able to answer many of the questions you may have about the textile, from where it is sourced to customization opportunities specific to your project.
By following these safety precautions, choosing a domestic supplier, watching out for customer service red flags and asking for references, you will be well on your way to having a safe online experience while shopping for wholesale fabric.