FAQ for suppliers

Intro to Modalyst

Today, more than half of all ecommerce retailers dropship a portion of their inventory sold online. Modalyst is the technology layer powering dropshipping, enabling ecommerce retailers to list and sell unique products without the financial risk of purchasing inventory. With our extensive marketplace of +650 independent suppliers and integrations into shopping cart platforms and marketplace channels, ecommerce retailers have added +500,000 products to their storefronts in one-click since our launch in June 2015. Modalyst aims to be the world’s largest platform powering the distribution of inventory available immediately through ecommerce and social media. Born at MIT and raised in NYC.

Modalyst is a fusion of the French word “mode,” meaning fashion, and "catalyst".

Modalyst was born at MIT, and raised in NYC. You can find us in the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan, next to Grand Central Station. While our main footprint is in NYC, we are represented by our retailers and suppliers in over 120 countries around the world.

Modalyst is a b2b platform designed for suppliers and retailers. We are a one-click sourcing opportunity, enabling ecommerce retailers to easily source products and add it to their storefront. This includes pictures, descriptions, pricing, and inventory count – all synced in real-time.

To date, this has been an extremely manual and time intensive process – in fact, it took an average of 38 days for a store to discover a brand and add products to their storefront. It needs to be as easy as one-click to add a product to a store and sell your customers. That’s where Modalyst comes into play.

Today, Modalyst integrates with e-commerce platforms and shopping cart technologies to automate the workflow of dropshipping between brands, retailers, & end-consumers.

Now, what used to take 38 days, takes 1 second.

For retailers wishing to buy products in bulk for a brick-and-mortar store, we also have a wholesale marketplace, facilitating discovery and ordering process of the best independent suppliers in the world.

Membership

Please visit our membership page for more details on pricing.

Suppliers paying an annual installment are billed upfront, while suppliers paying in monthly installments are automatically billed every month.

Supplier memberships are month-to-month contracts that can be paid in either monthly or annual installments.

All suppliers must agree to Modalyst’s terms and conditions.

Suppliers from all around the world are joining our dropshipping and wholesale marketplace on Modalyst. We welcome suppliers from all over the world. Should a supplier wish to limit their distribution by country/region, the supplier may block retailers within that region from seeing your products. At the moment, we do not offer dropshipping services to ecommerce retailers located in Africa and South America, however suppliers from those regions are welcome to join Modalyst.

Yes. Our suppliers are the best in the business! In order to sell on Modalyst, suppliers must have:

  • existing relationships with retailers

  • existing relationships with suppliers and manufacturers 
  • be able to produce and deliver bulk inventory and/or dropship orders on a timely basis

  • high-resolution imagery with white backgrounds. We strongly suggest having a product shot, detail shot, and lifestyle shot per item


For dropshipping, you are required to have in- stock inventory available for purchase. There is also a standard dropshipping agreement, which is mandatory for both suppliers and retailers.

If a supplier does not provide reasonable proof of these criteria, Modalyst reserves the right to terminate the membership at will.

We currently have 650+ suppliers on our platform in multiple categories! For a sneak peek, please login for our 14-day free trial here: www.modalyst.co/brands. We are very proud of the suppliers we feature!

Absolutely! Modalyst features suppliers in the following categories: Apparel and Accessories for Womens, Mens, and Childrens, as well as Home, Lifestyle, and Beauty. We are constantly adding new product categories, so feel free to apply if you fall outside this range of categories.

For suppliers, we do require exclusivity as your third-party, online wholesale platform. Suppliers are encouraged to attend trade shows and host/attend events to create supplier awareness. Modalyst is not a supplier rep, as with showrooms.

Modalyst offers one portal to reach thousands of potential buyers. This is a much more efficient way to sell your collections. Suppliers are discovered through our open marketplace. Rich supplier profiles illustrate the history behind the suppliers creating the products. We automate work-flow processes, enabling suppliers to concentrate more on designing, and less on selling. Additionally, Modalyst offers a 24/7 opportunity to sell collections in-season, and without time-zone limitations.

Free Trials

Our 14-day trial gives you a sneak peek into the functionality of the Modalyst platform. You will be able to upload your products, set up your supplier profile and see the suppliers currently using our platform. Our full retailer list of 10,000+ buyers as well as your supplier profile will not be live for retailers to see until you upgrade your account.

If you have already started your Modalyst trial, simply go to https://modalyst.co/account/ to upgrade your account. We strongly encourage all suppliers to experience Modalyst through our free trial first to understand our services.

Our live chat feature allows you to contact our team in real-time for any questions you have as you get started with our 14-day trial. We are also available by phone during office hours at +1.646.930.6376.

Feel free to send us a message if it’s after business hours and we will get back to you ASAP.

Additionally our team is available to answer questions via email at team@modalyst.co.

If you have already started your 14-day free trial, you are able to add products to our Item Manager here: https://modalyst.co/manage_profile/item_manager/. We have bulk uploading functionality for suppliers to easily import hundreds of products in one click. Should you prefer to upload one-by-one, this is also an option.

Modalyst is as easy as checking your email! Rest assured if you have any orders or activity which need immediate action, Modalyst will send you an email to make sure you’re always in the loop. Aside from that, we encourage suppliers to keep their inventory levels up-to-date and have a bulk editing functionality, which enables one to easily update any product information and stock availability.

Our 14-day free trial does not require a credit card to start so you will not be automatically charged at the end of your trial. If you decide Modalyst is for you, you may click on the upgrade banner on the top and it will bring you to a page to fill in your credit card information.

We require our suppliers have professional imagery on a white background to be considered for a Modalyst membership. We also suggest adding a detail and lifestyle shot to really make your products shine! The better a supplier’s product imagery, the more attention they will attract from ecommerce retailers listing and selling their products

Our retailers are independent stores – both online and offline online – from all over the world!  For a sample list, please login to our Modalyst free trial here: https://modalyst.co/boutiques/

A supplier’s products cannot be viewed by retailers until the supplier upgrades their account and starts a Modalyst membership. This is by request from the retailers. Retailers need to be confident that a supplier will remain on the site before they start listing, marketing, and selling a supplier’s products on their ecommerce sites.

As soon as you upgrade your account, your profile and products will be visible to the retailers.

Dropshipping

You can find various kinds of e-commerce retailers on the platform - both in their product offering and experience level. In general, the retailers on the platform are independent businesses looking for unique items. We work with stores from start-up to scale.

All suppliers in the Dropshipping Marketplace have products which are available immediately and ready to be sourced and sold by retailers. Modalyst provides the retail technology enabling ecommerce retailers to easily source and sell your products, while staying updated on stock levels, pricing, pictures, and descriptions. All a supplier needs to do is create beautiful products, and we handle the layer of technology needed to keep your dropshipping stores updated on your collections and their inventory levels.

Ecommerce retailers can start dropshipping with your supplier in two ways:

  • One-click sourcing (Currently for Shopify stores only. Other ecommerce integrations are coming soon like BigCommerce, Magento, etc.)
  • A store has added an item to their Inventory List.

An Inventory List is a curated selection of products which will then be exported from Modalyst and imported into the retailer’s website. We have pre-formatted CSVs, so stores can easily add products to their ecommerce infrastructure with ease.

We have a dropshipping dashboard on Modalyst which enables you to track items being dropshipped on a per-retailer basis and a per-item basis. As soon as a store has started dropshipping your collection, we send you a notification that the store has started dropshipping with you. This also opens up the lines of communication, enabling you to further develop your relationship with ecommerce retailers as they sell your products.

As soon as a store starts dropshipping your products, the line of communication is open. You can now message the retailer as much as you would like, which we encourage. This is a great opportunity for you as a supplier to introduce yourself to the retailer. Message the retailer to say thanks, and ask if they have any questions about your products!

Many of these stores are also looking for good marketing material to market your products to their customers. Feel free to let them know that they can use the brand imagery which you have uploaded into your brand profile.

Absolutely! Every retailer on the platform has signed up with a valid email address and retailer ID. Our ecommerce retailers have different levels of experience – from startup to scale.

You can easily see when a store was established and/or when they plan to launch in the retailer profile.

In the case of stores which have not yet launched, feel free to ask them about their plans – what their aesthetic will be, how they will market their site, and which types of suppliers they plan on sourcing. This will give you a better understanding of their plans. We have seen a lot of incredible stores launch with Modalyst-only suppliers and beautiful storefronts with immediate sales.

Yes. Suppliers are able to accept or decline an ecommerce retailer. Most suppliers see tremendous value in working with as many cool, unique ecommerce retailers as possible, as this dramatically increases market exposure globally. However, should you decide to not work with a specific retailer, you may reject their dropshipping relationship and that will pull the items from their store.

Dropshipping on Modalyst is a great way for you to gain exposure to end consumers through various storefronts, all managed through one platform.

There are a many alluring reasons why a supplier should dropship their products. Here are just a few. You can also see more on our blog.

  • Higher Margins – on average, suppliers earn ~20% more per product, when they dropship compared to when they sell it at wholesale value
  • Marketing Exposure - Suppliers gain 20x more marketing exposure and supplier awareness through the ecommerce retailers reselling their products
  • Improved SEO - Increasing the number or ecommerce stores selling your products increases your supplier equity and SEO
  • Workflow Efficiencies - Managing 1,000s of ecommerce retailers is as easy as managing 1, including orders and payment processing

You can expect very high engagement. In fact, 90% of our suppliers gain new dropshipping retailers every single week! It is as easy as one click for a store to work with suppliers, so they are constantly visiting the marketplace and sourcing a curated selection of products for their unique customer needs.

Additionally, our network of retailers is growing daily, giving suppliers even more exposure to cool and hard-to-reach stores without any additional work.

Everything in dropshipping is sold at your suggested retail value (MSRP). To avoid any channel conflict, we strongly recommend listing the products which you sell on Modalyst to be the same price which you sell on your own ecommerce website. The price which you list as MSRP is the price which is pulled in for retailers when they source your products. Retailers may choose to mark up or down the items in their store. However, when they sell a product, they are required to pay your commission based on the MSRP that you have set on Modalyst.

There are two ways which a supplier can update their inventory.

  • Bulk Editing – we have excel and csv uploads, enabling suppliers to easily upload a spreadsheet formatted to Modalyst and edit items in one click.
  • Individually – products can be updated one-by-one, should you wish to change just a few at a time

We ask the retailers a series of relevant questions to better understand their ability to dropship. If a store has not launched yet, they are required to tell us when they plan to launch, and what marketing strategy will be in place.

Modalyst has thousands of retailers on the site, with more joining daily. Our Dropshipping Marketplace is extremely active – 90% of suppliers gain a new dropshipping store weekly and tens of thousands of products are added to storefronts daily.

In wholesale, suppliers sell inventory in bulk to retailers with wholesale prices. The retailer will then sell the inventory in their stores. In dropshipping, retailers host item images from suppliers on their ecommerce platform without buying inventory upfront. When a sale is made on the ecommerce platform, retailers pay 60% of the item’s MSRP to the supplier, and the supplier will ship the item directly to the end consumer.

Congrats! When you receive a dropshipping order, here is what happens:

  • Modalyst will notify you via email and Modalyst inbox.
  • Start preparing the shipment of the item.
  • Ship the item
  • Log on to Modalyst and update the tracking number under "Dropshipping Orders"
  • Order will move from “Paid” to “Shipped & Completed”

When you receive a dropshipping order, Modalyst will notify you via email. All orders are visible within the Orders section, including the product details, retailer which sold the product, and their customer’s shipping information.

The supplier will be paid 60% the MSRP of the product, plus the shipping fee. If the customer bought more than 1 item from a supplier, the supplier may bundle the package and just charge the customer once for shipping.

Please be sure to ship the product as soon as possible, as customers are anxiously awaiting their new purchase. Once the package has been sent, suppliers input the tracking information and Modalyst automatically notifies the retailer and the customer.

When a supplier receives a dropshipping order, the retailer will pay your commission and the cost of shipping via Paypal. You will receive that payment directly in your Paypal account. Suppliers always receive payment for a product before you need to send the product to a customer.

While you are able to determine your own lead time, our suggestion is that it should always be between 1 to 2 days. Since there is a customer waiting on the retailer end, it is always best to ship out the item as soon as possible.

Modalyst has a standardized invoice for you to print out and include in the package to the customer. It is required that this invoice is included in the package. This invoice includes the retailer information as the place where the customer purchased the product, and the supplier’s bio so the customer learns more about the designer of the product. If retailers have special packaging which they would like you to use, they will ship it to you. Otherwise, please package the item neatly in a box and send it off!

Absolutely! Just like any other order, please include a invoice of the purchase. We have already created it for you and it is a requirement to use the invoice which we have designed for each purchase.

Wholesale

Distribution occurs virtually on Modalyst. All suppliers either produce or hold their own merchandise upon order, and ship orders directly to retailers. Retailers can view a supplier’s collection directly on the platform via a virtual showroom that suppliers create on their own. Suppliers can add products to their showroom throughout the season, and stay in touch with their network of retailers using inbox communication. Modalyst does not hold inventory.

Every supplier creates an online profile to showcase their supplier story, stockists, press highlights, supplier imagery, lookbooks, and supplier videos. Suppliers can also upload an unlimited number of items to their showroom, and include product dimensions, colors, materials, and imagery for each item.

Modalyst’s software automatically generates linesheets when a supplier uploads items to their virtual showroom. Linesheets can be shared digitally or download to use offline at tradeshows.

Modalyst processes payments through the platform with Paypal. This means that retailers' payments go directly into a supplier's Paypal account. Modalyst does not directly process payments, cancellations, and returns on behalf of either party. For placed orders, the suppliers will be accountable for all aspects of payment processing and fulfillment as per the terms they define in their profile.

Suppliers can connect with retailers through the Modalyst inbox. Buyers have an unlimited opportunity to message suppliers. Once a retailer has started an order or added a collection to their ecommerce storefront, the lines of communication are opened. This allows for unlimited communication between the supplier and the retailer through their Modalyst inbox. Modalyst is a relationship-building platform, and we welcome both parties to develop long-lasting partnerships through communication.

Suppliers are able to follow retailers, and once a retailer reciprocates interest by following back or messaging the supplier, the lines of communication are opened. Alternatively, upgrade to Premium, where suppliers can start the conversation and message retailers which have not already reached out to them.

Every week, our marketing team creates dedicated campaigns to feature new retailers and new suppliers, spotlight individual suppliers, and promote individual products. We also promote our community on social media via our blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

All suppliers can view item impressions and clicks for all published items on Modalyst. Through Modalyst’s Who’s Looking at You tool, suppliers can also see the number of retailers that have viewed their profile in the last 60 days and all of the items that have been racked (bookmarked) by retailers. Suppliers with premium memberships can glean even more information about activity on the platform, specifically which retailers have viewed their profile, the number of days ago that these retailers viewed their profile, the number of times an item was racked, and which retailers racked any given item.

Products / Inventory & Pricing

Traditionally your MSRP is typically 2 - 2.5x your wholesale price. Your dropshipping price should be based on your MSRP or retail pricing. We require that your Dropshipping price be consistent across all channels, so please make sure your MSRP on Modalyst matches your pricing on your own website.

Absolutely! We do require products be listed in US Dollars on Modalyst but we have suppliers and buyers from all over the world using our platform.

Shipping/Returns

Modalyst offers a 14-day return policy for all products ordered in our Dropshipping Marketplace. This means that brands are required to accept returns up to 14 days after the product has been received by the customer. Modalyst retains all service fees associated with dropshipping orders.

Suppliers are not responsible for shipping costs.

For Wholesale, all shipping costs are added to the order. This fee must be added before the retailer pays for their order. Taxes and duties are also covered by the retailer.

For Dropshipping, the cost of shipping is added onto the cost of a product sold. Retailers will pay 60% MSRP plus the cost of shipping for each item.

Modalyst has standardized the shipping rates for products across the site based on location and shipping weight. Suppliers are also able to change these rates in the Shipping Manager to better represent your own shipping fees based on your courier rates. This fee will be automatically added to a retailer’s order when they purchase a dropshipping item.

No way! Our Shipping Manager allows you to select which regions and countries you would like to dropship to within Modalyst. Once you deselect a region, your products will not be visible to retailers located in those localities for dropshipping.

At the moment, Modalyst’s Dropshipping Marketplace is not available for ecommerce retailers in South America and Africa.

Modalyst does not handle customs and taxes within our platform. Customs and taxes are handled by the end consumer at the time of the purchase.