Drop shippers are a useful bunch. There are many positives that come along with using reliable drop shippers. This is especially true for new merchants who lack the space (and money) to store products and the manpower to handle packing and shipping arrangements. Some more established ecommerce web hosting shopping cart names already provide integration with at least one drop shipper. Multi vendor shopping cart integration is rare, though. One important thing to be aware of though, is that the shopping cart cost is usually separate from the fees for the drop shipping service.
There are a few things you should consider before choosing a drop shipper. These concerns should be addressed early in order to avoid problems later…
If you are going to use the services of drop shippers, you have to realize that they are the supply chain to your business. You can either source your own drop shipper(s) or opt for one that is integrated with your ecommerce web hosting shopping cart provider. Either way, the drop shipper you engage should not only be reliable but competitive and trustworthy as well. Along with these 3 characteristics, here are some factors that you would do well to consider:
A product needs to be in stock in order for you to make a sale. Needless to say, healthy and stable inventory levels are important. Therefore, stock information needs to be up-to-date (real-time) and accurate.
Speaking of information, product information provided by drop shippers (to be displayed on the product page) should be sufficient and accurate. This is because you do not have access to the physical products and so will not be privy to any information save that which is provided by the drop shipper. Commonly requested information: availability of alternative colors, material used, dimensions and weight.
A competitive drop ship price (very close to wholesale, preferably) is the key to selling at higher margins. Remember, you need to take into account competitors‘ pricing before you can decide on your own. You should also factor in possible future discounts into your pricing calculations.
Just like inventory levels, product prices should be stable.
It sounds cliched but variety is the spice of life. A good drop shipper should have a large database of drop ship products. A person may only buy one T-shirt if a variety of sizes are available, but he/she may buy more if the T-shirt comes in different colors as well. Psychologically speaking, it also helps a buyer make up their mind by doing a quick comparison.
You have to understand that your drop shipper’s return policy automatically becomes your return policy. Have a close look at your drop shippers’ return policies and make sure they are reasonable before you decide to adopt them. If you agree to their policies, make sure you clearly express these return policies to your customers on your Terms & Conditions, Shipping or Return Policy or FAQ pages.
The best drop shippers get back to you within 1 business day, 2 at the most. Sometimes things do go wrong, even with the best drop shippers, such as an item being delivered in the wrong quantity, or perhaps in the wrong color. When something like this happens, it is essential that the situation be remedied as quickly as possible. A quick response time is vital. The faster you hear back from your drop shipper, the quicker you can communicate the latest situation to your customer in turn.
Are you currently using the services of a drop shipper? We’d love to hear about your experiences.
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