22 February 2017
There are so many articles out there that explain the benefits of drop shipping. Dropshipping is a great choice for retailers or small sellers to be able to grow their business without the need to think about inventory and production.
Of course, drop-ship also has its own shortcomings. After all, it is almost impossible to satisfy your customers all the time, right?
Even if you tried your best in your dropship business, there are still some things that out of your control. Unlike sellers who create their choice products and know exactly the amount of their stocks, drop shippers will not have any other choice but to rely on the other party (the one who creates the product) to check their stock availability.
But at the same time, you are the one who will answer to customer’s complaints when there is something wrong happen with the product or the shipping process.
Here are some common problems which you may encounter if you decide to do drop ship and how to deal with it:
1.Checking stock availability
Knowing the exact amount of stock in dropship is a bit hard because you are not the one who produce the item. dropship could be a problem, especially if one of your buyers ask about it. So, how you can handle it?
Write down the approximate length of the delivery time in your site. You can either put it on the checkout page or the invoice that you send via E-mail to your customers.
This does not only help customers to estimate the time of their ordered items but also to help reduce “shopping cart abandonment” (the act of leaving selected products in the shopping cart without paying).
Call your supplier. Ask them about their shipping procedure. Pick the longest time and use it as your estimation.
In dropship, your stock will be 100% the same as your supplier (because they are the one who produces the item, and you only act as an “intermediary” seller). In order to ensure everything run smoothly, ask the supplier to drop ship to you whenever they send the order.
Observe all the delivery schedules carefully, and take a note of all delays that happen in the process. If customers still not received their item past the estimation time, track the dropship right away. If you can not find it, call your supplier and ask them to help you track it.
What is back ordered product? Backorder is a term for a popular product that actually already out of stock for the moment, but the new stock is on the way of delivery to the seller. You can order the item, even though the seller actually still not received it yet.
This kind of product can cause a big risk for dropship seller, especially because you do not have a way to check the availability of the item.
2. Difficulty in building a strong brand
Become a drop shipper does not mean you are unable to build your own business brand/image, but it will be a bit harder rather than when you produce your own item. There is also a risk of delay in the shipping process that may bring negative effect for your store’s reputation.
So, why do brand become so important for your online business? Brand is more than just a name and fancy logo. Brand is your online business’s identity, a marketing tool that you can use to build trust and loyalty, so people is willing to shop at your store for the third times and so on.
Here are some tips to strengthen your brand image:
A packing slip is a piece of paper that contains important information about your store, like the logo, the name of the store, rules (like refund rules), phone numbers, etc. Most drop ship suppliers are willing to send the item on your behalf (with your store’s name instead of theirs). If it’s possible, ask them to create a customized packing slip with your store name and logo too.
You can put a brochure or mini catalog in each shipment package. Many drop shippers publish their own product catalog. Some of them even don’t mind to give them for free. Ask them to put one in each package.
If it is possible to do and won’t cost you too much, try to make the packaging as attractive as possible. For example, you can send a waterproof packaging paper to your dropship supplier that created with your own design and logo.
3. Problems that may arise during the delivery process
As a drop shipper, there is nothing that you want more than the item arrives safely on your customer’s hand and the customer feels satisfied with the quality of the item. If he or she feels satisfied, then it may lead to the second purchase and so on.
Of course, sometimes reality is not as beautiful as your expectation. The problem definitely will come, sooner or later. As the retailer, you will be the one who gets blamed first in case a problem arises.
The problems that may happen are:
Buyers are human. There will be times when they do a mistake while buying products online. Maybe they pick the wrong product or input the wrong amount. When that happens, the buyer will contact you to either change or cancel the order.
If you do not want to bother to take care of return goods, you can write it on your site. Something like “Item that has been purchased cannot be exchanged or returned”.
However, if you do not mind with exchanged or returned items, you should ensure you can rely on your supplier for that matter.
One of the main problems in drop ship system is the delivery method will be controlled by the supplier. That is mean, the delivery person will only communicate with the supplier when a problem comes.
Therefore, you need to make sure the supplier knows to handle any problem quickly. If the item got damaged during the delivery process, they must send the replacement as soon as possible.
4. Return policy
Having a clear return policy is an important factor to increase your sales and buyer’s satisfaction. Most drop shippers usually never think about the returning process until the problem arises.
Depending on your supplier’s return policy, you may able to let them take care of all returning goods. The shortcomings of this method are:
5. Bad supplier
Dropship business means that you need to build a good relationship with your supplier (or at least a good communication). A bad supplier is not only waste your time, it also will waste your money and ruin the trust between you and the buyers.
Keep in mind that not all suppliers can offer drop ship program. Be selective when you choose your drop ship partner. Try to send a short message first to see how fast they reply your message. If possible, choose the nearest supplier from your location. If they have a physical store, then it would be even better.
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