Drop shipping is an easy way to get started in the wholesale business without worry over warehouse space or shipping hassles. This approach brings a third party into the picture that actually keeps the stock and sends it directly to the customer for you. All you have to do is advertise the merchandise on your e-commerce website and handle the customer service end of the operation.
The key to a successful drop shipping business is a reliable supplier, and we have five questions you should to ask to ensure you find the best drop shipper for you needs.
What is Your History?
It is best to find a drop shipper that has a history to ensure the company is reputable and reliable. Check the Better Business Bureau if the drop shipper is located in the United States, or the Offices of Fair Trading Standards for a UK company. You can also peruse our drop shipping threads to ascertain if other e-commerce business owners have worked with the drop shipper and what they thought of the company.
Do You Have an Automated Process?
Most reputable drop shippers today will have an automated process for logging and shipping customer orders, which tend to be faster and more accurate overall. Inventories should also be automated, allowing you to receive up-to-date information on items that are back-ordered or out of stock. Information should be transmitted to your business daily or in real time to ensure your customers get the most recent information about merchandise.
What is Your Typical Lead Time?
Customers want to get their orders as soon as possible, and you should find a drop shipper that is willing to comply. In addition to a shorter lead time, you want to find a drop shipper that delivers on that time frame as consistently as possible. Since you will be the one letting customers know when their items are coming, you want the company on the other end of the transaction to hold up their end of the bargain as well.
What about Product Photos and Description?
Some e-commerce business owners rely on the drop shipper to offer the information. If you will be using product information from the drop shipper, peruse the company’s website to determine if their photos are clear and enticing, and if their product descriptions are detailed and professional. This will also give you an idea of whether the drop shipper is a professional, high quality company with whom you want to partner.
How do You Notify Customers about Low or Out-of Stock Items?
Customers do not like to wait long for their items, and they will be tremendously displeased if they discover later in the process that the merchandise will be delayed further or not come at all. Choose a drop shipper that will keep you up to date on the status of his inventory, so you can let your customers know right away if an item is not available.
Finding a good drop shipper is one of the most important components to a successful e-commerce business. By doing your homework before choosing a drop shipper, you can find a company that will help you effectively build your business and your profit margin.