Dropshipping provides a number of advantages. For starters, it saves you cash up front because you don’t have to pre-purchase the products you intend to sell. You also don’t have to pay to store those items, whether short or long-term.
Dropshipping also saves you time. By using the supplier’s product images and descriptions when updating your eCommerce website and eliminating your duties of packaging customer orders and taking them to the shipping office yourself, you can easily save several hours each and every week. Even more if you sell a lot.
Essentially, dropshipping takes the hassle out of the getting your customers their desired products, while still enabling you to run a profitable company. But how do you incorporate dropshipping into your existing eCommerce business in a way that makes switching from traditional shipping a more seamless process?
Reach Out to Current Suppliers
Contact your current suppliers and ask whether dropshipping is an option. Since you already have a pre-established relationship, they may be more willing to work with you in order to keep your business, even if they don’t typically dropship.
However, if they tell you that dropshipping is not a service they offer, you have two basic options. Either you can continue to use them and forego dropshipping on those particular products, or you can reach out to potential new suppliers who are willing to take the dropship route.
Research and Contact Potential New Suppliers
The more research you do up front on potential new suppliers, the happier you’ll be with your end choice because you’ll have taken the time to gather all the information you need to make the best decision for you.
First, check them out online and see what their process looks like. Read reviews from past and current clients of theirs to get a clearer image of what it’s really like to work with them.
If you like what you see, contact them directly and ask questions about:
- Their payment terms and total costs
- How often they change prices and if they offer discounts at certain points
- Whether they have liability insurance
- Whether they sell direct to the consumer (if they do, it may be hard to beat their pricing)
You also want to know what their shipping process looks like and which carriers they use to get their products to your clients.
Additional Factors to Consider Before Dropshipping
Before making a final decision about dropshipping suppliers, keep in mind that cost shouldn’t be the only factor for making a switch. You also want a company that is easy to work with and responds promptly when you have questions or issues. A company that delivers on time so you can be assured that your clients won’t be sitting and waiting for their orders.
Though you may not know some of this unless and until you develop a working relationship with them, the way they interact with you when you’re doing your research will reveal a lot about what you could expect if you do business together. If they seem inflexible now, they’ll likely be inflexible later. If they seem interested in doing what they can to earn your business in the beginning stages, their customer service has a greater chance of continuing to be stellar should you proceed.
Finally, get the details in writing before making the switch. This helps protect you if things go awry. If they’re a company committed to excellence, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if they give you a hassle and say you don’t need it in writing, this could be a sign that you need to go elsewhere.
Converting your current eCommerce business to dropshipping may take some time, but it is time that can pay off in the end. Both literally and figuratively.
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