Drop shipping is a convenient and efficient way for online retail businesses to ship products directly to customers and earn profits. With drop shipping, the retailer can offer products for sale online without the hassle of stocking inventory. The retailer receives the order, and the products are shipped from the wholesaler to the customer. Ideally, the order is shipped with the retailer’s store branding so that the customer is unaware that the product was delivered by a drop shipper.
Finding The Right Drop Shipper
While drop shipping is a great way to do business, finding the right one can be a challenge. There are plenty of middlemen and brokers on the Internet who claim to be genuine. But to avoid being duped, the retailer must do some research to short-list legitimate wholesale drop shippers. This can be done online, at trade shows, or by getting in touch directly with wholesalers and product manufacturers.
It is important to investigate critical aspects, such as pricing, the company the drop shipper uses for delivering, and the reputation. A wholesale drop shipper must be reputable with a good track record of service. Unless the drop shipper provides a smooth experience for the customer, the retailer’s reputation is on the line.
A Checklist To Help Find The Most Suitable Drop Shipper
Here is a checklist of what to look for while hiring the right drop shipping company:
· To begin with, the retailer must find a supplier who is located close to the drop shipping company. Some product manufacturers and wholesalers also offer drop shipping services. Finding a steady supplier who can offer the best prices on products at good profit margins is the first step.
· Talking to similar businesses helps as they can often provide feedback and also recommend reliable ones. This is especially useful as the retailer knows what to watch out for.
· To ensure that the drop shipping company is legit, the retailer must conduct a thorough background check to get the complete company profile. This can be done via the Internet. However, many are known to be scammers, and because of this, it makes sense to read online reviews. Genuine wholesale drop shippers include a list of satisfied customers and testimonials on their websites from real people who can be contacted for details.
· The drop shipping company must have a clean business record. This can be verified with the Better Business Bureau and other regulatory authorities.
· Reputable drop shippers do not use free e-mail providers. Instead, they have e-mail addresses related to their company URL.
· The history can be checked with the help of the Drop Shippers Directory, which carries a listing of drop shippers with the number of years they have been in business along with customer reviews. Business forums also help with real-time reviews about drop shipping companies.
· Experienced drop shipping companies can help the retailer build a strong customer base. They can do this through personalized service and promoting the retailer’s brand. Many of them ship in the retailer’s name so that the customer usually does not know that the order was drop shipped.
· Good customer support is a crucial aspect of any business, and this is especially relevant in drop shipping. The drop shipper must be responsive to any queries raised and be ready to resolve any issues that crop up.
· A strong two-way communication system is a must. The drop shipping company must stay in regular touch with updates about product availability, which items are in stock, and the timelines involved for delivering products. Ideally, the drop shipping company must have an up-to-date website that provides information about which products are available along with quantities. The drop shipper must also provide a confirmation of products delivered with date and time of delivery.
· Choice of products is a major feature to look for when choosing a wholesale drop shipper. The wider the range of products and the bigger the variety, the better it is for the retailer.
· Product quality is the next thing to check. A sample order can reveal whether the product conforms to the promised quality.
· The back ordering and return policy of the drop shipping company is a vital aspect. Often, products go out of stock and have to be back ordered. This can affect the retailer’s sales. Some drop shipping companies tend to charge exorbitant restocking fees.
· The retailer must find out about the procedure for dealing with damaged items.
· Find out what the back ordering details are of drop shipping companies. Sometimes, companies will run out of items and have to put them on back order. Find out how this could affect your sales and read their refund policies.
· The drop shipper must inform the retailer about shipping charges upfront as this has a major influence on the retailer’s profits. While some charge exorbitant fees, others are reasonable.
· Most of them charge a membership fee for their services, and so long as they deliver what they promise, it is worth it. However, it is necessary to know what this fee is to get the best value from it. Fees include a monthly or annual fee along with their shipping charges and handling fees.
· The drop shipper must be able to offer a reliable payment processing system so that payment transfers can be smoothly done without delays to enable timely shipments. A good payment processing system must be supported by a protection program that protects both the buyer and retailer from fraud and other unexpected events that result on nonshipment of orders.
· If the drop shipper has a standard service contract, the retailer must understand it clearly.
Drop shipping benefits vary from one market to another and depend on the retailer’s specific niche and business goals. The above criteria must be thoroughly researched and balanced before hiring a drop shipper. It also helps to browse online to read reviews about short-listed drop shippers.
Make a Trial Run
To get the feel of a drop shipper’s services, the retailer must make a trial run with a minimum order quantity before starting to ship in bulk. This is best done by signing up with the drop shipping company that seems suitable and ordering a sample of the product the retailer is interested in. This will give an idea of how long it takes for the item to reach the retailer and the time it takes to deliver it to the retailer’s customer. Any issues with service can be fine-tuned in the initial stages. If the drop shipper has a money-back guarantee or free trial, it is a good idea to take advantage of the offer.
As with other aspects of business, the retailer must research drop shippers with care to ensure that they pick one who complements their business.