Dropshipping seems too good to have been true when you first start e-commerce. It isn’t as simple as it sounds.
You don’t have to worry about having enough inventory to meet your orders or not having enough. It can be a burden on your mind to have no inventory. Dropshipping allows you to “drop” shipping problems onto your suppliers!
Your greatest advantage over traditional online retailers is also your biggest problem: dropshipping suppliers. Since you are already reading this blog and familiar with the SaleHoo dropshipping suppliers directory, we assume that you have already verified your suppliers.
Alex Fedotoff is an eCommerce entrepreneur that makes multiple 8-figures a year from his eCommerce businesses. We use apps that connect directly to our CRM ( Shopify, for example). Each order has its own notes, statuses and so forth. Automation is essential. It’s important to work with great people, and use automation tools.
As such, it is assumed that you are in a partnership with several dropshipping companies and that you manage the sales while they manage the supply. This is why it’s possible to get in trouble with customers.
Most problems occur when fulfillment goes sour and you are the only one to fix it. Dropshipping is a business that customers don’t know they are doing. They should think that you are a regular retailer. If your customers complain, you can’t blame the supplier.
You need to learn how to avoid common issues with dropshipping suppliers so they don’t affect your bottom line.
What to do if your supplier is out of stock
This is the most common issue you will encounter in dropshipping. This is why it’s important to keep track of all your suppliers and have multiple suppliers for the same item.
Keep track of inventory
Ask suppliers for a daily inventory report. If your suppliers are located overseas, make sure to get reports for their end workday. This will reflect inventory for the next day. Before orders arrive, it is important to understand what you are dealing with.
You can also access their inventory online in real-time. You’ll be able to see what is in stock at any given moment. This information will allow you to plan ahead and adjust your offerings. You can also pull items that are no longer available, or those that you feel is too uncomfortable.
You can have more than one supplier
You don’t want to lose out on sales opportunities if you have a high-seller item. There is a good chance that more than one supplier has the same item or a similar one. Keep this in mind and you should always have a few backup suppliers in case your primary supplier is unavailable.
Dropshipping companies may not offer the same deal. You are more likely than regular suppliers to receive better discounts or have a better reputation. If you rely on alternate suppliers, you might end up paying more. The price you must pay to keep your customers happy is less profit. You might want to avoid this by keeping your orders open with alternate suppliers. This will allow you to build relationships with multiple suppliers, and you can negotiate a better deal when you need it.
If you are unable to find an item you ordered, let your customer know immediately. Offer your customer a refund or a coupon for a discounted next order. Instead of sending them an email, phone them.
Fedotoff recalls that during one of our Christmas periods, there was an influx in sales. However, the supplier couldn’t fulfill the orders as he didn’t have enough staff to handle fulfillment and warehouse operations. We experienced delays in our orders, which resulted in us paying approximately $100,000 in chargebacks and refunds. We have always had a backup supplier since then.”
How to handle an item that isn’t as described
If you don’t do your prep work correctly and forget to get a sample of the product you are dropshipping first, this will only happen. This is a serious mistake. Be sure to know exactly what you are selling. This will allow you to create a product description that is accurate and avoid negative feedback.
You can always apologize if the deed has already been done. You can offer a discount or a refund, or, if they are willing, send them a product that matches your description. You will be responsible for any losses that may occur as part of your customer support costs.
Fedotoff advises that if your supplier is trustworthy, they should be able resent the order if it was their fault. This is where a trustworthy supplier can be a great asset.
What to do if an item is damaged?
This is a common complaint. However, you should not be alarmed if your supplier has a return policy. You are responsible if your policies differ from those of your suppliers.
The supplier should send a replacement if a customer returns an item in accordance with both policies. To avoid getting antsy, keep track of the status and update customers regularly.
How to handle an invalid tracking code
Before you forward the tracking code from your supplier to your customer, make sure it is valid and correct. If you are proactive and take the time to check for quality before it becomes a problem, it’s not too big of a deal. Although it would be nice to trust people to do their jobs, a little suspicion could save you a lot later.
Manufacture of branding is lacking
Dropshippers have limited opportunities to promote your brand beyond your website and any social media marketing. This can prove problematic. To emphasize that you are the one sending the items, some suppliers will package your orders with marketing materials. Fedotoff says that stores must have a strong visual identity and branding to be successful.
Dropshipping suppliers often do this in order to be more competitive. If you search for dropshipping suppliers, it can make branding much easier.
Dropshipping can be a great business model but it’s not a magic bullet. To ensure that every transaction runs smoothly, you will need to put in a lot of effort before, during, or after conversion. If you remember that inventory is a positive and a negative thing, you can avoid many of these common problems.
Your success is dependent on your dropshipping suppliers. To remain competitive in ecommerce, you must keep your customers satisfied by providing the service they expect and deserve.
What have been your experiences with dropshipping suppliers? Please share your experiences with dropshipping suppliers in the comments.