Drop-shipping is a retail fulfillment method of business used particularly in e-commerce. It is used by sellers who do not have a warehouse or are not willing to invest large sums of money in building up stocks. The ordered goods are transferred directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler to the customer, without the seller seeing or touching them.
In the fashion industry, while drop shipping works for standard, common items like t-shirts, or hoodies, it does not for designer outfits. If the products are already in stock and only require your design printed on them, drop-shipping is a viable option. The shipping supplier will be able to supply directly to the customer after getting the order from the seller. But any designer looks for exclusive products for the client, and no manufacturer will be willing to produce the goods unless the designer invests in stocks for it.
The biggest risk in dropshipping is unreliable shipping partners.
- The shipping partner can always cut the seller out of the picture and contact and supply the customer at a price that is lower than the sellers.
- The wholesaler can also sell the customer’s designs to other stores.
Therefore finding reliable dropshipping suppliers is essential for the seller who is venturing into e-commerce.
Drop-shipping has revolutionized e-commerce by minimizing costs on many online brands, since the seller does not have to invest in brand-owned manufacturing facilities or warehouses. Drop-shipping can also be beneficial for brands, especially if they choose designs that can be easily customized based on available specializations on the supplier’s website. They do not have to produce the products or manage them. In this mode of business, since the products go directly from producer to customer, the lead time from purchase to delivery is greatly reduced, enhancing customer satisfaction. The seller’s brand can then focus on marketing and advertising and building up its online presence.
There are various reasons why drop-shipping fails, particularly in the clothing sector. One thing to remember is that “Clothes have the highest return rate.” So the seller has to take that into consideration and the additional cost that he may incur, before settling on the price he will charge the buyer.
Here are a few points to help a newbie e-commerce seller who would like to avail of drop-shipping.
- Pick the right model: Remember a general store benefits more from this method than a high-end niche store.
- Patience and persistence: These two qualities are essential when one starts any business, be it physical or online. No business thrives from day one.
- Investments and Resources: All business today depends hugely on advertising, so one must keep resources available to reach the brand and its message to its target audience.
- Select the right platform: One should start selling on multiple platforms and then concentrate on the one that gives maximum return on investment.
- Customer support: Any seller must follow up the sale till the customer is fully satisfied with the product, particularly with the fitting and design in the matter of clothes.
- Attractive website: Virtual selling needs a well-made, good-looking website to catch a buyer’s attention.
- Value added service: This is essential not only to capture the attention of the customers, but also to retain them. Communicate with them, pay attention to their feedback.
Successful drop-shipping means quality products, on-time delivery, and after-sales service that goes beyond the customer’s expectations.
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