Startups come in different forms and shades, but one startup you need little or no funds to set up despite being in the eCommerce sector is the dropshipping business. The reason for this is not far-fetched; for the dropshipping business, you don’t need to keep any inventory; once you can build your client base, all you need is to get the manufacturer, wholesaler, or even another retailer who stocks products to ship the products your customers want.
Expectedly, since you require little or no funds to set up a dropshipping business, the competition is very high; a lot of people engage in the dropshipping business because it is relatively easy to start. Once you have a computer, website, and functional internet, you can start your dropshipping business.
Despite its relative ease, one major factor you must consider about your dropshipping business is how to ship products from their different sources. This is very vital to the success of your business.
Since you won’t come in direct contact with the products, the packaging and shipping are determined by others, and this can be problematic if you don’t handle these aspects very well. China has become the hub of manufacturing, this is probably due to the availability of labor, a lot of suppliers, therefore, depend on products from China.
However, dropshipping from China can be very tasking, it usually takes a long time for the products to arrive, and customers may not get the satisfaction they want when products are delayed. They may even cut links with you and seek other options to get their products.
Big names such as AliExpress are very common among drop-shippers who ship products from China; incidentally, when you dropship with AliExpress you will have to deal with many layers of resellers as well as put up with a weeklong processing and a 30-day shipping time. Fortunately for your startup, options have come up to replace AliExpress.
For instance, HyperSKU claims of also sourcing products from China, which means that you will also get products at cheap rates and of high quality. What is more important is that you can have your products delivered to your customers between 7 -12 days.
Handling shipping time in dropshipping
Since the success of your dropshipping startup clearly depends on how you satisfy your customers, you need to take into focus how to handle shipping time. When customers get to know the truth about how your business runs, there may not be much friction, so you must be very transparent with your customers to build trust.
The first thing you need to let your customers know is that shipping time can be broken into the time it takes to process the order and the actual shipping. It’s when your supplier receives the order that the process of fulfillment starts; if customers don’t know this, there may be some confusion.
The best way to gain the trust of customers is to break down the information and provide it on your website for the different products, bearing in mind that processing time may not be the same for different products.
Order processing time
Order processing time can also be referred to as lead time; this is the sole responsibility of your supplier. This process starts once your customer has placed the order, and you pay to the supplier, since your customer has already paid before you can pay to the supplier, the customer will believe that the count-down for receiving the product has started.
While the customer has no fault for such a belief, you know that the order processing cannot be initiated if you do not pay for the order. So the earlier you pay for the order, the quicker the processing can start.
Why order processing takes some time is that the supplier must first locate the order, package, label, and then transfer to a carrier, especially where it does not do direct shipping. If you have a quality supplier, you should get the processing time from the data feed, dashboard, or app interface.
This information will enable you to deduce what you tell your customers as regards the processing time.
Dropshipping shipping time
The shipping time in the dropshipping business is also known as transit time; this is the actual time it takes the carrier to ensure the delivery of products to your customers. The countdown starts once your wholesale supplier finishes with processing and hands over the product to the carrier; you need to do due diligence to ensure that you have a trustworthy wholesale supplier.
The means of shipping can be the air, road, sea, or rail depending on the distance and the nature of the product. Shipping time is determined by the means the carrier uses and the location of the customer; some customers go the extra mile to pay for fast delivery.
You must consider all the possibilities before providing customers with shipping time information on your website. A study reveals that 60.7% of customers feel strongly about knowing the delivery time, and 47% will not do a repeat purchase due to a lack of delivery transparency.
While customers want quick delivery of their purchases, they may be inclined to wait a bit if you are honest with your information. As a startup, you may find it difficult to compete with Amazon, Walmart, and the other giants in the eCommerce sector, but you don’t need to be discouraged by this.
Your customers know that there are these giants before coming to you, all they want is an assurance that the information you have given them about your total delivery time which is the combination of order processing time and shipping time is realizable. Customers generally purchase products now to solve some particular problems, they have a time in view for these problems to be resolved and if they go for your products after confirming your total delivery time, they must have factored that into how they will utilize the product for resolving their problems; if you then disappoint them, you “shot your startup at the foot.”
For the success of any dropshipping startup, there must be transparency; though the faster your product gets to your customer, the better. Customers crave quality and unique products; if you ensure that the products you dropship are of the highest quality and also unique, you can still carve a niche for yourself in the global market despite the level of competition in the dropshipping business.
Whatever you do, don’t overlook the importance of shipping time; go all out to improve your shipping time.