Two of the greatest disadvantages of selling online are the inventory costs and fulfillment hassles. Fortunately, the existence of dropshipping has gotten rid of those inconveniences and helped you have more time to focus on the products.
In this article, we will provide you with several dropshipping tips on Shopify. Check it below if you are new to the term or you just want to start this kind of business!
Tip 1: How To Deal With The Supplier’s Mistake
No matter how careful they are, everyone still makes a mistake. If your supplier sends the wrong items, here are there ways you could do:
- Admit the mistake: Don’t try to blame the mistake on the supplier, as doing that only makes you look amateur while your customers don’t even know about their existence. Instead, you should admit the mistake and apologize to your customers as soon as possible.
- Make it up to your customers: To make up for the error, you can offer something small but practical. For example, you can make a refund of the shipping fee, give customers a small voucher for the next order, and so on…
- Have the supplier pay for the fix: You are the person who admits the mistake, but you don’t need to use your money for the fix. A reputable supplier will be responsible for their errors and try to fix them, including paying for the return fee.
While it’s true that everyone makes a mistake, a supplier’s regular botching the order is another story. In that case, you had better change your partner immediately, or your business will have to suffer soon.
Tip 2: Minimize The Number Of Out-Of-Stock Items
Imagine that you go into a shop, asking for some items and the shopkeeper keeps saying: “Sorry, it’s out-of-stock currently”. How annoying it is, right?
The same goes for your online business. To avoid that situation, here are several ways:
- Cooperate with multiple suppliers: If Supplier 1 runs out of an item, there is a likelihood that Supplier 2 still has it. That will enhance your order fulfillment ratio a lot.
- Choose popular products: A unique item sounds tempting, but it’s very difficult to find other suppliers with the same product to substitute.
- Offer another product: Instead of saying that the product is out of stock, you can suggest another one that is similar or even better than the requested. If fortunate, customers will choose the item you suggest without leaving the site.
Tip 3: Choose Right Supplier Among Multiple Options
Besides minimizing the number of out-of-stock items, multiple suppliers can prevent you from depending on one source only. But when an order is made, what will be the right supplier among the multiple options you have? Below are several ways to consider:
- Route every order to a favorite supplier: This supplier will have most of the items you are selling while also offering a superior service.
- Route the orders according to the location: If you don’t have a particular favorite supplier, route the order to the one that is closest to your consumers. This will not only save time but also reduces the shipping fee for consumers.
- Route the orders according to availability: It will take time if you do manually, but some services like eCommHub will turn the job automated for you.
Tip 4: How To Deal With A Return
In general, here is a process of a return:
- A customer informs you about the return demand.
- You ask your supplier to provide an RMA (return merchandise authorization) number.
- The customer mails back to your supplier, including the RMA # on the address.
- Your supplier refunds the merchandise’s wholesale price to your account.
- You refund the merchandise’s full price to the customer.
However, there will exist some issues that may complicate the process, such as:
- Restocking Fees: As a surcharge for returning an item, some suppliers will expect a restocking fee. In that situation, we advise you not to include the fee in the return policy. Even though it means that you have to spend some money, you will gain a considerable reputation and more customers in exchange.
- Defective Items: Your customer receives a defective item and now they need to pay additional postage to return it? What can be worse than that? Normally, most of the dropshipping suppliers won’t pay for it, so you have no choice but to compensate for the return shipping fees by yourself. In case the defective item is not really expensive, you can ship a new product without asking the old one to be returned. This action not only impresses the customer, but is also more cost-effective: Imagine that the item costs you $18 from the wholesaler, and the return shipping fee is $15. You still have $3 but have to mess up with the customer, supplier, and even your staff. Kind of unworthy, isn’t it?
- Non-Defective Items: If the returned product is non-defective, you can ask the customer to pay the return fee. This policy is extremely reasonable since it’s the customer (not you) that makes the mistake this time.
Tip 5: Provide Customer Support
Usually, you can implement a help desk and provide a series of FAQ articles to make sure your customers can enjoy the best shopping experience. Some desks assign problems to team members while also saving communication histories, such as Help Scout, HelpCenter, Zendesk, Richpanel, and Gorgias…
Another customer support service is the phone call - a lot more costly but also more friendly and useful. Whether you should offer phone support or not depends on two things. First of all, if you have another 9-to-5 job, it is impossible to handle calls. But if the business is your full-time work, or if you can hire a staff member, then the phone call is a feasible option.
The second thing to consider is the type of dropshipping products you are selling. If you are selling diamonds within the range of $1000 to $5000, customers completely have the right to talk to a real person. Nevertheless, if your products only cost $20 to $50, phone support is not really necessary.
Tip 6: Pay Attention To Marketing
An advantage of dropshipping is that many aspects are automated, which means that you have more time to focus on the marketing. Marketing will help customers find your site more easily and increase the website traffic for you. Some best marketing channels you should pay attention to are SEO, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads.
You can also optimize your online store through several tricks, such as using scarcity and urgency to encourage viewers to buy the products, giving social proofs to build trust, and utilizing images to make your homepage more visually attractive…
Note: If you have finished reading and are currently ready to start a dropshipping business, check this article to know what themes are best for your dropshipping Shopify business.