While the dropship model is not new to online retail, many product suppliers are just now discovering the opportunity presented by offering their own dropship program to online retailers. There are a number of solutions available to help suppliers launch a dropship program quickly, but like any business venture it’s often easy to get started and difficult to sustain growth.
In this article, we aim to identify three of the most common reasons we see dropship programs fail and offer insight into how suppliers can adapt their dropship program to meet the needs of today’s online retailer.
Inaccessible Product Data
Your product data is one of the most valuable assets you can provide a retailer in your dropship program. It’s common to find dropship suppliers who manage product data manually on spreadsheets and expect their retailers to do the same. Unfortunately, this is a mistake many dropship suppliers make. Even with high margins and quick fulfillment, lacking an easy and effective way for retailers to access your product data can turn away high-volume sellers who might’ve been interested in dropshipping your products.
Successful retailers who adopt a dropship model expect a simple way to view necessary product information like titles, images, descriptions, and inventory levels. Spreadsheets and manual processes will typically turn away serious retailers, so ensure your dropship program offers an easy way for retailers to access your product data.
Below is an example of one of the ways product data can be displayed to retailers using F13 Works’ dropship automation software solution.
Lack of Automation
As mentioned earlier, manual processes are often looked down upon by serious retailers leveraging a dropship model. Order invoicing and order management are two parts of every dropship program that can become a pain point for retailers as they increase their order volume. Whether it’s uploading a spreadsheet or entering orders one-by-one, serious retailers expect a “Set it, and forget it” style of fulfillment.
Manually entering orders and paying invoices may not seem like a time consuming process, but to retailers who average dozens to hundreds of orders on a daily basis it can quickly become unmanageable. Automating the different processes involved in your dropship program will only improve the experience for retailers who join.
With F13 Works’ dropship solution, the entire order cycle is automated for you and your retailers.
Complex Retailer Onboarding
How long does it take for a retailer to join your dropship program? How long does it take for you to onboard a new retailer? If your answer to either of these questions is longer than a few minutes, your dropship program has room for serious growth.
From a retailer’s perspective, being waitlisted or jumping through multiple hoops to join a dropship program can be off putting and lead them to a competitor’s program. Look to software companies like Shopify for examples of what a seamless onboarding experience is like. With Shopify, retailers can set up a store in as little as an hour. In order to meet retailer expectations, your onboarding process should be seamless.
Thinking about onboarding from a supplier perspective, friction in the process limits your dropship program’s ability to scale. A great way to judge whether or not you have friction in your onboarding process is to ask, “What would happen if 1,000 retailers asked to join my dropship program today?” For many suppliers, the answer is simply that they don’t have an efficient way to handle that many new retailers. Investing in a seamless onboarding experience both benefits your retailers and grants your dropship program the ability to grow exponentially.
Our dropship software offers seamless onboarding for retailers and vendors that scales with your business.