Drop shipping really came into its own with the emergence of e-commerce.
An inevitable result is the fact that a lot of retailers now do business exclusively online. They visit drop shipping websites in order to find wholesalers they want to do business with. They often use those websites as their only source for determining whether to sign up with a wholesaler.
Given the importance of drop shipping websites in this regard, it is equally important that retailers pay attention to what they find. As a retailer, you can learn a lot from the information – or the lack thereof – on a wholesaler's website. We do our best at Safety Technology to provide as much information as we can.
Here are six things to look for on drop shipping websites:
1. Appropriate Product Lists
It goes without saying that one of the first things you'll be looking at are product lists. In other words, what kinds of products does a particular wholesaler sell? Anything that does not comport with your vision of e-commerce is not worth looking into any further.
We sell personal safety and self-defense items. If your business is built around cosmetics, we aren't going to be of much help. On the other hand, we are the largest drop shipper in our industry. We are your best option for personal safety and self-defense products.
2. Accurate Product Descriptions
Retailers rely on wholesaler product descriptions to figure out what to sell. As such, those descriptions should be accurate in every detail. This is something to be very careful of when you are perusing drop shipping websites.
The only caveat here is that retailers often don't know a product description is inaccurate until after a purchase has been made. Still, there are times when it's easy to spot descriptions that are either completely inaccurate or at least lacking. Retailers tend get better at spotting such descriptions the more experience they get.
Hand-in-hand with accurate descriptions are accurate prices. Retailers should make a point of being absolutely sure that the price they see advertised alongside a product description is the actual price they pay – which leads into the next point.
3. Drop Shipping Fees and Charges
It is entirely possible to pay the actual price listed in a product description and still end up spending more than you intended. How? Through drop shipping fees and charges. The fact of the matter is that some wholesalers charge extra for drop shipping. We do not.
Paying extra for drop shipping ultimately inhibits your business. You either have to absorb the extra charges or build them into your retail price, neither of which is an acceptable option. So if nothing else, scour those drop shipping websites until you find information about fees and charges.
4. A Solid Company History
We recommend retailers always read the 'About Us' sections on drop shipping websites. This is where you find information about a given company's history. What's the point? To focus on those wholesalers with strong histories behind them.
You have to be cautious with wholesalers who have only been in business a year or two. Companies with decades of wholesale experience under their belts are almost always a safer bet.
5. Fair Return Policies
There would be no such thing as retail returns in a perfect world. But you guessed it, we don't live in a perfect world. Therefore, it's in your best interests to hook up with wholesalers that offer fair return policies. You can generally find return policy information on drop shipping websites, although you might have to dig for it.
Bear in mind that you may have to adjust your own return policies to bring them more in line with those of your wholesalers. Operating on completely separate policies could end up being a money-losing proposition for you. For example, your wholesalers might only accept returns on merchandise with obvious manufacturing defects. Your policy should be similar if you do not want to end up with a ton of merchandise returned simply because a few customers changed their minds.
6. Spelling and Grammar
Believe it or not, spelling and grammar can tell you a lot about a drop shipping wholesaler. Both are fundamental to clear communications, so a website owner that does not care enough to make sure spelling and grammar are correct is not likely to give a whole lot of attention to the details of doing business. This is not the kind of wholesaler that is going to help you succeed.
You can learn a lot by looking closely at information found on drop shipping websites. A well-designed site with lots of helpful information presented with correct grammar and spelling shows that a wholesaler actually cares. Those are the kinds of sites that retailers should be looking for.