Safety Technology dealers are a diverse group of people. Some of our dealers are very strong in selling at gun shows and flea markets. Others are online powerhouses. Still others operate brick-and-mortar retail locations in strip malls or downtown. If you drop ship, we expect that you probably handle most of your sales online.
Having said that, you face some unique challenges that brick-and-mortar and gun show dealers do not. Addressing those challenges in the right way is a key part of your success. Here at Safety Technology, we are pulling for your success in as much as it equates to our success as well. So with that in mind, here are three things to avoid as a drop shipping dealer:
1. Paying Extra to Drop Ship
You have to be sensitive about wholesale pricing whether you drop ship or not. But as a drop shipper, you must be even more sensitive about it for the simple reason that what you pay at the wholesale level influences what you charge at the retail level. As such, you should absolutely avoid paying anything extra for drop shipping.
Not only is paying extra unnecessary, but it also hurts the bottom line. Paying for drop shipping means increasing your retail price to cover the extra costs. This makes you less competitive than other retailers with lower prices. The result is lower sales that generate lower profits.
You could eat the extra charge in order to keep prices competitive. But that means less profit per piece, which isn't any better than lost sales due to higher pricing. Either way, you lose when you pay extra for drop shipping. That is one of the reasons we do not charge anything extra to drop ship.
2. Poor Customer Service
Safety Technology is more than happy to drop ship products for our dealers. However, our drop shipping service can only go so far. We cannot provide customer service or support. Remember, we are a wholesale supplier. We are not retailers.
As a drop shipping dealer, you are responsible for taking care of your customers. So the next thing to avoid is poor customer service. If you don't know why, perhaps you should step back and re-evaluate how much you know about running a retail business.
Customer service often distinguishes the professionals from the amateurs in the retail sector. Outstanding customer service leads to an equally outstanding experience that encourages casual customers to become loyal customers. The opposite is also true. Poor customer service creates a lousy experience that chases customers away. Which model would you rather pursue?
3. Lousy Wholesale Suppliers
It is our firm belief that a wholesale supplier should support its dealers with the same level of commitment those dealers give to their retail customers. With that in mind, avoid dealing with wholesale suppliers unwilling to take care of you. Lousy wholesale suppliers are out there in full force, so beware.
How do you tell a lousy supplier from a good one? There are several things you can do:
- Contact – Contacting potential suppliers is a great way to get a feel for their customer service. Make contact, even if you have to make up a need. A supplier that doesn't answer the phone or is too slow to answer an e-mail is probably one you don't want to do business with.
- Research – You can find out a lot about a wholesale dealer just by doing a little online research. Look for reviews and customer service questions. Look for scam alerts. Any information you can find is good information. Just remember the old adage of not necessarily believing everything you read online, so take all your research with a grain of salt.
- Go Social – Social media is another great tool for discovering how a company interacts with customers. Check out the social media profiles of any dealers you intend to do business with, looking specifically for how they interact with their followers.
Avoiding lousy wholesale suppliers will save you plenty of future headaches. We suggest looking for wholesalers with a good online reputation and a history within the industry long enough to establish some authority.
Wrapping It Up
We drop ship every product in our inventory for the benefit of those dealers not interested in maintaining their own physical stock. Moreover, we are happy to do so. We encourage any and all new dealers looking for drop shipping opportunities to thoroughly vet their suppliers before agreeing to anything.
We also encourage dealers to avoid paying for drop shipping. We encourage offering high quality customer service and paying attention to their relationships with their suppliers. As a drop shipping dealer, you can do quite well if you adhere to the principles discussed in this post.