Drop Shipping Alternatives
For those of us who are active online retail merchants and who don’t like the headaches of storing our inventory, dealing with packaging and the nightmares of shipping, there is an easier alternative. Drop shipping!
If you want to use this method, there are two alternatives:
Drop Shipping (Dropshipping) by the Manufacturer or Wholesaler:
Some wholesale companies are also willing to ship the merchandise you sell directly to the end buyer. Of course, you will pay extra for this. Sometimes the fee is honestly disclosed; other times it is already figured in to your wholesale price.
A few manufacturers are willing to provide this same service. That is extremely rare, but there is no harm in asking if the manufacturer is also your wholesale source.
Finding a legitimate dropshipper can be a difficult task. Fortunately there are product sourcing guides that can help you in your search.
Drop Shipping Done by a Fulfillment Company:
A second alternative is to have your inventory delivered to a fulfillment company. Such a company can do a number of services for you, such as enclosing your catalog with each order, boxing, shipping, and handling returned merchandise.
You can find fulfillment companies close to you, although it might make more sense to use a fulfillment company close to your wholesaler or manufacturer to reduce initial shipping costs.
You want to choose a drop shipper that is located in a major metropolitan area, preferably one that is not regularly impacted by inclement weather, which can delay your shipments.
One of my drop shippers was impacted by unusual weather that closed the airport for two days immediately before Christmas. I had to apologize to my late buying customers and offer them discounts on their future purchases to keep them happy!
Remember that you are paying a premium for the convenience of dropshipping. However, also remember that if you do your own shipping, you will encounter expenses in shipping supplies and inventory storage. You’ll also need a place to do the packaging.
No decisions are simple. This is no exception, as there are several variables to consider before making your decision. Of course, you can always change your mind later as your business grows.