Monday, August 12, 2019

Customer service is part of any business.  Over the years of providing different kinds and levels of services to people, customer satisfaction has increased its level of expectations. It has become a benchmark of how services are rendered in any type of business.  Dropshipping, with its rapid growth, also has its own customer service standards catering to their customers. 

Do dropshippers provide customer service and talk with the customers?  Yes, they do.  As a dropshipper, it is our responsibility to assist our customers while maintaining good relationships with the supplier.  It is important to ensure that we keep our customers happy. This will lead us to gain more customers in the future. Customer service sets your business apart from the rest.

Why is customer service important in dropshipping?
Drop shipping has proven to be an easy way into the world of entrepreneurship.  A lot of people have been trying to establish their own because for one, the costs are low compared to other business.  Second, it requires no inventory of products. And the third is the flexibility it can provide you. 

For these reasons, you would have an idea of why people are becoming more attracted to getting their own drop shipping business.  Hence the competition. When browsing for products online, there are a lot of results that would appear, giving you promising advertising, and low price.  

Some would promise a faster turnaround process, but others would highly promote having customer support to assist you through the entire process.  This is something that a dropshipper would put investment and focus. Why? Because this is something that a business owner can have control over. 

In addition, any business means providing service to its customers.  No matter what type of business you want to establish, you will never go wrong with having a stable system that supports customer to do the job in making your business foundation stronger.  Having said why customer service is important, how can we, dropshippers, provide a quality customer service?

Tips How To Provide a Quality Customer Service 
How can we say that customer support is actually providing a “quality service”? Determining the quality of service given to customers may be subjective.  This can be influenced by a number of factors.  

As we know, there are different types of customers.  So, the best approach would be to streamline the process of handling customer queries.  By doing so, we can eliminate having to provide a service that can also be subjective to our customers.

Listen and Understand What the Customer Wants and Needs
The first step to providing a quality customer service is to listen and understand what your customer wants and needs.  As a dropshipper, there are rules and regulations we follow and the customers understand that.  

When a customer states the issue, most of the time we make assumptive resolutions which do not fully resolve the concern.  This is what most customer support representatives miss out. We explain the process to the customer right away without asking relevant questions to fully address what the customer wants. 
Make Timely Responses
To provide quality service to your customers, ask effective probing questions.  This eliminates the time spent to resolve the query, which also affects their satisfaction rates.  Customers are writing emails to us to ask questions. These may be questions on delivery, asking about the products.  

We need to treat each query with urgency.  This is one of the requirements for providing quality customer service.  We do not want our customers to wait for the delivery, at the same time wait for the response from us.  This makes our company look unprofessional. As much as possible, we want to reply to our customers within 24-48 hours.  

Stick with the Timeline
Delayed orders and responses to customers may trigger a customer complaint.  Initially, customers may just have an inquiry regarding the status. What makes a regular inquiry become a complaint is how we respond to the customers.  

Customers are more likely to become upset if we do not provide timely resolution to an inquiry.  Let us keep in mind that time is a valuable resource, especially in a business like dropshipping.  Every day that the item is not delivered to the customer may affect their satisfaction rate. 

Give Right Expectations
Below are some examples that may trigger unhappy customers.
  1. Customer support does not provide timely responses to customers. 
  2. When delivery is expected to arrive in 5 days, yet it took a week or so for the customer to receive the item. 
  3. Inappropriate responses were given to customers. 
Given these examples,  we need to be ahead of our customers.  Sure they may be upset if these timelines and expectations are not met.  But, it will make the customers more unhappy if they were not told about these specifics ahead of time.  
Do a Follow up 
After resolving the concerns of a customer, be sure that we reach out to them.  Ask them if we were able to address all concerns and that we are proactive in sending our help as a dropshipper all the time.  This will make our customers feel valued and special. By doing so, we can extend our services and exceed what is expected of us. 

After all, customer service does not only happen when customers reach out to us for help.  We, as a business owner wanting to keep a strong relationship with customers and suppliers, can also do something extra for our customers by simply checking out on them.

Remember on our previous post about Why Most Dropshippers Fail, it was mentioned that one of the reasons why a dropshipper might fail is because customer service was handled poorly.  There are times when dropshippers overlook this not knowing how much it could impact your success. 

Being able to provide the appropriate service the customer deserves will ensure a stronger business foundation for your dropshipping.  By using the tips mentioned, we can be a step or two ahead of becoming a successful dropshipper.

Friday, August 2, 2019

The processing time to complete an order for dropshipping is a big question to many aspiring dropshippers.  Due to the demands of the business, time means money. We want to do things as quickly as possible. Let us know what is the turnaround time for a dropshipping store to fulfill orders on this post. 

What is the turnaround time for fulfilling a dropshipping order?  There are two phases to complete an order in dropshipping.  The processing and shipping time. The timeframe to order products in dropshipping generally takes up to 35 days.  This is the standard order processing and delivery time we consider when making that purchase. This varies on the location and the type of products ordered.

There is no fast shipping option is dropshipping.  Customers have learned to accept this as they have been making that purchase with dropshippers regardless of the time they need to wait for their orders.  This is an expectation of customers buying products on our store. 

Time is money in any business, especially when we are talking about a service that offers delivery.  We want to do things as quickly as possible. After all, we can use the time for other things useful.  So, as a dropshipping business owner, we want to talk about the phases of fulfilling an order in dropshipping.  

Processing Time vs Shipping Time
The fulfilling time of a dropshipping order depends on the product and is also depending on the delivery location.  Now, let us get to the specifics on how each process is done and how long it will take to complete.

What It Means About Processing Time 
We often encounter the word “processing time” in dropshipping.  Ideally, it takes 3-5 days for the processing time to complete. This is the controllable part as a dropshipper.  Here are the steps to fulfill an order. 

  • The process of placing the order.   This is the initial phase to fulfill a dropshipping order.  The turnaround time usually takes 24-48 hours. 
    • Here, the customer chooses the product online.  
    • Once the customer was able to choose the item they want to purchase. They click the “order” button and it will be put on the process.  We will wait for the customer to confirm the order.
    • Part of the confirmation of the order, the customer needs to provide his information.
    • He will then proceed to pay the product.  Once paid, the confirmation has been completed. 
  • The process of Completing the order (2-3days)
    • At this point, an order number has been generated and we will begin to forward the order request to the supplier. 
    • The request will be sent to the supplier who will check for the items ordered.
    • They will check the availability of products, the quantity, and the variants.
    • Once confirmed that the item is available, the supplier will proceed with packing and handling of the products. 
    • After all, these have been accomplished, the supplier will send the item to the shipping facility.
Discussing About the Shipping Time
We have learned about the first phase of fulfilling a dropshipping order which was the processing time.  Now the second part will be the shipping time. Generally, it takes approximately 5-20 days to fulfill the shipping process as most products are coming from overseas.  This is normally completed and done by the suppliers.

The shipping time is defined as the time spent to deliver the products from the warehouse to the customer.  In this phase, we no longer have the control as a dropshipper. However, later on, we will discuss how we can make things better when it comes to shipping time.  Below are the steps in detail as to how we fulfill the shipping process in dropshipping.

  • Shipping Order Process (5-20 days)
    • The dropshipper already created the order on their side.  Now, the supplier received the request of the order who will transport the product to the shipping service and get in contact with them to deliver the product. 
    • In return, the supplier gets a tracking number for the order which is linked to the order number generated by the dropshipper.  The tracking number will be used to get an update of the location of the product and how soon it can be delivered to the customer.
    • The shipping service loads the items and dispatches them for delivery.  They are now responsible for transporting the products to the customers.
Both processes described above are the general steps to complete a dropshipping order.  The customers are aware that most products ordered in dropshipping would take longer. Customers are willing to wait but better if we can send the products faster.  But, it’s okay. What will make customers upset is if it takes longer than the expected delivery time.  
However, dropshippers have ways to cut the time to fulfill a dropshipping order.  As we know, most of the products are coming from China. If that is the case, the delivery time would be longer.  As a turnaround, if we see that an item is coming from the suppliers in China, we choose ePacket as the delivery option to ship the products to the customers. 

Why choose ePacket?  An ePacket is an international agreement by countries to ship merchants to other countries.  Normally, it takes 4-12 days to ship items via ePacket. So, when choosing the shipping method for Chinese suppliers, try as much as possible to look for ePacket on the delivery options.  It will help you save more time.   
Since it takes longer to deliver the products from China, ePacket is a good option as it also helps you track the items.  That way you can be on top of the order and be able to provide the details of the shipping to your customer. Another option would be, choosing suppliers from the US to fulfill the order.  Overall, this decreases the shipping time to an average of 4-13 days.

Now that we have learned about fulfilling orders in dropshipping, we can now Avoid Dropshipping Problems.  Another topic we covered to minimize the risk Why Most Dropshippers Fail.  Soon you will be successful in setting up and keeping your dropshipping business stable.

Monday, July 29, 2019

A supplier plays a very important role in dropshipping.  They are responsible for fulfilling and packing the orders and then ship them to your customers.  In this regard, having a quality drop ship wholesaler who will turn into your supplier is necessary.  Let us discuss how to determine if you are dealing with a quality dropshipping wholesaler.

To get a legitimate supplier and make us save money let us know how we can determine if we are dealing with a quality dropshipping wholesaler.  To find a quality wholesaler for your dropshipping, these are the things we can watch out to determine if you are dealing with a quality dropshipping wholesaler.  
  1. Experience in wholesale dropshipping
  2. Fast shipping and smooth transactions
  3. Top-up fees 
  4. Selling quality products
  5. Takes advantage of Technology
Finding a quality dropshipping wholesaler can be a challenge as there is a lot of fake and unreliable wholesaler that promises better deals to its customers.  Let us get details about the list we have come up to understand why this is how we can determine if we are dealing with a quality wholesaler. 

Experience In A Wholesale Dropshipping
We will be dealing with the supplier all the time.  They will help you in making your dropshipping store a success.  When working with suppliers, we want to make sure that they can give you answers to your queries and help you.  If not, at least they know who to reach out to and get to you with the information you need.  

A supplier who is experienced in dropshipping knows how to efficiently work with the order fulfillment,  handling, and shipping of the products well. This will totally help us be able to get more customers to buy products from us because our supplier knows exactly how to deal with the products while maintaining a good relationship with us

Top-Up Fees 
A quality dropshipper will not take advantage of the demand for dropshipping.  They know that there is so much competition in this field. And believe it or not, there are suppliers for dropshipping who take advantage of the demand.  They will place a high product margin to cover the handling, and branding of the products. 

Once you have established that relationship with the supplier, they will give you a reasonable product margin to take care of the products you use for dropshipping.  You can certainly look for suppliers who can give you a good deal while keeping the quality service.
Fast Shipping of Products 
Well, efficiency is necessary for a dropshipping business.  The rate of shipping the products, handling them may take time to accomplish.  You have to understand that there are a lot of customers a supplier is dealing with which makes them preoccupied affecting this part of the dropshipping cycle. 

If your supplier is able to accomplish the handling, and shipping of products within 48 to 36 hours, your supplier is a keeper.  It will help you gain a competitive advantage among other dropshippers. The more orders they fulfill at a shorter time, the more happy customers we gain and get as many customers in return.

One way to test the efficiency of your supplier is to try to make a purchase from them and see how much time they spend in getting the products delivered, and get to the customers.  By then, you can make a decision whether or not you will partner with them.

Quality products
Things will always go right if we are selling good products to our customers.  We want to ensure that our suppliers are giving our customers the least product defect.  This helps us lessen the returns, refund and replacement requests.  

Our goal is to minimize the complaints from the customer especially if it concerns the quality of the products.  At least by giving our customers products that they will be happy about, they would more likely give recommendations, and ratings. 

Takes advantage of technology 
We talked about efficiency earlier.  Efficiency in completing the order in terms of handling and shipping products to our customers.  One of the resources we can use for us to achieve efficiency is to take advantage of the technology.  With this, we are talking about suppliers being able to provide answers to the most common questions.

As an example, a quality dropshipping wholesaler sets up a detailed website with product descriptions.  A website that can track inventory, and be able to do order modifications. This helps reduce the time spent for placing orders, make payments, cancel or replace them in minutes. 

How to Look For Quality Wholesaler
Finding a quality wholesaler may be difficult.  We can use a search engine to look for quality wholesalers to support our dropshipping business.  Right now, I have listed a few tips to use to look for a quality wholesaler. 

Using a Supplier Directory 
Remember we always say to look for a quality and reliable supplier for your dropshipping.  This is true, and one way to look for suppliers is to use a supplier directory. There are many platforms available to use to source for a supplier.  You might have heard of them or seen posts promoting these platforms.  

To give an example, Shopify, SaleHoo, Alibaba, and BigCommerce are among the list of many platforms used to source a legitimate and quality suppliers.  It lowers the risk and helps you filter your research option for the products you want to sell on your store. 
Attend Trade Shows 
Another way to source for a quality dropshipping wholesaler is to attend trade shows.  This is a strategy by business owners and executives to gain connections and collaborate and acquire learnings and skills from other businessmen who are also successful in their field.  

By attending trade shows, you can directly meet new customers, and build a new relationship with suppliers while maintaining a stronger connection and ties with existing partners.  You will be able to get good deals offered by these potential suppliers.

Getting a quality dropshipping wholesaler will help you gain more profit in the business.  It will help you save more and gain more. Remember that a good relationship with your supplier will bridge the customer's satisfaction to your store which is the primary goal of our business. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

On to another hot topic about dropshipping.  Most of us would be interested in knowing how much we need to launch a dropshipping store.  Let me just set expectations that it would not be identical for every dropshipper. You might have different goals, budget, and capacity.  Let’s get started, okay?

So, what is the cost of launching a dropshipping store?  The estimated cost of starting up a dropshipping store is less than $500.  This rough estimate is just a bare minimum to get all you need to completely set up the store.  Remember that this is not fixed for everyone. As we go on the article, we will discuss what you need and how much to complete the setup. 

Setting Up Your Dropshipping Website
The first thing that you have to do if you have already decided to start with this business is your store.  And for drop shipping, we are not talking about a physical store where people walk in to buy products. Remember that an advantage of putting up a dropshipping store is doing most of the transactions online.  This makes it convenient for most since we are talking about flexibility.  

To successfully start your dropshipping store, the first thing where you will spend your money is creating your website.  Another advantage of dropshipping is that you can use platforms to help you set up your store. In this step, we will use Shopify as an example.  Shopify is the most common platform used for dropshipping. 

It allows you to take payments from the customers and post items on sale. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial to help you set up your store.  However, realistically, we will not earn in 14 days. 
So, basically, we need to subscribe to complete the setup.  The basic plan costs $29.99 per month.
Making Your Store Credible - Create an Online Domain
Customers will be using your website very often.  To make your store look credible, then you have to create a domain.  You want to customize your store and look professional to your customers.  Creating a domain name for your dropshipping store because you want to build a brand which is very important in dropshipping.  

There is a strong competition and many dropshipping companies will also find strategies to promote their store.  Aside from this, creating a domain name also helps your business to be easily remembered. Now talking about the cost.  The pricing for a domain at Shopify is $14/ year.  
Make a Logo For The Business
Apart from using a domain name for the dropshipping store, now we move on to the next.  You need a logo for it to look nice. Just like using a domain name for the business, it also makes a website credit to the customers.  Business owners use a logo to attract more customers based on their creativity in creating one.

Some business owners would use a logo to tell a story about their business.  How it was founded and what makes them significant among others. The logo will also boost the confidence of the customers to your store.   

Fortunately, there are free websites that can help you make a logo for your dropshipping store.  But remember that you can get better designs with those of the paid applications.

Use Dropshipping Platforms to Search for Suppliers
An advantage of being in a dropshipping, allows you to have options on which platforms to use to help you become successful.  An example of a platform that you can use is Multi-Drop. It helps you find great products to sell online and import them to your store and set your prices.  

Multi-Drop includes product research, analytics and offers customer support to its clients to ensure your business’ success.  They offer various plans to choose from whichever fits your dropshipping needs. However, to be realistic with better profit gain, you can sign up to $29/ month.

Cost for Marketing
We have mentioned in our previous post on How To Advertise Your Dropshipping Store why marketing is very important in dropshipping.  As a matter of fact, most of the costs will be spent on marketing campaigns and advertisements to promote a successful dropshipping store.  And so many dropshippers, having their creative minds also find ways How To Get Free Traffic To Your Dropshipping Store

This post lists of ways you can maximize the marketing strategies while keeping the cost to a minimum.   It is important to take advantage of ways to market the products for free. However, you have to keep in mind that it is not so efficient and effective compared to paid marketing. 

Just to give you an idea of the cost.  According to studies, if you want to get 5 sales, then you need to reach to 200 customers to pay attention to your dropshipping website.  And to reach 200 customers, you need to boost your marketing ads to reach 20,000 potential customers.  

Facebook Ads and Google Ads are just examples of paid marketing advertisements you can use for the business.  On the above example, you need to spend a rough estimate of $250/ month to make it work. 
Optional Expenses for a Start-Up Dropshipping Store

Purchase Sample Products
If you are looking to check product quality, the turnaround time of handling and shipping by a supplier, you can purchase sample products that way you can also check the legitimacy of the supplier.  

Let’s say on this, you need to spend $15 per item.  This covers the overall cost of the product including the shipping.  To be realistic, you want to buy 5 different products. The total estimate cost to purchase sample products would be $75.

Dropshipping Apps
Getting an app for your dropshipping store is an optional expense you want to consider when setting up.  Just like what we have discussed a while ago, setting up a dropshipping store depends on your goals and needs as a businessman.  This feature can be used and added at a later time if you wish to. 

There are applications developed to improve the quality of selling in dropshipping.  Some of them are designed to do cross-selling, upsell and even boost sales. These apps as available for $19/ month.

A helpful tip: Do I Need A Credit Card for Dropshipping? You can use a credit card to pay for the subscription fees.  Using a credit card to pay for the upfront fees does not make you save money but will give you more time to adjust from the expenses and start earning money from your dropshipping store. 

Let us do a breakdown of the expenses mentioned above.  Remember that this is a price estimate and is only covering the bare minimum to set up a complete and functioning dropshipping business.  

Dropshipping Website $29.99/ month
Online Domain $14.00/year
Multi-Drop $29.00/month
Budget for Marketing $250/ month
Total $322.99

Optional Expenses
Sample Products $75.00
Dropshipping Apps $19.00/month
Total + Optional Expenses $416.99

Keep in mind, how much you want to spend will always depend on your business goals. The illustration above is for launching a dropshipping business at a bare minimum.