Monday, April 29, 2019

Selecting the right niche is the foundation of a dropshipping business.  When choosing the niche for your dropshipping store, you have to consider a few things.  With this, a good niche good is something that your market love. And that includes pet supplies. In this post, we will talk about pet supplies as a niche for your dropshipping store.

Are pet supplies a good niche for drop shipping? Yes, pet supplies are good niches because people who have pets are emotionally attached to their pets that they always want to buy something for them.  It is just like a new parent having a baby. Pet owners are likely to make purchases often for their pets.

We understand that there could be multiple niche or products on your dropshipping stores.  Getting a profitable niche is the backbone of your business. Without getting the right niche for your market, your store will not earn money. Pet supplies are one of the many niches that you as a drop shipper can sell online.  

Pet supplies is a wide range of niche that can help your sales for your dropshipping.  As we go along this post, we would know further why pet supplies are a good niche, and what products you could sell for your dropshipping store.

Why Does Pet Supplies Make A Good Niche for Dropshipping?

Large Market to Target
Did you know that sixty-eight percent of the household in the United States have pets?  This is roughly eight five million families owning a pet. Imagine the number of people you target as a market for your dropshipping.  Considering the number of potential customers, pet supplies are good niches in dropshipping.  

For Pet Lovers, It Is a Sign of Love
Aside from the number of pet owner, pet owners consider their pets as a family.  To some, they treat their dogs, or cats as their child and part of the family. They have an emotional connection with the pets and would treat them special.  Having said that, buying supplies, treats and pet stuff would be common to the pet lovers.

They Use Pet Supplies as a Gift
Thirty-five percent of pet lovers are millennials.  Because they love their pets too much, they want to buy stuff that will make them look good or things that could possibly help in caring for their pets.  These pet lovers would regularly buy stuff for their pets as a gift at least once a month. To some, with more than one pet, it could be more frequent.

Price Range
Any product sold in between the range of $1 to $50 dollars is good to buy.  If people search for stuff online, they go for a product that is sold cheaper.  Anything that goes beyond $50 is to be discussed with a parent, partner, or teammates.  For pet supplies, there are a lot of products that are sold for a relatively low price, making them have to decide and buy the items fast.

Need-Based Products
I keep on saying that pet lovers consider their pets as their family.  As a family, you provide them with their needs. It is non-negotiable for them to let this slip.  As part of their everyday living, just like humans, these pets need to be fed, bathed, and rest. Anything related to this needs is a good product and will definitely sell to the market.

Going back to our question earlier on this post, are pet supplies a good niche for drops shipping?  Yes, it is a good niche for drop shipping. Having pets is not only a hobby right now. These pets help relieve stress after a long day of work.  More and more people are getting inclined to pet-owning and will continue to progress over the years. Considering this a part of your top 10 niches for your dropshipping will help you raise your sales.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The major tasks for dropshipping include processing orders, inventory, and delivery.  One of the measurements of success in dropshipping aside from the profit you generate from the sales is being able to manage customer queries.  Now, if we further drill drown, under customer queries would be handling returns. Returns, if not handled well could be a huge disaster for the business.  

How do we handle dropship returns?  When the customer receives the item, checks it was not the correct item, defective, or did not match the item description, the customer will initiate a return.  The supplier will approve the return and check the item that was returned. The customer will either get a refund or receive a new item.

Understanding the Customers
What the customers say is significant for our business.  Knowing that our medium deals primarily using the internet, having negative comments from customers would easily spread out, in return will impact our business.  Same is true when we get good feedback from our customers, other potential customers will be engaged to do business with us. With this in mind, we have to understand what makes the customers happy or dissatisfied.  

With dropshipping, we not only process the orders of our customers.  We want to ensure that the orders are processed in a timely manner, processed correctly, shipped with the right quality, and with the right the description, and should not be damaged.  In a perfect world, we can be sure that one hundred percent of the time, our products are shipped with accuracy. But, we know that there are external factors to consider which may be affecting the entire process of dropshipping.  

With that said, in this business, we should know how to handle queries such as handling returns.  One of the things you need to establish is the reason why a return is necessary.

Incorrect item shipped.  When we talk about incorrect item shipped, this could mean a lot of things.  It could be the item was shipped in a wrong color, size or quantity. It may be a totally different item was sent to the customer.  To minimize having incorrect product shipment, there should be a quality check on order processing. 

Defective or damaged.  As was mentioned earlier, there are external factors that may affect the products.  It could be the packaging, the shipping, or handling of the products. In dropshipping, we cannot really guarantee 100% that we do not have misses on this.  It is equally important to do quality checks on the packaging to minimize the risk of having defective items. 

Low quality or incorrect item description.  This means that the product the customer was expecting was totally different from what was described online.  For dropshipping, the customers rely mostly on the description that was posted online. There’s no other way to determine if the matches the quality they were expecting until the item has reached the customer.  To avoid returns for the reason of incorrect item description, then it is the job of the drop shipper to make sure the accuracy of the description particularly to the color, weight, dimension, sizes, features, etc.

Guidelines When Processing Returns:
In every business, there should be a contingency plan.  Handling returns can be considered a contingency plan for the purpose of keeping customers and gaining more customers.  There should be a process in place when processing returns for the customers. We do not only maintain a good customer relationship, but we also maintain a good relationship with our suppliers.  Your dropshipping business’ return policy should be aligned with your suppliers’. Your return policy should meet the following:  

Fees associated with returns.  When a customer determines that the item is deemed to be returned, part of the process is to ship the item back to the supplier.  A dropshipper should be aligned with the suppliers' policy on fees. Who will carry the shipping fee, is it the supplier or the customer?  In most cases, the shipping fee is shouldered by the supplier.

Timeline for return.  We want to set a timeline as to how long can a customer initiate a return.  This way, we are certain that the items subject for return has not been tampered before returning to the suppliers.  Generally, suppliers set a return timetable of seven up to thirty days, depending on the location, type of product, and efficiency of the product.  For us, if the supplier’s set a timeline for the 30-day return policy, then we adjust our timetable to 14 days. This allows time for us to do a quality check on the item that was returned to us.

Tracking number for returns.  We want to keep good business with customers, which is equally essential when thinking about our suppliers.  Hence, we should only process returns with tracking numbers provided by our company. When the customer contacts us for the return, we want to own the concern and as much as possible, make a resolution.  A tracking number is one way to counter check the items before returning them to the supplier.

Step by Step process in Handling Returns:
You already understand why the customers are returning the products.  You also have a guide in processing returns. Now as we move on, let us talk about the process itself.

Customer verification.  When a customer purchases the item, he will be given a timeframe as to when he is expecting to get the product.  Once the product reaches our customer, obviously he will check the quality of the item. If in any case, it fails to meet the customer’s standards’ (damaged, wrong item, incorrect description, poor quality) he will initiate a return.

Customer contact or query.  The customer contacts us to inform us about the condition of the product.  As the dropshipper, we have to determine the condition of the product. We apologize and assure that we will do the necessary actions to address the error.  At this point, you should give options to your customer to either process a replacement or request for a refund.

Confirmation of Return.  If the condition of the product met the guidelines for return items, we will give a tracking number and instructions on how to ship the item back to us. You will check the quality and condition of the item.

Completion of Return.  Once the supplier approves, they will initiate a refund, or replace the item and send it the customer.  Complete the documentation for your records.

Related Questions:

What are the common dropshipping problems?

  • Although there have been improvements and ways to be an effective dropshipper, these are the common challenges encountered in dropshipping:
  • Out of stock
  • Order delays
  • Wrong item sent to the customer
  • Incorrect quantity delivered
  • Wrong billing made
  • Confused orders
  • Items sent to a wrong address
  • Invalid tracking code
Dropshipping Tips for new entrepreneurs:
We know that dropshipping is easy to start, low cost and automated.  Here are some tips for newcomers to the dropshipping world:
  • Choose the right product
  • Find a reliable supplier
  • Invest your time in marketing
  • Handle customer service concerns smoothly
  • Automate your dropshipping
  • Keep an eye to your competition
How to build a good relationship with suppliers?
Building a good relationship with suppliers is important. You will have regular transactions with them hence the importance of having a good connection with them.
  • Be fair but firm with them.
  • Address any issues with your suppliers as they arise.
  • Talk to your suppliers regularly.
  • Pay your suppliers' promptly.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Being out of stock in drop shipping is a pretty common scenario you will encounter with dropshipping.  When this happens, some will react unfavorably and may not be able to handle the issue appropriately. Knowing how to address Out of Stock is essential, and we will talk about it as we go along this post.

How to deal with out of stocks items?  One thing that you have to keep in mind when dealing with out of stocks is that you do not use the word, “out of stock”.  Remember, the seller’s rating is very important. Your rating will be affected if you say that the item was canceled because you were out of stock.

Why is it important to deal with out of stock items?
Internet and technology have its way of improving the means of communication.   With drop shipping, you get to interact with hundreds of customers every day. Products are sold to customers everywhere.  It is also convenient to communicate and give your feedback to a service. And with drop shipping, we understand how important a seller’s rating is.  

Good customer feedback strengthens our business.  Let us talk more about the importance of handling out of stock items.
Makes customers happy
We serve our customers in dropshipping.  We say that the customer is always right.  They are the meat of our business. They can get other products from other stores, but what sets your business apart from others would be our ability to provide better service to customers and making them happy.

Increases potential of getting repeat customers
When your customers are happy with the services you provide, your business will have the impression that you take customers’ business seriously.  Did you know that customers will only make feedback if (1) the customer is very happy? or the (2) the customer is very dissatisfied. A happy customer may mean repeat business, too.

Improves seller’s rating
Because you are in the world of dropshipping, you deal with both suppliers and customers.  We also know that the competition is tight in dropshipping. One of the things that a buyer is looking for when buying items online is the legitimacy of the seller.  If you have a bad rating, then definitely, the business will not be in good shape. The more happy customers you have, more chance of getting good ratings, equates to more repeat buyers.

What tips can you share when handling Out of Stock items in dropshipping?
When a customer sends an inquiry about the item they want to purchase, the items are most likely posted on your store or may have already made the purchase.  Later on, you find out that the item is out of stock! This could be an awful situation if not handled properly. Earlier we talked about how we can deal with out of stocks items in dropshipping.  Let me share some tips on how to effectively handle out of stock items.

First, on the list, take ownership and be proactive.
As for any business, taking ownership is very important.  On the scenario given, when you found out that you are out of stock, do not panic!  This is a common thing because you are in a retail business. Only that, this is done online.  What you can do is communicate with the customer. Be proactive and send an email to your customer rather than the customer asking for the items that did not come as expected.

Never say that the items are out of stock.
I have been reiterating this over and over.  Do not mention to your customer that the product is out of stock.  This will affect your rating as a seller and will create a negative impact on your customer.  If the customer wishes to cancel the order because of the explanation you will proactively say to your buyer, then tag the item as canceled by the customer but not out of stock.

Use positive phrases when talking to your customers
How you say things make the difference.  You can send the message to your customers better than being straight forward about the situation.  Not that we are teaching you to lie to the customers. Of course, there should be transparency but think of it as saving your business.  You still want to make it better at the end of the day.

Offer product resolutions.
Always ask the customer how they want to resolve the situation.  Of course, we will not tell them that we are out of stock. But you can be creative in explaining and giving them options to resolve the concern.  You can offer to extend the shipping date, offer replacement of a similar item, process a cancelation, and offer a refund. Note that we do not want to offer cancelation and refund onset.  This has to go last to your options. Some customers do not know what options are available to them unless you tell them. Again, be creative.

To summarize everything:  
Let us now apply the tips that were mentioned above.  You may use this as a suggestion in case you encounter “out of stock” issue in your dropshipping. You can say something like,

“ Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for your interest in the xxxx product.  It came to our attention that the items that you are interested in which we have on hand are not at its best quality.  As a valued customer, we want to ensure you get the products on its best quality. The new items will be delivered in approximately xxx days.  

Should you wish to proceed with the order, let us know right away so we can secure the order for you.  In the meantime, you may want to check our catalog and check other items that might interest you. Please let us know how you want to go forward with this and we will gladly assist and prioritize you.  

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.”

Related Questions:

What to do to handle the price increase in dropshipping?
Just like in dealing with out of stock items, a price increase is common to dropshipping.  As for any business, being transparent and proactive will make a difference. Send an email to your customers and tell them about the price increase, just don’t forget to give them options as to how they want to issue resolved.