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eCommerce businesses can be found in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Some online stores are humble one-person efforts, started, and run by entrepreneurs for fun and profit. Others are larger endeavors with larger teams that offer services instead of products. The internet is home to a wide variety of types of eCommerce sites that operate with nearly any kind of business model you can name or conceive.
That includes dropshipping, an increasingly popular method for earning money on the internet. Under this model, web store partners with a supplier or wholesaler to market their products. The former manages the sale and receives a cut, as the latter takes care of many other elements of the procedure of filling orders: manufacturing or procuring the merchandise, packaging it, and shipping it to the client.
Dropshipping can be a great way for eCommerce businesses to diminish their expenses and increase their profits. Additionally, it is excellent for people who would like to spend less time on technical details and more time on creative tasks. If this sounds attractive to you, then you should seek out an eCommerce platform that will enable you to perform such a business. Some are better fitted to dropshipping companies than others, and you ought to discover ways to differentiate between them and make the proper decision for where you can build your web store.
Listed below are six essential features that eCommerce platforms should provide if they would like to attract clients who are thinking about dropshipping.
1. Access to Dropshipping Companies
The internet houses a plethora of companies that provide dropshipping services, which means that finding one should not be difficult. The task is finding one which meets certain high standards, such as for example being who they state they are, offering rates that you can afford, and being appropriate for your eCommerce software.
You are certainly free to conduct the search yourself. Having said that, some eCommerce platforms do the task for you. In the event that you do a little snooping around on the website, you’ll likely find a page filled with useful information for any customers interested in dropshipping – including lists with their own suggestions for resources you may use in your hunt.
Moreover is what they provide themselves. Your platform’s developers might provide special integrations between their software and certain dropshipping suppliers, or applications for connections with even more companies and marketplaces. Regardless of what you find, you should check if the application or feature would allow you to import product listings on your webpage in a manner that you can receive revenue from the customer’s order as the supplier (who receives their own payment) can fulfill it.
2- Real-Time Shipping Rates
As customers place a growing number of items to their shopping cart software, they may keep an eye on each product’s price and also have at least an over-all idea of the total. Unfortunately, some eCommerce websites usually do not include the shipping charges in their sum until their unlucky visitor reaches the checkout page. Those costs may be higher than expected, which can lead to an abandoned cart.
To be clear, most online shoppers understand and accept that they can likely have to purchase shipping. What can really stop them from completing the ordering process may be the unpleasant surprise factor. You know to update the full total purchase price because they add more items to their cart. By looking from their perspective, you may also see the need for updating the shipping costs as well.
Displaying real-time shipping rates is essential for dropshipping stores. The countless offerings in your inventory may result from different suppliers and retailers, and all of them may be far away from each other as well as your customers. You should reflect this together with your charges, and the best practice is to be upfront about them. Your visitors may take it or leave it – and more will leave it if indeed they suspect your business of underhanded up charging.
Your eCommerce platform of preference should provide a real-time shipping rate calculator. This feature can instantly compute and display just how much the shipping costs add to the order, even while the order continues to be built. This is just one single more method of earning your customers’ trust and reducing cart abandonment.
3- ePacket Shipping
When looking for dropshipping suppliers, you may want to extend your search beyond your country’s borders. There are plenty of manufacturers and wholesalers in China and Hong Kong who can offer your store high-quality items for low costs. For example, the virtual marketplace AliExpress, whose an incredible number of vendors are excluded from those parts, could be a great place to look for a dropshipping partner.
With that said, there is a catch: shipping products from retailers based in China can take much longer than shipping products from companies based in your house country. Your orders might take weeks to attain your customers’ doorsteps, rather than every visitor will be ready to wait.
Despite this, there exists a way that you could reap all the benefits of a partnership with a Chinese company while minimizing or outright negating that potential negative: ePacket shipping. This delivery method enables you to quickly and economically ship lightweight items from Hong Kong and China through as first-class mail. Domestic mail carriers from a lot more than 35 countries, including the USA Postal Service, have partnered with this program specifically to market commerce. Find an eCommerce company that allows you to provide your visitors with speedy delivery at lower prices.
4- Inventory Management
When you adopt the dropshipping business design, you relinquish control over several areas of the eCommerce process to another company. Which includes your site’s inventory, which contains products that other people manufacture, store, and ship. There are plenty of advantages to this, of course. However, you need a way of staying along with the merchandise you offer.
Your website should always be accurate in showing visitors how many of every product you now have in stock. If you make a blunder here, you might receive orders that can’t be filled as quickly as advertised, which may frustrate your customers. A good single error can be enough to drive a would-be customer away.
Regular communication together with your supplier can greatly help, but it can only just really be area of the solution. Company representatives may not always be in a position to answer your calls and address your questions as immediately as you need. If this continues on for too long, you may be left adrift – if you don’t have another means of receiving the most recent updates about your inventory.
That is the reason for inventory management tools, which can offer a variety of methods for monitoring your product numbers, updating your pages as needed, and helping customers when supplies go out. You cannot work with an eCommerce platform unless they can give you some kind of control over your catalogue. Search for features like creating waiting list and accepting back orders.
5- Automation Rules and Software
While your dropshipping supplier handles a lot of the workload, you will still have lots of responsibilities as well. Included in these are vital areas of running an eCommerce site, such as emailing customers, updating the statuses of orders, and sorting them into membership tiers, to name a few.
That may not appear like much, especially with someone else looking after packaging and shipping through this business model. However, those tasks alone can be time-consuming and tedious, plus they grow exponentially way more as your website grows. If you want to improve your number of customers and your profits, you have to find a way to take care of all of that.
Thankfully, you do not have to defend against all that work yourself. Most eCommerce platforms offer automation services, either as built-in features or through giving their clients usage of software from other developers. These tools take the most repetitive responsibilities off your hands, and they are essential for the growth of any online business, including ones that depend on dropshipping.
The guiding principle behind automation rules is that lots of areas of website management could be boiled right down to a template. Should you have an application or feature that may complete the blanks with individualized details – the customer’s name in a “Your Purchase is Complete” email, the status of an order’s progress to fulfillment in the order management module – a human being’s input is not quite as necessary. This gives you additional time to concentrate on the more innovative (and frequently more stimulating) aspects of the job, no machine could be a substitute for human creativity.
6- Great Customer Service
This tip is applicable for every type of eCommerce store, but it bears repeating here. You will have customers with questions or concerns, and you will need to allow features that permit you to address them. Otherwise, they might not feel just like you see them as a lot more than just an income source, and they’ll take their business elsewhere. Moreover, if more than a few people ask about a specific aspect of your website, you can use that feedback to fine-tune it further and improve your store’s usability.
It may seem that listing a contact and social media accounts on a “Contact Us” page is sufficient. However, it’s also advisable to look into the likelihood of integrating a helpdesk platform. These solutions give customers the ability to reach you through live chats and multiple other means, all straight from your own website. They can contact you more immediately, and you could answer them just as quickly. Having the ability to ask you for help matters greatly to many online shoppers, and better relationships together with your visitors mean greater loyalty, conversions, and sales.
Of course, customer service is not limited by offering channels for communication. If your eCommerce software offers a method to categorize customers, you may want to take some time to create and place people on your own mailing lists into different tiers. You could utilize this to provide special deals to new visitors or reward frequent customers with coupons and other goodies. This can even be automated based on different factors, such as for example how many products a person has bought throughout their history or how much money a customer has allocated to your website. Just get creative and show your visitors that you care.
Dropshipping is definitely an exciting path for your business. If you want to help make the most of the experience, you should build your online store with an eCommerce platform that delivers comprehensive features for that business design. Thankfully, this should not be difficult: as increasingly more entrepreneurs and companies turn to dropshipping, more platforms will establish and provide more features and integrations that cater to them.