By IvyLee Rosario
Drop shipping seems to be an increasingly popular option for businesses when it comes to selling goods. While it doesn’t take a lot of money to get started drop shipping, there are several topics that should be brushed up on before taking the plunge. We caught up with Larry Collins, the owner of Novatech Wholesaleto discuss the do’s and don’ts of the drop shipping process, as well as some tips needed to be successful.
Q: For those who may not know what is drop shipping?
A: Drop shipping is the ability to sell products that you don’t need to fund. In other words, you don’t have to go out and buy inventory and keep it. Sometimes you buy products that don’t sell, and sometimes you have inventory flying off the shelves so you don’t have that money tied up on obsolete inventory. The upside for people who want to do this is that they can get in, it takes very little money, and it’s one of the few companies that requires very little startup capital to get started. You basically just need a plan and an idea and some dedication to get started. Potential entrepreneurs want to be able to sell on numerous channels such as their own website, Amazon, eBay. They can sell in their niche or accept products of all kinds and be an “all” store. The upside is that you don’t have to invest all that money upfront, the downside is that it’s difficult to find good dropship companies who can provide tracking in a timely manager, deal with issues and keep up with your inventory.
Q: How does inventory matter in drop shipping?
A: If you list your own products, let’s say you have three or five and they’ll be in your inventory, it’s very easy to manage. When doing dropshipping, you need to keep your inventory in sync with your supplier, which is much more of a challenge or inventory can go away. The common misconception is that the customer comes by, sees a company with lots of products and believes they will never run out. Then they sell one item, go to the supplier to order another, and then they sell out. This is bad for everyone, because of course the customer is angry, there are possible violations, so that it becomes a negative experience. You need to have a plan to manage this inventory so you always know when your supplier is out of stock or not. Some suppliers will provide you with the tools available to you to manage them, and some will not. So you need to look out for suppliers who will actually help you manage your inventory when you don’t have a plan.
Q: How can you manage your own inventory when you have a supplier who is not there to help?
A: There are third party vendors who can help, such as Inventory Source. You can also hire custom programmers to customize a plan for your inventory management. There are the push to ebay services that help with the marketplaces. This is part of what Novatech does as we provide custom files for customers who do not have import / export tools and are unfamiliar with inventory management methods. A person can’t just open a website, import a bunch of products and sync with their suppliers without having an import / export tool unless you manually look at your items on a daily basis and that would be a big one Challenge.
Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to start dropshipping or use a dropshipper?
A: First, I would determine if this is going to be a hobby for this person or if it is something they want to do for a living. If they choose to go on the ladder, I would wholeheartedly recommend doing your research on exactly what you’re looking to sell, where you’re going to sell it, what tools you need to sell, how to track and manage returns, familiarize yourself with the venues, Track and Manage Sales, Learn about inventory management, find a reliable supplier, and most importantly, don’t sell products you don’t know about. The more you can interact with your customers, the more sales you will get, but that will only happen if you are convinced of what you want to sell. This takes hard work and dedication and will definitely not be successful without hard work and effort.
Q: You mentioned returns. What should you know about returns and dropship?
A: There will always be returns. There are times when you have a broken or damaged item so expect unwanted returns and you need to make sure that you have a plan for your customers so that they will have a pleasant experience shopping with you again.
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Bakersfield, CA 93309