Dropshipping is one of the most attractive options for e-commerce store owners. It is a form of order fulfillment where an online store does not hold any inventory. Instead they partner with dropshipping suppliers who hold the inventory. Every order placed on the e-commerce store is communicated to the supplier, who sends the ordered products directly to the customer with the branding and packaging of the e-commerce store.
The biggest advantage that it offers, is removing the headache of managing inventory .Since there is no physical stock to control, one can work from any location. To increase your product range or number of products in stock, you can tie up with multiple dropshipping partners. It has many benefits, and if managing multiple suppliers seems to be a bigger headache then worry not! We have a few tips for managing your e-commerce store with multiple dropshipping suppliers.
1) Data Synchronisation
Data synchronization is an integral element of handling multiple dopshipping clients. Investing in software and tools which constantly monitor inventory levels and product availability, transfer live data between retailer and supplier, provide automatic updation of orders so that both the retailer and supplier are on the same page are a few tools which can ensure smooth coordination between you and your suppliers. You can monitor all details from the panel to always stay updated with the latest figures from your suppliers and accordingly change your product listings and strategies.
2) Similiar Return Policies
Returns are one of the most common and recurring issues in e-commerce and every e-commerce store must have a clearly defined return policy. While working on a multi-supplier dropshipping model, you must ensure that the supplier’s return policies are reflected in your return policies as well. Any mismatch will lead to confusion for the customer. The resulting negative feedback will have a direct (negative) effect on your brand as the product is yours and the customer will not care about who shipped it, as long as they receive the product safely and can easily return it. The onus is on you as the store owner to ensure that your policies are modified accordingly.
3) SKU differentiation
Even though you do not have physical inventory, you must ensure that the same product with multiple suppliers has different SKU’s. It is a slight oversight which has the potential to result in a lot of chaos. Keeping different SKU’s ensures that multiple suppliers do not carry the same product. For that you must have a coordinated data system (as mentioned above) which will ensure SKU differentiation and make it easier for you to identify the supplier and ensure that the product is routed to the intended supplier.
4) Varying Products
One way of preventing confusion in multi-supplier dropshipping is to have suppliers who possess different products. This eliminates a major benefit of dropshipping, wherein you can increase the product stock for a particular product. In this way you cannot fulfill more orders for one product. However, not only does it increase the variety of products in your store, but also it makes the overall planning process smoother considering that you do not have to plan for product overlapping complications. This is beneficial if you are starting your store with a limited number of employees.
5) Changing Suppliers
Your dropshipping business has to run in a certain system with a number of processes. Any monumental shift will damage your store’s reputation. For this you have to constantly communicate and coordinate with your suppliers to ensure timely delivery of products. For instance if you have a product with multiple parts, with each part coming from a different shipper, you have to ensure that they both reach at the same time. The customer will never return to your store if there is a huge time difference in delivery. To ensure that this does not happen, you must change your supplier with any hint you get due to lack of communication or coordination. Look out for other suppliers and as soon as you have a replacement, you must promptly change suppliers. There should not be any compromise on order fulfillment.
Following these tips will help you to create a sound plan for dropshipping with multiple vendors. After all, it does help in expanding either your product range or number of products. With a little planning you can elevate your venture to a much higher status by dropshipping with multiple suppliers.