Do you know you can easily triple your business income by simply adding another stream of income to your small business website with minimal cost to you?
Now, imagine this...
You have your own clothing business and it is doing quite well. As a fashion designer, you design and retail clothes that are trendy and very popular with a niche audience. However, you specialize only in clothing and your customers are clamoring for accessories such as handbags and shoes as well.
Ideally, you would prefer to also design and retail accessories but you cannot afford it. Your only option is to stock accessories from other retailers but the problem again is that you have to invest money to buy extra inventory. This may stretch your finances very badly. Even if you do manage to find extra funding, you still have to find a place to store the inventory and hire staff for packing and delivery.
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Are There Any Other Options?
Yes, there are, and for small-business owners drop shipping is the best way to expand the business quickly and cheaply. If you are wondering how does dropshipping work, you should know that the process is simple. In drop shipping, the website owner does not need to buy and store the inventory. The original vendor or supplier will retain the stock. In your case, as you want to store accessories, you can contact accessory manufacturers anywhere in the world and set up a partnership. These accessory manufacturers will supply you with a list of their goods.
Of course, since the goods are stored with the manufacturer, you will need a detailed description, photos, dimensions, weight and all other details. Once you have approved the products, you can upload these photos and descriptions onto your website and create look-books to encourage customers to buy. Customers will click on products they like and you, as the website owner, have to forward these applications to the accessories manufacturer.
This is where drop shipping kicks in!
The goods are with the manufacturing vendors, so the onus of packing, labeling and shipping the items falls on them. Most manufacturers have a POS system that notifies them when orders come in, and most orders are shipped immediately or within 24 hours. For you, this is the best option for shipping timely.
Immediate Benefits for Website Owner and Retailer
1. The immediate benefit for your website is that you can literally link up with millions of retailers from all over the world. Even though you are a fashion website, you can stock shoes from China, silk from India, handbags from Indonesia and more. With drop shipping, all these products are delivered anywhere in the world.
2. You save a lot of money. As a website owner, you no longer have to buy inventory. All you have to do is go to trade directories and find drop shipping vendors or wholesalers. The vendor will provide all the content and images and you just have to upload this information onto your website.
3. No more worries about shipping and delivery. As a website owner, you know that some customers may ask for expedited delivery during peak shopping seasons such as Christmas. If you are choosing drop-shipping suppliers, all you have to do is automate your POS to forward all these orders immediately to these vendors. Each vendor will then take the responsibility of packing and shipping the products.
4. For vendors, this is a win-win deal as well. They can link up with multiple websites and ensure that their products are sold from many sites. Customers from all over the world can buy these products, and this means that the vendors get a lot of business from everywhere.
5. By using a drop shipper, business owners can afford to stock as many products as they want. They can keep abreast of the latest trends and styles. They can also stock products from halfway across the world and still be on top of the latest trends.
6. As the onus of shipping falls on the vendor, the website owner has nothing to worry about regarding delivery since the vendor supplies the items to the customers. Most drop-shipping contracts require that the vendor must put the website owner’s label on the product to reduce confusion.
As you can see, your fashion website can gain quite a lot by tying up with drop-shipping retailers, says the Small Business Administration. However, you should do as much research as possible before collaborating with manufacturers or vendors. Make sure that you verify costs, deals, delivery times, fines and fees before you work with a vendor.
Remember, customers expect excellent customer service when they buy a product, and it’s your website's name and reputation that's on the line. To prevent anything messy from happening, make sure you work with the best vendors who pride themselves on the quality of their products, customer service and delivery times. If you are sure of this, there is nothing to worry about.
Over to you: Do you have any experience with dropshipping business? What lessons have you learned? Share your thoughts with us in your comments below.