Whether you plan to launch an online store in the coming months or already have one operating but want to start doing things differently, you may be keen to utilize dropshipping suppliers, so you don’t have to pay for a lot of stock and hold it on-site yourself. Once you’ve sourced some companies for your shortlist and need to narrow it down, it’s wise to ask candidates numerous questions to determine the best fit(s) for your needs.
What’s the Minimum Order Requirement?
For starters, you’ll want to know if there’s a minimum amount you need to spend with drop shippers to qualify for orders. Some may have a dollar amount you need to spend with them per order, month, or year to make it worthwhile to work with you, while others may have no such requirements. Keep in mind, too, that it’s sometimes possible to negotiate these types of terms, so you may be able to reduce the minimum spend either upfront or over time.
What is the Average Processing Time After I Place an Order?
Customers have high expectations around many things these days, including how quickly orders arrive at their door. As a result, you will want to find out from drop shippers how long they take to process orders once you submit the details to them.
Compare this information to help you narrow down your options, as the quicker people or companies can get orders shipped out, the sooner the goods will get to your clientele and the happier (and more likely to buy from you again) these people will be.
Which Destinations Will You Ship To?
Another shipping-related question you need to ask is which locations different drop shippers are happy to send goods to. Many will ship anywhere in the world or to most places, excluding a few destinations that are considered higher risk. However, some drop shippers may only want to handle orders being delivered in their state, within the country, or within some other limitations.
You need to know this information ASAP as there’s no point signing up to work with drop shippers only to have orders placed by customers that, in the end, can’t be fulfilled and annoying shoppers as a result.
What Types of Shipping Options Are Available?
As mentioned above, consumers expect items they order online to arrive quickly these days, even if goods come from the other side of the country or overseas. This means they want to know that they can order items and get them shipped via an express option, especially if they have a specific date they need products for, such as Christmas, a birthday, Father’s Day, and so on.
It’s best, then, to work with drop shippers with different shipping options available for people to select from. For instance, they might post goods via USPS or another standard service, plus enable courier selections and perhaps even overnight or same-day service.
What Happens if Items Get Damaged or Lost in Transit?
As much as we always hope that goods bought online and delivered to a customer’s door arrive on time, safe, and sound, unfortunately, issues can and do occur. It’s crucial to ask drop shippers about what they can do if the goods they package and send off get lost in transit or arrive damaged or otherwise in an unsatisfactory manner.
Dropshippers can work in very different ways regarding this side of things. For example, some will always ship items with tracking and insure them en route so that if products get lost or damaged, it’s not as much of a big deal financially. They might even utilize quality asset tags or shock or temperature indicators on each parcel so that if packages go missing or get damaged or become untenable, they can find or be alerted to problems sooner.
However, other dropshippers will expect you, as their customer, to pay extra for tracking and insurance services or replacements if any unexpected problems crop up along the way. This can significantly impact your profits and customer satisfaction, so carefully consider what will be best for your business regarding this matter.
Other questions worth asking drop shippers right from the start when you make inquiries are:
- What’s the packaging like?
- Can branded boxes or gift wrapping be used?
- How do refunds or exchanges work?
- What are your payment terms?
The more information you can arm yourself with when selecting which dropshippers to work with, the better. Ask as many questions as you need to – this is your business and your financial position that you’re putting on the line.