How to deliver with drop shipping
Davis Siksnans, CEO at Printful, gives his advice to printers on adding drop shipping to their list of services.
When drop shipping, how do you ensure the quality of the product meets market expectations? What kind of filtering processes are necessary?
All our orders go through a three-step quality check before we ship them out. We use software that checks the graphics before we print or embroider them, our fulfillment specialists continuously monitor the production process, and there’s also a final quality check after a product is ready to be shipped out.
Why should a printer add drop shipping to their portfolio? What are the margins/return on investment like?
Adding a drop shipping service expands your market to include sellers that can’t keep inventory, and lets your sellers run their business without having to worry about any of the logistics. Through drop shipping you also provide a certain level of risk management to sellers since they no longer have to manage unsold stock. Drop shipping can help you make the transition from being a printing company to something of a one-stop shop for sellers, making your services more accessible.
CEO Davis Siksnans
How is drop shipping a threat to local businesses and how can they combat it – is it a case of simply being aware of what the customer can get online?
Global and local printing companies tend to serve slightly different customer bases. End consumers might only care about shipping times and fees, but sellers have a variety of needs that require different approaches. Local businesses can usually provide faster shipping times, lower shipping costs, and a more tailored service to their sellers. They understand the specifics of their area and can respond quickly to local market changes. Global printing companies such as Printful have to fragment their attention and localise their messaging, which is hard to get right. We are a better fit for customers that need global shipping, or customers that don’t have local printing businesses available to them.
Drop shipping may seem ‘easy’ to someone experienced – but what are the pitfalls they can encounter?
By using your drop shipping services, your customers are giving away a considerable amount of control that they used to have over the shipping process, packaging, and product quality control. You need to be aware of that and be responsible for maintaining a good reputation for your customers. Additionally, you will have to deal with customer returns since some of your sellers will likely not have the capacity to store or properly dispose of them. You may also have to think about introducing more branding options to your packaging, as some sellers will consider that a deal-breaker.
If you have several facilities, it also creates extra expenses and waste due to shipping and packaging. If an end customer orders multiple items that are fulfilled in different locations, those items will come separately and at different times. We are trying to mitigate that by reducing unnecessary packaging and encouraging our sellers to choose products that can be fulfilled in one market, but any drop shipper with multiple locations will have to face this issue.
Is it fair to say those who want to get into drop shipping need a strong, developed sense of their market?
In order to succeed, you need to know who your customers are and what their needs may be. If you try serving a market that you don’t know anything about, you won’t know what to focus on or how to compete in that space. I think it’s better to stick to what you know and do continuous research, especially if you’re only starting out with drop shipping.
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