This week we answer questions from your comments:
“What are some key ingredients you looked for when picking a good drop shipper?”
Let me say it loud and clear – choose your dropship suppliers as carefully as you’d choose a co-founder for your business.
A dropship supplier is responsible for at least 50% of your business. He is entirely responsible for the offline side of your operation, including sourcing, sorting, stocking, quality inspecting, packing, shipping, returns, inspections, fixes etc…
Here are the “Key Ingredients” we look for when picking a supplier:
- First and foremost Communication– both in terms of quality and availability.
The supplier must be a good communicator, speak your “language” and understand your business “culture” – you must be on the same page and focused on the same goal of growing your mutual operation.
The best suppliers are the ones you can really be friends with, have a beer together when you visit them etc. They are the ones who really care about your business, and will be there for you when the “&#it hits the fan” – and trust me, it will happen.
The supplier must be available for you during normal business hours. You should be able to reach him via online communications as well as a phone number in case of emergencies – and they will happen.
- Trust – You must trust your supplier to the extent of sending him $10,000 without a hitch.
If you are “only” 99.9% sure – it’s not enough, don’t work with him.
Wenever ever had a supplier ripping us off.
Trust is hard to earn and easy to destroy – it’s built over months and years of mutual business.
- Responsibility– life (and business) is what happens while you plan to do something else.
We always test suppliers when things go wrong – an item arrives damaged, a package is lost in the mail and so on.
Professional and responsible suppliers will take responsibility and help you during these situations, while others will just leave everything to you.
Note that I didn’t mention “lowest prices” – I’d always prefer a supplier who has the above “ingredients” but doesn’t offer the lowest price.
Always think strategically – usually getting the lowest price is a bad strategy for a long term and hard competitive edge, unless you’re a giant like Walmart.
Beta testing a drop ship supplier
I strongly recommend testing a supplier on a friend / family / neighbour before offering his products “live” to your customers.
Make a test order (make the supplier think it’s a regular order, though) and check the following –
1. Was the package dispatched in the promised timeframe?
2. Was a tracking number provided? Or did you have to ask for it?
3. Did the package arrive during the promised period?
4. Once it arrives – was it packaged carefully?
If all goes well, and the supplier has been communicative – go ahead and offer his products (carefully!) to your customers.
PLEASE remember – the dropshipping model has a lot of moving parts, the supplier controls 50% of your business, his mistakes are likely to drive you out of business!
Have more key ingredients for great suppliers? Share them with us in the comments section below the post.
“What is better for eBay search engine … regular shipping costs … OR … Free shipping?”
eBay will not reveal the exact factors that go into “Cassini” – their search algorithm, but through trial and error, sellers report that offering free shipping boosts the position of listings in search results.
We always use “Free shipping”, as we strive to offer the simplest possible experience to the customers. However, we also ship internationally and we do charge extra for that (you can use eBay’s shipping rate tables for that).
With that said – NEVER EVER stop testing! Remember, industry best practices may not apply to your specific business.
These are no more than assumptions to test – it may well be that for your specific product / market, free shipping is converting worse than paid shipping.
“How did you deal with customs and import taxes for GPS since you have probably sold them to different countries?”
From eBay’s customs policy-
Who pays for customs?
Generally, buyers pay additional costs such as duties, taxes, and customs clearance fees. To avoid problems, make sure that your listing clearly states this. You can cut and paste this directly into your listing:
International Buyers – Please Note: Import duties, taxes, and charges are not included in the item price or shipping cost. These charges are the buyer’s responsibility.
Please check with your country’s customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to bidding or buying.
If you add this information to your listing and receive negative or neutral Feedback from the buyer about having to pay import duties and taxes, we may remove the Feedback. Find about more Feedback which refers to customs delays or customs fees.
From our experience, eBay will always remove such feedback.
Feel free to share your ideas and questions in the comments section, we answer each and every one.