Dropshipping is one of the most convenient forms of order fulfillment for an e-commerce startups. It provides numerous benefits like extremely low costs, the ability to sell a wider range of products and the flexibility to operate from any location. These are extremely lucrative for anyone who wants to start their own e-commerce business. There are a few risks associated with dropshipping which can be easily avoided with prior planning. One of these is an issue faced by many store owners: A product is sold, but is unavailable. In this article we talk about how you should react when you face a situation, followed by a few tips on how to avoid such scenarios.
What To Do When A Sold Product Is Unavailable
While facing such a situation, always remember that you cannot pass the blame on to the dropshipping supplier. Even if their efforts have fault, you are the face of the store and therefore have to take responsibility. You can take the following actions to be in control:
1) Immediately Put The Product Out Of Stock:
As soon as you realise that the dropshipping supplier does not have the product which is sold, you must put a message stating that the product is out of stock. This is to avoid the risk of someone else purchasing the product. Do not simply display an out of stock message. Instead, take it as an opportunity to showcase your product range and display similar products. It shows that you are an active store, and keeps users engaged instead of them leaving it.
2) Purchase The Product From Another Store:
Since you are responsible for any lapses in the product delivery, one way to rectify this situation would be to purchase the product from another online or brick & mortar store. Try and pay extra for express delivery so that you can receive it faster. Deliver the product using express delivery as well to minimize the time it takes for the customer to receive the product. It will undoubtedly be an expensive affair, but one you have to undertake in order to ensure that to keep the customer satisfied.
3) Personal Apology:
After you have charted a response plan and calculated how long it will take for the product to ultimately reach the customer, personally call them and apologise for the delay. Provide them with a discount on their next purchase or a cashback to try and build trust. After that you must follow it up with an e-mail and send a note while delivering the product.
4) Refund And Try To Replace:
In case you cannot find a replacement then the alternative is to refund the customer. While doing so, do not send a mail or SMS but personally call and inform them. While doing so try and mention a few alternatives to the product. In case the customers are not brand specific, they might be willing to listen to you. Another way to reduce their annoyance would be to add a discount on the next purchase along with the refund.
As you can clearly see, there is a lot of expenditure involved. Treat these as necessary costs in order to retain customers. To make them feel less annoyed, you must personalize all communication. This will help you to earn their trust back.
How To Avoid Such A Scenario
By taking a few precautions, you can avoid being in this uncomfortable situation. All you need to do is to take the steps of caution which are mentioned below.
1) Choose The Correct Dropshipping Supplier:
Any dropshipping business is dependent on the efficiency of the supplier. There are a number of ways in which you can identify a fake dropshipping wholesales, which are discussed in detail here. Whenever you see any warning sign, you must instantly think of a replacement.
2) Use Multiple Dropshippers:
Any dropshipping business faces the risk of inventory running out of supply. To avoid this risk, you can use multiple dropshippers. This will give you the added benefit of expanding your product listings, which will allow your store to expand faster.
3) Integration Of Inventory In A Software:
The only way to get complete assurance about availability of inventory is by using software which automatically integrates all the inventory data into the software panel. This will provide you with constantly updated information, and you will be aware about the exact quantity of inventory at your disposal. Thereafter you can modify your listings and strategies according to inventory availability.
If you face a lack of cooperation from your dropshipping supplier then do not hesitate to change your supplier. It will save you from a lot of hassle in the future. Good luck!