Have you ever felt taken advantage of by your suppliers? If so, you will be surprised to know that those cases are not uncommon in the dropshipping industry. In this article, we will discuss some other tricks used by suppliers and actions you can take to alleviate the situations.
Disclaimer: This article does not mean to villainize dropshipping suppliers but aims to raise awareness about the complexity in the dropshipping business that many people might not see from the surface.
Let us first explore some possible reasons behind these ‘lies’.
1. Logistics industry is highly volatile and complex
With a myriad of factors and stakeholders in the field constantly interacting with one another, it is impossible to predict every move and direction of this industry. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused huge disruptions throughout the world was merely foreseen by the majority of industry experts and specialists.
2. Language barriers exist in the majority cross-countries agreements and transactions
The vast majority of the time, you will be communicating with Chinese native-speaking suppliers if you are sourcing products on your own. In many cases, the suppliers are not well-versed in English and are likely to use auto translation software and tools to chat with you. We all know that many things get lost in the process. The more complicated the conversations get, the more often miscommunication and misunderstanding occurs.
3. The market is crowded, and the competition is intense
We live in an era where many things can be done virtually, which helps to spur the dropshipping industry. However, this makes competition much more fierce for industry players such as suppliers since there are millions of suppliers online. The number of suppliers available on AliExpress simply illustrates this point. This means suppliers would do anything they can, such as make unrealisable promises, in order to hold on to clients and sustain their business.
Although there is little that you can do to turn the table around with regards to the reasoning above, you can better protect your business by educating yourself and staying well-informed.
That is why we will go over the top 4 tricks used by suppliers as well as what you can do to mitigate their impacts on your store.
1. Providing inaccurate shipping times
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, shipping speed plays an important role in securing purchase from end consumers, which is why dropshippers care about it. Therefore, many suppliers make a few tweaks in order to retain their buyers. Typically, they would either leave out the processing times (varying anywhere between 2 days to one week if there is no major issue) or tell you the best case scenarios.
What to do
Have a conversation with your suppliers about the whole working process. This includes how long it typically takes for them to process orders and how likely the delivery time would fall out of the estimated range.
Do some research about industry practices and standards. For instance, you should have a general idea of what the shipping speeds are for common shipping methods, such as ePacket. To be well-informed, you should use multiple tools and mediums, which involves using search engines, social media platforms, discussion forms, and connections.
Leave some room when communicating with your customers as it would help them to manage their expectations. They would rather you tell them about this upfront and make a decision whether it’s worth the wait or not.
2. Giving you the tracking numbers before shipping out the packages
Many suppliers do this to give you a false sense of their efficiency. In reality, they might not process the orders as quickly as you think. In worst cases, they could try tricking you by providing a tracking number before the order is actually processed, which could take weeks if delays occur.
What to do
The best thing that you can do is to establish that they should only send you tracking numbers after the orders are fulfilled. Tell them that you are okay with the codes being given later on. However, sometimes your end consumers might want to have tracking numbers early. If it is the case, you should work with your agents to figure out the best course of action. Do approach this caution due to the reasons listed above.
3. Saying that they have enough stockpile for scaling
Sometimes, suppliers just want you to make large orders without thinking much. This is not true most of the time, especially when you don’t have a formal agreement or contract. This can be problematic when you are scaling your store because it can be translated to low customer satisfaction and low retention rate as well as loss of revenues and profits in both short- and long-term.
What to do
Avoid scaling with AliExpress: This platform is more suitable for product testing, but anything far beyond that is not recommended for several reasons. Instead, you should work with a reliable dropshipping agent who would be able to provide you with advice about effective strategies and stock your inventory in advance. On your side, you should let the agent know your plans so that you can help you accordingly and avoid any inventory issues.
4. Assuring you that they will have best-selling products ready in stock in X days
If you are in the business for some time, you might have encountered this issue at some point. For those who haven’t, we provide a quick summary in the chart below.
This happens mainly due to the lack of personal relationships between your suppliers and the factories. As a result, they are unable to obtain an accurate lead time.
What to do
The wisest course of action that you can do is to find a dropshipping agent. As agents usually directly work with and maintain long-term relationships with factories, they will be able to quote you an up-to-date lead time provided by the manufacturers. You should have trust in your agent and listen to their advice. For instance, if they recommend you make the payments to secure your stockpiles as soon as possible, do not dwell on the decision for several days, or else, the offer by the factories might lapse. You might end up with a higher price or no inventory at all. Again, be willing to pay premium if you really want to expand your store.
With over 30 years of logistics experience, Xianchao Logistics began to branch out to serve the dropshipping industry in 2015. With our experience in logistics fulfilment and close relationships with suppliers, our company has risen to help different dropshippers grow their businesses over these years. We believe that our company’s success and growth will only come with helping our clients grow. Do you have a dropshipping business to grow? Discuss with us and let’s get started ASAP!
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