How do you facilitate dropshipping on your ecommerce website?
There are typically two main methods for setting up dropshipping: software for dropshipping, which you install on your website, or a marketplace app (such as DSers on Shopify), which connects your store to dropshippers in marketplaces such as AliExpress.
Now, as you may have seen from one of our previous posts, there are pros and cons to using a marketplace for dropshipping. If you’ve weighed them and decided to go with sourcing your own suppliers, you’re going to need software for dropshipping set up on your website.
The question is, what should you look for in dropshipping software? We’ve put together a few suggestions to help you assess your options:
The purpose of dropshipping software is to automate the process between customers purchasing on your website and suppliers receiving and filling orders. The best solutions automate all parts of that process, creating a smooth operation for both sellers and suppliers.
Here are our suggestions for what to look for in software for dropshipping:
A user-friendly solution is particularly important because most people who need to use dropshipping software are not highly technical themselves. Website platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace have been designed so that non-technical people can operate an ecommerce store without having to constantly request technical support. Any software you add to such a platform should be similarly easy to use.
Speaking of website platforms, part of “ease of use” is that your dropshipping software should work with your existing workflows as much as possible. If you already have a set of business processes in place that work for you, it makes little sense to have to change those processes to accommodate new dropshipping software.
How can you check up on the user-friendliness of the software? Look for any reviews of the software and determine whether other people who use a similar setup to you have found the dropshipping software easy to integrate. You should also take advantage of any demos or free trials, and ask specific questions about how the software will work with your current setup.
An excellent level of customer support is an absolute must-have, yet it’s not available for all solutions. Some software is sold as an almost complete DIY solution with very little support offered. It might be a cheaper option initially, but lack of support can cost you in the long-run.
Customer support is important because in a system with a large number of moving parts, such as connections to multiple suppliers, things do go wrong, despite everyone’s best efforts. For example, what happens if a supplier incorrectly records inventory so that the retailer then over-sells orders? What about when a customer needs to cancel an order they just placed?
There are thousands of scenarios that may require some extra support, at least at first. In these situations, you need someone to be able to step in and smoothly manage it so that the experience goes well for all parties.
Your first line of defense is generally your own customer service. Your dropshipping software should make it easy for customer service to identify and resolve problems, or to escalate them to someone who can. In an online world where reputation always matters, you need prompt customer support on the software end to have your back. Solutions where you submit a ticket and wait days for someone to get to it just don’t cut it.
A good dropshipping software solution shouldn’t create a bunch of extra work for you or your suppliers. It’s about working well with your existing workflows and being easy for both suppliers and sellers to implement.
For example, your supplier may not be on the same ecommerce platform as you, so a solution that is highly bespoke to one platform may not work. Besides that, if you’d really like a unique supplier that perhaps hasn’t worked with dropshipping before, you don’t want them to be put off by complex technology!
Mothership makes it easy for retailers to work with vendors on Shopify, BigCommerce, Squarespace, WooCommerce, and many other platforms with our versatile software. If a potential partner can easily plug a dropshipping solution into their ecommerce platform, then you eliminate one of the most significant points of friction in forming a new dropshipping partnership.
Reliable analytics are important for every ecommerce business. You’ve got to have a good grasp of your key metrics so that you understand the current status of your business, and can accurately forecast where you're heading.
Analytics allow you to see what has made an impact. For example, if you’ve run an ad campaign, did it result in more sales? Which products are the most popular? Are they more or less popular during certain months or seasons? Your product data is also great information to analyze and get ideas for introducing new products.
Your dropshipping software should either offer a solid analytics feature, or should easily work with analytics tools offered by your ecommerce platform. For example, Mothership has a system of tagging product and order data so that users can evaluate Mothership activity using the analytics tools of their chosen platform. Shopify is one example that offers great analytics tools which can generate useful reports.
Do you want software that helps you to find new dropshipping supplier partners? The world of drop shipping software can be divided along this line. Services such as Carro, Modalyst, Canal, Inventory Source, and more offer match-making services through a supplier network or marketplace.
For retailers, the advantage to having partnership discovery is that it is easy to find suppliers to work with and products to sell. The downside is that it can be difficult to find quality products and you can lose out on the opportunity to make your product catalog or assortment a competitive advantage. This is because you're selling the same thing at the same price as everyone else. We call this the "Dollar Store Effect".
For suppliers, marketplaces offer an easy way to reach a larger number of retailers and a larger potential customer base. However, you can also lose control over who you partner with and run the risk of brand dilution or devaluation. For example, you may not have control over what other products your items are placed alongside in a retailer's store. You also will not have much say over the quality of the customer service experience.
Mothership is an example of a "you bring the guests, we'll host the party," type of drop shipping tool. We don’t provide match-making services for sellers and suppliers. Why? In part, because we don't know our customer's businesses or verticals as well as they do. Simply put, we're not in the best position to identify the businesses that would make the best drop shipping partners for their particular business.
Additionally, dropshipping partnerships can be extraordinarily lucrative and may be something which partners want to work together to publicize. Tools such as Mothership also offer much more control over the nature of the partnership.
The bottom line here? Partnership discovery may be useful to you if you want to use common dropshipping marketplaces. If not, it’s not a necessary feature to look for.
If you’re going to be dropshipping from your ecommerce store, then one way or another, you’ll need software to facilitate it. The job of this software is to automate processes between your end as the seller, and the supplier end of the chain. The end result needs to be that orders go out smoothly to customers and everyone has a good experience.
The five points outlined here are worth considering if you’re on the market for dropshipping software. If your preference is to find your own unique partnerships and set up an original store, then consider Mothership for your software needs. You can check out our features and book your free demo here.