Gone are the days when you need to have a brick-and-mortar store and a warehouse for your inventory and pay a large sum upfront to start and run a business. Today, you can have a company without these components using drop shipping. Drop shipping is a business model that allows companies or sellers to purchase products in bulk and send the products to a third-party manufacturer or retailer, who will then be responsible for picking, packing, and shipping customers' orders. This business model takes off a lot of responsibilities from the business or seller, which is why many consider drop shipping a convenient and easy way of starting a business.

There are a lot of companies that offer drop shipping services. Fulfilment by Amazon, for example, uses this business model. Sellers will send their products to one of Amazon's fulfilment stores, and they will take over the wheel afterwards. They will prepare the customers' orders and ensure they arrive at their doorsteps. They will also handle customer service, product returns, and exchanges on behalf of the seller. Aside from being a straightforward process, drop shipping also has the following benefits:
  • Low startup costs: You usually need to rent or buy your warehouse to store your products. This can be very costly and can delay your progress as a business. Drop shipping eliminates this requirement because another party handles your business's inventory. They will be responsible for storing your products in their warehouses or facilities.
  • Low order fulfilment costs: An order has to go through different processes before it can reach a customer. The product should be picked from the warehouse, appropriately packed, and shipped to the correct address. When you use drop shipping, you don't have to worry about any of these. All you have to do is pay for their services and take customers' orders – that's it. All you have to do is pay for their services and take customers' orders – that's it. All you have to do is pay for their services and take customers' orders – that's it. A third party will accomplish these tasks for you, giving you more time to handle other aspects of the business.
  • Increased product variety: Because you don't have to think about your inventory, you can sell products from different niches. If you're selling apparel, you can branch out and start selling shoes. More choices mean more chances of increasing your sales and customer base. Make sure you're using marketing strategies from reliable sources, such as journalreview.org - Marketing, when offering new products to your customers.
  • Low risks: When you have a hundred products in your inventory or warehouse, you would feel pressured to sell all of these as soon as possible. Unsold products mean they lose money for sellers like you. So instead of earning from your business, you'll end up losing. This pressure can also become why changing the inventory or revamping your online store will require a lot of time. Dropshipping eliminates these risks. Your products are stored in another warehouse or facility, and you'll only pay for what you sell. You'll have the opportunity to frequently change your inventory just to align your products with customer demands.
While drop shipping might seem like a godsend, especially for small or new businesses, using it also has several setbacks. If you're eyeing to use this business model in the future, be wary of the following cons:
  • Less control of fulfilment orders: Dropshipping might save you a lot of money from buying or renting a warehouse, but when a customer is dissatisfied with your business' service, the consequences can be grave. With drop shipping, you must pick a manufacturer or retailer that is reliable and well-established. They will choose to purchase the product from your competitors, which can result in secondary sales and decreased customer base in the long run. Several sources on the Internet, such as coaching journalreview.org, can provide information on the things you should consider when working with a third party for your business.
  • Reliance on other people's stock: Since your products will come from a manufacturer, you can easily place orders based on customers' demands. If customers need more of your products, you can order the same quantity from the manufacturer. This can be seen as a double-edged sword: convenient since you can quickly satisfy the demands of your customers, but risky because you will rely on other people for your products. When they run out of stock, you run out of stock, too. This can lead to idle times and more dissatisfied customers.
  • Less profit: All of the advantages you can enjoy from dropshipping comes with a price. To make things worse, most drop shipping services don't offer bulk pricing. As your sales increase, so will the costs and fees you'll have to pay to a third party. You'll end up earning less profit.
  • Poor customer service: Another reason you should be careful about picking the manufacturer or retailer you work with. Customers will take these out on your business when they deliver the wrong product, damage it, or make a late delivery. Because these manufacturers and retailers work in the middle of the buying process, you'll lose customer engagement. You will know what they want in a product or their issues with your products. This limitation will hinder you from providing products that suit your target audience.

Knowledge Is Power

Dropshipping can be an excellent way to increase your brand visibility and expand your audience reach. Because more and more people are inclined to e-commerce, drop shipping services can leverage your business to thrive and grow over time. Although helpful, keep in mind that drop shipping also involves a few risks. You must do your homework and research this business model first. The more informed you are about dropshipping, the better!