Dropshipping is an incredible business model, which, if implemented properly, can circumnavigate the troubles involved in managing a huge inventory.
If you are well acquainted with this supply chain managing system, you are sure to be aware of how it wipes out issues like Cost and Risk, which are probably the biggest reasons behind the reluctance of some great business minds to set up an online business store.
And for those, who are still new to this and want to know more about it – let’s enlighten you about such an excellent model of business first, before moving on to the WooCommerce part.
In traditional ecommerce business model, online site owners buy goods from specific suppliers or manufacture their own. Then, they sell these items to customers and ship them to their doorstep. It’s as simple as it sounds. Here’s how it works
But, drop shipping is different from this model.
WHAT IS DROP SHIPPING?
According to eCommerceFuel, dropshipping is a fulfillment that allows ecommerce website owners to buy products individually from a wholesaler and the latter ships the products directly to the customer.
You neither have to purchase a huge inventory nor have to ship the ordered products to the purchaser. All you need is a partnership with a supplier and list of their products put up for sale on your website. In short, just expand your catalogue with their product. So, once you get an order, notify the supplier of order completion and the supplier will ship the product directly from their store. Your supplier partner will only charge you for the ordered product.
Here’s a simple flowchart showing, how dropshipping works:
Just ask and you’ll be flooded with answers in support of this.
Dropshipping is one of the easiest shipping methods that can be practiced using WooCommerce. The model is quite beneficial for every type of online sellers. The major plus points include:
- You can sell a wide array of products without ‘owning’ and maintaining an inventory.
- It saves a lot of time as being a seller you don’t have to ship the product to customers; the drop shippers do it.
- You can sell new lines of rare products and not care about running on loss since you don’t have to stock items that may not sell.
- The requirement of capital is less as you don’t have to maintain an inventory.
- No risks of running out of stock and losing customers.
Where to find dropshipping suppliers?
The only place where you can surely find some good suppliers without wasting time, energy and extra money, with an assurance that the product would be packed and ship efficiently, is – the internet.
Finding the right dropship supplier can be a tough task to accomplish because the biggest disadvantage of this business model is lack of the store owners control over shipping method. That is why, determining the right partner from the right place is very necessary. Here is a list of online marketplaces that we strongly recommend for finding dropship suppliers:
DROPSHIPPING AND WOOCOMMERCE
Undoubtedly, the easiest way to set up a dropshipping business is through the outstanding WordPress ecommerce plugin – WooCommerce. The plugin adds amazing features to your site including other general things that every ecommerce site needs, like shop/product page, payments option, cart page and checkout.
There is very little difference in setting up a usual online store and a drop shipping website with WooCommerce. However, you’ll soon learn about the chief distinctive factor, once you make a sale. This is the time when you contact the supplier and share the order details of the sold item so that they can perform the rest.
WooCommerce allows its users to trigger “New Order” emails. This means, you can get those orders mails sent directly to the supplier who will then fulfill the order. But first, with the help of specific WooCommerce extension/add-on you should be able to export order to the supplier.
WooCommerce extensions/add-ons to Export customers/orders
The best thing about using WordPress is the wide range of plugins and extensions it has to offer. The developers at WooThemes have developed two very smart extensions to enable you to export orders to your supplier.
When you need to make single or bulk export orders on demand, Order/Customer CSV Export is all you need. The $79 worth of extension (for single license) also lets you set an automatic export process through email, FTP or HTTP POST for one or all of the order statuses.
If you want to export customers along with orders from WooCommerce to XML, Customer/Order XML Export Suite should be the only choice not only because it’s been developed by WooThemes itself, but also because it’s the fastest and one of the most user friendly extension of its kinds. This premium extension, which costs $99 for single license, automatically exports orders to XML chronically via TP, HTTP POST, or email.
Well, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, WooCommerce Quick Export Plugin can come handy. Similar to the aforesaid plugin, this tool, with a $21 price tag, lets you export all your WooCommerce customers and orders in a single click. It gives you the power to evaluate the activities of your store.
WooCommerce extensions for shipping charge calculations
It’s good for starters to know that you have to set your own shipping rates and once the order is fulfilled, you’ll have to pay the rate to the supplier. Before deciding on the cost, you have to determine whether to include shipping into the item cost or go for flat rates. Flat rates or real-time rates may not be a good idea since the rate would not depend on your location, but on the location of the supplier and available stock.
But, things have changed in the WooCommerce front. Long gone are the days when you had no ways to calculate shipping costs, but manually. There are many premium extensions to assist you with such rates and ensure a smooth business experience.
IGNITEWOO is a team of experts that build WooCommerce plugins and themes. The team has created many extensions to enable shipping charge calculation, specifically for dropshippers. Here are three of their plugins dedicated to shipping rate calculation:
WooCommerce UPS Dropshipping ($99.00) allows users to calculate shipping charges based on the location where a specific product ships from. All you have to do is configure the plugin settings with your UPS account details, enter the zip code of the place of shipping and the deed is done! The plugin also has many other features that are extremely helpful for dropshipping businesses.
WooCommerce USPS Drop Shipping Pro ($99.00) is perfect if you are looking to set up a site with minimal configuration. The plugin lets your shopping cart calculate shipping charges based on the location of the shipper. You can ship products to destination within the US or internationally.
Or if you want an easy FedEx dropshipping solution, WooCommerce FedEx Drop Shipping Pro ($99.00) would be the savior. The steps to be followed to make it work for you are similar to that of the aforesaid plugins. You just need FedEx account details. There are several shipping methods available under this which you can enable in your dropshipping site.
Although these plugins were not specifically built for dropshippers, but they can be of great help to the latter.
Dropshippers plugin for WooCommerce
There is one dropshipping-specific plugin that must and must be used by all of you who want to transform a WooCommerce store into a dropshipping platform – WooCommerce Dropshippers.
This $20 plugin from CodeCanyon is especially made for dropshipping business. A lot of time can be saved with it every single day, primarily by those who process multiple orders per day and deal with a large number of suppliers.
The plugin allows you to assign a new role called ‘Dropshipper’ at the time of creating accounts for new users from the WordPress Dashboard. You can assign products to each dropshipper as well as their contact details. On successful processing of an order that contains their product/s, the respective dropshipper will receive an order confirmation notification. So, you need not manually contact the supplier in any case.
The plugin also helps you allot a dropshipping price to the product you stock. The suppliers may access the Dashboard (of course with restricted view) to know about the total sales their products have been making and the amount you are supposed to pay them. However, you’ll have to think of the ways through which you’ll be paying those suppliers since the plugin doesn’t cover this aspect of a dropshipping business.
To wind up
Dropshipping is an appealing business model highly suggested for new business minds owing to the minimal hazards and nominal involvement of money in it. WooCommerce would be an ideal platform for dropshipping business due to the platform’s flexibility and availability of plugins/add-ons and extensions supporting it.
To establish an online dropshipping business, you need not require special technical skills when using WooCommerce as the platform. It’s nothing but a slice of cake; all you need is some premium plugins and a killer business plan. All the best!
If you know more about plugins with similar functions, why not write in and let us know of’em?