If you run an online store but don’t have the resources to buy products in bulk or prefer not to use a warehouse, dropshipping may be the best option for you. Luckily, WooCommerce provides a number of different ways to take advantage of the dropshipping process.

What Is Dropshipping?

To fully reap the benefits of dropshipping, one must first understand what the process is. In a traditional retail model, the store keeps a stock of inventory that it sells. This means purchasing items from a supplier, then holding that inventory until a customer orders it. This provides a boost in potential profit, since the store can buy items in bulk to gain a discount from the supplier. However, it also requires more physical space, since all items need to be stored in a warehouse, as well as an investment in the product up front which is later covered by the purchase cost. Using the dropshipping method, the retailer instead takes orders from customers and then has products shipped directly from the supplier. This minimizes storage needs and requires less up front capital.

How to Find a Dropshipping Supplier

Once you’ve made the decision to use this business model, you need to get in touch with suppliers who don’t mind dropshipping. This may involve some trial and error, as you will need to first identify suppliers in your industry and then contact them individually regarding their shipping policies. Some suggested suppliers to check out include Doba, Worldwide Brands, and Wholesale Central. If you have an existing supplier, you should also communicate with them to see if you can set dropshipping up. When performing this outreach, be sure to have your business license, tax ID number, and business description handy so you can avoid potential paperwork snafus that might slow a deal down. This also shows that you’re ready to do business and not merely prospecting.

Using the WooCommerce Dropshipping Extension

WooCommerce users can benefit from a helpful extension that can help make this shipping method very easy to use. The WooCommerce Dropshipping Extension integrates directly with WooCommerce stores and allows you to set up new suppliers, maintain inventory, and more. Once you have a new supplier ready to work with your business, you can add them into the extension and assign certain products to them. This helps to automate your shipping process – when a customer orders a product, the extension places a shipping request with the supplier. You can also develop a number of different reports that will show you what a supplier has in stock, giving you more control over your inventory and making sure that customers never find themselves placing an order for something that is already sold out.

Help from Plugins

Several plugins available to WooCommerce stores make dropshipping easier to set up and to manage, regardless of your business model. Some examples include YouDroop, Knawat, and AliDropship. YouDroop provides synchronization with photos, titles, and prices to make sure that what you display in your store is exactly what the supplier has in stock. Knawat allows you to draw upon information stored with the supplier, importing product descriptions, dimensions, and images to your online store with the press of a button. AliDropship provides you with an easy means to automate the dropshipping process and maintain constant contact with your various suppliers.

The Importance of Communication

The one drawback to dropshipping is the fact that you move the shipping process for your products out of your control. This means that if your supplier runs late with shipping or delivers a damaged product, your customers will blame you for it. In order to keep this from happening, you should make sure that you stay in constant communication with your suppliers. Make sure that you have a good relationship with them and that you are fully familiar with the different shipping options they provide. Should you begin hearing complaints from your customers, having a good line of communication with the supplier can help you resolve and difficulties much more easily. Ideally, your supplier will also provide you with periodic updates to let you know about shipping changes, delays, and so on.

Setting up dropshipping for your products is a great idea for any WooCommerce store that needs to minimize upfront costs or physical warehouse space. You just need to make sure that you do your research and establish a good relationship with the suppliers who take over the shipping process. Utilizing the WooCommerce Dropshipping Extension and other helpful plugins can also help you keep on track with your shipping.