Quality Control in Dropshipping
When it comes to making your own products or having the products that you sell on-hand, regulating the quality and skill of the products manufactured is a lot easier. When it comes to dropshipping, quality control can be easily overlooked by shop owners—and it’s easy to see why.
Because dropshippers are sourcing the products directly from the product supplier or manufacturer, the products that they sell from their online store go directly from the supplier to the customer without it ever having to go through the hands of the online shop owner. As you know, this fact is one of the things that make dropshipping so appealing in the first place. Not having to purchase and keep a stock of the products that you are selling is one of the many upsides to dropshipping. However, it does pose a major problem.
The great convenience of not having to see or handle the products that you sell also means that you might be unknowingly sacrificing the quality of the products that you are selling to your customers. This is bad for three major reasons:
- You are not able to meet customer expectations.
- Selling subpar merchandise will get you negative reviews.
- You won’t be getting any repeat customers to your shop.
If you are dropshipping from China, which you most probably are, then you know that you are selling products that your manufacturer is selling wholesale at an exceedingly low price. This is great because you mark up these products so that you can make a decent profit, but because these items are relatively on the cheap side, the quality isn’t always going to be top-notch.
You can expect this to happen and it is one of the downsides to dropshipping. You can expect a few customers reporting that the item is broken, badly made, or that it stopped working altogether. Before you tell yourself that this is the problem of your manufacturers, keep on reading to find out why this isn’t entirely the case:
Your Responsibility to your Customers
Quality control is necessary, and this is the responsible thing to do as a store owner. You always want to provide your clients with a product that delivers what it promises from the product description, and nothing less. Not meeting customer expectations will mean negative repercussions for your store, and you don’t want to deal with an unhappy customer.
Many dropshipping business owners may want to brush off the responsibility of product quality and think that the product suppliers are the ones to be held accountable for low-quality or broken items. I mean, you never touched the products right? You are just the middle man or woman and it is the overseas manufacturer who is in charge of all the nitty-gritty details. All you are doing is running the online store.
Shifting the responsibility of product safety and quality is not the way to go. While it is true that you never necessarily have to see the products that you sell in your online store, you cannot hold the overseas manufacturer totally responsible by washing your hands clean. Some accountability must fall onto your shop.
Also, your customers will not understand that it may be the manufacturer’s error. All they will know is that they bought the items from your shop and that it is you who distributing lousy wares for their hard-earned cash. Think about that for a second.
In addition to that, from a legal standpoint, the importer can be considered as the manufacturer. This means that you have the duty to prevent the circulation of defective products to your customers.
Now that you know that the distribution of defective products will be considered your responsibility and that it can cause serious backlash and injure the success of your ecommerce business, let's talk about how you can take matters into your own hands by ensuring the quality of your products.
Check Customer Reviews
Quality control involves research, and checking on customer reviews for the items that you would like to include in your online store should be a quick and easy step in checking out product quality.
Your customers are reading up on product reviews all the time, and positive reviews and testimonials are a powerful determiner on whether your prospective customer will make a purchase or not. Online shoppers have a higher inclination to purchase products that have a higher rating because they rely on positive peer reviews to determine whether the product is of good quality. As a dropshipping store owner, you should also consider doing the same thing.
When importing products to your shop from sites like AliExpress or Oberlo, do not do so without first reading what previous buyers have said about the product. This is going to give you great insight into the experience of people who have already purchased the products.
Often, people will state how long the product took to ship and arrive at their doorsteps, whether the product matches the product photo and description, and many will say something about the product’s quality. Basically, you should be able to find a gold mine of information coming from real user reviews—but this may depend on how popular the product is.
Additionally, you must also make sure to go through both the negative and the positive reviews before deciding whether to dropship a product or not.
Have Reliable Suppliers
Ideally, when you go into dropshipping, you have to select dropshipping suppliers that can provide you with high-quality products at a cheap price. Your suppliers are essentially your business partners and act as the life-blood and support for your dropshipping business. When you run a dropshipping business, the fate of your ecommerce store rests in their hands, so you’ll be needing suppliers that you can rely on.
To help ensure that everything goes well between you, your suppliers, and your customers, you need to pick suppliers with a long-running track record of providing excellent quality service, and ones that have already amassed great feedback as a testament to their products and ethics.
As a seller, it's important for you to source your reliable suppliers from reliable platforms. Sites like Oberlo only list products from suppliers and manufacturers that are pre-approved. So you can rely on Oberlo to only display reliable products and their suppliers.
Other apps and platforms for finding reliable suppliers that integrate with Shopify include:
Perform Test Orders
When it comes down to it, the only way to really make certain of product quality is to either ask your suppliers to send you samples or to just go ahead and order the items as a customer.
Test orders can be extremely important for dropshippers to be able to control the quality of the products that you will be selling. After all, you will be attesting to the quality of your products on your online store, and to fulfill the promises made in your marketing message and product descriptions, you have to go ahead and verify their quality yourself.
To do this, you have to go all out and order the products yourself and have them shipped out to your address. This way, you will be getting the experience firsthand on the kind of service your store will be providing its customers. It’s also a great way for you to observe how your supplier operates. You’ll be able to see how long it takes them to process an order, how long it takes them to ship, and how long it will take for the item to arrive, besides being able to check out the quality of the product yourself.
Educate your Customers
When it comes to shopping online or any kind of shopping really, products may disappoint your customers one way or the other, whether the item broke or your customer was taken by surprise when they got something they weren’t quite expecting. Because of this, it is also your duty as a seller to make sure that you provide all the pertinent information about your products so as not to cause any unpleasant surprises that may lead to negative reviews.
It is your job as the seller to also educate your consumers about the products that they are buying. For instance, if you are selling minimalist fashion jewelry online and you know that, given the quality of the product, that it changes colors when wet, then make sure to state this in your product description. You can also make use of product infographics so that your customers can be made fully aware of all the specifications and how to handle the products.
Back to You
All online stores will experience some form of negative review related to products that disappointed a customer somehow. In the end, this might just be one of the many menaces to retail in general, so don’t despair when you find a negative review or two on your product page.
What’s important is that you don’t forfeit quality for the conveniences offered up by the dropshipping method and that you make sure you do your research to secure quality merchandise. Just make sure to look up your products by reading product reviews, find suppliers from reputable platforms and directories, and conduct test orders now and again to see the products yourself.
When you have established yourself as a reputable online store through your excellent quality control, you’ll notice the difference in return customers and increased sales.
At Ecommerce Pro, we love to discuss the future plans of online business ventures and share practical solutions to help you meet your online business goals. If you have any questions regarding this article, we would like to address them. Please feel free to begin a conversation with us today.
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