Part seven is all about Drop Shipping.  I came across this about 20 years ago, whilst living in Hong Kong.  I was very interested in starting up an online business and when I heard about it, the idea certainly appealed.  The notion is simple – why worry about storing stock, sorting out wrapping, shipping and delivery costs, when you can have it all done for you by the Drop Shipping company, who hold all the stock, pack everything and ship it directly to your customers.  All you have to worry about is your website and driving customers to it.  Brilliant!

Except of course, it’s not quite that simple…

The Drop Shipping company that I came across seemed to have an impressive catalogue of commodities for the home, ranging from Mickey Mouse telephones and kitchen appliances to make-up and clothing.  However, the prices were pretty extortionate, and the quality didn’t look that great.  When my friends heard about my business venture, they were politely interested, but when I showed them the catalogue they did not take pity on me enough to buy anything.  To be fair, we were in Hong Kong, which had the most impressive shopping experience I have ever encountered, and most of my friends were teachers, and therefore not exactly high earners.

However, I was not put off by my friends lack of interest – I really didn’t want to sell to my friends anyway!  Instead, I created my website, and sat back, waiting for the customers to come rolling in…

A few days later, I realised that customers were not just going to come rolling in, without me trying quite hard to get them.  I placed some Google Ads, joined a few forums and tried to spread the word…

After a few weeks, when the Google Ads bills started coming in, and I still hadn’t made a single sale, I gave up on it.  I wasn’t happy with the quality of the goods, nor the high prices.  I also didn’t really have a clue how to do marketing or how to build a list.

Nowadays, the Drop Shipping companies that I come across, tend to market themselves differently – offering customised goods and higher quality services.  I haven’t been tempted to use one, apart from ordering the odd special gift for a few friends who were worth it, (you know who you are), and as the old adage goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  The paradigm is quite simple – convenience vs cost.  If you want to have competitive prices, you’ll have to do all the hard work yourself.  If you don’t want to (or can’t) store the stock, pack it and ship it, then Drop Shipping may be an option, but it will cost.

If you’ve had any experiences, good or bad, with Drop Shipping, please share it in the comments below.



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