Can DropShipping improve my Sales in a Brick and Mortar shop?
As a seller, you may not only sell online. If you have a Brick and Mortar retail location (Shop) or a Trade Counter, can you use DropShipping to enhance that area of your business and generate more sales and increased customer satisfaction?
The answer, of course is “Yes!”. The trick is to think about HOW you use it. Essentially, Dropshipping means that you have access to an incredibly large Warehouse – If people are willing to wait until the next day to have their purchases delivered.
Staff-led or Customer-led purchasing?
Your first major decision will be how you structure access to the additional purchasing options that DropShipping represents. Will your staff members place orders for the customer, and curate the process, or will you simply make it available as another option to the customer?
Staff-led: “Do you have this size/colour in stock?”
You cannot have every variation of a product in stock on the shelves without a VERY large warehouse.But you may have all the sizes in one colour, for example. By prominently displaying a sign, you can pursue a policy of showing them the right size and the right colour separately, and then ordering the actual product to be with them the next day. This allows you a certain freedom with your stock distribution – It also means that, if you have insufficient quantity of an item on hand to meet a request, you can arrange for the balance, or for all, to be sent to the customer, while you take payment there and then.
This allows you to preserve and enhance your relationship with the customer to a greater degree – You won’t need to say ‘No’ to a query, only “I can get that ordered to be with you tomorrow” – surely a far better response!
Staff-led: “I haven’t seen , can you get hold of it?”
Should you not stock every item your suppliers carry, then having an option to provide access to them upon demand will allow you to start a relationship with a new customer or maintain a relationship with an existing customer so they don’t need to find an alternate source for their purchase. It also adds the opportunity to suggest adding other items to the order from the extended catalogue.
Customer-led: QR codes/App
If you also have a website, then you could allow customers to use their own phone or mobile device to find their desired products on your site without leaving the store or using Google/Amazon (Risking another retailer gaining the sale). Using QR codes in signage, you can embed quick links to specific product listings, usable through common barcode-reading apps. Alternatively, you could commission your own App for customers to install, and then point the App and its links to a separate system instead of a website.
In that manner, it’s relatively easy to update or add new options to your displays enabling customers to access products beyond your current holding, or to have it delivered to their homes in order to avoid needing to carry it around for the rest of the day.
One extreme of this concept is the “Showroom as a shop” concept, wherein the items on display in the shop are not for sale, and the customer orders the product for delivery while they continue to another store, dinner, or just home.
Customer-led: Order Point in Store
An alternative option to the use of a customer’s mobile device, or a parallel, would be to setup one or more PCs/tablets locked down to show only your own website or ordering system, and allow customers to perform searches, sign up for accounts and make purchases using cards, PayPal etc.
With a large display, and a barcode scanner to lookup products from the shop floor, the customer should be able to use the station to find their preferred item or items, and have it delivered them at home.
Costing – Should Shop-based DropShipping carry an additional cost?
Obviously, this is a loaded question – And is a decision each seller can and must make for themselves. So let’s look at some of the arguments for and against, and what to consider.
Purchase without shipping charge
When selling products in store, your price includes VAT/Sales Tax, cost of facilities (Rent, Electricity, Water, Business Rates, etc) and wages. When you start working with a DropShipping supplier, and selling their products, it’s important to consider whether the cost of the product from the supplier, including delivery, would fit within your existing margins and leave enough space to make it worthwhile.
If that’s the case, then by keeping the pricing clear across the range and placing no additional monetary cost on the purchasing decision, the customer is less likely to complain about the time penalty to receive their purchase(s).
Otherwise, consider a flat rate shipping fee for all DropShipped items that can be amortised across single and multi-item purchases to reduce the apparent impact on the customer.
Purchase with shipping charge
As mentioned above, the fact is, it isn’t always possible to avoid charging for postage/dispatch in a drop shipping environment – Margins get pretty thin at times! In that case, the important thing is to make the shipping as easy to comprehend and as low-stress as possible. We don’t want to lose the customer at this stage!
Therefore, if you can balance things well, based on reports to evaluate costs, sales, etc, you can hopefully work out a simplified scale of a pricing plan that will keep people from being frustrated or confused
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