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I'm making a Web store.
For it, I'm obviously going to use "drop shipping", as I have no means of stocking any items myself. This turned out to be a huge problem. Finding a serious one, that is.
I eventually found NetDropshipper. At first glance, you'd maybe think it's a scam, but I ask myself the following:
If it's a scam, then why do they target Web store OWNERS? There can't be enough <snip> setting up Web stores in this/these field(s) to justify a scam like that... or can there? I somehow doubt it.
Alright. I sent them a few e-mails, asking stuff and requesting means of grabbing their items automatically (they only have an MS Excel file downloadable, and how good is that without a payware PHP class?
However, they didn't keep their "24 hours" guarantee on their e-mail support. Their "online help" seems to be offline constantly. The little information I have been able to extract from the Web about them seems negative, but could be a coincidence.
Today, I did actually receive a letter from them, as a "repy" to my last (of three) e-mail. However, whoever it was who was answering me, he or she didn't even seem to have read my letter, but asked if I had a order number... This, together with the fact that they spell "iPods" as "Ipod's", gives me a very uneasy feeling about this whole thing, even if it happens to be legitimate...
DUDE! How hard can it be to provide stuff in a stock, a nice public database over these items and the data, and then get money from the suckers like me who can't afford their own stock, and have to sell stuff through them and only get a small piece of the cake? I can't believe it!
I even wrote a rather advanced script to run regularly for regexping all of their products and the data, modifying strings to fit grammatically. That's not something I should have to do... right?
There must be a better way for me to solve the issue of drop shipping.
If you need to know more about my store, I call it <snip> (how do you like that name?) and it's going to sell all kinds of electronic stuff, from iPods to Nintendo Gamecubes. In the USA. I live in Sweden myself, but we are so few here (and less buy-friendly). That's why I decided that USA must be better place to do business.
Basically, I'd like to know what the heck to do! :-)
[edited by: lorax at 12:53 pm (utc) on Aug. 17, 2005]
[edit reason] removed URL and edited for language - please see TOS and Charter [/edit]
We get occasional inquiries about dropshipping but have never really been interested. The folks on the other end of the transaction are looking to minimize their own risk and get favorable terms while we service the customers but are not allowed to use own our name or resell to those customers later.
In return for this, they will prospect for customers the same way we do, bidding on the same PPC keywords we do and oftentimes basically discounting our merchandise below the price we charge customers thereby playing an arbitrage game with customers we would generally have gotten anyway.
Combined with the fact that the odds of someone who is unwilling to risk any capital on inventory is not as likely to be a serious partner over the long term (nor a significant revenue contributor over any term) makes dropshipping very unappealing to us.
In return for this, they will prospect for customers the same way we do, bidding on the same PPC keywords we do and oftentimes basically discounting our merchandise below the price we charge customers thereby playing an arbitrage game with customers we would generally have gotten anyway
In my experience, sizeable manufacturers simply do not have the time or experience for marketing. If you are a small manufacturer, dropshipping is unlikely to be of benefit to you.
There is little point offering a dropship program if you are trying to sell the stuff yourself, for the reasons you mention. In fact, anybody with any sense would never even entertain the idea of a symbiotic dropship relationship with a company selling the goods themselves.
The whole point is that the manufacturer concentrates on what they do, ie making the stuff, and the dropship partners concentrate on marketing, promotion and sales.
Worldwidebrands provide the only semi-decent source of dropshippers, although it is not free.
Most DS outfits are run by complete cretins who wouldn't know what customer service means if it fell out of a tree and knocked them out.
A lot are only really interested in your money and once they have that, why should they care what happens to your order?