Ron’s Thoughts: Drop Shipping in Uncertain Times
Like many of you, I’m writing this from my home office, so let me start by saying that if you are home, I hope you’re safe and healthy. And if you can’t stay home, know that we are all grateful for whatever you’re doing to support your community.
In these tough times, we are all trying to figure out how to help our customers. What we’re going through is truly unprecedented, unlike recessions, natural disasters or the trade wars that have impacted our businesses in the past, COVID-19 has closed our front doors.
Furniture stores aren’t considered essential (some of us would like to argue that), which means the majority of stores are closed for the foreseeable future, and our customers can’t come in the way they’ve been able to for decades. So what can we do to help our customers and keep our industry alive? Well, for one, we can look at things that some folks have done, and that we’ve helped them succeed with, such as drop shipping direct from your vendors.
Think of it this way: Mr. and Mrs. Smith are stuck at home. They can’t buy from the furniture store, but they still have wants and needs. They’re spending more time at home, so they’re more focused on their home. Maybe they are now noticing the things they can improve: that they need a new mattress or chairs or even a desk for while they work from home. Or if they’re caring for a relative who is staying with them through the pandemic, they might need a bedroom set.
With drop shipping, Mrs. Smith can go to her favorite Furniture store’s website, find the item she needs and order it. That retailer gets the sales order from their site into their ERP/ordering system which creates a purchase order (PO). For TrueCommerce-ecUtopia customers, we’ll send that PO to the vendor with the customer’s name and address. Vendors will receive the PO through their connection with TrueCommerce-ecUtopia the way they receive all PO’s from that retailer. But here's what's different: The vendor can either use their pack and ship methods to fulfill the order or use the TrueCommerce-ecUtopia solution to create shipping labels, return labels and packing slips with the retailer’s brand information.
Drop shipping has several benefits to you, the retailer. When a lamp or sofa is in your warehouse, you own it. You’ve already paid for it, and you keep paying for it. Dun & Bradstreet says every dollar you have in a warehouse costs you 33 cents a day, because of shrinkage, insurance, rent, etc. With drop ship, you don’t own the product. You sell it to the consumer, send the information to the vendor, and they send the product directly to the consumer (instead of shipping it to a DC). When the shipment takes place, you, the retailer, are notified via the ship notice and can share tracking information with the customer. You also can use this to electronically transfer product ownership, fill and close the customer order on your system, recognizing the revenue, the receipt of inventory and the release of inventory all in one single process. This is important right now, because of COVID-19 and what it’s doing to the retail landscape. Drop shipping helps protect your cash flow and minimize your investments.
TrueCommerce-ecUtopia can get you set up for drop shipping quickly. We send the data over from orders, so vendors know where to ship, and configure the labels they’ll need to print with your FedEx number, brand logo, and details. We make it easy to get up and running fast, not only so your business can survive but actually succeed even through the chaos of the times.
If you are selling on-line, which is great as we all know on-line shopping is extremely popular, you can expand your opportunities, stay connected with your customers by adding Drop ship capabilities to your operation. Drop shipping just takes that extra step that lets you stay connected with your customers, even when they can’t visit your store.