In this article, I’ll write about how to handle long shipping times when dropshipping. Let’s be real: If you’re dropshipping, you can’t offer the same fast shipping options like Amazon. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build an incredibly profitable dropshipping business. I know that because I’ve talked with so many dropshippers who have done just that. Based on those conversations, I put together this article to debunk some shipping time myths.
Today I’ll answer several important questions:
- The truth about shipping times
- How to overcome customer concerns about long shipping times
- How to cut down shipping times
I’m really glad that I’m writing this article because not a week goes by that I don’t hear someone bring up dropshipping shipping times. Yes, they’re longer than Amazon’s shipping times. Nope, they don’t stop customers from buying. But there’s more to it than that, and it’s time someone was transparent with you about how to handle long shipping times.
1. The Truth About Shipping Times
That depends on the product. Before you roll your eyes, however, I have some good news: In Oberlo, you can see dropshipping delivery estimates for every single product. Let’s jump into the screen, and I’ll show you what I mean. Once you’re in Oberlo, go to the product page of the product you want to dropship. Let’s say you wanted to start leggings dropshipping business.
You see two fields here: Shipping and Ships within. That’s because there are two parts to the process of getting a product from your supplier’s warehouse to your customer’s doorstep.
First, the supplier has to receive and process the order. This process is quite complex, but things simple in this article, You can imagine the supplier finding the product in their system and packing it up for shipping. The time it takes for a supplier to process the order is noted in the Ships within the field and usually takes 2-7 days. Next, there’s the actual shipping time. This is the time an item is in transit between the supplier’s warehouse and your customer’s door.
The estimated delivery time you see in the Shipping field includes both the processing time and transit time. That way, you don’t have to do too much math to figure out when a product will get to your customer’s doorstep. But you can get even more shipping time information. To do that, click the hyperlinked shipping option.
Select the country your customer lives in. Let’s just assume you’re dropshipping in the U.S. and leave the selection at UnitedStates. Oberlo shows three shipping options for this product. The shipping method is on the left, the estimated delivery time is in the middle column, and the shipping cost is on the right.
The estimated delivery time is what you want to focus on. It’s impossible to pinpoint exact delivery times, so these dates are given as a range. That’s still helpful. You can see, for example, that if you ship this product to the U.S. via ePacket, it could take up to 25 days to arrive. On the other hand, if you ship it via the United States Postal Service, the maximum delivery time is likely two weeks.
Now, these estimated delivery ranges are pretty wide. That’s because, as I mentioned earlier, the estimated delivery date includes the processing time and delivery time. So in some cases, it might take a supplier 2 days to process an order and six days to ship it.
In other cases, it might take a supplier 7 days to process an order and 2 days to ship it. You don’t have any control over this part of the shipping process, though you can keep an eye out for suppliers with processing times.
Here the bottom line: Successful dropshippers, always always always order test products. I personally have been pleasantly surprised to find that some products arrive sooner than I expect. You might be too.
OK. Let’s say you’ve ordered test products and can confirm that these leggings will get to U.S. customers within two weeks.
Now you might be wondering: Will customers wait two weeks for their leggings?
The answer is yes. Absolutely. If the conditions are right.
2. How to Overcome Long Shipping Times
You basically have to do three things to overcome long shipping times. They’re easy, but nobody in the dropshipping world is really talking about this. Let me break it down for you:
- Sell a product that customers didn’t know they wanted.
- Be up-front about shipping times.
- Offer customer support
Let’s take these one by one. First, you have to sell a product customers didn’t know they wanted. Let’s go back to the example of the tropical leggings.
Ideally, your customer did not wake up one morning and say, “It’s a brand new day, and I want to buy tropical leggings!”
Ideally, your customer saw one of your Facebook ads or Instagram posts featuring the tropical leggings and thought: I want that. That’s because when a customer comes to your website with this attitude, they enter WANT WANT WANT mode.
This is a different attitude than when a customer goes to, say, Amazon. Customers go to Amazon when they already know what they want.
For example, if a customer wants bath towels, she’ll likely go to Amazon, search for bath towels, and decide which bath towel to use based on criteria like customer reviews, price, and shipping times. She’s shopping in evaluation mode.
But when your customer is scrolling through Instagram and sees your tropical leggings, their first thought is OMG, I need that! They aren’t in evaluation mode. They won’t spend half an hour looking for another pair of tropical leggings. They’ll want to buy your product now!
You can even encourage WANT WANT WANT mode by offering discounts and free shipping. So let’s say you’ve got this covered. You’re selling a product that your customer didn’t think they wanted, and now they want it bad. Now that they’re crazy with desire, it’s time to be up-front about shipping times.
There are several ways to do this:
- On every product page, include language on shipping times.
- Create a shipping information page.
- Create a refund policy page.
Alright, you’ve set your store up so that shipping times are clear. The last thing you have to address: Set up customer support. Because here’s a common scenario: A customer sees your product and instantly wants it. They read your disclaimer about shipping times, and they figure, no problem. They hit buy. Then, a week later, they start to get nervous. They wonder if their product has even been shipped yet. They email you and ask where their product is. Most of the time, what the customer really wants to know is that there’s a human on the other side of the screen. They’re not so stressed about shipping times -they just want confirmation that their product is on its way. This concern is easy to address. Just check your inbox. Be diligent about responding to customer concerns, and send customers a shipping tracking code so they can track their packages. Most of the time, customers will be relieved to hear back from you, and they’ll be fine waiting a little longer for their product.
Alright, now you know how to find exact shipping times, and you also know how to overcome customer concerns about long shipping times. Before we end, let’s cover a few ways you can cut down on shipping times.
3. How to Cut Down Shipping Times
First, consider using e-Packet shipping. This delivery method was born out of an international trade agreement, with the aim of making it easier for e-commerce entrepreneurs, like you, to ship products to the rest of the world. Epacket is cheap, relatively fast, and makes it easy for you to track packages sent around the world. Epacket is available for a long list of countries. For more information on ePacket check this article you can read in 2 minutes.
Second, consider sourcing products from warehouses in Europe or the U.S., depending on where your customers are. Many of these suppliers offer local shipping options to get products to your customers faster. To find products from European suppliers, click Search Products on the left.
Enter a product search term in the bar above [“bracelets”]. Then filter by warehouse location at the bottom of the filter list, and click Europe.
The results show products from European suppliers only. To find products in U.S. warehouses, click search products again, and enter your searchtime. At the top of the filters list, click U.S. Warehouse.
The results which products that ship from U.S. Warehouses. Also, if you see USPS as a shipping option on a product page, that product can be shippedfrom a U.S. warehouse as well. Even though it costs a bit more, it may be faster than ePacket shipping.
Finally, order test products from different suppliers. On Oberlo, you’ll often find the same or similar products available from different suppliers. Try ordering the same product from a few suppliers to see which shipment is delivered fastest. All else being equal, work with that supplier to ensure your product gets your customers as fast as possible.
I just want to say one thing before signing off: E-commerce giants don’t have a monopoly on success. For every dropshipper who’s made it, there are a thousand would-be dropshippers who hesitated. They just didn’t believe this business model could work. They didn’t believe customers would be willing to wait a few weeks for their product to arrive. The truth is, customers are happy to wait for a product they’ll love, sold by a business they trust. You can build that business. And I’m to help you do that. So if you have any questions or doubts about the stuff you read about today, let’s get a conversation going. Leave me a comment, and I’ll reply as soon as I can.
Muammer is a Marketing Analytics Manager at Turkcell. His mission is to empower entrepreneurs and to help them achieve their goals. He also has a passion for illustration.