Dropshipping has been gaining popularity with online retailers in massive numbers, year over year… over year. In fact, if dropshipping continues its upward trend, the industry could reach a whopping $500 billion in annual sales by 2027.
Dropshipping: What Is It Exactly?
Dropshipping allows online retailers to sell products without having them on-hand, instead relying on a third-party wholesaler to store, pack, and ship items when customers order.
For example, a retailer lists a product for sale on their site, such as an insulated tumbler, and when a customer orders it, it’s fulfilled by a wholesaler, on behalf of that retailer. From the customer perspective, the process is seamless and they are likely unaware that the product did not come directly from the retailer.
Print On Demand and Dropshipping: Standing Out From the Crowd
The savviest of retailers using dropshipping have also begun to offer an additional perk to attract online shoppers: Print on demand.
Print on demand (POD) is an integrated add-on feature that lets shoppers personalize their purchases, by adding a monogram or special message to that insulated tumbler, for example. And, just like dropshipping, print on demand has zero inventory requirements.
What Are the Benefits of Dropshipping?
Here are just a handful of reasons that dropshipping has become such an attractive option for online retailers:
Little to No Start-up Costs Since there’s no inventory to buy up front, one of the biggest benefits to dropshipping is that there are typically minimal to no costs to get started, making it an attractive option for both small and large-scale retailers.
Expanded Inventory Without Expanded Storage Needs Dropshipping allows retailers to offer a wider variety of products, without widening their warehouses. Because unlike traditional retail operations, retailers using dropshipping don’t hold inventory.
Scalability Dropshipping allows retailers to easily transition between selling seasons without stock or hiring worries. Because wholesalers assume the risk and expense of inventory management, online sellers can focus on other parts of their businesses.
Product Testing Dropshipping gives sellers the ability to test the retail waters with different product offerings, letting these sales numbers inform their next product investment or marketing campaign.
So What Are the Downsides To Dropshipping?
As with any business, customers may occasionally have issues that require customer service assistance, so retailers should have clear agreements about handling damaged items or facilitating returns. Dropshippers using multiple wholesalers will also need to manage multiple streams of processing, billing, and shipping, which can be time consuming. It’s also important to know that because of its ease of entry, dropshipping is competitive. So retailers using dropshipping should find ways to differentiate their offerings and stand out from the crowd.
The Future of Dropshipping
Thanks in part to the tremendous growth experienced in the ecommerce industry, dropshipping will also continue to grow in importance to online retailers. And adding POD to the retail strategy mix can go a long way in solving some of the challenges they’ll face in a crowded online marketplace.
How Spoke Custom Can Help
Spoke Custom’s integrated API, 1:1 customer service, premium product selection, and superior printing process, give online retailers a digital leg up when it comes to standing out. And with 80% of shoppers preferring to purchase from brands who provide personalized experiences, etailers can rest assured they’re making a great investment by incorporating POD into their new—or existing—dropshipping strategy.