How Does Dropshipping Work?
Running a print on demand store offers so many benefits. Firstly, there’s no need to buy stock upfront or pay for storage. The whole point of running an online business is often to keep the cost of overheads down, and these costs can quickly spiral.
This is before we have even got to the packaging and posting process, which can take up valuable time that keeps you away from other areas of your business. This is especially relevant if you’re just starting out and either don’t have dedicated staff for this or can’t yet budget for it.
Up steps the idea of dropshipping. This is one of the services offered here at Imprinted. But what is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is essentially where aspects of order fulfilment are carried out by a third party. When someone orders an item from your online shop, that order is sent to the dropshipping company - in this case, Imprinted. The order is printed according to your exact specification. We then package and send out the order directly to your customer, too.
We can even use your own branded packaging to make it look like it has come directly from you. You can either send an order to Imprinted manually through your account, or automatically. The latter is possible thanks to the ability to integrate our services with major e-commerce platforms including Shopify, Woocommerce and Etsy.
How does dropshipping help with storage?
Whether you’re currently paying for warehouse storage, using the spare room at home or are just starting out and think paying for storage is out of your budget, dropshipping can help solve all these issues.
Because we provide print on demand services - where products are only made when you've received an order - you don’t have to buy products in bulk and store them all. Nor do you have to keep everything in one place before you get a chance to post it; with dropshipping, Imprinted only produces your order when you place it, and then we send it straight to your customer.
It also means you can run your business from literally anywhere. There’s no need for a dedicated office with storage space; a laptop on your sofa is all you need!
How does dropshipping help keep costs down?
As above, there is no need to pay for storage facilities or use up valuable space in your home/buy a brick-and-mortar storefront. There is also no need to order hundreds of the same product and wait for them to be delivered, which is such a valuable consideration for new businesses especially. Less upfront capital is required, as there’s no need to have the money to buy thousands of t-shirts before you’ve even made your first sale. This makes it possible for literally anyone to open an e-commerce store. With print on demand dropshipping, the item is only made when the customer has paid for the product.
No upfront costs. No need to buy a certain amount of one item to make the most of services. And, no need to buy equipment either. We are talking postage bags, a printer for address labels, and anything else which is required to get your product from A to B. Dropshipping companies such as Imprinted take care of all of that side of things for set prices too, leaving you to focus on marketing your brand and creating new products.
It could also keep potential costs of hiring staff down as you grow - there’s no need to get a dedicated person to package and send orders, when you find you don’t have the time. So, you can spend more time and talent on marketing and customer service.
If you do have spare cash to invest, it can be spent on buying new designs from creators, jazzing up your website theme and design, or using paid advertising on social media - which will all make your products and store stand out.
Are there any other benefits?
Countless! The one we love the most is that you can take a design to market in a matter of minutes. What's more, not having to buy products and stock upfront allows you to offer more products. So you have a really catchy, popular design on your best-selling t-shirt? Why not make mugs with that print too? As long as your dropshipping provider stocks the product, there’s no reason you can’t offer it to your customers.
This is another way to keep costs down or ensure the time you’ve spent launching the business is even more valuable. If you’ve spent hours (or £££) on a design, the ability to make greater use of this design is even more beneficial for you.
Dropshipping is also a great way to test the waters. If you want a side hustle, but aren’t sure there is the demand for your product, you don’t have to commit to buying a large amount of inventory first. If it doesn’t work out, you won't be left out of pocket.
Are there any cons to dropshipping?
Because of the popularity of dropshipping, there are hundreds of stores on Etsy and other marketplaces offering products for rock-bottom prices, since the lack of overheads means they don’t have to claw back money for storage or staff costs. While this means the world of e-commerce is open to everyone, it also means competition is high.
Not to worry. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother - it just means you need to really crack your niche and offer something different. If you excel in marketing and customer service, you can easily trump those which offer non-existent faces to the brand.
Dropshipping also means you have to place a reliance on the dropshipping company. From the quality of products to stock issues and problems with postage and delivery, a huge part of your business is reliant on third-party service providers. This is why it is so vital to choose a dropshipping company you can trust (psst.. we're right here!).
Register your free account and start selling straight away with Imprinted, or get in touch with a member of our team today if you have any questions.