The development of e-commerce has had a direct effect on both emerging and established brands. It has opened the floodgates for almost everyone who wants to start a business, without the need to develop a sales team or outfit a brick-and-mortar store. Dropshipping has therefore posed a challenge to big-name retailers because they face new competition from smaller outfits that can sell similar goods.
However, on the flipside of this challenge, there is a new opportunity. Trusted chain stores can use the same method to deliver goods to customers, while also offering distinct products. By partnering with bedding dropshippers, big-box brands can sell their home decor selections as boutique goods that customers can’t find anywhere else. In essence, although dropshipping has changed the face of e-commerce, big companies still have the resources they need to grow and thrive.
What Makes Dropshipping Unique?
In the dropshipping process, retailers no longer have to handle inventory. This is ideal for an e-commerce business because online customers never actually touch or feel the product they eventually buy. Unlike in a brick-and-mortar location, where customers speak with a service representative and physically examine the goods, in an e-commerce store all product descriptions are essentially virtual.
This has had an effect on e-commerce stores by making almost every brand a kind of wholesaler. Everything is available for direct sale to the end user. As a result, it is harder for retailers to distinguish themselves from the competition. They can get almost anything for the buyer, but so can everyone else. Retailers of all sizes may have to rethink what makes them stand out.
How the Size of Retailer Matters
While dropshipping has made it easier for new players to enter the market, large retailers still have an edge. Their partnership with a wholesaler often includes large-scale tools such as VendorNet and CommerceHub, which means a seamless chain from the order placed with the customer-facing retailer to the team at the dropshipper who fulfills that order.
While in theory dropshipping means anyone can sell virtually anything at a minimal startup cost, there are nonetheless barriers to full participation by one-person or fly-by-night outfits. Many proponents of widespread dropshipping note that the retailer holds no inventory while making a full range of products available. In reality, some dropshippers, like other wholesalers, have minimum order requirements and will only deal with bigger stores. Jumping on the dropshipping bandwagon is not as free of complexity as it might first appear.
In addition, the end retailer is always responsible for the customer experience. So if an order is delayed, damaged or lost, the retailer can’t place the blame on a dropshipper. Larger retailers have the experience and responsiveness to handle these kinds of issues. Crucially, big-box stores are better able to properly vet their dropshipping partners, in order to ensure they have the right processes in place that ultimately guarantees customer satisfaction.
Why the Manufacturer Relationship is So Important
For home decor retailers, their soft lines, such as duvets, linens and bed sheets, are a core part of their inventory. It is replaced by consumers on a regular basis, making it an important turnover product. Bedding dropshippers understand this, and also bring something unique to the retailer relationship: expertise. By knowing the emerging trends in bedding, they can help stores to select the right items to sell. Manufacturers that offer custom capabilities give retailers an additional edge, specifically the ability to sell an in-house line.
Bedding dropshippers who have a strong relationship with retail clients help them to build a thriving online business. The e-commerce site, which may feature “online only” items in addition to what’s offered in-store, can give something extra to brand loyalists. Other e-commerce sites rely on dropshippers that offer a wide range of products with no customization. Brand-focused retailers who still want to retain control over the products they sell to ensure brand consistency have the option to be a bit more choosy. Relationships with these high-quality shippers result in a new way to attract and retain customers.
What’s the Future of Dropshipping and e-Commerce?
It is expected that dropshipping will continue to remain an important part of e-commerce. Customers no longer hesitate to order goods online, from both newer stores and brands they recognize. However, some experts are uncomfortable with the current craze of dropshipping largely fueled by startups who have little more than a website and an internet connection. These observers predict many of these brands will die out quickly, because of the lack of control over the supply chain.
That is one of the reasons why it may be crucial for established companies to start partnering now with niche companies. Bedding dropshippers that offer expertise and high-quality service allow retailers to stay in demand online while preventing any negative customer experiences. By finding the right dropshipper to help create, supply and ship a turnover product that is central to their brand identity, retailers can weather the new movement toward this fulfillment model and fully use it to their advantage. In the process, they should also save money on inventory and time packaging and delivery, while gaining more happy buyers.