Dropshipping has grown hugely in popularity in recent years, with more and more SMBs and entrepreneurs adopting this supply strategy. Though usually associated with B2C e-commerce, dropshipping is also a great way to manage B2B sales in a range of industries. What does dropshipping entail? How does B2B dropshipping work? What are the advantages and drawbacks you need to know about before getting started?
The growing interest in dropshipping for business over the past few years is largely down to the fact that this new way of managing flow offers logistical advantages. In practice, dropshipping works like direct shipment, but without the need for a distribution center. A business can use this sales process to sell a product without having it in stock. As soon as a customer orders a product, the information is sent to the supplier, who takes care of shipping the item directly. This supply method therefore reduces the various superfluous intermediary stages of the supply chain to maximize efficiency and minimize costs and lead times.
That being said, dropshipping is not to be confused with pure online sales with specialized suppliers whose business is dedicated to e-commerce. The idea of B2B dropshipping is to provide direct shipment to points of sale to complement your main, traditional distribution model.
Depending on the market, dropshipping can be a very advantageous sales strategy. Examples include :
Let’s take the example of a business specialized in DIY and gardening supplies. After segmenting their products (plants, hardware, tools, groceries, etc.), the business can choose dropshipping for certain segments such as groceries, which, because of expiration dates, have a fast turnaround and do not constitute the company’s main line of business. Each time an order is placed, the supplier will ship to the customer directly, meaning the business does not need any inventory.
If you want to use B2B dropshipping, you will need to start with a well-prepared strategy. First, you need to choose your suppliers carefully. There are countless marketplaces offering to help suppliers and retailers (called dropshippers) with their dropshipping strategy, ranging from the general (AliExpress, eBay, Amazon) to the more specialized (ManoMano). Check online reviews of suppliers and products sold (taking into account the sales volume) to ensure you choose serious, trustworthy partners. Remember to also check returns policies and shipment times for different products. You can also approach your usual suppliers and negotiate direct shipment with them for certain products.
If you have an e-commerce site, do not forget the importance of optimization when setting up your e-commerce dropshipping strategy. Once you have created your site, you will need to optimize your product descriptions. Search engines penalize duplicated content that has been copied from wholesalers’ and suppliers’ descriptions. Instead, try to use unique product descriptions that have been optimized for keywords and buyers’ search intentions. Tools such as Google Keywords Planner help you find words and expressions used by internet users in your market segment. Your optimization strategy may also rely on other content such as blog articles or white papers.
Using specialized software that lets you combine dropshipping with wholesale sales management means you can enjoy all the benefits of dropshipping without having to worry about practical or technical concerns. With software like Erplain, you can diversify your business by combining different distribution strategies. The main advantage of this kind of software is that it simplifies your inventory and customer order management. You always have control and visibility across the whole of your business.
Your job doesn’t stop when your dropshipping strategy starts. Quite the contrary - you need to monitor a large amount of available data to analyze and optimize your results. That is precisely what Erplain helps you to do. And the option to integrate Shopify makes Erplain a comprehensive, perfectly tailored solution!
Do you want to combine dropshipping with other B2C and B2B sales systems? Use Erplain to broaden your sales strategy!