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Tips for synchronising your suppliers and your dropshipping shop

Dropshipping has become a very popular e-commerce fulfillment strategy. It reduces the risk of having to pay and hold products until they sell. This allows you to focus on marketing your shop. However, dropshipping will be a real frustration if you can't synchronise your suppliers and your shop.

How to synchronize your supplier and your dropshipment shop?

As a dropshipping shop, you don't just need to synchronise SKU or stock keeping unit data. You also need to coordinate stock levels, availability, pricing and order status. As your dropshipping business grows, your list of products, orders and dropshipping suppliers increases further. You won't be able to manage all this successfully without the right tools to manage and synchronise your data.

This is also the case for dropshippers who use several suppliers, but who also sell on several platforms. Without the help of a SKU data management platform, the growth of a business will not be logistically possible. In order to be able to synchronise your dropshipping supplier and your online shop efficiently, automation is the only possible solution. In this respect, you need a single dashboard. It helps you manage and synchronise your SKU, price and availability changes across all your channels. Otherwise, you'll be stuck in a big administrative loop that leaves you too little time to actually promote your shop.

Control of suppliers

By properly checking your suppliers before you decide to "stock" the item, you will mitigate a large part of the possible availability problems. The ideal scenario is to have a main supplier and back-up suppliers to have a plan B. Before choosing a supplier or product, talk to your potential supplier about expected availability and lead times. When choosing backup suppliers, make sure that replacement products are almost identical. This allows you to replace them easily, should the need arise.

Find suppliers who offer a range of products, allowing you to limit the number of suppliers you need. You should avoid having a supplier for every product you sell. This will make the management process much easier and eliminate cases of product overlap. The following tips are what to look for in a good dropshipping supplier:

  • You should choose suppliers with positive feedback, averaging 95% or more. This will help you to eliminate suppliers whose fulfilment process could be detrimental to the running of your webshop
  • You need to ensure that your supplier is responsive. This helps to ensure that if problems arise, you know you can easily contact your supplier
  • You should try to find suppliers who have a similar returns policy. This ensures that you are able to give your customers a uniform returns policy across your site.

However, make sure your online shop is prepared for the changes. In the event that a substitute product may be interchanged, make sure that your descriptions of that product are sufficiently generic. This allows you to meet the order of your main or back-up supplier.

SKU specification for dropshipping

SKUs allow you to quickly identify an item in stock, based on its size, colour or manufacturer. Each product you sell should have its own SKU. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when managing dropshipping suppliers is in managing SKUs. This is because your suppliers are the ones holding the inventory and therefore they are the ones managing the SKU numbers. In order to avoid chaos and financial loss, you need to ensure that each product, by each supplier, has its own SKU. This applies even to several suppliers, providing you with exactly the same product. This specification will allow you to easily identify your supplier for a given product. This ensures that the order for that product is sent to the correct supplier.

The simplest solution is to use the supplier's name as a prefix. For example, you have a dropshipping supplier in France for a small shop. The wholesalers, Bernadette and Jean-Pierre, sell the same notepad and both products have the same SKU: SKU356. By simply adding the initials of the supplier's name, you can ensure that the SKU is unique for your shop. This could be: Bernadette's notebook BDSKU356 and Jean-Pierre's notebook JPSKU356. This is extremely important, as having unique SKUs in place is vital for a dropshipper with a variety of suppliers. It helps you to set up automatic routing. It ensures that orders are fulfilled by the right suppliers.  

Conclusion

Synchronising dropshipping suppliers and an online shop can be a logistical nightmare. If a supplier causes you a problem, you can lose everything. For the consumer, the ordering process can affect the impression of your brand and therefore your sales. The help of online platforms, such as Minea, prevents any disruption.

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