A century ago, the process of getting goods from factory to consumers was fairly straightforward. A manufacturer produced merchandise under a brand name, then delivered the products to a retailer who presented them on a display floor for selection by retail customers.
This process was modified substantially with the arrival of the first mail order catalog. This printed info-digest allowed consumers in remote areas to enjoy the department store experience without leaving the farm. Wide-eyed catalog recipients could peruse hundreds of tempting illustrations of alluring products before mailing off their order, after which they spent weeks anticipating their arrival by truck, train or mail.
The birth of the catalog marked a critical juncture for mass marketers. This printed version of the department store offered hundreds of products from scores of manufacturers located all over the world.
Initially, most catalog houses had quantities of goods shipped to a huge central warehouse from which they were then re-shipped to individuals in cartons marked with the catalog house’s logo.
This “in and out” process created a number of costly obstacles from double freight to inventory control, since the mass marketer was forced to purchase and maintain massive quantities of individual products that they had yet to sell, and to dispose of those products that failed to catch the consumers eye and never sold. Furthermore, the idea that a manufacturer in Dallas might ship a truckload of widgets to a catalog marketer in New Jersey, only to be re-shipped to a buyer in Houston became increasingly illogical and needlessly expensive. Thus the concept of “dropshipping” was born. After all, why not have the supplier in Dallas ship the goods down the road to the consumer in Houston then bill the catalogue house, who then could pass the cost on to the retail buyer?
Of course, that business model created its own set of issues.
The consumer had purchased the goods from the company with the name on the front of the catalog, and it was that firm who held the legal and ethical responsibility for the quality of the products and their prompt delivery to the end consumer.
What if the manufacturer failed to deliver? Or substituted an inferior model? Worse yet, what if the supplier shipped the goods under their label? Or poached the customer altogether?
Obviously, this contractual arrangement required a serious level of confidence and trust. At the very least, the catalogue’s brand identity must be clearly displayed and the supplier’s anonymity maintained.
The arrival of the internet and an overwhelming swarm of e-commerce marketers only served to make the cloudy waters murkier, with marketers from eBay to Amazon representing an infinite array of suppliers of products delivered by an equally bewildering maize of shippers and home delivery services.
Fortunately, today’s savvy consumer no longer harbors any misconception about what is coming from who. However, this does not alter the need to promote and protect the original seller’s brand identity, nor the necessity that the drop shipping entity maintain quality, security, and accuracy.
Fifty years ago, this partnership between supplier and drop shipper could have only been codified by a detailed and litigious contract between all parties.
But today, the direct-to-consumer industry moves entirely too fast for an endless labyrinth of players to be entangled in daily negotiations before meeting their overnight deadlines. Now, any major player in the industry who seeks to drop ship products must make a decision based on the answer to these important questions…
This is a complex operation requiring a thorough knowledge of freight handling, re-packaging, billing, shipping and tracing. This is no place for on-the-job training. Novices need not apply.
Drop shipping requires lots of warehouse space, experienced staff, and specialized material handling equipment. Without these essential resources, an effective drop ship program cannot be fulfilled.
Whether you’re looking to dropship furniture or other merchandise, it’s important to remember that they are holding your goods, your inventory, your future sales and your on-line reputation.
Happy customers seldom take the time to express their satisfaction, but UNhappy customers almost always do. Check what people say about others before they start talking about YOU.
These are just a few of the many issues you need to consider before choosing your drop ship fulfillment partner…or you could just call Massood Logistics. They have been providing drop shipping services for major marketers for more than 60 years.
They maintain four large, modern 3PL warehouse facilities in Central North Carolina with the latest material handling equipment operated by long-time experienced employees trained to handle fragile and valuable merchandise.
They are bonded and insured, and their warehouse storage facilities serve the nation’s biggest names in ecommerce. Their five star Google rating was earned from decades of dedicated service, prompt delivery and satisfied clients.
Why risk your reputation with an untested partner? Trust your drop shipments to the best name in the business.
Call Massood Logistics and get your drop ship program started today!