Selling Merchandise from Drop-Shippers on eBay
As an eBay seller, you may want to sell merchandise supplied through a drop-ship service. A drop-shipper is a business that stocks merchandise, sells the merchandise to you (the reseller), but ships it directly to your customer. This arrangement has its positive and negative points.
On the positive side, by using a drop-shipper, you transfer the risks of buying, storing, and shipping merchandise to another party. You become a stockless retailer with no inventory hanging around — often an economical, cost-effective way to do business.
On the negative side, this way of doing business costs you more and lowers your profits. Your goal as a business owner is to make as much money as you can. Because the drop-shipper is in business too, they’ll mark up the merchandise (and the shipping costs) so they can make their profit.
Drop-shipping works especially well for Web-based retail operations. Web stores can link directly to the drop-shipper to transmit shipping and payment information. When you’re selling on eBay, it’s another thing. There’s more competition and you can’t list hundreds of items at no additional cost. Listing items on eBay costs money and may build up your expenses before you make a profit.
You also need to be very careful when using a drop-shipper. Ask for references. See whether a zillion sellers are selling the same merchandise on eBay — and not getting any bites. Also, what happens if a drop-shipper runs out of an item that you’ve just sold? You can’t just say “oops” to your buyer without getting some nasty feedback. It’s your online reputation at stake.
If you’ve considered the positives and negatives, and drop shipping still appeals to you, the following steps outline the standard way to work with most drop-shippers on eBay:
Sign up on the drop-shipper’s Web site to sell their merchandise on eBay or in your Web store. Check out their terms before you sign up to be sure there’s no minimum purchase.
Select the items from their inventory that you want to sell. The supplier gives you descriptive copy and photographs to help make your sales job easier.
Post the item online and wait (fidgeting with anticipation) for someone to buy it.
As soon as your buyer pays you for the item, e-mail the drop-shipper (or fill out a special secure form on their Web site) and pay for the item with your credit card or PayPal.
Relax while the drop-shipper ships the item to your customer for you.
If all goes well, the item arrives quickly and safely.
You make a profit and get some positive feedback.
After you sell the item, you give the vendor the address of the buyer. They charge your credit card for the item plus shipping, and then ship the item to your customer for you.