Advice for consumers – beware of dropshipping!
Usually I’d be giving you advice on how to create or manage your own website. Today I wanted to give you some consumer advice when shopping across the internet.
First of all I’m not saying dropshipping is a bad thing. If you can find a reliable supplier and you’re just starting up it can really help a start-up get off the ground.
Anyway I was watching Rip Off Britain this morning enjoying my porridge and first coffee of the day, when a segment came up about consumers buying clothing products from various websites. Most of the products were bad quality, a bad fit or made of the wrong materials. When contacting the stores many of the customers were ignored, told they couldn’t have refunds or told they could have a refund if they shipped the item back to China costing them up to £70.
China?! From a British company selling on a .co.uk website?
This was an obvious case of dropshipping. This is when the store doesn’t keep physical stock, instead the order goes straight to the supplier who ships it to the customer. This doesn’t mean it’s a Chinese company that’s created a fake business though. Dropshipping and web development is becoming easier and more popular so this is more than likely someone sat on their sofa who has created a connection between their website and a supplier overseas.
As I mentioned above, dropshipping isn’t a bad thing necessarily but here are a few things to look out for and take away if you’re a regular online shopper.
- co.uk doesn’t mean it’s a British website – anyone can purchase a .co.uk domain.
- A UK address doesn’t mean anything – you can register a business anywhere, this doesn’t mean stock is kept at the address.
- Long delivery times – dropshipping is often from far overseas and therefore delivery times are typically 20 – 40 days (often the higher end).
- Check reviews – not just on the website. Search Google for reviews outside of the website.
- Look for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors – not everyone’s perfect at spelling but sometimes it can be really obvious that you’re not dealing with a professional retailer.
- Read the returns policy – retail websites should have a returns policy, make sure you read it if you aren’t sure about the supplier.
Hopefully this post has raised some awareness of what dropshipping is and how you can avoid being stung. Dropshipping isn’t a scam and can be a great way to help start-up retail businesses begin their journey. It’s also worth noting that there are UK based dropshipping suppliers that can be used for better delivery times, these often produce better quality products as well.