What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a form of sales management and fulfilment, whereby the wholesaler or “dropshipper”:
- holds the stock (in this case, supplements, health foods, protein powders etc)
- and fulfils your orders for the products, on demand. This includes picking, labelling, packing and posting, direct to your customers.
Your role, as seller / retailer, is simply that – to make sales. You collect the retail price of the product(s) from your customers and then pass the corresponding order over your trade supplier.
A good example of a leading and trusted wholesale supplements supplier and dropshipper who follows this model is Specialist Supplements Ltd – see all details on dropship here. They are an established company based in the United Kingdom, trading since 1995.
They specialise in dropshipping private label food supplements (see below), but you can also dropship their own Specialist Supplements Ltd branded product.
Unusually for wholesale / dropship companies, they do not charge for their supplement dropshipping services or storage. All trade customers and practitioners registered on their site automatically gain access to this service which makes it look as if you were posting the items out yourself.
If choosing to adopt a supplements dropship model, be sure to select a reputable dropshipper such as Specialist Supplements. There are many dropship companies out there, but as with any industry, some are better than others and many are useless.
With this in mind, here are some important considerations for anyone thinking of starting a supplements venture, based around dropshipping. By selecting your dropship supplier carefully, you will avoid taking a hit on profits and ensure that you protect your reputation.
Important considerations when choosing your dropshipper
- Supplier experience and reputation
When selecting the company that will be dropshipping your supplements, it is important to ensure that:
- They have industry experience. There are a lot of fulfilment companies out there, but those that don’t have specific experience of the supplements industry are more prone to mistakes (particularly if private labelling is involved). Errors can have a significant impact on your reputation. Ideally, your wholesale supplements supplier should be your dropshipper. This saves time and effort, reduces the potential for errors and ultimately saves money too.
- They have good reviews. When entrusting a company with your products, customer details and reputation, it is essential to ensure that they are reliable and professional.
- They have good turnaround times. You want to ensure that average order processing / dispatch times are fast and efficient, to avoid issues with your own customers.
Specialist Supplements Ltd, for example, have been trading for almost a quarter of a century. Their services are tried and tested, having stood the test of time. They have a very customer rating online, and excellent turnaround times.
- Does the dietary supplements drop-ship company charge for the service?
There are a lot of scams out there, so it is important to pick a reputable company. Even if not nefarious, many dropshippers charge exorbitant fees that significantly eat into profit margins. Ideally (and more likely if your supplements wholesaler is also your dropshipper), you should not be paying an administration fee for the dropship service – just the cost of the product(s) and postage.
You also have to watch out for add-on costs. For example, are there any commissions, printing costs or additional costs for labelling? These quickly mount up and often render the supplements dropship business model non-viable.
Specialist Supplements Ltd offer a no-fee dropship service. All label printing is free. There are no minimum orders and no extra fee for private label orders.
- Is my customer loyalty protected?
One thing that people starting a drop ship based business tend to worry about, is how they will protect their customer loyalty (ensuring repeat orders are not lost to a third party) if another company – especially the product manufacturer – is dispatching the orders for them.
This is a valid concern, but the answer is simple. You just need to ensure that the dropshipper (i.e. the company posting our your orders) does not include any literature or branded materials, such as packaging or compliment slips / invoices, with the order.
Your customer should not be able to tell that you have not sent the items out yourself. Some dropshippers (including Specialist Supplements Ltd), even allow you to personalise delivery slips for a nominal cost.
Dropshipping using private label option
Of course, if you are selling products under third party branding (e.g. selling Specialist Supplements Ltd products under Specialist Supplements Ltd labels), there is no way to stop your customers finding alternative sellers, or even just buying from that company directly.
The best way to avoid this is to sell under your own branding – the “private label, white label” or “own label” option is explained fully on this page.
By purchasing market-ready products, but then re-branding them as your own, not only do you get a health product range that is unique to your company, you also make it harder for your customers to go elsewhere or compare prices.
But how do you go about creating your own brand of health products?
Label design and bespoke supplements packaging can be extremely costly. Graphic designers, for example, can charge thousands of pounds to design a set of labels for an entire product range. It is best to avoid such huge outlay, particularly if you are a start-up or new to the industry with a small budget.
Some supplements suppliers offer an in-house Own Label service for a reasonable, one-off fee. They allow you to customise attractive pre-made design templates (e.g. with your logo, colour scheme, contact details, product names etc), or you can supply your own fully bespoke artwork in their required dimensions.
The private label option, also known as white label, is by far the most popular business model for supplement dropshippers, because it offers the greatest flexibility, enhances your brand, helps you stand out from competitors and allows you to target a particular market (if required).
Making a successful business out of the dropship model
With a good marketing plan, quality health products and a reliable supplements dropship company, you can create a highly lucrative business venture with very little financial outlay or time spent.
For busy entrepreneurs, this business model is no-brainer.
Image Source: BigStock.com (Licensed)