Communication is everything in the dropshipping world. You risk losing business if you are not in consistent contact with your customers and suppliers. If something goes wrong, it’s up to you to fix it—even if it’s not your fault, because your customers purchased products under your brand. Dropshipping is also a convenient business model for working remotely, so you need to have plenty of contact options if you are abroad. To keep your customers and suppliers happy, here are a few tips for improving communication between you:
Provide enough information upfront
First and foremost, give customers plenty of methods to get a hold of you. Put your phone number (whether a landline, personal cell, or Whatsapp number), mailing address, email address, and social media links on your website where people can see them easily. Consumers are rightfully cautious of online scams, so you will look suspicious if any of this information is missing. Some customers prefer to email rather than talk on the phone, so they will appreciate not having to ask you, “Is there an email address I can reach you at?” if something is wrong with their order.
Being upfront applies to your products as well. Taking descriptions straight from your suppliers does not always give customers a comprehensive idea of what the product is and what it can be used for (it also establishes no emotional connection and is not beneficial for SEO). Visitors to your site will appreciate not having to ask questions at all, so be as thorough as possible when it comes to communicating details about your products, prices, and shipping details. Writing an FAQ page is also an excellent feature to include.
This should go without saying, but you need to be available if your customers and suppliers need to contact you. You do not have to be responsive 24 hours per day, of course—you have a right to determine which hours you work—but whenever you are tending to your business, keep your phone ready and social media channels open. Many consumers enjoy being able to talk to brand owners over social media direct messages, so consider holding online “office hours” where you will get back to people as soon as possible. If you are traveling as a digital nomad, keep changing timezones in mind.
Include a chatbot
Chatbots are another way to provide customer service without having to interact with customers yourself. While you can only be available during certain hours of each day, chatbots never stop working, and they give site visitors an opportunity to ask questions and have them answered almost immediately. Surprisingly, not everyone is willing to pick up the phone and complain. While you may assume that customers will let you know if something is wrong, 91 percent of unhappy customers from a Salesforce study who identify as non-complainers will take their business elsewhere without saying anything.
Don’t be overly promotional
Dropshipping is heavily dependent on marketing, so every kind of content you create is a form of communicating with your customers. Content is instrumental in capturing peoples’ attention and convincing them to do business with you: if it’s boring, people will look the other way.
Overly promotional content that talks about your various deals and discounts is only interesting if you also share material including photographs, videos, how-to guides, infographics, industry insider details, and more. Social media is a convenient place to take your content efforts, so take a look at what your competitors are doing (without copying their ideas, of course—just mimicking their strategies) and check out Instagram stats you need to know.
You, your customers, and your suppliers will appreciate it if you have plans for when errors occur. Anna Dizon from Fit Small Business says:
“Issues like backorders, lost shipment, and returns can be a little more complicated when dropshipping is involved… However, planning for these contingencies is possible too. Discuss policies and obligations and come to an agreement with your dropshipper from the start to make sure both sides will put in the maximum effort to avoid these kinds of scenarios.”
If you practice thorough communication with your suppliers at the beginning of your partnership, you’ll save yourselves a headache from trying to figure everything out when the stakes are higher.
Foster a strong relationship with your suppliers
There is no way to get the best dropshipping products if you’re not able to communicate clearly and effectively with your suppliers.
Check in with your suppliers often. Get to know the representatives you speak to the most often and treat them kindly. You shouldn’t only contact them when something is amiss—everything will run smoother if you keep one another up to date regularly and have a rapport. Remember to pay them promptly, too; it makes life difficult for both parties if you are paying late or unpredictably.
Success in dropshipping depends on communication, but even though you are remote from your suppliers and customers, there are steps you can take to ensure communication is as seamless as possible. As a dropshipper, how do you keep communication consistent?