Dropshipping is a business model that has been growing in popularity over the years. It’s no wonder why – it promises that aspiring entrepreneurs can start their own businesses with very little up-front investment.
But is that exactly true?
And is dropshipping right for your online boutique? Is starting an online boutique with dropshipping worth it?
In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of dropshipping online boutique, and help you decide if it’s the right path for you.
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a business model in which you sell products without having to carry any inventory. When a customer places an order, you simply contact the supplier, who will then ship the product directly to your customer.
The process is often automated, so you don’t have to worry about manually handling orders yourself.
That’s what makes dropshipping so attractive to aspiring boutique owners.
You can theoretically start your business with very little up-front investment, and you don’t have to worry about managing inventory on your own.
But there are also a few downsides to dropshipping online boutique, which we will discuss later in this blog post.
The Pros of Dropshipping
First, the good stuff. Dropshipping is a great way to get started in most product-based business— especially if you can find a reliable supplier.
Not having to manage your own inventory means that you minimize your upfront costs. That saves you from needing extra space for processing orders.
Or having to purchasing a bunch of supplies.
Organizing bins, poly mailers or custom packaging, packing tape, tissue paper, clothing racks or portable steamers are all important.
And can help you efficiently manage your own inventory from home.
But even thought you’re saving on those, that doesn’t mean that there are no costs involved.
And it might not be the best thing for your customer experience.
The Cons of Dropshipping
While spending less up front might be initially attractive, it doesn’t cut out the cost of what every online boutique needs: marketing.
You can’t get your products in front of customers who want to buy them if you’re not actively marketing your business. And most people who share about the benefits of dropshipping skip over this major point.
It takes money to ‘acquire a customer’. And that can be expensive.
So even though you won’t have to deal with the logistics of processing, packing and shipping orders, you are still responsible for making sure those orders come in. And that those customers come back.
Because if you’re always paying to acquire a new customer (and they don’t become a repeat buyer) then you’ll never actually make enough profit to grow.
Then there’s the customer experience.
Managing the Customer Experience
Because you’re not handling your own inventory, you might not be able to offer as pleasant of an experience as other online boutiques.
Personal touches like customized packaging, branded ribbon or tissue paper, or even a handwritten note can have a huge impact on how customers feel and think about your online boutique.
Plus, you’re not there to see what condition the products are shipped in. Receiving items that may be wrinkled, damaged or torn can lead to a customer never coming back.
It’s hard to recover from a damaged reputation, especially as a new business.
And successful boutiques are built on repeat purchasers.
You also need to make sure that your supplier is reliable and has a good reputation of their own.
If they don’t deliver products on time, or if the quality of their products is poor, it will reflect badly on your business.
And you’ll have to scramble to create a new relationship with another supplier, which can put your business on hold in addition to upsetting existing customers.
The Bottom Line
Dropshipping online boutique can be a great way to get started in an online product-based business. But it’s not without its downsides.
Before you decide if dropshipping is right for your boutique, make sure you understand all the pros and cons.
You want to have a clear picture of what’s involved before you commit to any one direction to take your online boutique.
And you want to be aware of the impact of customer experience on the life of your business.
Because business can’t grow if customers never come back.
The goal is to make sure that as many customers as possible have a positive experience with your business. That increases the likelihood that they’ll shop again but also that they will share their experience in the form of online reviews, user generated content on social media or even personal referrals to friends.
So what are you doing to make sure you position your brand to reap those benefits?
Buying inventory can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what to buy and how to price products correctly.
Huge trade shows and wholesale marketplaces make it difficult for aspiring boutique owners to choose the right partner.
And online vendors are not always trustworthy either.
But dropshipping is not always the answer, especially if you want to be able to create an unforgettable experience that keeps shoppers coming back.
That’s why it’s important to be educated on the retail buying process. That way, you’ll know how to curate a collection, establish a proper budget and price products for profit so that your boutique actually makes money when you make a sale.
And the more profit you make, the more cash flow you’ll have to grow the business. That lets you reinvest in more inventory, marketing, supplies—and eventually pay yourself or hire help.