5 Dropshipping Solutions To Automate Your Business Routine
Dropshipping is a relatively new word in the business dictionary and a new type of business sales process. It is advertised as simple and easy to start, positioned to be especially good for first-time merchants and so on. In fact, it is way far from being a breeze, since it hides a lot of underwater reefs that are felt only when one gets into the business.
Basically, the main advantage of dropshipping is the ability to sell products directly from the supplier, but with no need to keep your own warehouse and handle the shipping. On the one hand, it means less financial risks and less delivery headache. On the other hand, many specific routine issues appear, like the necessity to quickly update product feeds/description once the supplier does; the need to provide order details to the supplier as soon as the order is placed; the need to have up-to-date info on supplier inventory levels to avoid misunderstanding when an out-of-stock item is ordered etc.
To help out the merchants that are a part of dropshipping business, there appeared numerous dropshipping platforms and services that automate most of the data exchange operations between retailers and suppliers, and integrate with other business tools like ERP systems, online marketplaces and ecommerce platforms. Let’s look at some of the top dropshipping platforms in more details in order for you not to get lost in their variety and pick the most suitable one for your business.
Founded in the far 2002, this dropshipping solution can be proudly called one of the most experienced in the sphere. It attracts users by the easy start opportunity and flexible pricing. Also, the number of dropship products -- over 1,000,000 -- and about 100 suppliers are impressive enough. Inventory Source allows to pick one of the four plans which would best suit the company’s needs and budget, the first plan being totally free. It would work well for the beginners willing to familiarize themselves with the industry with no initial financial commitment.
Also, this platform does its best to automate such routine tasks as uploading product information to your existing website or automatically updating products info daily if any changes are made by the supplier. However, this convenience is only available in two of the most expensive plans, while the cheaper ones offer the ability to import product data (description and images) via data feeds. There are also numerous integration options for owners of online stores on over 20 popular platforms.
The software comes with a fly in the ointment, though. It is not very explicit on their website that the plan price is actually the price you pay for the first supplier you work with, and you’ll have to pay for each new supplier too, which means you may end up paying quite a considerable sum.
Hublogix (formerly EcommHub) is an e-Commerce backend automation platform focused on cutting down the efforts and time online entrepreneurs spend on operations from checkout to product delivery, including inventory management, order routing, and shipment tracking.
This software would be especially handy for online business owners selling on several storefronts and marketplaces working with multiple suppliers. It provides extensive integration capabilities for e-Commerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, 3dcart etc. Apart from it, Amazon and eBay marketplaces can be also integrated within one account so that a merchant could manage all sales channels in one place.
Hublogix will help to automatically keep track of the real-time inventory levels, and route the orders so that you could see the status of each order, as well as control shipments to find out how close the shipped item to its destination is. There are also reporting capabilities, so that merchants could see their store performance right within their account dashboard.
Hublogix is available in 3 plans, ranging by the number of orders to process starting from 100 in the platform plan. Each order exceeding the limit will be paid additionally. Also, there is $99 one time fee for onboarding program and $49 per vendor. The latter details are quite hard to see in the tiny type at the bottom of the page, so it might be a good idea to make them better visible.
Dropship Commerce was started in 2011 as the “child” of a popular Doba resource for dropshippers. It is a B2B integration SaaS platform targeted at midsized businesses, with the goal to streamline their dropshipping operations. This software works to maximally automate integrations between retailers and suppliers, helping them exchange products, inventory, and order data. This is achieved thanks to the peculiar architecture of the platform -- a customer first integrates with the automation platform and then receives access to other tools in the form of modules like order analytics, catalog, inventory, orders, and shipments.
Dropship Commerce also offers a wide range of integration tools to suit any customer already using certain business applications or sales channels, including leading OMS, ERP, eCommerce systems.
Attractive as it looks, Dropship Commerce has the pricing model that requires certain commitment as it is paid annually in advance. Three major packages range from $3000 to $12000/year and include various features to fulfill even most sophisticated demands. Also, a setup fee starting from $1000 in the Starter plan is mandatory before you can get going with the platform. Like in other similar solutions, you will also be charged a monthly fee of $30 per connected trading partner.
Spark Shipping is one of the youngest, but very promising dropshipping automation platforms on the market. Founded in 2013, they quickly progress in developing their software aimed at helping online merchants free their hands from routine dropshipping operations.
Spark Shipping helps to save time by automatically processing orders being sent to specific suppliers in the required format. It also does a good job with synchronizing stock levels with the vendors, automatically updating inventory and routing orders.
This software is clearly positioned to help existing merchants owning one or several e-stores, especially those based on Magento, Bigсommerce, Shopify or WooCommerce and selling on Amazon. However, this solution isn’t recommended for total startups that haven’t worked up any orders yet, since “there is nothing to automate”.
As far as pricing is concerned, a customer can choose from the four plans, starting from $99 a month, which range in the number of orders processed (starting from 150) and SKUs available (Basic plan allows up to 5000 SKUs). Unfortunately, there is no trial period to try Spark Shipping, so there’s no other way than to pick the suitable plan and make the payment.
If you are a high-volume online merchant using multiple sales channels, Etail Solutions might be the right tool to help you manage most business operations. Founded in 2010, this software has grown a solid reputation on the market.
Etail Solutions works on the basis of Etail Vantage Platform (EVP) that integrates all your sales channels within one interface, including marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, shopping carts like Shopify and Magento, and other software like Sears, Living Social, and Rakuten.
This software automates various daily workflow procedures and decreases the need for additional staff as the business grows. It manages inventory across all channels and automatically replenishes popular items by making purchase orders, which is a rare feature for the similar software. It also keeps the product catalog up-to-date with the suppliers and manages various order fulfillment methods.
Etail Solutions does not offer a trial period, but its potential customers have a chance to request a Demo in order to see the tool in action. The pricing info isn’t available directly on the website, so if this solution sounds interesting to you, it’s best to contact their representative for details.
This was just a quick look over the most promising dropshipping solutions, tailored for different company needs and business sizes. Hopefully, this overview will help you decide whether or not your business needs this type of software, and if it does, select the one that would fully satisfy your requirements.