A lot of selling online goes through a three-part relationship: the customer, the seller, and the supplier. If you’re the seller, you have to balance this relationship carefully, your income relies on it. What happens when your dropshipper falls through? Here’s how to handle it if your orders are backed up and your products aren’t getting to your customers.
Spotting a Bad Dropshipper
Your customer places an order and you, in turn, place one with your supplier. Uh oh, there’s no confirmation that they received the order or that they’re shipping it. This is your first signal to get involved, your customer is waiting for the package they’ve already paid you for.
First, send a polite email inquiring about the order. If within 24 hours you don’t get a reply, it’s time to get more proactive and call them. It’s a good rule of thumb to only work with dropshippers that have an available phone number, for exactly this reason.
When your customer starts wondering where their package is, you should already be on the case. It is important to reassure the customer that the situation is under control and that you’re looking into it.
Communicate With Your Customers
If you don’t hear from the dropshipper within a week, you should definitely cease taking any orders for their products. You have enough to worry about with the currently missing orders. Keep trying to contact them and continue being polite. If they are having technical difficulties through no fault of their own, they won’t think highly of a customer leaving a bunch of nasty messages.
At this point, you should inform your customers that the supplier is having problems delivering and that it will take a while for them to receive their orders. Be prepared to offer refunds, especially during the holiday season, if they don’t want to wait.
Drop The Relationship
After ten business days without word, it’s probably time to drop the seller-supplier relationship. Even though you’ve already paid the dropshipper for the product, you should refund all of the customers waiting so they don’t get a bad view of your company. Apologize for the problems and explain that it’s the supplier’s fault, but take responsibility and refund them. You can also refer the customer to another store that sells the product. They will remember you for that.
Continue trying to contact the dropshipper. Inform them (still politely) that you are no longer going to be selling their product and ask for refunds for the orders that you have placed. If you go longer with still no response, ask your credit card provider for a chargeback on those orders. This means you get your refund and your supplier’s merchant bank will go after them for the money.
Things happen, sometimes this issue can be the result of bad weather or internal drama in the company and those things are not your fault. All you can do is respond appropriately and retain your customers if possible, even if it means finding another dropshipper.