One of the questions I get asked most often is…
“Should I drop ship from China?”
There seems to be a lot of people in the community talking about drop shipping from China using direct Facebook ads to Shopify stores.
And it’s something I know that people are interested in...
But here’s the thing, the people I know that have tried it aren’t getting great results. That’s why I want to tell you my experience and help you decide for yourself whether drop shipping from China is right for you.
Basically, it comes down to two huge downfalls, I am going to cover those AND when it’s possible to use drop shipping from China for your business.
The Downsides of Drop Shipping with Suppliers from China
The truth is, the downsides of drop shipping wholesale products from China outweigh the benefits. Drop shipping with suppliers in China is not for beginners and shouldn’t be the supplier of your main eCommerce product. And I’ll tell you exactly why...
Shipping Times with Chinese Suppliers
I’ve never tried to run an entire business with products drop shipped from China, only with a few products in a store. And the thing that stuck out most to me is how long the shipping times are. I found that at its quickest, the product will reach the customer in two weeks.
Sometimes it can take as much as four weeks! Taking the average of those two it wouldn’t be unfair to estimate products reaching your customers in three weeks. Yikes!
This is a huge issue if you aren’t selling custom-made products because online shoppers want their purchases immediately. Leaving you in a bad position with having to explain to the customer why it’s going to take the better part of a month for them to receive their item.
And the thing is, even if you put it front and center on your website you’ll still get emails about it.
Saying something like “Hey it’s been a week and a half, where’s my product?”
This creates a lot more customer service work for you! It becomes a bad experience for your customer support and a terrible experience for your customer.
Making it pretty much a losing scenario for all involved...
This leads to a long-term strain that will make you less money overall. That’s why using “in country” drop shipping suppliers is best, because you'll have much better shipping times! That means happier customers and less strain on your customer support.
That leads us to the second issue with drop shipping from China, returns.
A lot of products are created in China, but they are often branded products. With the generic products you sell, you’ll likely have a higher defect rate than the branded kind.
Not to say China doesn’t make good products – they do, most of the products you’ll sell from legitimate drop ship suppliers come from China. But when you drop ship straight from China you’re going to have problems.
Since these are going to be generic products it’s going to lead to some items being defective. Some of the items won’t look like how they are portrayed in your product photos. That’s going to lead to customers wanting to return them and what happens then?
Hint: It’s not great...
You’ll have to pay out of pocket for those defective products yourself. And that’ll eat into your profits quickly.
It also seems like a lot of people that I talk to about this (that are actually doing it) sell products around $20. They are directly pointing ads to Shopify and that just isn’t how I’ve done eCommerce before.
I’m not saying it won’t work for you but that isn’t how I’ve been profitable. It isn’t what we teach at Drop Ship Lifestyle.
The whole model for our success is based on drop shipping high ticket items. That way you get bigger profits per sale.
Frankly, drop shipping from China isn’t something that we accounted for because we built our drop shipping program to work with long-term strategies that work the best.
Again, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its place. It just means that if you are dead set on doing it, you should follow through on what the course says first then you can explore.
When to Drop Ship Products from China
Drop shipping from China could be appropriate for tripwire products but I wouldn’t suggest using them as your supplier for your main product. Because of the long shipping times and having to eat the cost of returns yourself.
Tripwires are smaller products that you sell to your customer in order to warm them up to purchase your main offer. The idea is that you build trust and a relationship with them before they spend on your bigger priced product.
That being said… I still believe you shouldn’t use this method if you are a beginner. If you’re building your first store, drop shipping from China is not a good idea. But if you have a thriving business you could try adding it into your product mix.
To summarize, drop shipping from China takes longer to ship to the customer. This leads to more pressure on customer support. It will also lead to you paying the bill on returned items since all the defective products will come to you, not the suppliers.
I don’t suggest it for your main offer and would not tell a beginner to start that way. I would also not suggest doing low ticket items unless you are warming up a customer to your main offer. That’s how we do eCommerce with high ticket items and $300+ profits.
Since this will be an ongoing discussion I would love to hear from you guys on your experience with drop shipping from China. And as always, if you have any questions I will answer them in the comments below.