The global dropshipping market is estimated at a $243.42 billion valuation in 2023 and continues to grow rapidly around the world. This method of order fulfilment relieves the seller from storage and inventory management duties.
But, dropshippers face a constant threat of the customers sourcing products directly from the supplier or their competitors figuring out the source of their products. That is why many eCommerce sellers use blind shipping.
What is Blind Shipping?
Blind shipping is a method of order fulfilment wherein the supplier's details are not revealed to the customer. It is a variant of the drop-shipping method and is also referred to as blind dropshipping.
This order fulfilment method is used by retailers or sellers who fulfil orders directly from the supplier’s inventory. The supplier can be another retailer, wholesaler, or manufacturer. The sellers employ blind dropshipping to conceal the identity of their suppliers from the customers.
For example, when a customer receives an order through blind shipping, they think it has come from the retailer. The received package bears the brand details and information of the retailer. But in reality, the retailer was only responsible for order processing and it was fulfilled by an anonymous supplier.
Blind Shipping vs Dropshipping
People often confuse dropshipping and blind shipping services. While both are quite similar methods of order fulfilment, they have some key differences. Dropshipping involves shipping orders directly from a supplier or a manufacturer to the customer’s address. Blind shipping companies provide the same service with the added feature of concealing the source of order fulfilment.
|The package contains supplier details||The package does not contain supplier details|
|Packages are branded by the supplier||Packages are branded by the retailer|
|The retailer pays only for order fulfilment||The retailer pays extra charges for blind shipping|
|Supplier ships directly to the customer||The retailer uses freight forwarding|
|The shipping label remains unchanged||The shipping label is changed before delivery|
|Cheaper than blind shipping||Costlier than dropshipping|
|Delivery time is shorter than blind shipping||Delivery time is longer than dropshipping|
These charges stem from freight forwarding and repackaging the order for shipping. Blind shipped packages are intervened before reaching the customer to remove all supplier-related information from packaging, labels, bill of lading, etc. Owing to this practice, blind shipping services are generally more expensive compared to dropshipping.
How Does Blind Shipping Work in eCommerce?
The end goal of blind shipping is to deliver the order to the customer with only the retailer’s information. This practice helps eCommerce companies that source products directly from the supplier. Such companies do not store any inventory of their own and use the supplier’s inventory to fulfil orders.
Blind dropshipping involves four parties:
- The Supplier/Manufacturer
- The Seller
- The Customer
- The Logistics Carrier
In the case of global blind shipping services, the order fulfilment cycle may involve multiple logistics carriers. A blind dropshipping service consists of three stages:
Stage 1: Supplier to Fulfilment Centre
The order is shipped from the supplier to the fulfilment centre. This stage follows the same format as dropshipping. The packaged order contains the details of the supplier.
Stage 2: Freight Forwarding
In blind freight shipping, the handler removes the original labels and bill of lading. They would even change the packaging if needed. The freight handler creates a new label and bill of lading that show the information of the eCommerce retailer or seller.
Stage 3: Order Fulfilment
The carrier delivers the order to the customer’s address with the renewed packaging, shipping label, and bill of lading. The delivered order only shows the eCommerce retailer’s information.
If the supplier facilitates blind dropshipping, stages 1 & 2 are carried out by the supplier. In such cases, the blind shipping companies would directly deliver the order from the supplier to the customer.
Owing to additional processes, blind shipping takes longer than dropshipping. It is also more expensive. If you are blind shipping globally, you also need to consider the added cost of international freight. You also need to consider added charges of customs duties when blind shipping an export. These processes also increase the delivery lead time.
Blind Shipping Example
Let’s understand how blind shipping services work in eCommerce with an example. Let’s consider the following scenario:
An eCommerce seller in the UK sources products from a manufacturer in Germany. The seller uses blind bulk shipping to deliver the products to a retailer in Australia. The seller will need a logistics carrier that provides blind shipping services globally for order fulfilment.
The process for blind dropshipping in Australia would go as follows:
- The seller places an order with the manufacturer.
- The manufacturer uses international ocean freight to ship the order to Australia.
- The order goes through export and import customs clearance in Germany and Australia respectively.
- The carrier receives the blind bulk shipping order at a fulfilment centre in Australia.
- The seller employs domestic freight forwarding in Australia for blind dropshipping.
- The carrier removes all of the supplier’s brand and information from the order.
- The carrier repackages the order with a new label and bill of lading that only contains information about the seller.
- The customer receives the order through blind freight shipping in Australia.
- The carrier collects proof of delivery from the customer and conveys it to the seller.
In the above example, the seller can also use a logistics partner to blind-ship an export to several customers in Australia. In this scenario, the fulfilment centre also serves as a distribution centre.
Many distributors use blind shipping services globally for order fulfilment in various countries. In such cases, they need to use several blind shipping companies, 3PL or 4PL logistics partners with an international presence.
Blind shipping ensures that your sources remain hidden from the customers. This allows you to keep a competitive advantage in the market while maintaining a hands-off approach. You do not need to store or manage inventory and still retain control over branding and customer communication.
But, blind dropshipping also costs more owing to additional stages in order fulfilment. These processes also add to the delivery lead time of blind shipped orders. As it is a hands-off approach, you are completely dependent on the blind shipping company to package and fulfil the order.
That is why you need a reliable logistics service provider, like PACK & SEND, to complete blind shipping efficiently.