Dropshipping and dropsurfing are two terms that get thrown together way too often. While anyone who has been acquainted with eCommerce can understand dropshipping, dropsurfing can get confusing for the uninitiated as well as the seasoned.
Let us attempt to resolve the confusion by answering the question — what is dropshipping?
Understanding Dropshipping vs. Dropsurfing
Dropshipping refers to the process of delivering goods to your customers directly from the manufacturer.
Basically, you get your vendor to stock items for you and dispatch them directly based on the orders you receive. Simple enough, right?
But even with all the attractive benefits that dropshipping has to offer, retailers who want to scale up will eventually need to change their strategies a bit. Many dropshippers reach a point wherein they are not able to grow the business, and need to take a hard look at their profit margins and operational revenue.
This is where dropsurfing comes into the picture. Let us understand this concept with an example.
Suppose you are a dropshipper who sells hand-woven bags produced by a local manufacturer. Slowly but steadily, your customer base grew and now you have a steady stream of monthly orders for these bags, but your manufacturer is not able to fulfill them in a timely manner. This issue is resulting in you having to lose out on customers.
Of course, it is not sustainable for your business to wait for your manufacturer to catch up to speed. So, you start looking for similar manufacturers who can produce the products for you. You find a couple of manufacturers who can not only produce the same product with the quality intact but can also provide you with a bit more of a profit margin. So, what will you do now?
You may obviously continue dealing with your primary manufacturer for loyalty, and start dealing with other manufacturers for a higher profit margin and better operational ease, right? What you are doing here is precisely what dropsurfing is all about.
Now, understanding what is dropsurfing will come much naturally to you.
The process of surfing through manufacturers or wholesalers to find the right one to fulfill an order for a specific customer is known as dropsurfing.
Of course, there is the other infamous definition too.
Dropsurfing is often equated with wave surfing. In this definition, we are talking about stores that do not have a definite catalogue. Instead, they keep changing the store products based on what is trending and likely to produce results at the time. Basically, dropsurfing internet trending products.
How to Choose the Right Option for Your Business?
So, yes — dropshipping and dropsurfing can offer a lot of benefits to entrepreneurs who know how to get it right. With that in mind, we are sure you are eager to know the next steps that you need to follow for starting your own dropshipping business.
To understand whether you should continue with a time-tested dropshipping business, or a much more fast-paced dropsurfing model, you need to deliberate. Here are a few factors that you should consider and analyse to take the right step for your business.
Every entrepreneur starts off with just one goal in mind — to grow and sustain a successful business. That said, it can take a lot of patience and time to achieve that; it does not happen overnight.
Running a dropshipping business can undoubtedly pose a lot of challenges, but remember, with the right quality of products and strategies, you may have a successful online store at your hand.
Coming to dropsurfing now — it is just another way of dropshipping, isn’t it?
However, it is important to gauge whether your business is ready for it. If you are just starting out, it is probably a good idea to start small, to get a better hold on your operations. On the other hand, if you are already growing and scaling up your business, you may be actively looking at expanding your operations.
If you are at the latter stage, dropsurfing can definitely be a good idea. You can have multiple suppliers working to deliver your orders, and ensure to provide a consistently excellent user experience to your growing customer base.
If you have been running a dropshipping business for some time, you know that you did not generate steady profits immediately. It took a while to set up your store, and get the word out about your products. It took even more time to establish credibility in a highly competitive landscape.
But eventually, it did happen. You started selling your products, getting a lot of orders and your average order value rose. You finally did it — you created a successful dropshipping business.
It is natural for a business owner to target profitability next. While you may be still generating a decent profit margin, you may rightly want to explore opportunities to maximise that. Dropsurfing can help you find other suppliers who may end up having lower prices, and grant better profit margins to you.
If we go by the other definition of high profit products dropsurfing, you may be looking at shuffling your store catalogue every now and then, based on the products that are currently trending the most.
Just like any other avenue to make a quick profit, this can be quite risky. You are looking at quite a bit of unpredictability, which can put your business processes complicated and risky.
What if the customers that loved the products you sold so far, have no interest in the new ones?
So analysing whether you have the risk appetite to put your business through that, and more importantly sustain it, is quite important. If you feel that you have enough experience and financial backup to take the risk — by all means — “ride the wave” as they say.
Dropshipping is definitely a proven way for a budding entrepreneur to establish roots in the highly competitive industry. With enough experience and the right strategies at hand, so is dropsurfing. While there is no winner or loser between the two, all the evidence suggests that neither business model can be the right choice for every business. So, as the popular remark goes — do what works for you.