Drop Ship Supplier Out of Stock - What Next?

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So you hit peak season for your product (for me it was costumes at Halloween)

You sell a ton of them, across multiple platforms, your fulfillment process looks great, until you get that email. The product is out of stock.

Then you start getting more of them, you have to start refunding customers, you get the angry customers, negative ratings.

It made me shut up shop for quite a bit before I re-entered in to a safer niche. But have you had to deal with it, and how did you do it?

I might have an opportunity, but I don't want to get stung with bad reviews again.
#drop #ship #stock #supplier
  • Profile picture of the author JDSalinger
    That can be a difficult situation. One thing you could do is you could purchase a certain amount of inventory that you hold and then when the dropshipper runs out, you provide this inventory to customers. This would give you a little bit more cushion. Then, you could show on your website how much remaining stock of an item you do have and then say it's sold out when you run out. This way customers would know it can't be purchased and won't buy and then you don't get them sending in bad reviews. You could even up your price on this product to help get a little more from the last few sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author alksense
    Like JD said; most suppliers allow retailers to purchase in advance or put down deposits on place "holds" on a set amount of inventory so that you do not lose out.

    Regarding refunds; if you can integrate the supplier stock levels with an app like eComhub the customers will not be able to order if the item runs out of stock. This will save you a lot of time and a lot of unhappy customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author OliverTrent
    I'm going to go take a look at ecomhub, I never thought about asking them to put inventory on hold, although it makes a lot of sense!
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  • Profile picture of the author chg
    eComHub is a great tool. In the past when we were first starting out, we would buy our most frequently purchased items in advance and hold them. You'll see the trends as more sales come through.
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    • Profile picture of the author Importexport
      Originally Posted by chg View Post

      eComHub is a great tool. In the past when we were first starting out, we would buy our most frequently purchased items in advance and hold them. You'll see the trends as more sales come through.
      A lot of people say they can't afford to carry inventory, but surely if they buy in advance, or pay a deposit or get a supplier to put goods on hold they are in effect carrying inventory.

      That all costs money. I know from dealings with many former dropship resellers that the most common misunderstanding is the myth that to buy direct from the manufacturer you must buy large quantities.

      It just ain't so. I suppose you could call me an online myth buster. I have proven it for 22 years while running my importing business that I franchised in 4 countries, and now in my retirement I have taught hundreds of people how to safely source products from real manufacturers and negotiate very small orders regardless of the big MOQs they quote.
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      Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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  • Profile picture of the author iklanbaris33
    Yes I have experienced the situation. What i did then was find another supplier..Fortunately..There are many supplier sell the products so i didn't get difficulties..

    So..My suggestion is try to tell your customer to wait a little time while you trying to get new supplier.. But if finally you can't find other supplier..You have to refund.. There's no other choice..

    This situation is bad but it will give you very great experience for your success in the future..
    Good luck...
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    • Profile picture of the author Ecommerce Advice
      Not sure what shopping cart you use

      But could you get a programmer to write a script to check stock on your dropshippers site every 30 minutes or so and then update your listings

      eg if they have 10 in stock you can show 10, but as soon as they run out it stops your listings on various sites.
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      http://www.SplitTest.com - Increase Your Conversion Rate Guranteed
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  • Profile picture of the author andrewc5
    I do Halloween dropshipping also. I update my inventory every hour in the busy season and also built in some buffers. So if they have 400 in stock, I only show 380 on my site or Amazon or where ever.

    It helped, but I still get backorders sometimes. I just apologize, try to help them with a solution like maybe a different costume or something and move on...
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