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How to Manage an Online Store: 3 Rules For Dropshippers

by Zulfiya S. Case studies
Jan 10, 2018 11 minute read
7148 16

3 Rules Of Managing An Online Store For Dropshippers

Have you ever wondered what to expect from your brand new drop shipping life? Handling daily operations in AliDropship’s self-owned webstores that have a multi-billion dollar annual turnover, I am happy to share my typical day and tell a bunch of little secrets how to manage an online store!

How to Manage an Online Store: Rule 1

Essentials

When you run a drop shipping store, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being active 24/7 – like, you know, checking your inbox as soon as you are awake, handling an order return in the middle of a family dinner, staying super late do to some stuff in the store, etc. Mobile technologies make it possible to work flexibly from any place and at any time, and some people think it means they should be managing an online store all day round to cover as many tasks as possible.

Please don’t.    

Rule #1 is to organize your day in a way that lets you have enough free time that is NOT dedicated to your business at all. Remember that you don’t run this business to make yourself exhausted and burnout; quite the opposite, you launched your store to make money in an easy and enjoying way, right?

First things first

3 Rules Of Managing An Online Store For Dropshippers

My working day starts with checking my inbox.

When I look at my emails, I concentrate on the following types of letters:

  • Changes to orders

It happens a lot: a person places an order, pays for it, and then says – ‘hey, look, I changed my mind, I still want this T-shirt, but in a different color. And a different size, too. And oh, can you also add a pair of sunglasses to my order?’…

3 Rules Of Managing An Online Store For Dropshippers

It might seem tricky at first, but you get used to it soon. It’s really important to discover these letters in time: if you haven’t transferred the order to your AliExpress supplier yet, you can easily make the necessary changes. And if the order was already processed, you still can fix it by contacting the supplier directly and describing the query.

  • Refund letters

It’s not uncommon for buyers to change their minds completely. For whatever reason, they may feel that they don’t want the item anymore, and cancel the whole order. Why not? They have the right to.

Alternatively, a refund letter can come from a customer who is tired from waiting for the delivery and thinks that the package is lost, or from a buyer who is not happy with the quality of an already received order.

In any case, these letters require my close attention and a careful work that always starts with contacting the original seller on AliExpress.

  • Payment confirmations

Oh, here comes the most interesting part.

I check the tiniest details of all the PayPal and Stripe payments because, you know, stuff happens.

The thing is, payments made with the help of credit cards can sometimes turn out to be a fraud attempt. This is why I perform very careful check to make sure that:

o   The name of the addressee is the same as the name of the card holder

o   The country of delivery is the same as the country of the card holder’s residence

o   There were not more than 3 payment attempts made from different credit cards

If the payment was successfully processed but personal details don’t match, I email this customer and ask to send their ID to make sure this purchase was legitimate. But if I see that there were attempts to use several different cards to process the payment and all of them were declined, I normally cancel the order because this purchasing behavior is typical for fraudsters.

Given that I run 21 drop shipping stores, I have to do tons of work with sorting all these emails out. On average, it takes me about 4 hours per day to go through all of the letters and to take the necessary action.

And here I’m talking about a normal ordinary day when I only have to process about 50-60 orders – when it’s pre-holidays time, the amount of purchases goes up like crazy and the workload obviously gets heavier. That’s the thing you need to consider when you get your store prepared for any holiday season.

How to Manage an Online Store: Rule 2

Proofreading

3 Rules Of Managing An Online Store For Dropshippers

As a drop shipping store manager, I have this really curious element of my daily routine. To be more specific, it’s all about checking the customers’ mailing details before transferring them to the relevant AliExpress seller.

During this part of the day, I:

  • Check the spelling of the addressee’s name and surname

You won’t believe this, but yes, people make spelling mistakes in their own names and surnames.

Fun fact: you won’t even notice it if your customer is a foreigner and you have no idea about the most common names in this country.

This is why it’s important to have some knowledge about your target audience, or at least do a little online research and check the spelling of unfamiliar names.

Obviously, this is not the only thing that can get mixed up 🙂

3 Rules Of Managing An Online Store For Dropshippers

  • Check the ZIP code

Obviously, I can’t possibly know any person’s ZIP code, but there are cases when I’m 100% sure that the details are incorrect.

Some people just leave this field blank.

Some people write their phone number in this field.

How do I know it’s a phone number or just a wrong combination? I try to learn the ZIP code formats for the regions where my customers come from. If I know, for example, that this area should have a ZIP code that looks like SW1A 1NH (7 digits, 2 numbers, 5 letters), but the provided code is something like 644053 (6 digits, 6 numbers, 0 letters), it’s evident that there is a mistake.

  • Check the ‘Additional Details’ field

For some reason, some people use this field instead of the right one, and write their address here. I don’t exactly know why would anyone do this, but it doesn’t actually matter – I take a careful look at this field anyway.

Rule #2 is to pay attention. If anything seems questionable to me, I simply write an email to the customer and ask him or her to confirm the shipping details, or to submit them once again.

This time-consuming, but simple procedure is essential – if I blindly submit incorrect shipping details to an AliExpress seller, it will most likely result in delivery troubles.

How to Manage an Online Store: Rule 3

The centerpiece

3 Rules Of Managing An Online Store For Dropshippers

After I sort out all the emails for today, I go ahead with the core part of managing an online store: orders processing.

As you can guess, this procedure doesn’t take much time because the plugin does it all automatically. All I need to do is click the ‘Place Order’ button, and basically, that’s it. All the rest is done by the system: after the supplier sends me the tracking ID, the plugin automatically grabs this data and connects it to the order details.

After this, I only need to change the order status to ‘Shipped’, and the client will automatically receive the email notification about the successful shipment and the tracking ID. Given the amount of work I need to do manually every day, this is a huge time saver, obviously.

Analytics

If you want to boost your drop shipping store performance, it is absolutely a must to track every kind of statistical data you can gather.

Once a week, I calculate the net profit: overall revenue minus advertising expenses minus the cost of ordered items.

Plus, I provide my colleagues with the data on our buyers’ purchasing behavior. For example, I can see the customers’ country of origin, and I surely can tell what are the best selling items in a given period of time. These details are valuable for our Internet marketing specialists because such data influences the product policy, the ads targeting, the amount of money spent on promotion, etc. I am not directly involved in the creation of promotional strategies; still, I can sometimes give a piece of advice to marketers when it comes to one specific store we run. This store is dedicated to a highly specialised fan niche, and I’m actually a fan of it myself, so I know which communication tricks and product offerings can work good there.

Managing an online store: drop shipping takeaways

In my experience, the most important thing about managing a drop shipping store is sticking to a healthy work-life balance.

The best solution is to work with the store ONLY within a specified period of time that is convenient for you, and never sacrifice your personal life to the business. Lots of tricks can be used to minimise the time spending: for example, I have pre-written email templates for almost every occasion, plus I use the automated AliDropship solutions that help me get enough time to sort out various queries that appear because of the human factor.

Plus, your drop shipping life is much easier when you are an expert in your niche.

Rule #3 is to dedicate your store to something you know well – the more experienced you are in this particular field, the easier it is for you to predict what will work best for your customers. 

This passion is what motivates you to keep going and to grow your business, and I wish you the best of luck with your awesome drop shipping stores!

By Zulfiya S.
Zulfiya knows all about running drop shipping stores, negotiating with suppliers and dealing with buyers - she manages daily operations in AliDropship’s self-owned webstores
16 Comments
Eddie January 10, 2018 17:15:15

Great advise thank you. I am just starting out (store isn’t open yet) but this is great advice, thank you.

Ejike Stanley Orji January 11, 2018 0:40:53

Please I have opened a store since last year and My webstore manager has not gotten some things fix about my payment gateway. It’s a if I wasted my money and time.

    Yaroslav Nevsky January 11, 2018 10:58:21

    Your support manager will contact you asap to resolve any issues you have.

Danny Guerin January 11, 2018 15:12:15

Thanks alot for this article, I’m going to be trying out this solution very soon. I’m used to other shopify solution but was not aware of the AliDropship plugin. Thanks in advance!

Mijkhael Morangovantes January 11, 2018 22:16:30

Excellent article. What kind of email service do you use? did aliexpress gave it to you or you found it somewhere else?.
Thanks

Martin January 11, 2018 23:00:01

Hi Zulfiya,

How do you deal with the following issues:

– Aliexpress orders are not shipped out after several days (I have this multiple times up to 10 days order processing)
– When customers ordered a wrong item, and want to exchange it (communicating with the aliexpress suppliers can be time consuming and a reply could take days. What are you offering your customers?
– Disputes after 2 weeks of shipment like customers try to do this on purpose.
– Always the same follow-up emails for the smallest orders.

Do you also work with email templates? This is saving me some time now. Once I reply customers it’s mostly the same ones who will reply next day with a few more questions. It’s a never ending question & asking dropbox nowadays.

    Zulfiya S. January 12, 2018 9:21:26

    Hello!
    1. You need to contact your aliexpress suppliers and ask them to speed up the process. They are usually really helpful.
    2. Most of the suppliers try to be as quick as possible if they know you are a dropshipper.
    3. That depends on the reasons of the disputes. Order can be cancelled within 12 hours after placing. Once it was shipped we don’t cancel and refund the orders.
    4. You just need to keep answering even if the questions are similar.
    5. We do have some templates since most of the questions, as you mentioned, are similar.
    Right now we are working on the article about most frequently asked questions. Please follow our updates

Natalie Svensson January 12, 2018 11:40:01

50-60 orders/day from 21 shop or each?

Dyani January 14, 2018 5:49:49

thank you, very useful article .. my webstore has been running for 3 months, finally there is order entry for the first time, smooth payment, good supplier response, goods accepted quickly, but buyer ask for return and refund, without giving any reason why .. its makes me down .. worried when there will be next order happened something similar 😥😥😥😥

    mumash May 25, 2018 8:39:04

    I agree..this creates a lot of anxiety on orders. Its like constantly checking email for any complaints. It can be very stressing. I guess as the article says “In my experience, the most important thing about managing a drop shipping store is sticking to a healthy work-life balance.”

Bryan January 14, 2018 10:25:54

Could you might share with us what marketing strategies are you using? Facebook advs or Google AdWords or others

Akee January 16, 2018 15:35:27

Thank you for the advise. Right now, I am using DSM tool to help me manage my listings. Gathering all advice as I can. I am a newbie 🙂

Eslam February 3, 2018 14:20:47

Awesome tips!! thanks.

but i do not know how to run the orders automatically with my plugin, can you share the steps with us ?

Thanks

Julio March 7, 2018 8:08:23

ok, bad and profit control, is there any erp for integration to know what the real profit? to know how your realy profit?

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