Expanding your drop ship ecosystem can take a lot of time. Getting trading partners to agree to drop ship, onboarding them, and finally going live can take anywhere from several months to over a year per partner. This raises opportunity costs, hampers your ability to quickly expand assortment, and increases inventory risk when you’re forced to rely on wholesale buys to access the products you need.
Here are a few recommendations for accelerating the growth of your drop ship ecosystem:
- Remove technical and financial barriers: Let trading partners use their current technology to integrate with your program, and don’t charge them for doing so.
- Don’t require data platform contracts: Use data platforms that follow simple signup processes, circumventing the need for lengthy legal reviews.
- Automate testing and validation: New trading partners should be able to move through an automated “self serve” environment that can send test orders, as well as process and validate data, before going live.
Following the above will increase the number of suppliers willing to drop ship for you. You’ll also onboard partners faster, leading to many more weeks of sale per SKU. Best of all, you’ll end up reducing costs for your entire ecosystem, lowering inventory risk for your organization, and accelerating ecommerce and drop ship growth.
Here’s to faster growth for your drop ship program!
PS: A good strategy for speeding up ecosystem growth is to reduce the number of teams (both from you and your trading partners) involved in negotiations and onboarding. The more technical, financial, and legal barriers you remove, the faster you’ll be able to scale up your program.