The chances are that you’re reading this because you run – or intend to run – a dropshipping e-commerce business. But you have the perennial problem that dogs the start-up or small business and that is effective shipping to your customers. After all, you aren’t Jeff Bezos with an Amazon-level of infrastructure and their famous unlimited two-day delivery service. As a dropshipper you are relying on your products being dispatched from – say China – to your customers here in the States. Okay, so shipping times are going to be an issue but don’t forget the shipping costs either. Against Amazon Prime’s free delivery for any item your rates with AliExpress, FedEx and DHL are going to make your eyes water. Your usual option of offering free shipping is to either absorb the cost yourself or to add the cost on to the price of your goods. This has downsides of course – absorbing the cost hurts your profit margins, and adding the cost to your product makes you look uncompetitive.
As an example, you could sell a small item for $15 but add $30 – $35 shipping to that and you can wave goodbye to your margins. And try passing a $30 markup on to the customer and watch them simply disappear to a rival seller. As a seller, you are caught between a rock and a hard place as you then risk adverse publicity and bad reviews on social media. Popular electrical items too aren’t immune to high shipping costs. Take another $15 product, for example a cell phone power bank. Light and small but with its painful UPS Express Saver shipping cost of nearly $58 you’ll not find many takers.
So what can be done?
Wind the clock back to 2011 and we see the advent of ePacket Shipping. The US government improved efficiency by allowing the USPS and the Hong Kong Post to work more closely and help drive costs and shipping times down. With ePacket you can get now get your packages sent first class USPS speed complete with tracking information so you and your customers can see where their parcel is en route. No longer will you need to worry about your customers complaining about slow delivery or the prospect of their goods languishing in some rusting cargo hold. ePacket has another major benefit for you as a seller and that is that it has free returns if the item can’t be delivered. It also gives you the option to issue hassle-free refunds if the package goes astray.
Comparing the price of ePacket with its competitors
Taking a good example of a $15 blu-ray disk, you would expect to pay shipping costs of around $29 with DHL, $24 with FedEx and AliExpress Premium $13. With ePacket you pay a margin-friendly $1.58. Impressive. Also impressive is the delivery time. AliExpress, FedEx and DHL can take up to 16 days for delivery (the quickest possible time would be six days). ePacket quotes 12 – 20 days, not too shabby considering the price difference. So, okay your earliest anticipated delivery of 12 days isn’t Amazon-fast but you aren’t – or shouldn’t be – trying to compete with Amazon head-on. Your market is selling items that are bespoke or more individual.
Bottom line is that with ePacket shipping you get competitive shipping costs and speed which allows you to be a player with the big boys.
So you want to be a Shopify dropshipper with ePacket?
Well, with ePacket things are certainly looking promising for your startup or burgeoning dropshipping business. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons – as you might expect, ePacket isn’t without a few caveats.
1) ePacket is faster shipping than regular alternatives.
2) It’s considerably cheaper than its competitors.
3) ePacket has parcel tracking which will help placate your customers while they wait.
1) ePacket doesn’t ship worldwide and some products are limited to US only.
2) There is a weight limit of 4.4 lbs (2kg)
3) There is a size length limit of 24” (60 cm) and a total length, height and thickness limit of 36”.
4) The parcel’s value can’t exceed $400.
5) The packet must be shipped from either China or Hong Kong to be eligible for ePacket tracking.
Summing it all up
So, when your goods meet the extensive criteria for ePacket shipping then the world’s your oyster. ePacket is really a no-brainer if you plan your market and products carefully. High margin, small items that aren’t very heavy will help your business take off. The tracking alone is worth the price – as it’s part of the USPS you can rely on its simplicity of use and accuracy. We’ve all got horror stories to tell of delivery companies whose tracking systems are worse than useless so ePacket has the tracking reliability you need. Where it really comes into its own is for low cost products such as small items of clothing like a hat, scarf or gloves. Your $5 hat won’t break the bank if your customer has to pay an extra $1.60 on top. You could even charge $6.60 for the hat and offer free tracked shipping – now that is an enticing bargain!
We’ve mentioned that ePacket doesn’t cover the globe but it does ship to an impressive 30 countries and these include Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and most of Europe including our friends across the Pond in the UK. Do you need any more persuading? Well, just in case you do then let’s add that if you use a platform like Aftership then you can integrate it seamlessly with Shopify and have the whole aftersales process as smooth as butter. You want analytics? You want SMS notifications? You want email alerts? Well, you got it. You got it all! If you are serious about making a successful dropshipping enterprise then work smarter, not harder. ePacket makes the shipping side of your business a breeze, letting you concentrate on your margins, promotions and customers!
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