That Went Sideways, Drop Shipping
What a mess I’ve made of my shop, in spite of the years spent sussing out details before going live. I sifted through websites and blogs listing the “best” drop-shipping companies. Then I scrutinized each one carefully before finally deciding on one.
For people unfamiliar, drop-shipping is a way for small businesses to put their designs or art on clothing/goods/paper and have them handled, shipped and printed by a third party business. For less profit, therefore the business doesn’t need to invest in a large stock and doesn’t have the extra task of shipping those items.
Here are Some of the Drop Shipping Companies I Examined:
The only reason I did not take a closer look at this company was because it was too specialized.
I eliminated this company from the running easily. I do support fair trade goods, I do not feel it necessary to use a print-on-demand company on the other side of the globe. I felt my ”brand” deserved better than a China based drop shipping company.
Initially I liked this company because of its reputation. In practice, at least its clear how they structure their payments and not buried the information. However, this company is focused heavily on clothing, synthetic blends and they are out of Canada. Three points against them for my needs.
I really should take another look. They are USA based and offer a range of products.
Originally I weeded out Printed Mint, I think, because they didn’t offer a book product. Silly me. Now looking at them they look like gold.
Gelato was the company I chose. I liked their idea of shipping from multiple fulfillment centers to have products ship close to their destination. A move towards green thinking. They offered photo books and prints. And they were not too focused on clothing and home products. I want to offer quality open edition prints and possibly self publish some of my photography collections.
Then, after a smooth integration with my website shop, it was one frustration after another. Their design program is glitchy. I couldn’t design the photography book I wanted with the glitches. They were unclear about the payment architecture. I didn’t know my first orders were not going through because of that. Because I was vigilantly following up with customers I discovered the orders were stalled. Though the prints were color correct, I had concerns about some pixelation in the images.
I added greeting cards to my shop and I followed up with those orders. Those first customers received partial orders. Two out of ten cards with no envelopes (there was only one option to sell, ten cards). I emailed Gelato and they promptly had them reprinted at no additional cost. I thought the problem solved, but the reorder had the same issue. I raised my hackles and escalated from polite email complaint to a chat complaint. At first the representative was inclined to ask for evidence from the customer, but I wasn’t having it. It was clear the order was incomplete and the company has an internal problem.
If you wondered where the prints went from my shop as of August 2022, I am reorienting my drop shipping strategy to offer them. More experience, more better next time. I took a second look at Printed Mint and Contrado but unfortunately they cannot be integrated with my website commerce set-up.
As I work through this, open edition prints will begin popping back up on my shop ▪️
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