Dropshipping is a fantastic business model and we have talked in depth on Vault50 about it.
One thing that hasn’t been covered, however, is the importance of test orders and samples are so important, and why you should ensure that you periodically do this.
While one of the many perks of the model is that you do not have to store inventory, to actually see the physical product before you start dropshipping it to customers, clearly has its benefits.
Verification of your products can only be done properly if you make an order yourself. So samples and test orders are the topics of conversation today.
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What is a Sample?
A sample is what you might ask the supplier to send you before you add an item to your store.
Depending on the value and/or the relationship you have with the supplier, (are you selling a large number of other products of theirs), the sample will either be free or fully priced.
The sample allows you to see the quality of the product, along with the way it is shipped and delivery times, etc.
By physically handling the product you can ascertain whether it lives up to the standards you have set for your online store.
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What is a Test Order?
A test order is slightly different in that you will have already added the product as a listing on your web store.
You will conduct a test order by ordering the product from your website as if you were a customer.
The process will help you test your checkout process and whether the settings for inventory, shipping, order processing are working as they should.
It also allows you to see whether appropriate taxes are being added and whether email notifications and tracking numbers are being provided.
Not only that, but if you are shipping under a private labeling arrangement, upon arrival of the product, you can check whether packaging and branding are all correct.
The test also provides an indication of delivery times and efficiency.
Why Are Test Orders Important?
All of the above-mentioned points clearly show that test orders are important. It gives you an insight into the processes of your dropship business and whether they are working effectively.
However, let’s look at the benefits in more detail.
Testing Your Suppliers
A successful dropshipping store is dependent on the quality of your suppliers.
A test order allows you to test their responsiveness, delivery speeds, and in cases where you haven’t already ordered a sample, a look at the quality of the product.
Where the supplier doesn’t live up to expectations or meet the quality that you need, you know that you have to make arrangements elsewhere.
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Testing the Products
A test order allows you to handle the product and put it through its paces.
If you have a blog, you can also use this experience of the product to create content. You could write a review, or a guide on how to use it, or even a YouTube unboxing.
The test order provides the opportunity to raise your webstore above the competition because you will have more knowledge of the product.
And as already mentioned, if the product doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, you have the opportunity to remove it from your store.
Testing Your Webstore & Ordering Process
Only by creating a test order can you see exactly what your customer sees and experiences when ordering from your webstore.
This allows you to finetune and/or correct any issues so that the ordering process works as you need it.
This is especially important for a new webstore (or beginner owner), where problems might need detecting and rectifying.
It’s much better for your reputation if you can do this rather than a disgruntled customer having to report it to you.
Testing delivery Times
Finally, the test order means that you will experience the overall delivery time of a product.
If it is coming from China, you can see how long it will take and whether any extra charges and taxes are required upon delivery.
If delivery times are longer than you find comfortable, you will know and can look to a different supplier if necessary.