2 Reasons Why Drop-Shipping Is Not For All

Back in 2017, I felt so bored with my day job and I thought “Why not have a business or a side hustle?”. This way, I have something better to do and at the same time, I can earn something that I can use to pay bills and utilities or spend for grocery shopping. At first, I thought of just starting a hobby but then I know myself better that it won’t last me a month before laziness eats me.


As always, if I need anything to search I always go to my trusted friend Google. I typed “Best Side Hustle” and as expected there are thousands of search results. I was overwhelmed and felt good at the same time that it’s not only me that feels the need to have a side hustle. On top of the list is an online business. It can either be being a blogger, an online teacher, an online coach, a freelance photographer and selling anything by drop-shipping. So everything I mentioned except drop-shipping is not that appealing to me. I was lazy back then when it comes to consistently writing or taking pictures and I was an impatient teacher. I then check what drop-shipping is.  According to Wikipedia;
Drop shipping is a supply chain management method in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock but instead transfers the customer orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer, another retailer, or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer. As in retail businesses, the majority of retailers make their profit on the difference between the wholesale and retail price, but some retailers earn an agreed percentage of the sales in commission, paid by the wholesaler to the retailer.
In a nutshell, it’s basically selling products blindly. You don’t get to see or touch the actual products you sell except on pictures online. All you have to do is find a product to sell, find a supplier either using Ali Express or Alibaba or some other sites, build a simple website and set up the payment method. You post your product on your website when a customer clicks on the product and orders it, their order will automatically be forwarded to the supplier and the supplier will directly ship the product to the customer’s shipping address. One drawback though is that customers will receive their orders (if they don’t want to pay extra for faster shipment) after 3-6 weeks. Nevertheless, I still saw a lot of testimonies across the web about people who became filthy rich in doing drop-shipping business. Sound simple? Yes, it is and that is why I was so happy and right away planned and started setting it up.
First thing is to find your niche, “What is it we want to sell?”. Since Malaysia is half year rainy and half year summer I thought why not sell summer items like beach bags, swimsuits, floaters and other summer items. People here enjoy swimming and other beach activities, especially that the country has a lot of beautiful and pristine beaches. I managed to convince myself and my husband to follow this niche. So okay, we have completed the first task, next will be a set of grueling tasks. Here in Malaysia, even if it’s an online business there are still rules and regulations we have to follow. We have to register our business and comply with the tax regulations. We have to register for a payment gateway, buy a domain and build the website. We have gone through all these, and it wasn’t an easy-breezy set of procedures. Now its marketing time, of course, where else is the best place to promote these products?. We used Social Media Platforms such Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest. We built our Facebook page and even went for their paid advertisement and promotion. We managed to build a good number of followers and we are so happy about it. To cut long story short…after running this business for 1 year and consistently investing in paid ads, we only managed to sell 2 items. Yes, tragic isn’t it? It is true, in a span of one year, after going through the rigorous tasks of setting this drop-shipping business, we only managed to sell two bags. I was devastated and I was crying for a long time, everything was wasted.
Why it didn’t work for us? Here are the only two main reasons why.
1. Impatience
Customers here are impatient, why did I say that? We received a lot of inquiries about the products we sell and when they ask how long it will take for them to receive the item, I will tell them what’s already stated in Shipping Details in our website, 3-6 weeks. Right there and then they will say “Alright, it’s too long, never mind then, thanks and bye.” We lost one customer over there. 95% of the customers who inquired about our products have the same response. People here would rather spend their money going to the mall and buy what they want as they can get it right away.
2. Trust
Customers have a trust issue. Online photos of our products maybe beautifully convincing but the fact that customers cannot touch the sample products, they will always have doubt that they will receive same quality products. Most of the times, pictures are deceiving…true story. Again, a customer would rather go to the mall, at least they can see the actual product and touch it and try it on.
I’m sure that we have followed every procedure technically. All tips and tricks online to have a successful drop-shipping business, we have followed, yet we failed. The business failed not because we did something but because it doesn’t work for all.
Looking back on this failure we have in business isn’t that painful anymore. I am now happy that it happened because if it didn’t, we would not have learned how to have a properly planned business, in a more traditional way.
Have you guys tried drop-shipping? If so, glad that is working for you. If it’s not working, it’s okay, you can always try other types of business. Best of luck!
Lots of love,