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Dropshipping, Order Fulfillment, and Order Processing: Behind the Scenes
May 26, 2021

The best part of dropshipping is after you make a sale, you have a 100% automated fulfillment partner with Zendrop. As your partner, we source competitive pricing, vet all of our suppliers before bringing them onto our platform, and we’re fully transparent around shipping times, delays, and every step of the fulfillment process.

Most dropshippers do not understand how this fulfillment process works, so Zendrop's leadership team took a trip to our supplier's fulfillment center in China to show you how we execute every order.

Because of our ability to fulfill high volumes with no bulk ordering, there’s a specific supply chain setup that enables our suppliers to be able to do this. This is how the “dropshipping fulfillment model” works.

How Dropshipping Fulfillment Works

1. Once an order is placed, our suppliers will confirm if Zendrop has all the data they need to successfully fulfill your order. If they do not have the proper data (an incomplete address, incorrect SKUs, etc) we will send you a notification and request the proper data. This is instantly imported from your online store, but sometimes information is missing that our suppliers need to confirm before being able to ship your orders.

2. Once all data is confirmed, our supplier's purchasing team gets to work. Our suppliers only hold stock on a few items in their warehouse, since inventory management is not sustainable unless the product you are selling has an extremely consistent amount of high volume.

Keep in mind that our suppliers are running a business also, and the most important aspect of every business is cash flow. If they were holding on to a lot of inventory, they would not be able to purchase enough products to fulfill all of your orders. They would not have enough purchasing power. This means that when an order comes in, a dropshipping supplier needs to go purchase your products if they do not have them in their warehouse. This is the case most of the time.  

This part in the process is where some orders may experience a longer than normal processing time.

At this point, there are two different possible scenarios. Your product can currently be In Stock or Out Of Stock at the factory or manufacturer. Products that are In Stock are purchased by our suppliers and shipped to their warehouse same day or next day. This is the case most times. The part that gets tricky is if a product is Out Of Stock. In this case, if the lead time on the product being back In Stock is short, our suppliers will wait and purchase the item. This is where you can experience longer than usual processing times. If the product is forecasted to have a longer than desirable lead time, our suppliers will cancel the order and suggest that you find other methods of fulfillment. We will notify you in either case as soon as we have an update on the situation.

3. Once your products are at our supplier's warehouse (if they weren't there when the order was placed), this is when they'll be packaged, processed, and shipped. This is where our suppliers ensure that your orders have the correct products in their respective packages, thank you cards and invoicing is inserted, shipping labels are printed and your packages are sent on the fastest, most efficient method of shipping possible at that given time. Then a tracking number is generated, and uploaded back into Zendrop, which automatically communicates to Shopify to transfer the information to your store and to your customers.

At this point in time, your customers will be notified that their order has been fulfilled and shipped.

4. Customer receives their product and loves it and comes back to buy more, yay!

If you think of ALL of this typically happening in 1-3 days, it's a pretty amazing process our suppliers have been able to nail. We thank them for giving you the power to run your own business with such little barrier to entry.

Please keep in mind that products can be held at US Customs, get delayed in airtime, or unique situations like COVID-19 have the potential to create delays for all shipments. These are the most important times to be 100% transparent and over-communicate with your customers, as we will be with you.

In short, the two major variables for delays in processing time are Zendrop not having the proper information from your customers and whether a product is In Stock or Out of Stock when your order is placed. At both of these times, you will either receive a notification (via email or in-app) or you'll also be able to see everything on your Orders Page.

Please keep in mind that the information in this article is all related to Processing time, and shipping times are often out of our supplier's control once they leave their warehouse. Of course, they are always choosing the most efficient option at the time, but things change quickly.

If you have any questions about this article, or need technical support on your account, please reach out to our super support team by starting a conversation using the messenger in-app!

Happy Selling!

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