If you know anything about dropshipping, you know about processing time. Processing time is the amount of time between when your order arrives at supplier and when your package is given to a forwarder company.
Processing time can be very short or very long, depending on a lot of things, which we’ll try to explain better today:
Why it can sometimes take longer than expected, why it’s important to cut it down during certain times of the year, and what you can do to cut it down and get packages to your customers faster.
Make sure to read the whole article because we’ll add a few extra tips that will be helpful.
How does processing time work?
Your orders could take up to 7 business days to be processed by Chinese suppliers and resellers. These days add up to your overall delivery rate, and your customers may have to wait longer than necessary for their items.
The longer wait time could make some customers unhappy, and they might not come back to your store to buy anything else.
If you want your business to be successful in the long run, you can’t afford to lose any customers you already have. Because of this, using Chinese resellers or agents is not a good idea.
Choosing a private supplier would be the best thing to do.
Since we don’t make the products ourselves, it usually takes 3 to 5 days to process your orders. When we get an order from you, we buy the products from factories.
When an order comes in, our Processing Team buys the item from the supplier. The supplier then sends the item to a warehouse. Once the product arrives, we check its quality, take off all the paperwork, invoices, and leaflets from the manufacturer, repackage it, and send it to your customer.
But there are some unplanned things that can make this processing time longer.
Let’s see which ones are most often used.
Factors that can prolong processing time
There are a lot of things that could make the processing time longer, like natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, and typhoons, which can slow internal shipments and make it take longer to process your orders.
Suppliers can also make mistakes, like sending the wrong variants, fewer items than expected, delaying shipping, or getting so many orders all at once that they run out of certain items.
For example, our warehouse team might find that the product is broken or of very low quality. If this happens, we either send the item back to the supplier and ask for a new one to be sent, or we buy the item from a different supplier.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you ship a lot of products together, with more than one item in the same package, mistakes are more likely to happen, which could delay your orders by more than 5 processing days.
Last but not least, the high season, or Q4, is another thing that can make processing take longer.
How to shorten your processing time
So how do we solve all of these problems? Some of them can’t be predicted and will always be a part of running a business. Others can be avoided or fixed with a few smart moves, and in some cases, the processing time can be cut from 5 to 1 business day.
So let’s figure out how we can do that together.
First of all, if you know that deliveries might be late during busy times or before Chinese holidays, you can let your customers know that they might have to wait a little longer than expected to get a great deal and discount.
You should convince them that, even if they have to wait a little longer, they are special because they are one of the few people who can actually get this amazing offer.
Second, if you have bundle orders, you can tell our customer service team how to handle problems when they come up. For example, to avoid complaints, you could decide that the products that arrive on time should always be sent out, even if the ones that are late.
Or, to make your customer feel better, you could decide to put a discount coupon in every package that has been late for more than 5 days. We can do all of these things as long as you tell us what rules to follow.
Last, gives all of its customers free space in a warehouse. This means that if you decide to buy more than one item at a time, even if it’s just 20 or 50, you can save money and cut down on the time it takes to process your order.
How is that possible? When we get an order for a product that is already in our warehouse, we don’t have to wait for the supplier to send it to us. Instead, we can send it directly to your customers, cutting your processing time from 5 to 1 business day. Not too bad, huh?
Dropshippers usually don’t buy products ahead of time because they don’t want to spend money on renting a warehouse or getting rid of leftovers. But with, you will find that buying stocks is not only easier, but also more convenient.
Dropshipping is more expensive for you than having us handle your stock.
With, you don’t have to pay for warehouse space, and if you buy a stock, you can get a consistent discount on the price of a single item, which increases your profit margin. Then, it doesn’t have a minimum order quantity, so you can buy in bulk even if you only need a few pieces. This makes it almost impossible to have leftovers to throw away.
You also save time, which is a plus. Because you can ship products to places like the United States in 3–8 business days, cutting the processing time from 5 to 1 business day cuts your customer delivery time to no more than 9 business days, giving you a huge advantage over other dropshipping companies.
Processing time during Q4
As you probably already know, some times of the year are busier than others. When this happens, shipping can be slower and products might not be available one day and then the next.
We’re talking about the Fourth Quarter, which is usually called “Q4”. This is probably the most important time of the year for a dropshipper, and it runs from October 1 to December 31. During Q4, there are a lot of important holidays and dates, like Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and most importantly, Christmas. During this time, people tend to spend more money online, and especially on Black Friday, people tend to buy things they don’t really need.
Q4 is a great time to take your business to the next level, but keep in mind that while customers are more likely to buy your products, stocks can run out quickly, leaving you unable to fill orders.
Imagine this: the last three months of the year are when people spend the most money online ever. Everyone buys things, and it’s a very real possibility that one day a supplier will run out of stock.
For example, on November 11, Chinese people celebrate Chinese Singles Day, which was made up by Alibaba and is now the biggest sales day in the world. Last year, it sold 5 times as much as it did on Black Friday!
During this day of sales, suppliers often run out of stock. Now, imagine that you dropship your items one at a time and that your suppliers run out of stock and need some time to make more.
This means that you will have to keep your customers waiting longer and may waste money on marketing when you could have kept selling without any problems if you had even a small stock of products. Between the end of September and the beginning of October is the best time to buy stocks for Q4.
Collect a buffer for your shipping time
As we’ve seen, when dropshipping, you should allow up to 5 days for processing and shipping. If you buy a stock, however, you’ll only have 1 day for processing, which gives you 5 extra days for delivery.
The first rule is not to promise delivery dates that are too far away. You can’t tell your customers that they’ll get their products in two days or the next day if you don’t want to get complaints over and over again.
Make sure you promise a reasonable time for delivery and don’t lie about the number of shipping days. The key is to find a good balance, since you want to get your customers’ attention without giving your competitors an edge.
In a dropshipping business, the best combination is fast shipping times and good products. So make sure you use both to your advantage!
It might also be a good idea to list your shipping times on the main page of your online store, so that your customers know exactly when they’ll get their goods.
Predict Product Demand
Think ahead and use analytics to try to guess what products will be popular at different times of the year.
People buy a lot of scary decorations, costumes, and other Halloween-related things right before the holiday.
Using tools like Google Trends, you can see which products are getting more search results and guess which ones will do well. Make sure you spend time researching and analyzing your product, as this is very important if you want to be successful.
Once you know what your best-selling product is, you need to order more of it. Q4 is when people spend the most money online, and you want to make sure you can fill all of their orders.
Why should you buy stock
Dropshipping is more expensive for you than having your own stock. Just give it some thought:
We don’t have minimum order quantities, so you can buy as much as you want. You don’t have to pay for warehouse space, and the price of a single item goes down when you buy more than one.
So, if you do the math, if you buy an “example of product” through dropshipping, it will cost you $10 and you’ll get it in 5 processing days plus 8 shipping days with the Premium Special line. Thirteen days in all.
If you buy 10 pieces, each will cost you $9, and you’ll get your order in no more than 9 days. More margin, faster deliveries.
As we said above, products can be sent to places like the United States, the United Kingdom, and some other EU countries in 3–8 business days. If you cut the processing time from 5 to 1 business day, your customers could get their products in as few as 9 business days, giving you a huge advantage over your dropshipping competitors.
Also, if you have bundle orders, you can tell our customer service team how to handle any problems that come up. For example, to avoid complaints, you could make it a rule to always send out the items that come on time instead of waiting for the ones that come late.
Also, if you have extras, we can help you get rid of them by putting them in our public catalog for all our customers to see. It really works out well for everyone.
We’ll tell you more: you can even take it a step further by making customized packaging and discount coupons that can be put in each package. This can help you make friends with your customers and bring them back to your store. As the saying goes, you’ll kill two birds with one stone.