How to build a successful dropshipping business with PayPal
It’s fast-paced (momentum and cashflow are key) and success can come quickly. But it’s also easy to make mistakes. If you don’t avoid the pitfalls, problems can grow quickly, too.
Mordechai Arba is a serial entrepreneur and dropshipping fan.
“It’s not easy,” he told us, “but, compared to other industries, I think dropshipping is one of the fastest ways to go from nothing to an annual profit of 5, 6, or even 7 figures.”
Mordechai launched several successful dropshipping sites before founding Ecomhunt, a business dedicated to supporting dropshippers in the time-consuming task of finding products to sell.
“It may be easy to get started,” he cautions, but if you’re buying into dropshipping, you need to remember it’s a business like any other business. You need to treat it like a real business and invest in your customers, find high quality products, make your own videos and build something real for the long term.”
That means also paying attention to your reputation. If your business gets poor online reviews, it’s ranking on channels like Facebook will be affected. If your PayPal account receives too many registered disputes or chargebacks, then you may find your account is restricted or some of your funds put on hold. You can avoid this by building a healthy profile and looking after your customers.
Here are 5 ways to set yourself up for success using PayPal for your dropshipping business.
1. Start with a PayPal Business account.Make sure you open a separate PayPal Business account for your business, even if you have your own personal account. Complete all of the information requested regarding business ownership, stakeholders and legal details.
This is the first step towards building a healthy seller profile with PayPal. It’s a good idea to proactively upload information such as financial statements and bank statements. This helps PayPal to see that you operate a genuine, well-run business.
As Mordechai says, “Instead of waiting for PayPal to ask for this information, you should be proactive and approach PayPal to validate your account. Providing information in advance prevents problems in the future.”
All businesses are subject to risk reviews by financial partners like banks. PayPal does the same. If your new dropshipping business becomes successful very quickly, and PayPal has no information about the business on file, it will request that you provide it. This could cause delays at the point you most need to be concentrating on serving your customers.
“The worst case is that your account gets blocked until you provide the information,” explains Mordechai. “That can kill your cashflow and kill your campaign. You’ll lose momentum and it’s super-hard to restart the engine again.”
It’s important to start in the right way, by providing the information that shows you have a genuine business.
Also, make sure you read and understand PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy.
2. Communicate well about shipping.Many customer complaints and disputes arise because of shipping.
“There is an expectation gap between what customers want and what dropshippers can provide,” says Mordechai.
“One of the main problems that dropshippers face is that they are often shipping from China and delivery time will be at least 10 days,” he explains. “But customers in the US are now used to same-day deliveries. So, they will wait maybe 5 days but then go straight to PayPal and register a dispute or a chargeback.”
The challenge for dropshippers is that, in these situations, customers will often go directly to PayPal rather than contact the seller first, so dropshippers don’t have an opportunity to explain the situation or address customers’ concerns.
To minimise these situations, always provide clear and accurate information about delivery times.
“The best solution,” Mordechai believes, “is to be as transparent as you can with customers. Start by providing the expected delivery time on the product page before they buy, then remind them at checkout as they choose their preferred shipping method. After they buy, you can send emails or SMS updates to let them know progress. Simply being transparent with customers can reduce complaints and disputes by around half.”
Using reliable and well-known shipping agencies (such as DHL, UPS, FedEx etc) can improve your delivery service and give customers added confidence.
Make sure you always provide customers with a tracking ID number so that they can see where their package is and, of course, always process orders and ship products the day they are received.
3. Sell quality products from reliable suppliers.Product quality is another major source of customer complaints and disputes.
Many dropshippers never see the products they are selling, but if you are building a serious business, you need to be sure of the products you sell.
The first step is to examine samples of the products you sell so that you understand their quality, features and functionality. Over time, you will build a good reputation and repeat customers if the products you sell are of good quality and meet customers’ expectations.
Next, always use accurate and informative product descriptions on your site. Online customers can’t see and feel the products you sell, so help them out with full descriptions that include all the relevant information, for example: materials (wool, silk, etc), functions (for electronics and tech equipment), dimensions, battery requirements etc.
Always use high quality imagery and videos to show the product. Images are especially powerful on social media, so invest the time to show off your products in the best way.
Choose reliable suppliers that have top ratings and excellent feedback on sites like Alibaba / 1688.com, Salehoo and Ecomhunt and examine the profiles and ratings of possible suppliers.
It’s a good idea to build relationships with a small number of trusted suppliers rather than switching suppliers regularly. Setting up legal agreements or contracts with your suppliers can ensure you have agreed service levels.
Always adhere to PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). PayPal forbids the use of its services for transactions involving certain products (for example, narcotics, cigarettes, ammunition and firearms). Other products and services require pre-approval from PayPal. Always check that the products you intend to sell fall within the terms of the AUP.
4. Invest in customer serviceComplaints, disputes and chargebacks can damage your business. Not only will you lose customers and develop a poor online reputation but, if levels of chargebacks and disputes logged on PayPal get too high, then your account may be restricted.
It’s important to deal with all questions, complaints, disputes and chargebacks quickly to prevent them escalating. To achieve this, you need strong customer service processes and an adequately sized team in place.
The following tips can help you deal with customer queries and complaints quickly:
- Make it easy for customers to contact you. Put contact details on your website and make them easy to find. Use an online contact form and offer live chat support if you can.
- Set a service level to make sure all customer messages are dealt within a certain timeframe. You should aim for 24 hours as the longest acceptable time – faster is better.
- Consider using automation software to collate customer queries from your different channels (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, website, email etc) and send initial, automated responses where appropriate.
- Be human. It’s easy to sound robotic when responding to complaints, but handling queries and complaints in a sympathetic, human manner can help to defuse situations and prevent customer escalating their concerns into a formal dispute.
“You can add a note on the PayPal Dispute page on PayPal,” he says. “Ours reads, ‘Before opening a dispute, please consider sending our support team a message so we can try and resolve your problem quickly, without involving PayPal in the middle.’ It’s a very honest message to customers saying we’d be very grateful if they contact us before logging a formal dispute. Since doing that, our disputes have decreased by at least 40%.”
How PayPal can help your dropshipping business?“From my point of view, PayPal is one of the fastest and easiest ways to start selling,” Mordechai says. “It’s super simple to set up a PayPal account and to integrate it into your store.”
PayPal is also a familiar and trusted payment solution with over 340 million customers across the world.
“PayPal is often at the core of cashflow for a dropshipper’s business,” Mordechai continues, “You receive money from sales in your PayPal account and you use PayPal to pay for the product on markets like AliExpress and for your ads on channels like Facebook. Without that closed loop, you would not be able to scale your dropshipping business quickly enough. I would definitely recommend PayPal for dropshippers.”
Do you already run a dropshipping business? If so, download the new PayPal Online Sellers Best Practice Guide to help make your PayPal experience as efficient as possible.
If you’re just getting started with your dropshipping business, visit our dedicated Dropshipper page to learn more about how PayPal can help you grow your new business.
Frequently asked questions.
- Inquiries in PayPal’s Resolution Center that are not escalated to a claim with PayPal  >
- Resolved directly between seller and the buyer and not escalated to a claim with PayPal  >
- Filed by the buyer directly with PayPal as an Unauthorized Transaction  >
- Eligible for PayPal’s Seller Protection program  >
- Claims with a transaction value that is less than twice the amount of the Standard Dispute fee  >
- Decided in seller’s favor by PayPal or by the issuer
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