If you are running a drop ship web site as your home business, how do you keep up with the supplier’s inventory? In Drop Ship Disadvantage – Stocking Levels, I touched on the subject of using product feeds to help keep in touch with your supplier’s inventory. A product feed is a file containing product information. Your drop ship supplier should be able to provide this to you. You should also be able to download the products from your website in the form of a file.
So using product feeds, you will have two files to compare: the file from your website and the supplier file. What can you get from comparing these two files?
Products that are out of stock – By comparing the two files, you can see which products you carry on your website are out of stock on the supplier end.
Products that have been discontinued – Suppliers will discontinue products and they will usually just disappear from the supplier product feed file when the last of the stock has been depleted. Comparing the two files will reveal these as well.
Products that need price changes – If your cost has gone up on a product, you will certainly want to know this. You may have to raise your selling price accordingly. Comparing your files can reveal any cost changes.
Products that need to be added – You can use the file comparison to decide what new products the supplier has added that you will want to add to your website. Most eCommerce website software will allow you to import new products from a file such as the vendor’s product feed.
How do you compare the two? Make the computer do the work. I like to use MS Access which is a desktop database application. Databases are designed for automating comparisons like this.
The more you can streamline your drop ship business with product feeds, the more products you can offer your customers. Furthermore, you will have more accurate product records on your site and therefore provide more trouble free buying experience for your customers.