There are so many puzzle pieces to shipping a physical product that I don’t think developers realize. It all happens behind the scenes. I decided to write a series of articles on my experience running Matero. I hope this helps other eCommerce web developers out there see the other side.
Fulfillment Companies + Woo
I’ve been disappointed from the lack of fulfillment companies that have a good WooCommerce integration. ShipBob only recently released a WooCommerce extension that provides shipping rates but it’s going to calculate the total cost of shipping that includes their fees. It’ll seem super expensive to the customer as a result. The order syncing works well though and utilizes the Woo API. ShipMonk however has a WooCommerce integration that only syncs orders, not inventory. That seems like an obvious feature to have as pat of an integration. Other companies require that you build it yourself or have terrible technology behind their infrastructure. I’d love to hear what other people are using.
You need money to start
I didn’t like the idea of dropshipping from China or somewhere else. It’s not an experience that I wanted to start with. That meant I had to bulk purchase products at reduced rate. Nearly every supplier I reached out to wants a minimum order of at least $2000+ which makes sense otherwise it wouldn’t be worth their time. I ordered 400 Meta Mate 23 as my first product. If for some reason this business fails, I’m going to have a lot of yerba mate.
I don’t have investors, loans, or much saved for start a business like this. It’s difficult to calm myself and have patience before I purchase more products. I’d love to introduce more products and inventory but I just can’t afford to do that yet. There are so many excellent yerba mate’s I want to start selling but they will need to wait till I can generate more sales then re-invest it into more products.
I initially tried pre-orders before bulk purchasing Meta Mate 23 but as my brand is new, it really didn’t get much traction. It’s going to take time and that’s hard for me
Shipping is expensive
We’re spoiled in a world of Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping. It was a surprise to me just how expensive it is to ship a simple bag of 1.1lb of yerba mate just the next state over. I don’t have a solid solution to this yet. I’m experimenting with free shipping on orders over $50 in hopes that people will purchase in bulk.
I remember telling clients to just offer free shipping on everything and be done with it. The reality is it’s too expensive to eat up the costs of everything. Perhaps if I was shipping a ridiculous amount, I could negotiate my rates but my volume is far too low. I need to add up the amount I’m spending on shipping and add it into the cost of goods so I can get a proper revenue calculation.