What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a model for selling products and services in which a wholesaler or manufacturer makes its products available for resale to independent parties. In the dropshipping model, you can be:
- A wholesaler making different products available, under different conditions. Wholesalers also carry out the shipment of goods sold by their partners.
- A manufacturer making its products available for resale
- An online store selling products available from the wholesaler with self-shipment or through the wholesaler
Dropshiping using PrestaShop
Online stores, manufacturers and wholesalers use PrestaShop to build their eCommerce systems. The platform is powerful, can work with hundreds of thousands of products and serve thousands of customers per day.
PrestaShop's open code and modular design mean that there are many off-the-shelf solutions on the market to help you prepare technologically for dropshipping moves.
In this post, we will present two agile modules that have been prepared for demanding users who expect solutions that are flexible and with unlimited possibilities in merchandise management. Only such solutions can work with your store in tact of changing or growing needs.
Dropshipping is a fast flow of information
From a technical point of view, the flow of information (e.g. about products) between, for example, a wholesaler <-> online store is based on two technologies:
- XML, or data file. The structure of the XML feed can vary, but the rules of construction have been standardized. Good XML import and export solutions allow you to crank out the entire operation yourself and are affordable for an intermediate user.
- API (Application Programming Interface), which, if well implemented, can be a faster and more efficient method of operation. However, APIs are not standardized, are more expensive to implement and require the involvement of a programmer.
Small and medium-sized businesses use XML feeds 99% of the time for bid information.
If you're pulling XML data into your store - you're importing XML data. If you share your product data externally - you export the data to XML.
When to enter dropshipping?
It depends on which side you are on. For a small online store, it will be a good solution when it has a problem with warehouse facilities or for large-volume goods. You can pass the information about the sold products to the wholesaler, who will take care of the packaging and logistics of the goods you sell to your customer.
For wholesalers, dropshipping is the shitty level of operation. Any wholesaler selling online should have exemplary integration tools for its customers, as they are the foundation of dropshipping in eCommerce.
For the manufacturer, it's a new marketplace that can be controlled on its own terms. By centralizing dropshipping management in the store, we control the prices in the market and the availability of our products in the market.
For entrepreneurs and online stores, it's a chance to expand your offerings, increase store traffic and attract new customers.
Information flow between you and your customers
If you make products available for resale, it is important that the XML product feeds generated and exported by your store do not load the server and are at the same time updated with changes you make in the store, such as prices, quantities, images, combinations, features, and with new items and categories.
If you sell products of your wholesaler, it's important that the inventory and prices of products in your store are always up-to-date - the same as in the wholesaler. You can't sell products that have disappeared from the wholesaler's inventory in the meantime. At the same time, you need to react quickly to small drops of good products before other stores buy them up.
EXPORT PRODUCTS from your store - if sharing products externally
IMPORT PRODUCTS to your store - if you download products from outside.
In both cases, XML feed handling plays the first fiddle. The module with which you handle the export or import of XML feeds should work automatically and give you full freedom to manipulate the data when you need it. You should be able to add new fields to the exported or imported feed, be able to delete some or modify them.
Solutions that provide "rigid" and "tailor-made" solutions can prove to be a bottleneck. The need for full control over the data in XML feeds will come on sooner than you suspect. At PrestaShow, we've designed two modules that will allow you to scale your business at every stage of growth:
Exporting and importing data from PrestaShop
At PrestaShow, we have been working on importing and exporting data from PrestaShop for years.
To import data, we have built PrestaShop Importer module. It's a universal solution where you can independently create an infinite number of integrations that will download data to your PrestaShop store.
For exporting data, we built the Feeder module. The module has 10 most popular ready-made XML integrations (Google Merchant Center, Facebook, Ceneo, Skąpiec, Shoptet, etc.), which you can flexibly modify. You can point to any data in your store and export it to an XML file. The module will also allow you to create your own data feeds, so you can integrate with any platform and audience - without restrictions.
Speed and efficiency
Exporting huge amounts of data from the store in the course of generating a new XML feed (file), with hundreds of thousands of products and users consumes server resources. In order not to block the server, feeds should be generated when server traffic is the lowest. For this purpose, we added CRON support to the module, so you can generate XML files on a scheduled day and at any hour, such as at night, when the store traffic is the lowest.
Feeder is an efficient solution. You can generate files with data that require frequent updates (prices, inventory, etc.) at any frequency. This way your recipients will not order unavailable products.