Most consumers associate Shein with inexpensive items ranging from clothes and beauty products to electronics and homegoods. And they’re right. The China-based B2C online retailer allows dropshipping, but there are several reasons why Shein isn’t an ideal choice for budding entrepreneurs. In this article, we’ll explore a few reasons why this platform should be avoided for dropshipping.
How dropshipping works
Dropshipping is the process of selling goods directly from the wholesaler or manufacturer to the customer without using the retailer as a middle point. It’s a business model that prospective business owners consider when they want to start an ecommerce business with little money.
In an ideal scenario, a dropshipping relationship provides independence, low startup costs, and no inventory holds for prospective business owners. Aside from customer service support and inquiries, the dropshipping company handles order fulfillment and shipping. The biggest advantage for business owners is that they don’t have to hold onto inventory or be responsible for shipping. However, there are disadvantages that cause business owners to rethink their plans.
Drawbacks of Shein dropshipping
Shein is a business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplace and is an immensely popular ecommerce fashion brand. Users in over 200 countries can shop for low-cost, Shein-branded items. Dropshipping with Shein is a real challenge for numerous reasons, including branding, unpredictable shipping times, low quality goods, and low profit margins.
Most or all of Shein’s items are branded with their logo, so if your business goal is to establish your own identity it’s nearly impossible. Once customers observe the Shein branding, they’ll likely shop from the manufacturer directly and halt sales with your company.
The bottom line is that if you decide to dropship with Shein, it will be difficult to build your own brand and have long-term success. You’ll also be limited by the types of goods, so dropshipping with Shein may not align with your business goals, as white labeling or private label packaging isn’t possible.
Since Shein is an international online marketplace based in China, deliveries are prone to shipping delays. The retailer has limited shipping options, and delivery could take 7-14 days. As a business owner using the dropshipping method, you have little to no control over when a customer’s goods will be ready to ship and when they’re out for delivery.
If customers have an expectation that they will receive their orders in a set timeframe, there will likely be instances where notifications will be made about delays. International shipping is prone to delays because of worker strikes, weather, blockages of physical pathways, and limited third-party options.
Quality of goods
While Shein maintains that the quality of their goods is satisfactory, you can look at their online reviews to discover issues with fabric and fit. For instance, customers have complained about being able to see-through fabrics. Your business won’t have any control over the quality of goods ahead of time and those factors would affect your reputation and trust.
One of the biggest restrictions of Shein dropshipping is the use of their product images. Shein’s terms and conditions restrict the use of their images. To solve this issue, your business would need to take its own photos to sell on your ecommerce website. The effort it takes to purchase bulk inventory just to create a private label is time consuming. Even with a bulk purchase discount, it’s costly.
Shein is known for very low prices to stay competitive. Some items are less than one dollar. If you were considering dropshipping with Shein, you would be competing with their low prices, and as such your business profits would be low even with a markup (unless you price yourself significantly out of their price range). However, the market is pretty saturated with companies who sell similar products, so it would be hard to stand out and to ask for higher prices.
Say yes to dropshipping with other brands
For aspiring entrepreneurs, dropshipping can be a way to start an ecommerce business with low overhead and minimum start-up costs. There are ways to succeed with dropshipping and become a successful entrepreneur. However, we don’t advise using Shein primarily because most items are from the Shein brand and it’s a B2C marketplace. Consider dropshipping with Alibaba or AliExpress, which offer more advantages and a proven track record of success, as well as brand recognition and experience working with independent business owners.