The combination of the Internet and the ease with which we can put together an e-commerce site and sell products has made selling one of the best ways to generate income in this day and time. And a lot of people are looking into the different ways and different business models available to sell products without actually carrying the products per se and this is a good strategy.
Because the added cost of inventory management and renting a warehouse can be cumbersome, drop shipping stands as a viable business model that many companies like Walmart and Amazon implement. Luckily many suppliers are willing to work with those who can provide the orders and they ship it out. On the other hand certain platforms have emerged that are keen on helping merchants or those who are wanting to sell products online to manage that relationship between the supplier and the end-user. One such app is called Spocket, and it is particularly targeted toward novices. So, for instance they will stand between your store and suppliers and help you source the products and take a cut, and then all you have to do is drive traffic towards your ecommerce store.
Spocket is an example and what not to do. And that is perhaps a difficulty with such platforms in that they are trying to manage a lot of complexity, and generally they don’t have the wherewithal. Here are some issues that I’ve encountered with Spocket which should warn you away from this particular platform.
Spocket is unable to manage suppliers.
The Spocket dropshipping app tries to do a lot of things for everyone and fails in every respect. Its trying to manage the relationship between suppliers and merchants while positioning itself to take a cut of every sale. With such a complex relationship administered by a weak platform, it appears that suppliers then start to game the system in a way that is unfavorable for a merchant or someone who is actually selling the products online.
You can only imagine issues that crop up. Here’s an example of an issue that has resulted in about 50% of sales being unfulfilled. A supplier will puts a product on the Spocket platform, and as a merchant, you decide to carry this product, and you set the price point at which you would make a profit, however unbeknownst to you, the supplier then decides to markup the price more and more and more. Now, since the supplier has adjusted the price up, your own pricing does not update, and you lose your profit margin.
At this point, when a product is sold from your store, the supplier has marked up the product to such an extent, that you are actually paying the supplier and not making a profit at all. The only recourse then becomes to refund the customer because going through with the sale would result in a loss. And having brought this up to Spocket numerous times, they appear incapable of actually managing suppliers who are bad actors and 90% of the suppliers on Spocket are bad actors and most of the products are sourced from small outfits overseas.
Spocket’s platform is full of errors.
The platform itself is full of so many errors that issues develop that require you to refund a customer 70% of the time. The platform is not fully integrated with Shopify, so imagine if you are selling items through various channels like Facebook or Google, well those orders do not populate within the Spocket platform, and when orders do not populate within platform, there is no way to fulfill it. This invariably creates poor customer experience for which Facebook and Google penalize your store for. My store was on the brink of being banished from Facebook numerous times due to Spocket’s inability to facilitate the order.
After speaking with Shopify and speaking with Spocket about these issues, I was reminded that Spocket is still in beta by their support team. Ok sure, then why am I paying $1000 for access to the platform if it is unfinished.
Spocket still has not solved the problem in over two years. Instead they are working on issues that are absolutely irrelevant to the operation of their platform. This is another reason you should avoid Spocket.
Spocket has too many hidden fees.
Spocket is flush with fees. There are fees that are explicit and other fees that are implicit and Spocket has every type of fee you can imagine. In addition to their monthly plan, which provides access to a sparse amount of products, each transaction also comes with a an additional service fee. And the worst part is that the fees change because the company is essentially still in beta and has no clue what they should be focusing on.
I started using the Spocket platform to source products thinking that it would make the operation of an ecommerce business easier. Here is what happened, as a marketer I’m able to generate sales however with a platform like Spocket, you’re running up a against a bottleneck that you are at the mercy of.
When 50% of the orders that come in are not able to be fulfilled, then you have a problem. What are some reasons why Spocket is unable to fulfill orders? Either because the supplier changed the price of the item, the platform said a product was available that wasn’t available, or there was some glitch in the platform.
Not accounting for the frustration and the medical bill from hitting my head against a wall with every new issue, I have lost about $30,000 in sales, and losing $30,000 in sales means that you are not able to run a viable business.
Spocket’s user interface is clunky.
To add to the frustration of using a platform that is incomplete, but yet is marketed as complete, the user interface will have you questioning your sanity. Buttons that don’t work, and a lack of intuitive flow means that your interaction with the platform is an exercise in futility
Sure the user interface from the front end of the Spocket platform when you visit the site looks appealing, and this is done in order to invite you to pay the exorbitant fees. However, on the backend you find that this is a very clunky software and it can become easily frustrating when performing any minor action. It’s integration with Shopify is shoddy at best. In addition to all this, the interface between you the merchant and the supplier is practically nonexistent.
Only recently, about 1 month ago was the possibility of speaking to suppliers possible. But 99% percent of suppliers choose to disable the feature so you actually cannot talk to the suppliers. In addition you have to pay an extra fee in order to have the ability to speak with the various suppliers who you carry products for. After paying $1000 for access they’re still asking for additional fees for the ability to message suppliers about late orders. Fees on top of fees. And again the interface on the backend is absolutely lacking.
Spocket’s customer support is non-existent.
You can imagine the type of problems that develops with a platform like this. And here you can count on being without any assistance. Spocket is a platform that lacks support and your only point of contact with their support apparatus is via an email form with agents utterly disinterested in customer service, in some part of the world. Support response time? An unbelievable 2 – 3 days. Imagine trying to get information about a customer’s late order and having to go through a support system that replies every 3 days.
On numerous occasions when orders were late in being shipped out, sales were lost because Spocket’s support simply lacked the urgency or wherewithal to understand that there was a problem. On numerous occasion, a 2-4 day stated shipping time would be ship out 1 month later from China, for a product that was advertised as shipping from Idaho.