How to Deal with Out of Stock Issues in Dropshipping? 

by Stanley


Running out of stock in dropshipping is quite a common occurrence. So how do entrepreneurs prepare themselves for it? 

Well usually, they don’t. 

Most dropshippers do not consider this possibility, which is why, when it actually happens, they end up panicking. 

You need to learn how to tackle this situation appropriately. Otherwise, you risk losing ratings and customers.

This guide will have all the info that you need to deal with the dropshipping out of stock issue. 

So let’s get right into it! 

Dropshipping Out of Stock

5 Ways to Overcome Dropshipping Out of Stock Issues 

Most dropshippers don’t plan ahead for stock issues. If you’re on the same ship, then here are 5 ways you can get yourself out of this situation: 

1) Quickly Find an Alternative Supplier

Usually, the main reason dropshippers face stock issues is that they don’t have an alternative supplier. 

You’ve probably heard the phrase “better late than never”, well, this perfectly fits with your situation.

If your current supplier isn’t giving you a concrete answer or is taking too long to restock, we suggest exploring more options. 

In case you don’t have a lead, our dedicated agents at NicheDropshipping would be more than happy to help you resolve your problem by sourcing the product

2) Contact Customers to Provide a Proactive Solution

We understand that you cannot control everything as a dropshipper. 

And at times, resolving customers’ issues can also be challenging. However, that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. 

If the product your customers are trying to purchase is out of stock, then don’t leave them in the dark.

Instead, contact them and try offering a proactive solution like recommending a similar product in your store. 

Another way is to simply let them know that the product they’re trying to buy isn’t available in the best quality and it would take X days for it to arrive. 

But if you’re saying this, make sure that you’re on the same page with your supplier. 

Otherwise, at least find another supplier to fulfill the order within the given timeframe. 

Overall, good customer service can take you a long way in any business, and dropshipping isn’t an exception to it. 

3) Consider Keeping Some Inventory 

Now, this might go against the core principles of dropshipping, but keeping some inventory can act as a solid backup plan. 

We aren’t asking you to store a high quantity, but ordering a few dozen units at your home can save you in a pinch. 

Although the one drawback of this strategy is that it’s not really feasible for high ticket products

But if you’re selling cheaper items then this can buy you some time until you find an alternative.

Also, a sourcing agent like NicheDropshipping offers bulk inventory for your products. They have warehouses not only in China but also in the USA to accommodate your products before shipping them out to your customers.  


4) Sell Similar Products on Your Store

The best way to retain your customers is to ask your suppliers if they have a similar product in stock. 

If they do, then add that product to your listings and send its link to your customers as a recommended alternative. 

Just make sure that the new product isn’t of poor quality, and you’re transparent with its specifications. 

And don’t falsely promote the product if it doesn’t meet the customer requirements. 

5) Openly Communicate with Your Supplier 

It would be great if you can get the products sourced directly from the manufacturers

But, this isn’t normally possible in dropshipping because manufacturers prefer selling at a high MOQ. 

So at least openly communicate with the supplier. Confirm the availability of the product before sealing the deal. 

Lastly, ensure the supplier you’re choosing is reliable, to begin with, by checking their ratings and reviews online.

Why Planning Ahead is Important for Dropshipping Stock Issues?

As the saying goes “prevention is better than cure”. So rather than dealing with an out stock situation, here are some reasons why you should avoid it altogether. 


Protects and Increases Your Ratings

With so much competition out there, you want to make sure that you build a solid reputation for your store. 

However, frequent order cancellations can not only disappoint the customers but also damage your ratings.

That’s the reason we recommend preparing yourself for stock issues in advance. 

It can help you increase the overall satisfaction rate of your customers, which in turn, can also increase your ratings. 

Increase Chances of Repeat Customers

The main goal of any store is to get recurring orders and build a loyal customer base. 

And that’s exactly what avoiding product stock issues is going to help you with.

If you don’t have a product in stock, then it’s only natural that the buyers’ will look elsewhere. 

And once they do purchase from another store, catching their attention again can become inherently difficult. 

Accelerates the Growth of Your Business

The competition in the dropshipping industry is already quite stiff. 

If you want to grow your business, then it’s essential to fulfill all your orders on time. 

This would help you secure a solid reputation in the market and your customers would also refer you to other potential buyers. 

Besides that, spending money on marketing is counterproductive anyway if you don’t have the product in stock. 


How to Preserve Sales in Dropshipping When You’re Out of Stock? 

Is it possible to preserve sales if you don’t have a certain product in stock? Well, it depends on how you handle the situation. So here are some tips that you should keep in mind: 

1) Don’t Say That You’re Out of Stock

Always remember that you don’t directly want to tell your customers that you’re out of stock. 

This can lead to order cancellations and also harm your ratings. So what can you do instead? 

Well, most of the time your customers don’t even know that a refund is an option. 

And while we aren’t asking you to lie, you can handle the situation a bit smartly. 

Rather than saying you’re out of stock, just say that your shipment hasn’t arrived yet and it would take a few days. 

In the meantime, you can arrange the product from another supplier and get it delivered to your customer(s). 

2) Deal with Customers Positively

Even if you’re out of stock, don’t just say “no” to your customers. Instead, try making an effort and offer them a helpful resolution. 

This can not only help you preserve sales, but also make you stand out from your competitors. 

As we mentioned above, you can just recommend a similar product or update them about how long it would take to restock.

All in all, try maintaining a positive tone while you’re speaking to your customers, and don’t let them think that you’re in a dire spot. 

3) Keep Some Time for Yourself

Prioritize your word to the customers and always keep some extra time for yourself.

What do we mean by that? Well, for example, if the supplier tells you that the product would be restocked in 3-4 days, tell your customers that it would take a week. 

This is to make sure that you don’t make false commitments to your customers in case the supplier fails to deliver.


Why Do Dropshipping Suppliers Run Out of Stock?

Suppliers run out of stock mainly for the following reasons: 

  • The demand for the product is higher than the supply. 
  • There are technical difficulties from the manufacturing side. 
  • The product shipment is delayed. 

So even the best suppliers can run out of stock at times. This is why it’s almost always recommended to have an alternative. 

Final Thoughts

Most people don’t pay attention to the out-of-stock issue in dropshipping. 

However, it happens more frequently than you’d think. 

In such situations, the best approach is to avoid panicking and buying some time from your customers. 

And if you’re unable to find a reliable lead to bail you out, then NicheDropshipping can assist you.

We can help you source your desired products and that too at the most competitive prices. 

So contact us today to resolve your dropshipping stock issues! 

About the Author

stanley nieh ceo


Over 10 years of experience in foreign trade
Helped 2k+ customers improve their dropshipping businesses

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