It has never been so difficult to recognize when an online shop is not a real online shop. In this article you will learn what it means when a web shop is not a real web shop at all, how you can recognize one and how the whole business behind it works. In this way we help you not to accidentally spend the money online only on junk.
If the Online Shop is not a Real Online Shop at all
The Dropshipping Trend
Many users do not really know the terminology yet. Dropshipping refers to the e-commerce concept of offering products that are sold directly to the end customer by a manufacturer via an e-commerce solution. The e-commerce solution, i.e. the online shop, is only a kind of intermediary platform between the product manufacturer and the end customer.
If a few years ago it was still time-consuming to be able to implement a solid e-commerce solution, today there are mature tools for run-of-the-mill shops that you can use to set up a web shop inexpensively. There are platforms that perfectly support the so-called dropshipping. In short, it works something like this:
A student or a supposedly resourceful businessman installs such a shop. He also installs a dropshipping plugin. Now he can choose from many manufacturers from all over the world from almost all products in the world, which he would like to sell in his shop. He selects his assortment and sends this request to the manufacturer (or manufacturers). They look at where the shop is located, which target group is being addressed and send back a price list for each product. So the student now has his purchase price. This all happens within the plugin and does not involve any effort for the operator.
Now he can add any margin and start “his business”. He will never see what he sells. The manufacturers send the goods directly to the end customer using the dropshipping model. So the shop owner doesn't know anything about the quality of his products.
Now the shop still needs a few trust factors so that the end customers shop diligently. According to Google, for example, product ratings also help. These can be conjured up with other shop plugins. It is thus possible to import ratings for products that have nothing to do with your own shop, but are simply product ratings for the corresponding products.
The catch here is the target audience. We all know that with a review on booking.com, for example, it is very important who wrote it. However, the dropshipping shop operator does not care in which language a review was written, because these plugins also offer the translation of this. And what's more, reviews can be bought that are poorly put together in low-wage countries.
So dropshipping means that a supplier offers products that he does not know and advertises them with ratings that may come from some user in the Far East and do not match the quality requirements of the current target group. And dropshipping also means that the shop owner does not need to have any knowledge of his business. He can happily sell items of clothing, for example, even if he doesn't have the slightest idea about fashion, the associated production process, the materials and manufacture.
Content Editing, Multilingualism, Blog Posts: All AI-Supported
Now artificial intelligence (AI) comes into play: with just a few mouse clicks, the shop owner can generate appropriate content (e.g. blog posts), offer the shop in different languages and translate item descriptions. It then seems to the user that a well-known company must be behind it, because otherwise all the effort would not be possible. Well, that's no longer true and AI makes it possible.
Track Down the Evil
It doesn't Come without a Minimum of Effort
If you want to know what's really behind an online shop, then you can't do without minimal effort. Here are a few points that can separate the wheat from the chaff.
Read the Imprint
Be critical and read the imprint. Who is behind the solution? Is it a company or just a name (student, pupil)? What is the legal form of the company? Is there contact information that can actually be used to get in touch with the business? Is it possible to find an excerpt from the commercial register?
In a solid and trustworthy imprint you will find content on the following points, among other things:
- Company address (real, postal address)
- Contact via e-mail and telephone (a number that can also be tested)
- Names of the owners of the company
- Information on the entry of the company in the commercial register
- possibly the excerpt from the commercial register
Critically Question Product Reviews
If an item from a relatively unknown shop has 64 reviews, then that should give you food for thought. Check out the reviews. Is there anything useful there? In particular, also read the bad reviews, because these are mostly real reviews, while the 5-star reviews can be bought in large quantities.
Here is an example of very suspicious reviews that are not meaningful anyway.
Luckily, for legal reasons, some plugins support indicating that a review is from an external source, if so:
Pick up Items on Site
Challenge the shop owner: Can you look at and touch his products anywhere in Switzerland? Make an appointment and do just that. However, do not state in advance which item you want to look at - otherwise the shop owner could determine exactly this item himself. Test whether he has some kind of warehouse and really knows the products.
What We at michelangelo intimo are Doing against this Dropshipping Trend
With the quality brands Zimmerli, HANRO, ISA bodywear and VINZ Silkwear, we sell products that cannot easily be copied and are known worldwide. Nevertheless, we want to sensitize our customers to the topic with this article, for example.
We have structured our imprint as suggested. You will also find our excerpt from the commercial register there.
We don't cheat. We do a lot to ensure that our customers from Switzerland who buy our products write product reviews. But that is an almost hopeless undertaking (who likes to write reviews!). However, we don't buy reviews. We want real opinions from our real customers and not a bought-in opinion, for example from a South Korean.
We regularly write a newsletter that lets our customers know that we care about our products and the manufacturers and want to offer you the best of the best Swiss brands.
And we always have an open ear for all concerns. If you have any questions – also about dropshipping – please contact us on 044 809 70 44. We look forward to hearing from you!