As a dropshipping retailer, integrating your supplier’s dropshipping inventory feed and the order fulfillment process to your website is a critical part of running a successful dropshipping business. But first, what is an inventory data feed? It refers to an export of the supplier’s inventory data which they provide to you in a file format or over EDI or API. In simple words, it is how you synchronize your supplier data to your eCommerce website. It involves different things, including uploading product images, keeping stock up to date, automatically loading new supplier products, etc.

The integration process may differ depending on whether you want to integrate a single supplier or several. But, here are the foundational questions you need to ask yourself when considering dropshipping integrations, such as

How many products from the supplier do you wish to sync with your website?

Suppose you only want to sync a few supplier’s products to your store. InIn that case, data such as categories, descriptions, manufacturer’s names are less significant. But, if you plan to integrate thousands or hundreds of suppliers’ products into your site, the supplier’s data feed content becomes very significant.

What are the standard stock quantity levels, and how often are they updated?

This is a fundamental foundational question. Whether you are integrating one or a thousand products, selling an out-of-stock item can be very detrimental to your business. In fact, if you are using an established selling platform such as eBay or Amazon, it can see you kicked out of the marketplace. So you need to know how quickly the products you want to sell go out of stock and the average stock level your supplier holds at a given time.

For instance, if they hold 5-10 of a popular product at a given time, you need to ensure that the supplier provides inventory updates as frequently as possible, probably a few times a day. On the other hand, if the supplier holds hundreds of a product and probably sells 20 of them in a month on average, you would be fine with the supplier providing weekly updates.

What data is available in the feed?

When dealing with many items, the supplier’s data provided in the feed becomes very important. A good example is a retailer wishing to sell on Amazon, but the supplier does not offer data UPCs, making it very challenging for the reseller. Or an eCommerce store that wishes to dropship a supplier’s shirts, but the supplier doesn’t categorize if the shirts are men’s, women’s, or children’s.

How reliable is the information in the feed?

Whenever a supplier goes through the hassle of building and providing a feed, they must ensure it is accurate. But you can never be too sure. If you monitor the feeds by yourself, you have to ensure you research and monitor the feed in the beginning.

How to upload your inventory feed

  • Manually- you can decide to manually upload your supplier’s feed every day to ensure you have the most recent and accurate data.
  • Writing a script- if you don’t want to import the file daily manually, you can hire a developer to write a code to do that automatically.
  • Dropship automation software- if you don’t want to use either of the above, you can purchase dropship automation software.