If you’re looking to open an online business, dropshipping is one of the simplest business models that you can choose, no matter how much experience you have.
It’s simple. When you’re dropshipping, you’ll never need to worry about storing or shipping your products.
In fact, all of your products will be held in your supplier’s warehouses until you make a sale.
Once a customer makes a purchase from your store, you pass the order on to your supplier, and they’ll ship your products directly to your customer’s doorstep.
This means that you can run a store without ever touching the products that you’re selling.
But you really should verify your products yourself before you start selling them. And that’s where a test order comes in the picture.
Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Hire yourself and start calling the shots.
What Is a Test Order?
A test order is an order you place on your online store to ensure your checkout process and settings for inventory, shipping, order processing, taxes, and email notifications are all set up correctly.
Ecommerce platforms like Shopify recommend placing a test order. Shopify actually recommends store owners to place at least one test order during their store setup or whenever they modify their payment settings.
In a nutshell, you should do a Shopify test purchase before you launch your general or niche-based store.
Why Are Test Orders Important?
Here are a few reasons why placing test orders can help streamline your ecommerce business.
Trust Your Suppliers
Trust is a critical success factor for businesses across the globe.
You’re probably already aware that the trust between your customers and your business is paramount.
But, you need to have a strong line of trust with your suppliers too, especially when you’re dropshipping.
After all, you can have a beautiful online store, unique products that your customers love, and stellar marketing tactics, but none of that will matter if your supplier isn’t meeting the mark.
And what’s the best way to figure out if your supplier is a good fit for your dropshipping business?
Yep, you guessed it. You need to place a test order.
What if you’re selling products from more than one supplier? Place a test order with each supplier.
And don’t worry, we know. That’s extra money that you could be using to improve your store in a variety of different ways.
But, honestly, placing test orders and getting an understanding of how your suppliers operate is one of the best ways that you can spend money as a dropshipper, especially as you’re launching your store.
Think about it.
If you find that your suppliers are shipping out high-quality products in well-packed parcels, and they arrive within the given timeframe, you can relax. You can trust the supplier, and focus on growing your business and making sales.
On the other hand, if the products don’t seem great, or they arrive later than the expected delivery date, it’ll be you who finds that out. Not your customer.
So yes, you’ll need to spend a bit of extra cash to place your test orders, but it could end up saving you much more money in the long run – think of all those returns or refunds you could avoid by dodging lower quality suppliers.
Verify Your Products
As we mentioned earlier, one of the main benefits of dropshipping is that it allows you to be hands-off with the operational side of running a business.
But, you’re still the business owner.
That means that it’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re providing a high-quality service for your customers, regardless of what you’re selling, or where you’re sourcing your products from.
That’s also why it’s so important for you to place test orders.
You need to be able to have the confidence to sell your products to your customers knowing that they’re going to receive something that they’ll be happy with. Something that’ll justify the price tag that they’ve paid.
As a general rule, if you’re selling products that you yourself wouldn’t be happy to receive, you probably shouldn’t be selling them.
And the only way that you’ll be able to properly assess the quality of the products that you’re selling is to check them yourself.
Follow Your Shipping Process
Shipping times are one of the most common concerns for entrepreneurs who are new to dropshipping.
And this is the reality: most dropshipping businesses cannot offer guaranteed two-day shipping for their products.
But, you know what? That’s totally okay.
You’re not running a huge, established ecommerce business yet, so it’s unlikely that your customers will expect you to be able to compete with Amazon-fast shipping times.
Your customers will be excited to receive their brand new products though, so it’s important that you can provide them with a realistic timeframe for when the delivery will arrive.
Yet another reason why test orders are essential for dropshippers.
When you’ve placed a test order for the products that you’re thinking of selling, you’ll be able to track exactly how long it takes for your products to be delivered.
And once you’ve got that first-hand experience with your suppliers delivery services, you’ll know exactly what your customers will receive too.
That means you’ll have a much easier time setting realistic expectations for when your customers will receive their products, and you’ll be able to avoid any unnecessary complaints about delivery times.
So calm any concerns you have about shipping times, and place test orders before you launch new products to your store.
Also check out: 13 shipping tips to make your life easier.
Create Unique Marketing Material
Creating engaging marketing materials for your business is incredibly difficult if you’ve never actually seen your products first-hand.
Sure, you can use the stock images from your suppliers and websites, but they’re suboptimal.
Everybody else has access to those, and it’s tough to make your business stand out with stock images alone.
And when you consider that 64% of shoppers make a purchase after watching branded video content, you’re going to want to try nailing your video marketing efforts too.
But this isn’t easy either when you only have stock images at your disposal.
This is yet another reason why dropshippers should place test orders for their products.
Test orders will allow you to verify the quality of your products and suppliers, and create compelling marketing content which nobody else in the world has access to.
And don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional photographer with expensive equipment to create engaging visual content with the products that you receive.
You can take stunning photos and videos with just a smartphone.
Of course, the visual content that you create can be used on your product pages, for your paid ads, or for your social media accounts.
Honestly, trying to succeed with marketing is tough enough. You don’t need to make it harder for yourself – verify the quality of your products with test orders, and take advantage of the opportunity to create unique marketing materials.
BONUS: Check out our ultimate guide to Facebook advertising and learn how to put your unique marketing materials to good use.
How to Place Test Orders With Oberlo
Okay, we’ve gone through the multiple benefits that dropshippers across the globe can gain by placing test orders for their products.
Now it’s time to go through the exact steps you’ll need to take to place your own test orders when you’re using Oberlo.
Adding a Product to Your Store
Let’s start from the very beginning.
First things first, you’re going to need to add a product to your store.
That means you’ll need to sign up for Shopify, and install Oberlo.
Then, sign up for Oberlo, and head over to the “Products” tab that you’ll see on the left-hand side of your screen.
From here, you can enter specific terms that match the products that you’re looking for into the search bar.
Alternatively, you can browse through the different featured products on the Search Products page
Once you’ve found a product that you like, click on it, and you’ll land on the corresponding product page.
Then you’ll need to add the product to your Import List.
Next, you’ll need to head over to your Import List, which you can find on the left-hand side of your screen.
Locate the product that you’ve just added to your Import List, and click on “Import to store”.
This action will import the product from Oberlo to your Shopify store.
Okay, we’re done on the Oberlo side for now. Next, we’ll need to head over to Shopify.
How to Do a Test Order on Shopify
Go to your Shopify admin page, and select the “Orders” tab, which you’ll find on the left-hand side of the page
From here, you’ll need to click on the “Create order” button, as highlighted in the image below.
Then you’ll need to click on the “Browse Products” button on the next page and enter the name of the product that you just imported from Oberlo into the search bar.
After that you’ll need to enter in the address where you’d like the test order to be delivered to in the “Find or create a customer” tab.
After that you’ll need to click on the “Add discount” button, as shown by the arrow in the image below, and discount the order by 100%.
Once you’ve discounted the item by 100%, you’ll notice that the “Pay with credit card” and “Mark as pending” buttons will now be greyed out. Check that everything looks correct, and then you’ll need to click the “Mark as paid” button to proceed.
After you place a test order, you can immediately cancel it and refund the payment. The payment processor you use might charge you a transaction fee, which isn’t returned to you when you apply for a refund.
Test Order Shopify Bogus Gateway
Don’t want to use a real payment provider? No problem; Shopify allows you to simulate a test order transaction via its Bogus Gateway. With this gateway, all orders you create are test orders.
Here are the steps:
- Open your Shopify admin, then head to Settings > Payments.
- Deactivate enabled payment providers by clicking Manage > Deactivate, then confirm the command.
- Now click Choose third-party provider from the Third-party providers section.
- On the webpage for third-party payment providers, select (for testing) Bogus Gateway > Activate (for testing) Bogus Gateway.
- Open your ecommerce store and make an order like a customer would. Then enter the following credit card information at checkout:
Card name: Bogus Gateway
Card number: 1 to simulate a successful payment, 2 to simulate a failed payment, and 3 to simulate an exception
CVV: 111 (or any 3-digit number)
Expiry date: Any future date
Once tested, click Manage besides (for testing) Bogus Gateway > Deactivate (for testing) Bogus Gateway to remove the test gateway from your checkout.
Just remember that the buying amount has to be more than the equivalent of $1 USD regardless of the currency.
You can also place test orders when you’re using Shopify Payments. Refer to Testing Shopify Payments to learn how to enable Shopify Payments test mode.
Place a Test Order Today
Okay, so that’s it – now you know exactly how to place a test order, and why they’re so important for entrepreneurs who dropship their products.
It’s important that you try not to think of expenses that you incur when you’re placing test orders as wasted money.
Try to think of those expenses as an investment – one that you’re putting towards the long-term success of your business.
So, do you have any questions about test orders, or ecommerce in general?
Let us know in the comments section below – we read them all!