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How this works - describing the ideas of dropshipping

Step 1 - Creating and customizing an account

Vendors

Everything starts from the vendor deciding what type of merchandise he is going to sell through XMLshop.
This decision is characterized by finding and assessing the recommended prices, delivery values, and the possible variations of delivery methods. During this step, the vendor and XMLshop agree upon the exact structure of commission and sales. Usually, this comes down to either a percent of the sales or a fixated price. The exact value depends on the type of merchandise. XMLshop provides the vendor with an account within its system and helps with the customization. During the customization the rules of retail, return timespans, the exact rules of shipping and similar affairs are fine-tuned. If required, some boundaries are also put in place. Depending on the merchandise, some additional tuning might be required for searching. Finally, the vendor's account is fully customized.
Prior to work, the vendor accounts go through a mandatory test supervised by the specialists at XMLshop.

Webmasters and shops

Webmasters and shops are practically one in the same. The only difference being that webmasters receive their income from XMLshop while the shops make their own.
After filling out the registration forms and clicking the link in the confirmation e-mail, your account is activated. However, not all merchandise may be accessible from the start. Some vendors require a preliminary check of your websites and shops. Still, there is plenty of merchandise that can be accessed from the very beginning. Depending on the level of your technical knowledge, you may choose to work manually or through the API - or both methods simultaneously.
After registering your shops and websites, if you have more than one, you may begin receiving orders. Afterwards, before receiving the first payment, the webmasters will be required to fill out the W-9 form (W-8BEN for those outside of the United States). It is recommended for shops to acquire the retail certificate in order to avoid paying taxes from sales.

Step 2 - Depositing merchandise into the vendor's database

Through the interface

During this step, the vendor integrates the product descriptions into the XMLshop database. We recommend using the interface or the API (a more detailed description is available on the right). Using the interface works better for a small database or for vendors with no prior experience in retail. The process itself is pretty simple, yet boring. The vendor's operator fills out forms for every piece of merchandise, where he provides descriptions (can be in html), prices, weight (for determining the price of shipping). XMLshop supports multiple languages, which means that if the situation calls for it you may provide descriptions in languages other than English. The merchandise form is quite complicated and has multiple sections, for a complete break-down look in the help center. Of course, completing every section is not a requirement. You only fill-out those that relate to the nature of you merchandise.

Through the API

If the vendor already has a database within his own computer system, it may be added to XMLshop through the API. This is free and possesses no limitations for its use. API allows you to create merchandise and integrate its descriptions, prices, pictures, and corresponding documents (for example, instructions for their use) within XMLshop. The full list of options is available within the help center; however, it may be summed up as follows: API holds all of the necessary options specifically designed for online retail. API works within real time and the wait between making a command and the update of the database can be measured in milliseconds. The average volume of work performed in order to integrate the merchandise using the API is around 4-6 hours, if done by a programmer familiar with your system. If your system has its own API which allows for integration from outside sources, all of the work may be performed by the XMLshop specialists.

Step 3 - Shops and webmasters receive the product descriptions

Vendors

During this step, the webmasters place your merchandise for sale up on their websites, while the shops include it within their price-lists and begin offering it to clients. As a vendor, practically nothing is expected of you, withholding situations where the nature of your merchandise requires an initial check of places of retail. In this case, co-working with the specialists at XMLshop, you do a check of new sellers and activate their accounts for the retailing of your merchandise.

Webmasters and shops ("Sellers")

During this step, you fill your retail channels with new merchandise. XMLshop includes all of the descriptions, recommended prices and all of the additional information provided by the vendor in the previous step. The webmasters usually use the API for the download of merchandise into their shops (the interface is also available, but practice shows that all webmasters choose to work through the API). The shops can use both, the API and the manual interface. Shops providing their own methods of delivery can combine them with those provided by the vendors by adhering to the formal rules (a detailed description is available in the help center). Analogically, the return policies are combined through the formal rules as well.
In the case that the vendor asks for an initial check of the sellers, you have to contact XMLshop to go through this procedure after finishing the integration process. Usually, this poses no problems and takes less than an hour. Sometimes, foreign webmasters make mistakes (usually grammatical); this is the step where they correct them.

Step 4 - Collecting orders from buyers

Vendors

Nothing is required. Enjoy the break.

Shops and webmasters

This step is the heart of the process. Webmasters attract customers using their knowledge of internet-marketing. Shops offer additional merchandise to their clients both as added sales and as alternatives, if the customer is not satisfied with the initial product, for whatever reason. The volume of sales and, obviously, your final income is dependent on the amount of work you are willing to put in. Your goal is to attract as many potential buyers as possible and present your merchandise in the most desirable light, in order to turn the potential buyers into actual clientele. XMLshop receives the customers' payments for the webmaster; shops do this on their own.
The webmasters' order information automatically makes its way to XMLshop during the processing. Shops manually register their orders within XMLshop, either through the interface or the API.

Step 5 - Vendors receive their orders

Through the interface

The vendors log in to their XMLshop accounts to receive new orders. This may be done through both the API and the interface. The interface supports the simplest instruments for integration with outside programs through CSV files. You can upload a list of orders in a CSV file which can later be used congruently with shipping programs such as UPS WorldShip and Endicia Dazzle. XMLshop holds the interface used by the shipper, which does not allow for change of descriptions, or viewing of the sales statistics, allowing only for the change of status and assigning the tracking number. The customer representative's interface is also supported. Every order may be provided with commentary, both visible and invisible for the buyer. In the case of emergency, an order may be corrected: including the previously omitted house number, for instance. The support interface also provides the click-to-call option, which may be modified for any provider's VOIP adhering to the face customization.

Through the API

The vendor may receive order information through the API and his colleagues won't even have to know about the existence of XMLshop. API allows for the download of all orders, the buyers' addresses and all of the other required information. Additionally, order commentary is also supported. For the full list of options look in the help center.

Step 6 - Shipping the orders

Webmasters and shops

Your turn to enjoy the break.

Vendors

The vendor's shippers begin packing and labeling the orders. Vendors working through the interface use the one provided for shippers within XMLshop. Whenever available, the tracking number is registered within XMLshop for every order. Vendors working through the API go through the exact same process. The only thing that changes is method of the exchange of information through the API instead of the interface. In separate cases, XMLshop may offer help by creating an automatic shipping interface especially designed with the specifics of a given business in mind: the way it was done for Denaq, for example. Depending on the circumstances, this may be done for free or through a separate payment.

Step 7 - Losses and returns

Part of the buyers who made a purchase will want to either return or exchange the product at a later date. A very small fraction of the orders will prove to be scams. Analogically to the procedure during the shipment of orders, XMLshop maintains a similar procedure after the shipping. For example, if a buyer purchased several items, but only wants to return one, this can be accented in XMLshop and put in to the history of the order. The exact procedure of working with returns depends on the nature of the merchandise, but usually stays within the ranks of a simple principal: everyone is rewarded only upon the full completion of orders.

Step 8 - Sorting mistakes

Mistakes happen in any field. Practice shows that 90% of all mistakes happen due to the human error. XMLshop runs logs on the actions of its colleagues and all use of the API. In other words, it's always easy to find a person that, say, provided commentary on a given order and what time it was entered right down to a second; if you need to know who processed an order and when, the information is always available. Additionally, if the vendor requires a given field to be filled out, he can always check which one of his workers overlooked his duties. By using the option click-to-call, phone calls are also logged, and if needed, recorded. Through this, XMLshop is always able to rewind any conflict and see what caused it in the first place.
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