What is Blind Shipping and How to do it Effectively?
There are times when people are kept in the dark – knowingly. Many businesses rely on the fact that the identity of the suppliers is kept hidden from the customers. This is done to ensure that the customers do not take their business straight to the suppliers. This kind of shipping is known as blind shipping, and a large number of companies have been practicing this to ensure that the business remains safe and sound.
Blind shipping is more often than not requested by the distributors who want to ensure that their products are directly shipped to the retailer, thus concealing if the product was shipped using a third-party vendor. In the case of blind shipping, the shipping label with the third-party vendor’s information is replaced with the sellers’ information.
Many companies also use Double Blind Shipping, which ensures that the suppliers are also not aware of who they are shipping their products to.
Why Use Blind Shipping?
Let’s understand this with the help of an example. Imagine you are selling products that you procure from Argentina. In case the packaging mentions the name of the supplier, there is a probability that your customers might overstep you and place their order directly with your supplier. In case you practice blind shipping, you will avoid this and retain your customers.
There can also be a case where the supplier might directly reach out to the customers and offer them the products at lower prices. This scenario can be avoided by practicing double-blind shipping.
How does Blind Shipping Work?
To arrange blind shipping, the shipper contacts the freight handler or forwarder to remove the original shipment label containing the shipper’s details once the shipment reaches the delivery center. This would ensure that the information of the supplier is nowhere mentioned on the packaging.
In double-blind shipping, the supplier is provided with an incorrect address by the freight handler or forwarder. Only the freight handler will know about the entire journey of the shipment.
Benefits of Blind Shipping
For various businesses, blind shipping is a way to keep their business safe from competition. Blind shipping has several advantages that can protect the company.
Secure Supply Chain Management
Blind Shipping helps the merchants maintain a steady supply chain, thus reducing the risk of customers buying directly from the suppliers. Through blind shipping, they can ensure that they don’t lose customers. In the case of dropshipping, blind shipping can help in securing the supply chain.
Maintaining the Competitive Advantage
Blind shipping ensures that the information of the suppliers remains a secret from the competitors. In various businesses, suppliers offer the best prices to their merchants due to their impeccable relationships. In case blind shipping is not practiced, there is a chance that the customers can directly go to the merchant or suppliers and buy from them at a much lower price. Blind shipping will ensure that your customers stay, and you have the advantage.
Maintain A Hands-Off Approach
Blind Shipping is a good practice for those who maintain a hands-off approach as this helps protect the business. The merchants don’t need to stock up their products or create an elaborate inventory. The suppliers take care of the shipping on behalf of the merchants, and the identity of the merchants is kept secret. If merchants want to create an inventory and stock up their products, third-party logistics can be used to offer better control, reduced transit time, and no hassles.
How is Blind Shipping Different From Dropshipping?
People usually confuse blind shipping and drop shipping, but in reality, both things are different from each other.
Blind shipping is a practice in which the shipper’s identity is kept hidden from the customers by removing the information of the BOL (bill of lading) before the product reaches the destination. However, dropshipping is a shipping method in which the products are shipped directly from the manufacturer to the customer’s doors.
While dropshipping sounds very lucrative as the idea of not having to deal with inventory is appealing to everyone, but some issues are bound to occur while practicing dropshipping. Some of these are discussed below.
1. Quality Control: The orders are directly sent to the customers from manufactures; this makes keeping a check on the quality almost impossible. In case of inconsistent quality over a long period, there is a risk of losing customers.
2. Issues with Order Return: Some suppliers refuse to manage returns or accept returns for their products. This creates an issue in case a faulty product is delivered to the customers. With dropshipping, manufacturers might not have to worry about shipping, but order returns can harm their business.
3. Lower Margins: Dropshipping suppliers are more expensive to work as many expenses come into the light, making the margins low compared to wholesalers who sell in bulk. The high cost of logistics, inventory storage, shipping insurances, and ultimately the shipping cost makes it difficult to control the prices.
How To Make Shipments Blind?
Blind shipments require multiple BOLs to maintain the desired secrecy. Generally, two BOLs are created and these two BOLs created are used by the consignee and shipper. In case the shipper is the blind party, then the first BOL will be blind, and the second BOL will be accurate.
Alternatively, in a blind consignee, the first BOL will be genuine, and the second BOL will be fake. The carrier will switch out the BOLs when the package is in transit to ensure that it reaches its desired destination.
While most carriers only need prior notification telling them that the shipment will be blind, some carriers require extensive paperwork. This differs from page to carrier, and it is advised to iron out the details before the shipment is made.
Blind shipping is a legal way to ensure that your business remains protected and ensure that the customers do not directly go over the head of sellers and take their business to the suppliers directly, and vice-versa. Blind shipping comes in handy when a company is unique and can offer products or services that are otherwise scarce or hard to procure.
While finding success in blind shipping is relatively more straightforward, it is essential to understand that the whole process is different from working with Third-Party Logistics. Blind shipping has been in practice for quite some time and has helped many businesses worldwide to keep their identity safe and their business on their terms.