eCommerce Blind Shipping: Everything You Need To Know

Sep 10, 2020  Lorie Dodson Lorie Dodson

As an eCommerce entrepreneur, you must understand the intricacies of your shipping services to offer the best possible customer experience. You also need to know when it’s most appropriate to use each option to keep your business running smoothly, reduce operational costs, and retain customers in the long term. 

If you don’t fully understand the ins and outs of each option at your disposal, you’re putting your business in jeopardy. Without the correct knowledge, you run the risk of using a shipping method that causes unnecessary delays and other unwelcome issues in your fulfillment process.

Introducing the Concept 

Most well-established eCommerce business owners have numerous different shipping and fulfillment options available to them. Merchants can formulate their shipping strategies using one or many of these choices to best meet the needs of their customers. 

Blind shipping is a popular option that many eCommerce merchants have integrated into their own shipping systems. It can assist in raising your bottom lines too, if used strategically. 

Here’s how blind shipping works and when it’s the right time to use it for your online store.

What Exactly is Blind Shipping?

Blind shipping is a delivery option that entails hiding the names and addresses of either the buyer, the shipper, or both on a parcel’s shipping labels. Essentially, it ensures that your customers are ‘blind’ to the involvement of every party in their transaction except for your specific business.

 Third-party merchants who serve as middlemen between consumers and wholesale suppliers often use this practice. A well-known example of this would be dropshipping.

Blind shipping has a reputation for being somewhat detrimental to eCommerce businesses, as the method allows them to sell wholesale goods to buyers at significantly inflated prices. However, if the middleman chooses to keep the wholesaler’s address obscured, the customer will never know this was the case. 

This method of shipping prevents customers from tracking down your suppliers themselves, contacting them, and purchasing wholesale goods at potentially lower prices. Blind shipping gives merchants an edge over their competitors by making their most reliable suppliers untraceable to the public and their rivals.

Blind Shipping in Relation to eCommerce

If you blind ship a parcel to a customer, they’ll receive their order with only your eCommerce store’s details printed on it. None of your suppliers’ details will be stated at all. This is an ideal option for eCommerce stores serving as middlemen who wish to hide their suppliers’ information. 

Another major motivation behind the use of blind shipping is simplicity. 

If a customer has an issue with one of your products, they can approach you directly to resolve it, rather than becoming embroiled in your complex fulfillment processes. This gives you maximum control over how you handle your customer support services.

Many merchandisers also specifically request blind shipping for a number of reasons. Let’s use this case scenario as an example:

Manufacturer A –The base of this product manufacturer is in Taiwan. This company manufactures the products that Retailer C’s customers order online.

Distributor B – This distributor can reside anywhere in the world. They are an online business that orders products from the manufacturer to sell to online customers.

Retailer C – Similarly, this retailer also lives anywhere in the world. They buy products from Distributor B to sell to their own shoppers.

Based on the three entities above, Distributor B is the middleman who profits from the difference in prices between Manufacturer A and Retailer C. If Retailer C were to find out that Manufacturer A’s products are available at far lower prices, they may well stop ordering products from Distributor B and buy them directly from the manufacturer instead. 

If Distributor B wants to stay in business, they would need to use blind shipping to obscure Manufacturer A’s details from Retailer C so that the latter cannot track the manufacturer down themselves.

The Top Seven Benefits of Blind Shipping

Blind shipping is most often used at the request of a company’s distributors. These entities primarily choose to blind ship to save themselves time and money. 

Blind shipping removes a few steps from the classic shipping process. The dealer doesn’t have to receive, store, and re-ship products to their customers or handle the costs of those processes.

These are a few more of the most prominent benefits of blind shipping for eCommerce businesses.

1. Gaining a Protective Edge

The world of eCommerce is a highly competitive one. Rival businesses are always on the lookout for where other distributors find the best deals and source their popular products from.  

Businesses need to guard their sources closely to maintain the upper hand against their competitors and blind shipping can provide that advantage.

2. Retaining Clients

The anonymous nature of blind shipping will bar your online customers from ordering products directly from your manufacturers. Plus, it prevents your rivals from selling the same products you offer to your existing customers at better prices. 

If your shoppers appreciate the products you offer, they will have to order them from your business instead.

3. Maintaining Brand Consistency

Utilizing blind shipping enables you to create a unified customer experience across your full product range. 

Considering that all your customers will receive orders that boast only your contact information, your customers will easily be able to identify the items you sell.

4. Ensuring Customer Satisfaction

One of dropshipping’s biggest advantages is that it allows you to sell products without physically touching or handling them. While this is advantageous to retailers, it can make customers anxious. Most people want to know that the products they’re buying come directly from the entity they ordered them from. 

Blind shipping gives you the chance to maintain that illusion without footing the expenses attached.  Hefty warehousing overhead costs will not saddle you, but you will still be able to enjoy a price advantage over stocking merchandise yourself.

5. Improving Profit Margins

Once you’ve established your business as a brand and not simply one of thousands of eCommerce stores, you have far greater control over your profit margins. 

You can alter the prices of your products according to your preferred markups and keep the money rolling in.

6. Streamlining Cash Flow

If you blind ship your orders, you won’t need to purchase a product until a customer has made a purchase, and the payment has cleared. This allows you to improve your business’ cash flow, while simultaneously reducing your inventory and space requirements.

In every business, big or small, cash flow is an indicator of financial health. With blind shipping, there’s more opportunity to maintain a healthy cash flow. If you need a loan,  purchasing stock and maintaining an inventory is not a consideration when calculating the required funding. This puts the business in a better position with lenders, as it reduces overhead. 

7. Boosting Business Scalability

When you blind ship, the bulk of the work will fall to your distribution and freight partners. This means that if sales rise considerably, or you need to deliver items to multiple locations at once, your workload will remain largely unchanged. 

Ultimately, shipping orders this way will simplify your business’ operations, regardless of the geographical locations of your customers, or how quickly your company is growing.

Dropshipping vs Blind Shipping

 A clear system of out-working is the basis of standard dropshipping practices, in which an eCommerce shop serves as a marketplace for a manufacturer’s products. The costs of customizing and branding items can accumulate quite rapidly, which is why so many dropshippers steer clear of blind shipping entirely.

Choosing this route does save on short-term costs, but it leaves merchants open to losing customers. Buyers who are able to see manufacturers’ return addresses on their parcels can easily contact these suppliers for better prices than those offered by dropshippers. Failing to obscure your sources may also allow your competitors to find your manufacturers and dilute your brand’s power within your niche.

We’ve already mentioned that blind shipping carries higher shipping costs. Additionally, it adds an extra link in your fulfillment chain, which raises the risk of delays, shipping errors, and associated losses for your business. It can be challenging to find a reliable and reputable company to deliver your parcels safely. However, it’s crucial to find such a freight-forwarding entity to ensure that the recipients will receive the blind shipped orders in good time.

Dropshipping and blind shipping both require notable customer service and marketing dedications to operate successfully. However, dropshipping does have one significant advantage over blind shipping: it doesn’t carry any minimum volume restrictions.

If you offer dropshipping services, you can order from your manufacturers even when a customer needs only one part of a full product you offer. At the same time, blind shipping can become undeniably expensive when you deliver small orders due to the minimum costs of handling the blind lading bill.

Understanding Double-Blind Shipping

Double-blind shipping is a more complex form of blind shipping that promises additional anonymity and security. 

Unlike blind shipping, in which online shops include their own addresses and contact details on packages, double-blind shipped packages don’t carry any pickup or delivery address information at all. This approach ensures that manufacturing companies cannot obtain your customers’ addresses, and that customers cannot track down your shipping company either.

Double-blind freight is a suitable option for your business if you don’t want your manufacturers to find your customers’ details and vice versa. Your third-party shipping company of choice will hide the details of both parties when handling your shipments.

How to Blind Ship Orders

If you want to blind ship your store’s orders, your first step should be to team up with a reliable freight forwarding company. Doing this will significantly improve the quality and speed of your deliveries. Since blind shipping conceals information from shippers and consignees, blind-shipped parcels will have three bills of lading. They are:

1. A bill of lading from when the shipping company collects the parcel 

2. A bill of lading that’s issued to customers upon delivery

3. A formal bill of lading that includes delivery and shipping details, which the courier receives

It’s important to note that different couriers have differing ways of dealing with blind shipped orders. Many major international couriers don’t offer blind shipping services, and others have specific requirements that you need to meet before they are willing to blind ship parcels. 

Due to the fact that the process requires three bills of lading, it’s recommended that you work closely alongside a third-party logistics firm to keep things running smoothly. You can blind ship an order by contacting your courier or signing in directly from their official website.

Is Blind Shipping Right for My Business?

International eCommerce trade is a growing movement that’s showing no signs of slowing down. Blind shipping is an increasingly common and popular practice. It allows businesses to maintain competitive edges amid an increasingly saturated digital market. Furthermore, it serves as a valuable supply chain management approach for your business. It streamlines your operations and reduces overhead costs at the same time.

Thousands of retailers and distributors use this option to fulfill their orders to retain customers and preserve their profits. If your company attracts business because you sell certain products customers are unable to find elsewhere, it’s in your best interests to protect that advantage. Blind shipping your orders is the solution.

The blind shipping process is undeniably more complicated in comparison to traditional freight shipping. However, it gives distributors the option of anonymity. Additionally, it allows eCommerce businesses to keep the contact details of their trusted importers and suppliers private. 

Take time to research the blind shipping process. By doing this, you can eliminate any potential risks it may pose to your business, while enhancing your operations and earnings.

The Bottom Line

If you’d like to retain a competitive edge by hiding your manufacturers’ details from your customers, blind shipping is the answer.

We recommend working with a trusted third-party freight company to ensure there are no unnecessary delays or errors in your blind shipping process. A reliable shipping company will be able to deliver shipments to your customers in good time without misplacing parcels or revealing hidden supplier information.

Lorie is a fulltime writer and editor with a background in logistics management and freight forwarding, covering a variety of topics and news within the industry.

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