Having seen your discussion on Dropshipping, this is a technical proposal:
- A statement is posted in the Home Page stating that the items are sourced and are NOT with the seller.
- Against Each Item, the wholesaler’s available qty in stock is also shown with the item, and it updates automatically.
- After the user enters his Credit Card Detail (or any other online payment option) and Upon him Pressing the “BUY” button, the following occurs in this sequence:
1- The Item is Purchased by the Seller from the Manufacturer.
2- Once the Purchase is accepted (electronically), the Customer gets charged for the item (cost + Seller’s Markup whatever it is!)
With respect to defining risk and responsibility, this could be defined in the Terms&Conditions allocated the whole responsibility on the Seller, with a 100% money back Guarantee if the goods are not to the satisfaction of the Customer (Risk on the seller). The Product is directly shipped from the Manufacturer to the Customer, saving him money in double shipping and handling.
Wouldn’t the above address Shariaa compliance (at least the Hanafi School of Fiqh?).
BTW, Would your opinion also apply to services, e.g. App Development, Ad Campaigns, Media Creations and marketing, and all sorts of services requiring EFFORT and Creative Works? What about a carpenter who agrees with you to make a Kitchen Table? what if he doesn’t have the required raw materials yet? What if he gets his money upfront? is that Haram? What About if we Order a Pizza and Pay online? Obviously, the Pizza is not yet made when the Payment was effected? Many similar transactions come to mind where a service provider gets paid 100% before even providing the service (e.g. Pay for Electricity Connection First, before power is even connected).
و جزاكم الله خير.