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Starting any entrepreneurial venture is never going to be a walk in the park.
There are so many factors that come into play when starting a business so it ends up as a successful one and not a flop.
Today, there are many different types of businesses you can start, particularly on various online platforms.
Among the most popular ones is dropshipping.
In this kind of business, you can go ahead and sell items even with little to no capital at all.
You don’t even need to keep a physical inventory of products as these are all fulfilled by your supplier.
Essentially, dropshipping can give you a good head start when you’re still learning your way around the world of business.
This article will provide you with all the information you need to be part of the dropshipping industry.
Before anything else, it’s necessary for you to learn what dropshipping is so when you do start, you’re well informed and you know the ins and outs of this type of business.
Dropshipping refers to the business model wherein individuals can directly sell products without keeping a physical inventory. When a customer purchases a product from someone’s store, it’s the third-party supplier who fulfills the order from their own inventory and ships it straight to the buyer’s address. The store owner then waits for the profits to be credited into their account.
All the store owner has to do is to set up their e-commerce store and ensure good communication tools like email, fax services, and cloud services to deal with suppliers as well as competitive shipping and payment portals for their customers.
Since you now know what dropshipping is all about, here are several tips that can help you in establishing your very own business using that method:
Just as you would if you were starting an ordinary e-commerce or brick-and-mortar business, it’s important for you to select a specific niche. Doing so would give your dropshipping business a sense of direction so your buyers can immediately have a grasp of what your business is focused on. You can’t just be all over the place and sell everything you can think of because doing so may make your business confusing. It’ll also be difficult for you to reach a particular target market when you don’t even know what customer profile best matches which business niche.
Most importantly, if you aren’t passionate about your selected business niche, you might find it hard to succeed in dropshipping. While it requires little to no investment, it takes a lot of hard work to scale and grow your business.
Along with taking passion into account, here are other tips to follow when selecting a specific business niche:
To help you get started, these are some of the most popular niches of and products sold by dropshipping businesses:
Some get into dropshipping so they can have a side hustle, while others who’ve already made a name for themselves through their dropshipping business now manage their online store full-time. Nevertheless, what matters is that you need to have adequate commitment to manage and run your business effectively.
Just because you aren’t keeping a physical inventory of the goods you’re selling and you didn’t shell out a hefty amount of money doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to manage your dropshipping business. You still need to put in a lot of hard work just as you would with any other e-commerce or traditional business.
It takes dedication and a desire to grow your business in the long term for you to start earning the profit you’re after. Remember that even the dropshipping model doesn’t guarantee overnight success.
With that said, here are some areas of commitment needed in dropshipping:
The more success stories arise from dropshipping, the more entrepreneurs are encouraged to join the industry. This means that although the earning potential is good, the competition is strong as well. You have to compete against so many more other dropshippers in the same niche as yours, and some may have been around for a longer time than you have.
This is why you need to research your competition. Do this as you would with any other business so you know how to keep up with or even outdo other dropshippers. Researching the competition is a multifaceted process, and your aim is to gather information such as the following:
Competitive research entails going through the following steps:
If you already have an e-commerce website, you can also use the information you got from your competitive research to fill in any gaps or address weak points you may have noticed while studying your competitor’s website.
This fourth step is perhaps one of the most crucial since it can make or break your dropshipping business. Note that because you’re opting for this kind of business model, you aren’t going to have physical stocks of any of the products you’re going to sell. It’s therefore important to ensure that you’re choosing reputable suppliers since the fulfillment of each of your customer’s orders is in their hands.
Take the time to carefully go through each supplier you may come across. In order to narrow down your options, here are some useful tips to guide you:
It’s therefore important to ensure that you turn to reputable and legitimate suppliers. These are the signs of a fake supplier you have to watch out for:
Building your e-commerce store means putting up a website. You can either go through this step on your own or request the services of an expert web developer so that everything about your e-commerce store is in proper order. This is a process you should never rush as the final outcome would play the all-important role of displaying the products you’re selling.
Your e-commerce website can be likened to a brick-and-mortar store had you gone for a physical business instead. It has to be aesthetically pleasing and easy enough to navigate to entice customers to stay on your website and eventually make a purchase.
Most importantly, your e-commerce website should comply with all the standards of search engine optimization (SEO), user experience, web design, and all other factors that’ll help your e-commerce store be more discoverable on search engines.
Since you’ve read the guide above, you should now understand why dropshipping is one of the most popular business models nowadays. It makes everyone’s entrepreneurial dreams and plans come true since even those with very little capital can start and run their own business.
But this isn’t to say that dropshipping doesn’t take a lot of hard work. It’s still a business, after all, and your goal should always be growth, expansion, and a steady flow of income. In setting up your dropshipping business, follow all of the tips above so you can slowly but surely work your way toward success one product at a time.
An ecommerce website that operates a drop shipping model purchases the items it sells from a third-party supplier or manufacturer, who then fulfills the order. This not only cuts operational costs, but it also frees up your time to focus all of your efforts on customer acquisition.
If you are ready to start a business that can compete with retail giants, and do so on a limited budget, then follow the six steps below. While it doesn’t take a lot of startup funds to launch a drop shipping business, it will require an immense amount of hard work.
The niche you select needs to be laser-focused and something you are genuinely interested in. A product range that isn’t focused will be difficult to market. If you aren’t passionate about the niche you select, you will be more apt to becoming discouraged, because it takes a lot of work to successfully scale a drop shipping business. Here are some points to consider when selecting your niche:
Remember, you will be competing with other drop shipping operations as well as retail giants such as Walmart and Amazon. This is where a lot of potential drop shippers go wrong, because they look for a product that has little to no competition. That’s a sign there isn’t demand for that particular product.
There are many reasons why a product might not have a lot of competition, including high shipping costs, supplier and manufacturing issues or poor profit margins. Look for products that have competition, as it’s a sign that there is a high demand and the business model is sustainable.
Partnering with the wrong supplier can ruin your business, so it’s important that you don’t rush this step. Conduct proper due diligence. Most drop shipping suppliers are located overseas, making communication extremely important, both in terms of response speed and the ability to understand each other. If you are not 100 percent confident in the communication abilities of a potential supplier, move on and continue your search.
Alibaba has become one of the largest online resources to identify and communicate with potential manufacturers and suppliers. Make sure to ask a lot of questions and learn what their production capabilities are in the event that your business grows exponentially. You want to be certain they have the ability to scale with you.
Try to learn from other entrepreneurs who have walked this path in the past. There are plenty of information sources available, from business and tech blogs to this subreddit about drop shipping. It’s a popular topic that can help you avoid costly supplier mistakes.
The fastest way to launch a website that supports a drop shipping business model is to use a simple ecommerce platform such as Shopify. You don’t need a tech background to get up and running, and it has plenty of apps to help increase sales.
Even if you have a sizable budget that would allow you to hire a web design and development company to create a custom solution, it’s a much wiser move to use one of the plug-and-play options, especially in the beginning. Once you are established and the revenue is coming in, then you can explore additional website customization.
Having a great product and a website is great, but without customers looking to buy, you don’t have a business. There are several ways to attract potential customers, but the most effective option is to start a Facebook ad campaign.
This allows you to generate sales and revenue right from the start, which can contribute to quick scaling. Facebook allows you to place your offer directly in front of a highly targeted audience. This gives you the ability to compete with the largest brands and retailers immediately.
You also have to think long term, so search engine optimization and email marketing should also be a focus. Collect emails from the start and set up automated email sequences that offer discounts and special offers. It’s an easy way to leverage your existing customer base and generate revenue without additional advertising and marketing spend.
You need to track all of the data and metrics available to grow your business. This includes Google Analytics traffic and Facebook conversion pixel data, if that is your main customer acquisition channel. When you are able to track every single conversion — to know where the customer originated from and what path they took on your website that eventually led to a sale — it enables you to scale what works and eliminate what doesn’t.
You will never have a set-and-forget advertising or marketing solution. You need to constantly test new opportunities and fine-tune current campaigns, which allows you to know when to optimize or shift campaign spend.