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Starting a dropshipping store is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways for ambitious entrepreneurs to make their mark in the ever-growing eCommerce industry. Low barrier-to-entry as well as virtually no cap in scalability surely make it an alluring route to pursue. I understand how convoluted things can be when starting out, which is why I wrote this short guide to help entrepreneurs navigate their way through the crazy waters of eCommerce. The following is an introductory guide on dropshipping with Shopify.
In the dropshipping model, online store owners sell physical products to customers all around the world through an eCommerce platform (e.g. Shopify) without the need to carry or pay for inventory. When an order is placed on your store, simply contact your supplier and they will send it directly to your customer’s doorstep. The beauty of this is that it all can be done with just a laptop and internet connection! So aside from initial quality checks, you will never see nor touch the order that your customers receive.
Shopify is a leading eCommerce selling platform and provides a plug-and-play solution for entrepreneurs to launch their online stores, even those without much technical experience. When you ideally want to make selling the main focus of your efforts, it’s nice to have Shopify to secure yourself a domain name, generate a storefront, upload/customize products, manage your customers & orders, & so much more — all in one place! Not to mention their expansive collection of high-converting themes and a huge library of apps to add almost any function to your store, such as an app that adds an announcement bar to announce any ongoing deals/promotions, or an app that offers a discount code in exchange for your customer’s email address. My point is… whatever your goals are in eCommerce, Shopify has got your back and will be holding it down from your early days all the way until your 6–7 figure months and onward.
Shopify makes it easy to quickly launch a store for a new product concept or an existing product line that you may have. Can’t think of a name for your store? Use their built-in Business Name Generator to spit out some quick ideas and if you like them, just make sure there’s an appropriate domain name available, which you can purchase directly through Shopify.
From the Shopify settings you can also quickly handle all the boring stuff like linking your bank account and any payment processors you plan to sell with (e.g., Stripe, Paypal, Shopify Payments), as well as add legal business information, shipping regions and rates, etc…
You can pick from Shopify’s great selection of free themes, all of which are more than enough for any eCommerce store. They also offer some premium paid themes, if that’s what you’re into. Some of my favorite free themes are Debut and Brooklyn, while Turbo by Out of the Sandbox is a great paid theme.
By now I’m sure you get the point: Shopify makes every other facet of owning an online business extremely seamless so that you, the business owner, can focus on the money-making aspects!
If you’re looking for ideas or something to model after, here’s a top dropshipping store that has all the elements of a profitable, high-converting store: www.inspireuplift.com
Getting your product up is simple with Shopify. If you already have your product images (either self-shot or sent to you from your supplier), this step is straightforward. All you have to head over to the Products section in your Shopify dashboard, where you can create the product listing, upload pictures, draft up a nifty product description, and customize pricing & variants.
From here you can tweak the product page even further with Shopify’s library of apps to not only optimize your offers, but also make them truly unique to your store.
Now that you have your store created, payment processors connected, products fully-uploaded with all apps configured, it’s time to make your first sales! Of course most of us won’t just go from a fresh store to making fat stacks overnight like Shane Dawson or Kylie Jenner (both of whom have huge existing audiences), which begs the question: who’s going to buy our products?
The most popular way to bring traffic to an online store is paid advertising through social platforms such as Facebook, Google, or Snapchat. All are great ways to bring in prospective buyers, while the effectiveness of each platform will depend on your specific product and audience.
Scaling your existing profitable products is as simple as increasing your ad-spend on that particular product. The difficult part is making sure that this all happens in the face of regulations and guidelines set by advertising/payment processing platforms.
Once you get accustomed to the core business movements of finding a product and generating profitable sales from it, the dynamic quickly shifts from rudimentary actions to strategic and thought-out measures to:
The most important point is that you continually test and problem solve, as this is really just a problem-solving game. Launching a store and coming up with a logo might be your first initial problems, where dealing with competitors and stock issues may be the bigger problems you are tasked to deal with later down the line. Just remember that every problem has a solution, which makes it a question of how much you’re willing to invest in time, energy, and capital to get yourself there.
If you decide to start an online dropshipping store (or really any venture), you need to convince yourself first of three important things: that there is something great to be found here, that you can find it, and that it is worth it.
Ever heard of the story of Mel Fisher? He was a treasure hunter who successfully retrieved the riches of the sunken Nuestra Señora de Atocha, which he spent over 27 years trying to find. Can you imagine the amount of doubt poured onto him by friends, family, and society during those three decades? More important than anything else, Mel Fisher declared “YES” to those three important questions and held those values close to him no matter what.
Beliefs dictate decisions which dictate actions which dictate results.
Hustling or grinding is really overplayed nowadays. We’ve all heard gurus preach to grind until you make it and so we come up with these intricate by-the-minute work schedules that really do us more harm than good. We think that by dividing our efforts between all of the many tasks to be done in the day that we’re being the most productive or optimally moving the needle in our businesses.
It comes to a point where hustling 10 hours a day, 7 days a week just is not optimal. Once your business is profitable, you’re in a position to generate even more revenue by simply working smarter!
You can spend an extra few hours per day uploading products, ad campaigns, and responding to customers the same exact way you do every time OR you can outsource these menial tasks.
At a certain stage in your business, it becomes more efficient use of your time to establish vision and foresight for your company than it is to churn out hundreds email responses. These precautionary and strategic actions are the ones that will keep your business growing, not fulfilling your orders in record time. Moreover, outsourcing tasks that keep your business making money is the closest you can get to buying time!
Put simply, if you had 10 units of energy per day and you spent each unit of energy on completely different tasks related to the business, you would have short little vectors going in 10 different directions. If you streamlined your focus on 1–2 key parts of the business that contribute to growth, you’re going to have 1–2 much longer vectors that are rich in experience and quality of work!
Every time you encounter a roadblock or if it seems like nothing you’re trying is working, it helps to take a step back and realize that you are not failing, but rather are being presented with opportunities to grow along the road of self-mastery.
In this business model, it’s all about leveling up. You test products and learn why those you tested didn’t work. You test new audiences and learn why those you targeted in the past weren’t as scalable or profitable. You test new strategies and learn which components of specific strategies produced certain results. The culmination of all this “failing” is your eventual breakthrough and turning point for your online store.
If your mindset is right, being wrong and feeling stuck breeds innovation and an unwavering desire to overcome the issue, both of which will guide your next course of action.
Every point of struggle in your eCommerce journey is the same relative point where hundreds of other once-hungry business owners have also dropped off, but also where many pushed on to forge their life-changing successes.
Brick-and-mortars are going out of business by the day, and it’s no surprise that it’s in part due to the ever-growing behemoth that is eCommerce. With a Shopify dropshipping store being so easy to set up and manage, many people have quickly realized this phenomenon and have begun to capitalize on the rapidly-exploding industry. Where will you be when the market reaches record heights in the next coming years–will you have a piece of that $5 trillion+ pie?