You might have come across the term dropshipping several times if you have looked up the best ways to make money online. Might have wondered what it is and how it works? Don’t worry all your doubts and questions will be answered after you continue to read this article.
WHAT IS DROPSHIPPING?
This must have been the first question when you had heard the word Dropshipping. It is basically an online business model where you don’t have to own a warehouse to store your inventory and don’t have to fuss your mind over shipping and handling the product. It is inexpensive to start a dropshipping business as you don’t have to invest huge amounts of money in buying an inventory.
There are millions of people having a very lucrative income from this business model. This business is definitely growing and the more the business expands, the more you make.
HOW DOSES IT WORK?
Now that you know what Dropshipping is, it’s time to know how the process works and what you need to know to have a profitable dropshipping business.
The process is quite simple and is very easy to understand, even for a beginner.
Here’s how it works: -
- A customer comes across your store online and places an order at the price you have set
- This order of your customer is then sent to your supplier and you pay him the wholesale price.
- After getting information about the order, the supplier directly ships the product to the customer under your legal business/ store name.
That’s all. This is actually how Dropshipping works. You don’t have to invest in large amounts of inventory, warehousing, and staffing. All you need to do is have your own store and online presence. This is the very much reason for the popularity of Dropshipping, low risk with comparatively great returns.
After knowing all these things you might be thinking about where to start, which product category to sell or which dropshipping platform to choose. Don’t worry we will not leave you in the middle. Everything you have on your mind will be answered as you read on.
HOW TO START A DROPSHIPPING BUSINESS?
Certain steps are needed to be followed if you want to have a successful outing out there in the middle.
STEP 1: Choosing a Niche
A niche means what segment or product category you want to deal in. This is the first step in starting a dropshipping business. Just don’t think that niche doesn’t matter.
If you think you can succeed in any niche then you might be wrong. You need to have good knowledge of the products you are dealing with. Also, you have to make sure that your niche is not crowded with too many sellers.
If there is a high level of competition then it might be safe to not enter that segment. This doesn’t mean you should not deal with products you like if that niche is saturated. All I'm saying is that you need to keep your prices more competitive and have to on your toes all the time.
After you have selected your niche it’s very important to research it thoroughly and then make your move.
There are certain products which you don’t want to deal with. Products having too much weight and size are not very much profitable as small and lightweight products might save you some shipping costs. These products should be in use throughout the year. For example, certain festive decorations are seasonal products and might not generate sales throughout the year.
STEP 2: COMPETITOR ANALYSIS
If you are dealing in a niche which is saturated and is highly competitive, it’s better to analyze the competition rather than making a move straightaway. The first step to this is identifying who your competition actually is.
Start finding the top sellers in your niche on platforms you want to sell. After identifying your competitors you need to see how to list their products. What are their prices? How do they describe their products?
Learn from them by analyzing and then improve yourself. Also, take note of their customer reviews. This will make you better equipped about what buyers in your niche want and what they like to exclude. Following these steps will certainly refine your product listing and help you build a better brand for yourself.
STEP 3: FIND A SUPPLIER
Before finding a dropship supplier there are certain things you need to keep in mind. There are a lot of fake wholesalers who will just rip you off. Certain things you need to keep in mind before selecting a wholesaler. Genuine wholesalers don’t indulge in extensive marketing online and are hard to find there.
Fake Wholesalers indulge in mostly these types of activities: -
- They will ask you to pay a privilege fee for working with them. This is a sign of wholesalers being fake.
- They will sell their products to the public at inflated prices
SO WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A DROPSHIP SUPPLIER?
- They should actually be a drop shipper. Certain wholesalers are just selling products at a wholesale price and do not offer dropshipping service. Remember that every wholesaler might not be a drop shipper. Make sure that the supplier offer dropshipping as their service.
- They should not charge you huge order fees. A small order fee is acceptable as they have to manage the inventory, staff and the warehouse. But if the supplier charges exorbitantly huge amounts of money, then you should not deal with them.
- Fast shipping should be on their list. You don’t want to irritate your customers by shipping them their products after several weeks. Shipping time should be within a week, which is okay and is in line with the industry standards. Shipping time more than 7-10 days is not acceptable.
- They should offer quality products. You should always request samples to check out the quality before offering it to your customers. The supplier should also provide you with high-quality photos of the products so that no details are hidden.
WHERE TO FIND RELIABLE SUPPLIERS?
There are usually two ways to do this. The first one is searching on search engines like Google, Bing, etc. You can type your product name along with the word supplier and see what comes up. This can be a tedious task to do and all the suppliers might not be genuine or to your liking.
The other way around is looking for wholesalers in a wholesale directory. There are certain websites that provide you with an online directory for wholesalers. This is easy as compared to looking at Google.
Whatever way you might use is up to you, just make you’re your wholesaler provides dropshipping and is a genuine one.
STEP 4: SETUP YOUR DROPSHIPPING STORE
There are many platforms out there to set up your online store but one name stands out among the rest: - SHOPIFY
Shopify includes a subscription to a software service that allows you to create your own website using the platform to sell your products. This platform is perfect for businesses who don’t want to invest in a website developer and don’t have the time for it. You can sell as many products as you want without any restrictions.
If you get stuck somewhere in between, their assistant will be ready to help you. There also are various themes to choose from. In the beginning, you might want to test out the free themes and as you start making money, you can buy the paid ones also.
Not to mention there is a free 14-day trial on Shopify, without entering your credit card details and just signing up with your email.
STEP 5: MARKET YOUR STORE
Now that you have successfully created your online store it’s time for you to promote it. You need to attract customers to your store to sell your products and make profits.
There are several ways in which you can engage in marketing to generate sales. There are fast but paid ways and on the other hand, there are slow but free ways to market your store.
- Facebook is the largest social media platform is the best way to engage with your customers and attract them to your store. If you run a successful Facebook ad campaign then you can tap into a large number of audiences. Remember this is one of the most profitable and successful ways Facebook generates revenue. You can control how much you spend each day and it’s easy to target highly specific audiences. A Facebook ad campaign can yield fast results and help you increase brand awareness.
- Google ads are another way to market your products online. Google is by far the most used search engine on the internet and it will definitely help you get the traffic you need. You can crawl up the ranking organically or you can pay Google for showing you in top of search results when someone searches for products that you also offer. You can achieve great exposure in search results and generate a lot of sales. Specific demographics can be hit using Google ads. If you have a tight budget for marketing then you can pay Google to display ads.
- One of the most popular and interactive ways of engaging with an organic audience is Social Media Influencer marketing. This is for those who can afford to spend a few extra bucks. For example, if you have a certain fashion accessory that you want to promote, then you can approach an Instagram model to share a photo of her/him with those products. The cost of endorsing depends on the follower count of the influencer.
2. FREE WAYS
- Having a blog of your own about the product you sell is absolutely free and it can drive traffic to your store. This has been a slow and steady method of acquiring traffic and getting sales leads.
- Social media marketing on platforms like Twitter or Instagram can also generate organic traffic.
Advantages of Dropshipping Business
- Low Risk
Starting a dropshipping business is considered to have low risk as compared to the tradition inventory holding business model. You don’t have to maintain an inventory for dropshipping, which means no risk of getting the inventory damaged, stolen or anything else which can cause you a loss to your beloved inventory. In dropshipping you only buy a product if someone has placed an order for it, giving you a certain profit margin.
- Easy to set up
A dropshipping business model is preferred by many nowadays because it’s easy to start and takes less time. A lot of time is consumed in purchasing inventory, setting up the warehouse, hiring staff to manage it and so on in a traditional business. Dropshipping eliminates all of these factors. Store owners can run their business from home as long as they have an internet connection.
- Low operational costs
With no inventory management cost or warehousing costs to bear, dropshipping is one of the least expensive businesses to start. They have very little overhead costs and owners are comfortably running their businesses from their homes with a desktop/laptop.
- Easy to expand
It’s very easy to grow and expand your Dropshipping business as you have very little to manage. The more orders you have the more you increase the workload on your suppliers. If you deal in seasonal products or products which can go out of fashion after a certain period then you can capitalize on it and deal in bulk across different products throughout the year.
With certain advantages, there are bound to be a few negative points or disadvantages. Let’s now make you aware of the risks/disadvantages of Dropshipping.
Disadvantages of Dropshipping
- Low-profit margins
Because of no or negligible barriers to entry, Dropshipping is highly competitive and has low-profit margins. A drop shipper can only make huge amounts of profit after expanding the business to a certain level and gaining the trust of his/her customers. Dropshipping is not a way to make you rich overnight. It needs time and your dedication to grow and reap rewards for you.
- Dependency on the Shipper
In simple words, this means that if your suppliers mess up then you are the one in trouble, as you deal directly with the customer. This results in you having less control over your business which means you have less control over your customer satisfaction as well.
Read This: Best ways to make money online
There might be still some questions left which you want to be answered. Let’s discuss some general questions related to dropshipping.
- IS DROPSHIPPING PROFITABLE?
Yes, it is profitable but now without your hard work and dedication. Nothing is possible without these two. If you want your business to grow and reap more profits then you certainly have to invest in it and it’s not something you will gain in a very limited time. You have to invest time in this to make it profitable for you.
2. DO I NEED TO PURCHASE PRODUCTS FOR MY ONLINE STORE?
You definitely need to pay the wholesale price of the product while you sell it on the retail price but that doesn’t mean you have to buy the product and store it in your inventory. This is the biggest benefit of a dropshipping business model. All the fuss around inventory management is not required and you can surely be tension free about all the headache you would have to incur if you had opted for a traditional business
3. WHICH PLATFORM IS BEST TO START A DROPSHIPPING STORE?
In our opinion, Shopify is the best if you are a beginner or even if you are an advanced user. Shopify lets you use their software to create a website for your online store and use it sell products on it. There are various themes to select from, for your website and they even have brilliant customer support. You can sign up using your email and get a 14 day trial period to try out their features without entering your credit card details.
Well, now that you have reached here you must be having a clear mind about dropshipping. Still, we would like to enlighten you with these tips to have a successful e-commerce dropshipping business.
- Keep your website updated regularly. Don’t sell outdated products and keep on adding new items to the list.
- Engage in high-quality SEO for your store by using the marketing methods listed above to generate organic traffic.
- Maintain a healthy relationship with your supplier. You probably don’t want to mess with him as he is the most important part of your business.
- Engage with your customers. Reply to their feedback and know more about what they want and what they don’t. Customer satisfaction is the key to create a valuable brand for yourself.
- Keep refining your ad campaigns on social media. They might get outdated after some time.
I hope that this was an insightful article for you about the topic. If you are ready to start your business today then why are you waiting? Go, start now.
Good luck! for your new venture.