A dropshipping business looks very promising to a person who wants to start a business with a limited budget. As it requires internet marketing skills more than financial capacity, this business model is vastly popular for new entrepreneurs. With dropshipping, a manufacturer or third-party supplier stocks the goods you are selling and fulfills the order you forwarded from your customers. This reduces costs on the operation as you don’t need to hire a person to handle the order fulfillment part or rent a warehouse to hold your items.
Due to its increasing popularity to startups especially millennials, dropshipping stores continuously pop up everywhere in the world. The competition for niches such as jewelry, fashion, fitness, and gadgets are getting tougher every day. A dropshipping business may be easy to set up but getting actual revenue will take a lot of hard work on the part of the drop shipper.
First-time drop shippers must learn the ins and outs of drop shipping before building an eCommerce dropshipping business. Online courses are being offered left and right but if you don’t have the extra fund for that, there’s always YouTube to get tons of information from. What’s important is you don’t rush into dropshipping without doing research and creating a plan because you’re bound to fail regardless if you have sufficient fund or not.
So, how do you increase your potential for success with dropshipping? Just make sure that you have taken the following steps before you start operation.
Step 1: Pick your niche
- Choose a niche that you are passionate with so you will not easily get discouraged when you meet difficulties in scaling your dropshipping business. Consider these points when determining your niche.
- Decide if you will be a one-product store or a general store. If you want to be a niche store focusing on let’s say, yoga products, it is best to start as a general store at first. This way you’ll be able to test different product categories to know if yoga products are the right niche for you or not.
- Aim for products that bring in attractive profits. Selling low-priced items and high-priced items require the same amount of work. Hence, make sure that you will earn more on whatever marketing and customer acquisition strategy that you employ.
- Ensure that your product can convince impulse buyers to make an outright purchase.
- Find a manufacturer or supplier that offers free or low-cost shipping so you can offer free shipping to customers to increase your revenue.
- Look for a product that people are searching actively online. Check Google Trends and Pinterest for common search terms relevant to your niche. You wouldn’t want to sell a product that nobody needs.
- Search for products that you can’t find locally to increase your appeal to potential customers.
- Find a dropshipping product that you can white label and pass off as yours. Custom branding and packaging will add more value to your goods.
Step 2: Research your competitors
Make sure that you do competitor research before selecting your product. You will not only compete with fellow drop shippers, but you will also battle it out with retail giants like Amazon and Walmart. Avoid products that have little to no competition because it’s a clear sign that there is no demand for those products. Items with competition show that the demand is high and it will be sustainable.
Monitor regularly your competitors’ website and social media pages. This is to learn what products they advertise, which product gets many shares or comments, etc. When you monitor your competitors’ posts, you’ll be able to determine what products you should be selling and what content types will work best with your audience.
Step 3: Partner with a reliable supplier
This is where many drop shippers fail in their business. Don’t rush into partnering with suppliers or manufacturers without doing proper due diligence. As the majority of dropshipping suppliers are based overseas which is why communication is very important. You must ensure that you and the supplier both understand each other and the exchange of information is fast. Ask critical questions to know if they have the capabilities to accommodate huge demand as your business grows.
Test out the speed of delivery and product quality of your potential suppliers by ordering samples of the products you’re interested in. This allows you to experience their products and services first hand and place yourself in the shoes of your customers who will be buying these products. You can also use the samples to take better product photos, write accurate product descriptions, create video product reviews, and other marketing materials.
Step 4: Build your eCommerce website
The quickest way to build your dropshipping business is to use eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce. You don’t need a hefty budget to create a customer-friendly custom website. Shopify, for example, has many apps you can use to build your store with features similar to other successful brands. Make sure that you research and compare the different eCommerce platforms available out there. Pick the best for your needs and gives you value to be in control of your niche.
Step 5: Create a Customer Acquisition Plan
Plan out your strategy on how to acquire customers. Will you be using Facebook Ads? Are you going to build an email list for email marketing? Or you’re planning to collaborate with influencers to promote your products? Reaching your target consumers and capturing their interests are crucial in driving traffic to your website. If you don’t have this plan in place, chances are, you will not generate sales from your dropship products.
Step 6: Devise a Customer Service Plan
With a dropshipping model, you will end up selling the same items that many drop shippers carry on their stores. Yet, you can still stand out and gain loyal customers if you offer exceptional customer service. Product complaints are common when you dropship products from overseas. It can either be the lengthy delivery time, low-quality products, or wrong orders, to name a few, that cause customers to demand a refund or return a product.
To ensure that you provide great service to your customer and make them feel appreciated and valued, you’ll have to come up with a sturdy Customer Service Plan. For example, in addition to answering customer inquiries within 24 hours, you can send thank you cards or run exclusive giveaways to repeat customers. By implementing customer appreciation habits right from the first sale, you’ll be able to build a lasting positive impression on your customers.