Do you want to launch a company but don’t have a ton of capital? This article will serve as a guide for anyone interested in starting their own dropshipping business.
Indeed, if you are strapped for cash but eager to strike out on your own, the best course of action is to launch a dropshipping business and start selling the goods of others via online marketplaces. There are undeniable benefits to using the dropshipping method, including:
Lack of inventory means having your supplier manage the goods for you.
Supplier handles packing and shipping, so you don’t have to worry about it.
In contrast to traditional brick-and-mortar stores, the initial investment required to launch an online store is minimal, primarily consisting of the time and money needed to design and develop the site.
All of that reads like icing on a delicious cake, doesn’t it? So, why isn’t everyone just doing dropshipping instead of staying in a job they hate? Okay, well, there are a few explanations for that. Despite appearances, there are many challenges to overcome when setting up a dropshipping store.
Select the most suitable platform; pick the best platform for creating an online shop. It’s not simple to find the best deal among the many available online. You need a program that does not demand advanced knowledge of computers or technology from its users.
Select a market segment where you can dominate the field of competitors. In the past, dropshippers would open up shops to sell just one item, only to shut them down when the fad died out.
Locate reliable vendors: if, for instance, you settle on selling goods sourced from Aliexpress, you should contact the various vendors there and inquire as to whether or not they would be open to selling via dropshipping. Providing customer service means finding a supplier you can trust; if an issue arises with a client, they will look to you for a resolution.
Manage daily activities: manage your website, upload your products, write descriptions, upload images and prices, download the order file and send it to suppliers, etc.
The key to successful store promotion is identifying and implementing an effective marketing strategy.
Sure, you’ll need to do all that stuff if you want to open a dropshipping shop, but don’t worry; I’ll walk you through it.
How to build a dropshipping store step by step
Step 1 Choose the right platform
Choosing the right platform is the first step, and there are several reasons why I recommend Shopify:
economic: it is not the cheapest platform available, but it offers the best value for money when compared to others.
It’s a breeze to use, doesn’t need any coding knowledge, and has a built-in payment gateway.
shop-specific: Shopify’s abundance of plugins makes it simple to integrate features like customer chat, coupon management, pop-up notifications, and more into your online shop.
Step 2 Find your niche
To increase your chances of success, focus on a specific market segment rather than trying to sell everything to everyone.
No business can afford to lose all potential customers with every new product launch. As the cost of advertising, and particularly Facebook advertising, rises daily, keeping your current clientele is essential to maintaining a healthy bottom line.
On the other hand, if you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll need a huge marketing budget and you’ll probably end up failing.
There are a few essentials you must keep in mind when picking a niche for your dropshipping business. The products you decide to sell should bring in a profit, be in style, and, most importantly, be lightweight and compact enough to be shipped without much trouble.
I’ll give you an example: the ideal dropshipping product shouldn’t be too big for a shoebox and shouldn’t weigh more than 2 kilograms.
Such products should be avoided at all costs:
You should never attempt to sell well-known brands’ products because you need permission from the copyright owner company to do so, they have low margins, and their prices are often set in stone.
Selling counterfeit goods is illegal and can lead to serious consequences.
Product difficulty: not all items on the market lend themselves to dropshipping. It’s important to remember that this method is typified by postal shipping. Consequently, you should look for things that can be mailed. Shipping a package that weighs more than 2 kilograms can be prohibitively expensive.
Step 3 Find the right suppliers:
Finding a reliable dropshipping supplier is the next step after settling on a product line and market niche to sell. There are two common methods for locating them.
Find a supplier by going straight to them
Convenient prices are possible, but only if you do everything manually, spending hours looking for factories that produced the items you’re interested in, getting in touch with suppliers via phone or email, and possibly running into communication problems due to the suppliers’ likely location in China and their limited command of the English language.
Dropshipping requires a lot of communication between the supplier and the online retailer, including sharing product photos, sending samples, negotiating minimum order quantities, checking in regularly to see if the products are still in stock, and exchanging order details and tracking numbers.
Even the process of adding product details and images to the retailer’s website is done entirely by hand.
On top of that, you can’t be sure of the goods’ quality or their timely arrival. Working with the major online distributors can be difficult for dropshippers because of the issues that typically arise with their clients. This includes complaints, requests for refunds, issues with payment processors, and more. Your company will fail in the long run.
Shop at a virtual mall.
As a second option, you can try looking for what you need on Aliexpress. Even though the prices in this business-to-consumer marketplace won’t be the most attractive, the lack of need for personal interaction and tedious paperwork makes it worthwhile. Dropshippers use web integrations, such as Oberlo, that connect to their eCommerce stores in order to speedily import products from AliExpress.
Despite their usefulness in shortening the time spent uploading product pages, such tools don’t address the underlying issues, as AliExpress was never meant to serve as a B2B sourcing platform. Incorrect use of this website caused many issues for dropshippers.
Sellers on AliExpress frequently do not use the agreed shipping method, provide incorrect or fake tracking numbers that cannot be followed, and provide no after-sale support, among other things. As a result, many merchants saw a decline in sales when products were delivered late or were otherwise incorrect.
Step 4 Manage daily activities
As a store owner, you’ll need to do a few management-related things every day to keep your dropshipping business running smoothly.
You will have to manually upload the products on your store if you decide to go with suppliers you found on your own or buy from a marketplace.
Additionally, you may be required to send orders from customers daily, with a back and forth communication to ensure everything runs smoothly. This is a very time-consuming task that will prevent you from focusing on expanding into new markets and acquiring new customers.
Step 5 Promotion of your store and additional tips
You’ve done all the legwork necessary to launch your business successfully: you’ve identified a market need, created a storefront, sourced reliable products, automated your fulfillment processes, and integrated your business with the industry’s leading advertising network.
Now that you’ve crossed the starting line, you can embark on your journey and establish a prosperous enterprise. To that end, before I leave, I’d like to offer some parting words of wisdom on topics including product development, marketing, and sales optimization.
You may be wondering, “Is it really that simple to get products ready for my dropshipping store?” Alright, it’s time to start making some sales.
The success of your business depends on your ability to effectively promote your store and its wares. You need a plan of action much like you would for a business:
Pick your products with care: don’t sell anything and everything, but instead focus on who you’d like to buy them (say, other hamster owners) and tailor your offerings to their needs.
Pick a specific subset of the market to focus on; success is more likely if you can anticipate your niche’s customers’ wants and needs, so it’s best not to go with the first subset that comes to mind but rather to stick with what you’re already familiar with. You, for instance, are intimately familiar with the challenges faced by hamster breeders because you breed them yourself.
Find out who else is out there selling products like yours so you can set reasonable prices.
Identify your niche market’s customers by studying their buying habits. how to get in touch with them, what they like to buy, if they frequent online forums, and if they go to conferences.
You can now proceed to the next level of promotion. Studying the routines and wants of your target market, you must then make a decision: