So, you want to become an entrepreneur but have no idea where to begin. How about starting a dropshipping business?
Dropshipping has quickly risen to be one of the most profitable online businesses for most people today. Its popularity has primarily been attributed to the low start-up costs and attractive profit margins.
Some of the most successful dropshippers are now enjoying 6-figure paychecks every month!
It’s, therefore, one of the best businesses you can start in 2020.
What is dropshipping?
Simply put, dropshipping is a business sales model where you (the retailer) accept product orders from customers, without physically having an inventory. Instead, you transfer your orders to the supplier who handles the inventory and shipment of the goods to the customers.
Here’s a more structured explanation of how it works.
As in any business, there are three people involved, the supplier, retailer, and the customer.
However, contrary to what happens in regular shops where retailers have bulk goods, in drop shipping, the retailer/seller is more of a middle man.
The supplier sells products at wholesale prices to the retailer(you), without an inventory. The retailer then sells the goods under his/her own brand, and forwards all the orders back to the supplier.
Finally, the supplier ships all the products to your customers but under your business name.
What you should know before starting a dropshipping business
Although you don’t need a large budget to start the business, it’s not all roses with dropshipping. There are a couple of things you need to understand.
One, dropshipping isn’t a get rich quick scheme. You won’t start your business today and expect to wake up to a thousand orders for your products tomorrow. As you begin, there are days, weeks, even months, that may go by without a single order.
You need to be very patient, and willing to work hard to improve the visibility of your business.
Secondly, you’ll be responsible for the customer support for all the customers who buy from you; not your supplier.
Lastly, while it’s a good investment, I wouldn’t advise you to replace your day job with drop shipping, just yet. This is because of the uncertainties involved.
Your profits will fluctuate each month and so it may not be the most stable source of income initially. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take much of your time, so it makes for a good side-hustle.
With that in mind, here are the four main steps to start a successful dropshipping business.
Identify a suitable niche
One of the best things about dropshipping is that you get to choose your own products. This together with setting your own prices.
You need to be keen on the products you sell since they determine how profitable your business is. Due to the low investment costs involved in starting the business, there’s a ton of competition in the market.
Finding your niche is the best way to cut down the competition.
By choosing one niche to focus on, you’ll have a more defined target audience, hence making your marketing easier.
How to choose a dropshipping niche
For most new drop shippers, selecting a niche is one of the hardest decisions to make. There are just too many products on the market, which makes it hard.
Here are a few of the most important factors to consider when choosing a niche:
- Do a lot of research beforehand – Find out which products sell best, what customers are actively looking for, and who the competition is.
- Choose a niche that’s not too crowded, but has proven to be very profitable. One way to do this is by using research analysis tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, SEMrush, or Ubersuggest keyword tools, among others. Another smart idea is using sites like Amazon to find out their bestsellers, and most searched products.
- Choose something that you’re passionate about – Your passion for your products is what will give you the strength to keep marketing; even when business is bad.
- Provide solutions with your products – With millions of dropshipping businesses appearing every day, the only way to stand out is by adding value. Choose a niche of products that add value to customers – products that solve their problems.
- Choose a profitable niche. – You are in dropshipping to make profits, right? So, choose products that make you the most profits. Calculate the amount you’re left with after taxes and shipping costs and ensure that it’s a good amount.
Free advice: Avoid niches dominated by major brands as the competition will drain you!
Find a good supplier
In dropshipping, your supplier is as important as your customer. The wrong supplier can ruin your business, just as quickly as a good one can help you build it.
So, take extra caution when choosing the supplier. The ideal supplier should be reliable, have a good history in dropshipping, and have reasonable service fees.
It’s also vital that the supplier has high-quality products.
Communication is also a top priority. You need to ensure that you can understand each other before you start doing business. The way a supplier communicates will tell you everything you need to know.
Never hesitate to let go of a supplier if they seem uninformed or unreliable. Remember, it’s your business that’s at stake!
One good place to look for suppliers is the e-commerce giant, Alibaba.
Build your business website/store
After you’ve identified your niche and chosen a reliable supplier, your next step is finding a selling platform. You can opt to go with an established platform such as Amazon and eBay or choose to create your online store from a site like Shopify.
We, however, recommend creating your own online store as it gives you more flexibility and control over your products. It’s also beginner-friendly!
Building your store allows you to incorporate tools such as Bonsai and AND.CO, both of which can help automate your store. These tools also make it easier to track your payments and all your projects.
Nonetheless, over time, you can choose to expand to established channels and maximize your profits.
Market your online store products
Marketing is the backbone of every business. You can have some crappy products, but with the right marketing strategy, you can reap a fortune from them.
Therefore, work on marketing your online store. Some of the strategies you can use include:
With the number of social media users on the rise, it’s the perfect avenue to drive traffic to your site. Take advantage of the paid advertising on these sites, and attract as many visitors to your website as possible.
You never know who’ll be your buyer.
However, before paying for any advertisement, take time to learn all about advertising outlets, to make the right choice.
Just like other business websites, your website’s ranking will determine how much traffic flows to your online shop. As such, you need to invest in SEO to improve your rankings on YouTube and Google.
Pay attention to keyword research and optimize your descriptions. Improve your website’s loading speed, increase your internal linking in blogs, and make sure it works smoothly on all devices.
With proper SEO optimization, your site’s performance will drastically improve, and so will your ranking.
Other marketing strategies worth trying are email marketing and influencer marketing.
Overall, the best marketing strategy is the one that works for your business and converts the most sales. So, test different strategies and stick with the one that gives the best results.
Dropshipping can be a very profitable business if you have the right strategy. That’s why we advise beginners to avoid the hot trend products on the market – they provide short term profits.
Instead, choose a long-term product. Products that will consistently earn you those big bucks you are after, five years into the business.
That said, never forget that the only way you’ll ever succeed in dropshipping is if you’re ready to start. So, stop procrastinating and start working on your dropshipping career today!