Dropshipping is a business model that has become popular in recent years because it is easy to set up, doesn’t require too much investment, and offers a huge market.
Unlike traditional e-commerce businesses that require an owner to manage both product inventory and shipping logistics, dropshipping allows entrepreneurs to operate without dealing with these issues.
This guide to dropshiping will explain the benefits of dropshipping and walk you through the process of setting up your own dropshipping business.
The Pros and Cons of Starting a Dropshipping business
The main difference between a traditional ecommerce business and dropshipping is that you don’t need to stock any inventory or deal with shipping yourself. This makes dropshipping a global trend, because it offers entrepreneurs the chance to start a business with minimal setup and low operating costs.
However, there are some pros and cons you should keep in mind before deciding whether the dropshipping model is a suitable one for you.
- Lower initial investments than a traditional online store
- No need to purchase products upfront or manage an inventory
- Ability to sell various products from different manufacturers and vendors
- No need to handle shipping logistics
- No control over the availability or quality of products
- Customer support can be challenging
- Profits are lower than in the case of buying bulk products
While there are both pros and cons of starting a dropshipping business, this is a model that has proven time and gain to be an excellent way to make money online and build a profitable business over time.
How to Start a Dropshipping Business
There are a couple of steps to follow to set up an online store based the dropshipping model. Remember that dropshipping can only be profitable if you’re doing it right, so it’s important to pay attention to each of the aspects below.
- Choose a niche — this is perhaps the most important decision you’ll have to make before setting up your business. Figure out what you’re going to sell, keeping in mind that a good dropshipping product is popular, easy to ship, and allows you to make a good profit. Popular options include consumer electronics, fashion products, beauty products, phone accessories and more.
- Research the competition — while it’s impossible to find a niche with zero competition, try to choose something that’s not already oversaturated. Have a look at some of the dropshipping sites you’ll compete it to have an idea of what you’re up against.
- Choose the right dropship supplier — once you have established a niche, it’s time to look at suppliers and contact them to get started. It’s always a good idea to pick a well-established dropshipper as they are more likely to have knowledgeable staff and better customer service. Make sure that the shipping providers the supplier works with ship products everywhere in your country. Also look at shipping methods, quality control systems, and warranties.
- Build your website — to start selling, you need a website. Some suppliers won’t get you approved if you don’t already have an online store, so this may be something you want to do even before contacting suppliers to get approved with them. See the section below to learn what are the best platforms for dropshipping websites.
- Optimize your website for conversions — this is an important step that can make the difference between a successful business and a struggling one. You need traffic and a buying audience to succeed with dropshipping, so make sure you have diversified sources of traffic.
- Promote your store — use multiple channels to establish your online presence and attract buying visitors to your website. Social media is a powerful marketing strategy that you can use in combination with a strong SEO strategy to drive traffic to your website and increase sales.
What are the Best Dropshipping Platforms?
Choosing the right platform for your dropshipping business can be tricky, but it’s a vital business decision. The two main options you have are to build a website from scratch or set up your own store on a well-established platform such as Amazon or eBay.
Building Your Own Website
If you choose to build your own website so you have more control on the entire process, there are multiple ecommerce platforms to choose from
One of the most popular ecommerce solutions in the world, WooCommerce is easy to use and a good choice for beginners. You can easily implement it on a WordPress website.
If you’re looking for a more powerful solutions that offers enhanced functionality, Magento is the right choice. This platform is widely-used, so you can get expert easily when you need it.
Used by more than 600,000 ecommerce platforms, Shopify requires a monthly fee, but provides a lot of useful features in exchange, including search engine optimization and multiple currencies.
This is a good choice for those looking for a free solution to start their dropshipping business. OpenCart allows you to add unlimited products and categories for your website and offers features such as multi-currency and integrated payment gateways.
Like Shopify, BigCommerce provides multiple subscriptions and is easy to set up even if you’re a beginner. A free trial is available so you can test the platform and decide whether it’s the right choice for you.
How to maximize the chances of success?
If you feel ready to go for it and give dropshipping a try, there are a couple more guidelines to keep in mind in order to increase your chances of success.
Just because you don’t have an inventory, it doesn’t mean that you should consider dropshipping a risk-free business. The associated start-up costs may not be high, but you will still have to pay for your website and put a lot of time into finding the right suppliers for your business. As such, it’s vital to do lots of research beforehand so ou don’t end up wasting your time.
Once you have your list of prospective dropshippers, try to place a couple of test orders, acting like a customer. Wait for the products to arrive and pay attention to things such as delivery time, the quality of the product, the way it was boxed, and how easy it is to get a refund. This way, you can compare the experience you have with multiple suppliers and pick one that provides a good experience to the customer.
While dropshipping isn’t a perfect business model, it’s still one of the most stress-free options to build a successful ecommerce business. Remember that hard work is required if you want to make it work. This is business model with lots of advantages, but it’s also a complex model, so make sure you take your time to plan your strategy carefully so you can build a profitable business.