Your Complete Intermediate Guide To Dropshipping
Setting up and running an online store through dropshipping is a great option for remote workers, part-time breadwinners, or people who have adequate resources freed up to give full time entrepreneurship a go. The best thing about dropshipping is that you do not have to physically store the products you sell from your online store, as a third party handles the storage and shipping — meaning you can be more flexible with your office space. Further, you only pay for the items you actually sell, so if a product isn’t working out, you can retain your working capital and try something else instead. However, there are some downsides to dropshipping — from a lack of control over the entire delivery experience, to a potentially generic product catalog. Here’s what you need to know about dropshipping, as well some tips and tricks to help you succeed.
Choosing The Right Products to Sell
These days, you can dropship a wide range of products — but which ones are going to be profitable for you to sell?
Finding a profitable niche for your online store requires lots of product and niche research. Take a look at Amazon for some ideas — make a note of the best-selling products in the categories you’re interested in, and how individual products are categorized. This will help you craft your product descriptions and catalog pages, as well as choose popular color and variant options. You don’t want to just wholesale copy Amazon, but you can certainly learn a thing or two from them when it comes to customer habits and product organization.
A common misconception that many wannabe sellers have is that there are profitable and unprofitable niches. This is not necessarily true: any niche has the potential to be profitable. The number of sales you make will be largely based on how effective your marketing is. So don’t be afraid to follow your passion with your ecommerce brand. You will find it easier to write content that appeals to your customer’s needs if you have a personal interest in your brand’s development, and it’s always more inspiring to be working on something you’re genuinely interested in.
Finding credible dropshipping suppliers and scouring product marketplaces can take a lot of time — using AliExpress is a quick and easy way to find profitable products. Just make sure that you read the small print (watch out for minimum order quantities and delivery fees).
Setting Up Your Online Operations
Going down the dropshipping route means investing in ecommerce systems that can handle sophisticated data. You need an online store that connects up with your dropshipper so that your stock levels are as accurate as possible at all times.
A smooth customer experience will come down to how well information is passed around your online business — so spend time testing and setting up the right tools and apps to ensure that your operations are as seamless as possible. A good place to start is dropshipping forums and Facebook groups — merchants love to swap stories and tips.
On the whole, customers find it simpler and more appealing if you offer free shipping, so make sure that your supplier is able to offer you competitive delivery options.
Top tip: Install a mobile app so that you can manage orders wherever you are, and automate as much as you can to keep things going 24/7.
Creating Your Brand
You must ensure that your dropshipping store looks as inviting as possible — and that means investing time and effort into your brand. Just setting up a dropshipping contract isn’t enough to create a credible online presence — you need a great logo, a brilliant brand story, and a website user experience (UX) that’s up there with the best.
- You will need to come up with a unique logo to give your brand its own identity. You can find free logo design services online if you don’t have the money to hire a graphic designer, but it’s probably worth getting some expert advice on such an important brand touchpoint.
- Your homepage is also a great place to include a scrolling selection of your main bestsellers, sale items, or new products — first impressions count, so make your home page design and copy as stunning as possible. Video, hero images, quirky copywriting — pull out all the stops.
Using Social Media To Connect With Customers
Social media is a powerful sales and marketing tool.
Promoting your store using paid advertising on social networks will help you supercharge your sales, and you should also invest marketing budget into organic social content. An editorial calendar will help you manage your store’s social marketing.
Choose a few core social channels to focus on, and invest time into growing your reach on them. Ecommerce brands should mainly focus on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
Don’t forget that customers may also use social media to connect with you, leave reviews, and ask questions about products. Investing in social media customer service will help you stay in control.
Meet The Legal Requirements
You will need to ensure that you collect and pay your taxes. For this, you should contact a qualified accountant to help you make sense of all the legal legwork required. Once you have established the states where you and your virtual assistants/suppliers may have NEXUS, etc., you can then use other web store plugins to help you semi-automate the process of collecting and paying your sales tax.
Once you have set up your online store, chosen your products, and installed all the necessary apps and plugins — you’re ready to open for business. Online tools will help you streamline and maintain good levels of productivity. Good luck & happy selling!
Victoria Greene is a freelance writer and branding guru as well as founder of the VictoriaEcommerce blog. She likes to help entrepreneurs set up and run their own ecommerce businesses by sharing her own hard-won, expert tips.