Considering the rate at which inflation is increasing today, having a side income is imperative. Now, what if we told you that there’s a business proposition that has the potential to replace your full-time career and supercharge your earnings without any massive investment?
Sounds like a worthy option doesn’t it? That’s the magic of dropshipping. You can build a profitable career with as little as $100 without getting involved in the hassle of inventory management, storage space, or shipping.
If you’re ready to become a dropshipper, here’s a step-by-step dropshipping guide covering every aspect of dropshipping and how you can succeed in it. So, let’s get started!
What is the Dropshipping Business Model?
A Dropshipping Business model involves businesses directly selling their offerings to customers instead of a retail store setting.
Dropshipping falls under the umbrella of a direct-selling business model in the sense that you don’t physically have to hold any inventory to sell items to your customers.
When a customer makes an order on your e-commerce store, you simply forward that order to your trusted third-party supplier, who processes and ships it to your customers.
Pros and Cons of Starting a Dropshipping Business
The digital world changes faster than a movie changes scenes. This means that the reasons why dropshipping was popular last month may not be the same this month.
In this guide to dropshipping for beginners, here are a few pros and cons of starting a dropshipping business to get you acquainted with the current market.
Pros of Dropshipping
● Save storage and inventory management costs since there’s no need to keep any inventory.
● With no inventory, you also won’t have to handle the stress and cost of managing unsold items.
● With platforms like Doba for dropshipping, you can easily integrate your dropshipping store with e-commerce platforms.
● There’s no limit to the number of items in your product lineup. Add as many products as you wish to, whenever you want to.
● With arduous tasks like shipping and fulfillment being handled by your supplier, you have ample time to test which products are popular among your target audience and optimize your product catalog accordingly.
Cons of Dropshipping
● Dropshipping is a favorable business model for almost all entrepreneurs entering the e-commerce landscape. With more and more entries into the market, it’s harder for dropshippers to stand out.
● The productivity of your business is mainly dependent on your supplier. With no inventory of your own, it’s hard to determine the amount of available units at any given time. If your supplier doesn’t update their inventory on time, it can adversely affect your business.
● Customer service becomes a challenge since queries from your customers about product specifications like color, weight, etc., may leave you in a blank spot. If you ask your supplier and then wait for their reply, it may decelerate response time.
● If you’ve partnered with a retailer or wholesaler, then chances are that the price they’re selling you the product at already contains their profit margin. This reduces your profit margins unless you’re partnering with a manufacturer.
Market Research and Niche Selection
Dropshipping isn’t a game of luck. The ability of your business to stay afloat successfully depends on the niche you’ve selected.
The right niche is determined through market research, which is an analysis of the dropshipping market, reflecting the popularity, landscape, price range, and competition of your products.
In other words, market research helps you understand if a specific category has enough potential to transform into a profitable business.
By digging out the niche and then the products that are in high demand and ensuring they appear in your product lineup, you’re paving your way to maximized sales and profits.
Such an initiative sets you apart from your competitors, enabling your customers to find you among a pool of other dropshippers.
Hence, market research is your only way to grasp the ins and outs of the industry for a suitable niche selection and emerging trends and customer preferences for appropriate product selections.
Step-by-Step Guide to Setting up an Online Store or Platform
Choose Your Product Catalog
When adding items to your product catalog, it’s essential to conduct competitor research beforehand. This way, you have a comprehensive idea of what other dropshippers in your niche have to offer.
With this information, you can narrow your product offerings to a specific market segment. This makes it easier for you to emphasize your unique selling points, target your customers, and establish your brand.
Conduct Supplier Research
Finding a profitable niche is just one of the dropshipping success tips we’ve covered so far. However, finding a reliable dropshipping supplier you can count on is just as important as that.
Regardless of how excellent your product is, partnering with an undependable supplier can ruin your business. Of course, low-cost fees are a major temptation when it comes to shortlisting your suppliers. But don’t let the price fool you.
Instead, focus on product quality, timely deliveries, online reviews, and licenses and certifications before making your final decision.
Pick Your Platform
You can either build your dropshipping store through an independent website for your brand or through an established e-commerce platform.
While the former is a better option if you’re focusing on creating your distinct brand and avoiding getting shadowed by competition, the latter is the right option for beginners. Sort out your priorities and then choose the option that aligns with your goals.
Create Your Dropshipping Store
Irrespective of the option you choose above, there are certain characteristics you need to maintain when creating your dropshipping store.
First things first, remember that it takes no more than 0.05 seconds for your customer to make a judgment about your website. This makes web design an immensely significant factor for your dropshipping store.
A visually appealing store focuses on not only the right color palette, font, page layout, and text size but also responsive and fast-loading pages.
Next, to ensure interactivity and generate conversions, your store needs to have all the necessary pages, such as:
● Product pages
● About Us
● Shopping cart
● Order confirmation
Integrate Your Payment Gateway
It’s quite unfortunate, but it has been found that 17% of customers will abandon their shopping carts if the payment or checkout process is too complex.
Hence, a worry-free checkout experience is paramount to ensure your store visitors turn into customers. Incorporating a payment gateway into your store is the best fix for this purpose.
Not only does it keep card details protected from theft or online fraud, but it also avoids accepting payments from cards that are expired or terminated accounts.
Market Your Store
Setting up a store is only half of your dropshipping journey. Once your store is up and ready to operate it’s time to bring it in front of your target audience. This is where marketing enters the picture (covered below) as a way to direct customers to your store and boost sales.
Marketing Strategies for Dropshippers
In the world of digitalization, you’re missing out if you’re not already leveraging the digital landscape to market your offerings. With that said, here are some marketing techniques for increased traffic and sales for your dropshipping store:
1. Creating high-quality content – High-quality content refers to content that becomes engraved in your audience’s memory. This helps with increasing brand awareness, improving sales, and engaging with your audience.
2. SEO optimization – SEO is food for the search engine. Optimizing your dropshipping website for SEO means ensuring it mounts higher on the search engine result pages (SERPs) and, hence, gains more visibility.
3. Social media marketing – Regardless of the age group you’re targeting, you have a better chance of reaching them through social media. Create engaging content centered around your products that not only captivates your audience but encourages them to check your additional offerings through your website.
4. Email marketing – Email marketing is incredibly powerful in boosting sales, with a track record of motivating 59% of shoppers to shop from a specific store. You can create an email list by introducing a discount offer every time a user appears at your store in return for them to sign up for your newsletter.
5. Performance marketing – A remarkable way of appearing before your target market is through increased exposure. You can pay Google and Facebook to buy ad space on their platforms. What better way is there to reach your target audience?
If you’re an entrepreneur entering the e-commerce space with no prior experience in running an online business or any know-how of inventory management - dropshipping is a great place to start your journey.
However, before you get started, remember that the right supplier is the heart and soul of your entire business. This is why it's recommended to trust only the best of what the market has to offer to you, and when it comes to dropshipping, there’s no better partner than Doba.
With Doba dropshipping, your path to e-commerce domination becomes easier and more simplified!
Try Doba today, risk-free, without missing out on a quality experience!