It’s easy to shy away from starting an online business because of startup costs and fulfillment issues. But imagine if you didn’t have to worry about anything and just went straight to selling your products.
It’s low cost and quite lucrative when done right. Up to 33% of eCommerce stores use this fulfillment method.
But, even with how easy dropshipping is, it is easy to make mistakes along the way, especially when you are a newbie.
Look no further if you’re wondering how to start your dropshipping business journey. These helpful tips will relieve the stress of watching tons of dropshipping tutorials.
Let’s dive in.
1. Choose Products to Sell Based on Data, Not Feelings
Don’t add products to your store because they look nice. You need data to inform your every decision. Use the information to check the products that get more positive feedback and sales.
Research items already on the market and find out who’s selling the top products, their features, and what they cost.
You can use platforms like Import.io to generate custom data sets or Google Analytics to gather traffic stats of trending items.
Also, when ordering products from any supplier, ensure that you check things like order volume, reviews, seller ratings, and more.
2. Focus on Marketing Strategies that Increase Your Website Traffic
Your marketing techniques will determine how many customers you can get to your store and how much web traffic you generate. You need to get your products in front of as many people as possible to make sales. And that's where search engine optimization (SEO) and social media ads come in handy.
Ideally, your product pages should rank for keywords that users can discover through search engines. Also, focus more on long-tail keywords than short-tail queries since the former has less competition.
These actionable SEO tips should set you on the right path.
You can also use ad keyword research software like keyword.io and targeted ads from Google and Facebook to reach your ideal customers.
3. Start with a General Store to Reduce Launch Costs
This technique helps you test different products in various categories and reach more customers.
General stores are great starters because they allow you to think broadly and experiment with everything until you find your niche. Plus, you can always go niche-specific once you’ve mastered the art.
You won’t need to spend money on branding since you’re already selling trending products. In addition, launch costs reduce when you don’t have to fork out cash for website designs and marketing campaigns.
However, you should ensure that your product collection doesn’t exceed 10-30 items to manage the workload efficiently.
4. Order Product Samples to Get an Authentic Experience
Writing product descriptions becomes effortless when you have first-hand knowledge of the product you are dropshipping.
You’d struggle to convince shoppers that your product does a particular thing when you haven’t experienced it yourself.
When you order samples from your suppliers, you put yourself in your customers’ shoes. So you’d get an authentic feel of what it’s like to buy from your store.
Besides, having the item on hand helps you take better pictures and make better videos for your product page and ads. This way, you won’t need to rely on stock images or generic photographs from suppliers.
5. Automate Mundane Tasks to Save Time and Costs
Setting up a dropshipping business takes time and effort. And sometimes, it seems like 24 hours isn’t enough to accomplish everything.
Automation allows you to delegate tedious or mundane tasks while focusing on important things like marketing and customer service.
Some dropshipping software even helps you automate sales processes with your suppliers. These include order processing solutions like Oberlo, Spocket, and Inventory Source.
You can also improve your marketing strategies with Facebook (Meta) Pixel and schedule social media posts with tools like Buffer.
6. Track Your Competition to Discover Opportunities Early
Monitoring other competing dropshipping brands will offer new insights into the business. You can find holes in their marketing strategies and use them to improve yours.
Save the links to your primary competitors’ websites and social media platforms. Then, check how they position their products and retarget ads. You can also signup for their email list to get more business updates.
Facebook’s Info and Ad section lets you view active ads on the business pages of any organization on the platform. Instagram also has a similar setup with the Insights feature.
7. Provide Top-Notch Customer Support
One way to stand out from your dropshipping competitors is to offer exceptional service to your customers. Your job starts with responding to queries on time and offering refunds when necessary.
Create an FAQ section on your online store that handles most users’ basic needs and questions. You can also use helpdesk software like Zendesk, Gorgias, or Help Scout to handle customer queries based on their level of priority and urgency.
With these tools, you can create a personalized user experience for your customers, making your brand memorable to them.
8. Adopt Simple Shipping Rates
With different shipping methods and rates in the business, it’s easy to make a mess of the process.
When fulfilling your orders, adopt the principle of simplicity over perfection. For example, you could use real-time rates, per-type rates, or flat-rate shipping.
So, instead of struggling with shipping rules for a store yet to generate sales, you could set an average flat rate.
9. Use Multiple Suppliers to Stabilize Your Supply Chain
It makes sense to have multiple suppliers. Not only does it help you improve your order fulfillment ratio, but it also ensures that you never run out of inventory.
If your first supplier doesn’t have a particular item in stock, your second or third supplier would have it.
Find suppliers selling in the same niche and work with them.
While juggling multiple suppliers might seem complicated at first, it protects you from demand interruptions and stabilizes your supply chain.
10. Don’t Underprice Your Products
Devising pricing strategies for your business is especially tricky, especially when you don’t have eCommerce experience. It takes time to create the perfect price range for your products.
You shouldn't price to the bottom even if you don't get enough sales. Instead, take the time to find your pricing sweet spot and make small changes accordingly.
And, if you want to offer discounts to your customers, do it in a way that you can still cover your cost price.
Underpricing your products when you start could impact your brand negatively and make everything seem cheap and inferior.
11. Adopt Security Best Practices
Cybersecurity is no joke. With Trojans and phishing attacks targeting online businesses, it makes sense to put safety measures in place.
Since storing your customers' credit card information online is unsafe, you could use third-party payment options like Stripe, PayPal, or Shop.
Also, watch out for fraudulent orders by observing the billing and shipping addresses of the customer. Unusual email addresses and expedited shipping are also red flags.
You can also use password managers to strengthen your security, credentials, and digital footprint.
Benefits of Dropshipping
You can operate your business from anywhere in the world and change your product offerings to suit market trends and seasons.
More Product Offerings
You can offer a broad range of products for your business since you don't have to deal with inventory, storage space, or a fulfillment center.
It’s easy to scale your dropshipping business since order fulfillment doesn't rely on your location size or employee numbers. The more order volumes you process, the higher your profit margins.
Minimal Startup Costs
Dropshipping businesses don’t require significant capital to kick off. So you can access thousands of inventory from suppliers at wholesale prices and sell for a profit.
Starting a dropshipping business isn’t necessarily a fast track to success. No enterprise is.
While it offers a low-risk and low-cost method of building an eCommerce brand, dropshipping comes with unique challenges.
A great deal of effort is needed to work gradually towards success. Hopefully, these valuable tips will help ease your dropshipping journey.