Dropshipping is a popular business model which has seen an upsurge in popularity over the past few years. Why? Because with dropshipping, you can start your own business without having to invest too much of your own time or money upfront. With a lower startup cost, no need to manage inventory, and the potential for unlimited growth, dropshipping is a smart business for new entrepreneurs. In this article, you’ll find helpful dropshipping tips for new store owners.
Before we get to the dropshipping tips, let’s talk a bit about the dropshipping business model. The main appeal of starting a new dropshipping store is that you can have a massive store with hundreds, or even thousands, of products to offer your customers without actually having a warehouse, buying pallets of inventory, and hiring a handful of employees to manage inventory and ship orders. This is because with dropshipping; Products are not purchased ahead of time, instead they are ordered only after your customer places an order which is sent directly to your customer from your supplier. That means if something isn’t a great seller, you haven’t lost any money because you didn’t buy inventory up front.
Another major benefit to dropshipping is scalability. You can start out small and grow without having to worry about logistical issues involved in running an ecommerce store with a traditional inventory-based model. You can start with a handful of products and quickly grow your store’s inventory as quickly as you want to.
Starting a dropshipping store may be one of the easiest businesses to start. Not only can you run a dropshipping business 100% online from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, but the actual process it takes to set up this type of business is also quite simple. With ecommerce platforms like Shopify, you can get a store up and running in as little as a day. Additionally, there are plenty of Shopify apps to connect with dropshipping suppliers to help you source inventory and automate fulfillment of orders.
15 Useful Dropshipping Tips To Get You Started
Although dropshipping is one of the most accessible online businesses to get into, that’s not to say there aren’t any challenges to running a successful dropshipping store. Dropshippers who are just starting out often face challenges with choosing the right dropship product and platform, getting traffic to their store, and more. To help you overcome these hurdles, here are 15 dropshipping tips for new store owners.
It may be tempting to set up a store that sells a little bit of everything, but that’s actually a big mistake when it comes to dropshipping stores. Having a niche and becoming the go-to place for anything related to that niche is how you can differentiate your store from the thousands of stores out there.
The best way to choose a niche is to pick something you already know about or are interested in. Take your time in brainstorming all of the different interests, skills, hobbies, and subjects you might be able to start a dropshipping store based on. Not only does this allow you to more easily understand your store, it makes running it a more enjoyable experience if it’s something you have personal interest in. While not every interest that you have may be profitable, there’s a good chance you can find a niche that you have some interest or experience with that you can make a profitable dropshipping business with.
I’m sure you’ve heard of KISS aka “keep it simple, stupid” and this is the best mentality to stick to when first starting your dropshipping business. By keeping things simple and straightforward, dropshippers can reduce time wasted on unnecessary complications.
For example, it might be extremely tempting to install a dozen apps and look for hundreds of new products to add to your store. However, in the beginning your focus should be on simplicity as you learn the ropes. Starting a store with a handful of quality products and spending your time marketing that store is a much better use of your time when you’re just getting started. Adding in more products, suppliers, or features is great as your store grows and you gain more experience.
We’ve all had bad customer service experiences and know that when it happens not only are we unlikely to shop with that store or company again, we also warn our family and friends about it. When you provide excellent, above and beyond, customer services you will stand out against almost any store.
While most online stores may be difficult to get a hold of, take a long time to respond, and have strict policies, having a store that’s quite the opposite will encourage customers to shop with you, refer others to your dropshipping store, and engage with your business. Simply owning up to mistakes (even if it was your supplier’s fault) and doing what you can to ensure your customer is happy can make a massive difference and keep customers coming back.
Even though you won’t be physically carrying inventory for your dropshipping store, it’s important to have an organized inventory and supplier management system. When carrying products across multiple suppliers, it can be challenging to keep track without a well thought out system. The following tips will help you develop a proper system.
Carefully Pick Your Products
By being mindful of the products you carry, you can set yourself up to avoid any issues with inventory. For example, specifically picking products that you can get from multiple suppliers.
Use Multiple Suppliers for the Same Products
The benefit of finding multiple suppliers for products you sell is that when one supplier sells out, you have another supplier to check with before being forced to cancel an order.
Set Up Consistent Item Availability Checks
It’s always a good idea to check with your supplier about how often an item is available and how often it is sold out. To avoid problems, avoid stocking items that are harder to get and ensure that you check with your suppliers regularly to ensure stock is available.
Have a Ready Strategy for Out of Stock Orders
What will you do when an item is ordered, but your supplier is out of stock? This is bound to happen with any store, especially one where you’re not physically carrying inventory. One option would be to upgrade your customer’s order to a similar, more desirable product.
In the beginning, don’t feel like you need to load your store with a lot of products. Keeping the total number of products to a minimum is a smart decision for many reasons, but most of all this also allows you to test all of the products you want to offer to get an idea of the quality you’re providing. It’s highly recommended to test all products you plan to add to your store to ensure that it aligns with your quality standards and will help, not hurt, your reputation.
As a bonus, if you purchase test products you can have your own photographs done for each product rather than using the stock image provided by your supplier. This isn’t something that a lot of dropshippers do and will help differentiate you from your competition.
Marketing should be one of your biggest focuses when starting a new dropshipping store. One common misconception is that you spend all of your time loading your store with products and the sales just start rolling in. Marketing your dropshipping store is the only way you’re going to get traffic and sales.
One of the great advantages of having a specific niche for your dropshipping store is that you can create content around that niche and market specifically to that niche’s audience. Through things like social media, affiliate marketing, and even influencer marketing, focusing on your niche will allow you to narrow in on your target customer so you can put out content with them in mind.
Fraud and security issues are a major concern when you have an online store or business of any kind. You want to make sure that not only is your business safe, but your customers’ information is safe as well. Some tips to avoid these types of issues:
- Avoid storing customer credit card information
- Set up secure verification systems
- Beware of fraudulent orders
One of the things that many ecommerce business owners dread is returns. Since you’re having third party suppliers deliver products to your customers on your behalf, you need to be prepared for issues to pop up. However, most dropshipping stores will find that returns are really not as big of an issue as they seem to be and when it happens it’s not something you should take personally. Having a clearly defined return policy will help your customers feel safe shopping with you and avoid potential problems down the road.
Keep in mind that while you may be tempted to have a customer return a product to replace it with a new one, for some inexpensive or low cost items, it may be best to send customers a new product rather than pay to have them ship it back. Not only will this save on return shipping, it will build a positive reputation with your customer.
Providing worldwide shipping may get you a few orders here and there, but it can be complicated (and expensive) to ship internationally. Problems with customs, keeping track of what types of items are and aren’t permitted to be shipped to certain countries, and being able to accurately calculate shipping are all roadblocks when shipping all over the world. Instead, focus on specific geographical markets and audiences.
Dealing with International Shipments
International shipping can easily become a pain and, in some cases, not be profitable when you consider the time and effort required to figure out the regulations and rates for each country. If you do want to offer international shipping, pick a couple of countries that are easy to ship to that you know your audience resides in.
Choose a Trusted Carrier
Choosing a carrier that you trust and can work with regularly is important. With varying rates based on size and weight, one carrier can be much cheaper than another or deliver much more quickly. Do your research when choosing carriers to ensure they will be an ideal match for your business.
Various Types of Shipping Rates
It’s a good idea to provide your customers with options when it comes to shipping. Providing various shipping rates and methods gives your customer a chance to choose the carrier and rate that works best for their situation.
It may seem insignificant in a world where people email and text more than call, but something as simple as adding a phone number to your dropshipping store can make a huge impact. It improves trust, allows customers to interact with you directly, and adds to the customer experience for those who prefer to talk to someone on the phone.
One of the major benefits of having a dropshipping store, especially on an ecommerce platform like Shopify, is that you can easily automate much of your business so that you can focus on what’s important. For example, with the Shopify app Loox, you can automatically collect customer reviews to be displayed on your website to increase your social proof. There are plenty of apps to automate your dropshippping business, increase your sales, and save you time. Click here for more of our top recommended Shopify apps.
Having a good looking website not only pleases your customers, but it actually builds trust. In fact, a well designed website can actually help reduce bounce rate along with helping your business stand out. Good design doesn’t necessarily mean an elaborate website or design. Many times it simply means keeping basic design principles in mind and adding a few stylistic touches. From the first impression to the way your website functions, ensure that your website’s design is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. If you’re for a quicker solution to start your store, you can simply order a store with Brandafy. That way you can have a head start and start testing products quickly.
Chances are you’re going to have plenty of competitors and that’s actually not the big deal you might think it is. Lowering your prices isn’t the only way to beat your competitors. By keeping an eye on your competition, you can learn from what is working well for them and what mistakes they’re making. This actually provides you an opportunity to develop better versions of their strategies.
It’s common to assume that the products you carry are the most important aspect of a successful dropshipping business. However, there are many profitable dropshipping businesses that sell products many would call generic or uninteresting. Providing your customers with a phenomenal user experience can truly be the thing that keeps customers coming back and encourages them to spread the word about your business.
Here are some basic things to cover to provide a good user experience:
- Have an FAQ page where you answer common questions
- Provide as many payment options as possible to make it easier for your customer to place their order
- Provide various shipping options so your customer can pick a carrier and/or time frame that works best for them
- Have a live chat option to allow your customers to contact you when they’re browsing your site
- Add photo zoom/resize options so that your customers can confidently see the product they’re purchasing
- Provide discounts whether they’re new customer discounts, product quantity discounts, or returning customer discounts
- Make the buying process a journey with multiple touchpoints keeping in contact with them before and after they’ve made their purchases
Keeping track of your analytics gives you the insight you need to see how your business is doing. Knowing figures like number of visitors, average orders per day, average order amount, conversion rate, and more are all crucial in evaluating your business and figuring out what you need to do to grow.
Luckily, if you’re hosting your dropshipping store on a platform like Shopify, all of these analytics are built right in. This way you can easily make decisions and plan marketing strategies based on the numbers and target your customers better.
If you’re a first time business owner, then the dropshipping model is an ideal way to start your journey as an entrepreneur. Because it doesn’t require a lot of capital and can even be done as a side hustle until it grows into a full time income, dropshipping can work for pretty much any new business owner. However, it’s important to do your research so that you understand best practices to ensure your store’s success. If you want to learn more, make sure you check out the ultimate guide to dropshipping in 2021.
If you haven’t already started your store, Shopify is hands down the best platform to start with. Not only is it an affordable option, it’s the easiest way to get your ecommerce store up and running without needing to deal with any technical aspects. That being said, if you want to skip the hassle of getting your store set up, Brandafy can get you up and running with Shopfy quickly.