How to start dropshipping?
Here is the step-by-step process to start dropshipping.
Click on the topics to read the step in detail.
- Search and select the best niche to start dropshipping
Not every dropshipping niche is profitable. There are a few points that you need to consider before selecting the best niche for dropshipping.
- Do a market analysis to confirm the profitability of your niche
Dropshipping is a highly competitive industry. There are many ways to make money and many ways to lose money. So, by doing a market analysis, you can make sure that you are starting a profitable dropshipping business.
- Plan your dropshipping business strategy
Starting a dropshipping business without a business plan is like driving blindfolded. Having a proper business plan helps you to structure how you start, run, and grow the dropshipping business.
- Find winning dropshipping products
Which products will sell better? Learn how to select the winning products to list on your dropshipping store. The products you list on your dropshipping store can make or break your business.
- Start selecting the dropshipping suppliers
Where can you find the suppliers to start dropshipping? Don’t worry; we have a directory of dropshipping suppliers. So, you can quickly find legitimate dropshipping suppliers to work with.
- Create an online eCommerce store for dropshipping
You can sell on eBay or Amazon to get started with dropshipping easily. However, starting your own online eCommerce store can help you to grow your dropshipping business.
- Start marketing for your dropshipping business
Marketing is the key ingredient of starting and running a successful dropshipping store. When you start dropshipping, you won’t be selling unique products, or you can’t use pricing as your selling proposition! That’s why a well-thought-out, next-gen, dropshipping marketing plan is a must to start dropshipping in 2020.
Are you a beginner for dropshipping?
If so, we strongly suggest you read this all-in-one guide for dropshipping. It will help you to understand the ins and outs about starting a successful dropshipping business.
What is dropshipping?
Before we start digging in, let’s quickly go through some of the basics about dropshipping. If you already know the basics, feel free to jump to the first step.
What is dropshipping?
It is a simple and efficient way to deliver the products you sold to your customers.
Got it? When you start dropshipping, all you have to do is, sell your supplier’s products on your eCommerce store. So, as you can see, you don’t have to maintain an inventory for the products you sell! That is a huge cost saver!!
The advantages of dropshipping
- It is easy to start.
- You don’t have to maintain an inventory (a stock) of the products.
- There is nothing to worry about shipping your products.
- All you have to do is marketing and running your eCommerce store.
- It is an extremely low-cost method to start an online business.
So, why are we waiting? Let us go through the step-by-step guide to start dropshipping.
Select the best niche for dropshipping
You already know what is dropshipping, but what is a niche?
A niche is a small or specialized range of products. So, when we say a dropshipping niche, we are talking about the range of products that you are going to sell in your dropshipping store.
Why do we need a niche? Can’t we just sell everything?
Apparently, yes! You can sell just everything. However, when you start dropshipping, you can optimize the marketing budget by having a specialized range of products.
When you have a niche store, you can effectively select a target audience to build your marketing strategy. So, you can create the ads and content to resonate the requirements of that target audience. Then, your ads and content will work better, giving you better results.
How can you select a niche to start dropshipping?
If you like to read the whole process in detail, check this guide >> How to select the best niche for dropshipping. Otherwise, keep reading, we will show you the basic process of selecting the right niche for dropshipping.
Passion Vs. Money in a niche
Should you choose passion or money in a niche? That is a hard question to answer. Unless your passion is to have more money, you will get stuck at this point!
For some people, they need to be passionate about what they sell. Others just care about getting a fat bank account. So, which should you select?
Here my advise!
Go through the below steps to learn how to select a good niche for dropshipping, and see whether you can find a niche that you are passionate about.
If you couldn’t find one, go to the next best option. I mean, there is no point of starting a business that wouldn’t reward. So, for me, money beats passion!
The steps to select the best niche to start dropshipping
- Search what is trending on Amazon, Trendhunter, AliExpress, and on blogs.
See the niches that are doing well in the above places. A trending niche means that there is a demand for those products.
- Check if your niche is evergreen, seasonal, or just a spike.
Use Google trends to see the popularity pattern. Evergreen niches are the safest to start dropshipping. If you can afford to have a considerable ad budget, go for a seasonal niche. Depending on your marketing skills, even the spikes can be a good dropshipping niche to bag up some money.
- Check the availability of dropshipping suppliers
There can be plenty of cool product niches with good demand and everything. However, don’t forget that we are going to start dropshipping. To select a niche for dropshipping, you need to check whether you can have dropshipping suppliers for these products too.
We’ll talk this in detail in step 4.
Doing market research to confirm the profitability
You will feel that this is an unnecessary step to start dropshipping. However, don’t you hate when you start doing something with a lot of hopes, and it is not working out well?
Since dropshipping is easy to start, everyone tries to give it a shot. However, only a few can survive. The most common reason for these failures is not doing their homework right! So, don’t you agree that you need to do a market analysis before start dropshipping?
How to do a market analysis for dropshipping products
Spy on your competitors
Spying on your competitors is the best way to do market research. There are different ways to spy on your competitors.
- Find and follow your competitor’s ads on social media
Check for the comments, reactions, and feedback. This helps to get you an idea about the real requirements, likes, and dislikes of your target audience.
- Check traffic to your competitors eCommerce sites
Use an online tool like similarWeb to check web traffic to your competitors. In this way, you can get an idea of the popularity of your competitors.
- Go through the customer testimonials and review sections
You can learn what your potential customers think about those products from the customer reviews. Are they disappointed? Or, are they thrilled?
Check online statistics and talk to your potential customers
You can validate your selection using online data, customer surveys, and face-to-face interviews. You can use online data sources like Statista, NAICS, USA.gov Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau to get support for this step.
Also, you can talk to your potential customers get their feedback about your selection of the niche to start dropshipping. By the way, make sure you are not only talking to the people you already know. Talk to strangers and get honest opinions.
Planning a business strategy to start dropshipping
Having a well-thought-out business plan helps you to structure the way to start, run, and grow your business. As soon as you launch your business, you will have to work day and night, marketing and selling your products.
So, they will be no room for you to think about how you are going to grow your business. That is why you need a written plan to define, at least, the first couple of years of your business.
Also, after you start dropshipping, there will be ups and downs in your business. Sometimes you will not get your first order even after a month trying. So, if you don’t have a business plan, you will get frustrated, try to change things, and soon get overwhelmed.
Don’t let that happen! Write down a clear business plan defining the below processes and stick to it for a defined period.
|The vision of the business||What are the hopes and dreams of your business?|
|How are you going to achieve your vision?|
Which products are you going to sell?
What is the target market?
How are you going to sell your products?
What is the pricing strategy?
|Marketing overview||Which marketing channels you will be using?|
What are the promotional methods that you are planning to use?
Which specific marketing tools and services that you will be using?
|KPIs||Set specific, timely, and practical KPIs for your business. For example:|
– Reply to all social media inquiries within 30minutes.
– Maintain a 30% customer retention rate for the first three months.
|Action plan||Include the major milestones that you are going to complete. For example:|
– By “date” launch a business website with product listings.
Find winning products to start dropshipping
Now it is the time to select which products to sell (list) on your dropshipping store. For example, say that you have decided to sell pet toys as your niche to start dropshipping. So, it is the time to select which pet toys to list.
Where to find winning products for dropshipping?
Below list gives you the places to get an idea of the winning products to start dropshipping. Later we will discuss where you can find suppliers for these products.
AliExpress is a popular online marketplace. If you are planning to use AliExpress for dropshipping check this guide to learn the process>> How to use AliExpress for dropshipping.
- Amazon best sellers
Amazon best sellers give you a comprehensive list of best-selling products on Amazon for different niches. Go through the best selling products related to your niche and check for the good products to sell.
- Social media ads
Social media ads from the other eCommerce sellers is another great place to find winning products to start dropshipping. Simply follow your competitor’s social media channels, and start getting their ads. Then, search for the ads with the highest engagement.
A checklist to filter products
Not every product can do well in dropshipping. There is a checklist to select the winning products. Let’s find out how to do this.
- Verify the size
If you are a beginner, try to stick to the small items (envelop to shoebox packing) and low ticket (price between $25-$50) products. It is safer, cheaper, and easier.
- Calculate the potential profit margin
Learn how to price dropshipping products to calculate the profit margin. Make sure to take the marketing costs into account to avoid the loses in long-run.
- Find the average CPC (cost per click) and SEO difficulty for the product keywords
Use a free online keyword tool to calculate the CPC and SEO difficulty. Higher CPC and SEO difficulty confirm the higher demand for the product. And, at the same time, it will be costly to run ads, and harder to rank your marketing content for those products.
So, try to find the right balance.
- Ensure the availability of suppliers
Make sure that you can find suppliers for the product that you are planning to start dropshipping. We’ll talk this in detail in the next step.
Find suppliers to start dropshipping
Hey there, we have a free directory for the dropshipping supplier marketplaces for popular niches. Check it out, we are updating that list frequently.
Create an online eCommerce store to start dropshipping
So far, we have discussed how to find products to start dropshipping. Now, let’s see where can you sell those products?
Can you start dropshipping on popular marketplaces like eBay or Amazon? Or, do you need an eCommerce store to get started? Let’s see.
Start dropshipping on eBay or Amazon
The easiest way to get started with dropshipping is to start selling on eBay or Amazon. However, there are a few limitations.
If you start using eBay or Amazon as your selling platforms, you cannot do blind dropshipping. What does that mean?
eBay and Amazon are serious about buyer protection policies. Therefore, they work hard on filtering out the sellers who are not serious about what they do. So, they don’t let us “re-sell” someone else’s products.
But dropshipping is all about re-selling! Yes, it is. That is why you cannot start dropshipping blindly on eBay or Amazon.
eBay and Amazon dropshipping policies clearly mention that “listing an item on eBay or Amazon and then purchasing the item from another retailer or marketplace that ships directly to your customer is not allowed”
So, how can you start dropshipping on eBay and Amazon?
You have to either get into a dropshipping agreement with your supplier and be the seller of record of your products.
When you get into a dropshipping agreement, you can ask your supplier to change all packing slips, invoices, external packaging, and other information to identify you as the seller and supplier.
However, you get this kind of service from most of the AliExpress sellers. So, you will need to work with the wholesale dropshipping suppliers. Follow the instructions in step 5 to find how to work with wholesale suppliers.
Starting an eCommerce store for dropshipping
Do you know that you can make an online eCommerce store, with having to know a single line of code? Yes, that is possible.
There are plenty of CMS (Content management systems) available to create an eCommerce website without having to write a single line of code.
- WordPress + WooCommerce – The most flexible and agile online store building platform. Not so beginner-friendly. But, this is the best, fully customizable, and open-source platform to start an online store. You can start an online store with WordPress for around $7 per month (including the domain name, hosting, and SSL certificate).
- Shopify– Shopify is the most popular and all-around platform to start an online store. They offer a large number of subsidiary services like Orbelo (to easily import products to your store) and Printful (for on-demand printing/ order fulfilment service). Shopify basic package will cost you $29 per month + transaction fees.
- BigCommerce – Bigcommerce is a futuristic store building platform, and it offers a versatile enterprise solution. They provide some fantastic built-in features (like content bridging APIs). The standard Bigcommerce plan starts from $29.95 + zero transaction fees.
- Wix – Wix has an amazingly beginner-friendly drag-and-drop website builder. This helps you to create a fully customizable online store, without even knowing to write a single line of code. Wix costs $20 per month + Additional charges for the SSL certificate for the basic business package.
- Squarespace – Squarespace is popular for the fantastic collection of store templates and analytics tools. It will cost you $18 per month to use the Business plan to start an online store with Squarespace.
Check this guide to learn how to create an online eCommerce store for your business.
Hey, do you know that you can simply hire a freelancing eCommerce site developer to create a stunning WordPress or Shopify online store for less than $50? Just hire a freelancer and save your time to focus more on your business.
Start marketing for your dropshipping business
Well, we came to the last, but the most important step in starting a dropshipping business.
90% of the dropshipping businesses fail within the first few months due to the lack of marketing knowledge.
Think about it; When you start dropshipping, you are not selling any unique products. Also, you won’t be able to use “low selling prices” to get a competitive advantage. So, how can you give a reason for your customers to buy from you?
Marketing for dropshipping
There are a few proven strategies to handle marketing for dropshipping. Here we have added a list of marketing methods that you can follow to build your overall marketing strategy.
- Use social media marketing
You can piggyback the audience building power of social media to drive traffic to any business.
- Run Facebook Ads to achieve your marketing goals
Facebook ads are the quickest way to make your first sale. Also, you can use Facebook ads to build an audience for your other marketing methods to build a sustainable marketing strategy.
- Use up-selling and Cross-selling
Up-selling and Cross-selling are the best growth hacks for any business. With proper up-selling and cross-selling strategies, you can increase the average order value of your eCommerce store.
- start email marketing for dropshipping
Email marketing is a best way to reach your existing customers and bringing them back to your business. Also, there are many FREE email marketing services available.
- Start content marketing for your dropshipping business
Content marketing helps you to attract new customers into your sales funnel in the early stages of their purchasing journey.
Now you have the basic knowledge to start dropshipping, what’s next?
Start now! Of course, you can keep reading to learn “everything” before start dropshipping. But, trust me, that won’t work.
The best way to learn how to start dropshipping is by actually starting it. Many problems and difficulties will arise, but don’t let them put you off. Google your question, and you will definitely find an answer.
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