Dropshipping is a great business model. It’s a little risk, low-cost, easy to start up and highly automated. But, if you’re brand new to entrepreneurship, there’s still quite a bit to learn. And, here are 15 different tips for when you’re brand new to dropshipping.
1- Focus On Marketing
With so many aspects of drop shipping being automated, you’ll have more time to focus on marketing. Sure tweaking your website, designing logos, and creating graphics is a lot of fun. But if you’re not actively working on getting the right products, in front of the right people, at the right time, all that time spent making the “perfect” website will go to waste.
A beautiful website with no visitors is like a “tree falls in the woods” scenario. Where if nobody really sees it, does it really even exist?.
Don’t get me wrong, the design is important, but, if you’re also not focused on getting your beautiful website in front of the right people, you’re never gonna make any sales. That’s why you also need to invest in driving traffic. That could mean through;
- Paid Ads
- Social media
- Video marketing
- Partnering with influencers
Honestly, there are a ton of different marketing strategies and tactics you can try, but I always advised new marketers to focus on a small handful of techniques that come the most naturally to you.
2- Create Compelling Offers
Do you know what I love about online shopping?
You know what I like even better?
Bundle deals on complementary products.
Because drop shipping can be highly competitive. Really think about how you can make buying from You, and building a relationship with You even more enticing. This could mean anything from selectively offering like;
- Buy one, get one half off deals
- Bundling multiple complementary items at a discounted rate
- Offering significant discounts to your visitors first purchase if they register for an account.
Look at your offer from your visitor’s perspective, and ask, “What’s in it for me?”. If the offer isn’t objectively good or amazing, you should really try to rethink it. By making offers that are difficult to ignore, you stand a much better chance at converting more of the traffic or driving.
3- Avoid Underpricing Your Products
Now, I know this might sound counter to the previous tip, but avoid to the bottom on price just to remain competitive. Offering a lower overall cost on bundle products, or through “buy one get one half off” deals is not the same as selling your entire inventory at just above cost. This is a massive mistake I see new e-commerce entrepreneurs make all the time, where they’re not making any sales, and suddenly everything in their store is severely discounted. Offering everything at rock-bottom prices can have a massive negative impact on your brand, and can make the brand feel cheap.
If you’re not making sales, don’t jump to assuming at your prices that are holding you back. Instead, reevaluate how you’re driving traffic, and the offers you’re making. It’s better to find new ways to drive traffic than it is to slash prices because first, it’s hard to raise them again. Second, you just still have to pay the bills.
4- Remove Bad Suppliers
While most Aliexpress suppliers are easy to work with, reliable, and offer good products, sometimes a bad apple or two can slip through. With thousands of Aliexpress suppliers, and you can easily replace a bad supplier. Many suppliers will sell similar products, allowing you sometimes even to sell the exact same product but from another manufacturer.
If you notice suppliers don’t use the shipping delivery method you’ve chosen or consistently shipped faulty products, then you can easily remove their products from your store. Again, though this isn’t very common suppliers know that by offering quality service you’ll continue bringing them more sales. Also, if you want to minimise your chances of partnering with a bad supplier, check out Oberlo Supply which is a network of pre-screened suppliers that are consistent with their quality, support, and service.
5- Automate as Much as Possible
Tools like Kit can help you automate tasks like advertising, retargeting, emails and more. While other tools like Buffer can help you schedule your social media postings. Tools like Zapier can help you connect your Shopify store. Other tools like QuickBooks for bookkeeping, Google sheets for order backups, and HubSpot for customer relationship management.
6- Make Sure Your Website Is Presentable
You would be shocked to see how many entrepreneurs launch their dropshipping website with missing images, placeholder text, and no discernable categorisation to their products. Unfortunately, when you’re sending traffic to a website that can’t be navigated, or just looks bad it reeks of unprofessionalism, it immediately diminishes the trust and credibility of your brand.
Before launching your store, take a look at other websites in your niche.
- What does their homepage look like?
- What is the format of the copy on their product pages?
- Do their images include logos on them?
- What types of pages does their website have?
- Which features are apps does the store include on their website?
After taking notes on the look and layout of different stores in your niche, browse to the Shopify app store to find the apps that will mimic the most common functionalities you found in your research. Product reviews, rating, an email capture among the most common features of any e-commerce store. You can also add pages to feature your refund policies, FAQs, shipping information, and more.
7- General Store vs Niche Store
While a lot of advice out there, including our own, will tell you to start with a niche store, the truth is sometimes you don’t want to sell just one type of thing. In reality, general stores, while they can be a lot more work, between keeping products organised and categorised, and marketing to different demographics, are great starter stores as they force you to think more broadly. On the other hand, if you want to put more work into researching and validating a niche, a niche store can allow you to narrow in on finding, and marketing to, the right audience. The running niche would be a great example of a niche within the fitness vertical. While there’s still a ton of competition for running gear and accessories, it’s not nearly as broad as if you were to sell a wide variety of fitness gear.
This really all boils down to one question,
“What do you have the tolerance for?”
If you can answer that honestly and are confident you can drive traffic, you’ll be all set.
8- Be Prepared To Pivot
There are all sorts of unexpected challenges and adversity that will come up because at the end of the day you’re running a business. A supplier may stop carrying a product, a new trend may emerge suddenly, your customers may hate a product you’ve added to the store, or one of your ads may be scaling really well, and you’ll need to take out a loan to continue supporting that growth. Pivots aren’t really good or bad, but they do require you to be flexible indecisive when the moment is necessary.
9- Offer Exceptional Customer Service
There are ways to stand out when you’re selling similar products to other companies. While you may think that offering refunds and responding to inquiries is the role of customer service, that’s really just where the job begins. Tell jokes, write thank you cards, send surprises, and go out of your way to make them feel special.
Like the poet Maya Angelou said,
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
10- Be Data Informed
Be picky about the products you add to your store. Don’t just add products because they look nice or you’d like it for yourself. Look at the data -are these products getting positive sales and feedback?
When evaluating products from your supplier, check the order volume, reviews, customer photos, and seller ratings to ensure you are partnering with a trustworthy supplier.
11- Always Choose ePacket
As a dropshipper, you’re free to sort products based on ePacket shipping. Since ePacket shipping is the fastest affordable shipping method, you’ll be able to ensure quick delivery to your customers without breaking the bank. On average, ePacket shipping costs under $5 for most products, and will make sure your customers get your products between 7 to 20 business days, and often much faster.
12- Be Active Daily
Dropshipping isn’t an automated business, and there is no overnight success. While you likely won’t need to put in 8 hours a day, you do need to spend at least one hour a day on growing your online business. Each day you’ll need to process orders, respond to customer inquiries promptly, drive traffic, and generally just make sure everything’s running smoothly. This is not a “build it, and they will come” scenario, and it requires work every single day to make sure the business is running well.
13- Import 10-25 Items
Here’s a problem for you -In your excitement, you start a dropshipping business, and you’ve imported 600 items to your store. What a great selection you have now, right!? But then, once you look at your store, you realize, that’s 600 product descriptions you need to write, 600 titles you need to rewrite, a billion tags you need to add, and 3,000 photos at least you need to comb through to see which ones you’ll have to crop supplier logos out of. What do you do? Most people, myself included, just give up. Nevermind, this wasn’t for me, this is too much work, I quit! It’s much easier to start with a collection of 10-25 products, that way you can more easily manage the workload. Especially if you’re doing this on your own, and after a day at your 9-5.
14- Monitor Your Competition
Here’s a suggestion for you, start a spreadsheet, and include links to all of your primary competitors’ websites social media accounts, and wherever else they’re selling on. Sign up for their email list, and heck, maybe even buy some of their products. Once a week, check in on how they’re positioning their products, what they’re saying in their emails, what kinds of sales they’re running, and how they’re retargeting their ads. This kind of low-level competition monitoring will provide you with some insight on how they’re running their business and can help expose holes in their strategies. It may also teach you some precious lessons along the way.
15- Use Oberlo Supply
If you’re launching your first dropshipping store, consider using Oberlo Supply. It helps you dropship quality products from trusted suppliers with a wide variety of products from popular and hidden niches. The best part about Oberlo Supply is that incoming orders are immediately sent to your supplier making it great if you’re working around a busy schedule. You’ll have more time to focus on marketing so you can make more money.
Muammer is a Marketing Analytics Manager at Turkcell. His mission is to empower entrepreneurs and to help them achieve their goals. He also has a passion for illustration.