Is dropshipping just a fad or a real opportunity to get your business off the ground?
For a few years, there has been a lot of talk about dropshipping worldwide. For its followers, this commercial practice is the goose that lays the golden eggs since it allows you to have a catalogue of products without the difficulties of inventory management.
However, to see value in buying from your site and not from the original seller, you need excellent marketing and customer service.
Find out in this article if dropshipping is a suitable sales model for you and how you can take your first steps!
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an eCommerce
sales strategy in which the seller offers his client products without needing a warehouse or inventory, resorting to an external supplier of the product itself.
But how is this possible? The operating scheme is as follows:
- A customer buys a product on an eCommerce site A.
- Ecommerce A transmits the order to supplier B, who has the product in his warehouse.
- B is responsible for delivering the product directly to the end customer.
The advantages of dropshipping
Dropshipping allows entrepreneurs to create an online store without worrying about inventory management since the supplier assumes all the logistics. You do not have to deal with product preparation, delivery or inventory management.
There are many examples where a well-executed dropshipping strategy can be highly effective. In fact, for those who want to take their first steps in eCommerce, this system offers considerable advantages:
It’s easy to get started quickly and with lower initial costs. In dropshipping, the merchant does not directly produce what he sells. It is a way of offering products that you could never manufacture with your initial budget.
It is an excellent way to test different market niches. As you will not have to invest in a production chain or a manufacturing process, you will have enough versatility to change the type of product you offer and thus experiment until you find the eCommerce model that suits you. It is perfect for start-ups taking their first steps.
Logistics is simplified.
With dropshipping, you can forget about inventory management and product delivery. It allows you to start a specific business and evolve.
The disadvantages of dropshipping
Despite the enthusiasm that dropshipping generates, this model also receives criticism because it has the risk of opening the door to scams or simply not being profitable.
The main problem for eCommerce owners is being unable to control the quality and delivery times. You depend on the supplier for the products to reach the customers.
You also have to consider that if there is not good communication between the business and the dropshipping provider, you can lose some sales.
It is why you need to evaluate your dropshipping provider since it is an essential ally in your business and your brand’s image.
Create an online store with dropshipping service
We have already seen that dropshipping is not for everyone. It is a business model with an elaborated strategy, which must be based on a firm commitment to satisfy the clients’ needs and, as far as possible, on a fluid relationship with the supplier.
If you think that dropshipping is an excellent way to start your business and start getting paid, follow these steps to get started!
Find an idea with real added value.
You must start with a business idea that provides differentiation.
Creating an eCommerce with a drop shipping service is no different from other business projects: the first thing is to find a good idea that differentiates you from the competition.
Naturally, in the case of drop shipping, you will have to find a supplier or a wholesaler. It can be interesting to search for a new product or a specific niche and establish a relationship of trust with a supplier looking for a commercial to get him or their clients.
When you have found a product, you should ask yourself if:
- Your offer responds to a market need in an innovative way. Are you going to sell a product that is difficult to find elsewhere or with real added value to consumers?
- You have found a dropshipping provider that you can work with directly. For the most simple and effective dropshipping strategy, it is best to have a good relationship with your supplier. In this way, you can answer for the quality of the product sold to the customer and the delivery. Also, if things work out well, you could consider an exclusivity contract.
- You offer an experience that has value for the final customer. Suppose we put ourselves in the customer’s shoes. Why would we be interested in buying from an intermediary when we can buy directly from the supplier? What will allow you to differentiate yourself will be your marketing strategy and your customer support. You can find more information about this in point 4.
Take your time to conduct a market study and create a business plan that allows you to see it more clearly and have a global vision of your project.
Choose a platform to create an optimized online store.
Once you’ve found your idea, you’ll need a storefront website where your customers can buy the products.
Your eCommerce website is where you can differentiate yourself with your brand image and offer a unique user experience.
Luckily, it’s not that difficult to create a website these days. With a bit of dedication, it’s possible to do so without using an agency or third-party web developer.
Numerous solutions allow you to create a free website for a very affordable monthly fee. Many of these programs offer a drag-and-drop editor. In this way, you can position the different elements of your website with the mouse without using the programming code.
One of the most prominent assisted creation programs is Shopify. If you can invest a little more time and basic computer skills, you can turn to open-source CMS like Prestashop or WordPress.
WordPress is a free, open-source content manager whose strong point is the large community of users it has. It is the most used CMS in the world. It offers many resources, such as plugins, templates and online tutorials, to cover various needs. To create an eCommerce website with WordPress, you only need the
Choose a dropshipping provider.
Depending on your business model, you should look for a platform to organize your dropshipping online store.
Of course, establishing a manual dropshipping infrastructure is possible: it is enough to contact the supplier directly and pass the orders to him.
But sometimes, it will be helpful to use an intermediary solution or a combination of both methods, especially if you offer products of various types or brands. Some platforms provide you with access to a large number of products. You can easily import them into your online store and offer them directly to your customers.
Here are three drop shipping providers you may be interested in:
Oberlo is a plugin developed by Shopify and self-installable in online stores created with this platform. By installing it, you will have access to a wide variety of products available on AliExpress (a large marketplace of the Chinese consortium Alibaba) that you can resell.
- Very simple installation.
- A wide variety of products is available.
- Simple orders in one click.
- It is necessary to use Shopify for the creation of your online store.
- It only has products from AliExpress.
AliDropship is another dropshipping solution developed by AliExpress. It can be installed as an extension in a CMS (such as WordPress). It can also use is to create an online dropshipping store from scratch, with prices starting at $299 for a one-time upfront payment and $48 for annual hosting. These latest rates include advice from the AliDropship team to find the right niche market.
- Quick Install
- Variety of products
- Offers marketing resources and assistance in finding the niche market
- Only AliExpress products
Indeed, WooCommerce (from WordPress) is not a dropshipping solution per se. Still, we include it because it offers an efficient solution to create an online store and has different plugins to sell dropshipping products.
For example, you can use the DropshipMe or AliDrop Ship Woo plugins to sell AliExpress products on your WordPress eCommerce site, Spocket to offer products from different suppliers, or eBay dropshipping and affiliates plugin.
- The WordPress environment allows you to create functional and very complete online stores.
- Variety of plugins that allow you to offer products from different marketplaces (AliExpress, Amazon, etc.).
- Most plugins are only available in English.
In addition, WordPress is free (unlike Shopify), but you will have to pay specific expenses such as hosting or using certain plugins.
Carry out a marketing strategy
We insist: once you have your dropshipping website, sitting back and waiting to see how the zeros grow in the bank account is not the best idea. Now is the time to work on a marketing strategy that offers real support to your prospects throughout their customer journey.
In dropshipping, you are not in charge of producing, but you are in charge of selling. Why would the customer have to go to you instead of directly to the supplier if not?
Many dropshippers (or dropshipping businesses) try to avoid this problem by hiding the origin of the products they sell, hoping that the consumer does not realize that they are buying a more expensive product than on your supplier’s website.
However, for your dropshipping strategy to be more ethical and practical, we recommend you act more honestly. Instead of lying about the origin of your products, offer your prospects a quality experience. This way, they will be motivated to buy on your website instead of going to the supplier.
For this, you must carry out marketing actions, which consist of accompanying your prospects on their journey to purchase with a series of relevant emails or messages. For example, you can perform the following actions:
- Send a newsletter regularly. This way, you will maintain regular contact with your prospects and customers. You can inform them of new products, recommend complementary items, offer discounts, etc.
- Offer free content. To encourage them to buy from your site instead of going to the supplier, offer your customers free helpful content, such as tutorials for using the products you sell, ebooks, practical tips, etc.
- Guarantee after-sales service. Suppose your supplier does not offer customer support after a sale. In that case, you can show that service to customers who have bought from your online dropshipping store. It is an excellent way to encourage them to buy from your store.
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