When it comes to E-commerce there’s a wide variety of options you can work with and Drop shipping is one the growing trends that are being used by sellers all over the world, it is easy, simple and with many benefits that other kind of business don’t offer.
What exactly is Dropshipping?
It is a retail sales method, where the seller doesn’t keep a stock of the offered products, but orders them directly from a wholesaler supplier once a customer places an order. Then, the supplier ships the product straight to the final user. This process is perfect for those who don’t have much money to invest as capital for starting their own business.
The many benefits this practice offers make it very popular these days among entrepreneurs who are seeking to start a new online business. Let’s take a look at these advantages:
Small capital: Since you won’t have a stock of products to buy, the capital invested to start is minimum.
Easy and simple: Once you’ve decided on your supplier and products to offer the rest of the job is quite easy, leaving you with enough time to work with customer service, advertising and marketing.
Flexible location: All you need is a place with internet connection and a computer to handle your sales.
Wider selection of products: Considering that you won’t have to buy the products you will sell, there’s no limit in the number and variety of products to offer. Every time your supplier produces or launces a new product you can add it to your store with no cost.
Sounds great right? And even though it is easy and simple there are some important elements you need to consider when starting a dropshipping business.
These are the MUST DO, to have a successful business:
Specialize: If you sell everything to everyone, then nobody will be your customer. Don’t be afraid of losing “possible customers” for being specific, it is quite the opposite.
If you focus on selling “Waterproof sports watches for athletes”, you know who your target is and how to get to them and makes it easier to differentiate your business from your competitors who offer “Sports watches”.
If you are just starting with a new niche or product type and you aren’t sure on what to specify on, don’t worry, experience will help you. Once you get to identify who your best buyers are, what are their main needs and problems, you will able to offer the right and specific solution.
Take your time for customer service: It is well known in the business world that is easier to sell a new to a satisfied customer than trying to convince a new one. So offer an outstanding service, happy customers is the best marketing strategy. So invest your time, and some cases even money, to guarantee the satisfaction of your customers.
Remember that since you are not the one providing the product, there might be some issues, but it is up to you to solve the possible setbacks and give your costumes what they deserve.
Emphasize on marketing and SEO: Your suppliers will be in charge of packing and shipping products, as well as keeping track of their inventory, which leaves you with more time to focus on making your business grow. Combining extraordinary customer services with the right marketing approach your business will definitely promote the growth of your store.
The first 6-12 months of your business are essential, when you are new it is hard to drive traffic to your page, so your marketing and SEO are keys in bringing new people to your site. If you are new on this world, and don’t have an idea on how to do it, there are some great websites, that offer resources for those who are starting in the SEO and marketing
These three elements are key and when used effectively will bring success to your store. In addition there’s one very important matter you need to assure before starting your business, and it is finding the right supplier or suppliers for you.
Remember that they are the ones who will actually provide the product directly to your customers, so you must make sure they are actually wholesalers and not small retail companies pretending to be the wholesale supplier.
How can you identify a retail seller from a wholesaler?
Here are some things that a retail seller posing as a wholesaler will do:
- Ask for fixed fees: They will try to convince you to pay a membership, whether monthly o yearly in order to drop ship with them.
- Sell to general public: Retail sellers will sell to anyone who wants to get their product, while real wholesalers will ask you to prove you are a real, legit business.
On the other hand, real wholesalers have some requirements to work with them:
- Pre-order fees: Most wholesalers will ask for a minimum fee that can vary from $2-$5 depending on the size and number of products. This fee is a standard one, since shipping individual products has a higher price.
- Minimum order size: Most wholesalers will request a minimum size for the first order, this to avoid retailers or general public that will not represent a big business opportunity. Usually this minimum is up to 500$, if your sales don’t reach this fee, you can pre-pay the money for future transactions.
Now that you have the essentials to succeed in the drop shipping let’s see some tips to assure your business’ growth.
Make special offers: Who doesn’t love sales? Be creative, offering special discounts, coupons and offers that will keep your customers interested and continuously coming back to check out possible new offers to enjoy.
Use automation tools
There are many aspects of the whole process that can be automatized to leave you more free time to take care of other things. With Oberlo most features of your business will be automatized. In addition there are a lot of tools that you can use, to save yourself some time.
Present a complete, user friendly website: Don’t jump out to officially open your online store, before making sure your page is perfectly organized. Take your time to visit your competitor’s site, and take notes on the layout, the product’s descriptions, and interaction tools. Remember your priority is your customers, so have a user friendly organization, with beautiful pictures and compelling descriptions.
Be ready to change directions: As in all aspects of life, change is the only constant, and as a business owner you shouldn’t be afraid to do so. If one of your suppliers closes down, or changes their inventory completely, you need to be prepared to find a solution for your customers without cancelling orders. If a new trend or niche appears include it on you site, so customers see you are up to date with to offer them solutions.
Be active daily: Even if you use some of the automation tools, you still need to take care of your business on daily basis. You don’t need to spend 8 hours a day on it, but take your time to answer questions and doubts in an average respond time of 24hours. Also the constant interaction through social media is a great way to advertise and promote your business.
Start with a small number of products
You don’t need 100 products to open up your store. If you start with 500 items, you will need 500 descriptions and images to start, which is a lot. But if you open your store with 20-30 products, it is a job that can be done in only a few hours.
Then you can start adding new products every week, keeping a constant of 10-20 new items. This will also keep your traffic going, with your customers constantly coming back to see what’s new.
Make sure to have several suppliers at hand: Don’t settle with using a single supplier for all your products have many contacts with different wholesalers you are ready to change suppliers any needed moment.
Use compelling product description: Don’t limit yourself to describe the features of the product, but mention all its quality and benefits, without using the typical “excellent quality” expression. Learn to work with SEO, to bring traffic to your page through your descriptions.
Conduct a market research: Don’t go blind to offer products based on your personal opinion or recommendations. Check different websites out, and decide for products that are in a rising trend.
Check out your competitors: Follow them on social media, and look at their offers and the way they advertise their products, this will give you insights on what your niche costumers are interested on. Be careful not copy their marketing job, but adapted to your store.
When it comes down to the Dropshipping world there are many websites you can turn to for finding suppliers and products, but once again, you must be careful and choose wisely. Oberlo is one of the top places to do so, it offers a great variety of products and suppliers at the best price, while offering guidance and support you need.
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