The practice of dropshipping, where you don’t own the inventory you’re selling, can be a great option if you’re starting out in business or if you don’t have enough money to buy inventory up front.
But this method also has its challenges and setbacks, especially if you haven’t done it before and have no prior experience with it at all. To help overcome these hurdles, here are five tips to help guide your dropshipping on Shopify experiences.
1) Why would you start dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a business model where you don’t actually store your inventory. Instead, when someone orders from you, they are purchasing directly from a third-party vendor and it’s shipped to them. This has many benefits. The most obvious benefit is that your upfront costs of starting a dropshipping business are significantly less than an eCommerce business because you do not have to purchase any stock before launch.
It also allows you to tap into popular products on sites like Amazon and eBay without ever having to own inventory. This makes it an attractive option for entrepreneurs who are worried about investing in large amounts of inventory at once or managing logistics and customer service issues associated with shipping physical products from their warehouse.
2) Pick the right product
First, you need to pick a product to sell. If you want to learn more about finding products, check out part 1 in our How to Start an eCommerce Business series. Once you find a product that’s right for your store, make sure it dropship-friendly. Most large retailers are dropship-friendly but will require special work from your fulfillment partner (whom we’ll talk about next).
If it doesn’t explicitly say they allow drop shipping or don’t discourage it, assume they don’t have their own program and ask them directly if they allow third-party sellers. When figuring out whether or not a product is dropped shipping-friendly, there are a few things to keep in mind: This can be difficult when beginning your search, so go with something generic like luggage, handbags, backpacks, etc., until you’re sure how it all works.
But by no means do you have to stick with Amazon as your only selling platform; remember what I said earlier—people buy stuff everywhere! I know people who are making money by selling wooden kitchen utensils and handmade blankets on eBay and Etsy respectively. Make sure you don’t duplicate other items: One of the biggest mistakes beginner drop shippers make is putting up multiple copies of popular items like iPad cases or phone accessories because they think competition makes things better for consumers.
3) Setting up your store
Before you do anything else, spend some time carefully selecting a niche. Once you’ve found your niche and figured out what products to sell, it’s time to set up your store. This can be done in one of two ways: by using an e-commerce solution or by using dropshipping.
Your choice depends entirely on what kind of product you intend to sell and whether you have any prior experience with running an online business. If not, then e-commerce is a good option because it can be run cheaply; if you have experience running websites or blogs already, however, then dropshipping may be a better way to go as there are fewer upfront costs involved.
If you are not interested in drop shipping, you can also consider another business model like lead flipping. Check this Modern Millionaires’ review to learn more.
4) Picking a payment processor
When you’re dropshipping, you can still collect your customers’ credit card information but never have to touch it. Instead, a payment processor—like Square or Stripe—will automatically pull that information from a customer and charge their card. Most Shopify themes allow you to integrate a payment processor into your store.
It’s as easy as clicking a button in your theme’s settings panel, choosing what sales channel you want (Shopify Payments or PayPal), and entering your API credentials. Even though these integrations are dead simple to set up, there are still considerations to make before making a decision. Just like with any business relationship, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate your options and think about how each service will impact your bottom line.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself when picking a merchant account: How much will I save? The first thing you should consider is how much money a merchant account will cost you. Some processors may charge an application fee while others offer sign-up incentives like waived monthly fees during initial setup or reduced transaction fees in certain situations (such as B2B payments). But even if those incentives don’t convince you, remember that price isn’t everything.
5) Promoting your products
You’ll have to promote your products in order to make sales. There are many ways to do so, including SEO tactics like search engine optimization, social media campaigns, and email marketing. Using these techniques will allow you to drop ship more successfully because people will already be aware of your brand when they come looking for items on your website.
Don’t forget about influencer marketing, either! You can target influencers who use social media or have their own blogs and connect with them about creating promotional posts that include a link back to your site. This will help get your product seen by a wider audience. It is important to test different avenues and see what works best for your business—your strategies should depend on both cost-effectiveness and reach.
The biggest tip I can give when it comes to dropshipping on Shopify is not to be discouraged if results don’t happen immediately. It takes time (sometimes lots of it) for an eCommerce store to establish itself online. In addition, there is always going to be an ebb and flow—one day something may not work as well as it did before, but a few weeks later you could find yourself with tons of new customers arriving at your virtual doorstep each day!
Since dropshipping on Shopify is a relatively new business strategy, there are still many things to consider before you choose it as your sole income. As with any type of marketing plan, there are certain pros and cons to consider. You should keep an open mind and carefully weigh out all options available.
Once you’ve done that, choosing dropshipping over other channels will be a fairly easy decision. And hopefully, now that you have some solid advice from real-life entrepreneurs like yourself, your dreams of owning a business of your own will soon become reality!