No longer is it only the “lucky” ones who get to work from home as their own boss. As standard work operations have significantly changed over the past year, many people have sought and found different income means.
One popular route that allows people to work from home and become their own boss is Dropshipping.
Whether you know nothing about dropshipping, or you’re an expert on the topic, check out the following guide to learn more about dropshipping and to teach you how to start a Dropshipping store!
Beginner Dropshipping Guide 🇨🇦
In this dropshipping guide you will learn that at the most basic level, dropshipping is a method of product fulfilment. Businesses take advantage of third-party companies—like wholesalers or fulfilment centres—who sell a variety of products and have their own stores of inventory.
Online stores often utilize this business model as they don’t have to pay large sums of money upfront to stock their products and to store their products.
What is Dropshipping? 🤔
Someone who owns a dropshipping business will never handle products, shipping, or fulfilment.
Rather, when a customer purchases a product, you send that order to the fulfilment centre you use, and they deliver the product directly to the customer. The processing of “sending the order” to the fulfillment center is often automatic, so there will not be extra work to ensure each order is tracked.
This is a service you’ll be paying for. The company that performs the shipping will charge you some amount per item shipped, so you’ll have to ensure your business plan covers the necessary fees.
Can I Make Money Dropshipping?
Absolutely—dropshipping is relatively easy to get into for beginners with a dropshipping guide. As stated above, the company you use to send products will charge you fees. However, when you have an agreement settled on pricing upfront, you can price the products you’re selling accordingly to ensure you’ll have profit.
Once you’ve established your business and have found a customer base, you’ll be earning that profit with minimal upkeep.
How to Start Dropshipping? 🏁
With that said, starting a dropshipping store is not free from hard-work and research. You have to take time to search for a niche, find your business model, create a website, market to your audience, and much more. If you want to learn how to make money with dropshipping, the following guide will help!
Step by Step Dropshipping
Find Your Niche 💼
The first step in starting a dropshipping business—or any business is to find your niche. The internet is an inconceivably large space where people have tried almost all there is to try. That’s why you can’t simply create an online store to sell workout equipment.
There are already thousands of websites and online businesses doing that.
Rather, you need to find a way to make your business unique. For example, you could decide to focus your business on a certain geographical market, age group, or another type of business. Deciding for a super-specific niche - like this groomsmen gift shop, for example - might be a double-edged sword. The more specific a niche is, there will be less competition. However, there will also be fewer overall customers. So, the goal here is to find the niche with the highest amount of potential customers but not more competitive than your marketing budget can handle.
Alternatively, you could choose to sell only 100% recycled products. However, getting into product specifications may make future steps like finding a wholesaler more difficult.
To find your niche, you first have to pick a subject that you’re passionate about. Starting a successful dropshipping business will take time and energy. Plus, you’ll have to do lots of research and develop a solid understanding of your niche, so it might as well be something you enjoy or something that you use.
From there, begin to find a specific section of the market that would benefit from your product.
Research the Competition 🏟️
All successful businesses know their competitors—an online dropshipping store is no different. If you’re going to begin selling products to a specific market, you need to know who your closest competitors are. Do your research using keywords, geographical locations, and any other information that can help you find other similar businesses.
If you’ve chosen a very specific niche, you may only have one or two competitors. If your niche was extremely specific, your only competitors might be located in another country or far from your geographical location. Regardless, you’ll be able to find businesses that are doing or offering something similar to you.
Once you’ve found these competitors, peruse their sites and learn about each of them. Whatever information you find, you can use it to help your business.
For example, maybe you find effective marketing strategies through social media, email campaigns, or other methods. Additionally, you can take inspiration from their website design, pricing, shipping rates, shipping speeds, specials, and more.
Select the Right Supplier 🛒
If you want to have a well-run business, your dropshipping supplier must be up to par. While you may be able to find some bargain options, that may not be the best business model for success. Without a proper dropshipping supplier, you won’t have products to sell, and they won’t be able to get the products to your customers in a reasonable time.
To find a supplier, you’ll have to do some solid internet research. Search for keywords such as “wholesaler”, “supplier”, and “distributor” combined with whatever products you’re trying to sell.
Once you’ve narrowed down a list of dropshipping companies, you’ll have to compare the quality of products, prices, product variety, and more. Consider all the following questions when you’re searching for a supplier.
- ✅ Who do they ship with?
- ✅ What are the prices?
- ✅ Are there additional fees?
- ✅ What kind of payment options do they offer?
- ✅ How long have they been in business and how is their reputation?
- ✅ Do they offer shipping speeds?
Decide How to Create Your Online Store 🛍️
Once you’ve reached this step, you should have your products, supplier, and general brand figured out. Now, you just have to figure out how to sell the products—you need an online store.
You can go about this several ways. You could pay a web development agency or freelancer to build a fully functional eCommerce website, or you can use a top eCommerce platform.
Likely, your best option is using one of the many eCommerce platforms. These sites give you the quickest and easiest means of getting your store up and running. They provide free templates, premium templates, expert assistance, and much more.
Plus, they’re utilized by millions of people around the world, so you can rest assured you’ll have any support you need.
If you’d like a quick rundown of the biggest names in eCommerce, check out these reviews on Shopify, BigCartel, or Wix vs WordPress. Alternatively, if you’re going to build your site, or have someone else build it, you’ll still need somewhere to host it. You can read all about the best cheap web hosting here.
Design Your eCommerce Site 🏪
If you’re going the route of building yourself or using an eCommerce platform, you’ll need to design your store. This process will be fun, exciting, and challenging. Through the right use of design features, you’ll be able to build your brand. You can experiment with different colour schemes, font styles, background images, and more.
If you’re using an eCommerce platform, you can try out several different themes, and then you can build off those themes to make your site unique.
The way you design your site is crucial to the success of your business. When users come to your website, they want an easy experience—they want to find products and information with as few steps and clicks as possible.
Thus, when you design your site, think about the user first. How will they interact with your website? Where should buttons be placed? Where should the contact information be held?
Develop a Business Plan 👔
To be a successful business, you must have a plan. Your plan cannot simply be to put up your website and see how many items you can sell in one week.
While that may be how some first-time dropshipping business owners operate, that’s now how you get your business to thrive.
Rather, you need to construct a business plan before you begin your operations.
First and foremost, you need to have information about your company at the ready for potential customers to see. From there, your products and services come next—this, you should already have. Next, you should start looking into marketing, operations, and business organization.
Depending on your goals, you may want to have a strong marketing campaign. This can include emails, social media accounts, Google Ads, social media ads, and much more. Similarly, you can consider bringing in outside marketing expertise to aid in your business development.
A Glance Into the Future 🔮
Once you’ve got into the weeds of planning, you need to think about the future. Where do you want your business to be in 3 months, 6 months, or 2 years? Consider creating goals that can be tracked. For example, create a goal that you want to sell X number of products in the first month. Then, after 3 months, you want to sell to Y number of states or countries.
With a visible, concrete business plan, you’ll be much more likely to find success in dropshipping. Plus, you’ll be able to ensure you’re making a profit if you plan correctly, and you stick to it.
Create a Budget 💰
Although this goes along with making a business plan, creating a budget is its own step in starting a dropshipping business. One of the most enticing aspects of starting your own eCommerce store is the fact that there are very few upfront costs.
You’ll have to pay for a website domain, hosting, and other fees associated with starting a business.
To ensure that you’re not going into the process blind, you need to do your research on what it’s going to cost you to get started. Search around for average prices for all that you need and expect to pay for. As you create your budget, think about how much money you may want, or need, to spend on marketing.
If you want to hire a copywriter, blog writer, social media manager, product description writer, or something else, that will all cost money.
It’s important to have a good grasp of what you’re expecting and willing to spend. As business operations progress, you can adjust that budget as needed. Maybe you can no longer afford to pay for a social media manager. On the other hand, maybe your business experiences success, and you want to add more marketing to expand.
Start Marketing Your Business 🗣️
Piggybacking off the budget, it’s time to market your business now that you have everything together. As you’ve already developed your business plan, you should have a good idea of how you want to reach your potential customers. Whether you’re going the route of Facebook Ads, Google Ads, pure SEO and SEM, it’s time to implement your methods.
At this point, your site should be up and running, and soon, you should see some customers start to come to your site.
Analyze Your Site 🔬
Since your site is live, you can now track the number of visitors you’re receiving. You can check on things like how long people stay on your site, what they do on your site, how many people purchase something, and how many people “bounce”.
From this sort of data analysis, you can begin to plan for the future. If you’re having poor statistics in the number of people that visit your site and immediately leave, you have something to address.
Create a Game Plan for the Future 🎮
Alternatively, if you’re seeing people are spending a lot of time on your site, and your conversion rate is good, you’ve done extremely well for yourself. However, there is always room for improvement.
Similarly, keep an eye on how the shipping portion of your business is doing. Are your customers happy with the delivery of their product? Have any issues with shipments arisen?
Finally, you need to assess if you’re happy with the total operations that have gone. If you feel overwhelmed, stressed, and overworked, maybe you need to hire assistance. On the other hand, if you’re not seeing the fruits of your labour present themselves, reassess your business plan, redesign your website, and analyze your marketing strategy.
Starting a dropshipping site is an attractive option for those who want an easy way to become their boss. There is little money needed upfront, high potential for profits, and the excitement of being a business owner.
To start a dropshipping business, you essentially need a business plan, a market niche, a supplier, a website, and customers. Or a good dropshipping guide which will tell you what you need!
Be sure to stay up to date with the latest trends in web hosting, so you can be confident you’re getting the most profit from your dropshipping business!