Dropshipping is a royal way to get started in web entrepreneurship. If you are reading this article, you probably know what dropshipping is. But do you know how to actually ?
In this complete guide, discover the 6 steps to follow, from choosing the niche to promoting your business through the creation of your eCommerce site.
Step 1: Choose an Idea / Niche to Start Your Dropshipping Business
What you are going to sell is crucial in launching your business. You should take some time to find the best ideas for Dropshipping. Most people tell you to choose a niche that you are passionate about. But this is only a half-truth. It is a combination of the profit you are going to make and your passion. The reality is that the best Dropshipping business ideas are usually the most profitable. Then it is much easier to be passionate when you are making money. So here are some important points to consider when choosing your niche:
- Google Trends is great for finding out if a niche is trending up or down. However, it is not enough to determine whether a niche is viable or not. Some niches may be on an uptrend, but don’t have enough search volume to guarantee their popularity.
- Use the Ubersuggest Keyword Tool. What is the search volume for a specific keyword? What is the competition on this keyword? Using Ubersuggest will help you understand the potential of your dropshipping business ideas and also give you additional ideas to explore in the future.
- Browse popular websites in your niche. For example, websites selling clothing often organize their store into trend categories. It helps you understand which trends you need to add to your store right now. You can also browse a store’s top-selling products to help you find the best products to sell.
- Create your own brand. Your Dropshipping business will be more valuable if you can rename everything you sell and pass it off as your own. Look for a product that you can white label and sell in your own name with custom packaging and branding. It always has a better effect on your customers.
- The low shipping costs are very important. Even though your supplier or manufacturer will take care of the shipping, if the cost is too high, it will act as a repellant for the customer. Find something that is inexpensive to ship. This will give you the opportunity to offer free shipping to your customers and therefore close even more sales.
Once you have decided what to sell, now you need to educate yourself about who your competition is, what they are selling, and how they are selling their products. There are several ways to do this:
- Enter the name of one of the products you want to sell on Google and do a quick search to see which appears at the top of the 1st page. The top ten results on Google or any other search engine will give you a good indication of who your competition is. If you sell products in a different location from where you are, you can use third-party tools to collect data. For example, with SEM Rush or Ahref, you will get information about search results in different places of the world.
- Search Alexa or SimilarWeb to find niche competitors that might not appear at the top of search results. These sites will give you information about the websites you are looking for, including their social media profiles, the advertising they do, information about their website’s audience and traffic, and a list of competitors from this business (soon you?).
- “Hunt” on social networks. On social networks, it is very interesting to observe its competitors. You can browse Facebook ads in a niche as well as the social media pages of the most popular brands. How many subscribers do they have? How do they market their brand? What is the engagement on their page? What can I do differently to stand out from them? What are they doing well that I should copy or adapt?
- Know your competition’s content and what works best through the use of BuzzSumo for example. This tool will give you an overview of the content that gets the most shares so that you can find inspiration for new ideas for your blog for example. Signing up for a competitor’s newsletters can also keep you up to date with what content they are promoting.
Step 3: find and secure a supplier
Dealing with the wrong supplier can ruin your business, so it’s important not to rush to this step. Most of the Dropshipping suppliers are located overseas, which makes communication extremely important, both in terms of the speed of response and the ability to understand each other. If you are not 100% confident in the communication skills of a potential supplier, go ahead and continue your research. Alibaba has become one of the largest online resources for identifying and communicating with potential manufacturers and suppliers. Be sure to ask lots of questions and find out what their production capabilities are in case your business grows exponentially. You want to be sure that they have the capacity to work with you. Try to learn from other entrepreneurs who have gone this route in the past by viewing Dropshipping blogs. It’s a popular topic that can help you avoid the (costly) mistakes of a bad supplier selection.
Step 4: Create a Dropshipping E-commerce Site
There are a few key elements to building an eCommerce dropshipping site the right way. Here are some of them:
- Domain name – Your domain name is important, especially if you are building a long-term brand. You can use free business name generators to help simplify the process. Always get a .com domain, no matter what. If you want your niche to be a keyword in the new field, make sure it is broad like beauty, jewelry, fashion, etc. rather than a very specific word. You won’t need to change your domain name along the way. Also, avoid using your own name as the domain for your online store.
- Sign up for Shopify (or another eCommerce platform) – Shopify is the most comprehensive eCommerce platform out there. With the regular addition of new features, tools, resources, and apps, you will find it easy to run a business on this platform. Plus, if you get stuck, you can reach out to a Shopify Advisor who will personally walk you through all the steps, all for free. You can also use a solution like Woocommerce for WordPress.
- Choice of the theme – choose a theme that is easy to use for you and easy to navigate for your visitors. At first, you can completely build your site with a free theme. Once you start making money, you can invest it in purchasing a new theme for an even more professional design of your online store.
When thinking about how to start a dropshipping business, you may find yourself thinking about niches, products, suppliers, and sales strategies. It can be easy to forget about the legal side of things – especially because it’s something most people don’t really want to think about. But, if you really want to be successful with your dropshipping business, you have to be sensitive to this step. It doesn’t have to be boring or stressful – it’s what makes your business a reality, rather than just a dream:
- Check your local legal requirements: dropshipping is 100% legal – but the requirements vary from country to country. For example, you may need to obtain a commercial license. So remember to check it out.
- Choose the structure of your business: micro-business, sole proprietorship, company (SAS, SARL, EURL), each type of business structure has advantages and flaws that you will have to analyze before choosing.
- Have a separate bank account – don’t mix your business finances with your personal finances.
- Register your business name: You don’t want someone else to copy your business name, do you? To avoid this, register your company name with the relevant authorities.
Step 6: Promote Your
At this point, you have found your product and built your eCommerce site. Now is the time to promote your Dropshipping business. This is a crucial step in your business plan. If you are just starting out, you are probably on a very tight budget. Here are some examples to get you started:
- Facebook Advertising: We know it can be tempting to spend $ 500 on Facebook ads. Many new entrepreneurs believe they will make money on the first try. Spoiler: this is not the case. A great tip is to always start ‘small’ so that you can experience the Facebook advertising process. Create multiple ads to determine which product sells the best. As for targeting, create an ad globally or just in your country if you don’t want to sell internationally.
- Ad retargeting: if you have a very tight budget, ad retargeting will appeal to you. This ad works great if you have a store with a lot of traffic. Maybe you are marketing for free on Pinterest and getting a lot of traffic from there. Maybe you wrote a blog post about influencers and now influencers are sharing your blog for free. With retargeting, you take that free traffic that will be much more likely to turn into a paying customer. Even better than a standard Facebook ad. In addition, it is much cheaper.
- Influencer Marketing: If you can’t afford to pay influencers, you can offer them an affiliate commission. Why is this a good thing? Be aware that even a niche-specific influencer doesn’t actually convert. If you pay an affiliate fee for each sale, you reduce the risk to your dropshipping business and it’s up to the influencer to convert the sale. Plus, you’ll get photos that will help you increase your brand’s social influence. If the influencer has real followers, they could potentially make a lot more money as an affiliate than they would if they were paid a flat rate.
- SEO: Dropshippers rely as much on SEO as other online sellers. If you have an online store, you should optimize it so that Google ranks it higher in its search results. You do this by using keywords, making sure your site is user-friendly, loads fast, and is mobile-friendly (among others). Starting a blog on your site can also do wonders for SEO as Google loves long, high-quality content.
- Photos and descriptions of your products: Using stock images of your products can be great – they are often sent by your supplier, which means they are of professional quality. However, this can lead to other dropshippers having the exact same product photo as you. To avoid this, try taking your own product photos. Make sure they are of good quality, well lit, and not blurry. You can also gain an edge over your competition by writing compelling product descriptions. Connect with the customer, be descriptive and concise, and you should see great results.
Once you have spent the time building your website, branding, and communication, you can begin to analyze the results of your hard work. You may find that some of your marketing activities are hugely successful while others are a flop. You can use tools like Google Search Console or Google Analytics to measure your online traffic and thus make sure it is increasing. If you use third-party tools for emailing or social media reporting, set up automatic weekly or monthly reports to remind you to analyze this information regularly. Even a quick snapshot of the data can be enough to decide whether a campaign is working or not. Generally,
We hope this article has answered your questions and will help you get started with your dropshipping business. It’s your turn!