How to Start a Dropshipping Business
If you’re looking for a quick way to make money online, you need to start a dropshipping store. As the number of people shopping online jumped up to 25% last year because of the pandemic and the accompanying lockdowns. People have gotten more accustomed to shopping online and the trend will continue.
It’s very easy to start a dropshipping store. You need to invest very little. The biggest expense for you will be the hosting and maybe ads if you plan to use a lot of ads to promote your products. You can even source the products for free.
But in order to attract customers and be profitable, you need to get a lot of steps right. This is why I have shared my top tips for starting a dropshipping business below…
Find a profitable niche you are passionate about:
When starting a business, most people ask you to find a niche you are passionate about. That’s important, but at the same time, it should be a profitable niche or market where people are ready to spend high amounts. This is because if you pursue a niche you are passionate about, you might enjoy it, but if no one buys, you won’t make money and your store will collapse in a few months.
So, first, brainstorm some niches where people like to buy products. Try to come up with at least 20. Then decide which ones you are passionate about and pick the top ones from the list. Select five at least.
The next step is to do a lot of research. The research will help you pick the right niche from your shortlist. Research is important because dropshipping and ecommerce stores have become very popular. It’s easy to set up a store, so everybody is doing it. You need to do the research to find a niche that isn’t too popular but is still in demand from potential customers. This will make it easier to stand out and build a foothold.
The research will also help ensure you are profitable. If you can figure out how much products will cost and how much time and money you will spend marketing them, you can figure out if you’ll be profitable.
So, decide if you’ll outsource products with dropshipping companies or if you’ll be working with manufacturers directly and calculate how much this will cost you. Then decide the different marketing methods you’ll use and how much they will cost.
Next, check out how much your competitors’ are pricing products at, determine how much you will price them at, and how much profit you will make from every sale after you subtract inventory, marketing, and support expenses.
This research will ensure that you get it right immediately, instead of starting a store and giving up or having to make drastic changes to your strategy.
Set up the website:
Once you have done the research, you can create the store. This is the easy bit as you can use an ecommerce builder such as Shopify stores to set it up in under a day. You simply need to pick a theme, install it, and then modify it with the ecommerce store’s builder. Many ecommerce builders these days have integrations and apps that make it easy to import products, images, and copy. You can import the products and images, but I recommend you to write the copy by yourself.
The copy needs to speak to your target audience. If you want to save time here, you can hire people from sites like Fiverr to help you out.
For some inspiration, check out Inspire Uplift.
They are a popular dropshipping store.
Create a funnel:
The next thing you should do is create the funnel. You need to use two kinds of funnels here. One should start with the products themselves. The first stage of this funnel is the product landing page. This is followed by upsell and cross-sell popups, thank you pages and emails that upsell even more products.
The other funnel should be a content funnel where you ask people to sign up to a lead magnet like an ebook or online course or webinar and then serve them with thank you pages and emails that nurture them and promote products.
Funnels are very important when it comes to dropshipping as the profit margins are low. The best way to make up for this is with upsells and cross-sells.
To get this right I recommend you do some funnel hacking. This is where you sign up to your competitors’ funnels to see the techniques they are using and then adapt them in your own marketing.
Promote with various methods:
The next thing you need to do is promote your products with various methods to see which one drives the highest sales and profits. Look for methods like affiliate marketing with influencers and ads at the beginning as they will drive traffic quickly. This will help measure the conversion rate of your funnel.
If the conversion rate is low, you can make modifications to improve results.
Scale with the best methods:
Once you have a funnel that works and know which techniques work best, you can scale results by increasing your budget. If you scale with ads it will of course cost you more, but once you have some money from the initial sales, this shouldn’t be a problem as you can invest some of the profits into your ads and make even more revenue.
A decent ROAS (return on ad spend) from ads is $2.87 for every $1 spend. Try to achieve this benchmark before you scale results. You can spend a fraction of the return on more ads.
This is how you start a dropshipping business. The set up is the easy part. But the research that comes before the setup and the experimentation that come after are the hard bits. Most people avoid these steps and as a result, fail in the quest to run a long term business. So, make sure you put an ample amount of time into it. They might seem trivial, but they are actually very vital.
Rachel Bowland is the content manager at Social Marketing Writing and Creatiwitt. She likes to write about marketing and design.