Don’t let the tight fiances strangle your entrepreneurship dreams. You can still break into the online business space with bare minimum funds. This modern way of online selling–Dropshipping–empowers you to start selling without going bankrupt right away.
With flexible scalability options, Dropshipping is today’s sought-after option to start an online store with little risk.
It’s the modern way of affiliate marketing, where you can set the final selling price.
You choose what to sell, and only the marketing and order processing side comes to your plate. The rest of the work is managed by third parties.
It’s very easy to start with if you possess elementary computer literacy.
Needless to say, profit margins are also slim–commensurate with the amount of work and the responsibility you bear.
What is Dropshipping?
It’s a business model where you don’t manufacture goods or have a brick-and-mortar shop.
You display and market the products. In addition, you full fill the clerical formalities including product processing, shipping, and returns.
The actual packaging and shipping hassles lie with the real seller or manufacturer.
Essentially you act as the ‘middlemen’ between the user and the real seller–eating away small margins in between.
It’s not all boring, though; you can add products from multiple sellers without actually caring about the initial and maintenance costs associated with setting up a physical inventory.
As anyone can start selling this way, your next-door neighbor could be selling the same thing without you getting any whiff about it.
And that creates the biggest drawback of Dropshipping right there–competition.
How to Start Dropshipping Business
A website is the easiest gateway to do online business.
The same is true with this business model as well. Below are three crucial steps to start any dropshipping business:
—Create a website.
—Select Dropshipping Utility.
—Choose Dropshipping supplier.
Create a website
First, purchase a domain name and a hosting plan.
Then design a website with any Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress. With WordPress, designing a website is simple and requires no coding skills.
There are more complicated CMSs like Drupal or Joomla, but for dropshipping, the easiest and user-friendly option is WordPress.
This site–on which you’re reading this content–is also designed using WordPress.
Follow this guide, if you need any help regarding this step.
Select Dropshipping Utility
It will help your online business to look similar to other online stores like Amazon or eBay.
Additionally, you’ll be able to add products with just a click. There may be an option to edit or replace product images and their descriptions.
Generally, these services are not free.
Like with Shopify, plans start with a price tag of 29$ per month while WooCommerce bills 49$ annually.
There are some free plugins though, like this. It enables you to add 50 pre-selected products for free. You pay if you add any additional products outside the list.
This particular option powers you to have up to 1500 products for a nominal one-time fee of 199$.
Choose Dropshipping supplier
Most starters choose Aliexpress, as there are many suppliers on Aliexpress that dropship products.
If you’re about testing the waters, go ahead, make the same choice. It’ll give you evidence about the Dropshipping working for you or otherwise.
There are numerous other suppliers based on location and product type.
Some ship international, others don’t.
It’s like various brick and mortar shops–each one having its own set of conditions and price points.
So, research properly about the vendors available in your product sphere and their shipping conditions.
Look out for past reviews. Because whatever they send your customer with–your name will be attached to it.
It can make or break your reputation.
Turnkey Dropshipping Stores
You can design your store from scratch, add products to it or buy a pre-made store (aka turnkey dropshipping stores) for some pre-paid amount of course.
Those turnkey stores have generally success stories associated with it, like people making thousands of dollars per month from similar stores.
But don’t get swayed by it.
It needs significant marketing efforts before you even hit your first sale.
There are also some running stores available for sale with a performance history.
But one major downside is their price tags. Take a look:
Even though the price is a subjective matter, their initial price tags seem monstrous for anyone breaking into Dropshipping.
So, it’s recommended for a person with deep pockets and dead set to avoid initial struggles associated with setting up a brand new store.
For others, the idea is–research, research, and research–before paying anything upfront.
One typical drawback with turnkey stores is that–they can have suspicious code embed into the website.
Ergo, it can serve the purpose to the cyber-criminals or just your competitors.
Your top-selling products could be tracked and copied somewhere else–thereby increasing your competition, or your customers’ information could be stolen.
Consequently, pre-curated stores are not the safest option out there.
So, designing a website through any CMS remains the strongest and the safest option.
It might have some initial learning curve, but that is rewarding in case of updating your store, keeping your best-selling products a secret, and sidelining any possible security threat.
Is Dropshipping Profitable?
The answer isn’t a straight one, and I’m sorry to disappoint you.
It’s like a virtual retail business with no control over the quality of the product and shipping process.
So, if the product is good and the shipping is quick–you might make a reputation as a good online retailer.
You may receive recurring customers and new ones following word of mouth.
But, everything–good or bad–depends on someone else: your dropshipping supplier.
Straightaway, it’s not the best way of doing any business.
But again, there are success stories to everything, and dropshipping isn’t an exception.
Some people are making huge profits by doing strategic planning in their business, like selling in a particular niche and making a name in that space.
Others are operating more generalized stores to assess profit margins in different categories.
But the secret and the most powerful ingredient for the success of any business–Dropshipping included–is Marketing.
Marketing takes the lion’s share of your dropshipping budget.
Notably, setting up a random Google Ad campaign doesn’t guarantee website visitors, let alone sales.
In-depth research and a great ad copy is required for any ad campaign to stand a chance to increase visitors to your website, finally resulting in any sales whatsoever.
So, search for products and the locations where you want to ship.
Some products offer low profits but great sales while others can be high profit with low sales.
The purpose of any ad campaign lies in finding out the winning product(s).
Starting slowly, experimenting with different products and locations, and writing an eye-catching ad copy are the key steps that’ll give the initial boost to your Dropshipping business.
Once set and running–you hardly will look back, depending upon the consistency of your dropshipping supplier(s), of course.
Who is it For?
It’s most suitable for housewives, students, part-timers, and people on a budget.
Though anyone can start a dropshipping business, I wouldn’t recommend this business model if your life depends on it.
Traditional business models–though demand higher initial capital and efforts–are more stable.
You command superior control over products passing over to your customers, a luxury forever absent in Dropshipping.
Dropshipping is nothing without strategic planning.
Anyone selling Dropshipping to you as guaranteed and overnight success is adding to your misfortunes.
It’s a low-risk business model indeed–and easy nevertheless, but these very attributes have created massive competition.
As time goes by, many and more people are joining the Dropshipping bandwagon, making it harder to succeed for anyone starting afresh.
But again, if you can research about the demand, can design a website, market smartly, and have that patience–then undoubtedly, Dropshipping can bear (some or) many fruits to you.
Do keep in mind that money comes through hard work or luck, and Dropshipping is the former of the two.
And the most critical drawback of this business model–dependability on dropshipping suppliers–can’t be done anything with.
Finally, if you have the means and heart to start a traditional business–that’s the best case.
Otherwise, Dropshipping presents an option with little risk and small profits–for most people.