How to go from 6 figures to 7 figures DropShipping

Avasam

Dive into seller threads on Reddit, Quora and Facebook and you’ll find a huge number of posts from online sellers that want to escalate their businesses from doing pretty alright – turning over six figures – to doing spectacularly well. Taking your DropShipping business to a seven figure business isn’t easy though, and there are a lot of actions that you can take to get to that point. And of course, all those actions have to be taken while you’re continuing to sell!

If you’ve got a mixed business where you hold stock at your premises as well as working with suppliers to DropShip orders to customers, then you’ve got even more on your plate. Establishing which products to invest in stock, and which to have your suppliers deal with for you.

Refine your niche

If you’re already doing six figures in your business, it is pretty likely that you know what your niche is. Your niche is what your business specialises in, so ideally, is something you know a lot about, or is something you are passionate about. You spend a lot of time selling, so the niche you sell in is important not only to keep you interested in your business, but also because you need to believe in your products in order to convince your customers that your business is the right one to make their purchase from.

Your niche can be general – such as fashion, jewellery or mobile phone accessories – but narrowing down your niche will mean that you can cut some of your competition too. If you’re selling fashion, you’re competing with a huge number of well-known retailers who it will be near-impossible for you to compete with – but if you are selling fashion for a select demographic, or for people with specific needs, your competition may be a lot smaller.

Expanding your niche and adding a number of trending products to your inventory can help to increase the number of sales you make. Although trending products will get sales, is often a mistake to rely solely on trending products for scaling up – since there is so much competition that profit margins get squeezed to almost nothing.

You’re likely to have already established your niche, so look at how you can refine your product offering, cutting out items that aren’t selling well (or only sell well in certain seasons) and increasing the number of product variations where you have products that do sell well. Look at diversifying your product range to increase the potential for sales too.

Improve your product photography and graphics

Optimising your product images is important – and especially so if your DropShipping suppliers are working with a number of sellers, as many do. If you’re downloading images from suppliers and simply uploading them to your sales channels, then you’ll need to bear in mind that plenty of other sellers will be doing the same – and customers will notice this. They expect to see multiple listings for similar (and even the same) items on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, but if it is clear the listings are the same, they will simply choose the cheapest item.

In an ideal world, you’ll have one of everything you’re selling and take your own photos, but in reality, that isn’t realistic – especially when you’re scaling up and the number of products in your inventory is more than twenty or so. That doesn’t mean that you can’t improve on what you’ve got though. Using the high quality photos that are provided by your supplier, use photo editing software to add further information to the image – whether that is Photoshop or another photo editing app. The key is to keep everything high quality though – if it is done poorly, you definitely won’t win the sales you want.

Polish your listings

Customers are incredibly critical of sellers getting things wrong online. It is one thing to have a typo, and quite another to have grammatical and punctuation errors throughout – and customers really do judge you on that. When you’re creating your listings or content for your website, typing them in Word is a good first step to picking up errors, but don’t rely on that. Word doesn’t pick up when you’ve used the wrong word if it is typed correctly – so if you meant ‘time’, but you typed ‘item’, then as far as Word is concerned, it is correct. To pick up on those types of errors, use a tool like Grammarly. Not only will it pick up what Word doesn’t, it’ll give you advice about things like the length of your sentences and where you could be more concise to make your text easier to digest.

Finally, as a safety net, it is well worth having someone check your content before it goes live. It isn’t always possible, but it is a really good idea and can keep your content that bit more accurate. If your proof reader has any questions about the product, this will give you the opportunity to make changes and include information that will benefit your customers too.

eCommerce SEO

Search Engine Optimisation is an essential part of getting your website in front of potential customers who are looking for your products. On marketplaces where competition is high, your SEO is even more important, since the more sales you make, the more the marketplace is likely to prioritise your listing, or to win the elusive ‘buy box’.

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to SEO, but forget about keyword stuffing and methods that used to be commonplace. Today, the search engines reward quality content that is designed for the reader, so while keyword analysis is still important to guide your content, you don’t need to try and use those keywords unnaturally.

Making use of tools for keywords is just the first step though – there are other things you can do to increase your SEO rankings. Making sure your categories are optimised, that your links to other pages (both on your website and off) are strong and click through correctly, and that your titles and meta data are accurate is essential.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to improve your SEO strategy by implementing a content marketing strategy – either using relevant blogs, video content or by creating a podcast. Search engines rank websites with great content much higher than those without, and creating content benefits you in several ways:

  • It increases trust in your brand, because it proves that you are an expert in your field.
  • If you’re creating content that your customers are interested in, they will be much more likely to come back for more. This has the knock-on effect that they will be more likely to buy from you in future too.
  • All this is recognised by search engines (that your website is being visited regularly and that visitors are spending time on your website) and so your website will rank better.

Perfect your sales channels

Logically, selling on more sales channels might seem like the right thing to do in order to reach more customers. But your target customers simply aren’t shopping on every single marketplace. Let’s say that you’re selling high quality cashmere jumpers, as an example. You are more likely to make sales on marketplaces such as Privalia than you are on eBay, where customers are likely to question whether your products are actually cashmere or not.

Spending time researching where your customers are shopping will be beneficial in the long term – and you’ll be able to list products on the marketplaces that are going to perform for you. Since there are different fees and commissions that are paid on different marketplaces, selling all your products on every single one is likely to mean you lose money. Save marketplaces where listings fees are paid up-front (such as eBay) for your well-tested, known products, and list the products that you’re testing on marketplaces where you pay commission after you make a sale, such as Wish.

Selling your items on a range of marketplaces, as well as our next point – your own, high converting website – is likely to be the key to your success.

Create a high converting website

Many DropShipping businesses make the majority of their sales on marketplaces, but there are a number of reasons for selling through your website:

  • No listing fees
  • You won’t pay commission on sales
  • You’re building a recognisable brand that customers will come back to
  • There is little to no risk of breaking seller guidelines and your seller account being disabled

Having your own website doesn’t have to take a lot of investment – there are enough eCommerce platforms that make creating a polished website with almost all of the functionality that you need. Shopify and BigCommerce are the biggest names in website building with templates and apps that you can connect to create the eCommerce website of your dreams without needing to know any code, but they might not be the right solutions for your business. If you need a little more control over the functionality you want on your website, then Magento and WooCommerce are the leaders in the field of website building, but again, they’re not the only options available to you.

What encourages your customers to buy from your website will depend on what they want, and need from your products. But making sure there are as few clicks to purchase as possible, that your website is clear and it is easy to find products and categories are logical is a good place to start. If you can carry out user testing with someone who is in your target customer demographic, that’s a good idea too.

DropShip the right way

DropShipping products from the far east can be tricky to manage, even if the process goes well. Shipping delays, inferior products and managing returns as well as managing the expectations of your customers all take up valuable resources from growing your business. To avoid the majority of issues that you’d run into with overseas suppliers, the most effective way to manage your DropShipping business is to work with UK suppliers. You’ll know that the products are in the country, they will be dispatched within a day or two, and the quality will have been carefully checked by the supplier.

Find UK suppliers

Finding reliable DropShipping suppliers can be a challenge, even with websites and online directories. You might already know what you want from your suppliers – such as the products you want to sell, which sales channels (and countries) that you want to sell on, and so on. Searching online will find you some suppliers, and you’ll almost certainly find reviews of the suppliers that you’re considering working with if they aren’t deemed reliable by other sellers. But making arrangements with suppliers separately isn’t the most effective way of increasing your business.

Utilising a DropShipping platform that connects you to suppliers is a great way to increase your opportunities, but the majority of platforms work with AliExpress suppliers – which present their own problems. Long delivery times from the far east, sub-standard quality and high levels of customer complaints are all frequent problems we hear from sellers that are DropShipping this way – and it is one of the main reasons we hear for people abandoning the field.

Using a platform like Avasam that specialises in connecting sellers with UK DropShipping suppliers is one of the simplest ways to streamline your search, and means you can work with a number of known, verified suppliers. That isn’t the only reason to work with Avasam (or one of our competitors, of course!) – the other reason is to get automation in place to make things much, much easier.

Implement automation

At this point, you’re probably already aware that having to manage your business processes manually isn’t sustainable in the long term, and definitely won’t take your business to the next level. Implementing automation in your business will help you to sell more products, and to manage more orders, from more suppliers.

The DropShipping platform that you’re going to work with should provide as much automation as possible, ideally including:

  • Automatically updating listings with current stock levels
  • Order management and payments
  • Inventory management
  • Connection with any systems that you have already implemented in your business

Ideally, your DropShipping platform should also automate returns and refunds – but platforms that do are few and far between, leaving you to email back and forth with suppliers, with no way to escalate a return.

We recently added this functionality into Avasam, so bear that in mind when you’re choosing your DropShipping platform!

Social media and marketing

Your customers that follow you on social media are the ones that will really help you step up your business. They’re the ones that will like, comment on and share your content – which helps your content to be seen by more social media users.

Paid social media advertising is an option, but like everything in DropShipping, your research needs to be done carefully. Spending hundreds of pounds on advertising and not making the sales that you want doesn’t make any sense – and if you’re not getting any returns, it is time to try different strategies. Facebook or Google Ads aren’t the beginning and the end of your options, so look at alternatives. Consider whether working with influencers might be a more cost-effective way to spend your ad budget, or make use of lesser-used social media channels such as Snapchat or TikTok (assuming your target customers are on those platforms, of course.

You might even decide to hit pause on your ad spending (or at least adding funds to your budget) until other aspects of your business have been refined and are working optimally. Spending on ads will certainly drive traffic to your listings, but if customers don’t convert, it is wasted money. Careful research and planning will help you to avoid making assumptions, and to ensure you’re making the best use of your advertising budget.

A final couple of points to consider too – when you hit on a product that customers want to order regularly, add a subscription option to your website. Customers will still pay for their orders weekly or monthly (or with whichever interval is appropriate) but you’ll have a much better idea of the minimum number of sales you’re going to make each month.

If your customers return to you for repeat orders, look at implementing a loyalty programme if they shop on your website – even small rewards can increase goodwill, and encourage customers to advocate for your business.

Get help where you need it

There is no need to struggle with any aspect your business – even if you’re not in a position to take on permanent, full time staff yet. Websites that allow freelancers to advertise their offering at an affordable rate are plentiful, and are designed that can use them ad-hoc as you need them. Whether you need a virtual assistant to help you with listing your items, an SEO expert to help you with the technical aspects of your website, someone to manage your social media, or an accountant, find the right people to help you do the stuff that is time consuming, so you can grow your business more efficiently.

If you need help with automating your business and finding suppliers to meet the demands of your customers, book a call with a member of our team – we’ll show you how simple it is to get started with Avasam and to connect with your existing setup.

Setting out a plan to get to seven figures

Although these are the main steps to scaling your business to seven figures, there is no right or wrong way of implementing these steps. DropShipping businesses are often similar in function, but each business is unique – from their target customer, to the number of, and types of products that they are selling.

Businesses that have fewer resources can focus on growing social media followings and improving the quality of their listings and images, while optimising for SEO. Adding more sales channels to the business – assuming they are where target customers are likely to be shopping, of course – can help to increase sales.

However you create your action plan, be sure to know the pros and cons of your strategy. If you’re unsure about certain tactics, rather than just creating a list of pros and cons, use business analysis tool – we find them really useful, even if you need to look past the business jargon! Looking at your plan from every angle will help to ensure you are on the right track, and are forewarned about any potential pitfalls or problems, so you can plan for those too.

The Takeaway

Although DropShipping is often labelled as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, the reality is quite different – and if you’re already creating six figure turnover from your business, then you already know there’s nothing quick or easy about scaling your business. That said, although creating a successful DropShipping business is hard work, it doesn’t need to be complicated if you set out your plans effectively and implement changes one at a time.

  • Do great research
  • Identify even more products that customers want
  • Find reliable, UK-based sellers
  • Get automation in place to handle routine tasks
  • Build your social media and encourage interactions with followers

If you’re looking for more products, and the automation that you need for your business to scale up further, adding products from Avasam suppliers could be the boost that you need to scale up. To discuss your business needs further, book a call with our team, or to have a look around and get started immediately, sign up for your free account.

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Dawn Matthews
Dawn has worked in technical and customer supporting roles for over 20 years. Most of her career was spent in technical services at top rated UK universities, which has given her a keen eye for detail. A lucky escape led her to the field of eCommerce in 2017, and she’s never looked back.Dawn studied in the field of social sciences with the Open University, achieving an MSc in Forensic Psychology at the same time as working two jobs. She regularly applies principles of psychology from her studies to her work, and outside of her role at Avasam she is busy writing her second book.Follow Dawn on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/dawn-matthews

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