Getting Started with DropShipping as a seller
You’re thinking about starting an online business as a seller. You’ve heard about the DropShipping revolution and how simple it is to start selling, and no doubt you’ve Googled it. How much information did you find? Pages and pages and pages, at a guess. With so much information available, it can be difficult knowing where to start, so we thought we’d help narrow it down.
1. Research, research, research
In order to be successful, this point is key throughout. Don’t make assumptions – make sure you’ve done your due diligence, so you can be confident you’re making the right decision. Instincts andexperience have their place, but confirm them with hard data. You’re going to be competing with other DropShippers as well as retail giants, so you must be careful. Look into the competition for each step. If there’s a gap in the market, there’s probably a reason – razor thin better margins, shipping issues, and so on.
Make sure you keep notes, bookmark useful pages and make checklists so you can referback to them. There are thousands of tools that allow you to keep those notes organised across several devices. Some favourites of our team include Google Docs, Google Calendar, Trello and OneNote.
2. Choose your products
You’ve decided to set up your business, which is great! Do you know what you’re planning to sell? Simply picking what is trending isn’t the best plan – there’s already thousands of sellers doing that. Do your research, find out what is selling well and select products that suit the brand of your company. Listing trending items can be useful, but with so many others selling them, they’re unlikely to be your best sellers. Think of them as a draw to your listings. With great marketing, you can take advantage of impulse sales while the customer is there. The important thing to remember is to try and be ahead of the curve to make the best returns. That’s for less competition, a pricepremium and many other reasons!
Be careful with the items you list – we advise strongly against selecting counterfeit goods, or copies. They’re unethical, and illegal in many countries. The potential hassle is not worth any possible gains, even at best. At worst, you risk massive fines that could compromise your business. There are better products you can list, from great suppliers, that are less likely to cause you a headache.
Don’t just consider inexpensive items for bulk sales. Lower priced items take the same amount of effort to market as expensive and luxury items, so choose carefully. A niche with higher priced items is more likely to reap higher profits than low-cost, trending items. As we said in point 1, do your research. Work out which products will fit the business you are building, and the customers you are targeting, best.
3. To website or not to website?
Think about your sales channel strategy – are you going to sell through your own website or not? There are hundreds of ways to create a robust, reliable website without needing technical knowledge. Systems such as Shopify, WooCommerce and BigCommerce allow you to create attractive websites quickly, and can scale as you do.
If you do create an eCommerce website, you need to work hard to get customers there. They have literally thousands of other options, so you need to build their trust to encourage them to choose you. Your website must be secure, visually appealing and have a great customer journey with easy checkout. It has to be easy to complete a sale – otherwise even with amazing deals, you’ll end up with abandoned purchases. On top of that, you’re also going to need to think about how customers will find you. They won’t search for your business name until they have bought from you and know your products. So, great SEO-friendly listings, combined with digital and social media marketing is going to be paramount for your success.
4. Pick your platforms
With marketplaces, don’t just assume you’ll just go for Amazon and eBay as they’re the most well-known in the UK. They’re large, and prominent, but already flooded with sellers. Competition, including winning the buy box can be incredibly difficult, especially with trending items. Let’s just refer back to point 1 again. Being a bigger fish on a smaller marketplace, especially once you’ve received excellent reviews, may serve you better.
And don’t think that selling in the UK alone is going to be easiest, or the best. Of course, there are reasons that selling in the UK is great – especially with marketplaces like OnBuy – but don’t limit yourself – think globally! By choosing strategically placed DropShippers, you can sell on local marketplaces worldwide without worrying about shipping, or storage costs. People want to buy from their favourite marketplace they’re already registered with – it’s one reason why Amazon Prime is popular! Particularly if you’re selling something that isn’t easy to purchase in those countries, you’re more likely to make sales. Perhaps you’ll be selling in India via Flipkart, ShopClues or KartRocket, or in Scandinavia through Fyndiq, Coolshop or Bol.com? The opportunities to grow worldwide really are endless, so again – do your research. And remember that part of that research is whether there is a reason that an item isn’t easy to get in that country!
5. Establish your marketing strategy
Setting up your website, finding your supplier – it’s all great strides to starting your business. However, customers aren’t going to find their own way there – you’ll need to do some great marketing. Don’t rely on gimmicks – there’s enough of those, customers are bored with them and they’re difficult to do well. To ensure your long-term success, build on a solid core, with a strategy that makes sense. Make sure your storyline that complements your brand. Establish your target customer, and learn everything about them. Which social media platforms do they use, and when? When do they shop, and how? Are they likely to make impulse purchases? This is all valuable information that will help you build your strategy and net those sales.
6. Find a reliable supplier
In the world of DropShipping, this one can be challenging. Partnering with a supplier who doesn’t share your values is going to lead to troubles. See point 1 – do your homework. If you’re not 100% sure that a supplier will provide great service, or won’t respond to your emails in good time – we’d advise you to think again. Suppliers overseas may over-promise on the quality of their products, how consistently they will perform, or shipping times. The last thing you want to do is risk bad reviews that damage your brand, or having to provide refunds.
And while you’re planning for the worst, you also need to prepare for the best! How will your supplier manage if your business scales up dramatically? Can they fulfil hundreds of orders, should a certain product suddenly start trending? If they can’t, are they best for you? You don’t want to risk being out of stock, or risk penalties from a platform for overselling and cancelling orders. Therefore, you may want to establish contingency plans, such as having a backup supplier.That might be easy if the system you are working with has plenty of suppliers; it might be less so, if you don’t have a system in place.
7. Find a system that works for you
Finding a system that really does cover everything you need it to can be tricky. However, just for good measure, let’s just refer to point 1 again. There are several systems out there that will claim to do everything you need. Not all of them will, and may require additional software to manage certain aspects of your setup, so be selective. Narrow your shortlist, then arrange calls or demonstrations where possible. Read reviews. Take your time; this decision is absolutely critical.
We believe Avasam really is the easiest way to get up and running when you’re launching a DropShipping business. From our initial concept, we designed it to cover as much as possible, and it really does do everything sellers need for a successful DropShipping business. However, just because we think Avasam is great doesn’t mean it’s right for you. So, again, do your research. Fine-tune your shortlist. Make sure the solution you choose has at least as many features as Avasam, then test drive them all carefully. Most solutions, including Avasam will provide you with a trial, so take advantage. Here’s the link for our trial, so you can add it to your shortlist and see how easy it is.
Overall, it’s important to remember that perfect planning prevents poor performance. It might be a cliché, but it’s absolutely true. Lack of planning is a major factor in DropShipping businesses failing in their first year! Investing time in research and preparation is investing in your future success.
Got questions or want to talk about your business? Contact us .