Many people want to earn a decent income by starting their ecommerce store. However, complexities like high startup costs, inventory management, shipping, and order fulfillment, make them drop the plan.
This is where dropshipping comes into the picture.
Dropshipping is a business model in which you can run an online store without holding any inventory. Once you’ve made a sale, the supplier will deliver the product directly to the customer.
Dropshipping business is easy to start due to less investment of capital. Not having the burden of managing inventory, packaging, and shopping the products makes the business run smoother. Plus, the risk factor remains minimum as you only pay for goods sold to customers.
However, making some real money out of this business requires the right tactics. This blog post will walk you through ten dropshipping tips that ensure you develop and expand your current customer base.
Find the right supplier
Suppliers play a crucial role in the overall success of your dropshipping business. They will fulfill orders, and your brand image lies in their hands as they deliver the final goods. In case of the delivery of damaged goods or delayed deliveries, you are likely to strain your relationship with your current customer base.
To ensure your credibility doesn’t get affected, choose suppliers that prioritize product quality and adhere to strict timelines. In the end, you are answerable to your customers, not the suppliers. Take out enough time to conduct extensive research, talk to the experts in the field, and come up with an informed decision.
No matter what supplier you choose, relying too much on them is not healthy for a sustainable business. Set clear terms and conditions in case of any breach. Further, have access to multiple lenders with overlapping inventory to increase your order fulfillment ratio. If one supplier doesn’t have an item in stock, there’s a good chance that the other has it.
Build a beautiful ecommerce site
The success or failure of your dropshipping business highly depends on the type of ecommerce platform you choose.
Ecommerce platforms are built to help small business owners kick start their online business and establish their own brand. They come with in-built website design templates and secured payment portals, which help you establish trust among customers and save time and money in the long run.
There are a wide number of stores to choose from. Your choice entirely depends on the type of products you want to sell and the market you target. Make sure you are aware of the features you cannot compromise with to make an informed decision. Some examples include: Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, OpenCart, Drupal, and WP Ecommerce.
The three key features that your store must have are as follows:
- Direct integration with the distributor’s product feed to avoid manually uploading the products along with images and description
- Integration with popular CRM’s, ERP’s, and accounting software for smooth functioning
- Mobile-friendliness for an improved customer experience
- Easy-to-use, low fees, and 24/7 customer support
- Make sure the platform is PCI compliant
Stop under-pricing your products
While selecting the products to sell, consider the profit margins. Take a close look at the overall expenses to identify your final earnings.
Your competitors might cut on prices due to varied reasons. Do not do the same and suffer financial losses. If you’re selling a ten dollar product, you should be charging around $39.99 for it.
The focus should remain intact on offering high-quality products. Make sure the price attached to a product speaks for its quality. Focus on other crucial areas instead of solely reducing costs to develop a customer base. This includes providing excellent customer support service, an easy return or refund policy, etc.
Put forward an undeniable offer
People go crazy when they see offers and deals on their favorite products. Even if they are not in a rush to purchase it, this will trigger them to take immediate action.
Conduct frequent sales and offer exciting deals to improve your customer base. Once they use your product and feel satisfied, they are likely to purchase again.
Instead of selling one product, offer a bundle at a much lower price. You’ll be shocked to see how many people purchase things they don’t need just because they are on a sale. Everyone likes to associate with a brand offering good bargains and promotions.
Keep an eye on your competitors
Never be afraid of heavy competition as it simply explains the scope in a particular niche. If there is heavy demand for certain products, offering superior quality will help you stand out.
Keep analyzing your competitors’ social media pages, blogs, etc. Take a look at the strategies they implemented and the success or failure associated with the same.
This will help you re-shape your strategies and save you from committing similar mistakes. By monitoring the people who engage with their content, you get a clear idea of your target audience.
Order and analyse product samples
To get an idea about your customers’ final experience, you must analyze your product samples. You will understand if the quality of the product is worth it. If not, you know it’s time to deal with a different supplier.
Analyzing these samples will help you make an informed decision before a bad brand reputation starts building up. After ordering samples of the products, make sure you share them with your friends and family members.
It’s excellent to consider different perspectives to make an informed decision. After all, you need to take your end users’ needs into consideration, not yours.
Make shipping and tracking easy
People prefer online shopping due to the convenience it offers. If they are continuously worried about no updates from the seller’s side, they are not likely to purchase again. Your first-time buyers must be given enough reassurance to build trust.
Another crucial area is the time taken in shipping the products. One thing that customers hate about online shopping is the wait that follows. They are excited about the products they ordered, and 15-20 days in delivery will lead to a poor experience. Easy tracking followed by a one-week delivery will make you preferable amongst your target audience.
Provide multiple payment options
Do not keep the payment options restricted. Offer your customers multiple options—both COD and electronic payments—for easy checkouts. You will notice a decreased cart abandonment rate. Familiar payment getaways assure security, thereby leading to immediate action. Some of the examples include PayPal, Stripe, Wepay, and so on.
For first-time dropshipping entrepreneurs, it’s better to choose at least two payment getaways. Here’s what you should consider:
- Easy integration with the ecommerce platform you use
- Widely used in your target country
- Has a low transaction fees
- A great user experience and 24/7 customer support
Create an FAQ page
Your customer support executives might be tired of the same questions. Creating an FAQ page will help you provide quick answers to all frequent queries in one place. Furthermore, some people hesitate to contact the customer support service. Creating this page will make sure they do not leave without making a purchase.
Focus on marketing your business
Starting a dropshipping business is just half the battle. The real challenge lies in making people aware that your store exists. This is where marketing and branding come into the game.
- First, design a logo and create graphics for your website. With Canva, you can create your logo using free logo templates. Plus, it has tons of royalty-free photos that can help you brand your website. However, you can also hire a website design team to help you create your own branded images and graphics.
- Product information is another crucial aspect of a dropshipping website. Here’s a checklist of what information to include to market your products effectively: product photos, detailed product descriptions, product videos, pricing, item size, and weight, etc.
- Master ads and search engine optimization to bring in more traffic to your store. Ads can drive tons of sales in a short time, whereas SEO strategies can help optimize product pages and encourage long-term sales by boosting your search engine rankings.
Dropshipping business has tons of advantages, and it is the fastest way to jumpstart your entrepreneurial journey. It may seem like easy money—you just have to act as an intermediary between the supplier and the customer. However, when you consider the cons, challenges, and work, dropshipping might not be as easy as it sounds.
A successful dropshipping business requires you to stick to a proper plan, choose the right ecommerce platform, and make tracking of goods easy for your customers. Plus, spy on your competitors to evaluate what’s working for them and what’s not.
A secure payment option is the most crucial element that will make your business reliable and trustworthy in shoppers’ eyes. Last but not least, leverage various branding and marketing tactics to showcase your business to your target audience.
Follow the ten tips mentioned above and hop on the dropshipping bandwagon now.
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.
Also published on Medium.