If you’re looking to start an online business that does not involve product production, inventory costs and shipment handling, then drop shipping may be your answer.
With the rapid growth of e-commerce marketplaces and affiliate marketing, the dropshipping business model has become one of the most popular ways for entrepreneurs to make money.
Dropshipping allows online store owners to focus solely on brand marketing and customer acquisition, while all product handling and inventory management is dealt with by the product supplier.
Having no operational costs involved, starting your own dropshipping brand can be achieved with limited funds.
This article will walk you through the steps you need to know to start your own dropshipping business and making a passive income.
General Stores vs Niche Stores
When it comes to setting up your online store, you have the option of either focusing on a niche market or running a general store that appeals to a wider audience.
Since general stores will offer a wide selection of products across different industries, there’s a great deal of flexibility when it comes to choosing what to sell.
However, with such a large variety of products and no specific focus, your store may become difficult to market and manage.
Niche stores, on the other hand, will focus on the type of products that appeal to a specific market audience.
Having less competition than a general store, this allows you to better understand an industry and become a leader in the unique market of your choice.
Marketing your niche brand and developing a loyal customer base through targeted campaigns can be easily achieved using Facebook Lookalike audiences.
Additionally, considering your customers have an existing interest in the niche, upselling related items and creating bundled packages can lead to larger orders and better conversions.
Choose the Right Niche
When conducting your research and brainstorming different niche ideas for your online store, personal interest and emotional connection to your niche is definitely an advantage, but it is not a necessity.
It is more important to make sure that the products you choose are in high demand.
The niche of your choice should already have online stores and large Facebook pages focused around it, demonstrating an existing interest and therefore a potential profit.
Another factor indicating the possible success of your niche store, is the availability of online influencers within the niche that have a large follower base of 50k to 500k.
Such influencers will eventually become your primary tool to kick start an initial customer base, through paid shoutouts and promotions.
That being said, do not be alarmed by existing competition as it may be a sign that your products will indeed sell.
Choosing a proper name for your online store should not be time-consuming, but make sure it relates well to your niche and is somewhat memorable.
After completing this step, you can now head over to a domain registrar like Namecheap to have your domain name registered.
Along with creating a domain, make sure to set up a primary and secondary email account for your business and have your social media accounts all connected to them.
A company logo is key to the visual representation of your brand and therefore an important factor to check off your list before launching your online store.
From market research analytics to various e-commerce platforms, there are plenty online resources available for anyone looking to start a dropshipping business.
Here are some of the primary tools you will need to obtain in order to cover the basic requirements of a successful online store.
When looking to find a dedicated eCommerce platform to host your online store, Shopify is a highly recommended option.
With monthly packages starting as low as $29, start with a basic plan and upgrade when needed.
In terms of website content, feel free to refer to well-established dropshipping stores for tips and layout options.
Your store should include the following pages to provide an excellent online shopping experience and have permission to run Facebook ads: a contact and FAQ page, privacy information, terms of service and refund policies.
For anyone who knows enough about online marketing, you know that creating a Facebook page and registering for Facebook ads manager can work wonders for your SEO ranking, website traffic, and conversion rates.
Instagram shoutouts from relevant influencers in your niche is a highly effective tool utilized by majority of online dropshipping businesses.
You will need to create an Instagram account to conduct research and contact potential brand ambassadors for your products.
Shoutouts from popular influencers will raise awareness about your business and help you build a reputable brand.
This web analytics and marketing service offered by Google tracks and reports website traffic, making it one of the most useful tools for anyone looking for smarter marketing statistics and better conversion rates.
Using the audience builder feature, you can create your own custom audiences from day one, which will eventually come in handy when setting up targeted ads.
Make sure to also enable Ecommerce tracking on your Analytics account, allowing you to measure the number of transactions and revenue generated from your website sales.
Majority of eCommerce business owners will admit that finding a reliable supplier for your dropshipping business is one of the most challenging steps to starting an online store.
The supplier will have the sole responsibility for keeping products in stock and ensuring that orders are shipped to your customers in a timely manner.
Most dropship suppliers such as Ali Express are based in China, resulting in longer than average shipping times to North America, ranging from 12 up to 30 days or more.
Although you can expect mediocre quality from such products, they are often low priced giving you the advantage of reasonable upselling.
Once you have chosen a few products you would like to feature on your online store, you may be wondering how exactly you would import them onto your website.
Oberlo Dropshipping allows you to easily import products directly onto your Shopify store, supplying you with all the tools you need to successfully mark up your prices and generate profit.
Make sure to come up with your own unique product descriptions, rather than replicating that of your supplier which will violate copyright law.
Once your dropshipping store is set up and you have selected dedicated suppliers and potential products, you’re all set to go.
It is always a good idea to get familiar with the products you’ll be selling by personally testing them.
You will also need a well-executed marketing plan to get your feet on the ground and develop your first customer base.
Utilize targeted ads and influencer shoutouts to raise awareness about your brand and make sure to have a user-friendly website that offers your visitors a great online shopping experience.
Dropshipping is a quick and cost-effective way to running an online store but it also consists of a lot of trial and error. Be patient! Pick the right niche, choose your products selectively and you could be making profit in no time.
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