Entrepreneurship in many shapes and forms has stolen the spotlight in the past several years, but 2020 has been especially fruitful in terms of new business opportunities created and embraced by individuals. Since e-commerce has flourished in this social distancing climate and other necessary precautions imposed by various governments, it’s only natural that many have decided to try their hand at dropshipping.
The pandemic has certainly had its impact on the dropshipping industry thus far, but if it has accomplished anything, then it’s to make it more essential than ever before for companies to connect with customers and ensure their e-commerce success. Safety and prevention remain a burning issue much like in any other industry, but considering the benefits of this line of work in this current situation, more entrepreneurs are interested to start their own dropshipping business. While we’re still in 2020, here are a few key guidelines to help you start your own company in this industry and hopefully help you grow as 2021 approaches.
Choose the companies you want to work with
The very first step into the world of dropshipping should be to select a niche that is currently trending, but that also has the potential to live on for years on end. The products you choose to sell matters greatly, since it will define how you align yourself with your values, your target demographic, and how profitable your business will ultimately be.
Whether you want to sell fitness-related gear and supplements, set up a fashion store, or specialize in pet products, you need to conduct thorough research on the most reputable suppliers that will empower you to sell internationally. Brands that have a strong reputation enable you to associate your own dropshipping business with their stable reputation, helping you succeed merely by working with them. Plus, it means that you’ll work with brands that care about delivering their goods undamaged and on time – something all customers expect and appreciate.
Build your brand and online presence
Even though your dropshipping business serves as an intermediary between suppliers and customers, all the while being beneficial to all parties involved, you still need a strong brand presence and a top-notch website to represent your business online. If you’re running a one-person operation, you can benefit from setting up a .me domain name that you can combine with your first or last name, or even your nickname, to establish authority in the industry.
By leveraging your personal brand for your business, you will not only humanize the business itself for your international audience and make it much more relatable, but you’ll also enable people to recognize your expertise. Top-level domains and reputable extensions greatly contribute to the authority of your website and your business, and serve as the perfect foundation for establishing a strong online presence for your dropshipping endeavor.
Maximize your business through marketing
Much like any other business, your dropshipping company needs to get ample visibility online in order to gain enough traction. Start looking into appropriate marketing strategies to position your business properly, as everything from SEO, social media, to content marketing will enable you to build a memorable brand presence. Although you might be tempted to use social media strictly for advertising, these platforms are exceptionally potent for empowering customer support, engagement, and to drive more traffic to your store.
Don’t forget to utilize email marketing for engaging your repeat customers, but also to make the most of cross-selling and up-selling strategies. It’s best to diversify your marketing as much as possible in accordance with your market research so that you can be where your customers are.
Get to know your competition
In addition to learning about your customers and about the industry itself, it’s vital to learn about your potential competitors, especially if you’re aiming to build an international presence. You can learn so much from their approach and strategies to see what works well in your niche and what you should not use within your own strategy. There are numerous competitor analytics tools to use in these instances, paired with simple Google searches, and researching on social media. Combine all available outlets to get a comprehensive overview of your competition and learn as much as possible from them.
Learn and adapt with analytics
Travel restrictions, social distancing, remote work, and all other precautions have made it more difficult for dropshipping business owners to run their companies as usual. However, in addition to such extraordinary circumstances, this industry has its own fluctuations and seasonal changes that define when you can expect your business to bloom and when you need to work extra hard at your marketing. Add to that, individual customers change their preferences, and other dropshipping enthusiasts joining the playing field might change the game, too.
All of these variables are essential for the success of your business. Before you move on, you need to find reputable sources to keep track of market changes, news outlets related to your industry, and keep track of your own digital analytics tools to recognize customers’ behavioral patterns, as well as emerging changes within them. Although your business model should be stable, you also need to be flexible enough to adjust to these upcoming changes – otherwise the pandemic would have wiped out many more dropshipping businesses in the past few months.
While dropshipping remains a desirable industry for eager entrepreneurs, succeeding in this business means that you need to establish a reputable presence in the right niche, embrace the learning curve and collect data about your target demographic as well as your competition, and adjust your strategy accordingly. There’s no cookie-cutter solution for international dropshipping businesses, so setting the stage with these fundamentals is a great start – use these tips to fuel your initial idea and turn it into a profitable business.