Dropshipping has seen widespread popularity within the past decade due to the rise in eCommerce. Dropshipping refers to an order fulfillment method where businesses buy from suppliers and use a third party to ship their products. The dropshipper does not need to keep a physical stock and can regularly change their inventory without lifting a finger. All of this may seem like an easy way to make money, but dropshipping has become fiercely competitive within the last several years. Dropshipping is not a new concept. It is a business model followed by many retail giants such as Target, Amazon, and Walmart. Unfortunately, the market is highly saturated with smaller dropshippers, but that does not mean that success is no longer possible. You can still be a successful dropshipper in 2021 with these tips:
Market Research Your Sector Before You Begin Dropshipping
Dropshipping is difficult because trends come and go faster than the time it takes most dropshippers to contact a supplier. This is why it is crucial to do in-depth research about the type of dropshipping you want to do. Long-term commitment to one product will lead to a failed dropshipping business. The market moves fast, and so does inventory. Investing in a smaller amount for certain items and using them for a trail run is a good way to gauge the market. Using a small amount will also help you learn what items sell for and how the transaction works. Practice makes perfect, and this also goes for dropshipping.
Market research is very important for dropshipping because trends will turn fast. Being able to ride the wave of large corporation trends should be the primary objective for dropshippers. No matter how successful your business is, you will never beat Amazon or Walmart. But you can profit off of their trends. Observe what is trending on large sites and find a speedy and quality supplier to help your site move similar stock. If you want something more stable, then stick to what sells for your site, and when it stops, move on to another product. Do not become attached to products; this will only make your shop suffer. In addition, each new item you add to your store should be at a calculated risk.
Merchandising refers to the promotion of a product for sale. It is an umbrella term that consists of various marketing strategies. Merchandising is extremely important for dropshipping because it can help increase sales of products. Your shop, alongside 100 identical shops, is receiving the same cheese board for sale. Through merchandising, you can set up intricate pictures with a cheese spread on a mahogany table. You can then pump this image on Facebook Ads or Instagram reels for added promotion and advertisement. Now your cheese board is selling like wildfire even though nothing about the board itself has changed. That is the magic of merchandising. Merchandising is more than elaborate marketing strategies. It also includes understanding the culture of the consumer you are targeting. With the proper merchandising approach, your shop can take off.
Many dropshippers will find that their stores remain primarily unprofitable. The majority of consumers will choose large retailers over your shop. The key to success in dropshipping is in marketing. Hours have to be poured into creating the perfect website design, logo, and brand. Even then, you may fail. Marketing has gotten much more complicated with the internet age. You can try Facebook and Google Ads, and it will be a lot of trial and error. Setting up a dropshipping business is easy, but succeeding at marketing is not.
You can start with paid traffic to test the waters for your business, but this can be unsustainable for a new business. The best way to get returns is by focusing on SEO strategies such as guest blogging and link building. These strategies help build domain authority, giving you free website traffic in the long run. There is intense competition in dropshipping and effective marketing will separate the successful from the failed. Research has to be done on your target demographic. Your product may not be innovative, but you need to make it appear as it is. After you have figured out the narrative for why consumers need your product, you can begin your online store.
A great way to start marketing is by creating a social media presence for your brand. Creating a Facebook Page and Instagram account will add credibility to your brand. You can also extend your branding to Pinterest. These social media accounts will be yours so you can promote your brand freely. Ads can also be run on all social media channels. Another alternative is delving into influencer marketing. Smaller influencers can often have high returns as their audience feels more connected to them, thus pushing the purchase. Another great and inexpensive way to market your product is through email marketing. It is not innovative, but it is widely successful. Large and small companies alike have seen widespread success through email marketing. Emails are sent automatically but still allow consumers to feel personally involved in the purchase. As stated earlier, you have to do your research to make it in dropshipping. This also extends to marketing. Know what will work for your brand and know that it will take time, patience, and a lot of luck.
One of the most popular ways to push products is through ad campaigns on Google. Large brands use this method because the success is also met with a high price point. Some common terminology you should be aware of is SEM (Search Engine Marketing), PPC (Pay Per Click Advertising), and SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Google Ads uses keywords to create advertisements. A great example of this is if a consumer looks up “Best Backpacking Tents” and your site pops up because your niche is outdoor gear. The ad will be text-based, and you can choose to schedule where and when it will appear in the search. Each time a user clicks on your ad, you will pay Google. It is a great way to garner more consumers and expand your brand, but it is also costly.
Another type of Google advertisement is shopping ads. Shopping ads are picture ads shown at the top when you google a possible product. It is also an expensive choice, but it is a great way to gauge the saturation of your niche. If someone googles “Best Tents” and your item appears alongside retail giants, it is likely you should rethink your niche. Remember that you are looking for a category to be profitable in, and competing against Walmart, Target, and Amazon are impossible battles.
Understand How Profitable Dropshipping is
Dropshipping is easier than having a normal store because you do not need to manage or store your own inventory, but this also means profits are lower. The supplier will take a cut and the shipper that stores, packages, and ships your item will also take a cut. At the end of a transaction, you are receiving a very small amount of profit. Dropshippers often give up at the sight of low profits, but the key to success is perseverance. Creating a plan will save you a lot of heart aches and headaches. Growing your dropshipping business is not easy and in the beginning, will not garner profits.
Dropshipping is profitable if you are lucky, and it is very profitable if you are lucky and tactical. There are many expenses that occur with dropshipping, including site maintenance, marketing, and the cut for the suppliers and shippers. The golden rule for dropshipping is a 20% profit margin, but it is unrealistic to expect this much profit when dropshipping has so many expenses. Reducing your profit margin can push more traffic onto your site, which will work out in the long run as you are building a sustainable customer base. Dropshipping can be profitable with time, patience, and a lot of work but thinking you will be profitable and a millionaire within months is setting yourself up for failure.
Find a Good Supplier
The best advice to take away from all of this is to succeed in dropshipping; you need a great supplier. Dropshippers are at the mercy of their suppliers because they do not create or overlook products, but consumers will notice low-quality items. Choosing a great supplier will save you time, money, and returns. It will also help your business develop a stronger customer base because they believe your product is of superior quality. The smallest issue with your items can push customers into another shop, so finding a good supplier is key.
Your best bet is to choose a supplier that is highly revered in the dropshipping business. If they have been known to be professional when handling returns and damaged items, that is a good sign. Other items to note before committing to a supplier are their delivery time, quality of customer support, and what fraud protection they offer.