Dropshipping in 2021? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know (+ List of Best Suppliers)
Dropshipping remains to be one of the most popular online businesses in 2021. Dropshipping is an excellent entry-level business strategy for ambitious business owners because it's easy to get started with.
Plus, there are several opportunities to learn from this experience. You can sell products to real customers, set prices, and learn about promoting your brand or company. With time and effort, you can easily have a successful business up your sleeve.
The advantage of using dropshipping is that you can quickly test new company ideas with little to no risk, which allows you to learn a great deal about how to choose and market in-demand items. It’s also relatively simple to get started and almost entirely free. One might say that you can simply create an eCommerce store on your chosen eCommerce platform (such as Shopify), then import products from a low-cost online supplier or eCommerce store, and advertise these products on social media and search engines.
Though it may sound simple, the real success of a dropshipping store, like any other online business, depends on the selection of a good product or market niche because the niche you pick will ultimately determine the success of your dropshipping business ideas.
If you’re ready to start your own dropshipping business, read on to get insights from our experts.
What is dropshipping? How does it work?
Dropshipping is a business model wherein entrepreneurs can create an online business and sell things to their customers without ever physically storing the items themselves. It’s a type of online retailing that is becoming increasingly popular. When a dropshipping business sells a product, the item is purchased from a third-party seller and shipped directly to the consumer.
The main difference between dropshipping and traditional retail is that the selling merchant does not own or stock inventory. Instead, the seller purchases goods from a third party, typically a wholesaler or manufacturer, whenever needed to fulfill orders.
- A professional-looking website is vital.
The website should be excellent. Consumers can actually tell when a pro didn’t design a website, and these are usually the free Shopify themes with no customization. These designs sometimes look too generic, which doesn't help the customer distinguish your website from another dropshipper. Looking like any other website out there means it will be easier for customers to close the tab and move on to the next website.
When it comes to eCommerce, customer experience is everything, and a terribly designed website doesn't help at all. You can use an eCommerce like Shopify, which is free for the first two weeks, to give you enough time to breathe to get your store up and running. Shopify is usually a dropshipper’s first choice because it offers a ‘ready to go’ platform and is incredibly simple for people with no technical experience.
Apart from the website, the content must be of consistent quality. Everything from product descriptions to website content needs to be reused and written professionally. Choose photos that complement the product, show all of its features, and give the customer everything. See yourself as a customer. What kind of questions will you ask, and what do you need to know? The next thing you want to buy such a product, what buttons do you need to click, and how can you check? Do try everything yourself so you can troubleshoot and troubleshoot before launching a website.
We recommend working with a professional developer to have a clean, functional, and distinct Shopify website and avoid big problems later on.
Before we forget, you will also need a domain. This can cost around $10-15 per year or even more, depending on where you get it. Our advice is to do your research carefully since different suppliers have different costs and choose the best deal for you.
- Know when and how to advertise
As mentioned before, advertising your products will be one of the critical steps in establishing your dropshipping business. It also may eat up a large portion of your budget, but it’s worth it because it’s what can make or break your business.
You will need to know how to target your audience correctly on advertising platforms like Google and Facebook ads so that you can optimize it and avoid wasting money. Advertising costs aren’t as cheap as before, so you want to maximize your ad spend. Today, Facebook and Google are the two most popular platforms for advertising online.
You can start with as little as $15 to test out different types of audiences, campaigns, or general interest. Take the time to see results, as most ads take at least five days to optimize fully.
Most people are already on Facebook, but the thing is, they are usually there to browse over content, get updates on friends, family, and the media. They aren’t generally looking to buy, so even if they are interested in the product, chances are it won’t end up as a purchase. However, Facebook is a great platform for getting leads (i.e., getting people to visit your website).
In comparison, Google is actually a better choice if you want to convert to sales. It has a better ROI and marketing tools specializing in SEO to help you rank higher in search engines. When customers are searching for specific products on Google, they usually already have the intent to buy.
Now utilizing both would be ideal, but we recommend testing both out a few days or weeks to see which campaigns will work out best for you if you’re just starting.
- Find your niche
Buying behavior around the world has changed dramatically. Nowadays, it is almost effortless to buy nearly any product you want online, from groceries, pet supplies, and home accessories.
Online sales are projected to exceed $ 4.9 billion for the next year, so the best time to search your niche is now.
One of the essential steps in finding your niche is by knowing your customer. It helps to figure out what is trending among different types of consumers, then next figure out the interests of said consumers when choosing a product to sell.
If you want to succeed in e-commerce, you need three things: in-demand products, marketing skills, and a will to succeed. Selling a product that consumers want is an important factor.
To really dig deep and learn more about your target market, you can try joining online communities, handing out surveys, asking around similar audiences, and check analytics tools.
- Expect slow movement and slim margins at first.
Here’s the hard truth, one of the downsides to dropshipping is that you have to expect low margins at the beginning. We’re not saying it’s not profitable but that the product margin may be smaller than usual in some niches. Also, because you’re putting in less money, you get less money out of it.
Sure, since you don't have to manage or store your own inventory, the overhead is low, but so are the returns. This means that you’ll need to work extra hard to keep your business afloat and make a profit since slow returns won’t be enough to cover your advertising and website expenses.
Plus, there may be huge competition. Depending on what niche you’ve targeted, the level of competition can be drastically higher or lower. Since very little capital is required to start a dropshipping business, the barrier to entry is lowered.
Getting the profit you want can be pretty tricky when you’re battling for customer attention.
However, we still stand by picking the right niche and target the right audience for success. This can also get you more significant margins. Generally, niches with less competition will have better margins though sales may move slower. That brings us back to point #3, where advertising can make or break your business. Having a highly optimized can help generate high sales volumes.
- Thorough research and a good supplier is a must
Never ever forget to order samples of whatever it is that you’re selling. Even better if you can use those samples to create product photos, so yours don’t look the same as other stores. Some dropshippers can’t find success because they don’t do the bare minimum and order any samples of their own. If you don’t, how will you know what your customers are receiving?
To stay on top of this business, you need to research the market regularly. Sign up for all the emails and newsletters you can, join communities, and keep active on social media to stay updated on customer demands and trending products. Check for any items that have the potential to be sold on your website.
Regarding finding suppliers, we would not recommend going the AliExpress route since products are so mass-produced that some fail to pass quality checks. Shipping may also take too long since it’s coming from China, and conversing with your supplier may also prove to be a challenge. There are many dropshipping suppliers in the US that might fit your niche. Getting a supplier from the US has its benefits: 1) Shipping can be faster (depending on your location), 2) You can quickly build a supplier-seller relationship with them which can help with everything from getting your orders together and even branding the items and packaging, and 3) They may let you in industry insights such as which items are selling like hotcakes and give you tips that can help you really sell the item to your customers.
Luckily, we have a list of 100 of the best dropshipping suppliers in the US. Subscribe below to get access to the list, and get the best deals to start your dropshipping business today.
We hope this article has been helpful and motivates you to start your own dropshipping business.
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