Technology has created endless possibilities in all business spheres, and e-commerce is no exception. Today starting an e-commerce venture with low investments and zero risk is possible and is opening new avenues for wholesalers, retailers, and aggregator platforms. But what makes all of this possible? The answer is drop shipping.
What is dropshipping?
Let’s say Jane wants to start a business where she wants to sell jewelry and bags. However, she does not have the facility or resources to produce the items from scratch. However, she can set up her business through dropshipping.
It is a popular and profitable business model where Jane does not have to maintain any inventory and can directly source the products from the supplier upon receiving orders. Not only does Jane get to start her own business with dropshipping, but she can also start it with a small investment and not bear the risk of inventory management, warehousing, etc.
The dropshipping business model is ideal for first-time entrepreneurs, budget entrepreneurs, or side hustlers who want to generate an alternative source of income.
How to start a dropshipping business?
If you are looking to start a dropshipping business, then you are reading the right article. You can launch your dropshipping business in only 8 steps:
1. Build a Business Plan
Starting a dropshipping business sounds exciting until the planning process begins. To make it simple, answer these fundamental questions, and in no time, you will have the initial blueprint:
- What do you want to sell?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- Where can your customers find you?
- How can your customers find you?
- How much will you charge your customers?
Once you know the answer to these 5 questions, you can decide on a niche.
2. Identify a Niche
As you decide to launch your dropshipping business, identify a niche where you want to operate and then further narrow down. This decision will make or break your business. For instance, if you are a fashion enthusiast, you can choose to sell shoes. However, the product your choose should be searchable and profitable. Additionally, it should always be in demand all year round, and you should be able to brand the product. In this example, shoes are a sound choice checking all the boxes. It is important that you thoroughly know about the product so you can address customer queries.
3. Conduct Competitor Analysis
Accept that you are not the only one starting a dropshipping business in your niche. Unless you are selling the elixir of life or pieces of the moon, you will have competitors. Use that to your advantage and identify the top players of the game, study and analyze what they are doing right, their marketing efforts, and pricing strategies. Contrarily, you can also study those who are not doing so well, just to know what you should be avoiding.
4. Find Suppliers
The key to a successful dropshipping business lies in having the right supplier. You can check sites like AliExpress, Worldwide Brand, SaleHoo, and Doba to find authentic and steadfast suppliers. Do not forget to ask the following questions to ensure safety and reliability:
- Do they offer insurance and fraud protection?
- What is the turnaround time?
- What are the return/replacement policies?
- How do they manufacture the products or source the materials?
These are some basic questions. You can always add more to the list.
5. Domain Registration
Next, you have to get a name for your business that sets you apart from others. Select a name carefully and get the domain registered. You can check out sites like NameCheap or GoDaddy, which are well-known websites and trusted by many.
6. Create the e-commerce site
Now that you have everything in place, it is time to build the e-commerce site. You can use Shopify to build the website. However, it is expensive. If you have a tight budget, you can also explore pocket-friendly marketplaces like Etsy, WooCommerce, Amazon, and eBay. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook can come in handy, where you can start your e-commerce page with zero investment.
7. Promote your business and acquire customers
With your e-commerce site or account up and running, it is time to let the world know about it. Marketing plays a significant role in the success of your business. With digital marketing and social media marketing booming, you can use all the modern forms of marketing, such as meme marketing, content marketing, email marketing, and more, to your advantage. If you want to acquire more clients, omnichannel marketing is the best strategy. You can also collaborate with social media influencers and leverage their followers. The best-suited marketing strategy will be based on your niche and target customers.
8. Monitoring and maneuvering
Once the ball has rolled, you have to keep a close watch on the sales and how your customers interact with your brand. Although you may have planned every step, unprecedented events can cause roadblocks. You have to identify ways to overcome them and navigate your dropshipping business.
These eight steps draw the basic roadmap on how to launch a dropshipping business. Nevertheless, some steps can be reduced or added depending on the nature of your business. It is crucial to remember that launching a dropshipping business will not be the hard part, but running the business will be. However, as you keep moving forward and experimenting, you can crack the secret codes eventually.