Starting a dropshipping website is one of the smartest business decisions you could make all year. With billions of online buyers, you’re guaranteed to have a ready market. But first…
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What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an eCommerce business model in which you don’t need to keep inventory of the products you sell. Instead, when a customer orders a product through your online store, you buy the product from a third-party supplier, who will then ship the product directly to the customer. This means you never have to worry about what to do with unsold stock. You only buy “stock” when a customer places an order.
How do people make money from dropshipping?
When a customer buys a product from you, your customer pays the retail price. But when you buy the same product from your supplier, you pay the wholesale price, which is much lower. That means you make a profit, and you don’t even need to reinvest any of it into inventory!
If your mind is already swimming with visions of running your own successful dropshipping site, we won’t torture you any further. Here are the seven things you need to do to set up your dropshipping site!
7 steps to setting up your dropshipping website
- Find your niche
- Figure out the best dropshipping products for your niche
- Choose a supplier
- Sort out all the legal stuff
- Setup website with sitebuilder
- Choose your sales channel and add it to your website
- Market your products
1. Find your niche
Finding a niche helps you narrow down your target audience, so you can focus on strategically offering products that are guaranteed to be well received, rather than just selling anything your eyes land on, hoping that a buyer comes along someday.
Here are a few guidelines for choosing a profitable niche:
- Choose a niche with massive potential for repeat customers
- Choose a niche with high supply
- Choose a niche with competitive delivery times
- Use Google Trends to check the popularity of your niche
2. Figure out the best dropshipping products for your niche
The best dropshipping products will vary depending on your target customer. But whether you’re targeting trendy college students, or savvy senior citizens, the principle is the same: The best dropshipping products should have huge demand, but not so much competition that you drown in a sea of similar sellers.
Here are some features you can look for:
- Price point: Cheaper isn’t always better. The aim of your dropshipping business is to make a profit, so aim for the products that have a higher retail price.
- Demand: If a product has a lower price point but insanely high demand, it might also be hugely profitable. The key is to do a balancing act between price point and demand.
Competition: If a product has a high price point and high demand, look around to see if it also has high competition. Think carefully before you start selling a product that already has too many suppliers. It makes it that much harder for your brand to stand out. Besides, if we’ve learned anything at all from economists, too many suppliers will eventually drive down the price.
3. Choose a supplier
Your supplier is crucial to the success of your dropshipping business. When you dropship, you don’t have control over inventory and delivery times the way a traditional eCommerce business owner does. You need to find a reliable supplier who can consistently and punctually supply goods to your customers.
Here are a few ways to make sure you’re choosing a reliable supplier:
- Order a product from the supplier you’re interested in: When you do this, you’re collecting valuable information about the shipping time and the quality of the product.
- Order from another dropshipper: It can be hard to tell when an eCommerce site is dropshipping, but if there’s someone you suspect of dropshipping, order a product from them and take note of the wholesaler whose name is on the packaging.
- Contact product manufacturers: Sometimes, you have to go straight to the source and just ask manufacturers for a list of authorised wholesalers.
4. Sort out all the legal stuff
Legal parameters vary so much across jurisdictions that we’re not even going to try to hint at specific legal advice. Check the laws that apply to your area or ask an attorney what you need to do to set up your dropshipping business. For example, some places require you to get a business licence, and you might want to have a certain business structure for your company (e.g. LLC, sole proprietorship, etc.) The only way to be absolutely sure is to ask an attorney.
5. Setup website with sitebuilder
In this century, every business needs a website, but this is especially true if you have an online-based business like dropshipping. So, you’ll definitely want to get reliable web hosting and set up your website. If you don’t already know, every website on the internet is stored on a server. Web hosting companies let you store your website on their servers, so you don’t have to pay any of the high costs associated with server maintenance.
Thanks to the invention of website builders, you don’t need to know anything about web design or web development to have a gorgeous website. Some website builders uses drag-and-drop technology so you can easily customise a gorgeous template until it aligns perfectly with your brand.
6. Choose your sales channel and link it to your website
You’ll want to look around at the various sales channels and choose the one that works best for you.
These are some popular options:
- Create your own eCommerce website
- Sell on Amazon
- Sell on eBay
Once you have your sales channel, link it to your dropshipping website.
7. Market your products
Your products won’t sell unless you market them to your target audience.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- SEO: An SEO tool will make it a lot easier to bolster your search engine rankings, but if you just want to dip your toes into SEO, find a way to fill your website with keywords that are relevant to your target audience. A blog is a great way to do this, but you can also include keywords in places like your URL and your product descriptions. (Keywords are a tiny aspect of SEO, but they’re a great place to start.)
- Social media: Social media is an effective way to market your products for very little money.
- Product images and descriptions: Not only are your product descriptions great places to add keywords that improve your search engine rankings, but they’re also a subtle way to market your product by playing up its great features. High-quality images also work wonders for sales.
That’s it! Follow these seven steps and you’ll have your own profitable dropshipping website.