When it comes to starting a business on the internet, you have a lot of options. Blogging is a popular one, but it’s also one that will take a lot more time and effort to make money as SEO and ranking in the search results is a huge factor. Affiliate marketing is another great method, but you will need to understand how to build profitable ad campaigns and have a decent budget to play around with. One other method that has worked amazingly well for many would-be entrepreneurs and business owners is dropshipping.
The concept of dropshipping is quite simple, and through the latest advancements in online marketing, sales processing, and automation, it’s something that anyone can really get started with today. Dropshipping is simply the process of selling a product and having it shipped to the customer directly from the manufacturer. The benefit here is that you won’t need to hold any inventory, nor need to ship out any items — which is perfect for anyone looking to earn money from home, while also potentially creating a ‘real business’ in the process. The main business model here is to provide enough markup on the drop shipped items, while also having an effective online marketing strategy to continually bring in new customers and sales.
This is also where your blogging, social media, and online marketing skills can definitely come into play.
3 Simple Steps to Find Success with Dropshipping
- Research and find a product to sell
- Open an online store using a preferred CMS
- Finding the right marketing platform and audience
To help with this process, I can break down each of them for you in detail below.
Researching a Quality Product to Dropship and Sell
If you are completely new to the world of dropshipping or selling online, you wouldn’t have any idea that this method is actually being used to run a great majority of online stores today. Through the use of dropshipping sites and online marketplaces, anyone can instantly gain access to millions of items that can be sold individually or in bulk, and also at massive discounts.
When looking for a product to sell, it’s important to not always just choose items that you have a personal connection to. Instead, think of your dropshipping business or online store as a real business — especially in regard to how you are going to promote it and make it stand out from other online stores where the same products might be sold.
Oberlo, which is a marketplace for entrepreneurs to search and find products to sell, can also can like a dropshipping tool that allows site owners to easily import drop shipped products into your store and automatically fulfill orders. This can be a huge benefit and growth factor to dropshipping based stores, as you don’t want to have to manually log in and place orders every time a new customer places an order through your site. They also have a Chrome extension that allows for the import of new products right into a Shopify store with just one click.
In addition to searching through online marketplaces, there are plenty of other options for finding quality dropshippers online so be sure to explore as many options as possible. While there are many open marketplaces and directories for finding products to start selling right away, some of the best partnerships are actually happening behind the scenes through direction content and personal relationships. Feel free to reach out to any online stores or brands that you might have an interest in selling or dropshipping through.
Open an Online Store Using a Preferred CMS
Once you’ve put in some time and effort to decide what type of product(s) you’d like to sell, it’s then time to consider your options for starting an online store. Just like starting a blog, this process is quite simple thanks to the many different e-commerce and content management platforms accessible today. You can see a list of some of the most used platforms for creating an online store and dropshipping business below.
- Magento Community Edition
- WooCommerce with WordPress.org
- Wix eCommerce
- Weebly eCommerce
To make the decision process even easier, CodeInWP created an awesome comparison chart that shows the pricing, features and built-in marketing options for each.
Once you are setup with an online store and want to start adding products to your site, there are many add-ons and third-party applications that can help with this process.
Finding the Right Marketing Platform and Audience
The last step in the process is to decide on how you are going to market and sell items through your site. This is extremely important to plan out, as you will likely be spending money to bring in new traffic, but you also don’t want to cut too much into your profit margins in the process. Always look at your profit margins and not just your sales and revenue numbers.
What’s working really well for dropshipping businesses today is social media — specifically on sites like Facebook Ads, Instagram, and Pinterest. The audiences are already at these sites and social networks browsing through content, it’s simply your job to get your store and products in front of them.
To further back this up, you can find several stories online of how people are creating dropshipping stores and using Instagram to grow their following, which eventually leads them to a few initial sales. This is where the magic really happens, as it’s those first sales that make you just want to keep growing and scaling in size. In most cases, it’s simply not enough to just follow a ton of people and build a following.
The best results will come with affiliate marketing and building relationships with other huge accounts on such social networks. You can see an example of this in the @soaestheticshop Instagram account and how they have 351k followers, while also pushing the shopping URL on their profile page. This way it’s a win-win for both sides.
Of course, there are many other ways to promote and increase sales for your online store as well, such as adding a blog and capturing emails, enabling retargeting advertising and offering discounts and coupons to your existing database of customers. The more important part of the process is to make sure you have a product that people want to purchase and that you can effectively build a business model around. Don’t get stuck with a dropshipping business just because you like the products are you building a site around — always keep in the business model in mind and you should have no problems finding success.