Dropshipping is an increasingly popular and relatively affordable business model, which can be used even by those with little budget.
Unlike traditional online or brick-and-mortar stores, in dropshipping you don’t have to store your inventory or deal with shipping. This is one of the reasons why people start a dropshipping business. You sell goods for whatever price you want (or rather can), and buy the required product from your supplier. But instead of sending the product to you, the supplier sends it directly to your client.
Now, let’s see what you will need to start a dropshipping store.
Decide on a niche
Before building a website, finding suppliers and developing a marketing strategy, you need to choose your niche.
For a dropshipping store, niche is everything. It determines the range of goods you’re going to sell, the theme of your store, its design, your target audience and other features. The right choice of niche is the key to your success. And it’s not only about business issues.
Successful owners of dropshipping business say that developing your store is much easier if you’re doing something you know well and enjoy. You are going to face a lot of problems, but as long as the niche you’ve chosen motivates you to overcome these obstacles, you’ll be fine.
Still, don’t ignore purely economic characteristics of different niches. In short, if the products are too popular, you’re going to face strong competition. If the demand is too low, it’ll be difficult to attract enough customers. Find the golden mean.
Now that you know what you are going to sell, it’s time to decide on your suppliers. It is possible to make a deal with particular companies, but in most cases, entrepreneurs prefer working with online retail platforms such as Amazon or eBay.
A lot of people start dropshipping business using AliExpress, which owns a considerable share of the market. This Asian giant features low prices and millions of goods in any imaginable niche. So dropshipping from AliExpressis a popular option among the owners of stores around the globe.
Domain name and hosting
When everything is decided, you should move on to buying a domain name and hosting, i.e. your future website’s address and physical space for its content.
The domain should ideally coincide with the name of the store and somehow reflect the theme of your store. For example, sportsforall.com, kiddytoys.com, hockeyfan.com, etc. Short and clear names are the best, and remember to make it SEO friendly.
Use GoDaddy service to find a good and inexpensive domain name.
As for hosting, you can try doing everything on your own, but the technical stuff is better left for professionals.
Building a website
Evidently, you cannot start a dropshipping business without a website, so your next step is to buy or create one. You can actually buy a ready-made business along with the site, but you have little chances of finding a store devoted to the exact niche of your choice.
Don’t worry though. Many commercial websites are created on WordPress which is a simple and free content management system used by beginner entrepreneurs and big companies alike. Besides, WordPress is compatible with literally thousands of plugins that can customize your website for a particular task including dropshipping business.
If you’re not sure about your skills, you can delegate this task to a web designer. Find a company that creates online stores for customers and pay them to do the job.
Import products and start promoting
By this phase, you should have a fully functional web store and suppliers ready to ship their products to the customer you find. So it’s time to start your dropshipping business by importing products to your website.
You can do it manually by uploading the images, titles, and descriptions of required products or by using a plugin for dropshipping. Most of such digital solutions allow you to automatically import goods from the chosen platform, edit images and details, setting prices, etc. They are very handy when it comes to working with large quantities.
After that, you can start promoting your online store through different channels. The most popular among them is social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, but it depends on your niche. Also, do not neglect paid search promotion and pay due attention to analytics.
Most of these methods require some investment, but if done right, they’ll pay off in spades. When you start a dropshipping business, it is best to try different promotion channels one by one to see which of them works rather than investing in all of them at once.
And most importantly, keep learning! Read articles and ask other entrepreneurs on forums. Everything comes with practice.