Drop shipping is an easy, cost-effective way for hopeful entrepreneurs to launch businesses of their own. Not only can you keep costs to a minimum, but you can scale your business more efficiently than ever. The drop shipping model is fairly straightforward: for starters, you upload products onto your site that are manufactured and distributed independently from your business. Therefore, you never have to deal with minimum product orders and holding a bunch of items that may or may not sell. As soon as a customer purchases an item, it’s shipped directly from that supplier. Sound easy enough? It can be, but it isn’t without its challenges. Here are ten tips for getting a drop shipping business launched on your own.
Decide on a Niche
As a new drop shipping business, having several different categories wouldn’t be the smartest idea. You haven’t established brand authority quite yet, and you want consumers to come to you for clearly specific reasons. You should choose a niche that you’re passionate about, and will enjoy building. Although the beauty industry is a major industry, you should probably stay away from it if you’re not passionate about makeup.
If home decor makes you happy, go in the interior design direction. If you love to travel, why not start a drop shipping company with travel products at the heart of the business? Before you begin, be sure to do your research to determine if it’s a profitable niche, especially if your niche is highly specific.
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Use Shopify & Oberlo
While there are other eCommerce platforms on the market, Shopify has one of the best integration capabilities with Oberlo—arguably the best tool for drop shippers. Oberlo is a tool that can pull product information directly from sites like Wish, which are popular for drop shippers. With Oberlo, you can pull in dozens of products within a few minutes. Currently, there’s no other tool on the market that’s equally as powerful.
Choose the Right Products
As a drop shipper, it can be easy to go wild with your product choices. After all, it’s very easy to simply import every product that catches your eye. But the key to today’s product market is to remain are curated and boutique during the early stages. Offering too many choices as a new business can easily lead to option paralysis, and can detract from your business branding.
Having a limited lineup of the product makes it easy for you to try the product yourself. Because it’s shipped to the end customer, it’s difficult to gauge the quality without getting your own hands on it. When your product pool is small, you can order each product for yourself. This not only helps you understand which are the best products to have but provides more marketing material; you’ll be able to take your own photos and frame the product how you want, rather than collecting pre-existing images.
Don’t Forget About SEO
One of the best ways for your business to get discovered by your target market is through search engine optimization. There are plenty of ways to improve your Shopify on eCommerce sites, especially if you’ve found yourself having Shopify issues with generating organic traffic. First and foremost, you should be particularly cautious with duplicate content, which can happen when you’re importing products from third-party sites and don’t create a custom copy. Many major retailers maintain the same or similar copy for similar products, but this isn’t something you want to do yourself. Duplicate content can have a negative impact on how Google ranks your business in search engines.
You should also be conducting extensive keyword research to see which phrases are most popular in your market. Use keyword site tools to aid you in this process. Once you’ve got the right keywords, you can start working on basic on-page SEO, which is very important. This is where you implement your shortlisted keywords into product page titles, body copy, image alt text, page URLs, and more.
Try Custom Products
Just because you’re in the drop shipping business doesn’t mean you can’t sell custom products. Drop shipping companies allow you to sell custom designs to your end client with just a few easy steps. For example, perhaps you’ve got a great idea for a shirt design, but don’t have the funds or don’t want the risk of ordering 100 multi-sized shirts. Instead, you’d upload a photo of the shirt with your graphic (which you can generate on the Printful site), and when a customer orders it, it’s custom printed and sent to them on your behalf. This way, you never lose money, and you get your customers custom products that aren’t available anywhere else on the Web.
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Find A Reliable Supplier
Successful entrepreneurs also find reliable suppliers during their drop shipping business startups. Use specific criteria to determine whether a supplier is reliable or not. Inquire about their past experience working with drop shipping companies. Be wary of your candidates’ answers though. They will likely tell you that they have satisfied other businesses even if they have not. Reach out to their current and/or previous clients to find out if they really do offer quality services. Ask referrals if your potential supplier’s shipping services are up to par as well. Use the information you obtain to determine whether the candidate is reliable or not. If you want to start your drop shipping business off on the right foot, you need the best supplier.
Market on Social Media
Furthermore, you need to begin marketing your new business on social media as soon as possible. Analyze your target audience. Find out which social media platforms they use the most. To do so, consider their age and lifestyle. Older generations typically utilize Facebook but stay away from other channels. Younger audiences’ preferences vary, so take their lifestyle choices and hobbies into account. Once you figure out which channels are the best, determine the best advertising tools on each one. Facebook offers business owners the option to utilize their Facebook ads feature. Instagram business profiles provide users with a tool to include price links in their posts. Establish an influencer program on any or all social media platforms to attract customers to your drop shipping startup.
Research Your Competition
Profitable entrepreneurs research their competition upon entering the drop shipping world as well. You can only identify the best strategies to use by looking at the industry’s leaders. While it might be easy to choose competitors who pose little threat to your startup, doing so will not advance your new company. After all, you do not want to mimic the work of a struggling company. You need to look into products that sell out quickly. Compare those products with one another to figure out what consumers like about them. Use your competitors’ products to determine what you need to offer potential customers to boost your drop shipping company’s profits.
Get A Sales Tax ID
Moreover, get a sales tax ID to start your drop shipping business correctly. If you want to conduct business legally in your state, you need to obtain this identification. Unless you live in the select few states that do not require business owners to get tax IDs, you need to apply for yours as soon as possible. Entrepreneurs in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon do not need to take this step. If you live elsewhere and do not want to deal with legal issues later down the road, get a sales tax ID during your drop shipping business startup process.
Tell Your Brand Story
In addition to the above tips for starting your drop shipping business, successful business owners advise entrepreneurs to tell their brand story. Consumers respond well to this tactic because you humanize your business when you implement it. In turn, consumers identify with your brand. This connection persuades them to purchase products. They view your products as representations of your brand rather than just objects to buy. More so, customers typically keep coming back for more when they are invested in a brand’s story. Therefore, this is another tip to keep in mind when starting up your drop shipping business.
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Entrepreneurs who startup drop shipping businesses launch their brands in an inexpensive way. However, in order to profit off of such a startup, entrepreneurs need to follow a specific set of tips. Begin your venture by choosing a niche. Use the best eCommerce platforms on the market to gain access to the top tools. Choose products that are selling well. Implement SEO strategies to reach your target audience right from the start. Experiment with creating custom products to stand out from other drop shipping businesses online. Find a reliable supplier to guarantee your customers optimal services.
Start marketing your brand on popular social media platforms immediately. Conduct research on your competition to gain an idea of what strategies you should be implementing. Get a sales tax ID if your state requires it. Finally, tell your brand story to your target audience to connect with consumers on a personal level. Use these tips to kick-start your drop shipping business.