A study says that 8 out of 10 businesses fail in their first year of operations. The numbers are more saddening when it comes to dropshipping – Around 90% of them fail in their first month itself. If these numbers are stopping you to take a plunge into eCommerce, which you always wanted to, you have already lost it because you have already positioned yourself in the 90% and not in the winning 10%.
Never get discouraged by the numbers because winning is a formula, not rhetoric, and all formulas when solved place answers – Answer to the art of WINNING! – This time winning with Dropshipping eCommerce.
The formula has 12 parameters, solve them one by one and take your own time solving it. Winning in the art of eCommerce business is inevitable. First and foremost, know what you are doing with Dropshipping. Find a mentor who knows the business in and out and has tested the business model thoroughly. I highly recommend you find one. There are many out there you can help you with your dropshipping journey, but I recommend you try these folks.
Now lets see what those 12 thigs you need to keep in mind before you dive into the world of dropshipping.
- Select the Right Niche
Dropshipping offers access to a wide range of products. Please note that all products that you look into might impulse you to sell them. Don’t do that. Plan for your product.
Before you narrow down on a product line, understand the demography and behavior of your target audience. Find a logical end to your product or niche selection against your target market. Research on Google, spend time on market trends, customer behavior, search volume on search engines, etc.
For example, if you are planning to sell winter clothing in the Middle East, it simply wouldn’t work. You wouldn’t want to sell something available at cheaper prices in a brick and mortar store. Don’t sell something available widely, sell something exclusive. Don’t be the crowd!
- Don’t Get Lost in the Crowd
When there are thousands of products being sold online, being specific and unique does help a whole lot for your business. The possibility of you being successful is higher when you specialize in a specific niche or product. You must be the ultimate resource when it comes to that product. Don’t get lost in the crowd.
For example: Instead of selling pots, selling organic pots narrows down the competition and also allows you to establish yourself as an authority. The number of sellers in this may be less or they may not be providing enough information to the customers. This is where you can improvise and provide the best of service.
- Sad Websites Don’t Work Anymore
Your eCommerce website is your prospective customer’s first touchpoint and is the only point to build your first impression. Don’t disappoint them. Before they check your products they get a hang of what you are based on your website performance, especially on the page loading and ease of navigation fronts.
I have come across many websites that rank on the first page for high volume websites but are incomplete, slow and not at all navigation friendly. I have always exited the site within seconds; the same is for others for the numbers say so.
Make sure you have your eCommerce website built like magic. Take feedback from your friends, family and colleagues, test website navigation and loading speeds before you launch it. Also, work on the media and content; get photos that are clear and self-explaining, get content written by someone good in writing.
- Price It Right!
In Dropshipping, you are not selling products that you built and manufactured, but sell products from external suppliers. This makes it important for you to mark up the dropped product right.
Before you markup, research what your competition is selling the products for. Check if the product is readily available to your target audience. If it is, you cannot mark up too much for people have already gotten sensitive to its price.
It is for this reason – make sure you do not sell what others are selling for the game of pricing can pull down your profits.
If you have already gotten down to your final product/s, calculate everything from start to end to know your exact profits.
- Ship products only if you are satisfied with it
Just because many eCommerce platforms have made it easy to add products to their store, do not simply add them to your product portfolio and start selling. Get in touch with the drop shipper, get samples of the product, study them and price it right.
Check for feedback on the product from your friends and family. Ask them everything and be ready to take their feedback seriously. Because, you may not want to hear the same from your customers, which might show up in the review section of your site.
Only if you like it, your customers may like it! Remember this…
- Winning requires Patience and Persistence
Building and owning a Dropshipping based business is equivalent to building any other offline/ online business. There is no shortcut to earning six figures a month even though some gurus online state so. They either got lucky with the product or the success is short-lived. Treat the business as an asset. The value of your asset grows with every milestone you reach. The milestone can be in the form of increased traffic, sales or revenue.
Having a long-term mindset also helps in setting clear goals for the future. Keep working towards those goals and building the value of your asset. The more work you put into the business, the more will be the value of it.
- Find Investments from Friends and Family
When you are dropshipping, the majority of your funds would be utilized for marketing. To win in dropshipping getting people interested in your products is the key and to get them interested you have to market. Have enough funds raised for this.
If you still do not have access to the money, get help from family and friends. Show them the confidence that you can and you will.
- Marketing is the Key…
Having a marketing strategy is very important. You have to announce your entry in the space and this is only possible by marketing. There are channels you can choose to market your store. The two main channels are social media and organic search. Paid advertising is also an option that can be explored when your business is making some profits.
In the first year of Dropshipping, you have to spend the majority of your resources on marketing and traffic generation. There are plenty of free resources on the internet which provides highly actionable and informative content related to marketing. You could follow the top blogs for marketing like Hubspot, Kissmetrics, Seth Godin’s Blog and top SEO blogs like MOZ, SearchEngineLand, etc. These resources will help you to be in sync with the changes in the industry.
- Start Small Before You Scale
Don’t scatter your marketing funds across multiple niches and products. Test one niches with limited products and proves your marketing strategy before scaling.
Though the entry barrier to eCommerce and more products is almost nil with dropshipping, it is not when it comes to maintaining and sustaining them.
Scale only when your bottom line is green and healthy. When you build confidence with a limited number of products, scaling is automatic.
- Master the art of Customer Support
Always keep the customer on priority by providing the best of services. It is your duty as a business to provide the best possible product and service. However, with the advent of social media, even the smallest of mistakes can lead to a bad reputation for your business.
Be extra careful when dealing with customers who seem to be fussy.
Provide them with all possible solutions and record all the conversations you have with the customers.
When you maintain a high level of transparency there is very little room for negative comments. Always be willing to refund if the customer is not happy with the product for legit reasons. Do not be with a mindset of saving pennies which could later hit your entire business due to a bad reputation.
- Learn to Manage Business Like A Pro – Take Help From Mentors
Did your mom serve your breakfast today? If yes, it happened because your mom had planned for it yesterday. Nothing happens without planning.
The same is for your dropshipping business – Consistent learning and planning your next move is key to winning with dropshipping eCommerce. From your marketing to your accounting, from customer to website management, get involved in what is happening. Bring teams together to solve problems when bumped into.
If you think you still need help, talk to people who can advise you in running businesses. Talk to your local store owners, your accountant friends, etc to keep learning. Have a mentor who keeps updating his followers about the latest stuff.
Yes, dropshipping requires only a laptop and internet connection to run, but to scale and win with it, you need learning…Consistent learning!
- It’s all about VALUE!
You must always look for ways to add that extra value to your customers. The Dropshipping industry has cut-throat completion. To stay ahead in this league you will have to give more than just the product. The value addition can be in any form. It can be in the form of discounts, blogs informing the consumers, free shipping, priority customer support, etc.
My Final Thoughts…
A beginner need to understand that dropshipping is not just another ‘easy money-making scheme’ it is a full-time business that requires dedication, consistency, hard work and a lot of patience. Only then they will be able to thrive in this business.