Drop Shipping TipsLast Updated:
You’ve spent an ample amount of time deciding how to approach your online store, and now, you’ve come to the conclusion that you want to run it without the hassle of managing the inventory and shipping. Your best bet will be to make use of drop shipping services that allow you to leave inventory management and shipping tasks to your partner suppliers. If you haven’t heard about drop shipping yet, you can check out our article which discusses the concept and its fundamentals, as well as its pros and cons to help you decide if it would be a good fit for your business.
Also, before anything else, if you haven’t found a good hosting service to build your store on, take a quick peek at our ecommerce hosting reviews – you’ll be sure to find a service that lets you create the backbone of your store ASAP. Most of them readily offer the right tools to create stunning yet functional websites. Moreover, you can find services that have air-tight security for online transactions, as well as PCI compliance so your store can accept credit card payments, all without burning a hole in your pocket.
Now, let’s take a look at the steps you need to take, and the things to keep in mind, so you can finally run your own online store with a drop shipper who will do all of the heavy lifting for you.
Choosing the products to sell
First and foremost, you need to research and identify what kind of store you want to build and the products that you will carry. Do you want to be a one-stop shop and offer a wide variety of items that cater to an array of customers? Or do you prefer to be a special type of store carrying a specific category of items, say toys and collectibles? In both cases, here are some tips on what you should keep in mind when choosing products:
1. Start small, as you can always add more products later on. This way, you can have a better idea of your customers’ interest in your store, allowing can provide relevant products once you decide to expand the selection.
2. Pay attention to the latest trends to help identify fast moving products.
3. Research for the price range of the items that you are planning to sell so you won’t under or over-charge.
4. Check similar shops to see what kind of competition you will be facing.
5. Read item reviews to see which ones are loved -or hated- by customers.
6. Bundle similar products for a special deal to save on shipping costs.
7. Spend time learning more about your offerings so you can give a satisfying answer on product inquiries and make helpful suggestions.
1. Settle for a fixed set of products, as your customers will get bored real quick. Try to introduce new items every once in a while to keep interest fresh.
2. Restrict the product selection to only those that you might enjoy. Different people have different tastes and preferences.
3. Easily dismiss niche products from your list- you may be surprised at how in demand some of them are to their specific market.
Identifying and reaching out to your target market
Your shop definitely won’t take off if you don’t have the slightest knowledge about who you will be selling these items to, especially if you choose to offer a specific category only. Targeting the right demographic that can potentially become a recurring customer can lead to a stable flow of income for the incoming months- years, even. Keep these pointers in mind:
1. Always, always provide exceptional customer service, and go the extra mile for your patrons. Customer service is the one aspect that you have total control over your business, so there is no excuse to have a poor performance.
2. Setup a social media page where you can better advertise your shop and connect with a larger chunk of the population. This can also be a convenient means of communication between you and the customers.
3. Try to establish rapport with each and every buyer – or even those who are simply inquiring. You never know which ones are looking to buy in bulk, or would become loyal buyers.
4. Contact purchasing staff for different businesses. These organizations are always buying large volumes of supplies and consumables.
5. If possible, give customers the option to stay updated with the latest offers via a newsletter or email blast.
6. Hear what your customers have to say that can better improve your service. You can do this via quick polls and surveys.
1. Just let your customer come and go without gathering pertinent data. Keeping a record of your customer’s demographic data and preferences can help you further determine your target market.
2. Let your marketing approach stagnate (i.e. relying on a stream of reposts). Being consistently fresh with your marketing campaigns gives customers the assurance that your store is alive and kicking.
3. Easily give up on your marketing efforts if you have a low turnout at first. Sometimes, you need to give your efforts a little more time before it pays out.
4. In cases of errors, never ever put the blame solely on your supplier, even if it really is their mistake. In the eyes of the customers, the transaction is between you and them, and the drop shipper is absolutely invisible from their end.
Finding a drop ship partner
Now that you already know what kind of product you will be selling and have a plan on how to market it to your prospective customers, the next crucial step is to find a drop ship partner (or partners). This part is quite time-consuming since you will be scanning through a ton of manufacturers and suppliers. This is why it is important to first know what you want to sell, so you can narrow down your options.
1. Prepare for all the needed documentations for running a business. Some suppliers might ask for a copy as proof of your shop’s legitimacy.
2. Research for the manufacturer of the products and see if they offer drop shipping services. This way, you are sure to get the lowest prices since you are getting the items straight from the source.
3. Try to ask for distributors in case the manufacturers don’t offer drop shipping. You will be one point further from the main source, but you’ll still be close.
4. Keep track of the supplier’s location, as this will greatly affect delivery schedules.
5. Be aware that there are scammers that try to bait you into subscribing to their list which is full of old and possibly non-existent suppliers. As always, research is your best weapon.
1. Let outdated website designs discourage you. A lot of suppliers don’t prioritize adorning their sites with eye-catching designs, but are no slouch when it comes to the business.
2. Stop after a couple of pages into a search engine’s result listings. As suppliers don’t take much care of their websites, it is safe to assume that their SEO isn’t up to par. As such, you may still be able to see relevant suppliers on the 5th page and beyond.
3. Put all your eggs in one basket right away. Try out different suppliers first by doing a test order, so you can have an idea how they operate, how fast they are able to deliver, and how good the quality of their products are.
4. Disregard small-time suppliers, as it is sometimes more advantageous to partner with them price and service-wise, compared to larger competitors. They may also carry niche items which are not yet popular with the crowd.
Are You Ready?
If you want to join a drop shipping club that houses hundreds, perhaps thousands of suppliers under their roof, then you may want to check out our best drop shipping companies, which lists down the cream of the crop for the current year. You’ll find all of the information you need for each company, from subscription rates, pros and cons, right down to the specifics of their service.
Once you have contacted your list of prospective suppliers and done testing out their service, then you should be ready to pick on the ones are worthy and competent to be your supplier partners in the business. Their role is crucial to your store’s success, so be sure to choose wisely. Good luck on your venture!