How To Get Started Dropshipping
Dropshipping might seem like a complicated business model to set up, but it doesn’t have to be. Getting started with this undertaking is more than just finding the right supplier. It requires careful consideration about the processes that work best for your business operations, your budget, timeline, location, and so much more.
While there are plenty of things to consider when it comes to getting started with dropshipping, a key idea to keep in mind is that you don’t have to do everything on your own, and you don’t have to hire someone to help make your processes more efficient if you aren’t ready to. What do we mean by this? We mean that you can utilize the many tools available to create efficient processes that don’t require a ton of humanpower and instead use automation software for Shopify order fulfillment or any other type of order fulfillment.
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an order fulfillment process where a retailer doesn’t house the products they sell. Oftentimes, dropshipping means that the eCommerce store doesn’t even see the products they sell. Typically, a customer makes an order directly through the shop. Then the shop forwards its order to a 3rd-party supplier who then ships the product to the customer.
There’s a lot of room in between all of those interactions that would benefit from automation. So if dropshipping is your chosen method, don’t forget that there are tools available to streamline this process making it more accurate and efficient.
Is dropshipping a good fit for your business or not?
It’s important to remember that dropshipping isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes a lot of work to manage a successful dropshipping business, which often has low profit margins compared to other forms of business.
Dropshipping is a good fit for someone looking for low initial overhead costs. Usually, what you put in is what you get in return. So those low costs mean lower margins depending on the overall scope of your business. This isn’t necessarily a drawback, but it can be. Setting your expectations early on will help you align your goals with your business operations.
Businesses are likely to encounter a competitive market in dropshipping as well. With the low overhead costs, it’s understandable that many people might lean into this option right out of the gate. This method could prevent businesses from overselling products, especially with uncertainty that retailers often face. So it’s up to each company to determine what kind of risk they’re willing to take.
The benefits of dropshipping
While dropshipping may or may not be viable long-term as the sole fulfillment option for a shop, it offers an incredible opportunity to do some low-cost market research. Maybe you already sell one type of product, and you’re curious if a similar or different product would be just as successful. You could take the risk and invest in a ton of inventory, or you could drop ship the product for a bit to test out how well it does.
Finally, two significant benefits to dropshipping for some businesses are creating more strategic shipping strategies and saving money on products that would be too expensive to store.
The farther your fulfillment centers are from your customer base, the more expensive it is to ship. Dropshipping could offer an alternative for those less profitable areas where you still make an income but lose out when covering the extra shipping costs. It could also provide the option to do market research in certain areas to see if it’s worth opening a facility there.
Dropshipping is the perfect option for those hard-to-store products. Suppose you offer merchandise that is heavy, fragile, too large to house, or any other extenuating circumstance. In that case, dropshipping is a viable option to reduce store, shipping, or special-care costs that might be incurred otherwise.
3 helpful tips for getting started with dropshipping
Understanding the process of dropshipping is essential for getting started with it. Here are some things to consider when you’re getting started with dropshipping.
- Choose your supplier with care. While choosing the right supplier isn’t the only consideration, it is a major one. You are essentially selecting a business partner. You need to make sure you are ok with costs, shipping times, quality products, and even whether they are a business on the up-and-up with legal business practices. Some questions you might ask a potential fulfillment partner include:
How long do they take to fulfill orders?
How do they handle damaged products or returns?
Do they offer insurance or fraud protection?
What is their customer support like?
- Don’t forget to do some serious competitor analysis. You want to know your market, who is doing well, what they are doing to find that success, and find ways to recreate and excel beyond the competition. You want to stand out. The easiest way to stand out is to make sure your website and offerings are better than your closest competitors.
- Use automation software to your advantage. There are tons of people out there who specialize in certain aspects of running a business. Lean into their offerings! Automating specific steps in the dropshipping fulfillment process saves you a ton of time. It will also make you more money because of the time saved and less room for human error. There apps available where your orders are exported automatically to your fulfillment partner, and then your partner can send data back, streamlining the process.
Running a successful dropshipping business is more than just finding a supplier and saying go. You need to research your niche, build a beautiful website, set up your processes to be as efficient and accurate as possible, and market your products effectively. Dropshipping isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely for some people. If that person is you, you can use the strategies in this article to start building your own successful dropshipping business today.