How to start dropshipping: a checklist for beginners
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It’s a common consensus that starting a dropshipping business is easy, as reflected by the sharp increase in adopters since the beginning of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean that it’s simple to succeed. If you’re not serious about achieving significant results early, your efforts will most likely be in vain.
With that said, if you put in the effort, there’s no reason why you can’t succeed. So let's take a look at our dropshipping checklist to help you get started.
1. Deciding what to sell
When deciding what to sell, you should choose something that relates to your interests, knowledge, passions, or skills. Turning a preexisting passion into a foundation for your dropshipping business is one of the best ways to start. For example, if you’re a creative designer, you may want to print your designs on shirts, home decor, or even create your own brand.
When entering the dropshipping space, remember that your product must be unique. Otherwise, you’ll likely struggle against the competition. You’ll also want to ensure that your target market is scalable. Give yourself sales figure goals for the first year, three years, and maybe even longer.
2. Creating an online store
After you’ve decided what to sell, the next step is opening an online store to sell your products. Several popular storefront platforms, including Shopify, Wix, and WooCommerce, can help you get your store off the ground. This post on how to build a top-performing store without coding can help you get started.
Knowing how to write suitable product descriptions is also important. You want to draw in your customers. Put yourself in their shoes. Make sure to provide all the necessary information that you would want to know if you were purchasing the product.
3. Finding suppliers
The third step involves finding suitable partners to work with on the supply side. There are many marketplaces that you can use to find suppliers who support the dropshipping model. We suggest you visit the Dropshipping Center on Alibaba.com, to find resources and suppliers.
Sourcing on Alibaba.com also has several unique advantages. For instance, the suppliers on Alibaba.com are all wholesale manufactures, factories, or agents, providing low and competitive prices. Ultimately, your profit will come from the price gap between what you pay suppliers and what you charge your customers.
But before working with a supplier, be sure to evaluate how they can meet your requirements, delivery terms, and returns and refunds. Your supplier will determine your dropshipping success.
4. Automating your business
Finally, you’re on track to sell. After you have selected your suppliers, ask them to send you product images, descriptions, and videos to post on your own website. You'll likely need to customize the information for your target audience. That means you shouldn’t just copy and paste, but rather make changes based on what your customers want. There are plenty of tools available to help you with this.
Such tools automate the entire product management process, including product listing, order processing, and shipment tracking with suppliers. Meanwhile, third-party dropshipping tools like Modalyst, Dropified, and Syncee, can help you leverage more in-depth selling data to help your dropshipping operation.
5. Marketing your business
Once you’ve listed all your products on your site, it's time to focus on marketing. Share your store with friends and followers on social media. Offer promotions to motivate them to help spread the word for you. You should also research how best to use Google, Facebook, YouTube, and other digital channels to market your store. This definitely requires skill and strategy.
While it is a developing sector, dropshipping is not brand new, and so there are plenty of opportunities to learn when it comes to avoiding mistakes that others have made.
As for how to determine your retail pricing, you need to consider shipping costs, profit margins, market competition, and customer acceptance. In general, pricing should fall between 30% to 300% over the original product cost.
Although it takes hard work and dedication to get your dropshipping store off the ground, it doesn’t mean that success is impossible. Do the necessary steps — research your product, find the right suppliers to work with, market your business — and you’ll start seeing more and more success.