How to dropship with AliExpress, eBay, Amazon on Shopify
Dropshipping is increasingly becoming popular. In fact, today, many online business enthusiasts consider it an easy and lucrative online business approach. If dropshipping intrigues you, and your interest in starting a dropshipping empire is at an all-time high, this post will prove quite useful, help you understand the nature of dropshipping and its benefits as a revenue earning business model, this guide will provide you with all the easy-to-follow guidelines you will need to start your dropshipping empire.
By following the techniques, tips, and tricks, not only will you be able to earn your first dropshipping profit, you will also learn how to scale your dropshipping business and make it successful. In last part, there are some essential tools (AliExpress, eBay, Amazon) will help your dropshipping model run smothly. Save time and make money.
Now let’s start.
What Are Essentials of Dropshipping for Beginners?
Before we head any further into the exciting business realm that is dropshipping, let us first cultivate an understanding of what dropshipping really entails, understand how it works, and the amazing benefits you stand to gain from starting a dropshipping business.
What Is Dropshipping And How Does It Work?
Dropshipping refers to a fulfillment approach that enables you to procure goods directly from a wholesaler, and then ship them to your respective customers without necessarily having to hold inventory. In this case, you do not have to purchase massive amounts of products to serve as your inventory; neither do you need a lot of storage space to store your stock. In the dropshipping fulfillment model, you simply collaborate with a supplier offering dropshipping services and start listing for sale their particular items on your website or webpage. After that, you market and advertise those goods, and when you receive orders, you forward those orders to the supplier. Your supplier then directly ships the products listed on the order to your client from their own warehouse at their own shipping cost. In this model, the only charge you incur is the shipped item’s price; you do not have to buy the product, or handle it so in essence, you are simply creating a link between the supplier and the customer. Because of this, when you dropship, you can enjoy good profits since the cost of running the business is minimal at best.
Before Dropshipping Came into Being
Before dropshipping came into the limelight, there were two main e-commerce models: creating own products or purchasing inventory in bulk from suppliers. If you wanted to start a business using the first option, you had to purchase the raw materials involved in the development of that product and spend hours creating an innovative good that’s great enough to attract your target market. The second option required large amounts of upfront investments going into the bulk purchase of goods even before you had a single sale order. Although these approaches have worked well for many people and companies, and are still helping many more earn a handsome living, they are nonetheless quite laborious because both approaches call for the upfront investment of a huge amount of time, effort, and money to make them work.
Dropshipping eliminates all these concerns. Using the dropshipping approach, your role in the product development to product sale process becomes marketing the chosen products, collecting sales, and then forwarding these sales to the manufacturer for fulfilment. Someone else in the supply chain is in charge of worrying about the product development, inventory management, product packaging, and shipment. This frees you from all those worries involved in the production-to sale-to shipping process.
As you can see, dropshipping is infinitely interesting and presents infinite potential for those willing to explore it. Talking of potential, let us throw more light on the benefits you stand to derive from becoming a dropshipper; by looking at these benefits, it will spark your motivation to start your dropshipping business.
The Pros of Dropshipping
Dropshipping has many pros; below are some of the major ones.
✓ Low Capital Requirement: Dropshipping does not demand the upfront investment of thousands of dollars. In fact, you can start your dropshipping business with a very nominal amount of money because you only need to purchase an item when you have an order that needs fulfilling.
✓ Variety of Products: With dropshipping, you get an amazing selection of products to choose from. Think about it; since you do not need to pre-purchase the goods you will be marketing, you have the option of selling almost anything you want. You merely need to display their photos and descriptions. This means you can sell handbags, jewelry, kitchen appliances, and any product you think will interest your customers. With a wide product range, you increase your customer base and sales.
✓ Minimized Risk: Because dropshipping eliminates the need to invest thousands of dollars to buy inventory, it minimizes the risk of starting a profitable online business. If a product does not market well, since you have not bought inventory, you save the thousands of dollars that would have otherwise gone into buying inventory.
✓ Location Independence: When you opt for the dropshipping model, you do not need to worry about running a proper warehouse or opening an actual store; you have complete location independence. You can run your dropshipping business from anywhere you want; all you need is a fast-speed internet connection and a functional computer (a laptop is preferred since it is portable).
✓ Incredibly Scalable: In addition to offering the aforementioned benefits, dropshipping also provides you with incredible scalability. Because it eliminates the need to personally fulfil every order, it is quite easy to scale a dropshipping business into a mammoth, successful online business.
To enjoy the rewards offered by dropshipping and earn a decent income from the comforts of your home, move on to the next chapter to find out how you can use the dropshipping model to make tons of money.
Step 1: How to Get Started- The Essentials You Need
Dropshipping is an easy-to-follow e-commerce model; thus, it does not per se require you to have anything specific to get started. Nevertheless, as it is with other businesses, dropshipping requires you to have some essentials.
In this section, we shall cover the basic items you need to have before starting your dropshipping business.
What You Need to Start a Dropshipping Business
Here are the essentials you must gather before starting your dropshipping business.
✓ Money: Although you do not need lots of it, you do need some money to start a dropshipping business. Generally, $150 to about $500 is enough to get you started. With time, and as you experience success, you can invest in more.
✓ EIN: EIN refers to your employer identification number and is the corporate equivalent of the ‘social security number.’ EIN specifically serves to identify taxpayers starting a business. Mostly suppliers in the US need your EIN to ensure you are operating legally. To get your EIN, visit the IRS website and follow the systematic procedure detailing how to apply for your EIN; you will have to pay a fee for your application.
✓ Sales Tax ID: You will also need a sales tax ID or resale certification from your state. It is important to get it as it ensures your legality in front of the suppliers, which helps you land good and reliable suppliers.
✓ Website or Social Media Account: You need to have a website or at the very least, a running and active social media account that you can use to publicize the products you aim to market and sell. Mostly, dropshippers run their business via a website or Facebook account. You need to have a place where you can upload merchandise images, description, and rates of the merchandise you aim to sell. A website can serve this purpose well. However, Facebook has taken this generation by storm due to its interactive interface, which is why a large number of dropshippers, particularly those just getting started in the business use it to kick-start their dropshipping business. You need to have any one of these for venturing into dropshipping. After gathering these basic things, move on to the next step.
Step 2: Finding a Dropshipping Wholesaler — A How to Guide
The next move towards starting your dropshipping business is to find a good and reliable dropshipping wholesaler. A dropshipping wholesaler is an individual or organization that offers dropshipping facilities. Before we discuss the steps you need to follow to locate a good dropshipping wholesaler, there is one thing you need to be wary of while conducting this search.
Beware of Fake Wholesalers: How to Recognize Them
Like any other industry, dropshipping has its fair share of frauds and cons. You will come across lots of people who will pretend to be genuine wholesalers but whom will be just after your money. Therefore, you must to be able to spot a fake wholesaler and be able to differentiate between an authentic and a con.
The following indicative factors of a fake or pretend dropshipping wholesaler should help you avoid such conmen.
Ongoing Fees Demands
Genuine wholesalers do not charge their clients a monthly or regular fee. If a supplier asks you for a monthly service, or membership fee, you are likely to fall into the trap of a fraudulent supplier. However, if you are looking for suppliers using a supplier’s directory, you may have to pay a one-time fee; this is perfectly OK. A supplier’s directory is a directory listing contact information of wholesalers; since it is providing a service, it is likely to charge a fee. However, if an individual supplier demands a fee, it is likely they are not a real wholesaler.
Sell Directly to the Public
To acquire genuine wholesale prices, first, you need to register a wholesale account and prove you are a legitimate businessperson (the information discussed in the previous chapter will help you validate your legality.) Once the wholesaler is sure of your legitimacy, they will approve you and you will be free to place orders. However, if a wholesaler does not require you to go through this process and is offering products directly to the mass market at wholesale rates, then they are not really a wholesaler and are a mere retailer providing goods at inflated rates.
Dropshipping Fees: The Genuine Ones
If you come across a wholesaler who demands a continuous fee and sells goods to the public, you must stay cautious. However, you will have to pay two genuine wholesaler fees; if a dropshipper demands these from you, abide by the request. These are:
Pre-order Fees: Most dropshippers charge a per-order dropshipping charge that ranges from $2 to about $5, or a little more depending on the complexity and size of the products being shipped. This rate is standard. While it may seem like much, if you compare it to the charges involved in packaging an individual order and then shipping, this is a good deal when compared to processing and shipping an order in bulk. Therefore, the fee is, in retrospect, a bargain.
Minimum Order Sizes (MOS): Certain wholesalers have a condition known as the ‘smallest initial order size.’ MOS is the minimum amount you need to purchase to place your very first order. This condition works to filter the window-shopping merchants who waste a wholesaler’s precious time. Before placing an order, consider a wholesaler’s minimum order sizes and choose a wholesaler that has an MOS that fits your budget. For instance, a wholesaler could have $500 as their minimum order, which would make it difficult to work with such a wholesaler if you do not have an operating capital of $500. Therefore, keep this fee in mind when selecting your dropshipping supplier.
Now that you know how to identify fake, out-to-get your money wholesalers, and know which necessary fees you have to pay, let us discuss how to find a suitable dropshipping wholesaler.
How to Find Good Dropshipping Wholesalers
Just as there are many ways to skin a cat, there are many ways to locate suitable dropshipping wholesalers. Nevertheless, below are effective methods you can use to find genuine dropshipping suppliers.
Contact the Manufacturer
You can use this extremely easy method to locate legitimate wholesalers. If you have identified a product, simply call the manufacturer and request for a list of the item’s wholesale distributors. Next, get in touch with those wholesalers to find out if they offer dropshipping. If any one of them does provide this service, inquire about setting an account and then find out their fees and charges.
Since many wholesalers carry goods from numerous manufacturers, using this approach, you will be able to source a variety of goods within the particular niche you are exploring. After making a few calls to some of the well-known manufacturers in your preferred niche, you will soon find the leading dropshipping wholesalers in that particular market.
Use Google Search
You can use this viable approach to locate legitimate dropshipping suppliers. However, to make the most of this method, keep the following tips in mind.
✓ Search Extensively: To locate authentic and reliable wholesalers, conduct elaborate online research. Generally, wholesalers do not have good marketing and promotion skills; therefore, finding good wholesalers will not be easy. To locate legitimate suppliers, you must dig through myriads of search results because most authentic wholesalers do not make it through to the top of search results for specific keywords in your preferred niche.
✓ Use Modifiers: Wholesalers do not make use of extensive SEO tactics. To locate their websites, make use of lots of different search queries. Do not give up your search of finding a genuine wholesaler when you use a ‘(product’s name) wholesaler’ and cannot find one; use various modifiers such as ‘distributor’, ‘warehouse’, ‘seller’, ‘supplier’ and ‘bulk.’ This will help you come up with more and better search results.
✓ Never Judge A Book by Its Cover: Suppliers are infamous for having not-so-user-friendly, 90’s style websites with poor web-design. A good supplier is quite likely to have a cringe-worthy website; do not let that scare you. It is important to get in touch with the supplier, acquaint yourself with their work and policies, and then decide whether you want to work with them.
Keep these pointers in mind and use both, or any of these methods to locate genuine suppliers. Once you get in touch with one, make sure to ask about their current customers and request their contact information (if they allow this) so you can ask these customers about the services of a particular supplier’s products and reliability. If the wholesaler is honest in their dealings and legitimate in the way they do business, they will not hesitate to give you this information.
In the next step, we shall discuss what comes after finding a good supplier.
Step 3: How to Select Dropshipping Products
You cannot create a thriving dropshipping business until you choose profitable products to dropship. Although most dropshipping entrepreneurs execute this step before choosing a supplier, you can conduct these steps side-by-side.
Let us discuss how to select goods for your dropshipping business; what makes an item profitable, and why you need to be creative when deciding your dropshipping items.
Selecting Dropshipping Items: Important Considerations
When choosing your dropshipping items, perform thorough research. In this regard, below are a few important factors to take into account when deciding on a product.
✓ Popularity: The popularity of a product plays an extremely important role in determining the success of your dropshipping business. If a product is not trending, your target market should at the very least, receive it well, otherwise, you are going to suffer losses. You can use Google search to check a product’s popularity.
✓ Demand: You must be aware of an item’s current market demand. How big is that product’s demand? Is your target market eagerly awaiting that product? Answering these two questions will help you determine your dropshipping’s success.Google Keyword Tool and Google Trends are two reliable ways you can use to find the popularity and demand of a specific product.
✓ Need: Need and demand are different things. Quite often, people are not aware of their needs and focus more on their demands. You should perform extensive research on what your target market needs and then promote your product in a manner that makes your target demographic consciously aware of that need.
✓ Price: The price of the product is an important consideration because it helps you set your budget. In addition, if you have set aside a specific amount of funds for your dropshipping business, you need to know the product’s price, so you can choose a product that fits into your budget.
✓ Uniqueness: Uniqueness is an important consideration because people always appreciate something novel and outstanding. You can find many unique dropshipping products on Alibaba, Salehoo, Doba Drop Shipping, World Wide Brands, Wholesale Central, and other similar websites. An important factor that determines a product’s uniqueness is its availability. If a product is not readily available in the local markets, buyers are most likely searching for it online; if your website sells it, they will be happy to become your customers.
✓ Marketing Potential: You must consider the marketing potential of a product before launching it because if you find a product is not easily marketable after launching it, you will end up wasting money.
✓ Low Turnover Rate: You focus on goods that do not need annual updates. This will make your capital last longer and serve you better. As opposed to this, if goods change yearly, you will need to update your website accordingly which will cost you lots of additional time, effort, and money.
Consider these factors and you definitely will find attractive and lucrative products. Now that we have that in mind, let us briefly discuss some profitable dropshipping goods readily available for this business model.
Top Products to Dropship: You Cannot Go Wrong with Items in These Categories
While any product has the potential to become profitable, nonetheless, some items are widely popular. Below is a list of some top selling dropshipping product categories you should consider promoting.
✓ Beauty Products: People frequently need beauty products and cosmetics, which is why they are good dropshipping products to promote.
✓ Computer Accessories: We constantly upgrade computers and laptops and since new technological products hit the market, buyers are always on the lookout for computer accessories. These two factors make computer accessories a viable dropshipping product.
✓ Clothing and Accessories: Clothes and accessories such as shoes, jewelry, and handbags are always in demand. No matter what happens, buyers, women in particular will not stop purchasing these goods, which is why dropshipping clothes and accessories is a good idea. However, you should keep in mind the seasonal change in accessories. For instance, gloves and hats become more popular in winters, whereas the demand for sunglasses spikes in the summers. You must keep in mind the fashion trends when dealing in these products.
✓ Cell phones and Accessories: Cell phones are good products to dropship. Normally, potential cellphone buyers know what phone model they want and do not like the hassle of visiting an actual market and then engaging in long talks with sales persons whose sole aim is the upsell. Keeping this factor in mind, dropshipping experts usually advice those interested in the dropshipping business to start at selling mobile phones. If you decide to sell this product, do not forget to include mobile phone accessories, particularly the coolest mobile covers in your product list. The demand for mobile phone covers is often high and consumers purchasing cell phones often want the cover as well so you might as well sell mobile covers.
✓ Tickets: Buying tickets online is more convenient than standing in long queues to get one. Therefore, dropshipping movie, theatre, and opera tickets is a good idea.
✓ Books, Toys, Music, Games, and Movies: According to a survey conducted by Power Home Biz, a popular website offering how to start earning from your home guides states that books, toys, games, movies, and music are some of the best products to dropship.
✓ Furniture: Furniture items are bulky and heavy; if you dropship them, you offer the buyer an effective way to cut the shipping costs. In addition, the survey by Power Home Biz showed that furniture has become a popular dropshipping item.
The above profitable, and highly popular items will help you get started on the journey to a profitable dropshipping business; therefore, consider adding them to your product line when you start this business.
Step 4: Cost Minimization and Profit Maximization
In addition to choosing a supplier and good products to promote, you also need to consider some important aspects that relate to running this business; these considerations will minimize your costs and maximize your profits. Let us consider both these aspects one by one.
How to Minimize Your Dropshipping Business Costs
To enjoy bigger profits, minimizing your dropshipping business costs is incredibly important. Here are a few tips that can effectively reduce your costs.
✓ Buy Products in Bulk: Bulk buying reduces your costs because individual item dropshipping rates are generally higher than the wholesale rates. An article published on Salehoo showed that the dropship price of a remote controlled helicopter is $39.41, whereas its wholesale rate is $29.97. To make big bucks in this business, start placing orders in bulk.
✓ Make a Big Investment: Investing big allows you to purchase products in bulk, which lowers your cost. Starting this business with a minimal capital of $1000 is a wise decision.
✓ Know the Market Trends: When you know the market trends, you know which product is going to experience a boom and which item’s demand will decrease in the next couple of months. This allows you to bulk buy products with a high demand, thus effectively managing cost.
In addition to considering these factors, you must also concentrate on strategies to maximize your profits.
How to Maximize Profits
Profit maximization ensures the success of your business. When you need to maximize profits, many critical factors come into play. Below are the factors you must pay special attention to in order to monetize and scale up your dropshipping business.
Good Marketing and Promotion
One of the biggest dropshipping business success factors is excellent marketing and promotion. A commonly experienced problem by most e-commerce merchants and dropshippers is considerably poor website traffic. Poor marketing is the major reason behind this issue. Therefore, to ensure your website does not join the list of non-performing dropshipping businesses, heavily concentrate on dropshipping’s marketing and promotion in order to make it a successful venture.
This is where SEO and social media marketing come in. SEO, or search engine optimization is a strategy to improve your website or webpage ranking in search results. To get the best SEO results, it is wise to seek help from professionals SEOs such as SEOmoz and SearchEngineLand. This will help minimize the time you spend on SEO, which will allow you to focus on other marketing aspects.
You also must create accounts on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You must upload attractive product photos and videos to your accounts on these platforms to attract audiences to your goods. Moreover, you can create videos and how-to tutorials of the different products you sell and upload them to you your YouTube channel. This extremely effective promotional tactic is very popular with many dropshippers, especially those who dropship games and toys. To improve your popularity and credibility, interact with your target market and members on different social media platforms. With these factors enhanced, your sales are likely to amplify.
Selling internationally is an effective tactic to boost your sales and consequently boost your profit. You must know the countries your dropshipping wholesaler company ships to and their shipment charges for those respective countries. Once you sort out these issues, you can easily start selling internationally.
Selling internationally will increase the number of products you sell since high-demand products vary from one country to another. Moreover, selling internationally will cater to a large number of audiences and help you widen your customer base.
Follow Up with the Customers
To keep them hooked to your website and make them loyal to your dropshipping business, follow up with your customers. You should send them at least one email 10 days after a purchase and request for feedback. In addition, invite customers to look at the other products. This tactic improves your chances of retaining a customer and consequently maximizes your profits.
Professional Auction Listing
Professional auction websites such as eBay and Amazon act like your business cards. You must have accounts on these websites and make them appear professional. For that, you need to upload your contact information, your photo, preferably that of your company’s logo or name, and an attractive description of your business. By doing this, you will help prospective customers know you are a legitimate and professional seller, which cements your credibility, thus effectively motivating potential customers to make purchases from your dropshipping business.
Do consider all these factors if you truly want to experience incredible success in your business and expand it.
Starting a successful dropshipping business is quite simple; all you need is to adhere to, and implement the valuable insight, information, and tips provided in this guide. If you implement everything listed here, dropshipping business success will be yours!
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by Alan Hirsch