For a very long time, dropshipping has been considered to be one of the best forms of e-commerce order fulfillment.In this model, the store owners do not hold any inventory. Instead they have a dropshipping supplier who holds the products. Every order is conveyed to the supplier who sends the product to the customer. It offers a variety of options to the store owners and provides them with a much greater scope for expansion than holding their own inventory would. Apart from freeing the store owner from the headache of inventory management and allowing them to work from any location, dropshipping reduces a lot of costs. This article shows how to leverage this model through all the steps in launching your dropshipping startup.
Finding The Right Product
When are you are dropshipping with a limited budget, you cannot afford to experiment a lot. The products which you start your venture with should not only fulfill the customer’s needs but also be easily to handle logistically. Later on you can expand accordingly, but it is advisable to start safely. Here are a few guidelines to follow while finalizing your products:
- Easy To Use – The products which you choose should be easy to use. There are more chances of users returning products due to complications in usability, which is a scenario that should be avoided as much as possible.
- Price your product to maintain margins – One of the reasons why dropshipping has many detractors is that the margin for each product are extremely low. If the product is sold at Rs 1000, the amount to be paid to the dropshipping supplier could rise as high as Rs 800. Items with a low selling price will not provide you with profitable margins, and suppliers will demand a lot of charges for high-end products. Hence a product in between these price points would be ideal as you get a reasonable profit margin as compared to other product ranges.
- Consider Shipping Costs – If you are starting out on a low budget, then it is advisable to have products with a low shipping costs. Items which weigh a lot will attract more shipping charges and reduce your margins further.
As you can see, these pointers will help you to overcome the obstacle of low margins and allow you to expand much faster.
Finding The Right Suppliers
Your dropshipping suppliers are the base of your operations. They are the motor of your business who will undertake all logistical operations. As a result, they must be chosen after a well thought out process.Here are a few things which you must consider while searching for your suppliers:
- A simple Google search is not advisable. Most suppliers do not put much efforts into marketing and as a result their pages will not be SEO optimized. You have to browse through a lot of search pages to find the best supplier.
- Search your supplier based on a set of pre-decided metrics and finalize the final supplier after they are fulfilled. This is completely up to your priorities and could be anything from a supplier who has a wider variety of products, or one who offers faster shipping, or one who provides the most affordable service. Ranking suppliers on pre-decided criteria will simplify your selection process.
- After reaching out to a number of suppliers, consider their rate of response and the tone of the communication during all the interactions which you have had with them. Remember that you have to constantly communicate with them, which is why you cannot afford to finalize any supplier who lacks basic communication skills and/or is slow to respond.
Even if it takes more time than you thought it would do, take that time. If you choose a supplier in haste and they turn out to be ineffective, there is a chance that it will cause permanent damage to the reputation of your store. It might be a lengthy process, but it is the most crucial element of your online store and therefore must be allowed all the time required to complete it.
Designing The Store:
After you’ve finalized the product and the supplier, the next step is to design a website which instantly attracts the user with its design and relevance. If the user does not find the store relevant to him/her then they will not return to it. Here are a few points you can consider while designing your store.
- A strong landing page which immediately grabs the user’s attention
- A mobile optimized website
- Perfect product images
- Options for taking feedback
Having a store which attracts with these elements will surely increase the chances that they make a purchase from your store.
Now that you have completed designing the store, the last step before launching is promoting the website. You need to have a sound promotional strategy to differentiate your stores from your many competitors. It will help you can get leads as well as attract users to your online store, even without budget. Here are a few steps you can follow to achieve these aims.
- Social media marketing. A simple trick would be to understand which platforms your user base is more likely to use and focus your attention on them.
- Content Marketing
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Basic Facebook/Google ads (depending on the budget)
The scale and budget depends completely upon the resources which you have. The beauty of online promotions is that they can be executed by a small team as well, so regardless of your team strength you can still come up with a sound promotional strategy.
By following this process you will have created a reliable dropshipping store which attracts users with products which they can easily use. As you evolve you can expand more with the resources that you receive. Best of luck!