What Is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is selling products through online platforms or websites which provide e-commerce stores.
In drop shipping, you don’t need to have a physical inventory of your products. A supplier holds your products and it is shipped to your customers according to the orders you gave.
How Does A Dropshipping Business Work?
Basically, you are acting on behalf of the seller by promoting or advertising the products through an online store.
How Drop Shipping Works
- Someone saw the products you promoted in your online store and made a purchase.
- You took that money and purchase the ordered products from your supplier at a cheaper rate.
- Then the supplier directly ships the products to the customer.
- You pocketed the margin (profit).
- If it’s your own product, you have to do all the shipping and everything if you are not using any outside storehouse. But, you will be able to keep all the money you’ve got as you need not pay for any other services except for the shipping and packaging charges.
How To Get Started With Drop Shipping
Before venturing into any business, good research for what you want to promote is needed.
You have to do your own research on the followings:
1. What Should You Sell And What Product Will Work?
- You have endless options for choosing products to sell. It is better to choose niche categories that are marketable and have high demands in the market.
- You can check which products sales more by browsing the categories of Amazon, AliExpress, or eBay, or any sites you normally use to buy products for yourself online.
- When you visit those websites, you will see the most popular products on the home page itself.
- Another factor you must see is the reviews – according to market research, one out of 10 buyers are believed to leave a review of the product they bought.
- The products with the most positive reviews will be the winning product.
- You can also check at the bottom of the product page where it shows ‘People also buy’ products.
- Look around you and see what people are buying in the local marketplace also.
- Stay away from Generic items like television, headphones, etc. because people would prefer to buy them in bigger stores like Amazon or Walmart or in other places that have a good reputation and in which they already built trust. You can add them if you want but don’t base all your products on those items only.
- Try to sell products that are unique and that cannot be found easily.
2. Choose The Right eCommerce Platform For Your Online Store
If you don’t have your own e-commerce website, your best option would be to use either one of the popular ecom sites.
The main benefits of using these sites are:
- They use their warehouse for your products.
- Packaging, shipping is all done by them.
- No direct contact with your customer unless they contact you personally through email or phone.
3. Find trust worthy sellers
Your sellers must be reliable and trustworthy as you didn’t see the product which are shipped to your customers.
Your reputation depends on the sellers’ ability to maintain the quality of the products and timely shipments.
The Most Popular E-Commerce Sites
Let’s have a quick look at these eCommerce Websites.
#1. AMAZON FBA
Amazon is the largest eCommerce platform with more than 2.2 billion visitors each month.
Amazon FBA or Fulfilled By Amazon is a model that makes Amazon handle your inventory with their warehouse, it fulfills the orders and also provides customer services on your behalf.
It actually is an all-in-one solution for storage, packing, shipping, delivery, and customer support
- Create a Seller Account at Amazon Seller Central.
- Select either Individual seller or Professional seller. You can select a Professional seller if you are looking for long-term business.
- Choose products that you can sell for less in the beginning and you can improve on increasing the higher price products as you move on.
- Launch your product. The Amazon seller central guide provided within the website will teach you the process of importing products and using suppliers.
- Learn how to promote your products with social platforms like Facebook Ads to generate more sales.
For specific Amazon product research and how to be successful with Amazon FBA, you can use Jungle Scout which is one of the most effective tools available, and many FBA sellers credit their success to using Jungle Scout.
How much does it cost to dropship on Amazon FBA?
Shopify is undoubtedly one of the best and most popular eCommerce platforms used by drop shippers around the world with more than 50 million monthly visitors.
Shopify comes with several features and tools that provide an easy and quick to set up an online store and is also SEO optimized which makes it easier for people to find your store and products on the internet.
Shopify is not free but it gives you a trial period of 14 days to test run your online store while it gives you all the needed support to run your store successfully.
After the end of 14 days, you have to pay ₹29 per month if you want to continue your online store which is also one of the cheapest online store providers.
One of the best parts of using Shopify is that you need not go for other tools to help you grow your online store as it has thousands of important tools already integrated within the platform you can use. Many of these tools are free.
All you have to do is link your Shopify account to those tools.
How Much Does It Cost To Dropship On Shopify?
There are a few factors that determine the costs of running a Shopify store including the initial costs of setting up your store, the Shopify pricing plan you choose, and the cost of additional features if you want to add them.
So, your running cost on Shopify depends on the pricing plan you subscribe to.
Shopify has three pricing plans –
- Basic Shopify – ₹29/month
- Shopify -₹79/month
- Advanced Shopify – ₹299/month
- Shopify Lite – ₹9/month
- Shopify Plus
The Shopify Lite is like a plug-in for which you need to sell your products via an existing website or social media platforms with a ‘Buy’ button for the products.
The Shopify Plus comes with all the features available in the Advanced plan and additional features such as automation and will cost around ₹2000.
Apart from these, Shopify will charge you 0.30% to 2.5% fees on every credit card transaction.
How to Get Started With Shopify
- Sign-up on Shopify (It is not free but you will have a 14 days trial period, which you can cancel anytime if you think it’s not for you).
- Choose your theme, design, and download Apps like Oberlo from Shopify App Marketplace.
- If you are a complete beginner, you can look out for tutorials within the Shopify website itself or from videos on YouTube or learn it from a course from Udemy.
- Decide on a specific niche for which you are passionate about. Try to sell products that revolve around that niche.
- You will find an app that connects with eBay products also. eBay products that shipped from the USA are much quicker than Oberlo which imports products from Ali Express.
- Set your own price, product name, descriptions, and fill all the required fields.
- You can also import clothing products from Teespring or Printful which are Print On Demand (POD) sites.
eBay is one of the most popular eCommerce websites where you can run your dropshipping business for free.
Since eBay does not source your products, you need to work with your supplier to directly ship them to customers.
After you find your products, you need to source them from a trustworthy supplier and list your items on eBay.
When a customer purchases from your eBay listing, the details will be passed along to the supplier, who is then responsible for shipping the product to the customer.
Your profit comes from buying products at a wholesale price and then reselling them at a higher price.
You can learn How To Master eBay Dropshipping here.
How much does it cost to dropship on eBay?
eBay has more than 729 million visitors per month and naturally, it is profitable to dropship on eBay, especially for beginners who do not want to invest money or does not have the needed money to start a dropshipping business with such a huge potential for your listings to be seen.
However, unlike Amazon, eBay does not have storage facilities.
You have to contact a seller to do the dropshipping business for you.
The best part is that there is no upfront cost to pay.
All you have to do is create an eBay Seller Account and find a wholesaler who will do all the dropshipping to your customers.
eBay allows you to list 50 products for free per month and beyond that, it will charge you $0.35 for listing an item in most categories.
To directly give you the answer, apart from the 50 free listings, it will charge you $0.30 per listing and also take a 10% cut from the products you sold on eBay.
How To Dropship On eBay?
- Create an eBay Seller Account.
- Find products and wholesalers who would do the fulfillment for you.
- Since your dropshipping business depends on the reputation of your supplier, make sure you do good research as they are responsible for storing and shipping the products to your customer and your reputation is in their hands.
- Unlike other platforms, you will be solely responsible for the products to reach your customers, so make sure your supplier is trustworthy and helpful.
- You can use Amazon Fulfillment services to stock your products but you are not allowed to buy them from Amazon and then dropship to your eBay customer.
- You need to submit your tax ID.
- Set up your own payment method. The requirement may vary according to country. For sellers in the US, one has to have either a Paypal account or merchant credit card account.
- Create your profile page by putting details about your store and policies, such as shipping and return policies in detail as much as possible to build trust.
- List your items on eBay marketplace.
- Due to the low entry barrier, you will be facing fierce competition. So, you have to be creative to make your listing stand out.
- Use the promotional materials provided by your supplier.
- Product listings that are well-written are more likely to rank higher on eBay’s search engine.
- Start building a strong, positive reputation by fulfilling your orders as quickly as possible, and check with your supplier on a weekly or even daily basis to make sure everything is running smoothly.
- Remove listings for out-of-stock or discontinued items and replace them with new products regularly.
- Do not forget to respond to customer inquiries and complaints promptly and professionally, and try your best to create a positive experience that will build loyalty to retain your customers.
- Provide your tracking numbers to your customers.
BigCommerce has around 6.5 million visitors per month and hosts more than 50,000 e-commerce stores.
It is driven by flexible APIs and over 400 calls per second, per customer and is hosted on Google Cloud Platform for best-in-class uptime and server response.
You can easily launch and edit your BigCommerce site pages with drag-and-drop functionality that requires no coding.
BigCommerce provides three packages for setting up your online store with the Standard, Plus, and Pro plans and prices range from $29.95 to $249.95 a month.
Like Shopify, it is easy to set up BigCommerce.
All you have to do is opt for the 15 days trial and register an account.
Select a template and start customizing your store.
BigCommerce provides all the necessary eCommerce features for you to start your online store.
Some of the prominent features it provided are :
- Products and catalog creation.
- Order and inventory management.
- Marketing features integrated with ShipperHQ and ShipStation for shipping.
- Multiple payment gateways.
- Avalara for tax automation.
The BigCommerce platforms for dropshipping provide support via email, phone, live chat, and forum.
WooCommerce is another popular eCommerce platform for dropshipping with an easy and user-friendly interface.
The platform is intuitive and clean which makes it pretty easy to use, even for beginners.
WooCommerce as such is not a standalone website, it is a plugin that you should integrate with a WordPress site.
That means you need to have your own hosting and domain name to run the WooCommerce store.
Your WooCommerce dropshipping website will be equipped with basic eCommerce features such as product catalogs, pre-installed payment gateways, auto taxes, and shipping calculation, inventory management, multiple shipping methods, geolocation support, discount and coupon codes, sales reports, etc.
WooCommerce is more suitable for small dropshipping stores.
How to Dropship With WooCommerce?
- You need to buy a hosting and domain name.
- Install WordPress.
- Install the WooCommerce plugin.
- You need to integrate dropshipping function to your WooCommerce website by installing a third-party plugin that will cost you around $50.
- Basically, you need to know how to manage a WordPress site.
- You can ask someone to do it for you through Fiverr if you don’t know how to set it up by yourself.
How Much Does It Cost To DropShip Using WooCommerce?
For the hosting and domain, you need to pay around $40 for a year, extra third-party integration for dropshipping service will cost you another $50.
If you want to add extra features to your store, you need to pay for them.
The total cost would come around $100 to $500 exclusive of the product pricing.
Conclusion On How To Start Dropshipping Business
To sum up, the ideal way to start with a dropshipping business is to use a platform like Shopify or Amazon FBA to avoid unnecessary trouble of integrations to keep your online store running.
However, if you do not have the necessary money to invest or do not want to invest, you can use eBay which is the most affordable one but you need to have high sales amount to be able to generate a good profit.
You might not get it right at your beginning, but have patience because I can tell you that once you roll and master the art of drop shipping, you will never look back!
If you haven’t started yet but was dreaming about starting your online store for some time now… well, don’t you think it’s time for some action now? What are you waiting for? The ‘Right Time’?
The right time is now!
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