Step-by-step guides to build a profitable dropshipping business.
Starting a dropshipping business is a great step into entrepreneurship as you’ll be able to sell products to customers, set your product prices, and also market your very own brand. You don’t even need to pay for inventory until it’s sold to an actual customer and also, you don’t need to have a retail location before you can start making money from your dropshipping business.
All you have to do is create an e-commerce brand and focus on marketing your products while a third party handles the stock, shipping, and fulfillment on your behalf.
Dropshipping is an amazing entryway to online retail that requires less financial input than a regular online store as it focuses on marketing and customer satisfaction rather than warehousing and logistical challenges.
Here’s a complete guide explaining everything you need to know about the Dropshipping business model.
Table of contents
- What is dropshipping?
- How to find a winning product
- How to find the right dropshipping supplier
- How to set up a branded niche Shopify dropshipping store
- Dropshipping FAQs
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an online business model based on a retail fulfillment strategy where a merchant sells a product under his brand without having to manage and keep inventory or handle the shipping and fulfillment of the product. Instead, he purchases the product from the supplier as soon as customers make an order and have them ship it directly to the customer.
It is when a seller acts as a middleman without touching or seeing the product, you also don’t have to worry about storing, packaging, or shipping your products as your supplier already does that on your behalf. Dropshipping is an accessible and cost-effective way to get into the world of e-commerce.
In order to run a successful e-commerce business, you need to understand that;
People have incredibly short attention spans; you need to be able to grab people’s attention not only in your product descriptions, videos, or ad copies but with everything you do online because it is very easy to lose people’s attention.
Also, the majority of people buy based on emotion, not logic; you have to make the customer feel something; be it fear, pain, excitement, or relief. Your focus should majorly be on benefits rather than features of the product.
How to find a winning product
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome as a new online seller is finding products to sell on your website. But not just any product will do, you need to find a WINNING product to boost your chances of success.
Here’s a guide that will help you identify a winning product;
The product should have a wow factor
Winning products should instantly grab the attention of a user and also stop them from scrolling. It should also be able to pleasantly surprise potential buyers.
You can’t easily find it selling elsewhere
You need to find products that people can’t buy at the usual department store. The products should be unique, trigger impulse buying, and still be practical.
It should solve a problem or add value
People are naturally drawn to products that can alleviate their problems, make their lives easier and better and also add value to them.
The marketability of the product
These are products that are easy to understand by a user (self-explanatory) and also easy to advertise by a seller.
Mass market appeal
These products should appeal to the public; the broader the market appeal, the easier it is for you to scale.
The four types of winning products are;
– Untapped products: These are products that are new to the market and there are no dropshippers currently selling them; therefore the saturation is very low. If the right product is selected, you have the whole market to yourself for a while but it’s also very risky to start because there’s no current data for it.
– Fresh products: These are products that are currently being tested or scaled by dropshippers. It is the safest product to start out with since it’s being tested and you have backed up data but this market doesn’t last for long before it dies down.
– Seasonal product: These products have to do with seasons, you will have lots of massive sales during a particular season but then, you have to wait for that season to sell the products again.
– Old products: These are previous winning products that are being re-introduced back into the market. It also has backed up data but there’s no guarantee that it’ll work again.
How do you find a winning product?
The key to building a successful dropshipping store is selling niche products that are trending. Once you have a shortlist of popular items, see if they fit the qualities of the winning products we discussed earlier on, and put the biggest focus on the ones that do.
Where to find these products;
1. Dive into amazon best seller listings
Amazon is the Google of the e-commerce world. Amazon Best Sellers is the site to bookmark and refer to when you do your product research. Their lists depend on sales and are refreshed hourly. So, you can be sure your findings are timely and focus on the right metrics.
2. Check out AliExpress for best-selling Products
AliExpress best sellers list offers weekly best sellers and categorized Hot Sellers for dropshipping. As a dropshipping partner, you can view trend-based top-selling items that are categorized in the directory of AliExpress’s most popular products.
3. Source for products from private suppliers
You can also source for products to sell on your store by reaching out and communicating with private suppliers. The best private dropshipping suppliers can be hard to find as there are many options out there, therefore it is very important for you to find a long-term reliable supplier and also build a good relationship with them if you want to scale your products.
Here are the benefits you get from sourcing for products from a private supplier;
Sourcing from private suppliers gives room for you to create your own product brand. You get to design your home page and also customize your packaging as you can ask the manufacturer to put your business name and logo on the product while applying any other brands (colors, fonts, etc.) and the packaging guidelines you provide.
With your own brand, you can establish your own exclusive identity which will increase customer loyalty and recognition. For example, you can be the sole source of products and also take steps to personalize the shopping experience (as there are a lot of spies out there who can steal your idea of products), which can become a loyalty booster for your store.
Because of your control over the product brand, you can determine the price of the product. In addition, you can eliminate the risk of competitors driving down your prices because they cannot sell your brand at a lower price than you.
How do you find the right dropshipping supplier?
There are plenty of potential suppliers out there, but it can be difficult to find reputable and reliable companies to work with.
It is important to choose the right supplier as choosing the wrong one can lead to you facing unexpected delays, receiving complaints from customers regarding defective products, or even losing out on profit.
Most beginner dropshippers tend to look at AliExpress when trying to find their products but AliExpress is not an optimal long-term choice, as it is a B2C platform with several resellers who often do not offer after-sale assistance or fast shipping and there’s also a lot of competition as there are many unbranded products on Aliexpress.
Nowadays, thanks to the increasing awareness and lucrative business performance of dropshipping, we have seen a consistent rise of private dropshipping suppliers. But again, not all of them will match your quality standard or finances.
As a dropshipper, you and your chosen supplier are responsible for delivering the product to the customer. But what if your collaboration with the supplier is not adequate?
Your business will directly suffer. Therefore, it is very important to choose the right supplier for your dropshipping business.
If you want a supplier who can source high-quality products at B2B prices and also offer affordable fast shipping, your answer is TOPDSER.
TOPDSER can source over 400 thousand different products for you and also fast ship them in many countries around the world. This supplier also offers software that can help you automate the entire order fulfillment process, which means that your orders will be fulfilled as soon as you receive them!
They also offer a series of additional services, such as:
- Free multi-store management dashboard
- Private branding of products and packaging
- Dedicated customer support service
- Free Warehouse services
- Fast Shipping to custom locations within 5-12 days
Dropshipping business model.
There are mainly four different kinds of dropshipping business models, which include a general store, industry store, branded niche store, and one product store.
A good understanding of each store model will help facilitate the end-to-end process of your business in the aspect of store design, store management, and marketing.
– General Store: This store allows you to sell a variety of products from all niches and you can also sell products that are not related to each other. it has no limitation to the kinds of products you can sell. a general store focuses on product research, testing, and capitalizing on winning products.
– Industry Store: This store allows you to sell products from a couple of niches as long as they are closely related to each other; you get to sell any category of products but they have to be closely connected.
– Branded Niche Store: This store sells products that have a unifying feature and are under the same category. you can sell multiple products from a particular niche. e.g. mobile accessories, fashion products, women’s apparel, etc.
– Single Product Store: This store focuses on just one product or item. most times, dropshippers tend to look for trending products and create a single product store. In setting up a single product store, you have to pay a lot of attention in your product selection stage. You also need a lot of marketing skills in testing different angles of that product to make it work.
The type of store you pick will depend mostly on what you find worth doing. You should want to find the perfect product, the perfect store type, or business in general that gets you excited to work on it.
We will majorly focus on Branded Niche Stores because the main purpose of this article is to guide you on how to create a long-term e-commerce business or brand.
Why does the traditional dropshipping business face potential challenges?
The biggest challenge with the traditional dropshipping store is that you do not get to see the products yourself so there’s no way of ensuring the quality and also, marketing your products will not be easy as there are a lot of unbranded stores out there selling generic products. That’s why many people are talking about The Branded Dropshipping model much more frequently during the past two years.
We do believe that both the general dropshipping business model and the branded dropshipping business model will still last and evolve for the coming years. All these business models have genuine values of their own. General dropshipping is the easiest way to start your online business, but when you try to scale your general dropshipping business or start to try branded dropshipping, you will need to find a reliable dropshipping supplier.
Your dropshipping supplier not only offers the opportunity of customizing your business name and logo on your products which will make your store design look more professional with your identity, but they can also help you make quality inspections and make sure the product supply chain is safe enough while you are scaling your ad spent.
With TOPDSER, you only need to worry about expanding your customer base while everything else is taken care of by us. We assure you perpetual availability of 100% authentic niched products from a huge network of trusted suppliers.
How to set up a Branded-Niche Shopify dropshipping store.
Dropshipping has become very popular and there are a lot of unbranded stores out there selling generic products. Having a branded look and feel will make your store look more trustworthy and reliable, which will in turn lead to a high conversion rate and higher profits as well.
A niche market is a segment of a larger market that can be characterized by its own unique needs, preferences, or identity that makes it different from the market at large. This store sells products that have a unifying feature. For example; women’s apparel, smartphone accessories, sleep-promoting products, etc.
Most dropshippers prefer this store because it gives room for better branding opportunities in the future and also facilitates targeting a specific audience. All you have to do is to stick to a criterion of products that will give you a huge competitive advantage over other competitors that don’t understand anything about branding.
To set up a niche for yourself, these are the few things you need to observe;
You have to start by considering your interest or what you’re passionate about. Find out what gives you the most inspiration or idea because being passionate about what you’re selling can increase your chance of success.
The next step is to carry out a research to determine if your chosen niche is in demand. You can use online tools like ‘Google trends’ to check if people are really searching for them and to also determine if your chosen niche is trending or not.
If you simply can’t find what inspires you or have no idea on what type of store to venture into, we do recommend that you start with a niche store with one product, that way you can test a variety of products in the same niche. You can begin with one single product and keep testing until you find the right product that works for you.
Setting up a branded Shopify dropshipping store
Shopify is the undisputed pioneer when it comes to e-commerce dropshipping. With website plans starting at just $29 each month, it’s an economical choice for startups and small businesses. Shopify even offers a 14-day free trial, so it’s a completely risk-free way to launch a new business or test-drive a brand concept.
Why branding matters;
Branding your business is really important, and that’s especially true if you’re dropshipping with Shopify.
That’s because there’s typically more than one dropshipper selling a given product. Good branding sets those sellers apart from one another and big-box competition like Amazon.
Here are 6 easy steps on how to set up your Shopify dropshipping store
1. Sign up at Shopify
You’ll be given a 14-day free trial which gives you enough time to start an online store that’s ready to launch.
When you start your free trial, you’ll be prompted to enter a store name, which will become your default URL (e.g. storename.myshopify.com). You won’t be able to change this, but you will be able to buy a custom domain (e.g. storename.com) later on, so don’t worry about picking the perfect name for now.
Your store admin screen is where you will customize your store, upload products, set up payments, and shipping options. It’s also where you’ll see your orders, customers, analytics, and other vital aspects of your store later.
Also, Shopify has an official theme store for designing your store which can be modified to your liking without needing to know or understand any code, but what you can do without code is limited to basic updates like changing your logo, colors, and fonts.
2. Create online shopping key pages for your store
These pages help shoppers understand your business, give them reasons to trust you, and make other essential details available to customers who are looking for them. These pages can be created under Online Store > Pages.
Some of these most helpful pages are;
– About page. This page connects personally with customers. It explains your business model, and also shares the reason you started your business. A persuasive About page can go a long way in earning trust for new brands.
– Contact page. This page gives customers clear ways to reach you if they have questions or it points them to a place to find answers, such as an FAQ page.
– FAQs page. A frequently asked questions page helps reduce some of the more common customer support inquiries.
3. Add your products
In your new Shopify store, go to Products > Add product to create your first product listing. On the following screen, add as many details as you need to about your product such as the product title, product description, and URL. The more details you add, the better informed your customers would be.
In the media section of your product page, you can upload any visual media that helps you share richer and more colorful details about your products: photos, GIFs, videos, or even 3D models.
In addition to that, you’ll need to set a listing price for your product; this is what customers will pay to buy your products.
4. Set up your back office
As a store owner, you’ll likely spend more time in the admin section than on the front end of the website. Therefore, you need to arrange for shipping, taxes, and payment options as well.
– Shipping: This is one of the most intricate considerations involved in running an e-commerce business. If your rates are too narrow or you don’t provide customers with enough options, you may lose some sales.
In the shipping rates section, check if you have a weight-based shipping rate and adjust it according to each catalog item’s specifications.
– Taxes: Like every business, you’ll be expected to pay taxes to your government as a proportion of your revenue. You’ll also be expected to collect some form of VAT on most products too. In your admin, go to Settings > Taxes to configure your tax options, and determine whether your prices already take taxes into account.
– Payment: This is an important part that helps you decide on how to accept payment from your customers through your website. You can select from over 100 third-party payment providers and give your customers additional payment options like PayPal, AfterPay, etc.
5. Configure a custom domain
Purchasing a domain is like claiming land on the internet. That’s why it’s called a “web address”.
A custom domain is a fully branded URL that replaces the default URL that was created based on the store name you chose at setup (e.g., you could buy storename.com to replace storename.myshopify.com as your public URL).
Under Online Store > Domains, you can purchase your domain directly through Shopify, or you can transfer your domain from another registrar and connect it to your store.
6. Launch your Shopify store
Remove the password page at Settings > Preferences and start telling the world that you’re open for business.
Congrats! That’s how you set up a Shopify store. Best of luck with sales!
What can I sell online to make money?
You can sell anything from handmade products, travel accessories, home décor items, smart electronics, phone accessories, pet products, and many more.
Is dropshipping a profitable business?
It definitely can be if you find the right product, have awesome marketing skills, and also invest time and money into growing your business.
Do I need any skills to start a dropshipping business?
The answer is no! You only need to believe in yourself. The most common traits of successful entrepreneurs are people who are passionate, consistent, and keep their eye on the goal. A can-do attitude and willingness to learn are great skills to develop.
Altogether, dropshipping is a fantastic way to launch a business online and can also be an additional source of income for e-commerce merchants.
Are you thinking of starting your own online dropshipping store and you need more details on how to find the right products and suppliers for your store?
You can contact our customer support experts at TOPDSER regarding any questions you might have.