Starting a Dropshipping Business, Step by Step
It’s safe to assume that you’ve heard quite a lot about starting a dropshipping business. You may have even tried yourself, but you probably don’t know how to start or if it’s as simple as people say. That’s where we want to help you.
Join me through this short post where we’ll give an answer to all these questions and more, by leaving you a guide to help start a dropshipping business. If you’re going to start your first dropshipping business, you must be invested and mentally prepared.
Before anything else, it’s important to know that a dropshipping business is NOT an easy endeavor. Starting a dropshipping business is NOT for everyone and most of the people who try it do indeed fail. For this reason, I consider it essential to take this into account before taking you through the “technical steps” of starting a dropshipping business:
- You should know that like any business, there is a learning process. You may lose money and time at first, but as you gain experience and knowledge, you will improve until you achieve success.
- You can’t start a dropshipping business thinking about getting rich immediately. You must be willing to invest money and a lot of time, and perform many trial runs while believing in yourself through the most difficult moments. Consistency and adaptability are essential for a successful dropshipper.
- If you’re still convinced that you want to start a dropshipping business and are ready to achieve your goals, then don’t let anything stop you!
1st Step – Forget what you’ve been told, dropshipping business is not so simple
Now it’s time to find out what you are going to sell. When choosing a product, it should not be based on beliefs or opinions, you’ll have a much better chance of success if you make decisions based on objective data. To carry out this first task you can use two methods:
- First, you may choose a potential winning product. If you aren’t too sure of what that exactly is, here is our previous post in which we talk about the features of a winning product (LINK?). It’s also important to know that finding a reliable dropshipping supplier is very important. Therefore, ensure that you put emphasis on which dropshipping supplier you choose. They will be mainly responsible for the returns and shipping problems or delays that you will have to face. To deal with this component, you can focus on two options:
- Use tools that provide you with a lot of information regarding: volume and product searches, sales, reviews, supplier rank and more. One of the best tools for this is called “Alishark”. It costs around $20/month, but they offer a free trial for 2 days to see if it will be of use to you.
- The other option is manual product research (recommended). For this route, you can use Aliexpress or the alternative platform that you’ll use for your dropshipping business. Once here, you can filter the products by sales, hot products, categories and ratings until you find one that matches with your winning product features/conditions. Once again, you have to choose a trusty dropshipping supplier.
- The second method you have is to select a very specific customer segment/niche. This method is somewhat more difficult and I don’t recommend it for people with no experience in dropshipping. This is because after finding a customer segment, you may not be able to find a winning product for this niche. Even so, if you opted for this option then you would also have to carry out the winning product research as it was indicated in the previous point.
2nd Step – Create your persona
This step is a must to define your target audience. It’s also possibly the most important and overlooked step when starting a dropshipping business. You must know which niche you want to convert into real customers. For this reason it is useful to create one (or several) personas. You have to define all the characteristics of your prototype: including hobbies, work position, ideology and more. This way you can take care of all the details on your dropshipping website and ads, in order to make them more effective. You should dedicate up to 80% of your time on this task, especially if you have no experience. It’s also important to ensure that your dropshipping supplier can send the product to the country or countries where you’re going to sell.
3rd Step – Optimizing your dropshipping website to convert
If you don’t know how to create your dropshipping website, the best option is Shopify. Shopify is a tool that will allow you to create your first dropshipping website quickly and easily. If you need extra help, you can find many free courses on how to create your first Shopify store on Youtube.
Here are some key points to follow when creating your Shopify store:
Work out your typography and colors
Many times people get obsessed about what theme (template) they’re going to use for their website, but it’s not as important as one might think. It’s important to define a common typography in your dropshipping website, one that matches with the profile of your clients. In addition, you have to carefully select the colors of the website (titles, buttons, logo, etc.). For example, red captures attention but has a connotation of danger in the context of ecommerce. Blue conveys confidence, green means health and well-being, and so on. Each color has an indirect psychological impact on your clients, so you should know the meaning of all of them and use them to your benefit.
Decide on your products (quantity vs. quality)
You shouldn’t import hundreds of products to your dropshipping website. By choosing 5-15 products, including 2-3 winning products to test them, you’ll have enough to start your dropshipping business. Every single product has a reason to be in your dropshipping business, and if you can get all your products from one dropshipping supplier, it’ll be perfect. It’s a must to have at least one potential winning product, because it’s what you’ll advertise to bring traffic (visits) to your dropshipping website. In addition, you have to import some products that you’ll use for your cross selling and upselling systems. This is the key to increasing your profit because if you get a person to buy 2 products instead of just one, you’ll double the benefit. By using other strategies, you can also use very cheap products as a claim to get more people to visit your page. You can also have expensive products, making it so the winning products look even better. There are many strategies that you can try, so you must select the most suitable for your dropshipping website.
It’s a must to include reviews for your products on your dropshipping website
At first you won’t have any to use, but eventually you’ll want to showcase them. This is a difficult hill to climb, but once you have your customer base you’ll be off and running.
Include product descriptions and photos
You have to be extremely careful and professional in this matter. Photos must be of a pro quality to make a very good first impression to your clients. For this task you can find high quality images on pages like “Unsplash”, it’s not always necessary for you to take the photos. The descriptions should be focused on convincing the customers. You’re not going to focus so much on the technical features of your products (which is also important), but seek to convince the clients by showing them what problem you are solving or why your product will improve their life. You should also include an offer to help them make the purchase decision and close the sale the moment they finish reading the product description.
Include your legal pages
4th Step – Sending traffic to your dropshipping website
There are many ways to attract clients and send traffic to your website. Currently, the most powerful channels are Google Ads, Facebook Ads & influencers. Carrying out good marketing campaigns is a very complicated subject that costs thousands and thousands of dollars. There are many companies that specialize in marketing, so don’t rule out using them. Some have high costs and won’t generate results, but there are also a few companies that can help you create and launch your marketing campaigns completely free of charge. One of the best examples of this is Clever ecommerce. Clever ecommerce is an app that you can find in the Shopify App Market and will help you generate your first sales for free. Clever ecommerce also offers $100 of credit to spend on your marketing campaigns, which can save you a lot of money when you’re starting a dropshipping website.
5th Step – Fulfillment and email marketing, don’t forget about it!
Once you receive your first sales, you have to process them and send the products to your clients. For this task, one of the best free apps is Oberlo. Oberlo allows you to automate this process simply with a few clicks, and send the orders to your customers through Aliexpress.
Once you have shipped the products, your work isn’t done just yet. A customer paying for one of your products is only the beginning. You should run effective email marketing campaigns to keep your clients informed about their orders. Send emails to people who have started a purchase but have not paid, ask them how the shipment has gone and if they’re happy with the product quality, send them promotional emails to sell them more products. Email marketing is a main component of ecommerce business, and can truly be profitable due to the very low costs and strong turnover rate. For this aspect, SMS Bump is an app that will allow you to carry out these campaigns through SMS, which is really effective.
To finish, I would like to emphasize that it’s impossible in such a short post to explain in detail a process that takes months and months to learn and optimize. However, this is a guide to help you continue researching and obtaining experience. If you are starting a dropshipping business and are having trouble, or you’re stuck on something, don’t hesitate to subscribe and contact me on LinkedIn! It would be a pleasure to help you. See you in the next post!