Dropshipping allows entrepreneurs to sell products without managing or storing inventory. Someone else provides the goods, and you act as the middleman to sell them to customers indirectly.
This eCommerce model requires less capital than starting a traditional brick-and-mortar business, and you don’t need any storage space for inventory- even if you sell thousands per month
But there are some things you need to do to set up a successful shop and earn a profit from your business!
In our How to Start Dropshipping post, we’ll cover the six essential steps you need to take to start a successful dropshipping business.
Dropshipping: Key Takeaways
- Dropshipping has become an increasingly popular way to start an online business- many sites help provide items for your store.
- Dropshipping enables entrepreneurs to quickly scale their businesses without needing additional personnel for order fulfillment and logistics operations.
- Dropshippers can start their own business with minimal capital investment compared to other brick-and-mortar stores.
- You can create an eCommerce store that offers thousands of products without keeping an inventory physically in your house or anywhere.
- You don’t need to purchase bulk inventory upfront – instead, you can order items as needed from suppliers.
- Learn how to dropship with a free workshop!
What Is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a great business option for people who want to start their own dropshipping business but avoid buying or storing inventory.
You can easily create your own online store and start listing products for sale right away.
You can list a product on your website, and the dropshipping supplier handles packaging and shipping the items to the end customers.
Dropshipping is a low-risk way to sell a variety of products without investing upfront. You only pay for what you have sold and don’t get stuck with inventory when no one buys.
How does dropshipping work?
The first step is when a customer orders a product from your online store, paying you whatever you listed the item for.
You then contact a supplier to fulfill the order. Then your dropshipping supplier will ship it directly to the customer.
Any issues with shipping, damages or returns go through them as the supplier, making running your business easier.
When the order is received and nothing else is needed, the dropshipping supplier will invoice/bill you for the items bought and any service fees that apply.
You pay them their fee, and whatever money that’s left over is your profit from the sale.
For example, if you use Alibaba to dropship sunglasses, they may ask for $0.99 per pair. If you list them on your site for $30 each, which is a markup price, your profit is $29.01.
How To Start Dropshipping
1. Learn How To Dropship
Are you considering starting a dropshipping business? It’s certainly an attractive opportunity, as it requires minimal capital and no upfront need for inventory or storage.
But most people jump into the deep end without learning anything about suppliers, creating their store, or even researching popular items. That’s a no-go in our book!
Success doesn’t happen without being prepared!
To be successful at dropshipping, you need to know the basics. We recommend taking the FREE training from Dropship Lifestyle to learn about starting a dropshipping business.
Dropship Lifestyle has got you covered with its free training program, which makes it an excellent option for anyone who wants to dip their toes into the world of an e-commerce store without committing a lot of money upfront to start a dropshipping business.
The free training program is designed to teach you the basics of how to start a dropshipping business and how to build a successful online store to get customer purchases.
You’ll learn about product selection, dropshipping suppliers, niche research, website design, marketing strategies, and more.
2. Pick Your Business & Products
Starting a dropshipping business is an exciting venture. It can be a great way to make money and build a successful business.
But what dropshipping business store are you going to start?
You can sell accessories, clothes, shoes, office supplies, and the list goes on! You should focus on finding a niche and deciding what items are popular to sell in it.
When selecting a niche for your dropshipping business, consider what you are passionate about. With something you enjoy, running your business is more enjoyable.
Additionally, researching current trends and looking at what other successful businesses are doing can provide insight into what types of products may be popular and profitable.
Researching customer reviews of similar products can provide insight into how customers feel about them and whether others would purchase them from your store.
Lastly, you need to see how much competition you have for selling in your niche.
If there’s too much competition, it may be difficult for you to stand out from the crowd and attract customers.
However, if there isn’t any competition, there may not be any demand for the items in your store. It’s a balance of offering what people want at the price they want.
3. Learn About Competitors
On that note, competitors are also a way to learn how to run your business, what products sell well, and what your store could look like.
You need to understand who your competitors are and what the other dropshipping companies are doing differently, and how some dropshipping business ideas can be successful.
Take some time to research them online. This will give you an idea of their pricing, products, and marketing strategies.
You want to ensure that your products are not too expensive or cheap compared to your competitors. You want customers to choose your product over theirs.
Understanding what sets your company apart from others in the same niche will help you create unique selling points that will attract customers to your business instead of your competitors’ businesses.
4. Choose A Dropshipping Model
With your own dropshipping business, you can opt for either a product-focused or content-focused business model.
Product-Focused Dropshipping Business Model
The product-focused dropshipping model involves focusing on selling products through your online store.
You need to narrow down the products you want to offer through your eCommerce store and find a reliable dropshipping supplier who will ship them directly to your customers.
This dropshipping business idea requires research and time, as you have to source the best products from reliable suppliers to ensure customer satisfaction.
You make sure your product descriptions are informative and you have plenty of images, so people know what they’re getting.
If you prefer being hands-on in product selection, then a product-focused approach may be right for you.
Content-Focused Dropshipping Business Model
On the other hand, content-focused dropshipping involves creating an entire brand identity and compelling content around it.
This takes a more social media-based marketing strategy for your online business. You still want good descriptions and images, but your posts or articles will tell more detail and interest customers.
You focus more on storytelling and marketing than product selection, introducing customers to your brand, breaking through market barriers, and setting yourself apart from other dropshippers.
However, this model requires more creative thinking since you must create engaging content using search engine optimization to capture people’s attention.
5. Find A Supplier
Once you’ve chosen your niche and product category, it’s time to find quality suppliers.
Many options are available, including wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors.
Make sure that the supplier you choose is reliable and has good customer service so that your customers will receive their orders quickly and efficiently.
6. Pick A Selling Platform
Now that you have chosen your products and found a supplier, it’s time to set up your storefront where customers will make their purchases.
Some dropshipping companies offer a storefront, but they can be expensive and not have a lot of customizable options.
You can create an online store of your own with a website .com address, or you can choose an eCommerce platform. Pick one that suits your needs and offers options that fit your storefront dreams!
We don’t drop ship; however, we do sell printables online using the eCommerce platform Shopify.
We highly recommend it because you don’t need to code your own site, and you have themes to check out, or you can customize it to your tastes.
Another popular eCommerce website to sell on is Etsy.
Etsy dropshipping is a bit different- mainly because you design products that suppliers make and ship.
A detailed store has a professional logo, pricing info, FAQs for customers, search engine optimization (SEO), etc.
7. Market Your Business
Congratulations on your new dropshipping business; now you have a storefront full of items that could earn you a passive income.
But how are people going to find your store? No matter how great your products are, no one will buy them if no one knows about them!
That’s why investing time into marketing your online stores is key! The right marketing strategy will make sure your dropshipping business is visible to potential customers.
So how do you market your business?
You can go about marketing your online stores in many ways, such as content marketing (blogging), social media advertising, email marketing, and more.
The key is finding which strategies work best for you and focusing on those while minimizing costs associated with ineffective strategies.
Tips For Your Dropping Business
Starting a dropshipping business is an exciting and lucrative venture but can also be a bit overwhelming.
With so many details to consider from the outset, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and make some costly mistakes in the dropshipping process.
We’ve gathered some of the best tips for starting a successful dropshipping store to save you time and money with your dropshipping business plan.
Starting A Shopify Store
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms, so they have everything you need to build your store.
With Shopify, you can easily manage orders, process payments, customize themes, and add plugins and integrations—everything you need for a successful store!
It may take some time to get used to all the features, but don’t worry—plenty of online resources can help guide you through setting up your Shopify store.
A Dropshipping Course
One of the best ways to get started with your dropshipping business is to take a dropshipping course to learn about the dropshipping process.
An online course can teach you everything from setting up payment systems to tracking inventory levels and managing customer service inquiries.
These are all vital skills for anyone looking to run their own store successfully.
Many courses offer comprehensive guides with step-by-step instructions so that even complete beginners can get their stores up and running quickly and easily.
A good course, like Dropship Lifestyle, will equip you with all the knowledge and resources necessary for a successful venture.
The course is led by Anton Kraly, one of the world’s top dropshipping educators and the creator of Dropship Lifestyle.
They have training you can take before you complete the full course, so you get an idea of what dropshipping is and if it’s the online business you want to do.
Their training program is completely free, making it an excellent option for anyone who wants to dip their toes into the world of an eCommerce store without committing a lot of money upfront to start a dropshipping business.
Not only will it give you a solid foundation in dropshipping, but it will also provide you with valuable insights and strategies for selling products that can help set you apart from your competitors.
You’ll also receive an ebook with 237 Profitable Product Ideas for your dropshipping business ideas. So why wait? Sign up today and start building your dream eCommerce business!
Figuring Out The Money Stuff
Before you start a dropshipping business, it’s important that you get your finances for your business structure.
Even though you don’t need to spend money on bulking up an inventory, you need to have money to start your website/storefront, pay for a subscription to a supplier (if needed), and any other business options like paid marketing.
So before you even make money, you might be spending money. To make sure you have money to get started, you may need to create a budget and see how much you can set aside for dropshipping.
Research the financial implications of running a business, such as tax requirements to collect sales tax. Ensuring you pay sales tax is very important, even for a small business!
I suggest starting a separate business bank account, so you don’t blend your personal and business finances. Taxes are easier if you keep your personal assets separate from your business assets.
Finding Bulk Suppliers
Once you have taken care of the administrative tasks associated with starting a business, it’s time to find bulk suppliers so that you can begin sourcing products for sale.
If possible, try contacting individual wholesale companies to negotiate better prices on items – this can help boost profits for larger orders or repeat customers.
Additionally, look into local wholesalers who may offer better shipping times or lower costs based on their location relative to your location.
Marketing Your Business On Social Media
Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal when starting a dropshipping business.
You can use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to build an audience and create awareness about your business.
Additionally, you can use these platforms to connect with potential customers and showcase your products.
Many successful dropshippers have also used influencers and micro-influencers as part of their marketing strategy.
By leveraging influencers’ social media presence, you can help spread the word about your brand quickly and cost-effectively.
Pros & Cons Of Dropshipping
- Low start-up costs – You don’t need to purchase inventory upfront, giving you the flexibility to get started with minimal resources for your dropshipping store.
- Easy to scale – As your business grows, you can expand by adding more products and vendors without worrying about extra operational costs.
- Low risk – Since you don’t hold any inventory, there is no risk of having unsold stock that may need to be liquidated or sold off at a reduced price.
- Flexibility – You can work remotely and adjust your working hours based on your lifestyle.
- Wide selection – With a dropshipping business model, you can access a wide range of products from multiple suppliers.
- Variable profit margin – Due to the competitive nature of the industry and the need for frequent price checks, it can be difficult to make a consistent profit.
- Dependence on suppliers – Since you rely on dropshipping suppliers to fulfill orders, the quality of the products and shipping costs and times may be beyond your control.
- Inventory issues – Since you don’t hold any inventory, stock availability is susceptible to supply shortages.
- Long shipping times – Depending on where your dropshipping suppliers are located, customers may have to wait a long time for their orders which can lead to frustration and negative reviews for your dropshipping store.
- Difficulty establishing suppliers- Building relationships with dropshipping suppliers takes time and effort, which can be difficult to start.
Is dropshipping a profitable business?
Dropshipping can be a profitable business model when done correctly. It’s important to research and selects high-quality products in demand and aim for high-profit margins.
Additionally, the right marketing strategies and tools will help you maximize your profits. With hard work and dedication, dropshipping can be a great way to make money online.
What are the best dropshipping products?
The best dropshipping products will vary depending on the industry and target market.
Popular products include clothing, accessories, home decor items, electronics and gadgets, beauty products, and health supplements.
Here’s a list of some of the best dropshipping products to sell in an online store:
- Electronic accessories – Electronic accessories such as phone cases and chargers typically have good profit margins.
- Fashion items – Fashion items such as clothing and shoes are always in-demand and can be sold relatively cheaply.
- Health products – People often look for vitamins, supplements, and organic foods. These typically have high markups, making them a great option for dropshipping businesses.
- Home décor items – Home décor items such as wall art and furniture offer a wide variety of styles at reasonable prices, making them ideal for dropshipping businesses.
- Pet supplies – Pet owners are always looking for new pet supplies, from cages to food bowls to toys – this market is continuing to grow and offers plenty of dropshipping opportunities
- Beauty products – Beauty products such as makeup, skincare products, and hair accessories are highly sought after by consumers.
- Kitchenware – Kitchenware items like cookware sets, utensils, and gadgets make great dropshipping products because they’re often used as gifts or impulse buys.
- Outdoor gear – Camping equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, etc., are perfect for selling online as they’re relatively lightweight yet have good profit margins due to their popularity among outdoor enthusiasts.
- Jewelry – Jewelry is always popular, and with the right supplier, you can offer high-quality pieces at competitive prices.
- Phone cases – Everyone needs a phone case, and there are so many designs available that you can offer something for everyone.
Is dropshipping expensive to start?
No, it’s generally not expensive to start a dropshipping business.
Since you don’t need to purchase inventory upfront and there are minimal overhead costs, it can be a relatively affordable online store to get into.
Some dropshippers partner with dedicated platforms that charge a subscription fee for access to their services, but these fees are usually nominal compared to traditional retail businesses.
Besides a subscription fee, you’ll still be paying the dropshipping company for the items as well as paying taxes on your business.
Besides those costs, you may want to invest in marketing or advertising so that customers can find you more when searching for products.
How much money do I need to start a dropshipping business?
The amount of money you need to start a dropshipping business depends on the type of product you plan to sell and the scale of your operations.
Initial setup can be less than $1,000 if you already have a computer and internet. We recommend opening a Shopify store, which is a reasonable price, and some suppliers will require a subscription fee.
Additional investments may be necessary depending on marketing or advertising, which can increase the start-up costs for the dropshipping store.
How do I know if my supplier is reliable?
When choosing suppliers for your dropshipping business, check out their websites to review their policies before committing to working with a dropshipping supplier long-term.
You need to know what services they provide and what they expect of you- especially payment!
If things aren’t clear, there’s an FAQ page to answer your questions, and if you need more details, you can contact them to ask questions. If you don’t get your answers, you may not want to sign up with their wholesale dropshipping accounts.
Besides their website, you can also read other people’s reviews of their business and get honest feedback on how the supplier works!
Is there anything else I should consider before starting a dropshipping store?
Yes! Before starting a dropshipping store, it’s important for any business owner to understand all legal requirements related to becoming an online retailer.
That can include business structure, paying sales tax, licensing fees, etc.
If you think you can make money, that’s great, but you need to know how much money you’ll spend to start and upkeep your business- profit only happens after you pay off expenses!
You even need to be sure your shop name isn’t already taken or being used by someone with a TM or RM to be safe!
Doing this will help you keep from running into any issues as a legitimate business entity down the road; it’s better to start off fresh and not with any overlap with other businesses.
What are some low-cost business ideas besides online sales?
Starting an online business can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re on a tight budget. But don’t worry!
There are plenty of low-cost business ideas that won’t break the bank. Here are our top picks for business ideas you can start from home:
Consider starting a proofreading business if you’re a wordsmith with a keen eye for detail. Proofreading involves finding text errors such as typos, misspellings, faulty grammar, and incorrect punctuation.
You can offer your services to individuals or businesses who need assistance correcting written documents or creating copy from scratch. All that’s needed to get started is either specialized training (which can be found online) or experience in this field.
Freelance writing is a great way to make money from home—you only need an internet connection and basic writing skills. Many job opportunities are available online for freelance writers in almost any topic area you can imagine.
For example, if you’re passionate about health and fitness, many websites seek writers who specialize in this area.
Blogging is one of the most popular ways to share your passions with the world and earn an income!
It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to set up a blog—choose a blogging platform like WordPress and start building your site with templates provided by these platforms (or design it yourself).
Once your blog is ready for visitors, monetize it through advertising networks like Google AdSense or affiliate marketing programs such as Amazon Associates or Shopify Affiliates.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular low-cost business ideas, and it continues to grow each year.
You partner with online retailers with affiliate marketing to promote their products through your website or social media channels.
Every time someone uses your affiliate link to purchase something from the retailer, you get a commission.
It’s a great way to make money without investing in inventory or materials upfront.
Starting a dropshipping business doesn’t have to be complicated or daunting.
With just a few simple steps, you can be well on your way toward owning your own successful dropshipping eCommerce businesses!
With careful research into potential niches, quality suppliers, effective website design, and marketing strategies that speak directly to your target audience – anyone can launch their own successful dropshipping company!
If you follow these steps closely and take advantage of all available online and offline resources, success can be yours!
And don’t forget to check out the free training with Dropship Lifestyle to see if dropshipping is the business for you.