This article features affiliate links. We may be compensated if you click through or make a purchase by following a link published on this site.
It’s been a long time in the making but I’m finally ready to share my tips and ideas on how to start a dropshipping business.
Dropshipping is a great idea for those who have a small amount of money and who want to avoid the complications of maintaining their own inventory.
At the same time, starting a dropshipping business is far from effortless (known from personal experience).
Even if you don’t have to spend a ton of money on it, you’ll still need to put the effort in. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with the basics first and move on to more complicated questions when we’re done.
- How Much Money Can You Make from Dropshipping
- How to Start a Dropshipping Business: Choose the Right Niche
- How to Start a Dropshipping Business for Free: Choosing the Right Platform
- Choosing Your Products
- Create Your Own Product Descriptions
- Focus on Marketing and Customer Acquisition
- How to Start a Dropshipping Business: The Most Important Thing to Do
- Continue Curating Your Products and Working on Your Catalogue
- Can You Still Make Money Dropshipping in 2020?
How Much Money Can You Make from Dropshipping
The answer to that question depends on many things.
It depends on the niche you choose and how competitive it is.
It depends on your SEO experience and your marketing budget. Needless to say, you will need a ton of luck to grow big without SEO or promotion.
If you’re looking for averages, you’ll find it difficult to come across reliable information. This guide, for example, shares some personal experiences but they’re far from universal. The incomes quoted in the text range from 40 dollars to over 13,000 dollars per month.
The margins are very important here and so is the original price of the products being sold via a dropshipping website. Generally speaking, margins range from 10 to 40 percent in the realm of dropshipping. This means that the profits aren’t going to be all that impressive and to make a lot of money, you need to sell a lot of stuff.
Ok, so how do you do that, especially when you start a dropshipping business from scratch? Here are the essentials.
How to Start a Dropshipping Business: Choose the Right Niche
The first and the most important consideration should be examined before you do anything else.
In order to make money with dropshipping, you have to be selling something that the respective clientele you’re targeting is interested in buying.
Start by checking out the most profitable ecommerce niches first. For 2020, the list includes the following:
- Shapewear and bodycon apparel
- Organic and sustainable products
- Weight loss products
- Smartphone accessories
- Car accessories
- Minimalist jewelry
- Pet products
Since these niches are profitable, you will have to deal with a ton of competition.
The trick here is to choose a sub-niche that is relatively narrow and that has few representatives. At the same time, it should be generating enough interest to guarantee you repeat sales month after month.
So, let’s take the organic and sustainable products niche as an example. Do some research on popular sustainable products. You’ll find out these include reusable grocery bags, alternatives to single use plastic ingredients (straws, bottles, cotton buds, etc.), menstrual cups, biodegradable dish cleaning supplies, etc.
Now you’re getting somewhere. You have sub-niches that are more narrow than the main field but that still appeal to millions of potential clients across the world.
Thus, instead of going for an organic and sustainable dropshipping store that features all kinds of stuff, you can begin selling sustainable and reusable feminine hygiene products. The niche is fairly narrow and it allows you to do highly effective marketing because you know exactly who your customer is.
How to Start a Dropshipping Business for Free: Choosing the Right Platform
Next, you’ll need to select the right platform that will host your website.
Generally speaking, it’s best to invest some money and opt for a specialized platform.
If you don’t have the cash, however, there are still possibilities to launch the store for free.
WordPress and WooCommerce are obviously the two most affordable options out there. WooCommerce is a specialized ecommerce platform under WordPress and it allows a lot of flexibility in terms of building your store.
WooCommerce is absolutely perfect for beginners but it does have its limitations. To do effective SEO, make your website faster and more secure, you will have to pick additional WordPress plugins. Too many plugins can slow down your website – something to be mindful of.
Based on personal experience, I would most definitely like to recommend BigCommerce as the platform offering the best price to quality ratio.
BigCommerce’s package includes hosting, SEO tools, marketing tools and integration with other marketplaces. Which also brings us to the fact that you don’t need to have your own website to get started with dropshipping.
The standard monthly package begins at 29.95 dollars and that’s more than enough to set up a lovely, properly optimized and functional website. There are free BigCommerce design themes and plugins you can use if you don’t want to spend any additional money on making your store happen.
Right now, BigCommerce offers the first 3 months of usage for free. To get the special offer, you’ll need to choose your plan and sign up for it. Use this link for exclusive access to the promotion.
Choosing Your Products
The next step in learning how to start a dropshipping business is choosing the right products.
If you go to marketplaces like AliExpress, Wish and Worldwide Brands, you’ll come across thousands of products in each field.
Select products for addition to your website with some degree of consistency.
Will you be offering your clients affordable but quality choices or will you go towards the high-end side of things?
Make your choice and stick to it.
Websites that offer everything but the kitchen sink no longer work. People want to get access to a curated range of products that meets their needs.
So this is the second most important consideration after pinpointing the right niche. If you select questionable products and your clients aren’t happy with what they get, you will reduce your chances of dropshipping success right off the bat.
Start with a smaller number of products and expand the range as you go. This way, you’ll get a better feel of the market and you’ll have data about what users want and need.
Create Your Own Product Descriptions
Have you ever done some AliExpress or Wish shopping? If so, you know that the product descriptions are far from optimal there (even when the products are more expensive and of better quality).
Very often, the Chinese retailers use Google translate and their limited grasp of the language to tell potential buyers what they have to offer.
As a result, just copying a product description and pasting it on your website is not going to work.
Starting a dropshipping business successfully means putting some effort in crafting your message and revealing your personality.
This can be done by writing your own product descriptions. This is yet another reason why I recommend starting slow and having a curated collection on your website. If you’re not a copywriter, creating such texts will be somewhat difficult and time-consuming.
Good product descriptions take into account the basics of website optimization (something you’ll have to learn if you’re serious about making your dropshipping business work), good copywriting and creating a brand persona.
Take some time to examine competitor websites. Do you like the product texts? Are they fun? Informative? Casual and well-written? This is what you should be striving for to give your project the best start.
If you’re not confident in your writing abilities, do consider outsourcing the creation of product descriptions. Many freelancers offer competitive packages for such services and if the job is done correctly, you’ll benefit from excellent return on investment.
Focus on Marketing and Customer Acquisition
You now have a dropshipping website that’s filled with cool products and pictures (I am not going to discuss the best dropshipping product sources because you can easily find such information on your own. If you need some assistance in that department, however, please let me know).
The next step would be to let potential clients know that a brand new, super amazing website is online and ready to address their needs.
Some of the things you can do to boost your popularity quickly include the following:
- Start a blog (as a part of the dropshipping website) dedicated to discussing relevant topics and building your reputation
- Start your social media profiles
- Consider spending some money on Facebook and Google ads, especially if you want to build some quick popularity (these types of ads are the most cost-efficient promo opportunities and they’ll yield an excellent return on investment)
- Allow website visitors to sign up for an email newsletter (while email marketing is considered an old-school approach, it can help you build loyalty and segment customers into different groups for more targeted marketing)
- Continue doing SEO
- Reach out to other websites in the niche and offer to write a guest article for them in exchange for a shoutout
- Consider doing competitions and sweepstakes on your social media profiles
This is another ongoing process you should not underestimate.
Just like setting up your dropshipping website, marketing can be done free of charge. This, however, doesn’t mean you’re off the hook work-wise. Building your popularity on social media is a daily commitment. Writing quality blog posts will usually require a couple of days per piece, especially if you’re not a writer.
And remember – don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results.
Online marketing takes some time to build up speed. Remain committed to the process and continue crafting your online persona. Usually, the results of these efforts will become evident within a few months.
How to Start a Dropshipping Business: The Most Important Thing to Do
Based on my experience, I have discovered one thing that rarely gets spoken about.
Making sure you’re offering a stellar customer service is more important in the world of dropshipping than in any other niche.
There’s a simple reason why.
You are not in charge of product handling, shipping and delivery.
This means you’re dependent on your wholesalers and on manufacturers.
There could be slowdowns (these are especially troublesome right now due to the Covid-19 measures and the social distancing affecting all of the world). There could be mistakes. Sometimes, people will not get their product at all due to delays or losses.
In such instances, you should be prepare to compensate your clients for the issues they’ve experienced.
Set up an email account linked to your website. Do your best to address inquiries and concerns as soon as possible.
Whenever something goes wrong, offer your clients some type of compensation in the form of a discount code, a coupon or a gift product. Yes, you will be “losing” some money by giving your clients access to such concessions. In the long run, however, they’ll pay off in the form of improved customer loyalty.
Dropshipping does come with its very specific set of challenges and you should be ready to handle those. If you’re not patient enough or committed enough to address client complaints, you should definitely seek out another opportunity to make money online.
Continue Curating Your Products and Working on Your Catalogue
You may think that choosing the initial set of products you’ll start with finalizes the work on curating items and adding those to your website.
Obviously, that’s not the case.
Wholesalers and manufacturers can change their prices or discontinue a specific product line.
Hence, you could receive an order for an item that’s no longer being made. Not only is such a situation embarrassing, it can lead to profound client dissatisfaction.
Have a spreadsheet that lists all of the products on your website, their cost and the source. Update that list regularly. Do go to your suppliers to make sure the item is still available or that its price hasn’t increased. Whenever such changes occur, you’ll have to make some dropshipping website modifications.
Also, understand the fact that new products become available on a daily basis. There will always be something hotter and trendier than what’s available on your website. Adding such items will keep your dropshipping platform current and engaging.
Can You Still Make Money Dropshipping in 2020?
The above-mentioned steps are my biggest essentials you’ll need to master when learning how to start a dropshipping business in 2020.
Many of the dropshipping guides for beginners you’ll find out there focus on the technical side of things – how to set up your store, choose the right theme, customize it, etc. In my humble opinion, however, these are not the things that make a successful business.
A successful dropshipping business has its niche, its personality and its exclusivity. Product curation, high quality texts and wholesome interactions with prospects and clients are the keys to getting off the ground.
When learning how to start a dropshipping business, you should focus on these essentials rather than the technicalities. You can always hire someone to improve your website and make the visitors experience optimal. Without a great idea and a thorough, cohesive concept, however, you will just have another mediocre online shopping platform.
Can you still make money dropshipping in 2020?
I believe that the answer is yes.
Right now, most businesses are experiencing some kind of slowdown due to the anticipated financial crisis linked to Covid-19. Ecommerce, however, is anticipated to bounce back pretty fast.
The number of people doing online shopping has grown since social distancing rules came in effect. All of these people represent potential clients you can target with your message.
Give dropshipping a try – it is one of the most affordable businesses to get started with.
Have I answered all of your questions about starting your dropshipping website? If there’s anything else you’d like me to talk about, please leave a comment under the article. I’d be more than happy to discuss other aspects of getting started with dropshipping (and I may even put together an entire guide on a topic of interest). So, don’t hesitate to let me know if you’d like to learn about something more!