One of the biggest issues faced by those hoping to get into the e-commerce game can sometimes seem like a nearly impossible balancing act.
The need to have to create products and keep inventory often requires cash up front. Suppliers don’t always care whether you have closed that sale and you (the merchant) will be required to pay for your stock before you’ve even sold one SKU. You can try to surmount this through pre-orders (but that’s something to be covered in another article).
By and large, it can be quite daunting thinking about where to source products from and, not to mention, the setup costs associated with buying and holding stock, the headache of handling logistics and the profit wreaking potential of damaged goods. If not done right, these can all play havoc on your bottom line.
Dropshipping can be an easy and affordable way to sidestep this barrier to entry. Here’s how:
All you have to do is take the products other people have already created and sell them on your Shopify site. When you make a sale, you pass the order to your dropship supplier and they will fulfill the order for you.
Once the order is complete, you profit. It’s that simple.
However, one of its major disadvantages arises precisely because of its advantage. Because it’s so simple to get started with dropshipping, you may be up against a huge amount of competition.
There are ways to stay ahead of the game. Here are some useful tips to help you become a successful dropshipper on Shopify.
1. Be The Best at Branding and Marketing
As a dropshipper, you are likely going to be selling the exact same products as some of your competitors.
To help you stand out, you will need to have a strong brand and a good marketing strategy in place. This may include a professionally designed logo and website as well as well-planned Facebook ad campaigns and possibly even an SEO strategy.
Without this, you are likely to compete with other dropshippers only on price, chasing an ever lower profit margin.
2. Know Your Real Costs
One of the biggest mistakes made by beginners when it comes to dropshipping is to not include all expenses into their costs, thinking that their only cost is how much they are paying their supplier for the product. This makes it easy for them to price their products too low and make an unexpected loss.
The truth is that (as with many businesses) the product cost only makes up one of the many costs that you will have to consider. Other than the product cost, you will also need to factor in items related to your marketing expenses, website hosting and graphic design costs.
Only when you have considered all expenses, will you get the real cost of your products and be able to more accurately price what it is you are selling in order to try and determine a healthy profit margin.
3. Work With Good Suppliers, Cut Off Bad Suppliers
Dropshippers rely heavily on their suppliers to complete their customer’s buying experience. While the dropshipper will be the one marketing the products and getting customers to buy, suppliers will be the ones to pack and ship the products to the customers.
As a dropshipper, the last thing you want is to give your customers a great experience on your website only to have them receive their products one month later, receive a broken or faulty product or maybe even not receive their product at all.
This is why it is important for you to be very picky about your suppliers. Choose those that have good track records and be ruthless about cutting off suppliers who have fallen below standard. Remember, your reputation is on the line.
4. Optimize Your Inventory Management
Inventory management is one of the most important aspects of a dropship business. By having proper inventory management, you can ensure that you never oversell your products.
Overselling products can negatively impact your business and happens when customers order products that appear to still be in stock on your store but are already out of stock at your supplier’s.
When this happens, you will need to either cancel the order and lose your customer’s trust in your business or wait for your supplier to restock and increase your customer’s waiting period, neither of which are good for business.
To prevent this from happening, you will need to optimize your inventory management to ensure that the stock quantity displayed on your store is always up to date in relation to how much stock is actually available at your supplier’s.
One of the best tools available to help you with this is Stock Sync on Shopify. Not only does Stock Sync help you automate the process, it also streamlines the process further by letting you sync with your supplier regardless of what file formats you and your supplier use. This can let a seamless shopify inventory sync become part of your routine and save you hours of grief when it comes to having to convert your files each time.
5. Be a Business Owner First and a Dropshipper Second
Successful dropshippers should see themselves as business owners first and dropshippers second. At the end of the day, dropshipping is simply a method of fulfilling orders.
If success is what you aspire to, you should pay attention to the order fulfillment part of your business as well as other components such as marketing, operations, customer service and yes, even branding. Just because you sell other people’s products, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have your own brand. Look at Alibaba’s Lazada for example.
Only when you have streamlined every part of your business will you be on the road towards becoming a successful dropshipper.
Stock Sync is changing the game for e-commerce inventory management. With a huge number of integrations, your e-commerce store can now sync stock from various suppliers and sources such as Etsy, Walmart, eBay and more. Your intelligent Stock Sync app gets all your stock nicely fitted into format and you can even set it to automatically download latest stock items from your suppliers via download links. There are plenty of other features and functions that you shouldn’t miss out on as well. Head on over to the Stock Sync website to get your online shop synced up with the future.