E-commerce and dropshipping are two industries that are currently prospering like never before. While e-commerce can be profitable in any shape and form, dropshipping is a particularly lucrative business model that is fit for beginners and experienced merchants alike.
Dropshippers have a better opportunity to start their business with minimal costs, as dropshipping allows them to sell their products without needing storage space. They also don’t need to handle or ship any of their inventory themselves.
If you are pursuing a dropshipping business, you will work as a middleman. For example, a customer visits your store looking for unique custom sweatshirts you have designed and listed for sale, so they place an order.
As a drop shipper, you work with your print-on-demand (POD) partner, who will prepare the order. Finally, they deliver the sweatshirt straight to your customer, earning you a commission for working as a lead between the customers and the manufacturer. What is best – the amount you get is entirely up to you, as you are the one who gets to set your retail prices.
Why Starting a Dropshipping Business Is a Good Idea?
Several great reasons would motivate someone to start a business with dropshipping; let’s look at them in the following sections.
Low Startup Investment
You don’tdon’t need a huge amount to start a dropshipping business since you don’tdon’t have to pre-purchase anything or set up your inventory.
Essentially, with POD dropshipping, your customer first pays you your chosen retail price for a product while you then pay your dropshipping partner for the product’s production. The difference between the retail price paid by your customer and the production cost paid by you is what you get to keep as profit.
So technically, if you use a low-cost sales channel like Etsy and succeed with free marketing strategies such as SEO, starting a POD dropshipping business with no upfront investment is possible.
No Need to Hold Inventory
You don’t need to hold inventory while still having a versatile range of products to display and sell in your online shop.
With regular dropshipping, the inventory is held by the drop shipper. At the same time, POD dropshipping is even more efficient and environmentally friendly as each product is made only when ordered and paid for by your customer.
Partner Handles Shipping and Manufacturing
There is no need to worry about manufacturing equipment, staff, or postage stamps. As the party responsible for these things, your dropshipping partner also accepts the responsibility for timely fulfillment and the correct product shipment on your behalf to your customer.
Dropshipping allows minimum chances of capital loss since you receive a payment from customers in advance, and the quality of your products’ manufacturing and shipping depends on your partners. Overall, this method of business is very safe.
On the other hand, even if some issues arise, a proper POD drop shipper will work with you to find the best possible solution when you report it to them. Therefore, it’s worth researching the quality of a company’s merchant support beforehand.
Wide Selection of Products
In dropshipping, this is a great benefit. You simply list products on your store, such as custom slides or custom fanny packs, and wait for orders to come in.
Looking for a dropshipping provider with an extensive product catalog is best. So, even if you start selling one product, such as t-shirts, you can later expand your collection as your business grows.
Multiple partners are ready to manufacture your orders for various products at the backend. One thing you must pay attention to, however, is the location of manufacturing. As the products are shipped directly from the production facilities, ensuring they are close to your primary customer base is best to ensure speedy deliveries.
It Helps Build Resilience and Reduce Inflationary Pressure
Generally, starting an e-commerce business can help you in many ways during a crisis, such as inflation. You have a greater chance to withstand troubles caused by the problem, as by selling products online, you would have a secondary source of income.
For many, drop shipping has also become their primary income source, allowing them to live comfortably and be their own boss.
Dropshipping and Print on Demand – What’s the Difference?
Dropshipping works as a medium between customers and suppliers. Dropshipping itself is a business model in which you outsource the handling and shipping of products to a dropshipping partner. Usually, these are already existing items stored at the drop shipper’s facilities.
On the other hand, print-on-demand is not exactly a business model but rather a method of fulfillment. POD is a type of dropshipping.
With POD, you choose your products and digitally apply your unique design. For example, if you want to sell t-shirts with your company logo, you would work with a print-on-demand partner and get your t-shirts printed and shipped by them.
The beauty of POD is that there is no material waste – all products are made per order when the customer has already ordered and paid for the items they wish to receive.
Guidelines to Starting a Dropshipping Business with No Money
You can start your own online dropshipping business with little or no money, and here’s how you can do that.
1. Find Your Niche
To begin with, pick a niche. A niche is a specialized topic in which a particular market segment is interested. It’sIt’s not a type of product but rather what the consequences are about. Examples of niches you could theme your products around are:
- Detective shows
- Science humor
- Supernatural beings
See if your chosen niche has a good demand and whether it is easy to deal with. You can use tools such as Google Trends to check the popularity of a particular topic over time.
Or, simply research the niche you have in mind on existing sales channels and see if there is any competition for it and what said competitors are doing. Check if something unique you could bring interests your target market, but nobody else is doing it.
2. Choose What Products to Sell
Picking products can depend on your niche, but the main thing to research is customer demand and best-selling products for your chosen segment.
Don’tDon’t be afraid to experiment with product variety. Or start with safe items like t-shirts and hoodies – the ultimate POD bestsellers. When picking products, also consider how they got together with your designs.
For example, you can’t embroider overly complex and detailed designs, so embroidered hats would not be the best option in this scenario. Or, if your plans involve repeated patterns, the best bet would be various AOP products – shirts, jackets, leggings, and more.
3. Select What Platform to Sell on
There are multiple platforms available for you to sell your products. You can develop your E-commerce website or set up your store on Amazon, Etsy, or Shopify.
Each platform is specifically known for specific products. For example, handmade items, jewelry, and art supplies are popular on Etsy, while pet toys, accessories, electronic items, or kitchenware are more prevalent on eBay. Check your products and choose which platform has the right customers for you.
You should also know the difference between a marketplace and an eCommerce platform. Marketplaces come with a pre-existing audience but a higher competition and less customization – sites like Etsy, eBay, and Amazon. Meanwhile, eCommerce platforms let you make a standalone store like Shopify or WooCommerce – you get complete customization options but would need to spend more on promoting your store and products.
4. Pick a Dropshipping Partner
Picking a dropshipping partner is an essential part of running a dropshipping business. Your choice of a dropshipping partner primarily depends on the products you wish to sell.
Printify, with its 800+ product catalog and simple design tools, would be your best choice if you’re more into custom products and designing.
Or, if you wish to sell more high-ticket items like electronics and furniture, you could opt for a service like AliExpress dropshipping.
Choosing a top-rated partner is essential because the products should have excellent quality, and timely production and delivery are equally crucial for your business progress.
5. Source or Design Your Products
Now, depending on your dropshipping partner, you should pick your products, design them (in the case of POD products), and list them on your store.
Note that designing your products gives them uniqueness and attraction. It is a great way to engage with your store visitors and offer them custom products. You can get your logos or themes designed on your products before you sell them. Or, fulfill orders with your customers’ design requests – an approach prevalent on channels like Etsy or dedicated Shopify stores.
6. Set up Your Storefront
When you run an online store, customers first notice how well your storefront looks. To engage more customers, you can set up your storefront according to the latest trends and UI and UX best practices.
Apart from offering quality products, you also need to understand a customer’s psychology to check which design or how a storefront should be set up to get more customers and more excellent sales.
Some tips would include valuable information on your store’sstore’s site, such as your refund and return policy, contact info, and shipping details. Sharing your brand story and values with compelling imagery is also good. Lastly, customer reviews and testimonials can also go a long way, boosting your store’sstore’s reliability.
7. List and Price Your Products
When your store is entirely ready, all you need to do is to list your products and add reasonable retail prices. For a new business, lower prices are always appreciated by customers, who are constantly searching for promos and discounts.
You can calculate your prices based on various pricing strategies and use a pricing management tool to track them and make necessary updates.
You should also work on your product titles, descriptions, and images to achieve a professional and reliable look and improve your store’sstore’s SEO.
8. Market Your Business
No business runs without proper marketing. That is when digital marketing comes into play. You can use social media for marketing your business by running ads and designing user-friendly and entertaining posts.
Search engine optimization (SEO), keyword research, and YouTube video marketing are also great ways to boost your dropshipping business. The idea is to give your customers a reason to purchase goods from your store only.
Dropshipping is, undoubtedly, a modern trend of business that you can start without money, and that can generate a lot of profit. There is much potential for success in this business.
Dropshippers are earning a lot through this business model. Yet, dropshipping does demand the initial investment of time and energy in product research, testing their quality, and providing good sales services to the customer.
There are many difficulties the dropshipping has to face, yet preserving in the face of setbacks and practices in marketing with your niche, is a milestone to success.
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