Dropshipping is a great way to get started in web entrepreneurship. If you read this article, you probably know what dropshipping is. But do you know how to specifically launch a dropshipping activity?
In this comprehensive guide, discover the 6 steps to take, from choosing the niche to promoting your business through the creation of your e-commerce site.
Step 1: Choose an idea / niche to start your Dropshipping business
What you are going to sell is crucial to launch your business. You should take some time to find the best Dropshipping ideas. Most people tell you to choose a niche that you are passionate about. But this is only half true. It is a combination of the earnings you will make and your passion. The reality is that the best Dropshipping business ideas are usually the most profitable. It makes it much easier to be passionate when you earn money. Here are some important points to consider when choosing your niche:
- Google Trends is ideal to know if a niche has an upward or downward trend. However, it is not enough to determine whether a niche is viable or not. Some niches may be on an upward trend, but do not have enough research volume to guarantee popularity.
- Use the Ubersuggest keyword tool. What is the search volume of a specific keyword? What is the competition for this keyword? Using Ubersuggest will help you understand the potential of your dropshipping business ideas and also give you additional ideas to explore in the future.
- Browse popular websites in your niche. For example, websites that sell clothing often organize their stores into trending categories. This helps you understand what trends you need to add to your store now. You can also search for best-selling products in a store to help you find the best products to sell.
- Create your own brand. Your Dropshipping business will be more valuable if you can rename everything you sell and make it your own. Find a product that you can tag and sell on your own with custom packaging and branding. It always has a better effect on your customers.
Step 2: analyze your competitors
Once you have decided what to sell, you now need to know who your competitors are, what they sell, and how they sell their products. There are several ways to do this:
- Enter the number of one of the products you want to sell on Google and do a quick search to see who appears at the top of the first page. The top ten results on Google or any other search engine will give you a good indication of who your competitors are. If you are selling products on a different version of the wave, you can use the heirs of the dates to compile data. For example, with SEM Rush or Ahref information about search results in different parts of the world.
- Search Alexa or SimilarWeb to find niche competitors that may not appear at the top of search results. These sites will provide you with information about the websites you are looking for, including their social media profiles, the advertising they do, information about your website’s audience and traffic, and the list of competitors for this business (will you soon ?)
- “Hunting” on social networks. On social networks, it is very interesting to observe your competitors. You can browse Facebook ads in a niche, as well as on the social media pages of the most popular brands. How many subscribers do they have? How do you market your brand? What is the commitment on your page? What can I do differently to stand out from them? What are they doing even if we need to copy or adapt?
- Learn about your competitors’ content and what works best by using BuzzSumo, for example. This tool will give you an overview of the content that will get the most share of resources so you can find inspiration for new ideas for your blog, for example. Subscribing to a competitor’s newsletters can also keep you informed about the content you promote.
Step 3: find and secure a provider
Doing business with the wrong provider can ruin your business, so it’s important not to rush this step. Most Dropshipping providers are located abroad, making communication extremely important, both in terms of speed of response and ability to understand each other. If you don’t have 100% confidence in the communication capabilities of a potential provider, go ahead and continue your search. Alibaba has become one of the largest online resources for identifying and communicating with potential manufacturers and suppliers. Be sure to ask lots of questions and find out what your production capabilities are in case your business grows exponentially. You want to make sure they have the ability to work with you. Try learning from other entrepreneurs who have followed this path in the past by consulting blogs on Dropshipping. This is a popular topic that can help you avoid (costly) mistakes from wrong supplier.
Step 4: Create a Dropshipping eCommerce site
There are a few key elements to building a dropshipping ecommerce site the right way. Here are some of them:
- Domain name: Your domain name is important, especially if you are creating a long-term brand. You can use free business name generators to help you simplify the process. Always get a .com domain no matter what. If you want your niche to be a keyword in the new field, make sure it’s as broad as beauty, jewelry, fashion, etc. instead of a very specific word. You won’t need to change your domain name on the go. Also avoid using your own name as a domain for your online store.
- Sign up for Shopify (or another e-commerce platform): Shopify is the most complete e-commerce platform on the market. With the regular addition of new features, tools, resources and applications, you will discover that it is easy to run a business on this platform. Also, if you’re stuck, you can contact a Shopify advisor who will personally guide you through all the steps, all for free. You can also use a solution like Woocommerce for WordPress.
- Theme choice: Choose a theme that is easy to use and easy to navigate for your visitors. At first, you can completely build your site with a free theme. Once you start making money, you can invest it in buying a new theme for an even more professional design from your online store.
Step 5: think about the whole legal side
When you think about starting a dropshipping business, you can think of niches, products, suppliers, and sales strategies. It can be easy to forget the legal side of things, especially since it’s something that most people don’t really want to think about. But, if you really want to be successful in your dropshipping business, you must be sensitive to this step. It doesn’t have to be boring or stressful – it’s what makes your business a reality, rather than just a dream:
- Check local legal requirements – dropshipping is 100% legal, but the requirements vary from country to country. For example, you may need to obtain a business license. So remember to check.
- Choose the structure of your business: micro-companies, sole proprietorship, company (SAS, SARL, EURL), each type of commercial structure has advantages and failures that you should analyze before choosing.
- Have a separate bank account – don’t mix your business finances with your personal finances.
- Register your company name – you don’t want someone else to copy your company name, do you? To avoid this, register your company name with the appropriate authorities.
Step 6: Promote your Dropshipping business
At this point, you have found your product and created your e-commerce site. Now is the time to promote your Dropshipping business. This is a crucial step in your business plan. If you’re just starting out, you’re probably on a tight budget. Here are some examples to start:
- Advertising on Facebook: We know it can be tempting to spend € 500 on Facebook ads. Many new entrepreneurs think they will make money the first time. Spoiler: This is not the case. A good tip is to always start “small” so that you can experience the Facebook advertising process. Create multiple ads to determine which product sells best. When it comes to targeting, create a global ad or only in your country if you don’t want to sell internationally.
- Ad targeting – If you’re on a tight budget, ad targeting will please you. This ad works great if you have a store with a lot of traffic. Maybe market free on Pinterest and get a lot of traffic from there. You may have written a blog post about influencers and now influencers share your blog for free. With retargeting, take that free traffic that will be much more likely to become a paying customer. Even better than a standard Facebook ad. Also, it is much cheaper.
- Influencer Marketing: If you can’t afford the influencers, you can offer them an affiliate commission. Why is this a good thing? Know that even a specific niche influencer doesn’t really convert. If you pay membership fees for each sale, you reduce the risk to your dropshipping business and it is up to the influencer to convert the sale. Plus, you’ll get photos that will help you increase the social influence of your brand. If the influencer has real followers, he could earn a lot more money as an affiliate than he would if he were paid as a lump sum.
- SEO: dropshippers rely on SEO as much as other online marketers. If you have an online store, you need to optimize it so that Google places it higher in your search results. To do this, use keywords, make sure your site is easy to use, loads fast and is mobile friendly (among other things). Starting a blog on your site can also do wonders for SEO because Google likes long, high-quality content.
- Photos and descriptions of your products: Using stock images of your products can be excellent, often sent by your supplier, which means they are professional quality. However, you can make other dropshippers have the exact same product photo as you. To avoid this, try taking your own product photos. Make sure they are of good quality, well lit and not blurry. You can also gain an advantage over your competitors by writing compelling product descriptions. Connect with the customer, be descriptive and concise, and you should see great results.
Step 7: analyze and optimize
Once you’ve taken the time to build your website, brand, and communication, you can begin to analyze the results of your hard work. You may find that some of your marketing activities are highly successful, while others are unsuccessful. You can use tools like Google Search Console or Google Analytics to assess your online traffic to ensure it increases. If you’re using third-party tools to send emails or social media reports, set up weekly or monthly automatic reports to remind you to analyze this information regularly. Even a quick snapshot of the data may be enough to decide whether or not a campaign works. In general, the most important part of a successful ecommerce site is testing and optimizing to increase the revenue it generates.
We hope this article has answered your questions and helps you start your dropshipping business. It’s your turn !