1. What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a very popular business model nowadays, especially for people who just start their careers. As you needn’t to buy,stock,pack or ship the merchandise you are selling, you just focus on marketing to sell products to your customers and leave following steps to others. When you get an order from your customer, you contact your dropshipping agent or place the same order on a third-party platform, then they will ship it to your customer for you. Awesome! A perfect model, right? That really saves your money, time and energy.
2. Advantages of dropshipping
Why is dropshipping so popular among entrepreneurs? Of course, it has so many advantages.
(1) Low startup cost
When it comes to having a store, usually you need to invest a lot of money for extensive inventories. If you don’t have enough money but still want to have your own business, then you can start a dropshipping business with zero inventory and immediately making money.
(2) Low fulfillment cost
As dropshipping needn’t to have inventories, you needn’t to have a warehouse. Also no need to hire yourself or other persons to pack or ship. A third-party partner will fulfill for you.
(3) Low operating risk
Dropshipping allows you to test as many products as you can. If you find a selling product from other seller, then you can upload to your store immediately without worrying about haven’t any stock. Even if you don’t know what are best sellers, you can still upload what you want to test and find out a popular product as soon as possible. In the worst case, you don’t want to run this store any more, you can close it at any time without worrying about any loss.
(4) Save time and energy
As we know marketing matters to boost your business. Imagine that you have a store, and you need to be responsible for all the processes, like picking,sourcing, packing,communicating with shipping agents, then how much time is left for marketing? Maybe none. But dropshipping can save you at least 80% time. Just concentrate on how to sell more products to your customers.
Of course, dropshipping also has its disadvantages, I’ll talk about it later and offer some ways to avoid.
3. How to start
(1) Have an online store
First you need to have an online store. Some dropshippers may choose a relatively large third-party platform to open a store, such as eBay,Amazon,Aliexpress. But most will choose to open an independent store using a store building tool, like shopify,woocommerce,bigcommerce and so on.
A third-party platform store is easy to start, as it has ready-made templates to apply. But there are too many similar stores to sell same products, the price competition is fierce to further reduce your profit. So to open an independent store is a better choice to decorate your store as you like and to guarantee your profit. But you may need to take some time to study how to build an independent store via store building tools. If you think that’s a difficult job, then you can pay for someone to help you build it. There are many websites that offer such services like fiverr,upwork,freelance.
(2) Upload product pictures
Yes, you need to have product pictures to upload to your store to start your business. But you may meet a difficulty that where to get no watermarked and high quality pictures. Here I will give some suggestions. a.Buy a sample to take photos by yourself to keep them unique. But it takes time and usually need to pay for samples. b. Ask suppliers to offer you original pictures.But some suppliers may also haven’t the original pictures or aren’t willing to offer. That really challenge your communication skills. c.Use pictures directly downloaded from other stores.But it may not be enough clear or even have a risk of infringement as they may also be stole from other suppliers.
(3) Choose a dropshipping partner
Choose a reliable partner is the key point for your business success. Usually you have two choices, an agent or a platform. Agents haven’t any products in stock. They just source what you want, then pack and ship for you. You may need to make inquiries with several agents at the same time about product cost and shipping cost which takes time before building a cooperative relationship. A platform usually has its own marketplace. Among them, some are just 2C platforms which have different suppliers and don’t support ship products from different stores,like Aliexpress. Others are 2B platforms which are especially for dropshippers or wholesalers.
Then how to choose? Which is better? If you have a mature store and mainly engage in a few products, maybe 3-5, and even needn’t to upload new frequently, then you can choose a dropshipping agent. A good agent usually has an app to connect your store, which can synchronize your orders and upload tracking number automatically. This will save you much time. If you have many products in your store and need to upload new frequently, like clothes, then you’d better choose a platform with marketplace. 2B platforms are better than 2C platforms as they are more friendly to dropshippers or wholesalers. A good 2B platform should be especially designed for dropshipping. They offer to import products from its marketplace to your store and has the advantages of a good agent at the same time.
4. Where to find a good partner?
From the above, you may be clear what kind of partner you need, but where to find such a good partner? First you should know, most of these partners are in China or have some connections with Chinese suppliers as China’s supply chain is too strong and the products are competitive considering their price. You can buy what you want at a very low but sell at a relatively high price which can leave you an enough profit.
Many are familiar with Aliexpress, and take it as a third-party dropshipping agent. Before finding a better partner, Aliexpress is a suboptimal selection. There is no doubt, Aliexpress has abundant products and the price is also relatively low.But it still has many disadvantages and is not friendly to dropshippers.For example, Aliexpress doesn’t support to import products in bulk and usually the pictures are watermarked. To improve efficiency, you may need to use another tool to finish uploading products, like Oberlo. And Aliexpress doesn’t offer orders or tracking number synchronization function. When you have a hundred orders, you need to place orders one by one, time consuming and easy to make a mistake. Another disadvantage I want to point out is that Aliexpress doesn’t support to bundle products in one package from different vendors which means you have to pay more shipping cost. A solution for this problem is that you can find a logistics agent and ask Aliexpress suppliers to send goods to your logistics agent, then your agent bundle all things for you. This can save your shipping cost but it’s also time consuming to communicate with different people or coordinate different steps.
For other partners, you can google “dropshipping agent” or “dropshipping platform” and study each one carefully to see if they meet the characteristics of a good partner. Here I will also recommend one—FondMart, especially for who sell clothes. I’m going to list a few features that I think are most important. a.Automatic order and tracking number synchronization. FondMart supports to connect with shopify/woocommerce stores to realize automatic order and tracking number synchronization. b.Customized service. Having private label and tag is important for brand building. Many dropshippers are fond of FondMart’s private label and tag service.c.Offer no watermarked and high quality product pictures. You may be bothered by how to get high quality product pictures.Don’t worry. FondMart offers all products pictures and supports one-click intelligent products upload to your store.d.Combine shipping from different vendors and support US warehouse shipping.Combine shipping can save you a lot of money which adds your profit. Other features like one to one customer manager service, rich exclusive items and so on.
Anyway, finding a good and reliable dropshipping partner takes time. But it’s worth it. Usually people will mention the cons of dropshipping are less control over order fulfillment,reliance on other people’s stock, poor customer service. But a good partner can solve all your concerns, save you money, time and energy, even can help you expand your business. If you have any related questions, please feel free to leave me a message.