The cost of entry into E-commerce is so tremendously low that you can literally set up your own online store in less than 20 minutes and for less than 30 USD! But just because it is easy to start, doesn’t mean it is easy to be successful with it. That’s why we have collected 25 essential dropshipping tips that help even beginners get started with dropshipping.
Check them out and bookmark the list for later to not forget anything important!
Dropshipping Tips to Elevate Your Online Business
Dropshipping is a special form of retail business that is very popular, especially among beginners. Before you waste all your time and money, make sure you know the following basic dropshipping tips.
Tip: Shopify remains the best e-commerce platform out there and if you’re making your first online store, start with Shopify as it is perfect for absolute beginners in terms of cost and ease of use.
1. Focus on a single niche
Your online store should not be a department store with many categories of items. Your online store should have a specific niche and you should seek to grow your store brand in that area. Become the first to be in the mind of your customers when they are looking to purchase a specific item. Even in a general category like watches, you should look to segment and focus heavily on a specific segment, e.g. luxury watches.
Having a single focus or niche is important because you want to be the trusted supplier for the product. It’s a very competitive environment out there and if you venture into many niches, you won’t be able to build a strong brand and presence for each one of them.
Check out this guide to find profitable dropshipping products, in case you are still looking for inspiration.
2. Know your ideal customer
It’s time to put on the shoes of your ideal or target customers. You need to understand them so that you can craft your content and marketing that resonates with them. This means you have to understand the basic demographics like age and education, but also psychographic factors like their lifestyle, motivations, and their dreams.
Armed with this knowledge, you can then craft effective marketing campaigns. Your copywriting will be geared toward your ideal customer and even the design decisions of your store will also be impacted by the information you gather from your ideal customers. Always remember that market research knowledge is a source of power!
3. Choose reliable suppliers and partners
You can’t succeed on your own especially if you’re getting your products through other retailers or being made by outside manufacturers. This means you need to partner with the right entities. If you choose a good manufacturer, you will have reliable delivery and quality products. If you choose poorly, your online business is doomed.
Customers value speed and quality. If you take too long to produce and deliver, they will easily shift to your competitors. So scour the market and find the right partners. Test out the relationship first before committing long-term. Always maintain good communication with them so that expectations from both sides will be met.
Tip: Popular dropshipping partners are AliExpress and Alibaba. But beware that many dropshipping businesses are using these suppliers which means that customers can find the exact same products all over the internet.
4. The power of a pre-launch Email list
Building an audience early on and growing an email list will help you a lot when you launch your online store and start selling. Emails are important because it’s direct access to your customers or target market. When you have a new product on your online store, you can send an email to your list and if written well and you have been consistently invested in giving good emails to them, you can build trust and convert that into sales.
So it’s important to keep sending updates and useful information to your customers and target market through emails even though you might not have new products to sell.
Emails can also be used to do market research. Ask them what products excite them and you can also ask for feedback for things like colors, packaging, designs, etc. about your products. Make them part of the community and this can build so many dividends for you and your online store.
5. Simple wins
Always see your online store from the perspective of your customers. Make it easy to navigate. Avoid clutter. Make it easy for them to make buying decisions so you can close sales faster. No need to have tons of fancy plugins and addons that don’t give value to your customers. So again, simple wins. Simple means clarity and clarity means sales.
6. Unleash the power of stories
One of the keys to succeeding with an online store is to leverage the power of stories. Your story. Your audience wants to know you. They want to know your vision and the story behind your online store.
When your story resonates with them, you build trust and trust leads to sales. Trust creates loyal customers. Stories show your human side. Even though you are selling online, it’s still a transaction between two people. So unleash your humanity and tell relevant stories through your online store. Use the blog function and you can also share your stories in the product descriptions.
7. Show off your personality
Every brand these days has a personality. Your online store should also have a distinct personality. Most often, this is dictated by the brand you are trying to build. Do you want a casual and fun-loving brand? Or it is a more serious, conservative kind of personality? Your goals for your online store and what you sell will likely dictate the kind of personality you should use for your store.
Why does this work? Because it makes your store more human. The human connection is essential and giving your store some personality makes it more human and your customers will want to do business with you especially if your store personality resonates or is similar to theirs.
8. Use professional photos
Remember that your customers don’t get to touch and feel your products. The photos you put there will dictate how they feel about the product. Invest in boosting the visual appeal of your products. Learn how to take creative and professional photos. If not, you can outsource this to freelance photographers in your area.
Learn how to use tools available to you like 360-degree views of your products. You can even make video slideshows of your professional photos of your products. Learn these skills and they can pay you handsomely with strong sales!
9. Use the power of copywriting
Learn the power of the written word, a.k.a. copywriting. By learning how to influence and persuade people to buy using copywriting, your product descriptions will mesmerize your audience and compel them to buy.
It’s important that your product descriptions are not short and lacking in details. Sell the benefits that your product offers. Tell the features that matter to them the most. Make sure the customer can understand what your product offers and how it is different from the competition around it.
10. Make your content Google-friendly
This means investing in search engine optimization, or SEO. This means that you want to be on the first or second page of search engine results because people rarely look beyond the 2nd page of the search engine results.
This means knowing the keywords and the search items that people use when they are looking for products like yours. Being good with SEO can bring lots of traffic and with great copywriting, this can be a recipe for lots of sales.
11. Have a blog
Contrary to what other people say, blogging is not dead. Blogging is still a powerful tool to get inbound traffic and the beauty of consistently blogging for your audience is that you’re educating them.
This will position you as an expert in your niche. Make sure you post consistently and don’t blatantly use the blog to sell. Use it to educate and entertain your visitors and readers so that they have a reason to always head back to your online store.
12. Make it easy to share
Make sure your online store has effective sharing plugins. By having a ‘share’ call-to-actions in your online store, your store’s reach will widen and more people will be inclined to visit your store and see what you have to offer.
Use calls to action like “If you liked this product, do us a favor and share it with your friends!” This can boost your reach tremendously because your site will get a lot of eyeballs from the networks of your friends and relatives.
13. Is your online store mobile friendly?
Most people do their shopping online so your online store must be responsive and mobile-friendly. Your online store might look great on your laptop but make sure it is also a great experience on mobile devices.
The great thing with online store platforms like Shopify is that they have themes that are already mobile responsive so you don’t have to hire a web designer to tweak your site to make it user-friendly.
14. Test drive your store
Pretend to be a buyer on your online store:
- How is the experience?
- Do the buttons work?
- Do the forms work?
- Are the links working?
Make sure all the answers to these questions are affirmative because a bad experience online means they won’t visit your site anymore and worse, they can lead to bad reviews if your site is full of errors and bugs. With that said, it’s also important to proofread all the content on your site to make sure it looks professional.
15. Invest in marketing campaigns
Always remember that marketing drives sales. Even if you have great products and your online store is optimized, you need to market them to your target audience. This means having email marketing campaigns and planning out your social media and content marketing campaigns.
Devote a good part of your marketing budget so that you can generate good sales. Monitor your marketing campaigns and tweak them as necessary so that you’ll generate better and better campaigns each time.
16. Inventory Management is key
Make sure that your manufacturer has enough inventory of your products because good marketing campaigns will definitely lead to a surge in demand for your products. You will lose lots of potential customers if they realize you’re always short on inventory and they might share this bad experience with others. So make sure that the inventory can handle successful marketing campaigns.
17. Are you social?
The keyword in social media is the social aspect. You’ve got to invest time in social media because people spend a lot of time on them. Now you don’t need to be on all social media platforms. Go where your target market hangs out and spend time there.
The odds are you’ll need Facebook and Instagram as starters because most people use these two social media platforms. By being active on social media, they will gain the trust of your brand and your online store will start getting more sales momentum.
18. Market yourself and your business
This means being active outside social media. Look to get featured in blogs and online publications. Be helpful in Quora. Guest post in other blogs so that they’ll get to hear about you and your business. The more online credibility you grow, the more they will trust your online store. You need to have a bigger online footprint.
19. Be Customer-Centric
Take care of your customers. A strong customer service experience will create loyal customers while a bad customer service experience can lead to loss of sales, and bad reviews that can push people away from your online store.
Make sure you reply quickly to the queries of your customers. Make sure you are reachable in case they have questions or feedback. Be professional and friendly always to your customers.
20. Take care of your loyal customers
Offer to give them more value, e.g. freebies, special offers, etc. The idea is that your loyal customers are the lifeblood of your business. They also serve as strong ambassadors of your online store if you make sure they are happy. So don’t just think of marketing campaigns to get new customers. Think also of customer care programs for your current customers. Make them feel special.
As a business, you must listen to your customers. Listen to their questions and feedback. Improve your products and online store based on your conversations with them. Always remember that your store is there to bring value to your customers so this means listening and empathizing with them.
22. Don’t forget to upsell
Your products are likely to have synergy with each other so don’t limit their shopping to just one item. Offer to sell them products that go well with what they bought. Upselling can give a quick boost to your profits. You can also upsell upgrades and add-ons so that you bring more value to your customers.
23. Adopt the Kaizen mindset
Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning continuous improvement. So always strive to improve in all aspects of your business. Don’t be complacent even if you’re making good sales. There is always room for improvement. Devote some time to innovation as well so that you’re constantly making new products for your online store.
24. Measure and Track
Gather data on pertinent activities in your business so that you can measure the results and improve on them. For example, sales numbers will tell you what products are popular. So using this information, you can boost your inventory of those products and promote them more to boost sales further. Always remember that you can’t improve things that you don’t measure.
An online store is a legitimate business that needs money to continue growing. Thus, you need to invest resources in your business if you truly want to succeed. This could mean getting excellent virtual assistants, copywriters, and social media specialists that can do excellent work for your online business. You pay them because the value they bring will be more than what you paid them.
Commit to Your Dropshipping Business & See Results
By taking action and implementing the dropshipping tips discussed above, your online store will definitely improve and you will enjoy more sales. Be persistent and you’ll be able to scale your online venture in no time.
Knowledge is one thing. Taking action on that knowledge is the difference between those that succeed and those that falter.
Start today and get a free trial of a Shopify online store!