Dropshipping is a lucrative business, but only if you do it right. So many people fail from dropshipping. And while there are a myriad of reasons, I know that the top one is lack of planning.
So what is the plan? Here is what I recommend that you do:
- Find a profitable niche
- Look for a reliable supplier
- Decide on a store builder platform
- Plan your marketing strategy
- Get everything ready
Here, I will tell you what you need to get started so you do not get burned. Many people start dropshipping without a plan. They do not make a sale for a while; they spend on ads, blogs, and the monthly subscription rates and then they just give up.
Do not let this happen to you.
This article is the only blueprint your will ever need to plan for a successful dropshipping store. Before we talk about the plan, let us have a little refresher session about the dropshipping business model.
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a business model where you sell someone else’s products on your own website. Your customer will place the order in your website, believing it is your product.
Once a customer pays you, you have to go to the supplier’s website and order that product. Then, the supplier will ship the item to your customer.
As you can see, it is one of the most perfect business models out there.
Take a look at the benefits:
- What is dropshipping?You do not need to buy your inventory
- You do not need to spend money on products right away
- You only purchase the product you sell if an order has already been made
And the best of all? It is online; you do not have to build a brick-and-mortar store.
But this does not meant to say that you will not spend money. You have to.
Here are the top things that you have to spend money on, and I labeled each one just so you know which ones are your top priorities.
|TOOLS||PRIORITY LEVEL||COST (at least)|
|Web Builder||HIGH||$14 per month|
|Supplier||HIGH||$9 per month|
|Blog Post||HIGH||Free or at least $10 per article|
|Email Marketing||MID||$47 per month|
As you can see from the table above, there are only two top priorities. You need a web builder that will host your store and you need a reliable a supplier.
You need a reliable supplier who:
- Will ship the item on time
- Provides low-cost goods so you have room for profit margin
- Manufactures high-quality products
Email marketing, along with video editor tools, are low to medium priorities for now since you are just starting out. What you need to focus on are the content of your site—the core of your business, which are product, a working website, and organic traffic.
How do you earn money from dropshipping?
Since you will be selling someone else’s products, you will not sell it according to the supplier’s price. You have to sell it with a mark-up, and the sky is the limit.
If you buy a drone toy for $100 from a supplier, you can sell that for $200. Just make sure that the retail price on your store is competitive, and that you factored in your shipping costs, handling costs, taxes, and other costs such as your web store and supplier subscription.
The difference between the primary costs and your sale price is your profit.
Let us take a look at an example, and assume that you are only selling 20 units per month for this product.
The photo above is taken from Spocket, a dropship directory that costs as littles $9 per month. You can integrate it with Shopify. Visit SPOCKET here to learn more.
First, let us break down the monthly cost of running your business, which does not yet include your time. Since you are the owner, you need to make a sacrifice and work for your business without getting paid for your work.
- Online Store – about $30 per month
- Supplier tool – $9 per month
These are your fixed primary costs. The total is $39 per month. If you are selling 20 items in a month, those 20 items must take these fixed costs into account. $39 divided by 20 is $1.95.
Take a look at the table below:
|Total Expense per Product||$101.00|
|Your Selling Price||$198.10|
|Your Gross Profit||$97.10|
The Dropshipping Plan
Now, let us discuss the things what you need to do BEFORE you start dropshipping. I strongly advise you not to pay for anything until such time that you have competed these steps.
1. Find a profitable niche and a reliable supplier
What are you going to sell? That is the ultimate question.
While many experts online tell you to go by your passion, this advice is not good business advice. Not everybody who does what he loves will make money.
Always remember that in business, you need to be driven by numbers. As such, you have to find a niche that you are passionate about, but it must also be a niche where there is a demand.
- Is this product really selling
- How many items are sold
- What is the profit per product
- Who is my target market
- Do I understand how this product works
- What is going to be my marketing strategy
Too many times, people just pick a random product they like. Examples are fashion, wristwatches, and shoes. And while it is easy to find suppliers for these products, the dropshippers are burdened by how they are going to drive traffic to their store.
There are thousands of people who sell the same stuff; how are you going to keep up with them?
This is why you need to find a profitable niche. You need a tool that can tell you, with statistical accuracy, if your chosen product is really selling.
This is important, as you will burn money trying to sell something that has no demand.
If you are paying $30 for your webstore, and you never made a single sale for six months, you just wasted $180.
But if you pay for a tool that can tell you what products sell, you will never have to go through that pain.
How will you do this?
Many suppliers online will not give you any data about a product’s performance. The only thing I know of that does this is SaleHoo.
SaleHoo is a dropship supplier directory tool. It has more than 8,000 verified suppliers, and you can use the tool to find products and fulfill orders.
The best thing about it is that SaleHoo has what is called a Market Labs. In this lab, you will have access to information that will influence your business decision.Here are some examples of what you can do in Market Labs:
- See trends of the product you chose on Amazon, eBay, or other platforms
- Find out if these are selling
- See the level of competition for the products you selected
- Find trusted suppliers for that product
- Compare product ideas related to your choices
SaleHoo is a tool that can help you find a profitable niche based in data, not based on someone’s feedback.
SaleHoo is not free. It costs $67 per year. If you want to save money, the cost is $127 for lifetime access. Visit SaleHoo here to learn more.
- YOUR LESSON: You will burn money if you do not find a profitable niche. A profitable niche must be backed up by data.
- YOUR PLAN: Look for a tool that can tell you what products are profitable in your specific niche
- YOUR ACTION: Read my review of SaleHoo, and then go to their website to check if they have a promotion for membership
Decide on a store builder platform
What should you use as a platform?
This is critical, as your website will make or break your business. In my experience, there are only two contenders here. These are Shopify and WooCommerce.Let us take a look at both at a glance.
|Hosting||$29/month||$5/Mo (3rd Party)|
|Web Builder||Included on Hosting||$6.95/month|
|Total Cost for First Month||$38||$20.95|
Shopify is one of the world’s biggest online store builders. It is equipped with all the things you need to run a store, including a payment processor.
The Shopify platform charges various fees for every sale, and it does have limitations to its capacities, especially if you are in the Basic Shopify Plan that costs $29 per month.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a FREE open-source platform. It is a little complicated to use, but if you are just hell-bent on learning, you will figure it out in no time.
If you choose the WooCommerce route, your online store will be built on WordPress. There are three ways you can do this:
- Build your online store via Bluehost
- Build your online store via WooCommerce
- Build your online store via WordPress
Let us talk about all these three for a second.
Build your online store via Bluehost
In this option, you have to go to Bluehost, and pay your plan from there. Once you have selected a plan, the system will guide you step by step what to do.
To do this, you need to go to the eCommerce (opens in a new tab)” href=”https://www.bluehost.com/track/matt06/” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>Bluehost homepage, and the click WordPress > eCommerce. From there, you will choose a plan and then get started with your online e-commerce tool.
Build your online store via WooCommerce
In this method, you need to sign up for a free account on WooCommerce, and then choose a plan for your WordPress web-builder. Once this is done, you can start building your store, like picking a theme, uploading products, and selecting a payment processor.
Build your online store via WordPress
In this approach, you have to sign up for a free WordPress account, choose the e-commerce Plan, and then add the free WooCommerce plug-in. Once the plug-in is installed, your WordPress website is now a store, and all you need is to add product, and choose a payment processor.
MY ADVICE: Choose the Bluehost route. It is affordable, and the integration of WooCommerce, WordPress, and Bluehost can be done in a few clicks.
In my experience, WordPress is a lot more flexible as a web builder. You do not need a webmaster to learn it. While Shopify is easy to use, there are limits to how you can design your store, plus you have to pay transaction fees even if you use a different payment processor.
READ MY OTHER BLOG POSTS:
- YOUR LESSON: Decide which marketing platform to use.
- YOUR PLAN: Pay for the web platform, and then build it the soonest possible time; do this only once you already have a supplier
- YOUR ACTION: the first action is to check if your chosen supplier can be integrated to your chosen platform. The second action is to spend some time in these four platforms and read what they have to offer.
Plan your marketing strategy
So, how are you going to market your store?
Free Social Media
What I suggest is that you use a free marketing strategy. You can do this with the following:
- Create a Facebook page
- Create an Instagram page
- Create a Pinterest page
Once these business pages are completed, you need to build a following. Make sure you consistently post your product photos, and that each photo has a link to your product page.
For Pinterest, read my blog post here:
I will no longer talk about paid ads, as that is best discussed with those who already have dropshipping stores that are earning money. Do not invest on paid ads unless you are sure about what you are doing.
Blogging is important aspect of every business. It is still the most effective way to get organic traffic to your website.
You can write the blog yourself, or you can pay someone to do it for you. The right approach to blogging is to provide your customers valuable information. If you are selling drones, then you must post articles like:
- Tips to maintain your drone
- List of Most Expensive Drones
- How to Choose a Drone
There are so many angles you can cover when blogging. But just to set your expectation, it can take at least 40 weeks before your blog post can achieve its full potential in Google search.
If you will blog on your own, you will spend a lot of time writing on top of managing your store. The better approach is to find a good writer who can fulfill this need so you can focus on other stuff.
- YOUR LESSON: You need to market your products with free social media, and you need to write regular blog content. Both of these are not negotiable.
- YOUR PLAN: Create a posting calendar, and a list of blog topics.
- YOUR ACTION: Read my following posts about marketing.
SUGGESTED READING FROM MY BLOG:
9 SEO Copywriting Secrets to Increase Your Traffic
Increase Website Traffic by More than 100% – 17 Tips to Get Traffic and Earn More Money
Why Should You Give Away FREE eBooks for Your e-Commerce Store?
Get everything ready
Before you take all these actions, you need to get everything ready. What you need is a checklist. You can use a piece of paper, or you can use programs like MS Excel.
Here are the following things you need to do:
- Find a profitable niche
- Choose a supplier directory; I recommend SaleHoo, Dropified, and Spocket
- (Click these links to visit their websites: SaleHoo, Dropified, and Spocket)
- Find a web store platform; review the four I recommended earlier
- Create a posting plan for the social media channels and the blog
- Write the blogs and prepare the social media posts; or hire somebody to do this for you; then se the materials aside
- Create the store
- Integrate the supplier tool
- Add products to the store plus descriptions
- Build your social media channels
- Post the social media images, and post the blogs
Dropshipping is a lot of hard work. If anybody says otherwise, you are being misled. Many people fail in dropshipping because they did not anticipate these kinds of problems.
And we are just talking about the basics. We have not yet covered paid advertising, using apps and plug-ins to improve your store, using an email marketing campaign, and so much more.
Do not be overwhelmed. Take baby steps, and do them right. Once you are done with each step. You can move forward to the other activities.
If you feel that these four steps are a lot, let me know. The trick here is to break down each step into doable tasks. Subscribe to my blog if you need more info, and I will be happy to help you out.