Interestingly, the term ‘dropshipper’ can refer to two different types of an entrepreneurial activity. Sometimes, a supplier involved in product stocking and shipment is called a dropshipper, and sometimes, the same word is used to describe a person who simply runs a drop shipping store and never deals with product issues. In this article, we stick to the second meaning of this term, and talk about the newcomers who would love to sell someone else’s products through a self-owned online store.
If you have analyzed different eCommerce options and found out that drop shipping is the perfect choice for you, you are probably wondering how to become a dropshipper. We have prepared this detailed manual for those who have no idea where to start.
Going into drop shipping business is not as difficult as it may seem, but eCommerce newcomers often make mistakes of choosing a risky niche, conducting no market research, focusing on the wrong things and whatnot. Want to have a smooth start? Here’s what you should do step by step.
How to become a dropshipper: find your niche
The first step you should take before launching your store is to find a suitable niche.
Your perfect niche should be:
- Interesting to you
- Neither too broad nor too narrow
- Popular enough, but not too competitive
Where can you find the ideas for an online store? Brainstorming, web and social media surfing, visiting popular online retail platforms will help you a lot. Your hobbies and interests can inspire you as well. Use such online tools as Google Trends and various tools for keyword selection – you can get lots of valuable ideas there. Keep in mind that your offer should be unique, otherwise you’ll be selling ice to the Eskimos.
To evaluate the chosen niche, follow these simple steps:
- Check the relevant products quantity and the number of orders placed on AliExpress to understand if it is available and popular.
- Check if the niche demonstrates an ascending (rising) trend in Google Trends on your potential target markets.
- Check the search volume in Keyword Planner: the optimal results range from 5000 to 50000.
- Check the popularity of the niche in social media: a sufficient amount of groups and communities with more than 30000 followers on Facebook and Instagram means the niche has a nice potential in terms of promotion.
How to become a dropshipper: define your target audience
Now when you know what you are going to sell, your task is to understand who will buy it.
Why do you need to picture your average customer?
Now it’s time to find out who are all these people that are most likely to buy your products – to define your target audience. When you focus your marketing efforts on those who are interested in your offer, you have much better chances to convert them ito actual buyers. So, answer the following questions:
- Who are your customers?
Use Google Trends to make a customer avatar – an average client profile. Here you can find lots of helpful information about your potential customers: region, language, age, gender, marital status and other social and cultural indicators. Try to understand what matters much for them, where can you meet them (what social networks and online platforms do they prefer, etc.). You can use this information to address to this “average customer” in your future promotional campaigns.
- What do they need?
Any product should solve some customer’s problem. So, your task is to determine customer’s demand – and meet it. What do your customers need, what are they looking for? And how can your offer help them?
- How much money can they spend?
Your profit is the money that your customers spend in your store. Think about the financial reliability of your customers. Will they be able to make impulse purchases in your store? And try not to target too young audience – they are not always able to pay much.
When you know the answers to these questions, you can to attract the attention of your audience more efficiently, and choose the right tone of communication. Talking to your clients in their language is the cornerstone of effective promotion that lets you increase customers’ loyalty in the future.
How to become a dropshipper: build your store
You can try selling products on various online platforms such as a social network account, or a blog, or an online auction, etc. But if you want to dropship like a pro, you need your own drop shipping online store. Why?
To begin with it gives you a great independence. You will not have to obey someone’s rules and policies. You will not lose your store if your account is banned. No one can suspend you (if your store sells nothing illegal, of course).
In the next place, a specialized site looks more trustworthy and inspires a greater confidence.
For another thing, it is easier to promote a standalone website and optimize it for search engines.
And the last, but not the least – your own website is a good asset which can be sold any time you want and bring you a pretty penny.
To launch a store, you need to choose and buy domain and hosting.
Then, you need to select a content management system: it forms the core of your website and lets it operate smoothly. The best solution for an online store is WordPress – an open-source multipurpose content management system. It is safe, easy to install and user-friendly. And what is more – it is free!
How to become a dropshipper: set up the management processes
You cannot imagine how much time you can save if you automate your routine work. Product import, reviews, email marketing, SEO, customer support – all these and many other aspects can be managed in few clicks instead of long hours.
This is another reason to choose WordPress for your eCommerce business: it easily integrates with different services and applications. There are numerous useful plugins and add-ons that can extend functionality of your drop shipping site and boost its performance.
Marketing add-ons are your best helpers to provide stable organic traffic from social networks, stimulate impulse buying, simplify email marketing and solve a pile of other tasks.
And if your use WooCommerce, you can upgrade your store with this selection of smart extensions for any purposes.
Of course, there are more things you will have to deal with – search engine optimization, promotion, customer support… But these are the next steps of your drop shipping journey. And well begun – half done!
And if you want to save your time and efforts, there is another brilliant idea how to become a dropshipper – start your own online business with a ready-made custom store and focus your energy on what you do best!