Are you looking for some pointers about drop shipping for beginners?
Drop shipping for the first time can involve a learning curve. There are a lot of different aspects to it that make it different form other online business models. Drop shipping in reality is also very different from what you might have expected from what you’ve read.
If you are an eCommerce entrepreneur looking to get into drop shipping, here are some tips about drop shipping for beginners. You might find it very valuable to have this list to look back to as you get your business set up.
1. It’s a Partnership
Probably the best tip we can give for to beginners is understanding that it takes two to tango. The drop shipping business model requires high levels of collaboration. You as the seller need to have strong ties with product suppliers. You can’t get anything shipped out to your customers if you don’t have reliable partner suppliers.
Spend a good amount of time searching for and building relationships with a few suppliers. Make sure you have backup suppliers for your products, too, so you can continue to get those orders fulfilled. Sometimes a supplier will decide to back out. You don’t want to be left without a product source if that happens.
2. Stay Away from Directories
Avoid the drop ship vendor directories. These directories do not provide reliable information. Looking for suppliers through these lists will do you more harm than good. Directories might look like a good place to get started so that you don’t have to go hunting for suppliers from scratch. In the end, however, you will be much better off steering clear of them and doing the legwork yourself. You can find more trustworthy partners this way.
3. Know Your Flow
Drop shipping for beginners goes much more smoothly when you have a clear plan outlined from the get go. Create a chart of how you see your drop ship business working. Outline the steps clearly from sourcing to marketing to selling to keeping your customers happy.
On your chart, note the most important aspects of each step. This will help you stay on top of the main areas. As you build your business, you can keep an eye on your supply, your advertising, your sales channels, and your customers. This way, you can see at a glance where you can focus more attention and what changes you need to make to grow stronger.
4. Focus on Management
Order and inventory management is critical to the success of your drop shipping business. Everything hinges on a solid supply of product to support your sales volume. Make sure that you are developing solid relationships with suppliers. You will be dependent on them to fulfill your orders. Make sure that you check in with them periodically to ensure that they will be able to keep up with the number of orders that you expect over the next few months. Do this in advance so that they have time to prepare, especially when big sale days are coming up when you anticipate huge peaks in sales.
5. Use Specialized Tools
Find eCommerce tools that are specially designed for drop shipping. And use them to help you manage everything. Many different types of tools exist that can make tasks easier. Do some research into them and choose the ones that you find will best suit your needs. Drop shipping for beginners is so much easier this way. Without these tools, the tasks that you will have to perform on a daily basis can end up eating up a huge chunk of your time – and energy. You can’t afford this if you want to grow.
6. Monitor Shipping
One of the biggest problems that you will encounter with drop shipping is really horrible shipping speed. This is really down to your suppliers, but you need to step in when it gets bad. You are the face that the customers see. You will get all the complaints when their packages don’t arrive on time. Don’t let drop shipping mess with your feedback scores.
Talk with your suppliers early on about the shipping speeds that your customers expect and ask them if they can meet those standards. If a supplier falls behind, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact them as soon as you see one order arrive late, and ask them what happened. When you care this much, they will tend to care more, too. If you can’t come to an agreement, you should start looking for an alternate supplier who can respect your need for speed.
7. Organized Partners
This tip really extends past drop shipping for beginners and applies to everyone. Organized partners mean better business. Find suppliers that support many drop ship relationships so that you have the options that you need. The more organized your suppliers are, the better it will be for you. Again, you depend on them to deliver orders, and they need to be able to stay on top of this. They need to be able to adjust and be flexible to the drop ship relationships that you need to serve your customers well.
8. Know Your Margins
Drop shipping can be a very lucrative business if done correctly and carefully. But it isn’t a get rich quick scheme. You can expect from 30-50% margins from suppliers, whether they do drop shipping for beginners or veteran retailers. Make sure that you have done your computations for expenses and can price competitively while still keeping a nice cut for yourself and for growth.
9. Be Picky
I want to end with a really good drop shipping tip that I have mentioned before. It actually stems from one of the main misconceptions about drop shipping. Don’t sell everything just because you can get your hands on it. Sell the products that make the most sense. What you choose to sell should fit the target customer that you planned for. You may feel some pressure to sell more products from your suppliers. Don’t be afraid to say no and stick with the products that you know fit your niche and that will be a big hit with your audience.
Are you ready to get into drop shipping?
These quick tips about drop shipping for beginners are going to be a great help to you as you build and scale your business. Keep them bookmarked as a reference when you are taking steps to find and partner with suppliers, organize your operations for order and inventory, and make decisions about product and customer satisfaction.