People all over the world are increasingly wondering how to start drop shipping business. But they face difficulties when they try to learn something about it.
There are some guides available online for beginning dropshippers. But they are all written only as a theory. If you are looking for instructions based on real experience, you won’t find much. There are no case studies, and no success stories from real drop shippers.
Our company has a huge experience in drop shipping business. We are creating and promoting lots of our own successful dropshipping stores. Our team has done a lot of work and has gained a solid practical knowledge over years. We decided we can share our experience with the wide audience. We want you to use our practical tips and recommendations. We are sure it will help you create a profitable drop shipping store.
We started drop shipping in 2015. As of today, we have 25+ ecommerce stores. In the beginning of March 2017, our monthly revenue was $97 000 (UPD: At the end of March 2018, our monthly revenue is $145 000).
Here you will find the 30 steps we took to achieve this impressive result.
HOW TO START DROP SHIPPING BUSINESS: OUR EXPERIENCE
E-commerce field is thriving. The growth of social media, mobile shopping, digital payments, artificial intelligence, big data, and personalized experiences are changing this business.
In particular, drop shipping business grows really fast globally. It has a huge potential because it is easy to start and run. People with any education and skills can do it. This is why we decided to give it a try and see what we can achieve.
Step 1. Business research
We started our journey with an analysis.
Can we run drop shipping business?
Who will be our suppliers?
Will we find customers?
What do we need to launch this business?
What technologies we need to learn?
These questions are crucial. Without them, it is impossible to understand where to go next. You will need to do a detailed research. As a result, you should get a clear view of your goals, opportunities, and challenges.
Step 2. Learning from competitors
This is tricky because not all the ecommerce store owners openly say they are drop shippers. Still, any online store is a source of knowledge. Understanding how the store is designed and advertised can help beginners a lot.
We were inspired by the experience of Zappos. This is the biggest shoe and clothing webstore on the globe with great profit margins. It was an ordinary drop shipping store at first, but in 10 years Amazon said it would buy Zappos for $1.2 billion.
Looking at others, you can learn a lot. For example, you can use someone else’s experience to improve your product page. Or, you can learn how someone promotes their store in Instagram and other social networks. This type of information helped us a lot. It is important to rely on it when you have no experience yourself.
Step 3. Understanding the legal part: registering a company
Most of businesses should be registered. For drop shipping business, this is not always necessary. It all depends on the country where you run this business. As a beginner, you can start selling online with no registration.
We learned it when we talked to AliExpress sellers. We wanted them to be our drop shipping suppliers. They don’t mind if you are a private individual and not a business.
As a rule, buyers also don’t ask about it. But it is important that you provide them with money back guarantee and free shipping worldwide. These options should be offered by your suppliers, so check if they can do it.
Step 4. Understanding the legal part: taxes
Taxes are a vital part of every business. Drop shipping taxes exist in the form of custom fees. Custom fees are added to the cost of item, and it is a buyer’s responsibility to pay them.
Custom fees are different in every country across the globe. This is why you need to notify your buyers about it. Ask them to check what are the custom fees in their own country. Your potential customers must be aware of the local laws and regulations, and they must pay custom fees if necessary.
Step 5. Choosing the source of supply
To create a drop shipping store, you need to find products to sell and their descriptions somewhere. But these products and their sellers should be really special. It is important that they meet some criteria.
The sellers, for example, should be ready and glad to work with you. They should deliver items to any place in the world. Also, they should agree to deliver orders without putting their own promotional materials in the packages.
After a long analysis we decided to choose AliExpress. We think it is the best platform with dropshipping suppliers.
It is really important to choose the right niche. It means a lot for the success of your drop shipping store.
We have a lot of webstores, and all of them sell different products. Every niche for these stores was chosen with the same algorithm. It is a special mechanism we have developed ourselves when we started selling online.
Step 6. Understanding own interests
It is much easier to run a drop shipping store if you are deeply interested in it. So, we recommend you to think about your passions first.
When you have deep knowledge of your niche, you provide a better customer service. If you like and understand your niche, you can pick the best items for your store. You can provide these products with top quality descriptions.
Your clients feel that you are passionate about your business, so they trust you. Also, they know that they can get professional and detailed consultations.
Step 7. Defining target audience
Who are your potential customers?
It is important to know your target audience. This is how you will promote and advertise your store more effectively.
It doesn’t matter what countries they are from. Drop shipping has a global reach, so you are not limited by a region. Instead, you need to know what they are interest in, and how you can attract them to you store.
Step 8. Exploring social networks
You need to know what online channels are the best for promotion. Do your potential clients use forums, blogs, and social networks? For example, if you know that your buyers prefer Facebook, you can efficiently advertise your dropshipping store in Facebook groups.
Step 9. Searching on AliExpress
When we choose a niche, we always go on AliExpress to check its potential. It means that we look at the number of products offered on the platform, the reputation of suppliers, and buyers’ feedback.
It is necessary to understand if we can find enough offers from this niche. These offers should meet some criteria (a big number of orders, positive feedback on the quality, good reviews about the seller, etc.). We need to fill a store with lots of items, and we need to update our product range from time to time because it keeps our target audience interested.
Step 10. Checking the marketing potential
Can we promote this niche in social networks? Can we do something for its search engine optimization? Is the niche good for paid ads?
It is necessary to answer these questions when you choose a niche. If it has a good potential for promotion, you will be able to attract more customers, and earn more.
We have developed a detailed algorithm to check SEO potential of a dropshipping niche. It will help you find best drop shipping opportunities from the point of view of promotion.
HOW WE SET UP DROP SHIPPING STORES
When you create a store, it is important to make it convenient for your customers. We did our research and understood we can make something great.
This is how we developed AliDropship plugin. It can help you create and run fully functioning and professionally looking webstore.
Step 11. Buying a domain name
We use the GoDaddy service to buy a domain name. Choosing the name, we prefer something short and easy to remember. Alternatively, you can include the most important keyword in the domain name. It will make it much easier for you to promote the store.
Step 12. Choosing a content management system (CMS)
There exist numerous content management systems. Simply speaking, a CMS is a solution that helps you create and manage content online.
When you develop a drop shipping store, it is really important to choose the right CMS. It should be functional, easy to understand, and easy to manage.
We prefer to work with WordPress. It is perfect for drop shipping stores because it is easy to run. Also, it is really functional and convenient for business.
You can also make it even more functional if you install plugins with additional features. AliDropship plugin is a good example of such plugins. It was created by dropshippers and for dropshippers, so it has all the features you need for drop shipping business.
Step 13. Choosing a hosting solution
This is the necessary part of creating your drop shipping business. Web hosting is the service that you use to publish your webstores online and make it visible for Internet users. If you don’t want to do it all yourself, you can ask for a professional help with hosting.
Step 14. Creating the store design
When the website itself is ready, you don’t have to do much with it. As soon as you install AliDropship plugin, all the main things will be done automatically.
It is especially important for design. A webstore design means a lot for the business success, but it can be tricky. People who have no experience in developing sites often have a lot of questions about making a good store design.
With the plugin, you can choose one of several themes available, and use it for your drop shipping store. All of them look nice and professional. You can be sure that your store visitors will enjoy being on your site.
Step 15. Importing products
Later in this article you will learn how to choose the right products.
The plugin allows you importing items from AliExpress automatically. You need to set the search parameters, and the plugin will do all the rest. You don’t need to spend hours on AliExpress to choose and import items to your store. You only need to spend several minutes and do a few clicks.
Step 16. Multiple payment options
Your goal is to sell something to your store visitors. It should be convenient for them to make a payment. Remember that you sell your products to people all over the world! This is why you need to include several payment options. For example, our plugin accepts payments made through PayPal and major credit cards processors.
HOW WE DROPSHIP
How does drop shipping work?
The most common questions we get are related to management and organizational issues. They may seem challenging to beginners. This is why it is so important to cover them.
Step 17. Choosing products
Quality, features, and price of the products you import to your drop shipping store are your competitive advantage. It is one of the main drivers of your business success. We have a full guide about choosing the perfect dropshipping products on AliExpress. Generally, you need to check if you like the product description, its photos, and reviews from previous buyers. Also, it might be useful to order a couple items yourself. This is how you will check if you want to add them to your store.
Step 18. Choosing suppliers
Suppliers mean so much for the success of your store! AliExpress is different from major drop shipping platforms. They typically ask you to pay a fee to view suppliers’ contacts and their offers. On AliExpress, you can access all the necessary data for free.
So, AliExpress is a great place to search dropshipping suppliers because you can see detailed statistics on every seller. This is really useful because you can check the feedback and performance of any seller you like. Also, it is really easy to contact sellers. When you communicate with them, you can understand if they will be good partners for you.
Step 19. Placing orders
When somebody buys something from your store, you need to give all the information to your supplier. AliDropship plugin does it automatically. It notifies the seller about the ordered product, its quantity, and the buyer’s address. It is all done by the plugin, so you won’t mix up anything. It is really useful when you have a lot of orders.
Step 20.Working with troubled orders
Sometimes it happens that our customers are mistaken. They provide incorrect names, surnames, and even postal addresses.
Sometimes they change they mind.
Sometimes they ask for returns and refunds.
Sometimes they can’t track the package and say it is lost.
This is our job to be really polite and patient. We are all humans, and anything can happen. We do our best to negotiate and offer several possible solutions. And of course, we have to contact the sellers and note them about problems we have. It is necessary to provide the top level customer support if you want your business to grow and thrive.
Step 21. Preventing fraud
Internet fraud gets more and more widespread. We are always polite to our customers, but we are really attentive to their behavior.
If a customer tries to pay from several various credit cards, it is suspicious.
If all these attempts fail, it is suspicious.
If a customer uses a credit card that is different from his own name and country, it is suspicious.
If we have any doubts, we typically ask the buyer to send us an ID form. Also, we wait a couple of days before processing the order. If it is a fraud, the payment system will recognize it, and the order will be cancelled.
In general, we recommend you to follow the instructions of your payment system provider. They have their own sets of rules for such cases, so learn them and stay safe.
HOW WE PROMOTE DROP SHIPPING STORES
Step 22. Working with SEO
Search engine optimization is really important in drop shipping business. If you do it right, you can achieve great long-term results.
You need to think about SEO when you choose a dropshipping niche. You should also consider it when you choose the domain name, and when you write texts for the store. The more you work on it, the more visitors will find your store in Google.
Step 23. Using social media
Social media can drive lots of customers to your store. If you do it right, you can achieve a wonderful performance, and then sell your dropshipping store for a great profit.
We have tried and tested a lot of strategies to promote dropshipping stores on Instagram and advertise stores on Facebook. Our clients share success stories of drop shipping business and they show that promoting your dropshipping store in social media brings you a great revenue.
This process takes a lot of time and effort, of course. But you can make it automated if you like. To do that, read our research and review of Social Rabbit plugin that automatically makes promotional posts for your webstore in any social networks you choose.
Step 24. Learning about paid ads
To promote your store the fastest way, you can also use paid advertisement like GoogleAdwords and Facebook ads. If you use your money wisely, even more Internet users will learn about your store. We used paid ads to promote dropshipping stores, and the results are really impressive.
Step 25. Dealing with clients
We have already mentioned we try to stay patient and tolerant in every situation. But apart from that, we also do a lot to enhance our clients’ experience.
We create a positive atmosphere in our stores, and it makes them different from AliExpress. Our buyers can always count on professional and timely support. Also, we modify product pages of dropshipping stores to make it easy for our clients to get information and make a purchase.
Step 26. Thinking on product strategy
When we analyze what our customers like and want, we can use the knowledge wisely. We can add new products from time to time to keep the buyers satisfied. Also, we monitor the market trends. This is how we learn that some new products appeared on the market.
Remember that it is necessary to advertise these products. If you add something new, make sure your store visitors and social media subscribers learn about it.
HOW WE EXPAND OUR DROP SHIPPING BUSINESS
Business should grow. If you stop working on your store, it won’t be that much successful. This is why our work never stops.
Step 27. Improving customer experience
You can do a lot to increase your customers’ engagement and motivate them to return to your store.
Make sure it is easy for them to navigate your store. Check if it easy for make a payment. Don’t forget to include all the information on shipping costs and other delivery terms and conditions.
Also, always be honest about the delivery time. Remember that you need to notify every new client about it. People don’t mind waiting for their order, but they need to know the correct information.
Step 28. Adding new products
We already mentioned that it is really important to keep your store offer up-to-date. If you add new items regularly, your clients are interested in visiting your store again and again.
The bigger is your product range, the bigger is the average check. It means you can also add the products that are related to your niche, and your customers will also be interested in buying them.
But we recommend to follow a specific concept when choosing new products. Always remember what is the general idea of your store, and don’t get distracted. It is especially important if you promote your site as a niche store.
Step 29. Creating new stores
When you launch your first drop shipping store, you don’t know much about the management and promotion. But as soon as you get enough experience, you understand it is not really difficult to run such store. It means you can use your knowledge to create more and more stores in other niches.
Remember that your ecommerce store is an asset. If you run it wisely, you can sell it for a good profit. We learned it from the experience of our client Alex who manages several dropshipping stores at once and sells some of them from time to time.
Step 30. Exploring
There is so much to learn! New ideas, new niches, new traffic sources, new promotional methods, and many more.
Business and technology evolve every day, so you have a whole world to explore. Always look for something new, and don’t be afraid to try and test different things. This is the engine that drives you and your business.
These are the 30 steps that we took to get our impressive business results. We started from zero, and less than in 2 years we achieved the average monthly profit of $97,000.
We hope our experience will motivate and inspire you to start your own drop shipping business. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. We wish you the best of luck on this road to success!
This content was originally published here.