E-commerce platforms like Shopify have enabled many business owners to easily set up stores online and take advantage of the ever-growing online market. There are many tools which can help you take advantage of all that online business has to offer. One particularly important component of e-commerce that every seller should consider using is dropshipping.
What exactly does dropshipping mean?
Dropshipping means that you can sell products without packaging and shipping items to your clients, therefore you don’t have to hold the inventory yourself. You can get someone else to do it for you, or you can work as an arranger - the person who negotiates between a third party that does the inventory and shipping and the clients who order from you.
If you are unable to produce a product because it's just not feasible or the storage space for the goods is quite expensive or requires more direct coordination with different locations, you can start reselling third-party items by using dropshipping.
This method allows the supplier to ship the product directly to your clients instead of shipping it to you first. Dropshipping makes it easier by enabling you to connect with a warehouse to not only keep the products but to ship them when customers buy. If you want your online business to rise to the competition, dropshipping can be a great solution for you. Let’s look at some of its advantages.
Low costs to establish
Starting an online business is way cheaper than starting a traditional brick and mortar store. But cutting your costs for starting a business doesn't have to end there. By opening an online dropshipping store, you automatically avoid any expenses on real estate, bills, and personnel.
Getting started is not a big hurdle because you don’t need to spend anything initially. However, you will require additional features if you want to appeal to larger audiences. This means that if you want to grow your business you will have to invest in it, but luckily these are first expenses you’ll have to worry about. When you factor all this into your plan to create an online shop, dropshipping is the best direction to take.
Your cash flow increases
One of the reasons many people hesitate to take the leap into owning a business is because of the risk involved. Dropshipping eliminates this fear because there are almost no risks associated with it.
New retailers can get started for free and have a trial run before deciding to use their account permanently. The best part about all of this is that you don't have a lot to lose and can always try out something else before ever making any kind of financial commitment. Sellers only have to pay for the product they buy from manufacturers after making a sale.
Businesses can give diversification a shot
One of the best ways a seller can increase their profits is by providing a wider variety of goods to diverse audiences. Although you can do very well with a single product, the chances of success with a range of several products is higher.
Dropshipping allows you to create more virtual shelves where you can add new brands of products. The best part is that you only have to focus on finding the items that are in demand and filling your shelves when they are empty.
The scalability of your business increases
We all know that time is valuable in business, and dropshipping enables you to save tons of it. This means you can use your spare time to look for any components of the business that are not functioning as expected and fix them before they become a problem for customers. Once you have your products, all you have to do is to wait for the customers to start making purchases.
The good news is that your virtual shelves don't store goods for a long period of time. Shopify has also given you the opportunity to control the number of products you have based on demand. The products you sell can move very quickly and you can fill your pages up with more items faster thus scaling your online business.
Keeping customers is easier
Running a business can be difficult because you have to keep track of different parts of the business at the same time. In order for a business to be successful, it’s advisable to create loyal customers, and you want to limit your distractions from this core goal. Dropshipping creates an opportunity for sellers to better focus on the customer experience.
When customers do their shopping on your website, they are supposed to feel in control. You can do this by making your website more user-friendly. Another way to get more loyal customers involves improving the communication between you and your customers. Try offering opportunities for your customers to provide feedback, and make sure to always be personable every step of the way in the buying process.
10 easy steps to integrate dropshipping with Shopify
Shopify is one of the most popular platforms for creating an online store. If your goal is to increase the amount of money you make online, opening a Shopify dropshipping store is a smart solution. These 10 steps will show you how to start a dropshipping business on Shopify:
1. Find a niche that will work best for you
The initial stages of starting a business are the most important. A good foundation will help you to expand a stable business in as many directions as possible. You need to keep a few things in mind when looking for a suitable niche for your Shopify store.
- Don’t start with expensive goods - your most expensive product should cost no more than $20.Because you are just starting out, it is far better to sell goods that most people in your target audience can easily decide to buy. Some of the best examples include beauty products, t-shirts, jewelry and other articles of clothing.
- Upper and middle-income buyers will make up the majority of your target market. The upper and middle-income classes should be your primary audience. For example, if you want to get the most out of a $20 product, individuals of the middle and upper income classes will not have any issues paying for it.
- For beginners, choosing the brand of products is a very important decision when it comes to starting a dropshipping store on Shopify. Find a free and most profitable niche for your dropshipping, something that works well for you. Try to start by selling unpopular brands and work toward more recognized ones as you build your business.
2. Pick a suitable supplier for your store
Once you have picked the ideal niche, the next step will be finding a reliable supplier. One of the best places you can turn to for vendors is AliExpress, which is widely recommended by Shopify. What makes AliExpress so convenient for dropshipping?
- AliExpress can help you find a niche if you don't have one yet. All you have to do is type “dropshipping” into the AliExpress search bar and you’ll get a list of options you can choose from.
- You get affordable products all under $20. Remember, this is a key factor in picking your niche.AliExpress is one of the cheapest platforms today, you can easily find jewelry, clothing, etc., for prices lower than $20. You also get a good deal for buying in bulk.
- You can look at a vendor’s rating before you proceed to order any products. To check the vendor’s rating, all you have to do is go on their official AliExpress store and look at the reviews that previous buyers left. If you find a good seller with decent reviews, don't hesitate to move forward.
3. Create a Shopify dropshipping store
After picking a niche and a suitable seller, you can proceed to the more technical part ofsetting up a Shopify dropshipping store. The following points will explain how you can get started with Shopify:
- The first step is to create a Shopify account. To do this, enter your email address, a unique password, and the intended name of your online shop. This is a very simple process and it is quite similar to opening an social media account. It only takes a few minutes and you can move to the next step.
- After signing up you will then get a few questions about your shop. Since you do not have one yet, pick the option that says you currently don't have a shop. This step is also self-explanatory, after filling out your sign up information you will be redirected to a page that allows to create a store by confirming that you don't currently have one with Shopify.
- After answering all the preliminary questions you can proceed to choosing a service plan. New sellers should check the beginner basic plan. The beginner's plan has been simplified so that new sellers don't get lost trying to make the right configurations for their store.
4. Make the right configurations
So, you have your account set up and a Shopify plan selected: what's next? In order to build a functional store, you need to make the right configurations to your Shopify account.
- Find a suitable domain name. Getting a domain is one of the best ways to start branding your store. Domain names are not free and paying for them is an indication of your dedication to your store. As a beginner, you have to understand that you will not be able to expand your business to great heights if you do not have a domain name. You can use it as self-promotion or self-advertisement.
- Once you have bought a domain name, the next step will be taking care of email forwarding. Shopify allows you to easily forward all messages about orders to specific emails of your choice which you can change whenever you like. A good email forwarding system means you can work with both your customers and the facility storing your products without any difficulty. You can quickly encourage the dropshipper to start a transaction as soon as an order has been completed.
- Design plays a very important role in attracting customers to your shop. Shopify has provided you with a variety of themes and templates that can help in the customization of your store. The first impression is very important when it comes to online stores. If users are attracted to your store, they will stay longer and look at your products and this, in turn, increases the probability of making a sale.
5. Add your merchandise
If you are satisfied with the design of your website, you can then proceed to add your products to it. Shopify has already provided you with clear instructions on how to do this, so all you have to do is make sure you add all the necessary information to your product descriptions.
Take note of the following:
- upload high-quality images of the products you sell. Your customers should get exactly what they see, and you want to present your goods in the best light possible. If you are having any problems getting the images that you want, you can hire a professional to do it for you. Just make sure all the important details of your product are represented in the images;
- write accurate descriptions and provide all the necessary information your customers would be looking for. If you don’t know what questions they may ask, do some research on your products and the type of people who buy them. If you add false information, you will increase the chances of getting bad reviews from your customers and that will definitely hurt your future sales. Try to be as honest as you possibly can to your customers;
- add prices to your products. Because you are a new seller, it is advisable to keep items under $20. This is also a very simple part of adding a product description. Always ensure that you have added the right prices to your product description. Double-check just to make sure everything is just right;
- customers will also be looking for shipping information. Make it clear whether you will be offering free shipping or charging customers. Adding “free shipping” to your product description is also crucial if you are not charging for it. However, if you charge on shipping, makes sure you add the price of that service.
6. Set up the payment method
Shopify is one of the best platforms to open a dropshipping store because it provides a lot of options to the seller. In order to succeed online, you have to create an opportunity for customers to easily buy your products. Offering them multiple payment methods is one effective way to do this. Consider the following points when you set up the routes for making payments.
- Most online shoppers prefer to use either PayPal or credit cards to pay for the goods they buy. This due to their functionality because they are very simple ways of making a payment. As a result of this, always makes sure they are among your payment options. You can easily select which payment options you like.
- If you select credit cards as the method of payment, you will not be required to set anything up because it is linked automatically to Shopify payments. Shopify payments have enabled a lot of sellers to skip the technical part of setting a payment gateway. You can make is usable simply by enabling it.
- Shopify Payment gives business owners the ability to keep track of all their transactions. This is possible because all the business transactions can be stored in your database and you can make access to them whenever you want. The advantage of this is you will get an insight into what changes( if any) your business may require.
7. Figure out the shipping rates
It is very important to price your products in a way that is fair to both you and your customers. Because you are dealing with an online audience, you have to consider how the shipping rates will vary depending on where they are ordering from. Figuring out the right rates can be a bit tricky, so to make it easier you can use the following guides.
- Take the price of making international shipments into consideration. All countries have unique shipping requirements, therefore the prices will differ as well. It is very important to set the price of your goods and the cost for shipping together. By doing so, your customers will be comfortable with your pricing and you won't lose any money.
- Think about the amount of money you have to pay to the supplier to make sure your goods are ready to be shipped.
- The package you send to the buyer has to be transported by land as well, and this will also create additional costs. Every country has unique rates for transporting good on land. This is a very important variable to consider when setting the right shipping price for your products.
Shopify has enabled all their customers to easily check to see how shipping rates apply to them. If you have an advanced Shopify plan, you can get all the shipping updates automatically.
8. Offer gift cards for your Shopify dropshipping store
One of the biggest challenges with running an online store is keeping your customers interested. A gift card can play a big role in helping you make more sales. Many customers turn to gift card when they are uncertain of what gift to buy for family or friends. Here are some advantages of offering gift cards at your store.
- Your business will be able to get the attention of new buyers. A gift card can act as a bonus for your customers and once you start to offer it to them, they will try their best to have it for themselves.
- You can increase the reputation of your dropshipping store. After gaining the attention from your customers, they will further encourage their friends to check your store out, for example. You will get bigger crowds attention that will increase the traffic to your store.
- Gift cards can be used to keep track of credit, which protects the seller from fraudulent claims or customers who want their money back on an expired return. It will serve as electronic proof that a particular transaction you made with the customer was legit. In other words, it can serve as security for your business.
- You can increase your sales by offering your customers a discount code when using gift cards. Discount codes can be posted on social media platforms. This is another good move especially if you further want to get your business to bigger audiences.
You can easily create a gift card on Shopify, however, you require a more advanced Shopify plan to do so. Additionally, promoting your gift cards on social media or in blogs will help you reach a wider audience.
9. Set up reliable customer support
Customer support was created to make sure that your store can provide assistance to any of your customers who need it. How can you make yourself available to your customers? A simple contact page will often do the trick. Here you can receive important questions from your customers and provide them with answers. Make sure you always respond as quickly as possible to show that you care about your customers’ questions.
Communication packages can also help you better provide customer support. You can choose from the following methods of communication:
- phone calls;
- live text;
- social media.
ZenDesk provides a package that allows sellers to take advantage of all the above communication pathways to enable a quick reaction to customer queries.
10. The big launch
During the process of creating a store, no one but you can see your store. This is because you have it secured with a password-protected function.
The only way your store can become available to your target audience is if you "ring the curtains up" from the main page. Before you do this, make sure all the features are working fine and there are no errors on your page. Once you have disabled the Password Protection checkmark, the store will be visible to your clients and the public at large.
Dropshipping coupled with a Shopify store is one of the best ways to get started online. Shopify is a good example of an e-commerce platform that enables sellers to set up and run a successful business by starting with almost nothing. If you need any help getting started with a shop that integrates dropshipping into Shopify, MakeBeCool can help.