So, you’re thinking about launching your own dropshipping business, and I’d want to congratulate you on your decision!
It’s a wonderful business concept since it allows you to gain experience owning and running a real business without having to invest a huge quantity of money in purchasing/developing and storing a product until you’ve found a buyer and made the transaction. Having said that, it is a pretty unusual business concept.
So, how do you start a dropshipping business? Let’s look at the procedure and the aim to see what we need.
What is the procedure for starting a dropshipping business
The objective is simple, and it comprises four essential components:
- Niche – The industry in which you wish to build your store.
- Traffic – People who could be interested in your goods
- Sales Page – A page intended to identify and encourage a visitor to purchase something.
- Conversion – A customer that buys your product
As a result, the process entails choosing a niche, getting traffic to a sales page, and converting as many of these visitors as possible into clients. A simple procedure, indeed, but not when it comes to the first phase of traffic.
Because you haven’t created a brand yet, the major challenge with establishing a dropshipping firm will be a lack of visitors. This shows that visitors are unfamiliar with you or your company, and you will need to aggressively advertise the company on the internet.
So, to start an online dropshipping business, you must first decide on an industry/niche; I would recommend the following stages for selecting a niche…
1) Look for product ideas on AliExpress (a drop shipper’s market of product providers), and write them down.
2) Run these concepts through Google Trends to ensure that these goods are being searched for, showing that they are relevant and in demand. If the graph indicates consistent growth over the next 3-5 years, the product/topic might be a hit!
Other dropshippers create ‘Micro-Stores,’ which are simply stores with 1,2, or 3 products centred on a micro-trend, such as ‘fidget-spinners.’ The problem with these trends is that they fizzle out, therefore I would recommend that you identify a niche with a long-term increase in growth… We’re in it for the long haul!
3) Make a list of the important keywords that ‘You’ would use to discover the product… This is basically thinking about what a potential buyer might look for to locate such a thing (write at least 5 – 10 keyword phrases).
4) Enter each of these keyword phrases into UberSuggest, which will reveal monthly keyword search volumes and other long-tail keywords linked to the term you entered… UberSuggest allows you to export these keywords as a .XLS file, so make a folder for these files and remember to rename the file, ideally to the primary keyword that you entered.
This application allows you to export results in an excel file, which means you can keep all of your discoveries in a folder on your computer, ready to access when you’re ready to undertake SEO & Keyword Mapping (but that’s another topic for another post).
So, now that you’ve decided on the niche in which you want to launch your drop shipping business, you’ll need a platform to sell your items from… As a result, you’ll need a website. There are several CMS (Content Management Systems) to choose from, but the two most popular are Shopify and WordPress.
Personally, I prefer WordPress, but I know many people who prefer Shopify; I’ll outline the advantages and disadvantages of each platform below.
[Advantages] Provide a 14-day free trial. Extremely simple to put up since little technical expertise is required, with most parts being drag and drop.
[Drawbacks] Monthly billing ($29, $79, and $299, depending on sales)
[Advantages] Low monthly prices ($3.95), and ease of use
[Drawbacks] More technical expertise is required (but still mostly drag and drop)
Either choice is fantastic!
Register a Domain
Regardless of whether you use WordPress or Shopify, you’ll need a website domain, which will be your “www.” address.
- Check Namecheap to check whether your preferred domain name is available and then buy it there. Namecheap is the cheapest location to buy domains, plus you’ll get free WHOIS Privacy, which means the named company will keep your information safe from prying eyes.
After you’ve gotten your domain, you’ll need to host your website (that is, you’ll pay for an internet server to store your website).
Now, if you’ve opted to use Shopify, which we recommend for less technically aware folks, you won’t have to bother about hosting your website since Shopify will handle it for you… Shopify users can skip to the phase below under ‘All Done – Now Let’s Find Products.’
However, if you’ve decided to ‘brave the storm’ (we’re kidding, you’ll be fine) and use AliDropship and your own website hosting plan, you must first buy server space… I like FastComet (24/7 service and amazingly low prices) or Bluehost (another ultra-cheap and reliable hosting provider)
- Visit one of the hosting providers listed above to acquire a website hosting for just $2.95 per month (a steal). Not to add, they provide a 1-Click WordPress Installation, and once installed on your server, you’re set to go.
After that, you’re ready to build your WordPress website; I recommend starting with a free e-commerce theme, but you may also pay for themes; check out ThemeForest for these.
All Finished – Now let’s find products
Okay, so your website is now live, but you still need to source things, which is where your suppliers on platforms like Aliexpress come in.
Finally, depending on the product(s) that you want to sell, ensure that the supplier can deliver to the country that you want to market your product to, and check the average shipping time and pricing for this; certain types of delivery, such as ‘E-Packet delivery,’ are free and thus extremely useful for dropshippers to take advantage of… After all, you want to make the most money possible.
Once you’ve identified a modest number of goods (say, 10) that you want to put on your website, you’re ready to upload… However, you may still have some questions, such as….
- What happens if the supplier suddenly changes his prices or sells out of the product, and someone purchases it from my website?
- Will I have to add all the goods, descriptions, and photographs to my website by hand?
- Will I have to manually handle every order when I start selling?
I’ve included these questions since they were the same ones I had before opening my shop, but happily, I discovered a solution.
AliDropship [the link here includes a 25% discount] is a WordPress plugin that will solve all the concerns mentioned above on its own.
I’ve published an in-depth review of the product here, but here’s how it addresses those specific issues:
- What happens if the supplier’s pricing suddenly changes or the product runs out and someone purchases it from my website? The AliDropship plugin can be configured to do an automated check of each product’s AliExpress listing every 15 minutes and change your store’s prices accordingly (based on percentage increase/decrease).
- Will I have to manually submit all of the goods, descriptions, and photographs to my website? The AliDropship plugin can be combined with a free Chrome Extension, accessible here, that enables one-click imports, which means you go to the AliExpress product page and click import, and the rest is done for you!
- Will I have to manually handle every order once I start selling? The AliDropship plugin has a one-click bulk order button that will handle all the work for you.
There are now several techniques to bring traffic to your sales page, all of which fall into one of two categories: free and paid.
Free Traffic Sources – Short/Mid Term
Niche Forum Traffic – Looking at some of the larger forums, such as Quora, Reddit, and other niche-relevant forums, is a great place to start; simply search Google for…
‘Niche’ + Forum… For example, ‘Best Handbags’ + Quora.com’
After Google returns a slew of niche-related forums, browse through them one by one, looking for queries about the things you offer… For example, if you offer skin lotion, consider queries regarding how to acquire smooth skin.
To find them, use the following Google search:
‘site:forumdomain.com + ‘keywords relevant to your potential customer’s issue’
Once you’ve identified these questions, respond to them and direct users to your product page while keeping it authentic and natural… You may claim that this product would be useful…!
Free Traffic Sources – Long Term
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – optimizing your content (On-page SEO) and your backlink profile (Off-page SEO) to appeal to major search engine algorithms. If you execute this right, you will receive free organic traffic for the rest of your life!
They provide a variety of SEO services (all of which are listed immediately below) and have a Live Chat facility where you can chat with an expert about your needs and they will advise you on what you really need
- Hoth OnPage – Full On-Page Optimisation
- Hoth Private Vault – Premium Editorial Links (Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Entrepreneur, Marketland, IBM and many more)
- Hoth Blitz – High Authority PR Homepage Links
- Hoth Local – Local SEO Citation Links
- Hoth Press – Press Release & Distribution
- Hoth Boost – Backlink Boosting Service
- Hoth GP – Guest Posts Links
Otherwise, if you plan to perform all of your website’s SEO yourself, I’ll be putting up a whole SEO series for you to look over in the coming weeks. For the time being,
PPC (Pay Per Click) traffic – PPC traffic comes from sites like Facebook (FB advertisements), Google (Google Ads), and even Instagram and Snapchat. You are effectively buying traffic here, but do not confuse this with purchases. As a result, it is in your best interest to optimize your Sales Page for more Conversions before engaging in PPC to get the most bang for your dollars.
As a result, I would recommend starting with free traffic while improving your sales page for conversions. Once you’ve achieved reasonable conversion rates (at least 4%), you can start using sponsored traffic.
This will assist you to widen your pay-per-click marketing abilities, so you understand how PPC marketing works and can quickly set up and run a lucrative PPC campaign for your new dropshipping shop… This will be like having instant access to traffic!
But, as we previously stated, walk before you run, and make sure you’re generating a few sales from ‘free traffic sources, as this will assist you to improve your product/category pages (landing pages) for when you start paying for focused traffic.