These days, setting up an ecommerce site can be a simple process; but if you truly want to make a real living from it, you have to know what you’re doing.
The good news is there are more hungry digital consumers out there over day who are just waiting to get their hands on what you’re selling. In fact, 67% of Millennials and 56% of Gen Xers prefer to shop on online rather than in-store.
That’s a lot of people; a lot of people who love to buy stuff online. And as smartphone usage continues to climb, mobile shopping is becoming even more popular.
If you sell a non-tangible service or a digital product, you don’t have to deal with endless piles of goods and stock, and the challenges of managing inventory. If you sell physical products, however, handling them, shipping them and storing them can prove difficult.
So if you’re interesting in becoming an online seller, and want to offer a multitude of products to your customers, you might want to check out the latest technology to take advantage of: dropshipping.
What is dropshipping all about, then?
For starters, ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento make it easy for online sellers to build their brand (branding is key to success, so make sure you invest ample time and money in getting it right), track orders, publish content to update their customers, view dashboard data and of course, form the foundations of their online store.
Adding in dropshipping can allow you to seamlessly integrate your product offering into the mix, without having to buy, store or ship any inventory.
Of course, for online sellers offering incredibly niche handmade products, artwork or other one-of-a-kinds, dropshipping probably isn’t the answer. But, if you’re looking to sell a host of stock through your online store, the concept of dropshipping will make growing your business so much easier.
As you can see from the image above, ecommerce store owners can sell and dropship products to their customers without actually ever seeing or handling the products. After you sell a product, you simply buy it from a supplier and have it shipped directly to the customer.
If you sell retro trainers, for instance, and you don’t have a huge amount of space or capital, you won’t have to sit in your lounge up to your neck in size nines, worrying about shifting all of your stock. Instead, you can offer your trainer-mad online fanatics a focused inventory via your store and use a third-party to supply and ship your merchandise.
And, there are resources that can help you get things off the ground. Platforms like Oberlo act as a marketplace for ecommerce entrepreneurs to source and sell a huge variety of products for their dropshipping businesses with ease, with easy integration into your site. And it’s getting results – one newbie ecommerce entrepreneur made $1 million in eight months from dropshipping.
Oberlo’s co-founder Tomas Slimas told me the remarkable story about new dropshipping entrepreneur Irwin Dominguez. The San Diego resident started small, with a Shopify account and a few products dropshipped through Oberlo. Eight months later, according to Slimas, Dominguez had racked up his first million in sales. His only regret?
“If I started ecommerce all over again, I would do it sooner,” Dominguez (pictured below on a recent trip to Machu Picchu, Peru) reports. “There just wouldn’t be so much competition.”
Dominguez is not alone. For professional poker players Aloysius Chay & Galvin Bay, taking a gamble on dropshipping looked like an interesting bet. They started in 2016, methodically conducting product research before placing all their chips on a few key jewelry products.
With a tight focus on product and audience relevance, and a strategic social engagement strategy, they regularly log sales of $60K daily. Based on their success, they now offer their services to other ecommerce entrepreneurs looking for similar success.
Part of the appeal of dropshipping is in how tightly you can target your audience. This makes for fantastic engagement opportunities on social media, with micro-shopping opportunities like this one, also from an Oberlo dropshipper:
The next step to dropshipping success … leveraging customer referrals
Research shows us time and again that personal referrals have a huge impact on sales of any kind. In fact, consumers trust recommendations from their friends more than they trust any other type of advertising or marketing.
Adding some referral and review mojo to your dropshipping business can make a big impact on your bottom line. Let’s look at some key strategies:
1. Add a referral program like ReferralCandy to your ecommerce site. Most businesses do not have a dedicated referral program in place… even though research has shown that 83% of your customers are willing to refer your products if you give them a chance.
A built-in program can integrate seamlessly with your dropship site for maximum results and great customer experience:
2. Stay tuned in to your social referrals, and make sure you thank your fans publicly. Everybody likes a shout-out, and you get a win-win.
3. Make it easy for your customers to post positive reviews of their purchase and their experience of you. Pew Research shows that 77% of shoppers say it’s important to be able to read reviews of products from other customers before purchasing; and 82% percent of U.S. shoppers check reviews before they buy a product for the first time.
Share your reviews in promotional emails and via social media; this gives you even more leverage, and an opportunity to encourage referrals.
Dropshipping has dramatically changed the way online sellers can run their ventures, giving just about anyone the ability to create a tightly targeted niche shopping experience.
With the right branding, the right platform and the right tools for engagement, there’s no limit to where you can go with this.