So you decided it’s time to start your own webstore but you’re not yet prepared to invest in merchandise stocks.
You read about dropshipping and found this to be the easiest way to get started.
How hard can it be to build a Shopify site, add a dropshipping app like Oberlo and start getting sales?
Many people decide to venture into this, thinking it’s a piece of cake. The reality is that this is not impossible but not really a walk in the park either. You need to be prepared to do some research, put in a lot of work, and learn some important things to be successful.
STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR NICHE – BE SPECIFIC
The absolute first step to get started is to do your research on what you want to sell. Try to pick a vertical you are somehow familiar with, have some knowledge about, or are passionate about.
Do not randomly add all the products you can find on AliExpressto your store, hoping the more products – the better!
In fact, in order to be successful with dropshipping, you need to select a niche, the more specialized, the better. Example: don’t just decide to sell kids’ clothes! Select a specific age range: baby, toddler, little kid, or teenager. Even better, select a gender to focus on or a certain type of clothing – casual, sleepwear, loungewear, special occasion. When you choose to specialize your site into one particular niche:
1. The traffic you will be targeting will be narrowed down so your ads will have better audiences
2. The people coming to your store, will know exactly what your site is about, what they can shop for and will be coming back to your store whenever they need your specialized products. (Example: I have a baby girl and I want to get her some cute pajamas, I will go to dreamland-baby.com)
STEP 2: RESEARCH POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS AND FIND PRODUCTS
Look for products with good reviews, suppliers that have been in business for some time and show credibility. It would be even better to place a test order for 1-2 products and see the quality of the items you list.
You might get a client to order a product from your site, but if the quality is not good, they will certainly not come back, they will return the item and even leave a negative review.
Make your selection carefully and wisely. Don’t add too many products from different suppliers. You will find it will be easier to find a few serious suppliers to count on for shipping orders on time.
STEP 3: BUILD YOUR WEBSITE
–> Select a good, functional theme
Now that you have a wisely selected range of products, you can get to work on building your store.
Select a nice, functional theme to get started. The free Shopify themes are OK but very limited in functionality so additional apps will be required.
A very good theme for dropshipping in a lot of verticals is Shella (affiliate link).
It is fast, easy to customize, it is well-documented, has a lot of functionalities, and has good reviews.
–> Build your brand design – visual and content
Create a vision for your store – start with design – a logo, your colors, fonts, banners.
Work on content and think about:
– your company values,
– a unique selling proposition – what sets you apart from your competition, why would customers buy from you,
– “about us” – talk about your story, why you decided to start the store.
You can get inspired by other websites selling similar items. Look at their homepage, main menu, footer menu, collection pages, products.
–> Work on product data
Make sure when you import products to your store through an app, you edit the product data before pushing the site live:
- Edit images – make sure the main images do not have any text on them and that they are not showing multiple products. This is very common on AliExpress and people will wonder if they are buying directly from China. See below example:
- Edit titles and make sure they are consistent all through the store. Examples:-> Long Sleeve Girls Dress Floral Dresses For Kids Children Princess Dress Baby Birthday Dress 1-8years Autumn Winter Clothing → Rename: Girls Long Sleeve Floral Casual Dress -> summer baby girls dress cartoon straight black white dress for teenager girls kids short sleeves dress 3-12T → Rename: Girls Short Sleeve Cute Print Casual T-shirt Dress
Create a title building formula and stick to it: Example for clothing: Brand + Age Group / Gender + Product Title + Product Type
- Make sure the descriptions are triggering keywords and are comprised of sentences describing the product. Example of a description on Aliexpress:
Rename this to “This adorable dress is perfect for your girl to wear this summer. Featuring a cute print on the front, short sleeves, and T-shirt-like cotton material. She will feel like a real fashionista with everyday casual occasions.“
- Check the sizing – make sure these are compatible with the sizing of the country you’re targeting. Clothing sizes for kids in Europe are usually based on height and are in cm. However, in the US, they are based on inches and have certain values. Example: sizes 2-4 years are usually 2-4T (for toddlers). If a client sees 3-12T they will know there is no such size as 12T except on AliExpress.
Make sure you invest time as titles, descriptions, and images matter for SEO and conversion purposes. Spending a bit more time now on optimizing these for keywords you want to target, will pay off in the medium-to-long term. Don’t exaggerate with keywords as this is called keyword spamming and it can backfire.
–> Add CREDIBILITY to your website
Because you are launching a new store and customers are usually skeptical about placing orders, look at ways to increase trust and credibility by:
– Displaying an email address that is formatted as [email protected]
– Have a phone number customers can reach you at
– Have a physical address displayed to show where you are based
– Have a clear shipping policy that mentions where you offer free shipping (target country), what shipping methods you have available, how long it takes to ship an item, and how long each shipping method takes to reach the customer. Saying “shipping will be calculated at checkout” is going to discourage customers to place an order. Be sure to specify that for international orders there may be additional taxes to be paid and who will pay for them.
– Have a clear return policy – mention where the item needs to be shipped to, who is responsible for return shipping, how long clients have to send an item back and what is the procedure to initiate a return. Vague return policies saying that they need to email a random Gmail address to return an item, without mentioning where they need to send the item will throw people off.
The idea is – be clear, transparent if you want to have clients that come back to your store, recommend you to other people, or place good reviews about your site online.
These are just some of the tips to consider when starting a dropshipping store. Know there is work involved and once the website is set up, you will need to invest time to grow the business organically: blog posts triggering keywords that bring value to your customers, social media posting, and engagement – building a community around your brand. And invest money in email marketing automation as well as paid traffic through ads on Google and Social media.
Are you willing to work hard to achieve success?
Too busy to invest time to do all the above? We can assist you and help every step of the way! Feel free to reach out to us and a designated team of experts will be making sure your site is user friendly and optimized to convert website visitors into buyers.