An ecommerce retailer who wants to get started quickly, and with very small financial investments, should dive head-first into drop-shipping. Drop-shipping, unlike the traditional forms of retail, doesn’t require you to hold any inventory. You are the ecommerce retailer that uses another company to supply the merchandise or product. When someone makes an order, you pass that order to the manufacturer or wholesaler, and they make sure that the product is delivered to the customer. You don’t have to pay the manufacturer until someone makes an order, so you don’t have to worry about upfront investments. That’s the beauty of the business.
That being said, just like any other venture, it will not be smooth sailing if you have no idea what you’re doing. Drop-shipping requires certain knowledge of the do’s and dont’s; otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a spectacular failure– and that’s obviously not what you want.
Let’s discuss a few things you should know before you even open your first store.
You have to know your market
When choosing a niche, you should choose something that you know. You’ll have a much easier time growing something that you know thoroughly. With drop-shipping, you still have many responsibilities. Some of which include:
- Writing Product Descriptions
- Crafting good sales messages
- Market Research
- Customer service
- Create packaged deals and build pricing strategies
These are just a few things of things that you’ll have on your plate with drop-shipping. Many of these responsibilities will be much more difficult to carry out when you are not interested in your market. Do you need to know the market inside and out? Not necessarily, but you need to know enough to feel comfortable. You should also have some the market to some extent. If you don’t enjoy anything about your niche, then all of these tasks will be a burden, more than anything else.
Specializing in a niche that, to some degree, you know and enjoy will help you tremendously in your efforts. Whether it’s a writing an effective product description, crafting marketing materials or connecting with your customers.
Don’t try to solely compete on price
This is one of the most common mistakes that retailers fall victim to, and is something that you should avoid from the very start. Price is a battle that you aren’t likely to win; and even if you do have the lowest price in your market, you are still losing out. People see huge retailers like Walmart or Target offering insanely low prices and think that they can do the same. What isn’t realized is that giants like Walmart are purchasing their merchandise on incredible wholesale prices. They buy their products in large volumes, which helps them score great wholesale prices. Just starting out, you won’t have that luxury, so there’s no point in even trying to have the lowest price possible.
Do people want to pay sky-high prices? Of course not. This means that you’ll have to find the sweet spot in your market. This requires extensive testing to see what works best for you. What you’ll most likely find is that people will pay price if you provide enough value. If you can justify your prices, you will find customers willing to pay it.
Provide awesome customer service
One of the perks of drop-shipping is your availability. Instead of devoting your time manufacturing or storing your product, you can focus on other areas. And one of those areas should be customer service. One way to encourage customer loyalty and good word-of-mouth is to deliver spectacular customer service, and to go above and beyond what’s expected of your company. There are several reasons you want to do this:
- Consumers can still be skeptical of online retailers. Especially ones that they’ve never used or really heard of before. They have their guard up, and you need to disarm that.
- You want to give them a reason to purchase from you again. Good customer service can leave a strong lasting impression.
- You want positive feedback, reviews and testimonials.
- Your superb customer service will differentiate you from your competitors. Great customer service can also justify higher prices.
Since you will be depending on your suppliers for the delivery your product, some things can go wrong. You will need to handle any problems quickly and smoothly if they do arise. You should guide your customers through every step of the process with order receipts, order tracking, shipping dates, etc.
Hopefully, these tips will help you get started on your journey to becoming a successful retailer.