10Jul

Dropshipping allows entrepreneurs to sell goods without having to carry inventory. The product manufacturer creates, packages, and ships the product out to your customer for you making this a low maintenance business model. In this article, you’ll learn why you should dropship, and 18 dropshipping tips to help you succeed.

Why You Should Dropship

Dropshipping is a great business model for new entrepreneurs. It’s low risk, low cost, easy to start up, and is highly automated.

  • Low risk business: You only pay for goods sold to customers. There’s no need to buy bulk inventory to get wholesale prices as dropshipping prices are already pretty low.
  • Low cost: Since most goods come from China, the cost of goods is generally rather low. Since product costs are low you can price your products at market value and run a profitable business.
  • Easy to start: You’ll be able to start selling the same day you sign up. Products can be imported quickly and since you don’t won’t carry inventory you can start promoting them right away.
  • Highly automated business: Products can be imported in one click. Orders can be processed in one click too. You can even use tools like Oberlo Supply to eliminate order processing time. This is great for those with full-time jobs, currently in school, or with busy schedules.

Dropshipping Tips for New Entrepreneurs

Dropshipping tips

1. Focus on Mastering Marketing – Dropshipping Tips

With so many aspects of a dropshipping business being automated, you’ll have  more time to focus on marketing. While tweaking a website, designing a logo, and creating graphics can be a lot of fun, marketing is the money maker. You’ll need to spend time learning how to master ads, grow your traffic, converting your store’s visitors.

Ads and search engine optimization can help drive more traffic to your store. Keep in mind that most ecommerce stores convert at a rate of 1-2%. That means if you have less than 100 visitors on your site you probably won’t be getting any sales. The more traffic you can get to your store the more likely you are to convert the sale. Most focus on ads as it’s instant gratification and can drive a lot of sales in a short time. However, SEO can help drive the long term sales by allowing you to rank high in search. Creating blog content and optimizing product pages can help you build an audience in search with minimal ad spend keeping your acquisition costs low.

Your website also needs to be optimized for conversions. Do you use scarcity and urgency to compel people to buy on your store? Have you added AliExpress customer reviews to your store to give it the social proof that it needs? Is your website presentable from a customer’s perspective? Are you missing images on your homepage? There are many actions you can take to ensure you’re optimizing your online store correctly.


2. Create an Amazing Offer – Dropshipping Tips

An important dropshipping tip is to create a compelling offer. Don’t be the store owner who fails to include sales or bundles. If none of your products are on sale people may lack the motivation to buy your product. However, if you present the right product with the right deal you’ll be more likely to convert them.

Bundle deals can also work really well. When creating a bundle deal, focus on selling more of the same product. For example, if you sell hair extensions your bundle would include more hair extensions. If people love the product, they’ll want more of it. The hard part is convincing your customer to pull out his or her credit card, but once it’s out – upsell, upsell, upsell.


3. Avoid Underpricing Your Products – Dropshipping Tips

Dropshipping products from AliExpress or Oberlo Supply allows you to keep your product costs low. The cost of goods are usually relatively close to wholesale price, allowing you to sell products at market value and make a profit. The goal of a dropshipping business is to be profitable. If you’re selling a five dollar product, you should be charging around $19.99 for it. You need to consider the cost of goods, marketing, business expenses, and eventually hiring a team.

If other brands are undercutting their prices, don’t undercut yours. As long as your prices are fair and within market value, you should maintain a profitable price point. You should also work to increase average order value so that you make a higher profit from every order. Create strategies that will allow you to make more money overall.


4. Remove Bad Suppliers Quickly – Dropshipping Tips

While most AliExpress suppliers are easy to work with, reliable, and offer good products, sometimes a bad apple or two slip through. With thousands of AliExpress suppliers, you can easily replace a bad supplier. Many suppliers sell similar products, allowing you to sometimes even sell the exact same product but from another manufacturer.

If you notice suppliers don’t use the shipping delivery method you’ve chosen or consistently ship faulty products, then you can easily remove their products from your store. Again, this isn’t very common. Suppliers know that by offering quality service you’ll continue bringing them more sales.


5. Automate More of Your Business – Dropshipping Tips

Dropshipping tips

Using dropshipping tools like Oberlo, many aspects of your business will be automated. However, if you have a full-time job or are looking to create a more passive income, figuring out how to automate more aspects of your business will allow you more freedom to pursue your passions.

Ecommerce automation tools can help you grow and scale your business quickly. Buffer allows you to automate social media posting. Kit automates marketing tasks like advertising, retargeting, emails, and more.


6. Ensure Your Website is Presentable – Dropshipping Tips

One of the most important dropshipping tips is to make sure your website is customer friendly. By that I mean your website shouldn’t scare off a customer. Many new store owners start marketing their stores when their home page is missing images, has placeholder text and all of their products are lumped together in one big category.

Before launching your store, take a look at other websites in your niche. What does their home page look like? What’s the format of the copy on their product page? Do their images include logos on them? What types of pages does their website have? Which features or apps does the store include on their website?

After taking notes about the look and layout of different stores in your niche, browse through the Shopify app store to find apps that allow you to model your store after other successful brands. You might include countdown timers, shoppable instagram galleries or affiliate programs. You can also add pages to your website such as refund policies, FAQs, shipping information, and more.

When it comes to banner images for your homepage, feel free to use relevant stock photos from Burst. You’ll be able to find images for a range of niches and they’re free to use and modify on your store.


7. General Vs. Niche Store – Dropshipping Tips

If the goal of creating a store is purely for experimentation and to find the right niche, create a general store. You’ll still need to create separate product categories for each product type to allow for easy browsing. While most successful stores start with a specific niche focus, the idea behind the general store would be that it’s your starter store.

If you’ve already done your research or have validated your business idea, you should work on building out a niche store. Your niche store allows you to have a focus making finding the right audience for your products easy. The running niche would be an example of a niche within the general fitness category. You don’t need to include your niche name in your domain if you plan to expand into other product categories as you grow. Brands like Amazon started as a niche store (online book store) and eventually expanded to become a store that sells everything.


8. Prepare to Pivot – Dropshipping Tips

While a dropshipping business is easy to startup and great for new entrepreneurs, it’s still a business. You’re going to experience challenges and obstacles that’ll require you to find a way to overcome adversity.

You’ll be required to pivot several times as you grow your store. Your supplier might remove all of their inventory, forcing you to find another way to get products to your customer. A new trend might pop up within your niche that you need to add to your store immediately to capitalize on sales. A product you really like might not be liked by your customers requiring its removal from your store. An ad might perform really well and require you to scale quickly resulting in you negotiating with your bank for a business loan.

A pivot isn’t good or bad, it’s a requirement if you want your business to last for years to come. You’ll need to have the intuition to know when to take action in your business to ensure its continued growth.


9. Offer Exceptional Customer Service – Dropshipping Tips

There are ways to stand out when selling the same products as everyone else. One of the best ways is to offer great customer service. Offering refunds and responding to customer inquiries is important but it doesn’t really separate you for many of the big brands out there.

Joke around with your customers. Write them thank you cards if they order from your store multiple times. Run monthly giveaways exclusive to customers who’ve ordered from you in the past. Do whatever it takes to make each customer feel valued and appreciated. If it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t become a success. Start these customer appreciation habits from your very first sale.

Customers might not always remember what they bought from your website but they’ll always remember how you treated them.


10. Choose Products Based on Figures – Dropshipping Tips

Dropshipping tips

With AliExpress dropshipping, it’s easy to find the best products. If products have received thousands of orders then they have the social proof to validate them as a product worth selling. Once you find the products with the highest volume, you want to take a look at the reviews. Are the product reviews high? Do the customer pictures look like the product picture? Are there a lot of positive product reviews? If so, you’ll want to add that product to your store as it’s likely to get positive feedback from you as well. You also want to look at the seller rating to ensure that overall feedback is positive.

Be picky about the products you add to your store. Don’t merely add products because they look nice and you’d like it for yourself. Look at the data – are these products getting sales and positive feedback. Doing so will give you a better chance of landing your first sale.

A great tool you should use as a dropshipper is the AliExpress Seller Check Chrome Extension. You’ll be able to see a detailed report on each seller’s rating on AliExpress such as how long they’ve been on AliExpress, how much you can trust them based on goods sold, how fast their shipping delivery is and more.


11. Always Choose ePacket – Dropshipping Tips

As a dropshipper, you’re free to sort products based on ePacket shipping. Since ePacket shipping is the fastest affordable shipping method, you’ll be able to ensure quick delivery to customers without breaking the bank. On average, ePacket shipping costs under $5 for most products. This allows you to still make a profit when selling goods at market value. From personal experience, I’ve seen ePacket deliveries reach customers within a week making it the best delivery method for dropshippers.


12. Be Active Daily – Dropshipping Tips

Running a business requires daily effort. You don’t need to spend eight hours a day working on your business but you’ll need to spend at least an hour a day on your store as you grow your sales. Each day, you’ll need to process orders so that products arrive to your customers promptly. You’ll also need to respond to customer inquiries within 24 hours (ideally less) so that customers can depend on you.

Marketing efforts will also need to take place each day. You can automate your social media posting at the beginning of the week. However, you should aim to be active on social media daily. You’ll also want to make sure that your ads are always running.


13. Import 25 Items to Start – Dropshipping Tips

When I built my first online store four years ago, I made the mistake of importing 600 products to my store in one day. I know it can be exciting to add a ton of great products to your store since it can be done in just one click.

Here’s the problem though: When you add too many products to your store, you need to rewrite product descriptions and maybe remove the logo from a few images. Writing copy for even 100 products can be time consuming and exhausting, especially if you’re a student or hold a 9 to 5 job. Stick to 25 at the start. You can write quality product descriptions for 25 items in only a few hours.

By starting with a smaller collection, you’ll be able to launch your business quickly so you can start making sales. Once a week you can add 10 to 20 new products so that you build out your store’s collection while already making a profit. You don’t need 100 products to get your first sale. All you need is one great product to land your first sale.


14. Monitor Your Competition – Dropshipping Tips

Another dropshipping tip is to like your competitors on social media. Monitor their websites and social media pages regularly. By liking their page, you’ll start receiving their product and retargeting ads. Which products do they advertise? Does that product get a lot of engagement such as comments or shares?

By monitoring and paying attention to your competition, you’ll know which products you should be selling on your store. When you pay attention to the types of posts your competitors add to their social media pages, you’ll know what type of content people within your niche really like — this helps make you a better marketer.


15. Change the Oberlo Custom Note – Dropshipping Tips

As a dropshipper, you should change your custom note to your supplier. Under Settings, click Suppliers, you’ll find Custom Note on the bottom. Here you can leave a message for all your suppliers. You’ll want something that’s relevant to all your suppliers.

On my store our message reads, ‘Ship with EPACKET only! We’re dropshipping. Please no invoices or promotions!’ Since we only import ePacket products, we remind suppliers to use ePacket shipping when shipping products to ensure customers receive their goods quickly. We also tell them that we’re dropshipping so that they don’t add their invoices or marketing materials in packages. We haven’t had an issue with suppliers adding their own invoices or promotions in a package because of this message.

16. Use Oberlo Supply – Dropshipping Tips

If you’re launching your first dropshipping store, you should consider using Oberlo Supply. Oberlo Supply allows you to dropship quality products from some of the best suppliers. You’ll be able to find products from the most popular niches. The best part about using Oberlo Supply is that you won’t need to process orders as products immediately get sent to suppliers making it great for those with busy schedules. You’ll have more time to focus on running marketing campaigns so that you can make more money.

It’s great for new entrepreneurs because it makes the business even easier to run. It’s also great for experienced entrepreneurs because it allows you to build a high volume store without having to process orders allowing you to save money and time.

Are you an experienced store owner? Which dropshipping tips would you share with new entrepreneurs to help them build their first store? If you’re a new store owner, let us know which of these dropshipping tips helped you the most.

Check out our 50 ecommerce tips for new entrepreneurs!

  • Sandra De León

    Real quality information to get started, thanks Nicole! My boyfriend and I just started our store. We’ve been trying to make our first sale for almost a month without any success. What we have found to be very hard is understanding how FB ads work. Now we’ve realized you need to sit down, relax and take the time to learn as much as you can before you run your first ad or instead you’ll spend a lot of money without any results. This 16 tips you shared is some of the stuff we’ve been learning on the past weeks, is good to know that we’re heading on the right direction now and hopefully we’ll get our first sale soon.

  • Ovegho Francis Okome

    Nicole is known to be shunning out high quality contents aim at jumpstarting newcomers like us in the world of ecommerce. This is very timely, indeed! Thanks for the good job @ Oberlo

  • Nicole

    Thanks Ovegho! How are things going with your store?

  • Nicole

    Feel free to email me any questions you have about Facebook ads at nicole.ferreira@oberlo.com. It can be tricky when starting out. Some products are better suited for Facebook Ads than others. If you’d like I can even give you a bit of feedback on your store, feel free to email me the link.

  • Perfect. Thanks.

  • Denz Balr

    THANKS FOR THE INFO NICOLE

  • Ricardo Salcedo R.

    Thanks all Nicole,

  • Ezekiel Hawk

    The problem with Aliexpress is shipping duration.
    I have talked to multiple sellers and they have confirmed that there is NO GUARANTEE when the product will be shipped even if you choose ePacket.
    After working in the customer service and complaints department for years in the past, I can tell you that shipping is the major turn off for the customers.
    Faster shipping = happy customers = more sales.
    I will stick to POD products at the moment.

  • Nicole

    Wishing you the best with your dropshipping business!

  • Nicole

    You’re welcome Denz Balr! Hope you’re crushing the dropshipping game!

  • Nicole

    You’re welcome Ricardo! Hope your dropshipping business is doing great!

  • Ricardo Salcedo R.

    I like all you write NICOLE..

  • It’s much appreciated. Thanks.

  • Nicole

    Thanks Ricardo! Hope everything is going great with your dropshipping business!

  • Jerry Otto Thompson

    Great I have create several stores and I actual sold a couple for some good money. I love this app I still have a couple for sale at dropshiprocket.com

  • Tarun Raj Singh

    @nicolemartinsferreira:disqus these are very helpful tips. I have just started my online store with shopify and started using oberlo app. Must say it is a great app. As I’m a complete beginner I’ve decided to start a general online store.
    I just want to know how can I make people notice my online store and start making sales?

  • Kevin Pepito

    Thanks Nicole for another great article!

  • Liz

    This is a really great article, thanks for the tips Nicole. I was particularly happy to read this “most ecommerce stores convert at a rate of 1-2%”. My store has been open for about 3 months and my conversion rate is currently 1.3%, I was wondering what the yard stick might be. I’ve just installed a great heat map conversion optimisation tool, excited to improve and turn more visitors into buyers.

  • Liz

    I totally agree with you. I wish Aliexpress sellers would process orders much faster. As soon as I receive an order, I shoot to the nearest computer to process it, but sellers can take days to get it out the door which makes me look bad. I haven’t had any complaints yet, but it still worries me.

  • Josh Orion

    I certainly needed to see some of this. The pricing in particular was extremely helpful. I’ve been trying to be fair, only to realize I could’ve stuck with a particular number overall margin-wise. That’s okay, traffic is only trickling as of now and 2 sales, so I’ve got plenty of time to optimize. I only wish I had noticed Oberlo Supply before I scoured AE… LOL. Gonna have a lot of manual stuff, but certain things weren’t offered in the supply 🙁

  • Josh Orion

    I don’t know what sellers you’re speaking with, but every single item I’ve purchased via e-packet got to me and customers within 7-10 days.

  • Josh Orion

    I wouldn’t worry. Most people order and forget they ordered until it’s at their door. Just be honest in your FAQ section. All you can do.

  • Rowel Tancio

    The hardest part I find is finding products that are not seasonal but are on trend.. any tips or guidelines the best way to do extensive niche research? I know there’s no bad niche it’s just that what are people buying.

    Cheers

  • Zeynaba Ali

    Hi Nicole
    Very educational article Thank you.

    Can you help me with a feedback on my store.much Appreciate http://www.accessorisandmore.com
    It has been a few months NO SALE.

  • Hamid

    In what Countries they delivered in 7-10

  • Nicole

    The United States usually has the fastest ePacket shipping – it depends on the products/seller but I’ve also seen items delivered within 7 days.

  • Nicole

    You nailed it Josh – transparency is key. Be open with your customers about shipping times. Aim to have products on your store with ePacket shipping so that you have an affordable (and sometimes free) and faster package delivery. If you use the Oberlo Chrome extension you’ll easily be able to find items with ePacket delivery.

  • Nicole

    Hey Tarun, so there are a lot of ways to make your first few sales. You’ll meet people who take different paths to get to the same goal. For my store Facebook Ads has worked great! It’s scalable, our products perform well with it and it’s profitable. Impulse buy products that people look at and immediately want to buy work really well on Facebook. Impulse buy products work really great for the dropshipping model. You also have search based products like tools or equipment, that people would Google to find the right product. You can do Google ads, however, I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of price competition in Google ads which can pose issues for a dropshipper. Search engine optimization can also work really well but for the short-term you likely won’t make many sales but long-term you can enjoy a stream of traffic. You can also promote your products in publications and blogs by contacting reporters/writers/journalists about your product. When they feature your product in their publication, you’ll have a link back to your website to direct readers to your products. There are a ton of different hacks you can try. Let me know how it works for you.

  • Nicole

    Thanks Kevin! You’re awesome. Hope you crush it with your dropshipping store! If you ever need anything, reach out anytime!

  • Hamid

    Nicole, I visited you website, liked facebook page and followed on twitter. Where should I contact if need guidance in future? Thanks

  • Nicole

    The link doesn’t work. Is it .com?

  • Nicole

    Hey Rowel, I added a couple new niches to this article: https://www.oberlo.com/blog/business-ideas-that-make-money/
    I’ve been doing some more niche research. Keep checking back to that article. I might add another five more next week of niches on an upward trend that aren’t necessarily seasonal. There are a few items on that list that are seasonal like pool inflatables, but there’s other great niches that are more evergreen. A great way to tap into an evergreen niche that also has trends is to do fashion so you can capitalize on popular trends but still have a reliable stream of revenue.

  • Nicole

    I love your attitude Liz! Experimentation, testing and observing play huge roles in helping you increase your conversion rate. If you’re looking to increase your conversion rate, you can try adding countdown timers, using scarcity tools such as ‘only 5 left.’ There are a few other tricks in 20 Tricks for Optimizing Your Online Store which you might find helpful for boosting from 1.3% to a higher number. https://www.oberlo.com/blog/optimizing-your-online-store/ You’re doing great so far! You should be really proud of your accomplishments! Now it’s about levelling up through optimization and scale.

  • Nicole

    Pricing is tricky. It takes some trial and error to figure out the best price for your products. You’ll know how to price your products over time. If you see you’re not making a profit, after all your business expenses, you’ll increase your prices. Doing a mix of Oberlo Supply and AliExpress is cool. Oberlo Supply definitely keeps your workload lighter since it’s so highly automated. But adding a few AliExpress products can help round out your product collection. Oberlo Supply is growing so be sure to keep checking back.

  • Nicole

    Haha, I’m pretty accessible. You can message me on Facebook, Twitter, or email. nicole.ferreira@oberlo.com

  • Nicole

    Hey Jerry! Thanks for the love – really happy you love the Oberlo app! Good luck with selling your other stores. You can also try https://exchange.shopify.com/ to sell your dropshipping stores.

  • Rowel Tancio

    Hey Nicole,

    Thank you for placing a response on my post, I will definitely check that out. 🙂

  • Ezekiel Hawk

    How many repeat buyers did you have?

  • Dali

    You guys always send out helpful, relevant, informative articles. Thank you!!!🙏

  • Nicole

    You’re welcome Dali! If you ever need articles on specific topics let us know!

  • Kofoworola Tijani

    Insightful one!! I do have some concerns as a prospective ecommerce entrepreneur from Nigeria. How do I sell to the Nigeria market with dropshipping having the products displayed in the Nigerian Naira currency because Nigerians are quite skeptical about ecommerce sites which are not popular and reputable but also have their products in currencies other than Naira given the restrictions on the use of local debit/credit cards for international online payments.

  • Jason Maxfield

    Hey Nicole, I have followed all of the steps. Yet, haven’t made a single sale. I have paid into ads a lot and just am lost and getting discouraged on what I am doing wrong? Would you please take a look at my site?

  • Nicole

    Sorry for the delay! Email me your store link at nicole.ferreira@oberlo.com

  • Cory Trevor

    Nicole, thanks for your great articles. Oberlo has been a big help in importing products to our store. If you have a moment I’d love some quick feedback / first impression thoughts on our store. We’re only beginners but I’ve been slowly tweaking and optimizing based on suggestions and have implemented quite a bit based on what I’ve read online. Still, it’s just not converting. We’ve been doing a mix of Facebook & Google Ads. Both get clicks but it just doesn’t convert. They don’t even add to cart. Since I’ve tried many things like free shipping, sales, urgency tools, etc, perhaps your skilled eyes may notice something that is throwing people off. Thank you. http://zoesdoghouse.com is the site but for our ads we are linking directly to individual product pages.

  • parveen bishnoi

    Hello Nicole, it was a Great Topic to Discuss and Thanks for the beautiful Insight Knowledge on the Topic.
    I have just finished importing Products to my Shopify store using Oberlo. But a problem in setting up Shipping Address. I am in India and while using Indian address it shows that “This address will be used to calculate shipping rates.” Now as I am Dropshipping a product from China to USA where on AliExpress website it shows Free EPacket to USA .
    Say for example a product cost $20 on my store and $10 on AliExpress and When shipping to USA using Epacket I should be making a profit of 10$ as per the website but as per Shopify My Store address which is in India will be used to calculate shipping cost (which I don’t know as It varies country to country and is very very very High) and not China to USA. Thus I will be making a zero or maybe paying from my pocket to ship. Kindly help me in this regard. What will be charged and how for shipping a product

  • M Smith

    I have not had a single sale. I linked my shopify to my amazon pro fba, but I don’t see my products listed there. Do I have to list them even though they are not in stock at amazon?