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A Step By Step Guide To Dropshipping Business

The different approaches in dropshipping business
We all know that starting a business offline is not an easy thing. It is usually a costly and complicated affair. You have to raise sufficient funds all by yourself (or get investors), rent out a brick and mortar storefront, and get people in the door.

Today and in the years to come running a traditional startup will continue to take lots of money, time, and energy. If you have dreams of starting a business, it’s easy to quickly become discouraged as a result of the financial involvement. The upfront cost, time to launch, and legion of details make it seem as if your business will never become established, let alone successful.

Have you felt this way before? Have you gotten your hopes up only to have them crushed? There is a growing trend among entrepreneurs to dispense with the traditional forms of launching a business. It’s called dropshipping, and it has made me rethink what I once thought was impossible.

Dropshipping places all the power into the hands of the entrepreneur. It provides a rapid and accessible way for any entrepreneur to generate an income and fulfill their dreams of establishing a wildly successful business. If you feel like running your own business is out of the question, this guide is for you. I know what it’s like to be in your shoes, doubtful that you’ll ever make it, but I’m here to tell you that starting your own dropshipping business is completely realistic.

In my opinion, dropshipping is one of the best ways to start a business today. It’s incredibly easy to start, and you can begin with just a computer and a little bit of money. Dropshipping is also an extremely flexible career path, so you can do it as a side hustle or grow it into a full-time job. It’s completely possible to make a living from dropshipping alone, and there are countless entrepreneurs who have proven that.

And while dropshipping won’t make you a millionaire overnight, it can provide a stream of revenue that you can grow. With the right strategies, you might even be able to say goodbye to your day job and make dropshipping your main hustle.

College students, office workers, stay-at-home parents, and even retirees can all take advantage of dropshipping. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you live, or what experience you have. However, there’s a lot about dropshipping that is still shrouded in mystery. The good information is scattered all around the Internet, and it’s hard to tell what works and what doesn’t. If that’s not problematic enough, a good chunk of that information is outdated.

And sometimes, you might doubt the information you read. You don’t want half-baked theories – you want actionable advice from dropshipping veterans who know their stuff. That kind of advice isn’t always easy to get. That’s why I’ve written this article specifically for people like you. People who
want to seriously pursue dropshipping but don’t know what's all about and don't know where to start.

The goal is to make this a different kind of guide that will set you on a right track. I don’t approach dropshipping as a get-rich-quick scheme. Instead, I look at dropshipping as a way to strike out on your own while providing value to a particular niche. I’ve taken everything you need to know about dropshipping and packed it all into this article, so you are among the lucky ones reading this now.

This isn’t just a beginner’s guide, either. I’ll take you past the basics and address what you need to do after you get the ball rolling. So, let's get in right away.

From choosing a niche to creating a digital marketing strategy, I’ve covered it all. You’ll find information on how to incorporate your company, set up a website, and research your competitors. Finally, I’ll also address some of the problems that you may face, such as how to identify fake suppliers (scammers), where to get a high quality products, etc.

If you’ve ever wanted to know all the ins and outs of setting up a dropshipping business, this information on this page is for you. I’ll break everything down step by step and show you exactly what to do.

This guide assumes you have no previous knowledge of dropshipping and so it's written in a way as to help you get a dropshipping business up and running. It’s structured to be a chronological, step-by-step guide that will show you what you need to do to start your dropshipping business.

I’ll start by introducing you to the fundamental concepts of dropshipping. I’ll then build on that foundation and talk about more advanced concepts. For that reason, I recommend reading from the beginning to the end instead of skipping around. If you skip or scan through the page, you might miss some vital information.

Even if you think you already know everything on a certain topic, I encourage you to read through every section. There’s a ton of information packed into this guide, and it requires careful reading (and rereading) to get the most out of it. For best results, I recommend reading through the entire guide once and then going through it again as you carry out each step. That way, you’ll already have the knowledge to get started, and you can use this guide as a reference when you’re actually doing everything.

You may find yourself going back to earlier sections to remember some vital ideas and terms. That’s perfectly okay! In fact, I recommend that. The better you understand each concept, the better equipped you’ll be to start your own dropshipping business.

So, What is Dropshipping?

Before we get any further, it’s important that you have an answer to the first question that hits the mind - what is dropshipping? Dropshipping is a type of retail fulfillment method. Instead of a store stocking products, it purchases the products from a third party supplier. The products are then shipped directly to the consumer.

For the store, this is a mostly hands-off process. The merchant doesn’t have to order inventory or fulfill the orders in any way. Instead, the third party supplier takes care of the product itself.

Dropshipping is great for entrepreneurs because it doesn’t demand as much as the traditional retail model. You don’t have to open a brick-and-mortar store, pay overhead, and stock products. Instead, you open an online storefront and buy wholesale from suppliers who already have products and warehouse space.

The merchant is mainly responsible for gaining customers and processing orders in dropshipping, meaning you’ll effectively be a middleman. Despite this, you’ll reap the lion’s share of the profit by marking up the items you sell. It’s a simple business model and one that can be very rewarding. Millions of entrepreneurs flock to dropshipping because it requires less hassle and less money to get started. That’s probably why you’re interested! And the best news of all? With dropshipping, you can build a business that’s sustainable in the long term right from your laptop.

Of course, there are many drawbacks and advantages, and it’s important that we look at them before you start your own dropshipping ecommerce business. Once you understand the pros and cons of dropshipping, learning how to dropship effectively will be a breeze.

Benefits of Dropshipping

Easy Start Up and Grow

You don’t need to be a business guru to get started. In fact, you don’t even need any prior business experience! If you take some time to learn the basics, you can get started quickly and learn the rest as you go along.

Dropshipping is so easy because it requires very little from you. You don’t need a warehouse to store products or a team to help you out. You don’t have to worry about stocking or shipping either. You don’t even have to spend a certain amount of time every day on your store. It’s surprisingly hands-off, especially once you get going.

All of this means that you can start your business today. You don’t need to spend months getting everything ready. You can start getting everything up and running within a matter of hours if you have a little capital to put your website together. You will need some fundamental knowledge and the right tools and resources, and that’s why this article is written to help you out. By the time you’ve finished reading it, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge you need to jumpstart your own dropshipping business.

Dropshipping is easy to grow. As you scale up, your business model doesn’t have to change very much at all. You’ll have to put more work into sales and marketing as you grow, but your day-to-day will stay more or less the same. One of the benefits of dropshipping is that the costs don’t skyrocket when you scale. Because of this, it’s easy to keep growing at a pretty fast rate. You don’t have to hire a huge team either. Unless you want to assemble a small team at some point, you can do almost everything all by yourself.

Small Capital Requirement

Dropshipping doesn’t demand a lot of capital. Because starting a dropshipping business requires so little, you can get started with minimal funds. You can build an entire business right from your laptop, and you don’t need to make any high-level investments. Even as your business grows, your costs will be fairly low - especially when compared to traditional business expenses.

Flexibility 

Dropshipping is flexible. This is one of its biggest benefits. You get to be your own boss and set your own rules. It’s by far one of the most flexible careers that anyone can pursue. You can work from home with little more than a laptop, and you can work at the times that are most convenient for you. This is ideal for entrepreneurs who want a business that works for them. You won’t have to bend over backwards to get things done. Instead, you set your own pace.

Dropshipping is also flexible in that it gives you a lot of room to make decisions that work for you. You can easily list new products whenever you want, and you can adjust your strategies on the fly. If you’re going on vacation, you can automate everything to run while you’re away. You get the idea – the possibilities are limitless.

Easy Management

Dropshipping is easy to manage. Since it doesn’t require you to make many commitments, you can manage everything with little hassle. Like I said, you can do everything all by yourself if you want to. Once you’ve found suppliers and gotten everything set up, you’re mostly responsible just for your online storefront.

Disadvantages of Dropshipping

Slim Margins

Dropshipping has slim margins. One of the disadvantages of dropshipping is that you should expect low margins initially. That’s not to say it can’t be profitable, but you should be aware that the product margin in some niches might be small. This issue is especially problematic when you’re dropshipping in a supercompetitive niche.

When you’re fighting for customers’ attention, you can’t afford to
make the kind of profits you want to. If you choose the right niche, you’ll see larger margins. In niches with lower competitions, you’ll have better margins, but usually it will only get so good. That’s why dropshipping relies on a fair amount of sales to be profitable.

Order Processing

Dropshipping can make order processing difficult. Dropshipping seems straightforward: the customer orders, you process, and your supplier fulfills. And for the most part, it is simple. However, if you’re sourcing products from multiple suppliers, you might run into some problems. Each of your suppliers might use a different shipping solution, which presents a problem for both you and your customers. Shipping costs can get high, and shipping multiple products can be problematic.

Different suppliers will also have different structures in place for processing and billing. Since you have to manage the interaction with your suppliers, this can get tricky.

Control

Dropshipping doesn’t give you a lot of control. When it comes to stocking products, order fulfillment, and shipping, things are out of your hands entirely. One of the disadvantages of dropshipping is that you don’t have much control over certain aspects of the dropshipping process. You have to rely on your suppliers to do everything right and work seamlessly. This lack of control can be off-putting to
some entrepreneurs, but it usually not suppose to be a problem.

This just means that when something goes wrong, it can be tricky to manage. When everything goes well, it’s awesome. But when supplier problems happen, you just have to wait for them to be resolved. This can sometimes cause customer retention issues, but with the right damage control, you can mitigate the problems and keep customer churn to an absolute minimum.

Challenging Customer Service

Dropshipping makes customer service more challenging. This is another problem that happens when orders go wrong or suppliers fail. Because you’re just the storefront, it can be difficult to sort out orders. Like I mentioned before, you don’t have a lot of control, and that can present difficulties when it comes to the customer support side of things.

One of the most unfortunate disadvantages of dropshipping is that you have to take the blame when your customers complain. You could be doing everything right and still run into problems if
your suppliers are having issues.

How Do You Know If Dropshipping for You?

As mentioned before, there are both pros and cons of dropshipping, meaning it isn’t for everyone. This is especially the case for people who are looking for a get-rich-quick scheme. Dropshipping won’t do that for you, and if you’re approaching it that way, it’s probably not the best choice for you. That said, nearly anyone can build a dropshipping business.

The good news is that you can put as much or as little into dropshipping as you want to. Here are two common approaches.

1. Dropshipping as a side hustle

What is dropshipping’s main appeal? Because it’s flexible and it doesn’t demand much, it’s the ideal side job. Many entrepreneurs choose to do dropshipping on the side while they have a main job that provides steady income. You don’t have to sacrifice your day job to pursue your dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. The number one worry here is that your employer will prevent you from having
a side hustle, but believe it or not, many companies are fine with it. You also definitely want to ensure there’s no conflict of interest. But if everything checks out, then you’re good to go.

You don’t need to dedicate too much time and energy to dropshipping, meaning you’ll likely be able to take it on without a hitch. You can spend only a couple hours on your business every day and still succeed. However, it’s important to know your limits. If you regularly work overtime at your day job and struggle to find time for important daily responsibilities, you might not be able to give a dropshipping business the attention it needs.

Dropshipping doesn’t require a lot, but you do need to put serious work into it and carve out time
in your day for it. In most cases, it just takes a little bit of time management and scheduling. Plenty
of dropshipping retailers manage their main and side jobs easily. You don’t need to sleep 3 hours a night or skip meals to make it work. You’ll need to figure out a schedule that works for you and stick to it religiously.

2. Dropshipping as a full-time ecommerce business

One of the benefits of dropshipping is the flexibility. You can make your business as big or as small as you want it to be. Many dropshippers choose to do it on the side, but it’s also a viable career path. If you want to be a full-time dropshipping retailer, you can be!

It’s easy to scale up your business with dropshipping, meaning you can grow your business pretty quickly while keeping costs down. Once you’ve reached customers and gotten enough sales, you can move from dropshipping part-time to full-time. Best of all, you can make this happen at whatever pace you want to.

Obviously, this is going to take more work, but the payoff is well worth it. Once you figure out how to dropship effectively, you won’t have to worry about unsteady revenue. A well-established dropshipping ecommerce business operates like clockwork, and it can even feel like you’re generating passive income.

And since it doesn’t take up a lot of time, you could even take on a side hustle while still being a full-time dropshipping retailer! The sky’s the limit. Maybe you’re rolling your eyes right now at the thought of becoming a full-time dropshipper, but there are thousands of success stories from entrepreneurs who started out right where you are today. It doesn’t take a degree in business or
millions in capital to make a living from it.

The dropshipping process

I briefly went over what dropshipping is, but you might not know exactly how it works. So here’s a step-by-step overview of the entire dropshipping process. I’ll go over what it looks like behind the scenes, and I’ll also look at what the customer experiences (and why it matters).

Understanding the supply chain

In this guide, you’ll see the term ‘supply chain’ a lot. It sounds like fancy industry lingo, but it simply refers to how a product moves from supplier to customer. We’ll use this to discuss the dropshipping process.
Dropshipping business model


You, the retailer, are just one piece of the puzzle. A successful dropshipping operation relies on multiple parties all working together in sync.

The Supply Chain

The supply chain in dropshipping business

The supply chain is exactly that: the coordination of the manufacturer, supplier, and retailer.

The supply chain can be broken down into 3 basic steps:

  1. The manufacturer creates the products and sells them in bulk to suppliers and wholesalers. Let’s say Manufacturer A makes water bottles. After the bottles roll off the production line, they’re sold in bulk to suppliers and wholesalers, who turn around and resell the bottles to retailers.
  2. Suppliers and wholesalers sell the products to retailers. A retailer like yourself searches out a supplier for a specific type of product. The retailer and supplier then enter into an agreement to work together. A small note here: while you can buy directly from product manufacturers, it’s often much easier to purchase from suppliers instead. Most manufacturers have minimum purchase requirements that can be rather high, and you’d also have to store, stock, and ship the products. So it might seem simpler to buy straight from the manufacturer, but you’ll benefit most from buying from suppliers (and dealing with the slight markup). Suppliers are also convenient because many of them specialize in a certain niche, so you can easily find the kind of products you need. This also means you can get started selling super quickly.
  3. Retailers sell the products to consumers. Suppliers and wholesalers do not sell directly to the public; that’s the retailer’s job. The retailer is the final step between the product and the consumer. Retailers provide online storefronts from which consumers purchase products. After the product has already gotten marked up by the wholesaler, the retailer marks it up yet again to arrive at the final price. By ‘mark-up’, we’re referring to setting a price that covers the cost price of the item and brings you a profit. That’s it! That’s the entire supply chain from start to finish. It’s a straightforward but crucial concept in business.


You might have noticed that I didn’t refer to any specific party as a dropshipper. That’s because ‘dropshipper’ is not a specific role. Dropshipping is simply the action of shipping products for someone else. Manufacturers, suppliers, and merchants can all technically be dropshippers.

In this guide, I’m going to cover how to start a dropshipping retail business. In other words, I’ll show you how to become the merchant that purchases products from wholesalers to sell to the public. This could mean you sell via online shopping portals like Shopify, Amazon, Jumia, Konga, eBay or your own website with an online storefront.

Now that you know what the supply chain looks like, let's consider what it is like for the customer.

What the customer experiences

You’ve bought products online hundreds of times before, but you’ve probably never thought about the experience. It’s second nature for consumers. As a customer, you don’t need to think about it, but as a retailer, you absolutely should.

Retailers can learn a lot by thinking about the ideal customer experience of ordering from a retailer. This may seem obvious, but if there are any snags in the customer experience, it could spell trouble for you as a retailer. It’s important to know what your buyers expect. For the sake of explanation, let’s pretend you have a business called Focus Shoes, a site called focusshoes.com, and a wholesaler called Focus Designer Shoes Supplier. Here’s what the ordering process would look like from the customer’s perspective:


  1. Customer A places an order for a pair of shoes on focusshoes.com and immediately receives an email confirmation of the purchase.
  2. After a few hours to a couple of days, Customer A receives a notification that their order has shipped. The notification includes tracking information so customer A knows exactly where their package is while en route.
  3. Customer A receives the pair of shoes. 


It’s the same process you’ve gone through each time you’ve purchased anything online. This seems basic, but there are two important aspects of this experience.

First, it’s simple. All the customer has to do is order the product and pay for it. Everything else, like an order confirmation email and tracking information, is handed to them on a silver platter. And that brings me to my second point: convenience. The buying experience is extremely convenient in every step of the way. An online purchase takes just minutes to make, and customers can browse any retailer’s site at their leisure. And if all goes well, the customer won’t even have to interact with anyone. It takes the minimum amount of effort to achieve the desired result of getting a product.

This experience is a lot like buying a pair of shoes at a brick and mortar store and using the self-checkout. It’s a no-fuss process that doesn’t present any problems. This is a big reason why people buy online in the first place, so your storefront has to give your customers that same level of convenience.

Last but not least, the customer should never notice that any other parties besides the retailer are involved. Think about it. When you buy something online, you think, “I bought a pair of shoes from Focus Shoes.” You don’t consider where the retailer got the product or who might be shipping your order.

To make the process seamless, the customer shouldn’t be aware of all the stops their product makes. The package they receive will have your retail name on it, so as far as the customer is concerned, you fulfilled and shipped the order. This is how the dropshipping process should ideally look from the customer’s point of view. Now let’s break down what happens on the other end.

What happens behind the scenes

That’s what the customer sees, but what is dropshipping like behind the scenes? Here’s an overview of the process:

  1. Customer A places an order for a pair of shoes on focusshoes.com and receives an email confirmation of the process. Let’s say the total came to $140.95. Focus Shoes as the company also receives the same email confirmation as well as Customer A’s payment. This is usually made possible by automated software that sends out the confirmation to both buyer and seller.
  2. Focus Shoes sends the order to Focus Designer Shoes Supplier. Typically, a sales representative from Focus Designer Shoes Supplier will receive and process the order. The retailer will then be charged for the purchase. For this example, let’s say Focus Designer Shoes Supplier charges $100.95 for each pair of shoes. The retailer will pay that amount, and the difference is the profit the retailer will make. In my example, the retailer will net a profit of $40.00. 
  3. Water Bottles Worldwide packs up the order. Although the wholesaler ships the product, the package will be addressed from Fancy Water Bottles, and the Fancy Water Bottles name will appear on the invoice and packing slip. (This is so the customer will recognize the retailer’s name on the package.) The wholesaler then sends an invoice and tracking information to the retailer. 
  4. The retailer sends along the shipping information to the customer. This finalizes the retailer’s role in the order process. 
  5. The customer receives the package and enjoys the water bottle. That’s the supply chain in action. You can see how the retailer, wholesaler, and manufacturer all have to work together flawlessly. When done right, it’s a smooth process that results in minimal work for everyone involved. One point I want to stress is that you, the retailer, are responsible only for two steps: sending orders to the supplier and shipment information to the consumer. Sometimes, you’ll have to be responsible for other things like customer support, but if everything goes smoothly, those two steps are all you have to do.

Getting started with dropshipping

All of this sounds like a complicated puzzle, but once you learn how to dropship, it’s a smooth process for everyone involved. You, the dropshipping merchant, can do everything remotely and
never even touch a single product! Let me reiterate that you don’t need any business experience to open a dropshipping storefront. It certainly helps, but it’s not necessary. Many budding entrepreneurs don’t ever chase their dreams because they believe they need an MBA or years’ worth of experience.

This is totally not the case. One of the benefits of dropshipping is that you can learn how to dropship as you go along. Better yet, there are numerous resources that make dropshipping easier than ever before. You can have absolutely zero business experience and still easily make a profit. You’ll need to learn the ropes along the way, and it will be challenging at times, but I believe it’s more than worth it.

Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need a lot of resources to start dropshipping. Now that you understand what dropshipping is, read on to find out what you need to get started!

What You Need To Start Your Dropshipping Business

If you’ve gotten this far, you probably want to get started with setting up your own dropshipping business. You’ve seen how easy it can be, and you’re ready for the road ahead. So in this section, I’ll tell you what you need to start dropshipping. Since a dropshipping retail business takes place completely online, you won’t have to spend a whole lot, but you will need to plan well and think ahead.

There are some misconceptions about what one needs to start a successful dropshipping business. Many people will tell you to just find a wholesaler, get a site up, and start selling. But that’s a recipe for disaster. Businesses who take this approach often crash and burn in no time at all. Simply put, there are right and wrong ways to approach your dropshipping business. If you’re trying to make money fast, your business will suffer. That’s why I advocate a different perspective: and my perspective is that you should meet the needs of customers in a specific niche.

Naturally, you’ll need certain tools and resources to get started, but you’ll also need to learn new concepts and develop the right mindset. You’ll need to put tons of thought into how you want to set up your business and what goals you want to achieve. With that in mind, let’s go over the must-haves for a successful dropshipping business. I’ll delve into details these as we progress, but right now let’s take a look at the big picture.

What You Need To Start Your Dropshipping Business

Value
Before you go looking for suppliers (and before you even choose a niche), you need to focus on value. This is something I’m going to bring up regularly throughout this guide because it’s such a crucial principle.

Frankly, many dropshipping businesses don’t care about value. Dropshipping has gained a somewhat bad reputation because many dropshipping retailers are just trying to outsell their competitors by offering cheaply made products. To make matters worse, dropshippers will sometimes resort to shady tactics to sell and one up the competition. All of this has led people to believe that it’s a scammy practice, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

A dropshipping business is just like any other business, so it makes sense that you should approach dropshipping the way you’d approach another kind of business. Sadly, many dropshippers overlook this. They don’t take the time to build a sturdy foundation. Thinking about value will help you start up a successful dropshipping business. It’ll help you stand out from your competitors, and more importantly, you’ll be focusing on the single most important aspect of any business, dropshipping or otherwise.

The best way to focus on value is to build it into your dropshipping business from the start. Everything you do should add value to your audience in some way. If value is your number one priority, you’ll be much more likely to get consumers’ attention, and your business will last much longer than other dropshippers who just want to make a quick buck.

Wondering how you can make value your priority? Well, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself before doing anything else:

Who are you trying to help?


  • What type of people do you want to reach, and what do they want? 
  • What niche(s) could you add value to? 
  • What kinds of products do customers in my niche want?

How can I put my customers first?

In short, the best way to provide value is to listen to your potential customers, find out what they want, and then give it to them. Your job is to give customers the best possible experience. Keeping value a priority has tangible benefits for your dropshipping business. Having this attitude will help you:

  • Acquire and retain customers
  • Grow a loyal customer base
  • Stand out from your competitors
  • Make your business unique and trustworthy

Throughout this guide, you’ll notice a consistent theme of adding value. It’s important that you don’t lose sight of this goal as you go on. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of starting a business, but you have to remember to always keep value first.

The right niche
Have you ever wondered why so many dropshipping businesses are unsuccessful? Sometimes it can seem like retailers are dropping like flies, and it can be discouraging at first. But there are common mistakes that tons of dropshippers make.

One of those mistakes is choosing the wrong dropshipping niche. That’s right – one of the most common reason dropshipping retailers fail is because they chose the wrong niche. To understand why this happens, let’s consider some common dropshipping niches:

  • Phone accessories (especially cases)
  • Clothing
  • Beauty/cosmetics products
  • Books
  • Entertainment (e.g., movies, music, etc.)


You’ve probably seen a thousand different dropshipping businesses that offer at least one of these types of items. The problem? These niches are all extremely high competition. Think about dropshipping retailers that sell phone cases. If you want to buy phone cases online, you can choose from thousands and thousands of businesses. From Etsy to eBay and everywhere in between, there are too many phone case stores to count.

If you want to sell phone cases, you’ll have to go up against dropshipping stores who have been doing this for years. You’ll have to cut through the noise, advertise like crazy, and hope people find you (and choose to buy from you). More importantly, it’s hard to add real value to a niche like that. When you dropship, you’re often choosing from the same products your competitors buy. That means
you have to take an entirely different approach to adding value.

The dropshipping niche you choose is a huge determining factor for value. If you choose a less popular niche, there’s a good possibility you can step in and fill a need in that niche. But if you choose a niche that’s super crowded, it’s going to be almost impossible to differentiate yourself from your competitors (who have been around longer and are more popular).

Of course, choosing the right niche is a crucial decision for any business, but many dropshipping businesses seem to completely overlook it. Most dropshippers assume that they can just choose a hot trend and jump on the bandwagon. When you’re choosing a niche, there’s a lot to consider. That’s why I’ve dedicated a section of this article to helping you settle on a dropshipping niche.

The right products
Once you’ve settled on a niche, it’s time to take the next step and think about the kinds of products your store will offer. It’s not as simple as choosing dropshipping products that seem popular. You need to be picky about your products. In order to establish a successful dropshipping business, you need to select your products carefully and base your choices on what your audience wants and needs.

Again, you have to think about value. While looking at bestselling products is a good place to start, it’s not the be-all, end-all of product selection. You have to make sure the products you offer have significant value to your customer base. Many popular dropshipping products are only popular for a while. If you choose products that have lasting value, you’ll be able to offer products that can stand the test of time.

At the same time, you want to analyze product trends and use them to your advantage. If certain products have boomed over the last few months, they’ll probably sell very well. Later in this guide, I’ll show you how to analyze trends and figure out which products will be best for you.

Once you start dropshipping products, you might decide to change the items you offer according to your audience’s needs. Still, aim to start off strong and establish a line of products that will do well for you. Finally, bear in mind that product selection is an ongoing process. You need to stay up-to-date with trends in your niche and change up your storefront accordingly.

That’s why I’m sharing specific strategies for product research. Your goal is to use these strategies on a regular basis to optimize your store for sales and overall performance.

An incorporated business
Most suppliers and wholesalers require any business they work with to be legally incorporated. In fact, if you’re not incorporated, most wholesalers won’t show you their pricing or other details. That’s how important it is. Remember, a dropshipping business is still a business. It should follow many of the same rules as a traditional business. Dropshipping may take place online, but it still needs to be conducted according to the law.

If you don’t follow these important rules, you’ll run into problems. The bottom line: it’s best to be incorporated before you even reach out to suppliers. I’ll cover this in more detail in subsequent entries, but for now, just remember that at some point, you’re going to have to take the time to make sure your business is legal and good to go.

Supplier(s)
As you might have guessed, getting suppliers and wholesalers on board is an absolute necessity. Since you’ll get your products directly from suppliers, you obviously want to work with companies that have a great track record and solid communication. You’ll need to put some serious time and consideration into this part of the process. You don’t want to choose the first wholesaler you see, and you also don’t want to blindly go with the most popular suppliers you can find with a Google search.
You’ll have to weigh your options, compare prices, and make sure you have access to the dropshipping products you need.

There are also certain protocols you’ll need to follow when contacting wholesalers and making arrangements with them. A section of this guide is entirely devoted to helping you find suppliers, so if this seems intimidating, don’t worry. I’ll be addressing everything you need to know about choosing the right suppliers for your business.

A game plan
There’s one last major ingredient you need: a game plan. By ‘game plan’, I mean a vision for your business and actionable steps to make that vision happen. You don’t need to plan out every little thing you’re going to do, but you should have an idea of how you’re going to approach your new business. You want to get a sense of the big picture and then figure out the smaller details. It never hurts to be
too thorough.

Here are some areas to consider:

  • Getting sales
  • Taking a certain angle in your niche
  • Digital marketing strategies
  • Optimizing your online store


This is also a good time to ask the tough questions so you can prepare yourself for them. For example, what if you’re getting nowhere after 6 months? 1 year? It’s not fun to think about these kinds of things, but doing so might save you from utter failure. Another question you might want to ask yourself is, “Ideally, where do I want my business to go over the next X years?” This is a more general question that can help guide your vision.

If you know exactly what you want, you can take steps toward making it happen. The more specific you get, the better. It might help you to draft up a business plan or even a flowchart that traces the ideal trajectory of your business.

Getting Started
So far, you haven’t been able to actually do anything. I know it’s not fun, but it’s how every legendary business started out. But now, that’s all going to change. You’ll soon be able to put the knowledge and strategies you’ve developed to work.

By now, you should know:

  • The niches you’re interested in
  • The types of products you want to offer
  • Your plan for your store’s future


Now you can start setting up your business in earnest. First, I’ll dive into selecting a niche for your store, and that will be covered in the next entry.


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