What to Expect
I take it you’ve been searching the internet for a while now, and just like me, on that search for ways to make money online. When I discovered dropshipping I knew I was onto something big.
From my experience I can tell you that you are entitled to a retail store which requires only a small amount of your attention each day to copy and paste shipment details and be making more than if you worked a full-time job. Sound good? It is! I’m not going to give you definite figures because being a successful dropshipper depends on 3 things:
-How many listings you establish
-How well you design your product listing
-How much market research you are willing to do .
Put simply, dropshipping is a process whereby a manufacturer or supplier delivers products directly to the customers at your online shop.
This way you don’t need to stock, repurchase and restock, all you need to do is click and tap a few times.
Are you excited yet? you should be, let me tell you, dropshipping is an online goldmine.
When I first discovered it, it sounded like such perfect plan couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before.
You are the middle man/woman, and opportunities for being the middle man/woman are all over the internet. And this same process can be applied to wherever a transaction can be made.
All the customer requires is accurate and enticing content with their product in order to make a purchase. But you don’t even have to create the content, the supplier will be the one who does this for you, all you have to do is upload it, and devote a little work sending over the address each day/night from your laptop.
I will be taking you through the two most popular and profitable places to begin dropshipping, which is eBay and/or an ecommerce website (I chose both, so can you!). We will look at all of the advantages and disadvantages and compare each business model so that you can decide for yourself which one to choose.
Where to Station Your Shop
Starting with eMarketplace: eBay
An eBay listing is like having a place on the high street to promote your products and make a profit. After your first listing you will be impressed with the amount of views any type of product with the right title and images can rack up.
eBay offers many features for its sellers that shouldn’t be taken for granted, such as templates and shop manager which can make your shop appear reputable and trustworthy.
You can also upload listings in bulk using Turbolister, click here to learn the quickest bulk eBay upload method.
Warning: You will not make money if you start out with only a few items, you have to open a shop and upload as many as you can within your first month. As when I started out I wasn’t aware of eBay’s monthly fees for their shop owner accounts.
I also wasn’t aware of eBay’s FileExchange bulk upload service, and started my first month with 40 items and was charged £110, and I only made a mere £30 or so. So you will want to max out your listings to the amount you are allowed with your shop subscription.
*Paypal Freezing your account –
If you haven’t used your account in a while or you’re a new user, Paypal may withhold large payments to you. Not to worry though, you can just use a credit card to pay for the dropshipping item and request a tracking code from the wholesaler. You then supply this to Paypal and receive your payment shortly.
Starting with eMarketplace: eBay
– Customer is looking for specific item – higher chance of being seen
– Has a rating system for trusted seller recognition
– You don’t have to cater to a single niche, and can opt to have a generic store name that sells allsorts.
– You don’t have to design a logo
– Free to list an item
– A mistake can result in a bad rating
– Don’t have Google search listings
– Competitors selling the same item undercutting your price
-You need to upload as fast and as many as you can so you can make a profit over eBay’s shop account fees.
Starting with an eCommerce Store
Ecommerce stores have the advantage not being in a market format surrounded by other competing listings. This means your store is in the spotlight, and you can brand yourself merry, as we know people love a label.
The ecommerce store is a very flexible option as you can be fully in charge of your own image. Unlike eBay, the customer isn’t necessarily after a bargain, and will feel more like they can rely on the product you’re supplying.
The downside is that you will have to buy hosting, which can be a dawdle, but in this ebook I’ve included a brief summary of the types of hosting to choose from to make it easier.
Without Hosting: Shopify
With Shopify, we don’t have to deal with the hassle of setting up hosting, a domain, a website and ecommerce store plug in. Shopify gives you the option to get everything done in one place.
My experience with Shopify was a good one, they offered a ‘60 second setup’, whilst I can’t say how long it took, I do remember it being flamboyantly swift. They have a very neat and minimalistic layout, you simply pop your logo at the top and you’re off to the races. It really is the hassle-free method with everything included such as integrated analytics like purchases and customer ID tracking.
Click my link here to receive a 14 day free trial with Shopify!
A bonus is that after setting up your shop, you can become a Shopify affiliate like me and give people 14 day free trials as well as earning a 200% commission per sale!
Without Hosting: Shopify
– No Competition
– you choose your price
– Enhances Value
-Personalised Customer Service
– Email Marketing
-Paying Monthly for Shopify
-Finding or designing a logo
-Cost of advertising
Setting Up Your Shop With WordPress
The next steps are to set up a WordPress blog on the hosting control panel under your domain name, choose a theme and install woocommerce.
WordPress is very easy to set up, they have a famous 5 minute install that gets you started very quickly, depending on how fast you enter your info..
Make sure you have these free plugins installed:
– Jetpack- to feature your social media pages in the footer
– Askimet- for spam
– Insite- for a variety of nifty add-ons like pop up subscribes
Woocommerce is the most widely used ecommerce plugin and allows for a variety of customizations. Once installed the majority is set up for you, all you really need to do is add a logo and customize the homepage to your liking.
You will need a theme, which is basically the instructions you set for the layout of the site. There are many themes to choose from within WordPress, or you can look elsewhere.
For a theme and other plugins, I use Elegant Themes. From a starting price of $69 a year they provide you access to a ton of great themes and nifty plugins.
If you don’t want to learn code, like me, you can also choose to use the Divi builder from Elegant Theme’s list of plugins. The Divi builder is a drag and drop page and post builder, it is very easy to use and there is fairly decent support.
– No competition
– you choose your price
– The branding enhances value
– Personalised customer service
-Paying for hosting
-Finding or designing a logo
-Cost of advertising
Ecommerce store or eBay? Lets compare..
Ecommerce and eBay are both profitable models, I would say eBay is great for starting out as you don’t have to invest as much money in advertising, however eBay requires keeping a good standing in the listings, which means a lot more time is spent researching what keeps buyers buying. An advertising method for your ecommerce stores to help make up for advertising expenditure would be to only advertise sales or items available for a limited time only.
Also feedback is very important and one mistake can end up in negative feedback, however eBay can remove negative feedback if it is about the product sourcing, so there is no need to worry about that. You can pick both if you want, which is what I did, but if you’re just starting out it is better to focus on one for now and get all the listings uploaded so you’re good to go, then head back here, get your tips and create the other.
Choosing Your Niche
Here are some niches to choose from, these are the more generic options which would be perfect for eBay.
• Sports • Office • Tech and Gadgets • Pet Supplies • Kitchen • Health & Fitness • Medical & Elderly Care • Maternity & Parenthood • Hobbies & Recreation • Patio & Garden • Miscellaneous
For an ecommerce store the niche would need to be more specific, such as for sports, choose a sport like surfing, for office, printers or gadgets and so on, this will give the impression your website is a specialist website and the customer is more likely to pay future visits.
Niche Targeting With eCommerce
For our eCommerce site, is better to go for a specific niche, as we want it to rank higher in the Google search listings, and the more specific it is, the less competition you will have in Google. For extra help with how to rank higher in Google we look to how the SEO works, which is through a choice of keywords. You must pay particular attention to the wording and sentence structure in the key words as that way we can cash in on the specificity in the listings- I repeat- the less competition the higher the success rate.
You can also do what many bloggers do, which is type the keyword as much as you possible can, this is easy if you’re the chatty type, but it can come off as an overwhelming amount of filler.
This is why it is useful to have a combination of a blog and a store, with a blog you can backlink your site, and the more your site has been mentioned on other websites of authority, the more relevant you are to the search term on Google and the higher you will get in Google’s search listings.
Choosing Your Supplier
The two most widely used Wholesale Directories are Worldwide Brands and Salehoo.
Both are have millions of products to choose from, and are fairly easy to use but do require a fee.
In the following section I will give you an overview of what you’ll be getting with each directory and compare them to see which is right for you.
Worldwide Brands is eBay acknowledged and operated by Chris Malta, the Product Sourcing Editor of eBay Radio. They have a research team that keeps their directory up to date with the latest products and suppliers. They were established as a business way back in 1999 and on their website it says they have over a million products. They have recently (2016) given their website a makeover, which is now a lot more appealing to the eye.
Cost: $269 Lifetime Fee
For those starting out on eBay with a small amount of funds to invest into their dropshipping project, SaleHoo’s membership offers the most value for money at $67 a year which isn’t a big investment for those just testing the waters of dropshipping.
Founded in 2005, Salehoo is now used by thousands of eBay power sellers and features over 1.6 million products from nearly 8,000 suppliers. It hosts suppliers from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and China.
They provide great customer support- I asked them about a single product and they quickly found me a list of all the companies who sell it.
Its website is very sleek and easy to use, more so than Worldwide Brands. Salehoo also has with it a number of eBay power sellers to advise you along the way.
There are many people on the internet who claim it’s the best dropshipping directory out there, but see for yourself.
Cost: $67 Annual Fee
As you may already be aware try to keep on top of the postage, this 1 hour job (depending on how much you’re selling) can be done in spare time. It is important to leave yourself time to process orders, I use 1-3 business days for dispatching. To keep a high rating on eBay you will need to keep on top of orders, and to minimise the likelihood of leaving a customer’s transaction until after their guaranteed postage date.
If you’re using an e-commerce store there is a lot of potential in having a customer sign up to an email subscription. However this may seem overly pushy, so another option is to have a customer provide their email at checkout, with a small box checked for them, informing them of a weekly email updating them on your latest products, most popular products, discounts and offers.
I’m going to tell you my main method for successful advertising, which is by using social media.Social media is an open door to enormous amounts of traffic and by using it you can expect to see results quickly.
Advertising – Facebook
I recommend using Facebook advertising as it gives your store credibility, this is because the sponsored Facebook post puts your promotion in the same ranks as many well-known and trusted companies. As Facebook owns Instagram, the advertising tool will also advertise to 1.5x the amount of people on Instagram for free. It is very easy to set up, but you’ll have to make both a Facebook page and Instagram account for your shop.
Advertising – Octosuite
Octosuite is a bulk-post scheduling application which was recently released by Luke Maguire in 2016. It is the first Facebook tool that enables you to join and post in multiple groups at once.
Here are some of the best things the app does:
– Finds the most viral content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit.
– Posts the viral content on your page, (not shared from another page- appears as an original post by you but credits iphoto)
– Bulk Schedule posts on social media pages, months in advance. So 2-4 weeks of activity can be completed in 30 mins
– It avoids spam filters by adding delays between bulk posts.
With Octosuite you can request to join and post in up to 80 groups a day.
Click Here for the basic Ocean Edition which gives you the all the basic features.
It also has a useful addon for Twitter, Pinterest and Linkedin syndication – Click Here
And an impressive affiliate link cloaker add on – Click Here
Advertising – Pinterest
Pinterest is a great tool as we can request to be added to any group board (serving our niche), this means you do not have to get a huge audience to get seen. With group boards we have access to thousands, or tens of thousands of people who are already interested in your niche.
To get access to boards, you can start from a group board directory like Pin Groupie. First we have to ask the moderator by tagging their name in a comment section of a pin, or read the instructions in the group board, they sometimes request an email. Then once they approve we have access to all these people!
Advertising – Pinterest with Shopify
Shopify has recently worked with Pinterest to give viewers of pins the option to buy a product as well as pin it.
This has enormous potential as often people will pin a product they like in their boards without going to the link. If they are shown the option to buy this item, they will be more inclined to do so.
So using Shopify we can unlock better targeting for our Pinterest audience.
Food for thought:
100 million food related boards and 146 million fashion boards exist on Pinterest.
So you can tempt buyers with a ‘Buy It’ button on the pin that will show up on the image in the corner adjacent to ‘Pin it’. Click the link here to see how Shopify does this.
Now if you don’t have time for scrolling through Pinterest and building boards every day, to get started pinning, I advise hastily but tactfully making a few boards in private and then revealing them to the public.
If you want to use Octosuite’s Pinterest add on to keep everything in one place, you can, but there are applications more tailored to the use in Pinterest, e.g. Tailwind.
Tailwind’s service is free for the first 30 days. If you want completely hands-off pinning, and want to build up your followers, I suggest an automated pinning service like Autopin, which will build up a few boards and follows for you. Though it is important to check over the boards every once in a while because the bot has a tendency to pin totally unrelated content.
Pinterest also has a promotion service which you can use to get seen more.
Advertising – Blogging
Blogging for your business will attract more visitors through SEO and give substance to your brand. Despite working hard to build the business, it will not be as much of a success if you miss out on this opportunity.
Contacting a Blog
An agreement with a blogger could include you offering them a number from 3-10% of each product you sell that they advertise on their blog. If you wanted them to recommend your shop as a whole, you could pass on a discount code for their readers, which they may be willing to do for free as it also gives their blog exposure. If they are not willing to do it for free, think of a reasonable sum to offer, or a smaller percentage say 2-5% of weekly/bi weekly earnings.
There you have it, a concise guide to getting set up within a week with a definite recipe for success with dropshipping. All of my research packed into one place for you.
I hope this dropship guide has helped you, please share it with your friends and family to spread the good word.