So how do we get started with dropshipping?
The first thing you have to decide is where you are going to sell. You have many options, I will simply go over my top 3.
Definitely the easier way to get started and get used to sourcing products and selling.
The process here would be:
- Find a product on either Amazon or eBay you want to sell.
- List it on the other platform.
- Once the item sells, purchase your product and list the delivery address as your customer's address
Advantages of dropshipping with Amazon/eBay
- No need to negotiate with suppliers. The marketplace is right in front of you
- Fast delivery. Both Amazon and eBay will offer a quick turnaround from order-to-door
- Easy startup. Comparing prices is easy and listing products is straight forward
Disadvantages of dropshipping with Amazon/eBay
- Packaging. Customers aren't stupid and when they see their purchase via eBay arrive in Amazon packaging they may ask questions. eBay -> Amazon isn't such a big deal as the packaging will very rarely mention eBay.
- Pricing. Definitely make sure you're ticking "This item is a gift" so the pricing is removed. If your item arrives with a much cheaper price visible to the customer this could attract bad feedback.
- Competition. Now you can never avoid competition but these marketplaces are heavily competitive, especially on price!
Dropshipping with Shopify
Dropshipping with Shopify is a little harder to setup than simply selling on Amazon/eBay, but not too much harder. The service that Shopify offer is essentially a website builder package with eCommerce built in to allow you to make sales and record/track data each day.
The idea with dropshipping with Shopify is to build a website to promote your product and allow people to purchase the product directly from your website.
The process here would be:
- Source a product you want to sell
- Subscribe to Shopify services which will allow you to build a platform to sell your product and also allow customers to pay via your website.
- Publish your website
- Direct traffic to your website and make sales!
Advantages of dropshipping with Shopify
- Easy to setup and use. eCommerce websites are Shopify's bread and butter. It's what they do and it shows! Setup is really simple and you don't need any sort of web design knowledge to get started.
- Unrestricted. It is your website so you can do what you like with it! On the likes of Amazon and eBay you are very restricted on how you can advertise your product. With Shopify if you want a YouTube tutorial adding you can do it. If you want slideshows you can do it etc etc. There is much more freedom with Shopify.
- Competition. The competition is still out there, but when a customer is on your site, they are not surrounded by the competition like they would be on Amazon/eBay. Price competition isn't as big an issue so you can afford to decide your own price within reason.
- Lower fees. Amazon/eBay will really go to town on you when it comes to fees. However they advertise their fees you're generally looking at giving them 10%. This can really cripple your profits! Spotify do charge fees, however these are much lower at around 3% per card transaction.
- Websites are fully optimised. Your Shopify website will work perfectly on both desktop and mobile (something that is tricky to achieve when building your own bespoke website!). Your website will be responsive and be geared up to rank well on Google/Bing using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Disadvantages of dropshipping with Shopify
- Setup Time. It won't be as fast to setup as a listing on Amazon/eBay. You will have to pad your website out with information and ways to make your product appealing.
- Traffic. Getting visitors to your website can be tough at first. You may need to invest in paid advertisements to get the ball rolling.
- Monthly Subscription. Shopify charge a monthly subscription for their services which clearly isn't as cheap as listing an item on Amazon/eBay. The value gained from Shopify and the ability to work in your own way is worth the subscription but this has to be something you consider when you decide which path to take.
Dropshipping using your own bespoke website
Much of the detail here is similar to what you have already read on Shopify and the basic idea is the same. You are building a website and driving traffic towards the site in order to generate sales.
I would say this is the least accessible path into dropshipping because of how difficult it can be if you have no experience in web design, web hosting, SEO etc.
Advantages of dropshipping with your own website
- Full Control. When using your own website you have absolute control over all aspects from the content, layout, paid ads, SEO, payment provider...the LOT!
- Running Costs. Having your own website can certainly work out cheaper than paying a monthly subscription to Shopify. Once you cover your web hosting you're pretty much done providing you can build the website yourself! (If not you have to pay a developer and things can get expensive then!
- SEO. Search Engine Optimisation. For those who are un-aware, SEO is essentially making your website conform to the standards that search engines such as Google/Bing like to see. The search engines are the most powerful people on the internet when it comes to getting your website seen so we have to bend the knee!
Disadvantages of dropshipping with your own website
- Level of experience needed. In order to build and drive traffic to your own website you need experience in doing this sort of thing. It is definitely not something you can just fall into. Any experience gaps you have will cost you money in hiring that resource to help.
- Order Process. With the likes of Shopify the order process for your customer will be smooth. It will likely involve a sign-up process followed by delivery address entry and then payment via PayPal/Card Provider. This would then be followed by a confirmation email to the customer. If you choose to go alone with your own website you will be looking at either building this yourself from scratch or integrating with an existing plugin type setup. Plugins like this often incur a monthly subscription fee of their own.
- Time. I mentioned Shopify will take time to setup which is true. Setting up from the very bottom will take a lot longer. You may be looking at weeks/months, by which time the opportunity may have gone.
- Security. Again, with the likes of Amazon/eBay and Shopify, they have top grade security to ensure not only your customer payments and stored in a secure way, but also that attackers can't bring your website down. This is something you would need to consider when going out there alone!
There are several options you can choose and I haven't listed them all here, but hopefully you now have a better understanding on where you can get started and can make an informed decision on which route is best for you.
Get used to the concept with Amazon/eBay. You won't make millions, but it will be good for a starter. Once you are ready, move on to Shopify and make the most out of their features and tools to help you build a business you can scale. I would never recommend building your own bespoke website unless you really know what you're doing as this can make the whole process really tough!