Many entrepreneurs aspire to run a successful e-commerce business. The prospect of attaining loyal customers all while earning money in one's sleep appeals to many potential business owners. However, no sooner do many entrepreneurs have these dreams than the doubts arise. Horror stories ranging from finding the right wholesaler to managing fulfillment and logistics have stopped many would-be store owners in their tracks. Marketing alone can cause many entrepreneurs a headache as no business can be successful without attracting customers. Regardless, the easiest way to overcome this fear is to take the proverbial “bull by the horns” and get started. The simplest way to get start running a successful online store is to start a drop shipping business from home.
What is Drop Shipping?
Drop shipping is the process of marketing and selling products that the seller does not own or keep in stock. Instead, the store owner markets and sells the products that ship direct from the supplier to the consumer. For many business owners, the costs of purchasing inventory comprises a great deal of the startup costs for a new venture. This high inventory and storage cost can make the dream of launching a new business feel unobtainable.
Drop shipping relegates these concerns to a wholesaler, allowing you to redirect your energy to marketing, customer service, and monitoring your online store. Rather than making a risky investment in goods that may not sell, you can reserve your money for paid advertisements, social media marketing, SEO, and content creation. Drop shipping is a classic form of supply-chain management with a lower startup cost than traditional retail.
These traits make drop shipping the perfect opportunity for first-time entrepreneurs with little money or time to spare. The following guide will show you the best way to launch your drop shipping business. Within days, you can use this guide to transform your dream of owning your own store into a reality.
FIND THE RIGHT NICHE
Although you are probably humming with excitement and eager to get started, you should follow the right steps to keep yourself on track. Instead of racing to sign up for a website hosting service, the first step is to find a niche for your business. Finding a niche will help you discover whethere there is really a market for your business (which determines profit), and it can also help you determine if the market is too competitive to make the effort.
Understanding Passion vs. Profit
Ideally, your business should be something you are passionate about researching and selling. This passionate pursuit provides the motivation needed for consistent work and improvement. But as any entrepreneur knows, passion and dreams are not enough to sustain the bottom line. When picking a niche, you should also research whether the niche has a demand and whether it is too competitive for entry.
1. Brainstorm Niche Ideas
One of the most critical mistakes many would-be business owners make is failing to find a niche. Given the scale of major internet sellers, it is unrealistic to expect to compete with Amazon or Walmart.com right off the bat. These organizations have much more manpower fulfill orders and a lot more money to burn. Instead, it is better to find a smaller community so that you can succeed within this market. As the old saying goes, sometimes it is better to be the “big” (successful) fish in a smaller (lesser-known) pond.
The best way to start is to find a niche community. Sample niches include the following:
- Ketogenic supplements
- Yoga supplies
- Knitted wool accessories
- Bean bags
- College sports accessories
- Novelty jewelry
Of course, these are only hypothetical examples. A combination of your interests and research can help you decide which niche is best for you. If you need inspiration, use an online tool like
to discover the most popular niche areas.
2. Perform a Keyword Search
Ideally, a niche keyword has the following traits:
High number of average monthly searches
- High number of average monthly searches – This indicates that interest in the niche is high among online consumers.
Low to medium “bid prices”
- Low to medium “bid prices” – A bid price is the amount that an online advertiser is willing to pay to have a store ad shown in search results. Ideally, you want consistently low or medium bid prices. This shows that the market is not overly competitive or cost-prohibitive for entry.
Appealing related keywords
- Appealing related keywords – Aside from the obvious keywords, you should see intriguing related keywords that also have a high search volume on online search engines. This reveals the type of market (people, lifestyle) interested in the niche.
In addition to the keyword search, you can also perform an Amazon search. This is important if you suspect that your niche too vague or too broad.
3. Search Social Media Websites and Forums
Sample social media sites include the following:
Reddit is an online forum and discussion board upon which users exchange information about their favorite subjects. As one of the largest discussion sites in the world, Reddit has 542 million monthly visitors and is the sixth most-visited website in the world. Because of the massive number of visitors, administrators have divided Reddit into categories known as “subreddits.” Each subreddit can offer a wealth of information about your chosen niche. Subreddits also have a voting system in which users “up-vote” posts that are most popular, causing them to appear at the top of the page. This ranking can also help you determine which aspect of your niche would be most profitable to focus on first.
With its billions of active users, Facebook clearly has insight into the online habits of individuals. Facebook consists of brand pages that you can “like” in order to view posts about your niche. In addition, you can usually “follow” business owners to view posts that they share on their newsfeeds. It is also important to note that Facebook has one of the most successful advertising models in the social media world.For example, fitness personality Kayla Itsines used Facebook newsfeed ads to parlay her personal training company into a multi-million dollar business.
Instagram is one of the most popular sharing sites of the social media generation. The strength of Instagram is that it focuses on mobile photos and location. This paints a clear picture of the brands and behavior of shoppers in your niche. Many brands have recognized this strength and hire “influencers,” or Instragram account holders with large followings. These influencers post photos of themselves using a brand or service with a short “instagram story” or coupon code to help sell the product. They then receive a commission of each sale.
For audio-visual learners, YouTube provides great reviews and tutorials to find information about your desired niche. Research which channels have the most subscribers and what videos have the most views. In addition to helping you determine which subjects are trending, you can also shortlist channels you may contact to review and promote your products in the future.
4. Choose a Niche
After doing your fun preliminary research, it is time to decide upon a niche. This decision should be a blend of the data you have accumulated and the topic you are most passionate about pursuing. Keep in mind that your “second-best” choice (in terms of interest) may have a larger market and fewer competitors, making it the better choice for your drop-ship business. It is also important not to discard the data on your backup niches because you may end up pursuing these later if your chosen niche does not work out.
Find and Contact Suppliers
Contacting suppliers can often be one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking aspects of starting your drop shipping business. Some new business owners find that there are no available suppliers for their products. If you cannot find any suppliers, this is where your backup list comes in handy.
Find Suppliers Using Search Operators
Since suppliers are in the business of stocking and logistics, few of them invest resources in website optimization. As a result, new entrepreneurs without connections often find it difficult to locate suppliers. Fortunately, special search functions known as search operators can help you find suppliers quickly and effectively.
Search operators are special characters or keyboard commands that help the search engine narrow results. The most common search operators are the plus sign, colon, or search query commands (such as “inurl”).
Common Examples of Search Operators
Keyword + Keyword
Yoga Mats + Dropshipping
- Keyword + Keyword (Example: Yoga Mats + Dropshipping)
Keyword + inurl:keyword
Yoga Mats + inurl:Dropshipping
- Keyword + inurl:keyword (Example: Yoga Mats + inurl:Dropshipping)
Site: Yoga Mats Dropshipping
- Site: Keywords (Example: Site: Yoga Mats Dropshipping)
Keyword + “Keyword”
Yoga Mats + “Drop Ship Program”
- Keyword + “Keyword” (Example: Yoga Mats + “Drop Ship Program”)
Focus on a Few Keywords at a Time
Given the long keyword lists in marketing books and keyword planners, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the potential keyword combinations. The solution is to focus on a few keywords at a time, implementing the keywords in each of the search operation variations.
Mix and Match the Strongest Keywords
Once you have gained traction with the strongest keywords, it is time to mix and match them. Use an online tool such as Keyword Mixer or SEO Mixer to help generate popular variations. You can then use these combinations with search operators to locate harder-to-find warehouses, distributors, and suppliers. If you feel especially stuck in your searches, use your keywords to find supplier directories or trade shows that you may wish to attend sometime in the future.
Create a Keyword Spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or Google Drive
A spreadsheet creates a clean template with which to organize your research. Create a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel and save it on your hard drive, or create one in Google Drive that always remains accessible in your email. A keyword spreadsheet should have at least three columns for “Keyword,” “Search Operator,” and “Search Completed” (Yes or No). Organizing your keywords can help prevent duplicates and enables you to keep track of which combinations worked.
In addition to the main tab, you should create a second tab for the suppliers that you find. Your “suppliers” tab should include the following columns:
- 1. Supplier Name (including any DBAs)
- 2. Supplier Website (Copy and paste the complete URL address so that your spreadsheet automatically converts into a link. This way, you can quickly click the link to return to the website as needed.)
Supplier Contact Information
- 3. Supplier Contact Information (Email address, telephone number, and contact person. Note that some suppliers may be overseas.)
- 4. Contact Status (Notate “Yes” or “No” on whether you have reached out to the supplier)
- 4. Application Status (Some suppliers require that you fill out an application in order to become an authorized dealer. Enter any application status into this column.)
Devote Time to Locating Suppliers
Now that you have your keyword list, search operators, and spreadsheets ready, it is time to start locating suppliers. Perform searching based on your optimal keyword combinations, and do not forget to fill in your spreadsheets completely. As you search for suppliers, be aware of synonymous business names. For example, some drop shipping services refer to themselves as “distributors,” “wholesalers,” “consigners,” or “merchandisers.” As long as the company acts as the middleman between the factory manufacturer and yourself (the online “store” or retailer), it is a potential drop shipper for you. Make a note that you plan to contact the company to ensure that it is legitimate for your chosen field.
5. Assess Your Findings
Use the highlighter tool within your spreadsheet to easily identify a few of your favorite suppliers. You can use one color to highlight your first choices and a separate color to mark your second-choice group. Delve into the websites of your primary choices to discover what each supplier offers. A good rule of thumb is to analyze the “Products” page, “About Us” page, and “Contact” page to determine if a supplier aligns with your business goals.
6. Send a Query Letter
Initiate contact with the best suppliers by sending a query letter. As a general guide, use the sample query letter below:
My name is and I am the purchasing agent for , an e-commerce enterprise that markets and sells . We are interested in marketing and offering the products that you carry as a leading distributor of .
Prior to submitting an application for your wholesale account, I would like to inquire whether you drop ship ? If so, please advise on pricing and the application process to join your drop ship program.
Senior Purchasing Agent
7. Open an Account With the Best Suppliers
Each supplier has its own application process. Some suppliers require you to complete an application on the directly on the website while others have a lengthier application process. Regardless of the specific differences, most suppliers will require you to provide a copy of your Resale License or State Sales Tax ID before selling you any products. (Depending on your state, regulators may use different names for this ID number.) You may also need to provide your official mailing address and federal EIN number.
To put it simply, suppliers are especially stringent about complying with tax regulations in order to protect their businesses from a potential audit. If you have questions about how to register for a sales tax permit in your state, you can review resources like Tax Jar, Legal Zoom, Rocket Lawyer, or Nolo. You can also get insight on federal EIN information by visiting the IRS website.
DEFINE YOUR BRAND
Branding is what sets your business apart from thousands of other websites out there. Having a solid brand identity can also give you the focus needed to achieve end-goals for your store. Without a clearly defined brand, you can easily find yourself disorganized and unfocused as you try to delve into too many unrelated business paths.
Understanding Brand Differentiation and Positioning
To understand the concept of brand differentiation and positioning, it is easiest to use a brick-and-mortar hypothetical. Imagine you are interested in purchasing an ice cream treat, but there are five ice cream shop nearby. Since you technically have access to all of these stores (“nearby”), what differentiates one shop from another? Now imagine that one store features frozen yogurt, the next store features hand-churned ice cream, another store sells ice-cream cake, the subsequent store guarantees the lowest prices, and so on. These differences provide a lot more information on deciding which store to visit. Furthermore, if one store is one block away while another is 10 blocks away, you now have more information on the effort you need to exert to visit the store. In our ice cream analogy, each store's features and selling points represent
, and the accessibility for the customer represents
For your online store, you need both brand differentiation (unique selling points that separate you from other drop shippers) and positioning (visibility in
and in online niche communities) in order to succeed. To put it simply, branding is what helps your business stand out from the crowd, and positioning helps customers find your store and clearly perceive the benefits of doing business with you. Fortunately, there are straightforward steps you can take to define, differentiate, and position your brand.
Seven Simple Steps to Establishing Your Brand
Tell Your Story
- 1. Tell Your Story: The most successful brands connect with customers on a personal level, and the easiest way to do this is to tell your story. This story does not have to be sappy; it just needs to relay the tangible benefits of doing business with you. This story can appeal to principle (e.g. locally made products or lowest prices) or even emotions (e.g. dog lovers selling dog treats, vegans selling cruelty-free shampoo, etc). The easiest way to tell your story is on your website's “About Us” page. If your business is in the interpersonal industry (e.g. “mommy and baby” products), you may also wish to include a biographical snippet to make your story instantly relatable. (For safety reasons, resist the urge to include too many personal details.)
Choose a Name
- 2. Choose a Name: Ideally, a business name should help customers instantly visualize your beneficial product or service. Do not waste time and over-analyze it, but keep in mind this name helps define every aspect of your brand. You can also use an online “business name generator” to brainstorm ideas. Avoid using your actual name as the business name (in the event that you sell the business, this can be a problem). Upon choosing the name, try secure the domain name as quickly as possible.
Create a Tagline
- 3. Create a Tagline: A tagline is a catchy phrase that expands upon your business name. It is a concise business premise that showcases what your company has to offer. Given the short attention spans of the digital age, a tagline is more important than ever for keeping your business in the minds of consumers. The best taglines often become slogans. Examples of companies with impressive taglines include Disney (“The happiest place on Earth”), the U.S. Postal Service (“We deliver”), Bounty (“The quilted, quicker picker-upper”), and American Express (“Don't leave home without it”).
Make a Logo
- 4. Make a Logo: The logo is the graphic representation of your company. It should be a logo that you would be proud to display on every email or letter correspondence. Because of this, you may wish to get professional help. You can hire a logo design service, purchase a professional logo template, or hire a freelancer on Fiverr to design the logo. For consistency, keep in mind that the logo often includes both the business name and the business tagline. The logo design process also works closely with the next step.
Decide on a Color Palette
- 5. Decide on a Color Palette: Along with developing a logo, you need to choose a color palette for your business. This color palette is important because it will become the look of your website, logo, letterhead, and product packaging. In addition to the theory of color association and psychology, this consistency also makes your brand look a lot more honed and professional to consumers. Consider the fact that you can instantly associate certain brands and logos with colors (e.g. Ford – blue, UPS – brown). You can use an online color branding quiz or color consultant to help you make the right choice.
Finalize Your “About Us” Pagevision statementmission statement
- 6. Finalize Your “About Us” Page: At this point, you should be able to finalize your “About Us” page. Proofread your “story” and make sure it is ready to publish. Your “About Us” page may also include an official vision statement (the goal or tangible benefits you provide customers) and the official mission statement (the steps that your company takes to fulfill this vision). Research has shown that the “About Us” section is one most visited pages on any website, and so this is a great opportunity to include details you absolutely wish to communicate with your customers.
Conduct Preliminary Market Research
- 7. Conduct Preliminary Market Research: As you are establishing your brand, it is also a good time to conduct simple marketing research. Look up competitors to determine which websites lead in search and advertising rankings. From here, jot down their most successful keywords. You may then use this research to find related, non-competitive keywords and potentially improve your “About Us” page.
CREATE YOUR STORE
Now that you have found a niche, contacted suppliers, and finalized your brand, it is time to start creating your store. For many business owners, this is hands-down the most exciting (and scariest) aspect of starting an e-commerce store. The easiest way to start is to find an online platform and get started.
Choose a Platform
An e-commerce platform serves as a website host, storefront, and shopping cart for your drop shipping business. The most popular platforms are intuitive dashboards like Shopify or BigCommerce. Register for a free trial with an e-commerce platform in order to begin selling your products.
Select and Install a Store Theme
In website terms, a “theme” is the appearance and layout of your online store. Themes typically vary by industry and budget. For example, a business that uses photos as major selling points should use a theme that makes pictures more prominent. Similarly, a business focused on text and content should use a supportive format. Most platform offer both free and premium theme options. Once you select a theme, simply upload it to your storefront.
Set Up Your Store
Once you have selected your theme, it is time to set up your store. The easiest way to do this is to incorporate all seven elements you developed when establishing your brand. You can incorporate these brand choices in the following ways:
- Upload your official logo
- Select color settings that match your official color palette
- Set up home, product, and “About Us” pages
- Choose typeface that complements your brand and color palette
- Edit menu, header, and footer settings
SPECIFY PRODUCTS TO SELL
Now that you have defined your brand and created your online store, it is time to determine which products to actually offer on your storefront. This is similar to a store owner deciding which products to display for sale in a store. However, an e-commerce store is potentially less risky since the supplier stocks the items and ships them as needed. Since suppliers may take a while to process initial applications, it is a smart idea to have your storefront ready prior to the supplier confirming your account. Setting up your store prior to entering product SKU (stock-keeping unit) numbers may have also given you an idea on which products you want to feature most prominently for retail sale.
Specify Which Products You Want to Sell
Foremost, you need to decide which products you want to sell. This means that you will have a unique SKU (and usually a unique product page) for each item. While deciding products to sell may seem obvious, it is important to specific them individually. The reason is that your supplier or wholesaler may carry a lot more products than specified in your niche. You do not want to become sidetracked and attempt to sell every product in your supplier's warehouse. The easiest way to specify which products to sell is to consider the following:
- Does the product solve a customer's problem? Products that address a need or fill a void are usually the most successful.
- Is the product high-quality? Selling a few high-quality products (versus a lot of “crappy” ones) helps ensure business longevity in the long run.
- Can you justify the product margin? Remember that you have to pay for the product, shipping, online hosting fees, and marketing. Try to aim for a 30-percent profit margin so that you can take home a decent amount.
- Are the products practical to sell online? Expensive or heavy products with high freight shipping fees or extensive customer service needs are impractical for new vendors. Similarly, seasonal or holiday products may not generate enough revenue to justify operating costs.
Some new vendors assume that they can offer “low prices” to sell a lot of products and drive away the competition. However, drop-ship pricing may not be this simply. There are four factors you should keep in mind:
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
- Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) – Some manufacturers suggest a price that reflects the industry's margin and customer expectations.
Minimum Advertised Price (MAP)
- Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) – Some wholesalers REQUIRE dealers to use MAPs to prevent driving down the bottom line. Failure to follow the MAP can cause the wholesaler to blacklist you from selling products.
- Margin – The price of the product sold minus the price the dealer paid for the product. The higher your margin, the more money you make. In drop shipping, the ideal margin is 30 percent.
Minimum Competitor Price
- Minimum Competitor Price – If there is no MAP, customers usually buy from the least expensive vendor. Either match these prices or make sure that the customer sees your store first.
Specify Content for Product Pages
After you decide on products and pricing, you need product pages to beautifully display your merchandise. Since product pages can quickly become the “meat” of your store, it is important that they make a good impression. A good product page may include the following elements:
- Compelling product copy
- Beautiful product images
- Product reviews
- Product tutorials
- Product shipping information, return policy, and specs
Specify Copy Strategy
Since the rise of search engine optimization, you may have heard that “content is king.” Whether in print descriptions or online browsers, copy has always helped customers decide if they need the product. Decide on the standard formula for your copywriting (such as paragraphs, bullets, or a combination of these) and focus on creating vivid copy with keywords.
Specify Important Directory Pages
As amazing as your products and copy are, your business may not go far without important directory pages in the header or footer. Known as the “Big Seven,” these directory pages outline the most important customer policies for your business:
- About Us – This page gives you free reign to define your brand.
- FAQ Page – A FAQ page saves you the headache of answering the same questions repeatedly. It can also help customers make a purchase decision more quickly.
Contact Us Page
- Contact Us Page – Provide your customers with an efficient way to reach you.
Refund and Return Policy
- Refund and Return Policy – It is the nature of business that some people may consider a refund or return. Establish a clearly defined policy earlier to avoid any problems down the road.
- Shipping Policy – After placing an order, customers want to know when products will arrive. Explain this process in your policy (along with any details about tracking and delivery).
You have been waiting for this moment. But before hitting the “live” button, be sure to cover the following steps:
Integrate Social Media Accounts
Individuals spend an unprecedented amount of time on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Set up business accounts on relevant social media. You can also install apps to link them to your storefront page. Keep in mind that some niche sites benefit from other social media like Pinterest and YouTube.
Install Relevant Apps
The purpose of apps is to help you serve customers more quickly. However, it is important to note whether the apps are compatible with your e-commerce platform. It is advisable to stick with drop shipping apps to avoid cluttering your store with unrelated tools. Popular drop shipping apps include the following:
Klaviyo, Constant Contact, or Mailchimp
- Klaviyo, Constant Contact, or Mailchimp – Email marketing services
- Cross-Sells – Allows you to cross-sell related items in your store
- Oberlo – An essential app for drop shipping products made in China
Sign Up for Analytics
Web analytics offer a way to measure sales over time. The Google Analytics service is the most popular tool for this purpose. This program measures keywords that converted to sales, visits and bounce rate, revenue, and other metrics. Facebook's conversion pixel can provide similar data for social media.
Make Test Purchase
Since the ultimate goal of launching a store is to sell products, you need to make sure that your shopping cart works. Add an item to your cart and make a test purchase (using each payment method if possible) to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Make Site Live
For most e-commerce platforms, launching the store is as simply as choosing the “on” or “live” setting on your dashboard. (On some platforms, you may need to remove the password-protection mode for your storefront.) After adjusting these settings, you should be able to see your store online.
MARKET YOUR STORE
Now that you have a beautiful store, it is time to promote it. You can generally divide marketing into two categories:
SEO and Content Marketing
SEO and content marketing are the two most popular ways to promote a store. For one, these methods do not require any extra expenses. Additionally, proper SEO can increase visibility of your store by raising its rank in search results. The easiest way to start optimizing your store is to choose the best keywords (from your earlier spreadsheets), incorporate these keywords into your product pages and blog copy, and gradually increase the number of URL backlinks to your store. Content marketing is simply the creation of useful copy (such as legit buyer's guides, manuals, and free e-books) that encourage visitors to make a purchase in your store.
The most popular paid advertising for drop shipping includes Google Adwords and Facebook Ads.
Google Adwords offers the following options:
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Search Ads: Use the Keyword Planner to make a “bid” on relevant keywords with which to build your ad. The ad then shows up in search results based on searched keywords and the Google algorithm. This is also known as “query-based” advertising. When a person clicks your ad, Google deducts the price from your budget.
- Display Ads: Instead of showing as a result of a search, these ads display on partner websites that Google deems relevant.
In contrast to Google's query-based advertising, Facebook offers context-based advertising. These means you can target ads based on a Facebook user's age, location, and image. Use Facebook Ads to create compelling post-ads that appear in the margins or directly within newsfeeds.
Best Drop Shipping Companies
Drop Ship Supplier
Main Selling Point
|Free||Offers lots of discounts for app use and signing up.||Sellers looking for the lowest prices|
|Free||Promises free and fast shipping for orders above $49||Sellers of name brands from U.S. and Europe|
|Free||60% of suppliers are US/Europe-based||Sellers targeting the US/Europe market|
|$299 (one-time fee for lifetime access||Only lists 100% certified wholesale suppliers and offers
real-time market research data
|Sellers who wants to avoid scams at all cost|
|Free||An expansive list of products from AliExpress and
|All Shopify sellers|
|Free||Offers bulk and retail customized designs for apparel and
|Sellers who create their own designs|
|$29/month||Compatible with more than 100 ecommerce platforms||Sellers managing multiple stores in different sites|
Drop Ship Supplier
Starter plan: Free
Offers lots of discounts for app use and signing up. Best for sellers looking for the lowest prices
Starter plan: Free
Promises free and fast shipping for orders above $49. Best for sellers of name brands from U.S. and Europe
Starter plan: Free
60% of suppliers are US/Europe-based. Best for sellers targeting the US/Europe market
Starter plan: $299 (one-time fee for lifetime access
Only lists 100% certified wholesale suppliers and offers real-time market research data. Best for sellers who wants to avoid scams at all cost
Starter plan: Free
An expansive list of products from AliExpress and individual sellers. Best for all Shopify sellers
Starter plan: Free
Offers bulk and retail customized designs for apparel and accessories. Best for sellers who create their own designs
Starter plan: $29/month
Compatible with more than 100 ecommerce platforms. Best for sellers managing multiple stores in different sites
If you have followed this guide, we believe that you have a thorough foundation with which to launch, operate, and market your store. This isn't necessarily how to make money fast but with dedication and consistency, you can become a drop-shipping leader in your chosen niche.
Once you understand what drop shipping is all about and the process it entails to make this type of business successful, you may have a couple of questions still left unanswered. This section is meant to help provide answers to the most sought-after questions that new drop shippers may have.
General Dropshipping FAQ
In this section, you will find general Dropshipping frequently asked questions pertaining to general drop shipping methods.
What is drop shipping?
Drop shipping is the process of moving goods from a direct manufacturer to a retailer without going through usual distribution channels. It is a process a small business owner can participate in as a small business if they are interested in e-commerce.
What does dropship mean?
The term drop ships means that a business uses a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t need to keep the items it sells to consumers in stock at a brick and mortar location. It instead ships items directly from the manufacturer to the consumer.
What is a drop ship program?
A drop ship program is a supply chain management program in which a retailer doesn’t keep any items in stock. Instead it transfers customer orders and the shipping details to the manufacturer directly, a wholesaler or another retailer who then ships the items to the customer directly.
How long does dropshipping take?
Drop shipping shipments typically take 10 to 12 business days or 2 to 3 weeks. Of course, this will depend on what items are being shipped from as shipping times will differ based on location.
Is dropshipping legit?
Yes. While drop shipping is legit, those interested will need to keep in mind that it is not as easy as acting as the middle man. There are fees, shipping costs and agreements between suppliers that need to be made before you can begin starting your own drop shipping business.
What is a drop ship fee?
A drop ship fee is the fee associated with running a drop shipping business. The fees associated with this type of business model are:
Per order fees-
One of the most common fees associated with drop shipping. Most suppliers will charge between $2 to $10 per order.
One-time drop ship account fee-
a one-time set up fee is a fee that is charged by suppliers to have access to products at wholesale prices. This fee can run from $20 to $250.
Monthly drop ship membership fee-
Most wholesale supplies have started to charge a monthly fee for access to their products and drop shipping services. This fee can range from $20 to $60.
How to track dropshipping?
Most dropping shipping suppliers provide customers with a tracking number which can be used on the dropping website or postal service to track packages. A drop shipping company can request a tracking number for their customers when they ship their products out.
Do you have to pay taxes on drop shipping?
In the United States, all drop ship sellers are required by law to charge a sales tax on items that are purchased. Drop shippers may also be required to collect a sales tax on items depending on the state they are selling in. As a drop shipper, you will be required to pay federal and state taxes at the end of the year if your business has made over $600 for the year.
What does blind drop ship mean?
Blind drop ship means that one or more parties, whether it is the supplier or the customer, are unsure of who the shipper is, who receives the items or both. In order for an order to be considered “blind”, the order must be prepaid, and a blind shipment must be made.
What is a dropship address?
A drop ship address is the address that is needed for shipping items to the consumer. It can also mean the location of the drop shipping business that is shipping out items.
What is high-ticket dropshipping?
High-ticket drop shipping is the drop shipping method of selling high ticket items that are priced on the high end. The prices for these items tend to start in price from $1,000 or can go higher.
Does drop shipping actually work?
Yes. While drop shipping does actually work, it is more difficult to start a drop shipping business now more than ever due to increased popularity in drop shipping and the competition.
How to market drop shipping?
The best way to market a drop shipping business is to use traditional marketing methods. This can include:
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Pay-per-click marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Social media marketing
- Video marketing
General Dropshipping Business FAQ
This section answers general drop shipping business questions pertaining to common drop shipping home business practices and their methods.
How to start drop shipping business from home?
This is the perfect home based business to get into. In order to start a drop shipping business from home, you will need to:
- Select a niche in an area that interests you.
- Study the competition.
- Find a supplier that sells items related to your niche.
- Build an e-commerce website
- Come up with a way to acquisition customers.
- Market your drop shipping business to your audience.
- Sell niche related items to these customers.
- Optimize and scale successful results.
What is a dropshipping business?
A drop shipping business is a supply chain business in which the business itself sells items it doesn’t currently have in stock. Instead it sells items that are shipped from a manufacturer directly.
What is eCommerce drop shipping?
eCommerce drop shipping is a business method that sells eCommerce items that the business doesn’t hold in stock. This type of drop shipping business acts as the middle man between the manufacturer and the consumer.
How to deal with returns dropshipping?
To deal with returns in drop shipping, make sure to have the following information to make the process as uncomplicated as possible:
the unique order number made by the retailer’s system from the original order.
unique return identifier generated by the supply company.
the exact reason the item is being returned. This should be filled out by the consumer.
the SKU number of the item
the quantity of the item that is expected to be shipped in the return.
the credit amount that the retailer is expected to receive from the SKU item.
the name of the company where the return item is being shipped.
the first address line where the return is being shipped to.
the second address line where the return is being shipped to.
the city where the return item is being shipped.
the postal code where the return item is being shipped.
the country where the return item is being shipped.
the phone number of the place where the return item is being shipped.
The shipping method that is being requested. Only the methods supported by the supplier will be supported.
the tracking number of the return item. This is assigned by the carrier.
the cost to ship the return item.
the carrier that is shipping the return item.
the date the return was received by the supplier.
What is the best dropshipping website?
The best drop shipping website to partner with include:
dubbed as the number 1 drop shipping company in the world today.
a drop shipping marketplace just for eCommerce products.
a wholesale drop shipping company.
a wholesale drop shipper known for low prices.
How to automate drop shipping?
The best way to automate a drop shipping business is to automate certain aspects of the drop shipping business such as data exchange operations between suppliers and retailers and ERP systems. The best way to do this is to use automating tools such as:
helps to automate routine tasks such as uploading product information onto your website daily.
automates order monitoring and incoming order import.
How to run a successful drop shipping business?
In order to run a successful drop shipping business you must add value to your business for the sole purpose of your customers, focus on marketing and search engine optimization for your business, specialize in a specific niche, have a long-term perspective of your business, offer the best service to your customers as possible and try not to get hung up on the small details.
Is drop ship lifestyle worth it?
Yes. If a drop shipping business is set up and run successfully, the lifestyle can be worth it. This is especially true if you want to be financially free, work on your own schedule and add worth to yourself rather than have a company or boss determine your self-worth.
Is dropshipping business profitable?
Yes. If prices are priced correctly and a stock purchased at the right wholesale price a drop shipping business can be extremely profitable. However, there are many costs associated with a drop shipping business and it can take time before owners begin seeing profits.
How to create an online store with dropshipping?
In order to create an online store with drop shipping, you must first own a domain name and a website. From there you can use special themes to create an eCommerce store that showcases your drop shipped items.
How to train your virtual assistant for eBay dropshipping?
To train your virtual assistant for eBay drop shipping, you must make sure that your virtual assistant understands how the drop shipping process works. Once they understand that, you can train them in all the basic functions of your drop shipping business such as updating product information, tracking customer orders, providing exceptional customer service to your customers and working with distributors to ship items to specific locations.
Can you get rich drop shipping?
Possibly. While it is true that drop shipping can be a lucrative business and there is a slight possibility that you can become rich from it, there are many factors that can determine its success such as the niche, marketing methods and products being sold. Some find this more lucrative than say pay per click affiliate programs for example.
What is a drop shipping business model?
A drop shipping business model is a business model that includes shipping items from a manufacturer to a customer directly, while the drop shipping business acts as the middle man in between the two.
Dropshipping Inventory FAQ
In this section, you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding drop shipping inventory and where to find them.
How to find wholesalers for drop shipping?
The best way to find wholesalers for drop shipping is to first make sure that the legal aspects of your drop shipping business is in order such as the business EIN number and business certificate. If that is in order, the best place to find wholesalers is going to be Google. Conduct your research on wholesalers thoroughly before deciding on a wholesaler to work with.
What is a drop ship vendor?
A drop ship vendor is a person that provides on-going support for available inventory, help to ship items to the consumer, helps to provide customer support to the customer and maintaining a drop shipping website.
How to get dropship products?
The best way to get drop ship products is through a drop shipping wholesaler. With a wholesaler, you can find drop shipped products that are sold at a wholesale price.
How to dropship books?
To drop ship books, all you have to do is find a wholesaler that has books it can drop ship. Then you need to create a drop ship niche website dedicated to the book niche.
How to sell clothing online drop shipping?
In order to sell clothing on via drop shipping, you must have a clothing niche specific website dedicated to drop shipping clothing. If you have this type of site, look for wholesalers that offer discount prices on clothing that you can sell to potential customers.
Where to find suppliers for drop shipping?
The best place to find suppliers for drop shipping is on Google. You want to find suppliers or wholesalers who sell items within your specific niche. You can find most items from these suppliers at discounted prices as long as you have a business license.
How to set up an online store dropshipping?
To set up the best online business store for drop shipping, you must build an eCommerce website dedicated to your drop shipping business. There are custom themes you can use to build a store front on your website.
What does dropship item mean?
Drop ship item means an item that is shipped to a customer directly through a manufacturing. This is typically done through a drop ship website in a specific niche acting as the middleman.
How to find a supplier for drop shipping?
The best way to find a supplier for drop shipping is by conducting thorough research on products related to your niche. Use google to find niche specific suppliers and contact them directly to begin building a professional relationship with them.
How to contact suppliers for drop shipping?
To contact supplies for drop shipping, you will want to:
- Call the number directly that is listed on the supplier’s website.
- Contact the site support listed on the supplier’s website.
- Establish email exchanges with the product or sales department of the supplier.
- If you meet with them in person leave your business card. If you don't have any then get some business cards online as this will be really important.
Dropshipping Company FAQ
This frequently asked questions section covers common topics of popular Dropshipping companies and questions regarding them.
How to start drop shipping on Amazon?
To begin drop shipping on Amazon, you first must set up an Amazon Seller account. There are two types of accounts that you can create: an individual seller account and a professional seller account. Then create an account with Salehoo, a drop shipping supplier that ships items out for a low fee.
What is Amazon dropshipping?
Amazon drop shipping is the process of drop shipping items using a supplier and Amazon. Amazon is used as a way to generate sales for items in a specific niche which is then shipped directly to customers using a supplier. You do not have to carry any kind of stock to drop ship on Amazon.
How to drop ship Shopify?
To drop ship using Shopify:
Create an account with Shopify-
The account will cost money so feel free to start off with a 14-day trial account.
Download the Oberlo app on your phone-
This is a supplier you can use to sell items on your Shopify account.
Find products from the Oberlo app to sell on your Shopify account-make
sure to find products within your niche.
- Market to your audience.
How to find a good dropshipping company?
The best way to find a good drop shipping company is by conducting thorough research using Google. Find a drop shipping company that will work with your niche and within your business budget. Also, be sure to look at customer reviews to ensure a drop shipping company is reputable.
Does eBay allow drop shipping?
Yes. Drop shipping is allowed on eBay. However, eBay has rules for drop shipping which requires sellers on eBay to guarantee delivery on drop shipped items within 30 days of the end of the product listing.
Does AliExpress do drop shipping?
Yes. AliExpress is considered to be one of the most popular marketplaces for eCommerce sellers who use a drop shipping business model. AliExpress allows sellers to have items shipped directly from their warehouse to the customer.
Is drop shipping from Amazon to eBay legal?
Yes. Drop shipping from Amazon to eBay is completely legal. However, most Amazon sellers feel deceived whenever they drop ship items from Amazon to eBay in an effort to make money.
How do drop shipping companies work?
Drop shipping companies work by acting as the middle man between the customer and the supplier. Customers order specific items through a website owned by the drop shipper. The order is then filled and shipped out by a wholesaler and a supplier directly to the customer.
How to set up drop shipping on eBay?
To set up drop shipping on eBay you will first need to create a seller account on eBay. Once created you will have to find suppliers that sell items related to your niche. List the items you wish to sell on your eBay seller account and contact the supplier once the items you have listed sell.
How to drop ship on Etsy?
Yes. You can find suppliers on Etsy that you can drop ship items from. However, before you can begin drop shipping on Etsy you will need to set up a mutual agreement between the Etsy seller and yourself.
What is Doba drop shipping?
Doba drop shipping is a popular drop shipping service that acts as a middle man between the drop shipper as a retailer and a wholesaler. They make the process of connecting a retailer and supplier easier.
Can I use Amazon Prime for drop shipping?
Yes and no. While drop shipping using Amazon Prime will not get you suspended immediately, it is against Amazon’s Terms of Service to abuse their Amazon Prime membership. However, you can use Amazon Prime to drop ship items a few times without any issues. Check out Amazon Prime Day deals too.
How does Walmart use drop shipping?
Walmart currently operates on a multiple eCommerce models while Walmart acts as the retail store itself. Walmart allows drop shipping vendors to list whatever items they wish on their site using their supplier center and once an order has been received, it is then passed onto the vendor to seen items ordered to the customer.
What companies do drop shipping?
There are plenty of companies that do drop shipping. The most popular drop shipping companies in the United States today are:
- Dropship Direct
- Sunrise Wholesale
- Wholesale 2B