It’s been around for years and years, bringing profits to serious entrepreneurs.
eCommerce sales in India are growing at an annual rate of 51%, which makes it the biggest opportunity for online retailers.
The old ways of doing business are getting disrupted the world over!
This pandemic has become a big inflexion point for digital businesses not just in India but globally as well. On the one hand, the retail footfall is seeing alarming lows while on the other, eCommerce is on a new roll.
In this scenario, dropshipping becomes all the more attractive for those, seeking new ways of monetization.
Let’s understand its basic concepts and relevance in today’s world….
Customer Receiving an Online Delivery
Dropshipping is essentially an online retail store where customers book their orders. The details of the order are passed on to the supplier who ships the order directly to the customer.
Some of the key takeaways of this business are that as a drop shipper you don’t have to:
- Physically store goods or
- Manage a warehouse or
- Handle shipments
This certainly gives you AMPLE time to focus on other critical aspects of the business.
What do you need to start this business?
- An internet connection
- A laptop
Furthermore, to execute the business you will need the following support:
- Marketing Strategy
- Customer Support
And you are good to go!
The flexibility of this business lies in the fact that it can be run as a parallel hustle to generate a PASSIVE income or can be run independently.
Let’s quickly understand how to generate a passive income from dropshipping.
Dropshipping a parallel hustle….
The easiest way to make revenue from drop shipping is to run it as a parallel business to your already existing eCommerce business.
This way you don’t need to start from zero user base. Your existing traffic can be used to drive and push your dropshipping business. Money lies in traffic!
Later on, when your dropshipping business picks up, you can scale it.
The sky is the limit!
If you run a dropshipping business alone, you will have to search and build a new client base.
Not that it can’t be done, but it can become quite a TASK in the initial stages of your business.
Pick your battles!
Delving into the different aspects of drop shipping will make it easy for you to understand its functionality and USE in today’s world.
To start with, think of a niche which sells!
How does one pick the right niche?
One can’t have an answer right off the bat, as this depends on a few factors:
- target audience
- ease of shipping
Pop-culture (unique) products like coffee-mugs, funky jewelry, T-shirts etc. are the ideal dropshipping products.
Due to the ongoing pandemic shoppers have become cautious with their spending. Health, fitness and home happen to be their prime focus.
This explains the reason for the sudden surge in demand for the following products:
- Blue Light Glasses – to reduce eye strain from screens
- Resistance Band – for gym enthusiasts
- Smart Watches – for fitness
- LED Strip Lights – to decorate homes
- Paint By Numbers Kit – to pursue a hobby
Trimmers, Juicers and Vacuum cleaners are other popular products.
Pandemic or no pandemic, you can’t forget the special days (birthdays and anniversaries) of your friends and well-wishers! Worry not, however, if you are unable to visit them due to social distancing, you can have them sent a personalized item like an Initial Pendant Necklace.
Sniffing out trends is the first step in selecting a niche. A bunch of other things which could help you in zeroing in on the niche are:
Sales is a result of demand and supply. Research and find out what your audience is looking for. Pitch accordingly!
You will have to take a call to either compete directly with the biggies like Amazon or you could pick a niche with low competition and potential buyers. There is no template as such, to follow. No size fits all!
You need to check the local competition, demographics and the geographics.
You’ll need to know the prices your competitors are offering. Maybe you will have to undercut them to stay competitive. Brainstorming at this stage can’t be ruled out. Hitting the sweet spot does take time and a whole lot of research.
Ease of Shipping
Selecting a niche which requires light shipping can make your job easy as you can offer free shipping. This SERIES of calculated steps will help you select a proper niche.
Getting a reliable supplier on board is the next step.
Suppliers are the backbone of your dropshipping business.
They do a lot of heavy lifting as far as this business is concerned. From storing goods and maintaining inventory to handling shipments.
Hence, it becomes important to make all the necessary inquires before selecting one. Do thorough research on the internet. Check your supplier’s reviews and testimonials.
Once you are satisfied with the credentials, place a test order. This way you can have a first-hand experience about, as to how the supplier operates. Once you are through with selecting the supplier and the niche, it’s time to create your virtual store.
Today’s users’ attention span is extremely low with a zillion things vying for their attention. Thus, it becomes important to have a super cool website which looks good, funky and is super-fast too.
You have a choice between the self-hosted or the hosted platforms.
If you are technically fine and have money to spare, go for a self-hosted one. This gives you more freedom.
Otherwise, if you are not sure and don’t want to spend in the early stages of your business, then hosted platform is the place to be.
Big Commerce, Woo Commerce, Magento are some of the examples of hosted platforms. They all come with their own sets of positives.
Choose the one which best fits your bill. Now, your dropshipping business is ready for the BIG leap.
Reaching your customers!
They are the ones who shall play a huge part in making your business count. So, leave no stone unturned to woo them.
Marketing Strategy. There are no two thoughts about the fact that the Marketing landscape has evolved tremendously, especially due to the rise in digital consumption.
Marketing penetrates and operates at different levels of the dropshipping business. Let’s dive deep and explore all the levels and ways of CONNECTING with your potential buyers. The Devil lies in the details!
Instant gratification has become our second nature. We want deliveries and returns to be handled faster. So, talk to your supplier right in the beginning about making your business efficient and CUSTOMER ORIENTED.
All deliveries, returns or complaints if any have to be handled within a time-frame, as promised to the customer.
This will go a long way in bolstering your brand.
Do your best to offer free shipping or maybe discounted shipping.
In case you can’t, be transparent about it right from the word go.
Never resort to hiding tactics; they show your brand in poor light.
Marketing is all about creating POSITIVE vibes. It’s better to stay away from practices where your customer feels shocked or shortchanged.
Nowadays, people of all age groups are glued to their smartphones. In India, online buying via smartphones ranges from 42% to 60%.
Smartphones are known to trigger impulse buying. So, ensure your virtual store is mobile-friendly to net this segment.
Try the paid advertising space and at the same time work consistently towards getting the organic traffic.
You can start your targeted marketing campaigns by putting out:
- Facebook ads
- Google Ad words and Bing Ads
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
Optimizing your website is necessary to get ORGANIC traffic.
Today’s businesses are all about experiences. Be it the website experience or the delivery experience. Give them the best experiences.
ROX (return on experience) shall help you in scaling your business. USER EXPERIENCE is the new SEO.
Deliver curated content so that it builds traction and engagement. The effect feels fresh if you keep updating it.
Social Media is all the rage. We can’t agree more!
You will find people of all age groups active on these platforms. The Gen Z and Millennials are hooked to it.
Social media influencers have become stars of the digital world. They carry clout.
You can use these influencers to highlight your products by making videos of 25-30 secs. and thus, gain access to LOCAL customers.
Show off your brand and share its story on the different social media channels. Keep posting regularly to make a strong presence.
Put out a sale notice on Twitter or Instagram. You can add an element of urgency by attaching a deadline to it. This can have a knock-on effect!
Besides generating a sale, you could get likes and shares. That surely spreads the good word!
These are some cool ways of GRABBING traffic.
It is an old marketing tool, quite popular even with new-age businesses. It works.
As such, we all get a good number of emails every day. We do end up reading quite a few of them!
Start making emails preferably with a catchy hook line to draw attention. Well written and personalized emails do get noticed.
Emails carry your message directly to the people in a subtler way without making much noise.
Be CONSISTENT with sending emails, they will fetch results.
Be innovative and bring fresh ideas to the table. You never know which idea of yours can catch fire!
There is no doubt about the fact that every sale that happens has a good amount of hard work behind it.
If possible, choose a product with a higher value. This is to pocket a good profit with every item you sell.
Dropshipping is worth your time and attention for these very simple reasons:
- Low-risk business
- Easy entry
- Almost no overheads required
- Flexibility, can work beautifully as a parallel hustle or can be run independently
- Can be scaled exponentially
- Ecommerce an accepted reality
- Pandemic has acted as an accelerant to digital growth.
As per the Morgan Stanley report, India’s eCommerce market is expected to hit $200 billion by 2026.
Online buying has become the norm and is here to stay. It’s practically unstoppable. Take advantage of this growing trend to expand your business.
Research, Experiment and Test:
Set the ball rolling as this is the BEST TIME to get into dropshipping.
Stay Safe and Happy Dropshipping!