If your business has a brick and mortar presence, extending its reach into the realm of ecommerce is an easy one. Your existing staff can enable the packaging and shipping of online orders and not much more consideration other than a good website that extends your already existing products and specials into cyberspace is needed. This isn’t the only time an online business can be successful though, and even if you are already holding product stock, adding a dropshipping component to your online store can yield big benefits and profit margins for you.
Let’s look at what dropshipping is and how to run a successful dropshipping online store.
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a sales and retail process of selling goods without ever actually handling them yourself as a business. Your suppliers will ship your products directly to your customers from their warehouse or manufacturing facility, removing the need for your business to hold inventory, worry about packaging and shipping anything. It’s a particularly popular stock fulfilment method for online stores because it carries a low risk, it’s quick and easy to get started without expensive capital outlays for stock, and you don’t need storage space for your products.
If you are looking to start your own dropshipping business, you should take some time to learn more about dropshipping at Wix to better understand the process, as they have a number of useful guides and an intuitive platform for both beginners and experts. With a specialist platform like this, you can take away a lot of the hassle and launch it in no time at all.
Embrace What Automation Can Do
One of the biggest benefits of the dropshipping business is that much of the actual sales process can be completely automated when your sale is done online. Consider a customer going to your online store, choosing a product or a couple of products, and then checking out. Payment will be handled by your payment gateway and the order can be sent directly to your dropshipping suppliers to fulfil the order for you. The supplier will package the product and send it to the customer, and you’ve had little to no actual involvement in the fulfilment of the order throughout the entire process, leading to you having some more free time to invest into marketing.
Marketing is Everything
Depending on how much of your business you’re able to automate, you’re probably going to have the time to invest in marketing your business. This might be spending time doing promotional work on social media or internet forums directly to potential customers, or learning the ins and outs of SEO and online marketing methods. Whichever way you choose to market your business, spend the time creating attractive branding and eye-catching marketing for your products.
Create Good Offers with Urgency
Many online stores have very traditional ways of promoting specific products or services and that’s because these promotions work. Embrace things like email marketing, front page banner adverts and the many other ways you can use to drive sales on promotional products. Creating time limited sales and promotions can also drive customers to make purchasing decisions because they want to take advantage of your sale while it is still current.
Make Sure Your Online Store is User Friendly
Your online store design and its functionality and user friendliness will quickly become the most important tool at your disposal as a dropshipping business. The best thing you can do before you even start to design it is to look at similar online stores to your intended one and get an idea of the kinds of designs and information they present and how they present it. Pay attention to how these other stores present information like price, shipping costs and what kind of information about each product they list. Your online store is your primary marketing platform, so embracing it and the different features and ways it can market your products is only going to increase sales. Ensure all the information important to consumers is readily available too, like shipping information, returns and warranties and your terms and conditions.
Nurture Vendor Relationships
Because your dropshipping suppliers are going to be such an integral part of your business processes, nurturing the relationships you have with them is going to be key to your success. Visit their premises, familiarize yourself with their policies and procedures and understand how their logistics network works to get your products to your customers. Take the time to engage with your sales representative or account manager on a personal level and build a good working relationship with them. If you can rely on your account manager to go above and beyond for you to deliver your promises to your customers, your online dropshipping store is in a good position to be successful.
There are many benefits to dropshipping, but it requires a robust and solid supply chain with vendors you can rely on to correctly and quickly fulfil your orders. With some automation, a dropshipping business or business component can become something of a more passive income while you focus on your business and its relationships and customer service.