Thanks to the growth of eBay, Amazon, and similar online retail platforms it’s never been easier to start your own online business. Unfortunately, it’s also a little daunting considering you have to work out what to sell and where to keep it. This is where drop shipping is. Drop shipping is basically where you find a low-cost product and sell it on at a higher price. Drop shipping eliminates the need for a high initial investment or storage space. Making it an ideal format for your first online business.
Here’s how to start a drop shipping business.
Figure Out Your Niche
The most prevalent myth about drop shipping is that you can succeed no matter what niche you go into. The reality is that you need to have some understanding of your chosen niche to avoid being ripped off and buying inferior products. Being passionate about what you sell will also keep you going when things get tough. You’ll give yourself an advantage if you choose something you already understand. Think about your own personal interests. Think about the problems that you can solve using your niche. The only way to succeed in business is by identifying — and solving — a problem consumers have. Also take a look at your competition and — of course — determine if you can even make a profit through your niche. There’s no point in investing in something that won’t make you money!
Find a Supplier
It might sound like it would be difficult to find a supplier, but there are plenty out there for just about every niche. The most popular out there is Alibaba, which is basically the eBay of drop shipping. They’ve got a little bit of everything at fair prices. Be sure to contact individual suppliers to make sure they are on the level. Find out how long it takes them to ship out an order, which shipping methods they use, if they offer warranties, and the like. These are the people who actually send out your orders for you but you’re the one that gets a bad reputation if they mess up.
Get a Sales Tax ID
Sales tax is the tax on sales of physical goods to consumers. While you must collect the sales tax needed, not every eBay seller will require a tax ID. Even so, you may need one before a wholesaler will do business with you. If you live in the US or Canada and are running any kind of business then you need to get a sales tax ID. It’s relatively inexpensive to get your hands on a sales tax ID. Search online for how to get a sales tax ID in your state.
Choose a Selling Platform
eBay is the best marketplace for beginners. This doesn’t mean it’s your only choice though. Amazon is another solid choice for selling mass-market goods. Then there is Bonanza and Ruby Lane. Diversify your options with online auction sites as each site has their unique visitors. Not everyone who uses eBay also uses Amazon and there’s no reason not to join them both given that it’s free either way. Another option would be to build your own website and redirect traffic there.
Promote the Store
You may have trouble getting off the ground when starting out. You need to start promoting your store, and there are several ways to go around this. Start out by building an email list. An email list offers a serious return on investment. Consider offering referral discounts to encourage users to promote your store for you. Thing such as providing a 10% discount to anyone who signs up to your email list go a long way. Another great promotional tool is sending out samples to influencers who can then promote your products for you to a mass audience.
By now you’ve got a good idea on how to get started with your drop shipping e-commerce business. Now all you have to worry about is successfully running it! Be sure to keep your website updated, maintain a healthy relationship with your supplier, keep up with customer service, and stay on top of social media. It sounds like a lot but it’s the best way to ensure success.