You’ve developed your entrepreneurial mindset, created an e-commerce website, and perfected your products. But where are all your customers? After days of waiting and months of work, you’re left wondering why no one is buying from you. A common misconception from people who start a dropshipping business is that it’s a passive income stream. No, it isn’t.

This is far from the truth. Like any other business, your dropshipping business needs to be taken care of and managed. A strong understanding of the dropshipping business model is required to know how to manage and take care of this business type in order to succeed. So, what is the dropshipping model?

 

What is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a business model that works by setting up an e-commerce business. This then enables you to sell products to customers online. The best part about this business model is that you don’t have to stock up—you simply route your customer’s order to your supplier so they can ship directly to the customer.

For example, if your dropshipping niche is art prints and a customer orders from you, you will route that order to your supplier. Your markup from the product you sell will be your revenue.

Now that you are up-to-speed on what the dropshipping model is, here are eight easy-to-follow tips not just to grow but also to make your business thrive!

1. Distinguish yourself from competitors

With any industry, you will inevitably face competitors far and wide. The dropshipping industry in 2020 is valued at $140.24 billion, with a projected growth of nearly $1 Trillion!

Social media would be your best friend here. With social media being one of the most prevalent marketing options for business startups, their social media presence would give you enough information to work on. Armed with the correct information, you can then plan how to make your voice stand out amongst them!

Analyze the information you have on their dropshipping business. Is their business weak on one side? What is the quality of the products they’re selling? These are the type of questions you should ask while analyzing the data to know whether you have an edge against them or not.

As an entrepreneur, knowing your strengths and weaknesses will serve your business well and will help with every decision that you will make along the way. 

Distinguish yourself from competitors and be your own brand! 

 

Related: Effective Brand Strategy: Everything you need to know

 

2. Effective marketing goes a long way

Marketing in the digital age has never been easier. With the internet and social media, you can target a specific demographic of people. A relevant and effective marketing campaign will go a long way for your dropshipping business.

Dropshipping is all about the product that you are selling. So as you strategize how to market your products, be familiar with them. Learn their utility and their value to your customers while also knowing your products’ weaknesses compared to your competitors.

Familiarity won’t take you far if you don’t know who you will be selling to. To keep it simple, know your customer by studying trends on the internet and keeping up to date with their needs and wants.

Now that you know who you’re going to sell to, use targeted content that would encourage them to trust your dropshipping business. This is to establish a solid and genuine connection between you and your potential customer. Keep your ads consistent and true to the vision of your business.

Learn more about the fundamentals of content marketing here.

Strong marketing also leads to high website traffic. Web traffic is the heart and soul of your dropshipping business. Without this, your business venture won’t generate revenue.

To keep things optimized, creating content that is SEO – search engine optimized – would help drive web traffic. SEO means that the content of your ad or website contains keywords that your target audience frequently use or inquire about.

Remember, your business is nothing if you don’t connect with customers.

 

3. Online communities: use them effectively

With the advent of social media came online communities with members in the hundreds of thousands. These communities are everywhere. Whether it be Facebook or Reddit, you are bound to find a community that fits right into what you are selling.

Engaging in online communities with niches that correspond to your products offers a direct line of communication for those who have a strong desire for the kind of product you are selling. Using the art prints example once more, a community focused on arts or home decor would appreciate posts about the latest trends and ideas to spruce up any room.

This shows that you are a reputable source of information and of products that they could be interested in. It would be best to remember that joining these groups isn’t a way to sell the product directly; you are there to connect with the community and become a valuable member. 

You may not have a direct sale from posting on these communities. Still, the important part is that potential customers or not, the community trusts your brand as a legitimate source of the latest tidbits in your niche!

 

4. Pay attention to your customers

Good customer service is a challenging task. Customizing customer experience to be enjoyable and not tedious should start with your website. A complete evaluation of how your website functions would help identify initial problems.

You could then hire a professional to fix those problems, but with site builders like Wix or Shopify, a little bit of elbow grease and a few YouTube tutorials can make your website feel brand new!

The website is only a part of the equation. As an e-commerce business model, discounts and freebies go a long way! A simple free shipping coupon on your website can be a step in gaining a customer’s trust.

To hammer it all out, getting customer feedback is one of the most essential facets of a great customer experience. Creating a system of managing, evaluating, and acting upon those comments would not only enhance revenue as your business improves but also create long-standing trust between you and the customer.

 

5. Plan everything out

Dropshipping as a business model is already known for being low risk. If planned correctly, not only will you drop your already low-risk exposure, but your business will also grow faster than the competition.

A strategy needs more than just planning to be successful. The plan also needs to be grounded in data and reality, so testing the plan in short time scales or disguised as a promotion will help provide information on whether the plan needs revisions.

Find solutions using the products that you want to sell. Knowing your customer would help with the planning. One thing you can plan in advance is a calendar for activities. This will organize everything from marketing campaigns to the release of content if you choose to join an online community. Keep things simple and easy to follow. A good plan does not complicate things further!

 

6. Automate what you can

Efficiency is the name of the game in the digital age! Keeping it friendly and stress-free means more time for you to actively do things that will contribute directly to your business.

Using tools to automate certain things, like releasing a planned advertisement or chatbot that would answer the FAQs of your customers, would lessen your perceived stress while also improving customer experience.

 

7. Get better suppliers

Your supplier is a key player in your dropshipping business as they are the ones who actually hold the product that you’re selling. You don’t have control over the products. So before you start your online business, make sure that you do your research and find a supplier who will provide you with high-quality products.

Returns can hurt revenue and customer trust. To protect them, only sell products that are in high demand and will satisfy customers. Fortunately, dropshipping’s easy setup means that suppliers are abundant, and you have a variety to choose from and find one that works best for your business.

All you have to do is consider your customers and profit margins. Never be afraid to make the fateful decision to change suppliers.

 

8. Specialize

The dropshipping industry is filled with competitors, but one way to make your business stand out from the crowd is to specialize. By specializing in a niche, you’ll be able to leverage your knowledge of that particular field and market to increase your sales.

If your competitor sells their designs printed on all kinds of items and formats, your dropshipping business could specialize in a subset of what they’re selling – for example, offering only wall prints. Specializing in a specific area can make your company more distinguishable from its competition and will also boost your sales as people associate you with good products.

 

Final thoughts…

Dropshipping may be an easy-to-understand business model, but just like any other business model, it needs to be taken care of to realize its full potential. These eight steps not only arm you with knowledge of what you should do, but they will also eventually help you to get your dropshipping business to a whole nother level.

Knowing your customer would be a big part of the success equation. Happy and satisfied customers always come back for products that know them best and treat them well. Remember these tips, and your business won’t just grow; it will also thrive!

 

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