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Ecommerce is growing, with global giants like Amazon announcing that their third quarter net sales for 2017 were up by 34 percent—an amount equal to 43.7 billion dollars—taking their total net income from July to September to 256 million dollars. With this kind of money at stake, entering the ecommerce market sounds appealing to many entrepreneurs who also want to make a profitable living, largely by selling other people’s goods.
If this is where you currently are, there are a few things you need to know before setting up shop. The first requires that you fully understand that there are two ways you can go about creating this type of business, and both have to do with supply chain management.
Supply Chain Management
When most people think of selling products created by another person or company, they often envision the need for a huge warehouse so they can store the items they want to sell, buying them in advance and shipping them out only once they receive an order. This is called wholesaling and, while it is definitely an option, you can take another route.
Instead of buying in advance and storing the items to be sold, many ecommerce businesses are choosing dropshipping instead. Dropshipping means that you don’t buy the products until you have an actual order in hand, then shipping straight to the consumer from the supplier. Some advantages of dropshipping include less capital required up front, no need for a huge warehouse to store the items, and lower risk of having a bunch of items you can’t get rid of because you’re not buying any products until there’s an actual order.
Sound good? If so, here’s what it takes to launch your very own dropshipping business in 2018.
List of High-Demand Products
Of course, you can’t set up a dropshipping business until you know what items you want to sell. Maybe you want to create a business around fitness equipment, technology, natural health supplements, décor, kitchen gadgets, or some other category of goods.
Whichever one you choose, it helps to research the top selling goods in that category in the last few months. You can do this with a quick online search, or by going to other ecommerce sites like Amazon and looking for the bestsellers.
Second, you also want to consider whether there are any trends you could capitalize on. For instance, an expected fitness training trend for 2018 is participation in high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. This means that, if you are in the fitness space, you may want to stock your dropshipping store with items used in this type of training, such as HIIT DVDs and books, gym shoes designed for HIIT training, and other similar items.
An Easy-to-Use Website Platform
When you operate a dropshipping business, your entire ability to earn income is entirely online. That’s where people find you, that’s where they buy from you, and, hopefully, that’s also where they continue to buy from you again and again. Therefore, you want a website platform that is super easy to use, for both you and them.
For instance, many ecommerce entrepreneurs find that they love the platform provided by Shopify. Not only is it simple to use, but you can actually launch your Shopify store within 30 minutes. This means that, within a half-hour’s time, you can be online and potentially making your first sale. All you need to do is decide what items you want to put up, design your store, and you’re ready to go.
Connection with Customers Looking for Your Products
Once you decide which high-demand products you plan to sell and get your dropshipping business set up on an easy-to-use platform, the next step is to actively start selling. The easiest way to do this is go to the same places as the customers who are looking for the types of products you offer.
Social media is great for this purpose because it gives you instant access to your target market. One way to make the most of this option is to look for groups in your topic area. Join them and see what types of problems the people in them are having. Then let them know about the types of products you offer that could solve those issues.
The key to making this work is to offer solutions without actively selling. If all you do is try to sell, sell, sell, they’re either going to disregard your advice or even remove you from the group. However, if you approach it as providing information instead, they’re more likely to listen to what you have to say and will start to look at you as an expert, increasing your product sales.
Dropshipping can be a very lucrative business, that is, as long as you do these three things. And when you do them, you will be well on your way to creating a successful dropshipping business in 2018.