What Is Dropshipping and is dropshipping worth it?
Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product.
The biggest difference between dropshipping and the standard retail model is that the selling merchant doesn’t stock or own inventory. Instead, the merchant purchases inventory as needed from a third party – usually a wholesaler or manufacturer – to fulfill orders.
Step by step how to build a dropshipping business
This information is short and useful; I would never waste your time by spending 15 minutes ranting, showing you how to open your browser or flooding you with 120- page-PowerPoint-slide fluff. You will look over my shoulder and see what I am doing – real-life examples, real products, not a theory.
I will show you what to do and what NOT to do, as well as how to avoid the most common mistakes and pitfalls. I will show you advanced tricks, hacks and tips to research and source your products, do due diligence, spy on your competitors, stage your launch and get massive organic sales! My goal is for you to launch your first five products for the white labelling using with Amazon FBA program. Each product must sell at least 10 units per day, with $10 profit per unit, so at least $500/day combined or $15,000 per month.
Plus, you will launch your store so that you can start drop shipping other people’s products while building your own, thereby maximizing your profit – $45,000 per month or even more! After you reach $45,000/month, you will no longer need me 🙂 I will consider my work well done! Just make sure to share your success story with other people in our private group!
This course is so effective and powerful that we could easily sell it as a $10,000- ticket seminar, but we are too busy selling our own products…we don’t have time for seminars 🙂 Let’s leave them to the “success guru”, as they’re not our song! Keep an open mind and let me help you succeed by duplicating my success and following what I am doing, without wasting your time on webinars, success coaching or expensive seminars.
All you need is an open mind, a will to learn and a desire to act. I will teach you the rest 🙂 Your business is sure to crumble if you kick off without understanding the basics; I’m talking about, what you need and what you don’t need to get you to where you want to be.
Taking this step will help you prioritize and focus on what really matters for success. What You NEED to SUCCEED is SETTING YOUR GOALS First things first, before you start any new business, you need to understand your goal. If you say, “I just want to make more money,” that’s not specific enough and if you don’t have any specific goal, how will you know that you get there?
Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product using the dropshipping model, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the seller doesn’t have to handle the product directly.
The biggest difference between dropshipping and the standard retail model is that the selling merchant doesn’t stock or own inventory. Instead, the seller purchases inventory as needed from a third party—usually a wholesaler or manufacturer—to fulfill orders.
How does dropshipping work?
Two of the most common approaches for dropshipping are to seek out a supplier located in North America, or anywhere else in the world, using supplier databases or to seek out a app that connects you and your store to thousands of suppliers.
For the latter, we recommend Oberlo, a marketplace developed by Shopify that helps independent business owners find products to sell. With Oberlo, you can browse AliExpress and import the products that pique your interest directly to Oberlo—which is connected to your Shopify store—with the click of a button.
Once a customer buys a product, you’ll be able to fulfill their order in the Oberlo app. Fortunately, Oberlo automates this process. As the store owner, all you have to do is check that the details are correct and click the “‘order”’ button. The product is then sent directly from the AliExpress supplier to the customer—wherever in the world they may be.
Benefits of dropshipping
Dropshipping is a great business model for aspiring entrepreneurs to start with because it’s accessible. With dropshipping, you can quickly test different business ideas with limited downside, which lets you learn a lot about how to choose and market in-demand products. Here are a few other reasons why dropshipping is such a popular model.
1. Less capital is required
Probably the biggest advantage to dropshipping is that it’s possible to launch an ecommerce store without having to invest thousands of dollars in inventory up front. Traditionally, retailers have had to tie up huge amounts of capital purchasing inventory.
With the dropshipping model, you don’t have to purchase a product unless you’ve already made the sale and have been paid by the customer. Without significant up-front inventory investments, it’s possible to start sourcing products and launch a successful dropshipping business with very little money. And because you’re not committed to selling-through any inventory purchased up front, like in a traditional retail business, there’s less risk involved in starting a dropshipping store.
2. Easy to get started
Running an ecommerce business is much easier when you don’t have to deal with physical products. With dropshipping, you don’t have to worry about:
- Managing or paying for a warehouse
- Packing and shipping your orders
- Tracking inventory for accounting reasons
- Handling returns and inbound shipments
- Continually ordering products and managing stock level
3. Low overhead
Because you don’t have to deal with purchasing inventory or managing a warehouse, your overhead expenses are quite low. In fact, many successful dropshipping stores are run as home-based businesses, requiring little more than a laptop and a few recurring expenses to operate. As you grow, these costs will likely increase but will still be low compared to those of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.
4. Flexible location
A dropshipping business can be run from just about anywhere with an internet connection. As long as you can communicate with suppliers and customers easily, you can run and manage your business.
5. Wide selection of products to sell
Since you don’t have to pre-purchase the items you sell, you can offer an array of trending products to your potential customers. If suppliers stock an item, you can list it for sale on your online store at no additional cost.
6. Easier to test
Dropshipping is a useful fulfillment method for both launching a new store and for business owners looking to test the appetite customers have for additional product categories, e.g., accessories or wholly new product lines. The main benefit of dropshipping is, again, the ability to list and potentially sell products before committing to buying a large amount of inventory.
7. Easier to scale
With a traditional retail business, if you receive three times the number of orders, you’ll usually need to do three times as much work. By leveraging dropshipping suppliers, most of the work to process additional orders will be borne by the suppliers, allowing you to expand with fewer growing pains and less incremental work.
Sales growth will always bring additional work—especially related to customer support—but businesses that utilize dropshipping scale particularly well relative to traditional ecommerce businesses.
Disadvantages of dropshipping
All the benefits we mentioned make dropshipping a very attractive model for anyone getting started with an online store, or for those looking to expand their existing product offerings. But like all approaches, dropshipping has its downsides, too. Generally speaking, convenience and flexibility come at a price. Here are a few shortcomings to consider.
1. Low margins
Low margins are the biggest disadvantage to operating in a highly competitive dropshipping vertical. Because it’s so easy to get started, and the overhead costs are so minimal, many competing stores will set up shop and sell items at rock-bottom prices in an attempt to grow revenue. Since they’ve invested so little in getting the business started, they can afford to operate on minuscule margins.
Typically, these sellers will have low-quality websites and poor (if any) customer service, which you can use to differentiate your business. But that won’t stop customers from comparing their prices to yours. This increase in fierce competition will quickly hurt the potential profit margins in a niche. Fortunately, you can do a lot to mitigate this problem by selecting a niche/vertical that’s well suited for dropshipping. We’ll discuss how to do exactly that in Chapter 4.
2. Inventory issues
If you stock all your own products, it’s relatively simple to keep track of which items are in and out of stock. But when you’re sourcing from multiple warehouses, which are also fulfilling orders for other merchants, inventory can change on a daily basis. Fortunately, these days, there are a handful of apps that let you sync with suppliers. So dropshippers can “pass along” orders to a supplier with a click or two and should be able to see in real-time how much inventory the supplier has.
Oberlo also lets merchants take automated actions when a supplier’s stock hits zero. For example, when a product is no longer available, you can automatically unpublish the product, or keep it published but automatically set the quantity to zero.
3. Shipping complexities
If you work with multiple suppliers—as most dropshippers do—the products on your online store will be sourced through a number of different dropshippers. This complicates your shipping costs.
Let’s say a customer places an order for three items, all of which are available only from separate suppliers. You’ll incur three separate shipping charges for sending each item to the customer, but it’s probably not wise to pass this charge along to the customer. And even when it does make sense to include these charges, automating these calculations can be difficult.
4. Supplier errors
Have you ever been blamed for something that wasn’t your fault, but you had to accept responsibility for the mistake anyway?
Even the best dropshipping suppliers make mistakes fulfilling orders—mistakes for which you have to take responsibility and apologize. And mediocre and low-quality suppliers will cause endless frustration with missing items, botched shipments, and low-quality packing, which can damage your business’s reputation.
5. Limited customization and branding
Unlike custom-made products or print on demand, dropshipping doesn’t give you a lot of control over the product itself. Usually, the product dropshipped is designed and branded by the supplier.
Some suppliers can accommodate your business’s product changes, but even then, the supplier has the most control over the product itself. Any changes or additions to the product itself usually require a minimum order quantity to make it viable and affordable for the manufacturer.
Common questions about dropshipping
Throughout the rest of this book, we’ll cover all of the necessary steps to start a profitable dropshipping business. But before we continue, it’s worth answering a few common questions we receive about what dropshipping is and how it works.
How much do I need to invest to start dropshipping?
Though it’s hard to predict the exact costs for any individual business, there are a few items every dropshipping business will need to spend money on in order to get started. Here’s a quick summary of the essential costs.
Estimated cost: ~$29/month
You’ll need to find an ecommerce platform or website builder in order to create and host your online store. We obviously recommend starting a Shopify store. You’ll be able to effortlessly sync with the Oberlo marketplace to source products, and you’ll get access to our full selection of themes and free branding tools so you can get your business up and running quickly.
Estimated cost: $5-20/year
It’s hard to build trust with customers without your own domain name. While there are a number of top-level domains available (e.g., example.shop, example.co), we recommend looking for a .com that fits your brand, if one is available. Use our domain name generator to get started, or learn more about how to come up with a catchy business name.
Estimated cost: Varies
Although dropshipping lets you have minimal involvement with handling your overall product catalog, you should set aside money, as well as a little bit of time, to test out the products you plan to sell. If you don’t, you risk listing a product with too many shortcomings or defects, which will result in unhappy customers and a lot of time spent dealing with returns.
Estimated cost: Scales with your business; we recommend budgeting at least $500 to get started
Every ecommerce business should look for ways to reduce their average cost to acquire a customer through organic channels like content marketing, SEO, and word of mouth. But to get started, advertising is usually an essential channel for most product-based businesses. The most common channels include search engine marketing (SEM), display ads, social media ads, and mobile ads.
How do dropshippers make money?
Dropshipping businesses act as product curators, selecting the right mix of products to market to customers. Remember, marketing is a cost you incur, in both time and money, helping potential customers find, evaluate, and buy the right product. You’ll also have to include the cost of providing customer support whenever there’s a product or shipping issue. Last but certainly not least is the original price that your supplier sells the product for.
With all of these costs to account for, dropshipping businesses mark up individual products in exchange for distribution. This is why suppliers are OK having dropshippers market their products for them—dropshipping stores drive additional sales that the supplier would have otherwise missed out on. In order to make a profit with your dropshipping business, it’s a good idea to find out how much it costs for you to “acquire” a customer, and price your products with that in mind.
Is dropshipping a legitimate business?
Dropshipping is merely a fulfillment model, one used by many global retailers, and is perfectly legal. Like with any business, satisfying customer expectations and building a brand that resonates with the right audience is still key to long-term success.
This question usually comes up due to a misunderstanding of how dropshipping works. Most retail stores you shop in are likely not selling products they personally manufacture. Dropshipping takes this curated approach and turns it into a fulfillment model fit for an online business.
There are, of course, the more fundamental things you need to do in order to run your business legally. Consult a lawyer who specializes in these matters to ensure you’re conducting business legally in your region.
So, is dropshipping worth it in 2020?
As we’ve mentioned, dropshipping isn’t a perfect, stress-free way to build a successful online business—hard work is always required to start a business. The model has some definite advantages, but comes with a number of built-in complexities you’ll need to address.
We’ll be examining these challenges, and how to best address them, in future chapters. The good news is that with some careful planning and consideration, most of these hurdles can be resolved and need not prevent you from building a thriving, profitable dropshipping business.
The dropshipping model has a number of benefits and drawbacks:
Less Capital Is Required – Probably the biggest advantage to dropshipping is that it’s possible to launch an ecommerce store without having to invest thousands of dollars in inventory up front. Traditionally, retailers have had to tie up huge amounts of capital purchasing inventory.
With the dropshipping model, you don’t have to purchase a product unless you already made the sale and have been paid by the customer. Without major up-front inventory investments, it’s possible to start a successful dropshipping business with very little money.
Easy to Get Started – Running an ecommerce business is much easier when you don’t have to deal with physical products. With dropshipping, you don’t have to worry about:
- Managing or paying for a warehouse
- Packing and shipping your orders
- Tracking inventory for accounting reasons
- Handling returns and inbound shipments
- Continually ordering products and managing stock level
Low Overhead – Because you don’t have to deal with purchasing inventory or managing a warehouse, your overhead expenses are quite low. In fact, many successful dropshipping businesses are run from a home office with a laptop for less than $100 per month. As you grow, these expenses will likely increase but will still be low compared to those of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.
Flexible Location – A dropshipping business can be run from just about anywhere with an internet connection. As long as you can communicate with suppliers and customers easily, you can run and manage your business.
Wide Selection of Products – Because you don’t have to pre-purchase the items you sell, you can offer an array of products to your potential customers. If suppliers stock an item, you can list if for sale on your website at no additional cost.
Easy to Scale – With a traditional business, if you receive three times as much business you’ll usually need to do three times as much work. By leveraging dropshipping suppliers, most of the work to process additional orders will be borne by the suppliers, allowing you to expand with fewer growing pains and less incremental work. Sales growth will always bring additional work – especially related to customer service – but business that utilize dropshipping scale particularly well relative to traditional ecommerce businesses.
All these benefits make dropshipping a very attractive model to both beginning and established merchants. Unfortunately, dropshipping isn’t all roses and rainbows. All this convenience and flexibility comes at a price.
Low Margins – Low margins are the biggest disadvantage to operating in a highly competitive dropshipping niche. Because it’s so easy to get started – and the overhead costs are so minimal – many merchants will set up shop and sell items at rock-bottom prices in an attempt to grow revenue. They’ve invested so little in getting the business started so they can afford to operate on minuscule margins.
True, these merchants often have low-quality websites and poor (if any) customer service. But that won’t stop customers from comparing their prices to yours. This increase in cutthroat competition will quickly destroy the profit margin in a niche. Fortunately, you can do a lot to mitigate this problem by selecting a niche that’s well suited for dropshipping. We’ll discuss this more in Chapter 4.
Inventory Issues – If you stock all your own items, it’s relatively simple to keep track of which items are in and out of stock. But when you’re sourcing from multiple warehouses, which are also fulfilling orders for other merchants, inventory changes on a daily basis. While there are ways you can better sync your store’s inventory with your suppliers’, these solutions don’t always work seamlessly, and suppliers don’t always support the technology required.
Shipping Complexities – If you work with multiple suppliers – as most drop shippers do – the products on your website will be sourced through a number of different drop shippers. This complicates your shipping costs.
Let’s say a customer places an order for three items, all of which are available only from separate suppliers. You’ll incur three separate shipping charges for sending each item to the customer, but it’s probably not wise to pass this charge along to the customer, as they’ll think you’re grossly overcharging for shipping! And even if you did want to pass these charges along, automating these calculations can be difficult.
Supplier Errors – Have you ever been blamed for something that wasn’t your fault, but you had to accept responsibility for the mistake anyway?
Even the best dropshipping suppliers make mistakes fulfilling orders – mistakes for which you have to take responsibility and apologize. And mediocre and low-quality suppliers will cause endless frustration with missing items, botched shipments and low-quality packing, which can damage your business’s reputation.
Is It Worth It?
As we initially warned, dropshipping isn’t a perfect, stress-free way to build a successful business. The model has some definite advantages but comes with a number of built-in complexities and problems you’ll need to be able to address.
We’ll be examining these problems – and how to best address them – in future chapters. The good news is that with some careful planning and consideration, most of these problems can be resolved and need not prevent you from building a thriving, profitable dropshipping business.
Top 5 Truths About Dropshipping that No One Talks About
Before you put all your savings into a new dropshipping business… don’t!
It’s difficult to maintain a business doing dropshipping alone, let alone start one from scratch.
1. Low profit margins.
Sure, since you don’t have to manage or store your own inventory, the overhead is low — but so are the returns.
You put less money in, but you get less money out. That means you have to do a lot of business just to stay afloat, let alone turn a profit.
Think about it this way: every sale you make, most of that money goes to the supplier.
What you earn is basically skimmed off the top.
That’s hardly enough to cover your expenses for marketing/advertising, maintaining your site, managing sales orders, and covering your office hours.
According to Fit Small Business, you can predict your income using these variables (they’re averages, so they’ll change depending on your industry and situation):
- 20% margin.
- 2% conversion rate.
You can then calculate a working estimate using this equation:
(Traffic x 0.02) x (Avg order value x 0.2) = Profit
While this is fine for a quick starting estimate, there are a few problems you also have to consider:
- Chances are, your discount on buying from manufacturers and wholesalers will be less than 20%.
- This doesn’t account for any of the additional expenses mentioned above that you have to pay from your end. It’s not the final profit.
- For most products, you’ll have to cut into your profits to keep your sales prices competitive. If you stubbornly hold on to your 20% margin, other companies will easily undercut you.
On top of that, you’ll notice that your profit is also largely determined by your traffic, so if you’re building an ecommerce brand from scratch, you’ll be struggling for a long time as you build a client base.
Plus, according to Adam Enfroy from BigCommerce, dropshipping is a lot of work no matter how you dice it. Although it seems hands off, dropshippers always have to deal with their wholesale suppliers, order processing, returns, and customer service.
It’s much more reasonable to approach dropshipping when you already have a regular source of traffic.
2. Highly competitive.
There will always be overly optimistic entrepreneurs who focus solely on the “low overhead” part, ignoring the clear evidence above.
Because very little capital is required to start a dropshipping business, that low barrier to entry means a lot of competition, with the most popular markets suffering more than others.
Basically, the bigger a company is, the more they can reduce their markups to offer the lowest prices.
Reiterating what we said above, smaller businesses have to cut into their profits just to stay competitive with their prices, and at a certain point, it becomes unsustainable.
To make matters worse, chances are you don’t have an exclusive deal with your suppliers.
That means any number of competitors could be selling your exact same products. And if you’re just starting out, your rivals with years of experience have the resources you don’t to undercut your prices.
That means customers can buy the exact same thing from someone else for cheaper — why would they buy from you?
3. No control over supply-chain.
In dropshipping, you’re more or less at the mercy of your supplier — but you’re the one who still has to talk to your customers directly.
Dropshippers are essentially trapped, doing little more than hoping the supplier addresses the problems while simultaneously reassuring the customer about something that’s out of their control.
On top of that, there’s also a delay in communication as the dropshipper goes back-and-forth between the customer and the supplier. If one answers slowly, all communication grinds to a halt and the problems take longer to fix.
In ecommerce, customer service is paramount.
Even the slightest transgression — such as a delay in communication — pushes your customers right into the hands of your competitors.
And if they’re vocal about it, those bad reviews early on could end your business before it even starts.
4. Legal liability issues.
Although this isn’t a common problem for dropshippers, it’s worth mentioning. Some suppliers aren’t as legitimate as they claim, and you don’t always know where the merchandise comes from.
Even more deceptive is when suppliers illegally use a trademarked logo or another company’s intellectual property, which happens more than average.
Whatever illegal activities your suppliers are up to, as their vendor you’re automatically complicit.
This potential problem can be rectified with a solid Dropshipping Agreement Contract, but not every dropshipping upstart knows that.
It’s something you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing suppliers.
5. Difficult to build a brand.
Like ghostwriters or behind-the-scenes songwriters, dropshippers must understand that the credit for their work goes to someone else.
If whatever product you’re selling is so amazing, your customers are going to focus mostly on the product’s brand and forget about the shopping experience entirely.
After all, it’s not your logo on the box.
Branding is crucial in ecommerce, as shoppers tend to go to their favorite online stores first.
Without customer loyalty, you’ll never get the regular traffic needed to sustain an online business, especially a dropshipping one.
Again, that’s just another reason why dropshipping makes more sense for already-established brands than new ones.
The Complete Guide To The Most Profitable Drop Shipping Niches Selection
Looking for the perfect drop shipping niche idea is always hard. At the very beginning, you are overwhelmed with questions. What niche to think of? What to concentrate on? What if the chosen field won’t turn out to be as profitable and popular as expected?… It is typically recommended to choose a niche that suits your own interests and passions. That’s a nice place to start, and that’s a guarantee you will treat this business patiently and professionally.
Still, if you want to build a profitable drop shipping webstore, you need to base your niche choice upon some reliable and measurable criteria.
That’s why we have created this Guide for your convenience!
When we select drop shipping niches for our own stores, we evaluate their potential with the help of several parameters.
First of all, we visit the website of the drop shipping supplier we’ve previously chosen – most typically, it’s a seller’s store on AliExpress. Here we can check the relevant statistics to see if this niche and these specific products will be a good choice.
how to find the best dropshipping products and niches
We use a five-star scale. The rating of 5 stars means that from the point of view of this separate parameter, this niche has an excellent potential. The rating of 1 star means that from the point of view of this separate parameter, this niche is not promising at all.
When we visit AliExpress, we estimate:
AliExpress products quantity. We look at the number of items that can be found here upon the use of a particular keyword. We only include the items that have the free shipping option and the 4*+ rating.
• If we can find more than 2 000 items, the score we assign to this niche is 5; • For 500 – 1 999 items the score is 4,5; • For 100 – 499 items the score is 4; • For 1-99 items the score is 3.
The niche popularity on AliExpress. We set the same parameters and sort the items by the number of orders. Then we take the first 10 items and calculate the arithmetic mean of the number of orders.
• If the arithmetic mean is more than 2 000 orders, the score we assign to this niche is 5; • For 500 – 1 999 orders the score is 4,5; • For 100 – 499 orders the score is 4; • For 1-99 orders the score is 3.
Drop shipping niche selection: exploring AliExpress
Trusted supplier. We set the same parameters, take the first 10 stores, and evaluate them by the same parameters as AliExpress itself does:
− How long the store has been in operation; − What its feedback score is; − What the percentage of its positive feedback is; − How much the items fit their descriptions; − How good the communication is; − How satisfactory the shipping speed is.
We consider all these parameters, but, in our opinion, the percentage of positive feedback is the most important. Customer satisfaction is the key factor to a store’s commercial success. This is why we calculate the arithmetic mean of the feedback score for these first 10 stores:
• If the arithmetic mean is more than 96%, the score we assign to this niche is 5; • For 95% – 95,9% the score is 4,5; • For 94% – 94,9% the score is 4; • For 93% – 93,9% the score is 3.
Price setting aspects. We are surely most interested in the products and drop shipping niches where a considerable markup is possible. It is exactly the case for the majority of simple basic goods offered on AliExpress because their prices are really low. It means there’s no problem with setting a higher price on our drop shipping website – it will anyway be lower than the price of competitors’ goods, so our customers will be satisfied with the purchase, and we will be happy with the profit.
To estimate the margin potential, we take the price of the most popular item in the niche and look this item up in 10 other online stores. We calculate the arithmetic mean of these 10 different prices (i.e. the average market price) and compare it to the price set by AliExpress seller.
• If the difference is more than 250%, the score we assign to this niche is 5; • For 100% – 249% the score is 4,5; • For 50% – 99% the score is 4; • For 1% – 49% the score is 3.
Fashion, as well as public interest towards different product categories and separate items, tends to change over time. You need to monitor it if you want to be sure that people’s interest to this niche is stable.
Google Trends is a wonderful instrument that gives you the necessary insight into general public interest towards particular products. This service is designed to analyse search trends, so it’s perfect for your business because it shows:
Drop shipping niche selection: going to Google Trends
How the search volume changes over time;
What the most popular search terms are;
Where the people searching for this term live;
Whether the interest towards this search query is seasonal.
How to use it?
• Pick a product category. The easiest way to do this is to rely on Aliexpress and gather all its possible categories (e.g. electronics, home and décor, jewellery, etc.). • Go to Google Trends and type in this category in the ‘Explore Topics’ field. Let’s take ‘knitting’, for example. • Look at the result and try to analyze it using additional settings. For example, the graph below shows how the search volume changes over time, and, as you can see, it decreases gradually. To learn more about this dynamics, you can change some settings: • Your region of interest; • Time frame; • Categories; • Type of content.
What’s quite curious, this example shows the seasonal interest towards a search query. There are types of goods (for example, Halloween decorations, Christmas gifts, etc.) that are in demand only within a limited period of time. There’s nothing wrong about having these products in your store if they are combined with some other kinds of offers (birthday cards, wedding decorations, etc.) that are not season-dependent, but it’s not recommended to rely on them solely.
Surely, you will also find it essential to learn more about the regions where this search query is the most popular.
Additionally, you will get the chance to see the most popular related search terms and estimate the speed of their popularity growth. This will be a very important piece of knowledge at the moment of planning your marketing and SEO strategies for promoting your drop shipping webstore.
• If the trend is ascending, the score we assign to this niche is 5; • For a flat trend the score is 4; • For a descending trend the score is 3*.
We should try to estimate if we can successfully promote our offers on various social networks, at least on such popular ones as Facebook and Instagram.
For example, while evaluating whether we can use Instagram for a particular category, we use the statistics provided by the Websta service. All you need to do is type the chosen category in the ‘Search’ field.
As you can see, the search results are divided into two categories: users who have this keyword in their account names, and hashtags with this keyword. Therefore you can easily understand:
Drop shipping niche selection: evaluating promotional potential
To evaluate how promising this drop shipping niche is, we use the following criteria:
• If there are more than 10 accounts with more than 30 000 followers, the score we assign to this niche is 5; • For 5-9 accounts the score is 4,5; • For 1-4 accounts the score is 4; • For 0 accounts with this amount of followers the score is 3.
We usually try to collaborate with the accounts that have at least 30,000 followers as this provides us with quite a significant audience. The most common way of such collaboration is promotion via shoutouts: we ask the account owner to publish our advertising posts from time to time on a paid basis.
When evaluating the promotional potential of a drop shipping niche, don’t forget about Facebook! Facebook as a social network is an exciting tool to communicate with your prospects and make your webstore well-known and popular.
To check whether the chosen niche has the necessary potential, type its name in the ‘Search’ field and choose the
What kinds of hashtags you need to use in order to reach the widest possible audience (these numbers show how many times the hashtag was used);
What user accounts you can cooperate with in order to increase your webstore awareness.
‘Groups’ section. You will see a list of the existing groups that have this keyword in their names, and the number of their members.
We usually consider a niche to be promising and prospective if it has more than 15 groups with more than 30,000 members per each. Additionally, it can be useful to also check out the ‘Pages’ section – it gives you even more insight into this niche popularity and its opportunities for your business.
• If there are more than 10 groups with more than 30 000 members, the score we assign to this niche is 5; • For 5-9 groups the score is 4,5; • For 1-4 groups the score is 4; • For 0 groups with this amount of subscribers the score is 3.
It’s important to mention that all these parameters can be successfully used to evaluate not only these particular niches, but the related ones as well. For example, exploring the knitting niche, you can also consider looking into sewing and knitting patterns, craftwork materials, etc.
It is also a great strategy to choose a product category that can easily be promoted through pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization tools. It means that we check if:
This is why search engine optimization (SEO) is vital for a successful webstore promotion.
Some valuable content can be generated for this webstore niche;
We can select enough relevant and competitive keywords related to this category.
We can optimize images and videos;
There are several important points you need to research before making up your mind on any niche for your drop shipping business.
To make the drop shipping niche evaluation easier for you, we have made a scale that will help you decide which niche has more potential in terms of SEO, and which one is almost impossible to squeeze in.
The first step is keywords analysis.
Every niche name in fact is a keyword. Therefore, first of all you should estimate the amount of searches for this keyword on Google (and for those that sound alike). You can do it with Google Keyword Planner.
Drop shipping niche selection: evaluating SEO aspect
The algorithm is the following:
You will get the list of keywords related to this niche with approximate amount of Google searches for each one. By defaults the date range is 12 months, but you can set your own range on the left sidebar.
In the dropdown field enter the name of your drop shipping niche, for example “dogs collars” and click “Get ideas” button at the bottom;
Choose “Search for new keywords” option;
Sign in to your Google account and open the Keyword Planner;
If a keyword has something between 10K and 100K searches, it is the perfect result for a drop shipping niche, as it has some demand but it doesn’t exceed the sensible limits. If there are more than 100K searches, the niche is too wide and the competition will be simply monstrous. If there are less than 5K searches, skip to the next niche option: this one probably has neither competition nor profit.
We personally rate the results the following way:
• If there are 5K-50K searches, the score we assign to this drop shipping niche is 5* since it’s perfect in terms of competition; • For 50K-100K the score is 4* – the competition is great, but there still might be a place for you; • For ≤ 5K searches the score is 3* – the niche is all yours, but there’s no profit in it; • For ≥ 100K the score is 2* – the competition is too high, no chances to win.
You can see that Google Keyword Planner has only 3 ranges, therefore we advise you to look through the list of related keywords it provides for your query. If there are a lot of keywords with 10-100K searches, it is probably between 50-100K in our scale; if there are mostly 1-10K, it is closer to 5K-50K in our scale.
During the next step, you need to conduct a manual research and get an insight into the niche and your probable competitors. In order to do that, open Google search page, enter the following query in the search field and click “search”:
allinurl:niche name (for example: allinurl:knitting)
As the result, Google will show you the pages that have that keyword in their URL, which is a competitive advantage for them.
Look at the number of pages Google shows and that will give you a rough idea of the competition in the drop shipping niche.
We can also recommend using special services like Keyword Explorer by Moz. You’ll need to register with Moz and you’ll be granted access to this tool.
Just enter your keyword to the search field and click “try free”. This wonderful tool will estimate the keyword competition in real figures and provide extremely valuable information on the competition in the niche.
We personally rate the results the following way:
• If there are 10K-100K pages, the score we assign to this niche is 5* since it’s perfect in terms of competition; • For 3K-10K pages the score is 4* – you’ll have to work hard to win the competition but it will be worth it; • For ≤ 3K pages the score is 3* – the competition is pretty low but profits are not high; • For ≥ 100K the score is 2* – the competition is too high, no chances to win.
Here is how the results for “knitting” look like:
As you can see, this tool analyses whether it’s difficult to work effectively in such a competition, shows your opportunities and the potential of entering this niche. Even though all these criteria are crucial, we first of all look at the “Difficulty” parameter as it lets us know if the competition in this niche is fine for us. We personally rate the results the following way:
• If “Difficulty” reaches the mark of 0-40, the score we assign to this niche is 5; • For 41-60 the score is 4; • For 61-80 pages the score is 3; • For 81-100 the score is 2.
We advise you to research everything this tool suggests. But remember that this is a limited version since it’s free, however it is exactly enough to evaluate a few niche options.
The last step of our evaluation is the manual analysis of search engine results pages. To understand your potential SEO competition with huge retailers, just enter your niche keyword in Google search field and explore the results on the first 2 pages.
If the whole first page is taken by such behemoths as Amazon, eBay and others – there is a really slim chance that you will have any profit in this niche. It will be really hard to compete with these giants who get 90% of all the customers. What is left brings no profit.
If the results include not your competitors but some services like Yahoo!Answers or some spammy articles (such resources are called Easy Target), this means that the niche is free and you’d better grab the chance to take it.
• If the 1st page is mainly taken by giants but there are up to 4 places taken by Easy Target results, the score we assign to this niche is 5* – this is the most preferable result where you can get a good spot in the competition and enjoy good profits; • If the 1st page is fully taken by giants, the score is 4* – the competition is extremely high and your chances are rather slim; • If the majority of the results on the 1st page are Easy Target, the score is 3* – you can win the competition but profits won’t be worth it; • If the 1st and 2nd pages are taken by giants, the score is 2* – your chances for a commercially successful venture are insignificantly low.
There are some specific niches that should be approached with great caution. We recommend you to think twice if you want to try them.
Drop shipping niche selection: what niches to avoid?
Items that are usually carefully checked before the purchase include sophisticated electronics, footwear, exquisite clothing, etc. When we buy such products in regular brick-and-mortar shops, we try them out first and make sure they suit us by all parameters. If you include such offers in your store, be ready to deal with lots of product refunds and returns – most likely, your customers will experience some difficulties with ordering the right modification from the first time.
Items that can get damaged during transportation. Fragile products made of glass, porcelain, etc., as well as food, are not particularly suitable for being loaded in and out multiple times. Since the delivery can take a good deal of time, the overall condition of such items by the moment when the package is received can be quite disappointing for the customer and, therefore, quite harmful for your store reputation.
This is the exact way we select niches for our clients who want to start their own drop shipping stores. Every webstore is created based on the results of such an in-depth analysis, and we do our best to make our customers satisfied with the financial outcome.
This is why we are thrilled to introduce…
Items that can possibly experience some legal issues while being taken by a postal service and transferred through customs. Knives, fishing and hunting guns, bows and arrows, etc. can be classified as questionable goods by a postal service and customs; therefore it is vital to check their requirements beforehand to be absolutely sure you will not experience any troubles before shipment. Please note that these requirements vary in different countries, so take some time to learn more about these issues in your target region.
Large and heavy items. Huge packages may cause some undesirable shipping issues. At the very least, the cost of such a delivery will be frustratingly high, and your customers will see no point in ordering such an item instead of buying it in a regular store.
The Ultimate List of the Best Drop Shipping Niches!
This is an exhaustive list of niches recommended for a commercially successful drop shipping store.
We’ve handpicked them in full accordance with the methodology described below, so feel free to choose any of the listed niches.
best dropshipping products and niches 2020
Action figures ★★★★☆
Classic art ★★★★☆
Category: FAN MERCH
Office wear ★★★★☆
Action cameras ★★★★☆
Category: GADGET ACCESSORIES
Consoles accessories ★★★★☆
Electronic cigarette accessories ★★★★☆
GoPro accessories ★★★★☆
Smartphone accessories ★★★★☆
Category: HEALTH & BEAUTY
Hair accessories ★★★★☆
Nails stuff ★★★★☆
Tattoo and body art ★★★★★
Manicure & pedicure ★★★★☆
Category: HOME & GARDEN
Children room ★★★★☆
Kitchen accessories ★★★★☆
Plants care ★★★★☆
Feng shui ★★★★☆
Bar accessories ★★★★★
Category: KIDS & BABIES
Baby products ★★★★☆
Baby toys ★★★★☆
Baby textile ★★★★☆
Baby accessories ★★★★☆
Category: MEN ACCESSORIES
Card holders ★★★★☆
Men wallets ★★★★☆
Cuff links ★★★★☆
Category: PARTY DECORATIONS
Garden decorations ★★★★☆
Wedding decorations ★★★★☆
Party decorations ★★★★☆
Birthday decorations ★★★★☆
Pet clothing ★★★★☆
Pet supplies ★★★★☆
Pet product ★★★★☆
Pet accessories ★★★★☆
Category: SPORT & OUTDOORS
Cycling accessories ★★★★☆
Japanese kawaii ★★★★☆
Cute notebooks ★★★★☆
Category: WOMEN ACCESSORIES
Women wallets ★★★★☆
Women watches ★★★★☆
The Right Approaches to Dropshipping
Dropshipping makes a better sideshow than the main event. While its faults make it hard to support a business on its own, it still offers enough benefits to help ecommerce companies improve their business substantially.
Consider these four approaches to using dropshipping effectively.
1. Market research.
Dropshipping works better as a means to an end, not the end itself.
While a long-term commitment to dropshipping is unviable, using it for temporary projects can be extremely useful — particularly in market research.
Use dropshipping to mitigate the risk in trying out new products and used for market research.
Rather than raising your inventory costs by packing your warehouse with an unpredictable product, test it out with a trial period using dropshipping.
More than just discovering if it sells or not, you’ll also have a better estimate of how much it sells for, giving you a more accurate number of what quantity to buy for your initial stock.
This is doubly important for trying out new product types, which always carry inherent risk.
For example, maybe you’ve been quite successful at selling dog products. Would that translate well for cat products too?
That could be hit-or-miss, but you can always test the water by dropshipping a few products and see how it goes.
2. Protection from overselling.
Experienced ecommerce brands know that market fluctuations aren’t always predictable. Rather than raising inventory costs by overstocking to meet unlikely maximums, having a dropshipping supplier as a backup saves you money without losing those sales.
This is especially useful for seasonal overflow.
You can cut costs by stocking up on only the inventory you know will sell, and if an unexpected demand for sales comes in, you can satisfy them with dropshipping.
It’s a great safeguard against the uncertainties all retailers face.
Having dropshipping options in place also makes great insurance against extreme circumstances.
If something like a natural disaster happens to your warehouse, you can still fulfill pre-made orders by dropshipping the products from elsewhere.
The same holds true for side-stepping surprise shipping delays.
3. Strategic shipping systems.
One unfortunate consequence of expanding your business is shipping complications. The farther out you get from your warehouse or fulfillment centers, the more shipping fees you’ll incur.
Dropshipping can be the perfect solution for some problematic locations that fall outside your profitable regions.
- Maybe shipping that far costs too much, or maybe storage prices are too high to justify setting up a new shipping center.
- Maybe it’s an issue of taxes or extra fees, like when shipping out of the state or country. Relying on dropshipping for these select areas could be the determining factor in keeping you out of the red.
Moreover, just as dropshipping can be useful in market research, you can also use it to test new locales.
Why not use dropshipping for a trial period in a new location to see if it’s worth opening a new facility there?
4. High-maintenance products.
Some products cost more to stock and ship than others.
In certain circumstances, it may be more profitable for you to dropship them versus storing them yourself.
What do we mean by high-maintenance products?
Any products that necessitate extra fees for storing or shipping, such as:
- Large products — Some products take up so much space, their sales don’t make up the costs of the excessive storage room.
- Heavy products — If a product’s weight makes it cost too much to ship, try dropshipping from a manufacturer or wholesaler.
- Fragile products — Fragile products require special care when shipping. In these cases, the supplier or manufacturer might be better equipped to meet these requirements than you.
- Valuables — High-value items like fine jewelry, antiques, etc., require additional security that not all warehouses can offer. Rather than risking theft, you could leave the storage to someone who can adequately protect them.
- Special conditions — Maybe you want to sell items that need to be kept frozen, or materials sensitive to light. If your inventory needs special conditions, you may be better off dropshipping than storing it yourself.
Unless your entire company specializes in these types of products, it doesn’t make sense to pay additional storage and shipping fees for a small subsection of your business.
But you can still keep your customers happy by offering these products through dropshipping.
Whenever you include dropshipping into your sales strategy — in any capacity — you are entering a business partnership with the supplier.
Like we said above, as the vendor you are often at the mercy of your dropshipper for product quality, timely shipping, and even legal compliance.
That means you must choose them with the utmost care.
Above all, you should always test samples of what your dropshipper provides.
For one thing, you want to make sure that the products are as advertised, but you should also see if their shipping meets your criteria.
Outside of the condition of the products, there’s still plenty of concerns about how your supplier conducts business.
Here’s a quick-reference checklist of questions to ask yourself before signing on to do business with someone:
- How do they handle returns or damaged products?
- How long does it take them to fulfill an order, from sale to delivery?
- How is their customer support? (Feel free to test this yourself.)
- Do they insure orders?
- Do they offer fraud protection?
- Can you find reviews or references online?
Also don’t forget the Dropshipping Agreement Contract, explained above.
To help quicken your research time, we’ve previously compiled a list of the twelve most popular dropshipping suppliers.
The article reviews the pros and cons of each, so you can compare them and find the ones best for your needs.
Dropshipping for Beginners: FAQs
Are you new to dropshipping? Need some background before you decide how to incorporate it?
Take a look at these frequently asked questions, aimed at giving you a crash course in how it all works.
How exactly does Dropshipping work?
We mentioned this earlier but will go into a bit more detail.
Dropshipping is when a vendor fulfills orders from a third party and has them ship directly to the customer.
In other words, the vendors passes on the sales order to the supplier, who then fulfills the order.
The vendor usually pays for the item at a discount by working directly with a manufacturer or wholesaler; their profit comes from the difference in the initial item cost and whatever price they sell it at.
The vendor does not store their own inventory or ship items directly. Instead, they focus mostly on marketing, advertising, and managing their online presence.
How do I incorporate dropshipping into my business?
As we explain above, we only recommend dropshipping as a complement to a traditional ecommerce business model.
Assuming you already have an online presence in one or more stores (or at least know how to set that up), incorporating dropshipping is similar to launching any other new product, with a few distinctions.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
- Research what products would fit well with your strategy, market, and customer base.
- Research how your competitors are selling the product, namely pricing.
- Find the best supplier (see our checklist above).
- Finalize a fulfillment process that works for both of you and incorporate it into your system. Depending on your sales management software, this could be easy or require ironing out some wrinkles.
- List and promote your new product. Be sure to specify any special conditions, such as changes in shipping times or locations.
Is dropshipping legal?
Yes, dropshipping is legal.
You may run into other legal issues depending on who your supplier is (as we discuss above), but dropshipping on its own is a perfectly legitimate method of order fulfillment.
Just remember to protect yourself with a Dropshipping Agreement Contract.
Is dropshipping allowed on eBay?
Yes, dropshipping is allowed on eBay.
According to the post in the eBay seller help section, dropshipping (which they sometimes refer to as “product sourcing”) is allowed, but the vendor is held accountable for a safe delivery in the time frame stated in the listing and for the customer’s satisfaction.
eBay even seems to encourage dropshipping. They say specifically that:
“you aren’t obliged to state in your listings that an item is coming directly from the supplier.”
Is dropshipping allowed on Amazon?
Yes, dropshipping is allowed on Amazon.
However, the Amazon Seller Central page on the topic lists two exceptions:
- Using another seller’s name or contact information on your packing slips, invoices, etc.
- Purchasing the products from another online retailer and having them ship directly to the customer (meaning you can’t buy the product online and enter your customer’s name and address).
Amazon also states that the vendor must be the seller on record for all documentation and fulfill all the responsibilities that come with it, such as returns.
What are some dropshipping product ideas?
If you’re interested in dropshipping but don’t know where to start, here’s a list of product ideas for inspiration. We tried to only list auxiliary items that could fit the product range of any industry.
- Tote bags supporting a cause or charity.
- Novelty t-shirts.
- Funny coffee mugs.
- Motivational bookmarks.
- Inexpensive watches or jewelry.
- Marketing merchandise (shirts, bags, mugs, pens, etc., with your logo).
Otherwise, see the section above on market research for a more personalized approach.
The Beginner’s Guide to Dropshipping SEO
As a dropshipping store owner, one thing you need to know before building your website is how to use search engine optimization (SEO) for your business. Dropshipping sites have a unique set of SEO obstacles to overcome as opposed to stores who stock their own inventory, so it’s important that you know how to use SEO. This beginner’s guide to SEO is designed for people who are new to this concept. It is also tailored to those working in the dropshipping business or who have data feed-based stores. That said, anyone looking to get a grasp on SEO for beginners will gain invaluable advice for growing the amount of organic traffic their store or webpage receives. Completely new to this concept? Not to worry! Here you will learn how to SEO without needing any additional background knowledge.
The first important thing to note before you learn how to use SEO for your business is that there are lots of pieces to the puzzle that matter. Google itself is becoming far more sophisticated in its analysis of quality content, so it’s important to understand the different characteristics that the algorithms are using to rank your content. In other words, SEO isn’t as simple as filling a piece of content with as many optimized keywords as possible. It’s also about producing quality writing that adds knowledge and presents information in a manner that is useful to your readers. This SEO guide is structured into two main parts. In the first section we will be covering key concepts about SEO and then we will delve into some actionable SEO guidelines that you should follow in order to achieve success.Enroll in the ultimate FREE course for launching your first online business.Enroll Now
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SEO for Beginners
So first, let’s discuss the basics of what SEO actually is. After all, this is an article on SEO for beginners, and we did say you don’t need any background knowledge to get something out of reading this post. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and in simplest terms, the result of good SEO is higher rankings when a person enters related keywords into a search engine. The aim here is to increase organic traffic to your site, i.e. traffic that you acquire without the use of paid advertising. It is an amazing strategy for gaining visibility for your brand and ultimately increasing sales without having to rely so heavily on doling out money for a large marketing budget.
SEO is actually used for several different types of content searches including photo, video, news, and even academic papers. With dropshipping ecommerce on the rise as an increasingly popular business model, knowing how to use SEO correctly can be a crucial element of setting yourself apart from competition.
SEO is made up of many different interrelated practices, and it only works best when you account for all of them. One fundamental aspect of SEO is incorporating carefully researched keywords into your content. It can be tempting to throw those keywords into the post as much as possible, but SEO practices are actually about achieving the best balance between several other factors including things like originality, writing quality, internal linking, site structure, social proof, and more. Another important part of knowing how to use SEO effectively is carefully combing your site for any errors or problems that might be holding it back from better Google rankings. Sites like Screaming Frog can help you identify such problem factors as slow loading time and mobile friendliness to the URL structure and formatting of your content.
As you get familiar with the different concepts and factors that are key to SEO, you’ll quickly realize the importance of optimizing your product page with keywords, links, and so forth. It can be tempting to inject a piece of content with as many of a given keyword as possible or to stuff it with tons of internal links. Be wary of doing so, however. Above all else, you want to make sure the piece of content remains natural, readable, and otherweise user-friendly. This is one of the most crucial elements of understanding how to use SEO to the benefit of your business.
Also note that learning how to use SEO for your business isn’t something you can do overnight. It’s a set of strategies that work best when you take a long-term approach and are committed to researching and staying up to date on the various elements of practicing SEO because they change continually as the internet grows more sophisticated in its analytical capabilities.
With this basic understanding of SEO and what goes into the rankings that Google creates, let’s explore in more detail some of the key concepts associated with SEO that go into successfully boosting rankings and organic traffic. This information will serve as the foundation for your knowledge of how to use SEO most effectively.
SEO Guide: Key Concepts
Before we go over the actionable ways you can boost your SEO rankings, we will need to cover a few key concepts, as no SEO guide would be complete without them, especially not one intended to explain SEO for beginners!
SEO Guidelines for Keyword Counts
The length of content on each page of your website plays an important role in dropshipping SEO rankings. The more words you include on your content page, the easier it is for search engines to understand what your page is about. In fact, this is one of the most fundamental and widely known aspects of understanding how to SEO.
The first aspect of using keywords in your web text is including them at an optimal ratio with the amount of text overall. That’s why as part of this SEO guide, we recommend that you include at least 350 to 500 words per page. Bear in mind that the content needs to be useful to your user so that they’ll have a beneficial experience when visiting your store. Therefore, the content itself must also look natural. This is one of the most important steps in learning how to use SEO properly. From the text itself, you can begin to optimize with keywords, links, and other strategies to improve your rankings.
Because you want the text to look natural and be useful to those who visit your site, stuffing content in at the bottom of a page or hiding it under a menu or other expandable field can result in site penalization. Instead, try to be thoughtful about the content you incorporate into your website. If you’re looking to include more content on a category page, for example, try adding content in the form of an introduction to welcome visitors. If it’s a product page, on the other hand, you can add content describing each product in detail.
The following questions will help get the juices flowing if you’re not sure what to say. What is it? Who is it for? Where can it be used? When is the best time to use it? Why should your customers use it? How should it be used? Don’t forget to describe your product’s competitive advantage.
H1 Tags for Dropshipping SEO
Now, let’s talk titles and tags. Your H1 tag is like the title of a book. As the search engines read it, it’s one of the first things that describes what a visitor will find on your webpage. If it’s a product page, your H1 tag will be the product title. If it’s a category, it will be the category name. Try using modifiers like ‘Best,’ ‘Top,’ and ‘Buy.’ Here is a list of modifiers you can use to get started.
Much like image names and alt tags, both of which we will discuss later on, don’t overdo it with the keywords in your H1 tags. Google may regard this as spam. You might even receive an over-optimization penalty if you do. Notice the repetition of ‘blue hats’ in the bad example below. This is a depiction of ‘keyword stuffing.’
A good H1 tag:
A bad H1 tag:
<h1>Our Small Fun Blue Hats Are On Sale. Buy Blue Hats From Your Blue Hats Store Today</h1>
Title Tags for Dropshipping SEO
In dropshipping SEO, title tags are important. When someone uses a search engine, the title tag is what shows up in the search results. According to Moz, the title tag should be under 55 characters. Also, it should be relevant to the search terms you want to rank for while enticing enough to encourage someone to click on it.
The title tag is also what is displayed from the Bookmarks tab when a person bookmarks a given page as well as when they use the browser buttons at the top left corner of the screen as they move forward and backward. Moreover, the title tag is what appears in a person’s browser history as well. With so many uses, this is why it is so important that you make the title tag descriptive, short, and user-friendly.
How to Use SEO in Your Meta Descriptions
Another important SEO concept is the Meta description. When you use a search engine, meta descriptions show up directly below the title tag. Keep them between 120 and 155 characters. They should be relevant and describe what the person will find on the page if they click through. If you nail this aspect of of our beginner’s guide to SEO you’ll really stand out from the crowd.
When it comes to dropshipping SEO in particular, make sure your description tags encourage clicks. Give the person a reason to want to click through to your site by letting them know what they’ll find through your meta description. You could do this by including information about a great price, a how-to guide, or an attention-grabbing list in the meta description. Read the title tags and meta descriptions of higher ranked pages for inspiration and examples. How can you write something that outranks them?
How to SEO Using Internal Links
Another crucial aspect of understanding how to use SEO is linking. Internal links are links that point from one page on your site to another. They are distinctly different than backlinks and external links. Internal links should always have the html tag, ‘do follow.’ This way, you’re signaling for search engine webpage crawlers to navigate to the page that it’s linking to, which grants ranking power from that page to the next. In other words, you can use internal links to tell the search engines which pages to rank. Of course, they also help your customers discover other pages on your website.
In dropshipping SEO, internal links indicate to the search engines which pages you want to have rank for specific keywords. Also, they help categorize your site for the search engines and boost domain authority. If you have a really good blog post or infographic page that has a lot of high authority, quality backlinks, adding a related internal link to a descriptive keyword may help the page to which you are linking rank better.
That in mind, the more internal links on a page, the less authority each can pass. If you have two internal links, for example, they each pass 50% authority. Three comes out to a 33.3% transfer. You also have to include navigation, category links, etc. into the equation. The link placement may also carry some weight. If you have three internal links and one is high up in your content and the other two are lower, the higher one may get 60% of the authority and the bottom two may get 20% each. Here’s a guide on building a good internal linking structure.
As you can see, internal links are immensely important to SEO. Add them when they are relevant and related, and be sure not to overdo it. This way you’ll achieve the right balance for boosting rankings without making your content look unnatural.
SEO Guide to Backlinks
When learning how to SEO, backlinks play an important role in driving traffic back to your site. That’s because backlinks are links that point from another website back to yours. Combined with the content on your website, they are the most important means through which you can get a website to rank highly in search engines. Search engines take extreme measures to ensure that a website’s backlinks are organic. Don’t buy backlinks to increase your domain authority, however, because your site will be penalized.
Here is the main jargon you’ll need to know with regard to backlinks:
- Do follow: These pass authority and help your site rank better.
- No follow: These link to you, but they do not pass authority so they will not help your website rank. They contain rel=”nofollow” somewhere in the <a href=” “> tag. You need a natural mix of do and no follow links.
- Keyword rich (anchor text): These are links off of specific phrases or keywords (anchors).
- Natural: Natural links will be based off of your company name, your name, or a variation of your URL or brand.
- Unnatural: Unnatural links are when you have tracking parameters attached, do follow links in sponsored posts, or anything that wouldn’t have occurred naturally like links to a category page on an ecommerce site, for example, an affiliate link.
Having too many keyword rich or unnatural backlinks may lead to penalties. Don’t build too many of them. Make it less than 20%, possibly even 10% of your total link profile.
How to SEO Better Using External Links
Another important part of this beginner’s guide to SEO is understanding how external links play into the equation. When clicked, external links take a visitor to other sites than your own. If you own an ecommerce store, incorporate external links into blog posts only. Good reasons to add an external link to a blog post include when you source a site or mention something of relevance to your audience.
Before you add any external link, first read Google’s guidelines on do follow vs. no follow links and then ask yourself the following:
- Will linking to this website benefit my reader?
- Is the page I’m linking to going to be around for a long time, or could this site go under?
- Is there other content on the site that might be irrelevant or not good for my readers?
If you said yes to the first two and no to the third, this is probably a good site to link to.
Meanwhile, the reason you don’t want to put external links on a shopping page is that it will take a person off of that page if they choose to follow it. This can distract them from making a purchase.
Canonical Links: SEO Guidelines for Beginners
Next up on this guide to SEO for beginners is canonical links. Canonical links are links that tell search engines which page is the one to index in their search results. Suppose you have three pages on your site that all feature the same product, content, and image. You would use a canonical link to indicate which is the right one to index. Note that you don’t want all three competing against each other for space, nor do you want duplicate content issues as we discussed earlier in this SEO guide. If you’re running a split test experiment to determine how successful some of your store’s pages are, you might also want to use canonical links.
Create a Sitemap for Your Dropshipping SEO Strategy
An essential SEO beginner guideline is learning how to use SEO to create a sitemap for your website. A sitemap is essentially just a listing of all of the pages on your website that Google ought to know about. They’re broken down from the highest level pages on your site and include categories, subcategories, and product pages. You can create sitemaps in multiple ways with links, and XML feeds, among other simple methods. Be sure you avoid having a 404 or 301 redirect and pages on your sitemap.
How Paginated Pages Can Boost Your Rankings
Another important aspect of understanding how to use SEO is pagination. Pagination refers to a series of pages on your website. Think about a product category page that contains pages 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. Previously, you would have needed to use a canonical link to a page that had all of your products on it, but now Google has devised rel prev and rel next. By incorporating this into a paginated series you can guide it through the series without having to worry that Google will penalize you for duplicate content, as mentioned earlier in this beginner’s guide to SEO.
SEO Guidelines for Schema
The following words on Schema are an invaluable aspect of understanding SEO for beginners. Schema.org is a resource put together by all of the major search engines. It provides you with the code and snippets to tell search engines the specifics of your page. For example, code is used for showing that there is a video on the page.
Notably, by adding schema markup to your pages (it’s a lot easier than you think, don’t let it overwhelm you), you can further help the major search engines know what that page is about. Also, it shows what the end user will find on your page. Next, you give them new features to show in the search results (videos images next to a result) as well as further define the user experience. Schema is an important and often overlooked aspect of SEO that can help give you an advantage as a data feed and dropshipping site.
Datafeeds and Dropshipping SEO
Before we move on to the actionable tips and tricks you can use to boost your rankings and organic traffic for SEO, you’ve probably seen the term ‘data feed’ mentioned a few times throughout this post. Particularly if you are dropshipping, it is likely that you are drawing a lot of information about your products from descriptions to photos to basic product data from an existing product data feed. The data feed is a file of info made available by your supplier, as it is accessible for merchants to use as they import items into their stores. No doubt data feeds are incredibly useful for ecommerce store owners, especially when the products are being dropshipped. Just note that it’s important not to copy-paste the contents of a data feed into your store without changing it at all because this will be regarded as duplicate content, but more on that next.
How to SEO: Tips & Tricks
Now that we’ve covered the key concepts associated with knowing how to use SEO effectively, the second portion of this guide to SEO for beginners is filled with actionable tips and tricks you can use for applying all of the above information successfully.
Avoid Using Duplicate Content
No beginner’s guide to SEO would be complete without stressing the importance of avoiding duplicate content wherever possible. Duplicate content refers to when two websites have the same content (and in severe cases the same exact code).
Since dropshippers don’t normally hold inventory, they rely heavily on data feeds provided by other stores, warehouses, and manufacturers. These feeds are the XML feeds and spreadsheets that supply product and inventory to their stores.
Because the content, images, descriptions, and everything else within the feed goes to every site using it, the content isn’t ‘unique.’ Being that it’s not unique, the websites created with them end up with a problems sometimes referred to as ‘duplicate content.’
Therefore, search engines have a hard time knowing which one to rank above the others. Data feed sites rarely achieve good SEO rankings if they use the feed provided (duplicate) content. This is why it’s also important to follow our SEO beginner guidelines using the additional tips below in order to make up for any usage of this data feed information in your rankings.
Here is what to start with to help make your site unique from other stores that use the same feeds.
Improve Your SEO Rankings with Unique Images
One the topic of creating unique content, the next tip for boosting rankings on this SEO guide involves taking your own original product photos. While it might take a bit of extra work in the beginning, this will really help you improve your dropshipping SEO rankings. You’ll be able to distinguish your products from other merchants who are selling the same dropshipped items as you (possibly even from the same suppliers) while also avoiding duplicate content.
If, for whatever reason, you can’t take your own pictures, download the product images from the data feed. Next, rename them so that they describe the product in the image, and upload them to your database and server.
Keep in mind that the way you name your images is important. If you sell medium-sized and large blue hats, you don’t want to confuse the search engines if they’re both called blue hat on your ecommerce site. Naming the image medium-blue-hat.jpg and large-blue-hat.jpg will be more search engine friendly. Even if it seems minor, this is an essential step in our beginner’s guide to SEO so make sure that you don’t forget!
Add Alt Tags to Your Images
On the topic of images, the next actionable step in this beginner’s guide to SEO is to make your alt tag reflective of the image name. This is one of the things that many search engines use to decide what an image is about and when to show it to a searcher. It appears in the HTML here:
<img src=”image_url” alt=”insert_alt_tag_here”>
Optimize Your Image Titles
Another key to learning how to use SEO successfully is adding image titles and captions. These should be similar or exactly the same as the image name and alt tag if you decide to use them. The title attribute should be included in the title=”insert title here” section of the HTML.
Don’t overdo it here, either. You don’t want too many keywords, descriptive terms (modifiers), or other words in the image’s name or tags. Again, this could be seen as “keyword stuffing” and may result in penalization.
Alternatively, you can optimize your image filenames, ALT tags and Titles using a 3rd party app like Minifier
Become a Master of Product Descriptions
The product descriptions you import, if left unchanged, are also considered duplicate content. This is one of the more important things you’ll want to fix. As we have established already, having unique and useful content on your pages will set you apart from your competitors. To improve your dropshipping SEO, consider rewriting both your long and short product descriptions.
One of the many important SEO guidelines is that both the product’s long and short descriptions must be unique. If your product descriptions are the same as everyone else’s, you risk not appearing in search engines. Writing original, helpful, and accurate descriptions will be key in getting these pages to pick up both long tail and highly competitive keywords. If you can nail your product descriptions, then you’ll be well on the way to knowing how to SEO for your ecommerce store.
Display Your Product Specs
In dropshipping SEO, if your products have specs that come with a data feed, find a unique way to display or talk about the specs rather than merely copy-pasting the information. Although the search engines expect the specs to be equal in nature, that doesn’t mean you can’t give details about what they mean or display them in a unique and more helpful way.
Beginner’s Guide to SEO: What Not To Do
There are a ton of SEO beginner guidelines out there with shortcuts and side steps for getting quick and easy backlinks or otherwise boosting traffic without having to commit to learning SEO in depth.
In dropshipping SEO, however, many of the blackhat tactics you’ll find may eventually lead to your website getting penalized. Unfortunately, you risk not being able to rank again. In addition, you’d have to do even more work just to get the penalty removed. Furthermore, if you do get a penalty, it can take years for it to be lifted. Therefore, the last point to make in this guide on how to use SEO for your business is that it’s crucial you don’t cut corners. Here are a few final points on what to avoid doing when attempting to optimize your online store and drive more organic traffic to it.
Here is what you want AVOID when building links:
- Directory submissions: Unless they are 100% niche, content relevant and manually updated. Going with ‘no follow’ is much smarter if you do choose to use these.
- Blog comments: Don’t use these, especially off of keywords.
- Forum comments and links: Because they’re so easy to do and anyone can get them, the search engines frown on forum comments and links.
- Automated link builders: These are software programs that use bots and spiders to comment on blogs, forums and communities for you. Using this method can create a bad brand image within relevant online communities and among bloggers. Also, the backlinks are easily mapped to your site, making you more likely to be penalized.
- Link exchanges: Try to avoid reciprocal linking. Too many of these look unnatural and is actually one of the first SEO malpractices to be made into a penalty by Google.
- Link farms: Sites and services that go out and create link farms are another way to get mapped and penalized.
- Sponsored posts: Giving people or influencers money or products in exchange for a post with a ‘do follow’ link may cause your website (and theirs) to get penalized. You probably will want to work with real influencers, but make sure everything is ‘no follow’ so that your site doesn’t increase its risk of getting penalized.
SEO for Beginners: Conclusion
There’s a lot that goes into dropshipping SEO. Whether you have a data feed or dropshipping ecommerce store or you warehouse the product, this SEO guide provides you with the fundamentals for better optimizing your store through SEO.
Note that part of making these tips and key concepts work for you is that you update your content regularly. Dropshipping SEO is not a quick or easy way of boosting traffic. It can take a complex level of knowledge to truly master it, and it requires a long term approach. With practice and adhering to these beginners’ guidelines for SEO, you are already on the right track for getting started!
Not to mention, once you begin seeing the results of your efforts, you’ll find that SEO is a pivotal part of growing organic traffic for your ecommerce business, so be patient and never give up!
Marketing for dropshipping: 7-step marketing guide for dropshipping
Marketing for dropshipping… Ah, the topic that dropshipping business owner struggles with. But, don’t worry, here we have created a 7-step guide that you can use to learn the right way to market dropshipping products. Let’s have a look.
What makes marketing for dropshipping so hard?
Dropshipping is quite different than traditional business methods. In dropshipping, there are thousands of sellers who are selling the exact same product. Also, since dropshipping is an eCommerce business, a potential customer has a choice to buy from any of these sellers without any restrictions. And, needless to say, there is a cut-throat price competition as well.
So, you can imagine how hard it is to reach a potential customer and make a sale! That is why you must learn these 7-steps to handle marketing for your dropshipping store.
The 7-step dropshipping marketing strategy
Dropshipping marketing strategy for your business
- Define the target market for your dropshipping businessHaving a clear idea about your target market helps to work on the rest of the marketing strategies for your dropshipping business.
- Use social media marketingSocial media has a tremendous potential to drive traffic to any business. With a proper audience-building strategy, you can use social media marketing as a growth hack for your business.
- Run Facebook Ads to achieve your marketing goalsFacebook ads are the quickest and easiest way to get started with marketing for a dropshipping business.
- Use up-selling and Cross-sellingUp-selling and Cross-selling is an essential part of marketing for a dropshipping business. With proper up-selling and cross-selling strategies, you can double your sales.
- start email marketing for dropshippingEmail marketing is a great way to get returning customers for your dropshipping business.
- Start content marketing for your dropshipping businessContent marketing helps you to attract new customers into your sales funnel in the early stages of their purchasing journey.
- Use text messaging to market your dropshipping productsText messaging is one of the most underrated marketing methods. However, we found that it is more effective even than email marketing.
Scroll down, we’ll go through step-by-step examples to learn the above marketing methods in detail.
30 essential marketing tips for small business owners
We found that the lack of marketing knowledge is the most common reason for 90% of dropshipping business failures. So, don’t run your dropshipping business to a dead end! Learn these essential marketing skills to accelerate the growth of your dropshipping business.
Marketing for dropshipping – Learn with examples!
To give you a better idea about how to handle marketing for a dropshipping business, we have included step-by-step examples for each step.
Let’s start marketing for dropshipping by building an audience for your business
Marketing is all about reaching the right customer for your products. The right customer is the person who actually needs your products.
For example, there is no point in advertising meat products to vegans. Likewise, you need to find the right customers to sell your dropshipping products. In marketing, we call this process as selecting the target market for your business.
Once you have identified your target market, you have to start building an audience for your marketing campaigns.
Building your audience on social media is the easiest way to get started!
Almost everyone hangs out on social media. So, it is easy to build an audience on social media to get started with marketing for a dropshipping business. Usually, Facebook is the easiest social media platform to start your audience building.
How to start audience building on Facebook?
- Start a Facebook page for your business.
It is free and easy to start a Facebook page for your business. FB offers a step-by-step guided method to create a business page.
- Start posting
Do not try to post your products right away! I repeat, do not try to promote your products right away!! First, post only the “sharable” content, which are related to your niche, on your page. For example, if you sell pet-toys, you can start by sharing dog grooming tips, etc. In this way, you can gather your target audience onto your Facebook page.
Make sure not to post any URLs, until you get enough followers on your page. Also, by posting at the right time on Facebook is another way to get more organic reach.
Follow these steps until you build your audience on Facebook, and You can start selling afterwards.
- Run a Facebook ad campaign to get more followers, or to get more conversions.
We’ll discuss how to create a Facebook ad for the marketing of your dropshipping business in the next step.
Here is a little pro tip!
Getting an organic reach on Facebook is not easy. However, there is a hack to overcome this barrier. Here is our complete blueprint for a Facebook marketing strategy. There we have discussed everything that you need to know about running a successful Facebook marketing campaign for your dropshipping business.
How to create a Facebook Ad for your dropshipping business
Well, obviously you cannot wait until you get enough organic reach to start selling. That is why we need to run paid ads to accelerate the growth of the dropshipping business.
As we have mentioned earlier, Facebook ads are the easiest way to get started with marketing for a dropshipping business.
Facebook Ads manager offers a step-by-step guided process to create the ads for your business. It also offers the audience insights and analytics data to measure the performance of your ads.
- Go to the Facebook ads manager to start creating an Ad for your dropshipping business.
- Start creating an ad
As the first step, you will need to choose an objective for your ad campaign. There can be different marketing objectives for dropshipping businesses. It can be just selling a product, collecting email addresses, or getting more website traffic.
- Select your marketing objective
For this example, I am going to choose Conversions as my marketing objective for the dropshipping store. So, I can let my audience to make a purchase from my dropshipping store.
- Select your target audience for your ads
I normally prefer to use the Facebook audience insights tool to create the audience. It offers more details about the demographics of the selection. Later, you can save and import this audience into your ad campaign.
An additional tip for audience selection for the Ad campaigns
Avoid generic audiences!
When it comes to interests, our advice is to try to avoid any generic interests. For example, if you are selling pet toys, you can select pets or even dogs as interests. However, then it will pick all the people who like pets or dogs in general.
Since we do not want to advertise our products for those who do not own a pet, we need to select pet owners explicitly. They are the people who are interested in buying pet toys.
So, you need to select the people who like pet supplies (not just pets) on social media.
You can use your Facebook page followers as a sample!
If you have followed our strategy of audience building on Facebook, as in the previous step, you already have a great sample audience to run your ad campaign. So, all you have to do is select similar demographics for your ad audience.
- Follow the steps given on Ads manager to complete and run your ad campaign.
The rest of the ad creation process is pretty much straight forward. You can simply follow the guided process to complete the task.
Other social media marketing strategies for a dropshipping business
Using Facebook groups to promote your business
Facebook groups with huge fanbases are usually super engaging. Since any member can post on these groups, these pages get more posts and better reach.
So, if you could find a relevant facebook page for your niche, you advertise on that group for FREE!
Before you start,
Check if the ads are not against the group rules. Also, remember not to spam the group with your ads. Otherwise, the admins will remove you from the groups.
Also, do not use the group only to post ads. Create new conversations every day, ask questions and answer the questions to build up your reputation within that community.
Using influencer marketing for dropshipping
Influencer marketing provides an excellent opportunity for startup dropshipping businesses to grow their customer base. As the name suggests, influencer marketing means the use of a well-known or famous person in your niche to promote your products.
For example, if you are selling fitness products, you can get support from a fitness blogger, a vlogger or an Instagram fitness guru with lots of followers to promote your products.
When you select an influencer,
You can have freedom of picking someone who you afford to work with. Influencers with huge fanbase may be costly to reach. However, if you can find out a trending influencer, you can develop a business relationship which is mutually beneficial.
If you are selecting a trending influencer, you may not need to pay him or her at all. Sometimes cross-promotion would be sufficient. Sometimes, gifting them some products or product package will do.
There is a lot to learn about creating an efficient influencer marketing strategy. And, since it is beyond the scope of this guide, and we will discuss them in detail later.
Start content marketing for dropshipping
Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing blog posts, videos, and social media posts to attract customers for your sales funnel.
How modern customer journeys work?
Before we talk about content marketing for dropshipping, we need to understand how modern sales funnels work.
Now, everyone’s purchasing journeys start well before they come into their purchasing intent. For example, if someone wants to buy a headphone, they do not just type in “buy headphones online” on Google. Usually, they start by searching for the “best headphones” or “how to select a headphone”.
It is extremely costly to acquire a customer who is closer to his purchasing intent.
For example, if you check the ad cost for the keywords like “buy headphones online” the CPC (Cost per click) is around $3.50. However, if you check the ad cost for keywords like “best headphones” the CPC is around $1.00
That means, you can save a lot, if you do the hand-shake when your potential customers are at the early stages of their journeys, rather than waiting till they come closer to the purchasing intent.
Create content to capture the attention of your customers in the early stages of their purchasing journeys
If we go back to our headphone example, you can start creating blog posts, videos, and other social media content to target those who are searching for the best headphones.
By doing this, you are acquiring them into your sales funnel in the early stages of their purchasing journeys. Then, you can build your funnel strategy to move them down towards the conversions.
Using up-selling and cross-selling marketing strategies for dropshipping
So far, we have been discussing marketing strategies to attract new customers to your dropshipping business. However, marketing for dropshipping doesn’t end after you get a customer to your online store.
By working on the up-selling and cross-selling methods for the marketing of your dropshipping business, you can increase the average order value of your sales.
The process of persuading your customers to buy an upgrade or an expensive version of their initial purchase intent.
Suggesting and selling complementary products to the first sale.
You can start implementing up-selling and cross-selling marketing strategies for your dropshipping business at the product pages, on email marketing, and from retargeting ads.
Implementing up-selling and cross-selling marketing on dropshipping product pages
Have you seen the “Frequently bought together” section on Amazon?
That is a classic example of implementing on-page cross-selling strategies. You can do the same for your dropshipping business and sell more. Also, you can start giving suggestions on the product page to implement the up-selling strategies for your dropshipping business.
Using retargeting ads to do marketing for dropshipping
You can use Facebook Pixel installed on your site to gather information about user’s behaviours to run retargeting Facebook ads.
In this way, you can run Facebook ad campaigns for retargeting those who made contact with your business. So, you can start suggesting up-selling and cross-selling to improve your chances of getting a sale or to improve the order value.
Using email marketing for dropshipping
Email marketing is undoubtedly one of the most popular marketing methods for any business. You can use email marketing to promote your content, products, and for up-selling and cross-selling strategies.
Today, there is plenty of email marketing service (even for free) to start an email marketing campaign for your business.
Now you know the basic marketing strategies for a dropshipping store business, what’s next?
Now that you know the basics of how to handle marketing for a dropshipping business, make sure to keep your knowledge updated!