Are you preparing yourself to launch a new dropshipping business? You may have heard all the hype online: it’s easy to get up and running, you can work from anywhere, you can make your own hours, you don’t need to hold inventory, and more. You’ve also certainly done your research and looked up the best online products to sell from home, so you know that while these things might be true, dropshipping is not without its caveats. You need to account for shipping and assessing the right vendors among other factors.
You have also read that success in dropshipping is incredibly dependent on online marketing. So, you have doubtlessly prepared an intricate marketing strategy: you have identified a niche market, you are on all the right social media platforms, you’re prepared to run contests, and you have a solid brand voice. Even if you are aware that dropshipping is not as easy as other people make it out to be, there are still traps lots of neophyte dropshippers fall for that you might not have considered. Here are a few mistakes newbie dropshippers make you would be wise to avoid:
Not doing the math right
In your eagerness to get started with dropshipping, you might have been a bit hasty and neglected to calculate the right numbers. How hard can calculating ROI be, right? If you purchase a product for $30 from a vendor and sell it for $50, then you have an ROI of $20.
Not so fast. Even though social media is often free to use, spending time on Instagram account engagement and posting on Facebook is not always enough. Paid social media ads and partnering with influencers cost money. If you do not have the expertise to write SEO-friendly content or perform the technical aspects of search engine optimization, hiring someone to take care of those things for you will add up, too. Once you factor in marketing expenses, your ROI will ultimately be lower than $20.
Not spending enough time on websites
You might be surprised about this one—you may have spent countless hours making your website as close to perfect as it can be. What does “perfect” look like, though? Spending time on your site is not just about the minutes, it’s about spending time on the right tasks.
Make sure that your website is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. Consumers will look elsewhere if your online store is too confusing or difficult to manage. Think of it this way: when you first walk into a brick-and-mortar store, what do you notice first? Do you immediately lock eyes with the product you have come for, or do you assess the overall atmosphere and deem if the establishment is a place you would like to buy from? Your website is the equivalent of your business space, so make sure it boosts your legitimacy and makes people feel comfortable transacting with you.
Don’t overwhelm site visitors with promotions, ads, and widgets. People are more likely to abandon their carts if the checkout process entails too many steps, so make it easy for people to add orders and checkout. User-friendliness is essential.
Falling for the wrong promises
Be wary of software and services that say they can solve all of your problems and make your business run itself. While some platforms can help you automate or streamline specific processes, you need to judge which ones are right for you and your niche. Dropshipper Shabbir Nooruddin says that he had a particularly enticing call with a pay-per-click company that promised to take his company to the next level:
“I couldn’t have been any more wrong. The results? I was stuck in a six-month contract that cost me a good chunk of cash, and any sales that I did make during that period were from my own SEO efforts—not from a single pay-per-click (PPC)... It was my mistake to see that the niche I had chosen was not a good fit for the situation.”
It’s not that the company was not good at what it does, but its services were not the right fit for Shabbir’s audience. Whatever marketing aids you employ need to account for your customers’ habits and preferences.
Neglecting the legal side
While you are building your website, communicating with vendors, deciding what products to sell, and beginning to market on social media, do not forget to register your business as an actual company. You might end up in a mire of trouble if you do not take necessary precautions to legally protect yourself (such as if another brand sues you for copyright infringement because you did not conduct your research). It might be wise to register your business as an LLC or an LLP and consider looking into possible insurance options.
Dropshipping has its perks, but success requires more work than you may have initially thought. What dropshipping mistakes are you doing your best to avoid when getting started?