5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Dropshipping Store
Are you interested in building your own dropshipping store, but you’re scared of wasting your time and money on a failed venture? It’s true that dropshipping has been touted as one of the easiest ways to get into eCommerce with zero capital or startup costs. But many common misconceptions have led many hopeful entrepreneurs to make early mistakes in their dropshipping journey that end up spelling disaster for their business as a whole.
So, to help you build a truly successful dropshipping store, we’ll be covering some of the most common mistakes that new dropshippers make – and how to avoid them when building your own online store.
1. Your branding is an afterthought.
When it comes to dropshipping, your business cannot rely on the power of your products alone to attract customers. The truth of the matter is that you’re more than likely not the only online store selling the exact same products as you from the same supplier that you use. What can set you apart, however, is crafting a well-thought-out brand identity that customers can recognize, connect with, and trust.
It should go without saying that your business should also have a unique, professional-looking logo. If you’re not a graphic designer, don’t worry – there’s tons of free logo makers available online that you can utilize. Your website should match the colors and style of the logo you’ve created as well. According to Lucidpress, consistent brand presentation has resulted in a revenue increase of 33%.
Even at the product research stage, you should be thinking about your brand. Choose products that can easily be integrated into your business’s own unique identity, whether it be aesthetics, colors, subject matter, or niche.
Aside from aesthetics, make sure that all of the copy on your site fits your brand. This includes your product descriptions – one common rookie mistake is to copy and paste the product description directly from the supplier. Instead, write your own unique product descriptions that are uniquely targeted towards your customers. A good product description can make or break a sale; 87% of customers feel that product content is an important factor in their purchase decision.
2. You chose the wrong products.
If you’re just starting out with dropshipping, you may be tempted to sell the first trending product that you find on your chosen supplier’s inventory list. But, be warned: selling a product without doing any research on its quality, success, trend status, or evergreen potential is a huge mistake. Not every single product that your dropshipping supplier sells is going to sell well on your online store.
An easy way to determine product demand and success is determining the average review and how many have been sold. On AliExpress, you can see these metrics directly on the product listing.
Now, you may have done some product research on what you’ve chosen to sell, but there’s other mistakes to be made here. Namely, you may have chosen a random assortment of products that don’t actually relate to one another. This ties back into our previous point – your brand needs to be cohesive across the board, and that includes your product lineup. Determine your niche and stick to it.
With your researched niche chosen, it’s important to do further research into both trending and evergreen products. Ideally, you’ll want to sell a mixture of both on your online store so that you can keep up with viral trends, but still have products to fall back on when the trend dies down.
3. You’re relying on one supplier.
Possibly one of the most important – and hardest – things to establish when you start dropshipping is a good relationship with a reliable supplier. In fact, 84% of eCommerce retailers feel that finding and securing a good supplier is their biggest obstacle.
Dropshipping is different from a typical business model because you’re relying on your supplier for more than just inventory – they handle procurement, warehouse space, fulfillment, shipping, and even returns in some cases. This makes your choice of supplier vital to the success of your business, because any mistake made on their end will come back to you.
But, even if you’ve put a lot of time into choosing the right dropshipping supplier, you don’t want to rely entirely on just one. Keep your options open and have other suppliers available to work with in case anything happens to your main choice.
For example, products may go out of stock and then never return from your main supplier. If that product is one of your store’s mainstays, and you don’t have any backup sources to supply your customers with, then you’ll have nothing to sell.
4. Your shipping and returns policies aren’t clear.
Most dropshippers source their products from suppliers in Asian countries, like China. Because the products you’re selling will be, in most cases, shipped overseas to your customers, delivery times are typically much longer than what you’d find with an order from Amazon.
So, while it may be tempting to give a lowball estimate to customers just to get them through checkout and not deter them with a long wait time, it’s much better to be upfront with what a customer should expect. If you told a customer that they should expect their order in about two weeks, and it ended up taking over a month, their satisfaction and trust with your business will suffer.
Beyond shipping is the unavoidable return. Again, this comes down to trust: if you don’t have a clear returns policy on your website that details the exact terms that constitute an eligible return and the steps a customer needs to take to get a refund, then customers will be much less likely to trust your business. In fact, over 60% of consumers review a website’s return policy before following through with a purchase. If they don’t like what they see, then they may simply move along.
5. You haven’t invested in marketing your site.
Although dropshipping has earned its name as one of the “easiest” business models in eCommerce, that does not make it a set-it-and-forget it type of business. One of the more common mistakes that new dropshippers make is not making a marketing strategy. Without one, your online store will stay hidden among the sea of other online stores that dropship.
To stand out and get traffic to your store, there’s three main methods: social media presence, SEO and paid ads.
The first thing that you should do to start getting the word out about your business is through social media. Creating an account for your business and posting organically is free advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and any other network relevant to your niche. Think of social media as a form of content marketing: post both valuable, non-promotional content that your target audience would love as well as content that promotes your products.
The next form of free advertising that you should take advantage of is search engine optimization. By optimizing your site using SEO tactics, your online store can rank higher on search engines when potential customers enter certain queries. Like you did product research, you’ll have to also do keyword research to find out what search terms are relevant for your business. You can use tools like SEMrush to understand the intricacies of each keyword.
Finally, you’ll want to take advantage of paid ads. Most successful dropshipping stores utilize social media ads on Facebook and Instagram to gain traction. But, again, you’re not going to be creating ads that will turn into instant successes. Finding the right ad that engages viewers and brings in customers takes trial and error. Just like you would with SEO, make sure to target the right audience that fits your niche.
Dropshipping may sound too good to be true with how easy it can be to make a profit. Technically, that is true – there’s a lot more work that goes into building a successful dropshipping website than what many believe. But, if you avoid the mistakes that we’ve outlined today, then you have a better chance at success. Let’s review:
- Craft consistent branding from the beginning and reinforce it on every aspect of your store. Don’t ignore written copy, like product descriptions, when branding your business.
- Take the time to research the perfect product for your desired niche. Rather than choose whatever’s trending, put research into determining what products are actually successful with the right level of competition for someone just starting out.
- Choose the right supplier for your business needs and establish relationships with more than one option. Protect your product offering by giving yourself backup sources in case of discontinued products.
- Be clear and honest with customers regarding your business’s shipping and returns. Although your supplier may handle both of those, it’s important that you don’t give customers false expectations – or else you may risk a loss of trust.
- Market your online store across multiple channels, including social media, SEO, and paid ads. Constantly test and reconfigure your strategies to find out what brings traffic into your business.
With these insights in mind, it’ll be much easier to make a profit with your new dropshipping store. Stay active, honest and present to maintain success online.