Dropshipping can be a great business model to make money online. However there are some critical mistakes that people often make that derails their success. We don’t want that to happen to you. That’s why we’ve compiled a list below of 10 dropshipping beginner mistakes to avoid.
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1. Choosing The Wrong Niche
A niche is a specific focused category that your business will be based on. It can help if you have some interest or knowledge on the products you are going to sell but this isn’t essential. What is essential though is that you thoroughly research products in your chosen niche. Try to find a low competition niche with products that can generate steady sales and good profit margins.
Another common pitfall is either selecting a very narrow niche or a too general niche. A very narrow niche that is focused solely on one thing offers little leeway for swapping for different products in future. Going too far the other way can also be detrimental.
2. Poor Marketing
Many people start a dropshipping store with absolutely no plan in place to market their business. You may have an awesome product and a great functioning website to match. But if nobody knows about it then you aren’t going to get any visitors or orders.
One of the first things you should do before building your website is to create a marketing plan and budget. There are many ways to market your business including both free and paid for methods. This includes paid advertising, social media marketing and email marketing. One of your top strategies should be to optimize your site to rank higher in search engines using good SEO practices.
You might also like to check out some of the essential marketing terminology you need to know.
3. Poor Quality Website
Once you’ve attracted visitors to your site the last thing you want is for them to leave due to poor design or functionality. A website needs to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Some things to ensure you consider;
- Use good font and color schemes that are not harsh to the eyes.
- Ensure there is a good, simple navigation structure so customers can move around your site easily.
- Banners and pop ups can be a great part of marketing but avoid unnecessary use of them. For instance a customer will not take kindly to a pop up appearing every 10 seconds asking them to join your newsletter.
- Make sure your contact information, shipping and returns, and legal policies are clearly displayed.
- Test your checkout process before going live. If there is an error that prevents a customer from completing checkout they will abandon their cart and never return.
- Works on mobile devices.
4. Competitive Pricing
One of the biggest dropshipping beginner mistakes to avoid is trying to undercut your competitors on prices. Doing this will just erode your profit margins and mean you will have to sell more to generate the same revenue as before. Also, to a customer, ultra-low prices may be perceived as low product quality and could actually harm sales.
Learn more about the many different pricing models and strategies businesses can use.
5. Doing Everything Manually
When you start a dropshipping business it’s likely you’ll not have a very large budget and will be doing everything on your own. Whilst it is good to save money, taking on every task manually will lead to stress and burn out. The workload and pressure can be so overwhelming that it forces people to quit.
You can avoid these issues by automating your dropshipping store as much as possible. Companies like SaleHoo and InventorySource provide great dropship automation tools. These tools can help with a variety of tasks such as importing product information, pricing, product ordering, email campaigns and more. You can even use chatbots to help automate your customer service. As you grow you’ll still need a lot of human intervention. Hiring a virtual assistant is often a good step.
6. Selecting Poor Quality Items
One of the biggest dropshipping beginner mistakes people make is to pick the cheapest item they can find on AliExpress to make large profit margins. However doing this usually leads to a very poor quality product. And a poor quality product means less satisfied customers, more complaints, more returns and more refunds.
One product may be available at many different suppliers but can vary widely in quality at each of them. Ensure you research each supplier and take note of customer feedback on their products. Sometimes purchasing the same product at a slightly higher price from an alternative supplier can result in a much better quality item.
You can avoid this mistake by using services like SaleHoo Directory. They have a database of thousands of vetted dropship suppliers. So you can be sure of their legitimacy and product quality. Another good alternative is Spocket.
Find more top US, Chinese and European wholesale suppliers for your business.
7. Being Reliant On One Supplier
So you’ve found a great supplier offering quality products and you’ve built a good working relationship with them. But what happens if that supplier runs out of stock or even goes out of business altogether?
This could leave you with issues in not being able to fulfil orders, losing sales and damaging your brand.
That is why it is important to have arrangements in place with other suppliers as a contingency plan. Should one supplier fail then you have others you can turn to as back up and keep your business running smoothly.
8. Ignoring Customer Reviews And Complaints
There will be times when you receive questions, complaints and negative reviews from customers. This can be from poor quality products, damaged or incorrect products or overdue delivery timescales. Never ignore these.
Whilst you are not the one manufacturing or shipping the items, you are the store that the customer purchased from. And it is your responsibility to handle their complaints and concerns and try to resolve it in a satisfactory manner. Negative reviews on social media and review sites can severely harm your brand.
9. Unrealistic Expectations
People often turn to dropshipping in the expectation that they can make easy money with little effort. This is the impression many people get from watching YouTube videos from so called ‘gurus’. The business model does offer many benefits over traditional retail and there is opportunity to earn good money.
However just because you are not handling and shipping the products yourself doesn’t mean there isn’t much work to do. A lot of time and effort needs to be put into branding, marketing and customer service along with product and competitor research.
10. Quitting Too Early
Number ten on our list of dropshipping beginner mistakes is quitting too early. This goes hand in hand with the previous mistake of unrealistic expectations.
You aren’t going to make money straight away and will have to spend considerable time researching, setting up, launching and marketing your store and products.
Create a plan with realistic sales goals that can be achieved on a monthly basis. Prepare to learn a lot and don’t get discouraged and give up at the first hurdle.
People who fail in business are often lacking the drive, dedication and persistence required to become successful. Learn how to start succeeding with the 13 steps to riches and 30 causes of failure to avoid.
Dropshipping Beginner Mistakes Conclusion
Now you are aware of 10 of the most common dropshipping beginner mistakes you will be able to avoid making these. Dropshipping can be a great online business as it allows flexibility to work from anywhere and potential to make good profits.
You may find it beneficial to take an online course in dropshipping to give you a more in depth view of the whole business process. This will give you the confidence and skills required to create a successful dropship store and avoid the same mistakes that many others make.
If you do decide to take a course then exercise a degree of caution when it comes to self-styled ‘gurus’ selling their own courses on social media. No doubt some of these people are highly successful and know what they’re talking about. But there are a lot more of these that are only trying to sell you ‘training’ that won’t offer much benefit.
If you have ever run a dropshipping store before, what are the mistakes that you’ve encountered? Let us know in the comments below.
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