How to Drop Ship Successfully – 25 Super Drop Shipping Tips
Drop shipping can be an efficient fulfilment method — a way to get products that have been ordered through your site to your customers.
Using this method can free you from having to carry inventory thereby reducing your costs, reducing your risk, and making it much easier for you to increase the variety of products you carry. Many advantages.
That said, this method does have its challenges as well.
You have less control, less competitive pricing, and you remain reliant on suppliers. You also have a supply of products that can often be carried by other stores. How do we overcome these limitations and maximize the advantages of drop shipping? Well…
Here are 25 drop shipping tips to help you get the most out of this fulfilment method within the frame of your larger business model.
Let’s get started.
How to Drop Ship Successfully – 25 Super Drop Shipping Tips
1. Focus on a Niche
As the saying goes, “There’s riches in the niches.” Focusing on a niche helps to build a brand and provides clearer approaches for marketing.
2. Take Steps to Master Marketing
To drop ship successfully means to master marketing. Your edge comes from being able to get the right product in front of the right person at the right time. We all understand that no product sells itself. So, drop shipping means a commitment to marketing.
Continually work on improving your ad performance.
3. Develop Your Customer Avatar
Develop a list of characteristics for your ideal customer. This can help you figure out multiple paths to reach and convert customers. Through all phases of the marketing process, continue to increase your understanding of who is buying.
4. Offer Amazing Deals (and Show Them)
This can be a very effective way to increase traffic and sales. Use options like buy one get one free, put bundles together, and offer discounts (everyone likes to save money). When offering discounts, don’t just drop the price temporarily, show folks the original price so they can see the savings.
5. Don’t Undervalue Your Brand
It is difficult for a company to raise prices after they’ve dropped them. Understand your brand value and be careful with it. Even if your mission is to get people goods for the least amount of money, be sure people you are talking about the value your company brings. (We find the best prices for you, so you don’t have to.)
6. Break from Bad Suppliers Quickly
Don’t wrestle with trying to get suppliers in line. If they don’t perform, cut them loose.
7. Learn to Use and Apply Automation Tools
Take advantage of the power of an online business. Take back your time. Set up automation tools whenever possible.
8. Create a Quality Store
Build customer trust by creating a quality store. Check out competitors in your niche, top performers, and your own favourite store websites to see:
- how they create their customer experience
- how they ease their customers through the website and through processes
- compare how they arrange categories, sales copy, homepages, and how they craft a great customer experience
Consider making a small purchase to see all aspects of the transaction as well as how they follow-up.
My favourite platform for drop shipping is, by far, Shopify. You can build a great, high quality store with the best automation and marketing tools in the industry.
9. Provide Information to Customers to Tackle Issues Before They Arise
Create pages that clearly outline:
- shipping details
- refund policy
- about us
- and even an FAQ page
This is to manage customer expectations.
Pro Tip: Include a section that addresses all the negatives to buy from you that you can think of and provide an answer. Do this in the voice of the customer.
What if I’m not happy with my purchase?
You can return any item within 30 days if you pay the shipping.
This is a valuable tool to help turn potential buyers into customers.
10. Be Prepared to Adapt
If you’ve tried multiple ad campaigns and certain products or lines aren’t getting the traction you want, be prepared to make changes. It’s easy to do with drop shipping and it’s part of the process of success.
11. Offer Great Customer Service
You know the maxim. It’s less expensive to keep a customer than it is to find a new one. Turn a customer into a returning customer and a mini brand ambassador through great customer service.
12. Use Data to Inform Your Decisions
Track sales of products, ratings and reviews, analytics, and traffic to help determine how well products, campaigns, or contracted employees are performing.
This is an important part of setting measurable goals. Clearly define how you plan to measure successes and gather data for those metrics.
13. Supplier Background Research
When looking to add a new supplier or product, dive into reviews to get a better idea of how they might perform prior to adding them to your store.
14. ePacket Only from China
If you do choose to ship some of your products from China – always use epacket.
You can sort through suppliers to see only those items that are shipped using epacket.
Epacket shipping provides a tracking number that you can provide to your customer, offers shipping times of 1-3 weeks, and usually costs around five dollars.
Register for emails and newsletters from your closest competitors so you can keep abreast of what they’re up to.
16. Include a Recurring Automated Note for Suppliers
Be sure to write a custom note for all suppliers that includes: “This is a drop-shipping order. No invoices or marketing materials.”
This note should be a part of every purchase you make from a drop shipper.
17. Shipping Times
Be sure to check shipping times for countries and, in the beginning try to stick to items that can be shipped to the customer in 3 weeks or less.
Shipping times may not stop someone from buying from you, but you can save yourself some trouble if you stick with faster shippers, at least in the beginning.
18. Post Shipping Times Where They are Clearly Seen
Advise customers of shipping times on product pages, shopping cart, and in customer confirmation emails as well as having a page on your site for this information.
Put your shipping disclaimer in bold. Make sure customers see it. In short, keep customers happy by ensuring that they are well-informed.
19. Have a Perfectly Clear Refund Policy
Be sure to set up a refund policy page. We make it very clear that we only give refunds for products that are damaged or faulty and that the customer must pay shipping to return the item to us prior to a refund being issued.
You may simply choose to have customers provide you with a photograph of the item in order to process a refund (best for less expensive items or items that cost less than the shipping).
Whatever you decide your refund policy is, be sure to include a link to your refund policy page in the footer of every page of your website so that customers have no excuses.
20. Gather Your Lists Right from the Start
Don’t drop ship to Amazon or Ebay in the beginning – focus on driving traffic to your own site and building your own email list.
We recommend AWeber. It’s our favourite email platform.
21. Stay Connected with Your Customers via Email
Be sure to follow-up with customers after a purchase sending them their tracking numbers (with a link to the website they can use to track their orders), reminding them of shipping times, letting them know you’re there for them.
Take the time to ensure the customer is happy and well-taken care of and you’ll be well on your way to building a strong and responsive email list that you can use for future items.
22. Multiple Products for Variety and Professionalism
We recommend starting with at least 15-20 products on your store as this can display a greater professionalism while also providing hard won traffic with multiple options to buy.
23. Protect Yourself and Set Up a Company
You may not have to set up a limited liability company, but we always do and we recommend you do, too.
In many countries, this can be done online for a couple hundred dollars. Take legal counsel if you need to, but ensure that a separate legal entity protects and separates you from any potential liability.
24. Have an Plan to Cover Early Purchases
Have some form of payment available that you can use to complete transactions (at least in the beginning). Avoid processing and shipping delays by processing transactions right away.
Don’t rely on using money from sales, as credit card, bank, and PayPal as all take time to transfer money to you. Until you have money from sales available to you, have some method to pay for these early purchases on-hand.
Note that Paypal takes 1-3 weeks to process a payment, and banks will likely take at least a week, depending on where you are.
The essential element in drop-sipping is testing. You add a catalogue of say 20 items to your store, you run ads for those items, when you find an add that works, you scale it up. Keep adding products to find more winners and, over time, drop those items that aren’t selling. Just be sure to try running different ads and don’t give up on a product too quickly.
26. Don’t Give Up… Pivot!
If you find a niche isn’t what you had hoped, take what you’ve learned and what you’ve built and pivot. Adapt with your ads. Adapt with your products. Adapt with your niche. Don’t give up. Pivot.
We hope you find these tips helpful and that your drop shipping experiences bring added successes to you and your business.