Setting up a drop shipping store is a great way to earn money as an eCommerce business. The most compelling feature of a drop shipping store is managing a store without the hassle of inventory and shipping logistics.
You’ve likely heard stories from entrepreneurs about how expensive starting a business is. These include tales of hopelessly seeking investors, or businesses struggling to stay afloat due to bleak financials. Don’t let this scare you out of starting a drop shipping store because this model allows you to sell products with little risk.
All you need to do is receive the orders and get in touch with your supplier – the rest is up to them.
When it comes to funding your business, there are very few financial obstacles associated with setting up a drop shipping store. In fact, you can get started with an online store with almost zero initial investment.
Here’s a 7-step foolproof plan on how to start a drop shipping store on a shoestring budget:
1. Research Your Options
Before starting any type of business, you’ll need to do some homework. This involves getting online and checking out your competitors who are selling similar products. You’ll also want to spend some time researching your potential suppliers and distributors to see what each has to offer.
Each shipping partner will have a unique way or doing things and pricing model, so pay close attention to those details so you can make sure you’re pairing up with the right group for your business.
2. Create a Plan and Stick To It
Before you can start your business operations, you’ll need to have a solid plan in place. This includes a budget. Whether you have $50 or $500 to get started, it’s important to identify what your budget is and make sure that you stick to it. The best way to do that is to keep careful records of all of your expenses to make sure that you don’t go over your budget when you’re setting up your store.
3. Find Your Niche
It can be very difficult to appeal to everyone, in fact, many say that this is an impossible task. Instead, pick your products based on a specific niche rather than trying to sell every product under the sun.
If you know you want to sell animal related products, pick a specific area of that industry, such as vegan pet food or clothing for dogs. You’ll have a much better success rate when you can narrow your focus down because you’re more likely to be found when people are searching for a certain type of product. If your focus is too broad, your small shop will get lost in a sea of competitors.
4. Set Up Your Ecommerce Site
This is the step where you actually start a dropshipping store and set up your site. Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms available to sellers today. It’s easy to get started and its user-friendly interface makes setup and maintenance easy, even for sellers who aren’t particularly tech-savvy.
Shopify is also an extremely affordable option, with monthly rates at less than $30, making it a great way to get started in the world of eCommerce on a budget. You can also start a Modalyst store, which helps you to increase your distribution and streamline your distribution process
After you get set up with a basic online storefront and have your products selected, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
5. Make Arrangements With Your Suppliers
There are plenty of choices out there when it comes to deciding which supplier to use for your drop shipping store. Since you’ve already done your research in step one, this is the time where you formalize your choice. You can do so by entering into a deal with the product distributor(s) of your choice. Each of the most popular shipping partners makes it easy to get started and you can be on your way in no time, without having to pay any upfront costs.
The most important questions that you ask of your potential suppliers are:
- Do you keep products in stock?
- How do you handle returns?
- What is your average processing time?
- What areas do you ship to? Do you ship internationally?
- What type of support do you offer?
- Is there a minimum order quantity?
Once you find a supplier who answers those questions to your satisfaction, you’ll have a solid understanding of how your suppliers run their business. Furthermore, you’ll know what you need to do as a seller working with them. At this point, you’re on your way to a successful working relationship.
6. Start Selling
Congratulations! This is one of the most exciting steps in starting your online store. Once you have all your plans and agreements in place, it’s time to upload your product information to your site and start selling.
You might not see many sales to start out if people aren’t aware of your products. If this is the case, you’ll want to spend some time and resources on advertising. You can keep advertising costs fairly minimal by starting with low-cost ads on Facebook and Instagram, or advertising on blogs and other websites that have a similar audience.
7. Optimize Your Site
Once you have some sales and experience under your belt, you can take some time to customize your site. You can do this earlier on in the process, but it’s often a good idea to wait to see what’s working before you start making changes.
Platforms like Shopify and Modalyst have a wide range of customizable options, including themes to enhance the way your site looks, and plugins that help optimize how your website functions. The main goal here is to tweak your site in ways that make things easier and more streamlined for your customers.
As you can see, all it takes is a few steps to set up an online store, and most of them don’t require any money. If you’re passionate about becoming an eCommerce business owner but don’t have a lot of capital to start with, you’re not alone. This is why there are so many platforms that make it easy to get started without spending a fortune in the process.
Make sure you do your homework and formulate a plan that you can use to guide you through setting up your dropshipping store while staying within your budget, no matter how limited it may be.