Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No

If you are a cool hunter — someone who has a great eye for finding fabulous stuff on the internet — think about turning that discerning eye into a money-making side hustle. Dropshipping allows you to run a business that operates strictly online, without manufacturing and requiring warehouses for inventory. Instead, a dropshipper utilizes third parties who create products, store inventory and fulfill orders. All you need to do is curate cool stuff and get it in front of the right buyers.

In essence, it breaks down like this:

  1. Customer orders from your online store.
  2. Your store automatically sends the order to the dropshipping store for order fulfillment.
  3. The dropshipping supplier furthers the supply chain by preparing the order.
  4. The dropshipping products are shipped directly to the customer.

Want one-on-one help? Book a session with a small business development expert now

Pros of dropshipping

  • Minimal capital is needed to start up
  • No responsibilities for packing, shipping, tracking, and handling
  • Work from anywhere on your own schedule
  • Low-risk to experiment with product offerings

Cons of dropshipping

  • Low profit margins
  • No control over third-party errors or shipping times
  • You can only sell what someone else is making

How to get started with an online dropshipping business

1. Select a niche

The niche you select needs to be laser-focused and something you are genuinely interested in. A product range that isn't focused will be difficult to market. 

  • Seek attractive profits — the work required to sell a $20 item is going to be just as hard to sell a $500 item.
  • Look for items that are inexpensive to ship. Too high shipping costs will turn away customers. 
  • Dropshippers find the most success with impulse buy items — your aim should be high conversion rates.

Related: 8 Reasons a Powerful Personal Brand Will Make You Successful

2. Secure a supplier

Research your partners and be sure that you are able to communicate easily with them. A bad third-party supplier will ultimately reflect badly on your business.

Related: How to Start a Business With (Almost) No Money

4. Build your ecommerce website

Use a simple ecommerce platform such as Shopify. Shopify lets you easily create a customized online store, set up checkout preferences, and create a customer support page. No tech experience is needed and no costly builds from developers.

Here's everything you need to know about setting up a successful Shopify store.

5. Create a customer acquisition plan

Use these four strategies to drive traffic and boost sales:

1. Boost your search engine appeal

To find more potential customers, it's essential to prioritize Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

2. Amplify your reach with digital ads

 Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, like Google Ads, are an excellent way to boost traffic to your site as ads appear at the top of search results.

3. Utilize influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has proven to be an effective way to market Shopify stores, especially for fashion, beauty and CPG brands. 

4. Master your customer referral program

Referral programs can be an effective strategy where satisfied customers become brand advocates and receive rewards such as discounts or free products.

Related: Get the No.1 Guide to Starting Your Own Business



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