This post provides an introduction to the dropshipping business model and was written in collaboration with .STORE domains, the best choice for domain names for e-commerce.
eCommerce businesses are at an all-time high, with a whopping 15.5% of retail sales worldwide expected to take place online this year. With so many consumers turning to the Internet to find the products they need, there may not be a better time to start an eCommerce business than right now. But before you head off to figure out what type of product you can create to sell online, take a few minutes to consider a dropshipping business model.
What Is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is when a retailer sends all orders out to a third-party supplier for production and order fulfillment; the retailer doesn’t keep an inventory of any products in-house. Here is the way an eCommerce dropshipping business typically works:
- A customer places an order online through an eCommerce website.
- Order details go to the Internet retailer and the dropshipping supplier.
- The Internet retailer sends payment for the order to the dropshipping supplier.
- The dropshipping supplier prepares the order and sends it out to the customer directly when ready.
5 Benefits of a Dropshipping Business Model
There are many reasons aspiring eCommerce store owners should consider using dropshipping. Here are some of the benefits that make dropshipping a sound business choice:
- Low start-up costs – With dropshipping, you pay on an order-by-order basis, and are able to avoid a large financial output at the start of your business.
- No need for store inventory – Orders are fulfilled as they are placed; you don’t need to worry about storing product inventory.
- Easy to scale – The dropshipping business model gives you an opportunity to start small and scale quickly as sales increase without having an increase in costs.
- Greater product variety – Since you are paying at the time of production and are not stocking inventory, you can sell a more diverse product line.
- Ability to work from anywhere – Dropshipping allows you to work from anywhere you have
5 Steps for Starting an eCommerce Dropshipping Business
Are you ready to get started with the dropshipping business model? Here are five initial steps you should take.
1. Pick a Niche That Is Profitable
Whether you’re interested in selling t-shirts and other clothing items, products for kids or pets, housewares, or holiday items, it’s important to start by doing adequate research into each niche you’re considering. Once you understand the market and demand for the products you are looking to sell, you can create a business plan to do it successfully.
2. Get a .STORE Domain for Your eCommerce Business
With the dropshipping business model, your brand name is arguably one of the most important points of consideration. The products you are selling may not be unique; many dropshipped items are often sold across many other websites. This is why a customer’s first touchpoint with your brand — your domain name — is essential. Your domain name is not only your business’s online identity, but it also carries the power of your brand. The best domain name for your dropshipping eCommerce business should be all of these things:
- Short and simple
- Meaningful and contextual
- Devoid of any hyphens, numbers, or oddly spelled words
However, millions of domain names have already been registered, so it may be difficult to find the right domain name that matches all of the above criteria. One way to get a domain name that checks all of the boxes above and continues to add long-term value to your business is to register it on a new domain extension. When it comes to anything related to eCommerce, the domain extension to go for is .STORE.
Since the word “store” means a place where you go to buy something, having that in your domain name will immediately establish that you’re selling a product. This will make you stand out from your competition.
Plus, not only will a .STORE domain name add value to your business, but it will also give you immense marketing support. For example, instead of sharing a generic or very long link that is likely to be shortened by the social media platform, you can share cookies.store/chocolate-chip. This makes your links branded and more meaningful. Branded links such as these can help increase your CTRs by 39%.
Pro-Tip: You can use a business name generator to find great brand names along with related available domain names.
3. Find the Right Suppliers
Aligning yourself with a legitimate and reliable dropshipping supplier is vital for your new eCommerce business to succeed. According to Shopify, two red flags that the supplier you are considering may be fake are that they charge a monthly membership fee (they should only get paid when an order is placed) and they sell directly to the public (this usually means their rates are inflated). Be sure to thoroughly research any dropshipping suppliers before choosing the one you want to work with.
4. Create a Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan should outline the actions you will take to get your products in front of potential buyers. It should include these elements, at a minimum:
- A description of your target audience
- Your unique selling proposition
- A competitive analysis
- Your pricing strategy
- How you plan to promote your business
- A summary of your short- and long-term business goals
- The budget you have available to execute your plan
5. Optimize Your Online Store
In order for your store to get traffic and ultimately sales, it needs to be optimized for organic search. After your store has launched, take time to implement each of these eCommerce optimization tips so your store starts bringing in sales as soon as possible:
- Conduct keyword research
- Optimize store and product META tags
- Use good product photos (and optimize your images)
- Create keyword-friendly product descriptions
- Use link building strategies
Your domain name can play a crucial role in helping you get meaningful backlinks. For example, if your domain name www.milkchocolates.store gets backlinks on the anchor text “milk chocolates store,” it tells search engines about the relevance of the domain name and helps your SEO efforts.
Now that you know a little bit about the dropshipping business model and the steps you should takes to be successful, it’s time to get to work creating your own eCommerce business. Follow the tips provided here and you will be on your way to setting up your online store and starting to sell online.