Step 1: Choose your product
One common mistake people make when choosing a product is going for something they’re passionate about without thinking logically.
I think it’s foolish to enter a market with a product that you chose because you like it. You’ll find that your passion for the said product will diminish quickly if it doesn’t translate into sales and revenue.
Which is why there are important things to be kept in mind when choosing a product:
Low initial costs in dropshipping won’t automatically assure you a high profit. Costs will increase as your business grows.
It’s important to ensure you’re not stuck with a product that procures a low profit.
You’ll have to do some research, maybe get a price quote from suppliers to see what is the lowest cost they’re selling at. Then, you’ll have to see the market price of a product and evaluate your profit margin.
2. Shipping costs
Shipping cost is a major factor that shouldn’t be ignored. You customers will abandon their cart if the shipping cost is too high.
Avoid a product that:
- Is heavy in weight
- Is large in size
- Is fragile to handle
- Has to be brought in from another country that is far.
- Requires a lot of packaging
There’s a big chance that a product falling under the above categories will raise shipping costs and consequently reduce sales revenue and profit.
3. How can you add value?
Choose a product that has competitors, but not many. If the market is crowded, chances are there’s very little you can do to innovate and stand out.
One best way to think of a product that adds value is to find out if it’s solving any problems.
For example, a particular product might not be easily available in your area/country, but there might be a demand for it. Or maybe you could find better versions of products that are already being sold in your area.
You can also explore other ways of solving people’s problems. You can think of offering a service or some additional benefit that no other competitor offers in your chosen product market.
For example, you could:
- Encourage your buyers to drop one-minute video reviews on your products.
- Post detailed videos showing the product anatomy and how it works.
- Give as many details and specifications about your product as you can.
- Provide expert advice or detailed information on how to use the products.
4. Marketing potential
Marketing is going to help you attract and acquire customers. You should have an idea of how much you want to invest in marketing efforts.
If you’re not keen on taking up a lot of in-depth marketing activities then it’s best to go for products that don’t require a lot of it.
Also, while choosing a product keep in mind the ease with which you’ll be able to market it.
For example, It might be easier to market a clothing store as compared to a store that sells rare computer parts.
Step 2: Market research
Market research and choosing a product actually go hand in hand. You won’t really be able to decide on your product if you haven’t conducted any research on it.
To assess the demand for your product, you can use the following tools and methods:
1.Google’s keyword planner
You can use Google’s keyword planner to:
- See the monthly search volume of your product.
- Search long-tail keywords and questions that are being asked regarding your product’s niche.
- Get keyword ideas.
- See the difference between local and global search volume. You can look for search volumes country wise and assess which countries/regions are asking for which products.
- You can also use it to evaluate the competition for each keyword. This will give you a rough idea of how many websites are already ranking and how tough it will be to beat them.
2. Google Trends
- Google trends will show you the yearly, monthly, weekly search trend for your keywords.
- You can also check region-wise trends.
- It will show you breakouts and rising trends related to your searched keyword.
- You can compare different keywords and see their relative trends as well.
- Check the seasonality of the product by looking for trends over the past 10 years or so. This will give you a good idea of which months the demand rises in, and in which months it falls.
3. Find out the best selling products
Websites like Aliexpress & Amazon have a weekly bestselling/hot products category. You can scour eCommerce websites like these to get an idea of what niches, or what product types are trending or selling like hotcakes.
You can also look at niche eCommerce websites. For example, if you decide that you want to sell clothing, then you can check out Myntra, or Shein to see what styles are trending.
4. Search on websites like Quora
Quora has around 500,000 daily users now. Its user base is vast and people have started trusting it the most when it comes to search engine queries.
If you want to learn how you can add value by selling a particular product, then search your product on Quora, and you’ll find what questions people are asking and the problems they’re facing.
Pro Tip: You could ask questions to find out what people think of the product you want to sell, and whether they feel it would solve any problems.
There are a lot of other forums or niche communities to get an insight into your product market.
Step 3: Competitor Analysis
Your competition analysis should be aimed at answering these questions:
- How well established your competitors are.
- What is their USP?
- How you can beat them and add value.
You can use the following tools and methods to answer the above questions:
1. Tools like Similarweb can be used to assess your competitor’s website traffic, time people are spending on their websites, where the traffic is coming from and much more.
2. Moz & Ahrefs can be used to find out your competitor’s website authority. If their domain authority (DA) is above 50, then it’s going to take a lot of effort to beat them.
3. You can also use the above two tools to check the different page authorities on their website. Visiting different product pages and checking their authority will give you an idea of how much traffic they might be getting on that page.
4. Check your competition’s social media pages and handles, asses the following they have and the marketing tactics they use.
5. Check the reviews and recommendations people have left for your competitors on social media, Google, Play Store (if they have an app) to see where they’re lacking and how you can improve on it.
Step 4: Find Suppliers for Dropshipping
When looking for suppliers, make sure that whoever you choose:
- Gives the best price.
- Is reliable.
- Gives optimal shipping time.
- Doesn’t work with a lot of merchants at the same time.
- Has been in business for an acceptable amount of time.
To find dropshipping suppliers you can:
1. Search for keyword terms like ‘wholesaler’, ‘bulk’, ‘reseller’, ‘manufacturer’, ‘supplier’. You’ll have to combine these terms with your niche or your product.
2. You can also look into various platforms that connect dropshipping eCommerce stores to suppliers in various niches.
3. You can join communities on social media related to your product’s niche and see if you can find any supplier. Suppliers often use social media channels to promote their services, so you might be able to find their contact details and profiles.
Step 5: Set up an eCommerce website
To set up an eCommerce website you’ll have to decide which platform you want to use. There are a plethora of platforms online offering different services and functionalities on different scales.
My recommendation would be to go for Magento as it is the best when it comes to performance and scalability. Its latest version has come with major site speed and operation upgradations.
Step 6: Market your product
Marketing your product heavily depends on the kind of product you’ve chosen and your customer base.
To get started:
1. Identify your target audience. This could be based on their geographical location, their need for your product, etc. In fact, you can go as far as creating full customer personas.
2. Find out where your target audience hangs out the most. Is it Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn?
3. Look at your competitor’s marketing tactics. Find out the strategies they’re implementing, the online platforms they’re leveraging to acquire customers, the amount of effort they’re putting in.
4. Try to be creative and go where your competitors aren’t going. This could be in terms of marketing channels and platforms they aren’t using or it could mean implementing strategies they aren’t implementing.
We’re sure you’ll find some helpful takeaways from this dropshipping business plan. Once your business grows, it’s important to optimize and improve it continuously. Don’t forget to keep track of the numbers and metrics that tell you where you’re going wrong and where you can improve operations.
All the best!