As a dropshipping store owner, you must have thought about ‘how to succeed in online business.’ To get the answer, you probably have read a long list of dropshipping success stories. But you may overlook one thing-what you read are indirect experience. It means that you cannot copy others’ dropshipping success even if you are familiar with experience. A successful business is not a simple thing. It is made by intricate factors, and luck plays a visible role in it.
When you start a dropshipping business, unpredictable conditions may occur in practices. The uncertain result may be far from what you think. Instead of trapping in successful dropshipping stores, reverse thinking is a good attempt. Failures and mistakes are widespread in dropshipping businesses. Those cases are as educational and referential as success stories. They help beginners to get to the right path faster.
In this article, you can learn common mistakes that dropshipping beginners make and practical tips to avoid them.
1. Guide of Dropshipping for Beginners
Mistakes may occur in every section when running a dropshipping business. To have a clear picture, an overview of how to start dropshipping is necessary.
1.1 Research Product Market
Finding products is a critical part of running an ecommerce business. To some extent, the product is what determines your survival among competitions. Investigate what your competitors sell and import similar products to your store is a good method. Also, hot-sellers can bring money and customers to your Shopify store. And the accumulative capital is the base of long term running.
1.2 Create an Online Store
Your ecommerce store can be viewed as a bridge. It connects you to your customer base, which helps you to receive payments. Besides, it connects you to your suppliers, which helps to complete orders. You can create an online store on many platforms. For example, you can start your business on Shopify or dropship on Amazon.
1.3 Find Supplier
Dropshipping suppliers can also be called drop shippers. Drop shipper, as a partner of successful dropshipping stores, is essential to business operation. It not only provides products, but also services include packing, shipping, etc. If you work with a reliable drop shipper, you will get fewer troubles in issues like product quality, package, and delivery. Some dropshipping platforms, like EPROLO, offer sourcing and quality control, which can reduce returns and refunds.
1.4 Import products with one click
There are many dropshipping platforms, which integrate with different stores. If you build your ecommerce store on Shopify, go to its app store and choose one dropshipping agent. Install its Shopify app, go to the platform, choose the product you want and import them to the store to sell online. One of the dropshipping benefits is that you can easily find trending products and import them to the store with one click.
1.5 Send Order
When you get orders, you need to contact the high quality product suppliers to complete them. You can use a dropshipping platform to deal with the orders in bulk. Suppliers will take over fulfillment. And your customers will receive packages from the suppliers directly.
1.6 Track Package Status
Even if you do not participate in shipping, you are not out of the fulfillment process. The supplier will send you a tracking number when the package is shipped. Then you can track it through shipping websites or on the platform you use directly.
Marketing is an effective method to grow a dropshipping business. To put marketing simply, it is about how to drive traffic, increase conversion rates and store sales. Advertising on the ecommerce platform or social media is the most common way, like Facebook ads. Besides, don’t forget to the make social proof with your happy customers. Prepare a place to show their reviews to your successful dropshipping stores.
2. Common Dropshipping Beginner Mistakes and How to Avoid
Beginners are explorers without direction. Some of them make small mistakes that do not cause much loss. But some turn the dropshipping business into failure. Mistakes just like holes on the road; newcomers can avoid them to save money and time.
2.1 Common Mistakes in Selling Products
- Selling Too Many Items
It’s true that displaying more products can attract more target audience to the store. Moreover, dropshipping requires no inventory, which solves money concerns. Therefore, quite a few ambitious beginners attempt to sell all kinds of products. But they forget the fact that they are not capable of meeting such large needs. Another problem is that selling too many items make the ecommerce store lack personality. It is disadvantageous in the extensive competition.
How to avoid: Have an accurate position of your store and narrow your target market. With the well-directed products, you will leave a specialist image to the potential customer.
- Pick a Wrong Product
Finding products is a hot discussion in dropshipping businesses. Beginners usually ask where to find products but seldom ask what a good choice is. Sometimes, people follow high-selling stores to sell similar products. They also believe trending is the only criteria. The result is that selling products like these is not easy to sell. For example, clothes, shoes, watches, and so on. Trending products also indicate high competition, and beginners are not ready to win.
How to avoid: Don’t grasp trending only. It would help if you had a deeper insight when finding products, such as the market size, competitors, timeliness, etc. It’s more efficient to use some tools for research.
- Poor Product Descriptions
Many dropshipping beginners underestimated the value of product descriptions. They import product details from other platforms and do no editing. Unconsciously, they lost the chance to attract the potential customer base. A clear and distinctive description on product pages can catch the eye of viewers. In addition, beginners lost the chance to enhance website ranking. A description is a crucial part of attracting visitors and increase conversion rates. Moreover, edit it with keywords is helpful to get a higher position in the search engine.
How to avoid: You can edit product descriptions with serial number and place features on top. Use analysis tools to find related keywords for your products. Then put them into the description.
- Inefficient Update of Inventory
Shipping time is most affected by inventory. If a product is out of stock, it takes more time to deliver. Due to the feature of dropshipping – the shopkeeper does not keep inventory; there is an info delay between online business owner and supplier. If a customer places an order during the delay, he can not receive the package as promised. And it may hurt your ecommerce store reputation.
How to avoid: Be clear about the time of replenishment and shipping delay. Suppliers such as EPROLO will display the stock on product pages. You can follow the inventory quantity and update the info promptly.
2.2 Common Mistakes in Managing Store
- Disordered Navigation Bar
Navigation bar is the first section to see on the home page. With a straightforward scheme, it can help customers to find products faster. However, some beginners add menus and product pages without a plan. Soon the shop becomes chaotic.
How to avoid: Make a plan before you create a Shopify store. You can list different degrees of titles, such as H1, H2, and H3. Then sort out the items according to the titles. You can make good use of the folding effect to simplify the bar.
- Terrible Images
Product images function as decorations in ecommerce stores. A delicate image can give an enjoyable experience to potential customers and increase the conversion rate. Beginners know the importance, but not enough. The color and style should be designed purposefully. So the store can meet target customers’ preferences. Besides, size is easy to ignore. If the size is too small, it is not clear enough; conversely, it will slow the loading.
How to avoid: You have to be clear about the age and gender of your target audience. Then choose product images accord with their aesthetic. Do not use black in a large area. As for the size, 1000px is mostly used.
- No Convenient Access for Inquiry
To save management time, some beginners do not set access like live chat and order status. It’s harmful to build trust between happy customers and shopkeepers. New customers usually have a lot of worries. They want to know if the product and shipping time is exactly as you display. A shopkeeper should ease his customers.
How to avoid: Set up channels by using the third-party extension, and provide inquiry service, FAQs, and latest info of the orders.
2.3 Common Mistakes in Finding Supplier
- Choose a Wrong Suppliers
Many online business beginners find dropshipping suppliers on Amazon or AliExpress. Also, platforms, like Oberlo, displayed on Shopify app store are also popular. Indeed, having massive suppliers is a huge advantage of these sites. But there is a potential risk among a large number of suppliers. That is, it’s hard to tell who is reliable and legitimate. Beginners with little discerning experience are easy to be cheated. They are credulous about pictures and comments which can be forged. And they can not examine if the product is high quality because it is shipped directly by the drop shipping supplier. When customers receive the package, it’s too late. Complaints are inevitable.
How to avoid: There may be multiple suppliers for similar products. Compare their prices, materials, and pictures carefully. The higher price, the more details, and the more explicit photos, the more trustworthy supplier is. Comments are also useful. But don’t be confused by the number. Look at the content, especially the long ones. Besides, you can do a test by buying a sample from the supplier. In this way, you can check the quality and shipping time. Reliable dropshipping suppliers, such as EPROLO, usually provide shipping detail and guarantee to reduce your worry.
- No Alternatives
With multiple suppliers, ecommerce business owners can effectively deal with all kinds of emergencies. For instance, AliExpress was banned in India, and local shopkeepers need to find an alternative for their dropshipping businesses. If they rely on AliExpress only, they take more time to explore a new supplier. And there will be a delay in completing the orders.
How to avoid: Don’t limit yourself. It’s not a bad thing to try more, and so you can tell which one works well. Platforms like EPROLO specialize in dropshipping and provide more professional services. For instance, EPROLO offers sourcing and branding services. Shopkeepers can send a certain product to the team. The platform will purchase it and do quality control. Also, shopkeepers can customize package boxes, tapes, gift cards with their store logo.
2.4 Common Mistakes in Customer Service
- Slow Response
Perhaps they are not familiar with the operation; beginners can not deal with the customer problems in time. A late reply will use up customers’ patience and make the problem bigger. In dropshipping business, shipping is the most common cause of customer complaints. Problems like delay, customs clearance, and damage often occur during delivery. If the storekeeper can inform or deal with them in time, he will win customer satisfaction.
How to avoid: Set up an alert when you get messages. Track the package status from time to time and tell your customer if there is something unusual.
- False/Missing Policy
Policy, like refunds and returns, is an official document of ecommerce stores. It protects not only the interest of customers but also shopkeepers. Therefore, to some extent, it has a legal nature. Yet, some beginners overlook policy or lie about some guarantees. Both actions seriously damage the store brand and finally lose the trust of the customer base.
How to avoid: Be honest. Write refund policy or other guarantees according to the facts. Especially the refund policy, you should take your capacity into account. But do not set unpractical or unsatisfactory conditions. Otherwise, you will look insincere and lose trust.
- Poor Setting of FAQs
FAQs are helpful to save the time of online business owners. However, some dropshipping beginners do not realize its value or write an unclear explanation.
How to avoid: Make a classification of FAQs, such as product, shipping, refund, etc. Rank them according to the frequency. Write the explanations as simple as you can. It’s efficient to create a link for FAQs.
2.5 Common Mistakes in Marketing
- Overestimate Ads’ Effect
There are lots of discussions about the futility of ads in dropshipping, particularly Facebook ads. People said they’ve run hundreds of dollars but get zero sales. Because of the 0% conversion rate, they doubt that Facebook advertising is useless. Those people have overestimated ads. No matter which platform they are advertising on, viewers are various. It leads to a situation that high views and traffic can not transform into orders because the audience is not the target customer.
How to avoid: Figure out who your target customers are, including their age, gender, and country. Advertise on the platform which most target customers use rather than following the crowd. Do more testing is helpful. Also, you can set which people your Google and Facebook advertising are targeted for, their age, gender or other conditions.
- Inefficient Email Marketing
Email is an effective method to get sales. And it is beneficial to keep in touch with customers, which can change them into repeat customers. But beginners do not bring it into full play. The following mistakes can make email marketing less effective: overuse subject line, no greeting email, no notification email, and too many discounts.
How to avoid: Write the subject line shortly and attractively. Send a greeting email to new customers. You can also send emails during Christmas, the new year, or some special circumstances. Do not send discounts too often; otherwise, it will become spam.
- Unfamiliar with SEO
An online store is a website that can be found through a search engine. It means that a higher position on the search engine can get more visitors. SEO helps with that. However, beginners are not familiar with this field, so their stores rank behind.
How to avoid: Optimize the home page of the store by edit titles and descriptions. You can use an SEO tool to find out what keywords are advantageous. Then write them into the text. Product info and images also need editing. Good search engine optimization methods can drive traffic and bring potential customers.
- No Plan for Branding
Dropshipping beginners do not pay much attention to branding. They think it’s too early to do that. But a good store brand is not built in one day. It’s a long term project. Thus, a branding plan is necessary.
How to avoid: Start with a logo and slogan which highlight your store features. Use social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, to promote your store. By adding social proof to your online business, it can also improve your store image. Besides, you must cooperate with credible suppliers to avoid quality and shipping issues. A trustworthy brand image can bring great benefits to your dropshipping store. When a good brand is built, it can be regarded as one of the successful dropshipping stores.