Learning how to start an ecommerce business is one thing, but keeping it up and running is another. Dropshipping is a convenient business model that allows you desirable flexibility regarding when and where you work, but that does not mean being a retail entrepreneur is the easiest career path there is. A high number of attempted dropshipping businesses fail because their owners don’t realize how much work the process actually entails. Successful dropshippers are committed to their companies and practice the following habits:
They have specific goals
It helps to have goals to work towards. General goals like “I want to make lots and lots of money” and “I want to be happy because I can make my own schedule” are too vague. You need direction. What do you want to accomplish this month? Maybe you intend to make $2,000 from sales this month, or perhaps you want to increase your Instagram followers and grow your brand presence online. Solid, realistic objectives will help you avoid floundering around, aimlessly trying to make your dropshipping endeavor work.
They vet their suppliers
Successful dropshippers do not partner with any supplier that comes their way, nor do they necessarily always go for the cheapest. It’s essential that when you are first starting out—and as you scale up—you vet your manufacturers. Talk to other dropshippers who have used them and ask what their opinions are. Look at reviews, ask their policies, and do what else you can to discern how efficient and effective they are. You need reliable partners, so you should only enter alliances with suppliers that fit your needs (keep their locations in mind, too, depending on what countries you ship to).
They are communicative
The best dropshippers are communicative with both their vendors and customers. When it comes to the former, keep yourself updated on whatever is happening at their warehouses and build a strong rapport with them. As for the latter, customer service plays an integral role in dropshipping success, so be proactive about responding to inquiries, sending thank-you emails (if feasible), solving issues, and interacting with your social media audience. Consumers feel more comfortable doing business with companies that take care of them.
They automate when they can
As you know, dropshipping still takes a lot of work—but fortunately, there are automation tools that can help you take care of the more tedious aspects. As Raviraj Hedge says for Hackernoon:
“It doesn’t matter if a store is being operated as a full-time job or as a passive source of income, the more aspects of a store that is automated, the more the freedom the store owner has to focus on other crucial elements like marketing. While most dropshipping apps help to automate processing protocols, having a social media autopilot comes in handy to eliminate the hassle of posting new products and content across various social media platforms like Twitter and Pinterest.”
Social media “autopilot” resources can perform tasks such as liking other people’s posts and following different users. When you have tools conducting these activities on your behalf, you can direct more of your energy towards creating provocative content and interacting with followers. Other automation tools, like EMERGE App, can create quotes, emails, and sales orders for you.
They double check everything
Things go wrong in dropshipping. It is your responsibility to handle these issues when they arise, even if they are not your fault. Your customers purchased from you under your brand name, so they associate you with their order, not the manufacturer.
You can, however, be proactive about preventing problems before they happen. Double check invoices and other details that your suppliers send you so you can catch as many errors as possible before products leave the warehouse. Are they shipping the right quantity? Is the address correct? Does the tracking number work? When you double check as much as you can immediately, you reduce the risk of dealing with unhappy customers.
They research competitors
Successful dropshippers also look at what their competitors are doing. You should never copy their social media content, but it’s practical to look at what marketing and sales strategies are working for them and apply similar techniques. Dropshipping is an interesting form of ecommerce because you and your competitors might be selling the same products from the same suppliers, so you need to look at what they are doing to get ahead of the game and convince customers that they should purchase from you instead of someone else.
Dropshipping is not as easy as it appears, but can still be a lucrative business model if you, as a brand owner and entrepreneur, practice proactive habits. What other habits do you also think successful dropshippers have?