“DropShipping” is a great example of a new business model that wasn’t even possible before modern web technology and the eCommerce infrastructure. When you try to make money with dropshipping, you have no physical inventory. Instead, you are a retailer in the middle, fulfilling orders by passing the order to your supplier. That supplier can be a wholesale outlet, another retailer, or a made-to-order manufacturer. Sometimes a supplier offers simple customization services, such as a Tshirt printed with your design or a tote bag branded with your logo.
Dropshipping is an eCommerce form with a narrow profit margin, but with the right WordPress hosting set-up and open source software installed for free, it makes the ideal side hustle or small entrepreneur start-up business model. As a dropshipper, you bring your business skills to the table; you’ll be marketing products that are underrepresented in commerce, adding your services and support for customers, or using your market knowledge to spot opportunities in emerging sectors.
If you need help with any of these steps and want to hire someone to fulfill a need, UpWork is the leading freelancer marketplace where you can hire talent for an individual step or a virtual employee on an ongoing basis.
Here’s a brief run-down of the process:
Step 1: Set up your domain.
Your domain name has to be unique, unclaimed, and preferably SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly. Assuming you have already chosen your market niche and done the research for your product field, you have only to think of a creative, catchy, and accessible domain name that customers will naturally find when they’re going to be interested in your product.
Step 2: Install and set up WordPress.
Your web host might even offer WordPress set up and running with the hosting package. If not, instructions are right here. WordPress is the most popular CMS (Content Management System) in eCommerce, so finding support should be no problem.
Step 3: Install the WooCommerce plug-in for WordPress.
WooCommerce is likewise the most popular eCommerce plug-in for WordPress, enabling you to run a shopping cart and shipping set-up with minimal hassle. Instructions for WooCommerce is here, and it also comes with its own set of extensions for extra customization. WooCommerce handles everything from payment processing for banks and online payment services to product categories, filtering, and customer reviews.
Step 4: Choose your themes and design.
This is the part where you have to come up with some market branding for your online business. There’s a number of WooCommerce themes which are drop-in designs to give your store a professional look. Logos and other graphics branding will be either up to you if you’re handy with graphic design, or you can hire a freelance graphic designer for this step.
Step 5: Populate your store.
You’ll be checking with your supplier or manufacturer for images and descriptions of the product you’re selling, and making store slots in WooCommerce for each product. It’s self-explanatory.
Step 6: Launch your content marketing strategy.
You have WordPress already, so you can start blogging. Blogging is an art that can’t be taught in the space of this article, so we recommend hiring an ongoing freelancer for this step if you don’t have blogging experience. For starters, you can talk about your products, how they’re used, the benefits of your brands over competitors, share success stories from satisfied customers, and post useful tutorials, tips, and information related to your market.
The other half of content marketing is social media. You will want accounts with the Big Four of dropshipper marketing: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Depending on your niche, you might want to also have a presence on sites such as Reddit, LinkedIn, Quora, or specialized community sites catering to your potential customers. Here again, social media marketing is both creatively demanding and long-term work, so social media freelancers might be the way to go.
Step 7: Fulfill your orders and provide customer support.
Dropshipping typically deploys a practice where your supplier ships to your customer while using the address you give them as a return address. You could opt to provide post-sales support, such as technical support for electronics goods, sell peripherals for already purchased products, offer a return policy, or whatever applies to your business model.
Dropshipping is by no means an easy road to riches, but it is a satisfying business model for the right kind of self-motivated entrepreneur. Dropshipping is similar to affiliate marketing since affiliate marketing is content marketing where you make a commission when visitors to your site make a purchase through your link. With dropshipping, you’re taking on more of the work. You will easily find support and paid service providers for any of the above steps as your business grows. Good luck out there and happy eCommerce success!