Now is the best time to start an online retailer, considering the volume of e-commerce in 2018 reaches $2.774 billion and is forecasted to reach $4.479 billion in 2021. The number of digital consumers reaches 1.79 billion people in 2018 and will reach 2.14 billion in 2021. Also, fashion-related products bought covered 58% in 2016, according to Statista.
Everyone with a laptop and Internet connection is your potential customer. Moreover, the whole world is your oyster without any geographical restriction. Today is the best time to be an entrepreneur.
The thing is, you’re not sure where to begin because starting an e-commerce store sounds like a huge undertaking. You may start imagining how hard it would be to find lucrative products to consider selling, select a few reputable overseas suppliers, start stocking inventory in a warehouse, start an e-commerce site from scratch, and promote the business without even knowing beforehand whether it would sell well or not. And all those can only be started if you already have the startup capital, which can be anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to tens or even hundreds thousand of dollars.
Great news. Dropshipping business model is here to stay. How does it work? Read on.
- Zero startup capital. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to start an e-commerce store. You can start with literally zero cost with Shopify platform. It is free during the trial period and very affordable afterwards.
- Zero inventory. You don’t need to stock inventory in the warehouse. You can run the online business efficiently with a dropshipping app Oberlo that is designed to work with a Shopify store. Installing it is only a matter of minutes, as everything is already spelled out for your convenience.
- Convenient product sourcing. You don’t need to worry about product ideas and sourcing them, as the Oberlo app comes with a native feature to source products. Once you’ve selected the products to sell, you can easily publish their images and specifications with a few clicks. Here are top new business ideas for consideration. And there are many other product ideas; just look around you. If you love an item, most likely others do too. Consider experimenting with the product types to find those that would sell the best.
- Available photos. You don’t need to take hundreds or thousands of product photos for the online store and upload them one by one, as the sourced products via the Oberlo app already come with professional product images. Cropping and revising can be done conveniently as well. The app allows you to modify the images with their built-in features, so everything can be completed with just a few clicks.
- Hands-off fulfilment and shipment. You don’t need to worry about product fulfilment and shipment. The dropshipping business model allows you to purchase a product directly from the supplier, only after it has been ordered by the customer. And the supplier will ship it directly to your customer. Your job is communicating the order clearly with the supplier so that fulfilment can be completed error-free.
- Hands-off influencer marketing. You can conveniently promote your new dropshipping business with Instagram marketing. Start with opening an Instagram account and post diligently every single day. Carefully follow their posting and hashtag rules, so you wouldn’t be blacklisted. Next, find influencers who are willing to promote your product for a fee. You can start with $50 and up as your budget allows.
- Creative marketing ideas. There are many more avenues to drive sales other than using Instagram marketing. There are at least 50 more ways to get sales with dropshipping, which you can learn in a few hours.
Overall, starting an online retail business shouldn’t be scary, because it isn’t. With dropshipping business model and the right marketing strategies, you can confidently own and run a successful e-commerce store. Give it a try, as most likely you’d be happy with the results.
About the Author
Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, columnist, and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. She is also a digital strategist for Oberlo and her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Business.com, Business2Community, StartupNation, Good Men Project, Addicted2Success, Positively Positive, and others. She is the author of White Paper Writing for Business (BookBoon, 2016).