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With its low barrier to entry, the dropshipping model of running an online store is very attractive to several people. Why?
Dropshipping removes the yoke of inventory management from the shoulders of the online store proprietor and places it on the manufacturer or supplier. With such a process in place, many virtual store owners become complacent when it comes to running the business. Several important things slip through the cracks and put the long term success of the business at risk of toppling.
Further experience in running an online store on a dropshipping model will teach you what mistakes to avoid. However, for the beginner, these mistakes can be difficult to discern from all the work that has to be done to grow your dropshipping business.
This article is, therefore, a dropshipping beginner guide exploring 10 mistakes to avoid when running an online store.
Here Are 10 Dropshipping Mistakes To Avoid When Running An Online Store
Given how easy it is to start an online store using dropshipping, you might skip some of the cardinal rules for running an eCommerce outfit.
This can lead your store to remain in the red whereas your colleagues’ businesses seem to be taking off. Whereas you’ll spend most of your time marketing your products and promoting your brand, there are other aspects of your business that you should pay attention to. Even if they seem trivial and irrelevant, they can bring your brand to its knees.
This dropshipping beginner guide will take you through the mistakes most novices when running an online business. Additionally, you’ll learn how to navigate these hurdles to ensure that your online store can achieve success.
Having Unrealistic Expectations
Due to the aforementioned low barrier to entry, you might think that running an online store is easy.
This is especially more likely to happen when you think that you have less work to do since you’re not handling the storage of products and fulfillment of orders. Because of this, you might believe that it is easy to grow your dropshipping business. On the contrary, getting your brand to become recognized and successful is a labor- and time-intensive undertaking.
You should, therefore, curb your expectations because it’ll take a considerable number of months before your store starts turning a healthy profit.
Listing And Selling Trademarked Products
When most people read about dropshipping and find out that the process isn’t that hard to do, they envision all the products that they can sell to make a quick buck.
Many of these products are items that have been trademarked by the manufacturer. Selling these items without express permission from the manufacturer to be a retail agent can land you in legal problems. Not only can this lead to the closure of your online store but you can be held personally liable.
You should, therefore, look at generic items that you can add to your range of products for sale. Better yet, you can deal in white-label products. These are plain products whose manufacturer is open to others rebranding them. You can buy these products and have them tailored to fit and display your brand.
Selling A Highly Varied Assortment Of Products
Beginners in dropshipping make the mistake of trying to sell everything that they believe has a huge market.
You might browse the web to see what other vendors are selling and decide to list every high-selling item on your store product pages. This is a mistake because you’ll have to deal with an equally varied and large market.
Each product market has a different type of audience. This means you have to take a different approach to address their different needs. As a beginner, you simply cannot do all this.
You, therefore, have to choose a single product or related range of products so that you can focus your marketing skills on a singular niche.
Picking The Wrong Field
Once you have ditched ideas of selling every product that you come across, you can grow your dropshipping business by focusing on one field.
However, you might choose the wrong niche to operate in. You might choose a niche that’s not profitable. This might be because it’s out of vogue or it’s just not meant for online shopping.
You, therefore, need to do proper market research to find what could make you money. “Market research” might sound like a complicated process that only big brands engage in.
However, simple google searches can show you what people are interested in and when they buy them.
Placing Too Much Trust In Your Suppliers
Any dropshipping beginner guide will tell you that vendors are important for the smooth running of your operation. They handle your inventory and ship items to clients that have paid for them.
However, you might make the mistake of relying too much on them to handle your products. There could be instances where they raise their prices, creating a knock-on effect where you have to raise yours as well.
Your competitors might undercut you, stealing your customers. Alternatively, they might run out of business, leaving you with unfulfilled orders. You can avoid this by signing contracts that lock in prices and order fulfillment procedures.
Furthermore, you can have one or two extra suppliers to whom you can turn.
Having A Poor Relationship With Your Suppliers
Your suppliers are part of your operation; they ensure that you have the right products and they deliver them to your customers. However, you might be tempted to view them as employees and treat them as if they are on a lower rung in your hierarchy.
They aren’t. They are your partners, without whom your dropshipping business would be dead in the water. You should, therefore, foster a great relationship with them.
This can have its advantages. A good relationship can work in your favor when negotiating prices for product stock.
Lowering Your Price To Extreme Levels
Another of the dropshipping mistakes to avoid is cutting your prices to beat out your competition.
You might think of this is a logical way to grow your dropshipping business. You couldn’t be further from the truth. Very low prices show potential buyers that your product might be of poor quality.
Only established brands can manage to get away with lower price cutting. The only way this strategy works is if you are in a niche where the items are naturally pricey. Here, you can still manage to achieve good profits.
Ignoring Customer Comments And Reviews
Customers are the reason that your online store is still standing. Whenever you complete an order, some customers might leave reviews and comments about the product that they have gotten. The item might have been damaged or the shipping times were not as promised.
You might be tempted to ignore these comments because the blame lies at the door of your vendor. However, the customers only know your brand; they have no clue about your supplier. This can tarnish your reputation and lead to a loss of credibility in the marketplace.
You, therefore, have to follow up. If it means setting your vendor straight regarding standards, do so.
Having A Poor Website Structure
The success of your dropshipping business hinges on the shopping experience that your customers have when they’re navigating through your online store.
You, therefore, have to ensure that everything is easy for them. However, due to the low barrier for entry into dropshipping, you might rush through the process of setting up your website. Several beginners don’t have the coding skills needed to build an online store from scratch.
You can use platforms like Shopify to build and grow your dropshipping business. However, because this option is relatively easy, you might pay attention to some of the themes or plugins that you use.
If they have bugs, they can cause your site to provide a bad experience to shoppers. You should, therefore, pay particular attention when setting up your website to ensure that it provides an intuitive and favorable experience.
Engaging In Blackhat SEO Practices
Your focus as the proprietor of an online store is to market the brand and bring in traffic so that you can convert it into sales.
One of the dropshipping mistakes to avoid is using blackhat SEO methods to boost the visibility of your brand and store. SEO practices are methods for optimizing your website so that search engines can include it in their results pages.
Some online store owners are not patient when it comes to making their brand show up high on the results pages. In this haste to get noticed, they employ tactics that the search engines frown upon.
This is known as blackhat SEO. The search engines penalize your site by dropping it back down or striking it entirely from their results. You should, therefore, only engage in whitehat SEO practices.
In this dropshipping beginner guide, we have pointed out the blunders that you should avoid. These are the dropshipping mistakes to avoid so that your online store can flourish.
You should be prepared before launching into the industry, understanding every facet of online commerce – dropshipping in particular. By adhering to the rules and the advice, your dropshipping business will achieve success as it matures.
Written by Ricky Hayes
Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify - free Shopify theme, helping dropshippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies and mentoring programs.
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