Although dropshipping is one of the simplest business models to follow, the path to success is not always easy. Everyone makes mistakes along the way and they are not inevitable. Thankfully, you can reflect on the experiences of others and avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Many online entrepreneurs assume that dropshipping business is a low-risk business. However, like any other business, one poor decision can be costly. To minimize risk and avoid suffering pitfalls, below is a list of common dropshipping mistakes to learn from.
1. Picking the Wrong Niche
A niche is a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service. Several dropshippers made this mistake early on as they thought that it was best to sell trending items. They sell hot products from different categories which ended up marketing to a broad audience. You can’t be selling electronics and baby’s clothing at the same time (unless it’s a general store).
Pick a niche, stick to it, and test it. If you are selling kitchen accessories, sell complementary items such as baking tools rather than adding women’s jewelry to the mix.
2. Spending too much time choosing a product
You have to keep up with the market trend and use time wisely. A certain product may be selling now but in a few months, not. Spending too much time choosing the best product can put you in a state of analysis paralysis.
By being too indecisive and seeking more information, you are letting go of the days that you could have made a sale. Once you’ve done enough product research, it’s time to take action and commit to the product.
3. Relying on one Supplier
So you’ve found a great product in Aliexpress and contacted the supplier. Then you both agreed to the dropshipping agreement and then you leave your entire business to them. That can spell a lot of issues.
There’s a high tendency that suppliers can run out of stock, go out of business, or have some difficulties. This can lead to a loss of sales on your part. You will be dealing with a lot of cancelled orders and fulfilment issues and left scrambling to find a replacement supplier. To avoid this scenario, partner with multiple suppliers for your products when possible.
4. Bad Website Design
Think of a website as your primary salesperson online. What do your customers see when they visit your website? Since your website is your storefront on the internet, it should be properly structured to attract customers.
Shopify is one of the best e-commerce platforms that dropshippers use to create an online store. Imagine your customers landing on your website only to be annoyed by pop-ups, complicated design, and incomplete information. A simple and professional-looking website gives credibility and a good shopping experience.
5. No Marketing Plan
Don’t assume that once you have built your website, customers will come instantly. With hundreds and thousands of stores out there, you need to create ways to stand out from the competition. Social media is a powerful channel to reach a target audience.
You can set up Facebook and Instagram pages for your online store. Set up a budget for paid ads and run promotions and advertisements for your business. Make sure that your audience can find you not just on your website but other channels as well.
6. Pricing Problems
It is a bad idea to underprice and overprice your products. It is important to keep an eye on your competitor’s prices and keep your pricing competitive. Determine the right mark-up and profit margin. The pricing should be comfortable for the seller and the buyer. In this way, you won’t push customers away while ensuring you have enough profit.
7. Not caring about SEO.
There are no shortcuts to online success. Many dropshippers invest little time to optimize their stores. SEO may require massive time and effort, but it will pay off in the long run. The information you put on your website must be unique and relevant.
When writing product descriptions, try not to copy them from the manufacturer’s provided data. Instead, spend time writing engaging descriptions and include keywords that your customers are searching for.
8. Poor Customer Service
You may have a winning product but if your customer service is poor, your sales will go down. Are you responsive to your customer’s queries? In a saturated e-commerce market, providing good customer service can give you an edge.
Providing necessary information about a customer’s needs on time makes them feel that you care about them. That experience will keep your customers to keep coming to your store and patronizing your products. Customer referrals work better than paid ads.
9. Poor Branding
Branding your store is crucial to getting people to trust your brand and buy your products. Since you have competitors who are selling the same product as yours, adding branding to your packaging and labels can make a big difference.
This makes your customer remember your brand. They recognize you as a reputable seller who handles their products with care and attention. You can contact your supplier to arrange a private label and create your own brand that people will not forget.
10. Having Unrealistic Expectation
Dropshipping is not a “get rich quick” scheme. If you are not patient, it is not for you. Understand that dropshipping is a long game and it requires a lot of learning experience. Some people who failed are the ones who just set up their website and wait for something to happen. They made a few sales and then quit the next month.