Dropshipping is an easy enough business model to wrap your head around, but just because it enables a great deal of flexibility does not mean it’s a breeze. While less costly and less time-consuming than other forms of retail, things can still go wrong—and it falls on you to sort everything out, whether it’s your fault or your manufacturers’. If you are constantly running into obstacles that impede your business, here are a few things you might be doing wrong:
Not investing enough in content
Because dropshipping is ecommerce, it’s particularly reliant on online marketing. You probably already know the importance of tending to SEO and being on social media, but are you using them to their fullest? Using keywords on your website and indexing your pages are not enough. People will follow you—and in turn, buy from you—because they love your content.
What kind of content are you producing? You don’t want to merely post “Look at our cool products!” on Facebook now and then. No, attracting attention requires much more enticing material than that, such as how-to videos, dynamic photography, infographics, humorous tweets, blog posts, and more. People will have much more success finding you (and feeling inclined to follow you) if you regularly publish relevant content that brings a bit of joy and information into their lives.
Not spreading your online presence
While content is critical, you also need to be strategic about how you interact with platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Analytics tools can provide you with actionable insights into which of your posts are performing the best and when the best times to publish are (for instance, if your audience consists of teenagers, posting right before they get home from school increases your chances of them seeing it).
Remember to respond to comments, like people’s posts, follow other users’ feeds, and take other measures to capture your targeted audience’s attention. There are also a variety of available automation tools if you want to gain Instagram likes as quickly as possible. Social media is a complex landscape, so marketing on it necessitates a fair amount of strategy.
Not running promotions
Are you leveraging the psychology behind sales efficiently? People are often more willing to buy something if they believe they are saving money in the process. Sales promotions before products launch are also effective ways to get people excited about them. Maybe you can offer discounts to people who purchase from you on a particular day or give special privileges to returning customers. Don’t neglect your sales promotion strategies—while they should not make up the entirety of your content, they still play an integral role in marketing.
Selling trademarked products
Fandoms are ideal niche markets to target—but they are not always yours to do so. Entrepreneur Adam Dukes notes that numerous Shopify stores close business every day because they are selling trademarked products relating to music, movies, television shows, and professional sports teams. Not only will selling these products force you to start from scratch, but you might also end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit.
Not being strategic about shipping
If you overestimate how quickly products will ship to people, you’ll have a lot of angry customers contacting you and complaining that their orders have not arrived yet. Instead, tell post shipping times on your website that stretch a bit beyond what your supplier tells you. Customers will also be pleasantly surprised when their orders arrive earlier than they anticipated.
Be strategic about your shipping fees, too. Consumers might not like seeing that one product is cheaper than another because it comes from the United States while the other comes from China. Something you can do is to factor in shipping costs into product price tags—do the math so that you can make them as consistent as possible while making sure everything evens out in the end.
Not accounting for holidays
Shipping times, of course, can take longer during holiday seasons. You are probably not the only dropshipper using your suppliers, and they have busy schedules as well. Keep their locations in mind: if your suppliers are in China, then you need to account for breaks they will take during Chinese holidays. To avoid local consumers purchasing items that will not arrive at their doorsteps for an additional few weeks, temporarily delist necessary items on your website or specify longer delivery times. This oversight will put you in a precarious position if you heavily rely on a single supplier.
Dropshipping may entail less work than other forms of ecommerce, but that does not mean the process is inherently streamlined. Dropshippers can still make mistakes that negatively impact their business—so what mistakes have you made in the past you will avoid in the future?