Starting dropshipping in 8 steps: The basic guide
Dropshipping, or selling products through your webshop without having them in stock, has several advantages. We highlighted these along with the points of interest earlier in a blog post. Are you convinced of the benefits and want to start dropshipping yourself? Then we have something for you! This article is the ultimate guide to setting up your own dropshipping webshop in no time. In 8 steps we work from business plan to setting up your webshop and marketing. We will guide you step-by-step to a successful start of your webshop and you will get off to a flying start! After reading this article, you will know the steps you need to take if you want to start dropshipping.
Starting your dropshipping webshop in 8 steps
1. Business plan and market research.
Every good business story begins with a business plan. If you want to start with your dropshipping webshop, this is important. In this you look at the market, set business goals and create a marketing plan, among other things. An important part of your business plan is market research. This will allow you to estimate the size of the market you want to serve, get to know your ideal customer and find out what the competition is doing. You may find out in this way that the market you had in mind is not so attractive. When many competitors are selling the same product and demand has not increased, it makes more sense to focus on niche products rather than generics. A niche is a defined and specific market segment with often few active other players (Online Marketing Agency, s.d.). If you manage to stand out from the competition with this, the chances of success are much higher. Good dropshipping niches include film attributes for social media (think TikTok) and eco-friendly products.
2. Registration with the Chamber of Commerce and business account
When there is entrepreneurship you need to register with the Chamber of Commerce (CoC). In a nutshell, you are an entrepreneur if you independently provide goods or services to others with the intention of making a profit. However, there may be some exceptions, on the website of the Chamber of Commerce you will find the specific criteria. If you are serious about your web shop, registration is often necessary. In addition, doing business without a Chamber of Commerce number does become difficult since you cannot open a business account. This is recommended, so you can keep your business and personal life separate and can more easily account for your income and expenses when you start dropshipping.
3. Choose a reliable dropshipping supplier
Your customer satisfaction largely depends on your choice of supplier. If the supplier does not have the logistics in order or the products are of poor quality, sooner or later negative reviews of your webshop will follow. Even if you do not deliver the products yourself, you are and will always be responsible and liable for the delivery and quality of products. So you definitely want a reliable supplier when you start dropshipping. It is therefore important that you choose your supplier carefully and that you make good arrangements. At Webshopimporter several suppliers are affiliated with which you can be assured of a good reliability. Examples include VehGro (organic food) and Shots (intimacy products).
4. Register domain name and arrange hosting
When you want to start your dropshipping webshop, you need a domain name. Come up with a domain name that is related to the terms that people often search for within your market. In addition, see if it is still available and register your domain name. You will also need to purchase a hosting package that matches your chosen Web store platform.
5. Choose your shopping platform
If you want to start a dropshipping webshop you will need an e-commerce platform. Here you have a choice of a closed-source platform or an open-source platform. An open source platform like Magento gives a lot of freedom, the webshop can be fully customized to your needs. If you don’t have the technical know-how to do this, you will have to outsource or choose a closed-source platform. Everything here is already preset and you can make basic adjustments yourself. You can get started quickly and you have a system that almost always works well. This is perfect for the beginner. You can choose from Lightspeed, Shopify and CCV Shop, for example. These have a wide range of available elements that a web shop has more than enough of.
6. Arrange customer service
Be prepared for questions from customers when starting your dropshipping webshop. First of all, make sure you are easily accessible, because nothing is more annoying than an unreachable company when you as a customer have questions or complaints. In addition, make sure that you and employees are knowledgeable so that customers can be well served. To take some of the burden off support, an FAQ on your website is recommended. There is also certain software that allows you to take the burden off customer service. Sometimes it can be nice to (partially) outsource customer service. In this case, make sure you choose a reliable party that also has an affinity with your product group.
7. Link with supplier and import product data
If you want to start dropshipping it requires a real-time view of what is happening in the supply chain, think up-to-date product data and inventories. In order to exchange these data, links are needed. A link between your chosen supplier and your webshop must be established. Then the product data can be imported into your webshop. Webshopimporter can help you with this. With this solution you easily add your supplier, import your products and keep the data up-to-date.
8. Design your webshop
Now it’s time to give your webshop some more body. Many online store software such as Lightspeed, Shopify and CCV Shop are user-friendly and not difficult to work with if you want to start dropshipping. When setting up your webshop, think about clear product photos and catchy descriptions. Also, don’t forget to optimize your website for search engines. A platform like Lightspeed offers many opportunities to optimize your website in this regard.
Because with dropshipping you outsource the logistics, you save time. In this saved time, you can focus on things like marketing. A beautiful web shop is nice, but if people don’t know how to find it, it’s of course no use. By using marketing in the right way, you can start dropshipping more successfully. In this way you bring your webshop to the attention of the target group and increase your brand awareness and online visibility. First of all, a marketing plan is recommended, as was also highlighted in Step 1. This way you can get started in an informed way and have a guide. In order to be highly visible online, it is important to be easy to find and to optimize your pages for search engines (SEO). Want to know more about how to get started with this? Then take a look at the SEO for Beginners guide. Additionally, a blog is an excellent addition to your SEO strategy. By staying up-to-date with trends, you know what’s going on in your market and what people may be searching on a lot. By writing about these relevant topics in your blog, you increase the chances that people will come to you when they search on this topic. Other ways to increase your brand awareness and online visibility is through branding on social media. For example, work with influencers who are in touch with your target audience and make sure you are shown in sponsored posts on Instagram and Facebook.
Ready to start dropshipping adventure?
Now you have a clear roadmap for a fresh start with your webshop. If you want to read up a bit more before possibly starting dropshipping, check out our brochure on starting dropshipping.
Webwinkel vakdagen (2017). Why dropshipping?! [Brochure].
Lightspeed (s.d.) Dropshipping for beginners [Brochure].