Dropshipping is a business model in which orders are sent directly by the supplier instead of the seller. This means that the store owner doesn’t have to keep any product inventory, which reduces the startup capital significantly. It allows the store owner to focus on promotion and marketing to bring in orders instead.
In this article, we’ll discuss the statistics of online retail sales and dropshipping trend, why it’s the go-to model to new entrepreneurs and college students, and the top 3 business lessons learned from this business approach.
It’s gaining momentum at the moment, as online retail sales hit $370 billion in 2017 and grow at 17% rate annually. Approximately 22% to 33% of these retailers operate on this business model. At one point, even Amazon adopted the dropshipping model. Zappos, Wayfair, and Blinds.com are renowned e-commerce giants using this approach.
Moreover, the dropshipping business model is an interesting phenomenon as it allows new entrepreneurs to experiment selling items before committing to them in the long term. This experiment-friendliness itself is worth considering and naturally makes it a favorite among newbies, college students, work-at-home parents, and existing businesses seeking ways to scale.
For business school students, starting a dropshipping business is an excellent way to get their feet wet without spending a ton of money in startup capital. The simplest way is by founding an online dropshipping store, which can be conveniently started in a few minutes.
Overall, there are 3 significant lessons learned from starting and running a dropshipping store.
First, starting an online business can be done in a few minutes with literally zero startup capital.
One of the most notable e-commerce platforms is Shopify and dropshipping app named Oberlo. The former offers a 2-week free trial, and the latter is always free if you only process a minimal number of orders.
With an automated dropshipping app, you can conveniently select products from pre-vetted suppliers. Next, you can choose and publish the product images and specifications directly from the dashboard. You can start selling after publishing tens or even hundreds of pre-selected products. With the e-commerce design theme, the site will look professionally developed.
Second, promoting an online store can be done with zero expenses through social media and blogging.
If you’re already active on social media or have been blogging for years with thousands of followers, they can be your customer base. If you’re good with Instagram, for instance, hack it with popular and specific hashtags. And if you’re a Twitter influencer, make sure to leverage its power as well.
Third, sourcing for dropshipping products requires acknowledgment of risks, but it can be reduced significantly.
If you use an app that automates the whole process, there is a shortcut that would save you a lot of time researching for the most reliable dropshipping suppliers. This feature allows you to select the products carried by suppliers and publish the product images and specifications directly to the online store.
Overall, these 3 most important business lessons on dropshipping model prove that establishing an online business is much simpler than most people imagine. And within a few hours, you’d be able to start promoting the new business starting with your own “tribe,” as Seth Godin once stated.
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. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Business.com, Business2Community, Addicted2Success, Good Men Project, Positively Positive, and others. Her blog is JenniferXue.com.