At this point in the championship, we are all convinced – drop shipping is one of the simplest ways to create a profitable online business quickly.
Although many people consider dropshipping to be a business to start with, we will check the use of drop ship as a way to test new product ideas, as well as follow up after these experiments.
Thinking about this article, we will focus on the dropshipping of printed products (such as t-shirts and posters). This learning, however, can certainly also be applied to the use of dropshipping with other products.
Use Drop Shipping to Search for New Markets and Product Ideas
The general concept of dropshipping is to have someone take care of shipping for you. Since you will no longer be doing this part on your own, it is not necessary to be located close to your dropshipper. This opens up a new universe of possibilities. This feature can be used if you intend to conquer a market that is not located in your neighborhood.
For example, an Australian seller looking to grow his business to the American market could benefit from a dropshipper located in the USA, as he could offer cheaper and faster shipping than he would charge if he had to ship from Australia. And this is particularly significant, given that the American public is used to fast freight even for online purchases, such as the two-day delivery offered by the Amazon Prime service.
Dropshipping is a method that even most large retailers have adopted in their growth strategies. They use it to test new products and types of products, new markets, fulfill excess orders, etc.
Do you have doubts whether a new product will take off? Do you prefer not to risk setting up a stuffed stock and then watching the product fail? Simple: just assemble it from drop shipping on demand. You will be able to validate the idea and know if it is worth continuing on this path.
Some great examples of drop shippers include Zappos, Gilt, Startup Vitamins, and even IKEA. Some of them started as exclusive dropshipping online stores, and only later did they start shipping their own products.
Stores like Wayfair work exclusively with dropshipping, managing 7,000 different suppliers!
Essential Aspects of a Dropshipper
“Sending your products via dropshipping” is easier in theory than in practice. The main issue is to find the ideal dropshipper.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering a dropshipper:
1. Does it integrate with your e-commerce platform?
Your life will be infinitely easier if you can associate your online store with your dropshipper – orders would automatically be sent to the dropshipper, and you would pay the difference in costs and pocket the rest of the transaction money.
There are several dropshippers for printed products that integrate with Shopify online stores. Check out some of the best-ranked print-on-demand integrations on Shopify:
- Scalable Press
- Print Aura
2. How will customer service be managed?
Make sure you understand who will be responsible for customer service. What happens when there is a return? Who will take care of her? Communication is very important. For example, if you run out of stock at a printer, who will be responsible for notifying you or your customers?
3. Is your dropshipper located close to the market you want to operate in?
If your target audience is North American, but your potential dropshipper is located in Australia, this is probably not your best option. Make sure you find someone closer to your audience, so you can reduce shipping times and costs.
4. What will the packaging look like for your customer?
Consider including white labels next to orders – this means that each order will be marked with information from your own online store, rather than that of the dropshipper, which will suggest that you are shipping the product yourself.
Don’t forget to check out how to create an unforgettable unpacking experience for your customers!
Professional tip: be sure to place test orders, to assess quality and shipping times, as well as double-check the packaging.
Deciding Your First Dropshipping Experiment
Choose something easy to send via dropshipping
As soon as you choose a dropshipper, review your offered products. What can you offer your customers with ease that is new and different? If you sell t-shirts, why not try to sell prints? Or mugs?
Test the seasonality of the product
Try something that is seasonally relevant. For example, during the summer, you can try on tops and beachwear, while during the winter, you can try on warm clothing and hats.
Listen to customers’ requests and wishes
If you’ve been running your online store for some time, chances are you’ve received some requests from customers, in terms of products they would like to see you sell. How about trying them out? If a person made the request, it is possible that there are many others who just did not bother to write to you.
Ask your customers for insights and feedbacks
Communicate with them, start a conversation. Go ahead and ask them what they think of the product, before launching it. Try to include questions related to the product in some post-purchase research, or even ask questions on social media.
As soon as you choose a product to try, and everything is set up with the dropshipper of your choice, it’s time to make sales happen! Simply advertise the product on your online store and resume your marketing and growth tactics to see if it is a hit.
Results of Your Dropshipping Experiment
Once you test your drop shipping experiment , it can help you with your future business decisions – and you can apply everything you’ve learned to your online store.
Let’s look at these three outcomes, as well as what you can do next:
1. Your experimental product results in similar or higher sales than your best selling product
2. Your experimental product results in sales similar to those of your intermediate products
3. Your trial product results in lower sales than the rest of your online store products
1. If your experimental product results in similar or higher sales compared to your best selling product
You have tested the market and discovered that there is demand. Perhaps the product sells as well, if not better, than the other products in your online store.
Consider buying real stock
If you’ve been hugely successful with your dropshipping experiment, you may be looking to profit even more. The experiment was a success, and you can start to personally manage the delivery issue.
Consider producing your own product
How quickly can you cover the price of a printing machine? A decent basic machine for direct printing on fabric, including setup and maintenance, for example, costs about $ 28,000. How fast can you recover this value? Is it possible to give up that profit for a few months?
2. If your experimental product results in sales similar to those of your intermediate products
So, didn’t your experiment turn into that wonderful sales explosion you expected? The good news is that it was a low-risk, low-cost venture. You now have valuable insights into your market and your audience that you can take advantage of.
You must keep your dropshipper if you do not have time to ship the products on your own or if you do not want to keep a stock, or if freight costs make your business impractical.
Often, your shipping company will close deals with carriers, so that you get lower freight prices, since it has high volumes of products and, therefore, can negotiate discounts.
Change the experiment and test a new product
Your audience didn’t like this product. Through the process of exclusion, this is one of the ways that you do not need to continue developing. No problem, now you know! How about moving on to the next product experiment?
Change your target audience or platform
He was not very suitable for the market. This is not to say that it was a bad product, just that it was not what customers were looking for. Are you still sure this is a good idea? How about setting up another online store in a different niche and spreading it to another audience?
3. If your experimental product results in lower sales than the rest of your online store products
Go ahead and keep it in your online store, by drop shipping. That way, there is no danger: you keep those few customers happy and keep getting a little revenue.
If your experiment was not successful, ask yourself: did people know that you were selling this new product? Did you send an email? Don’t have an email list? How about trying a little advertising on Facebook? People cannot buy your product unless they know it exists.
Learn More About Dropshipping
Want to know more about the benefits of dropshipping? Check out the infographic below, in addition to our definitive dropshipping guide.
Dropshipping is a tool that you can use to boost your business and also develop it. Use it as a key way to validate any new product idea.
Do you have any other ideas for using dropshipping to try products and other business endeavors? Tell us in the comments below!