You'll need to learn how to start a dropshipping business, investigate profitable dropshipping niches, pick the best dropshipping products, find dropshipping vendors, and more. These steps are all only as successful as the overall dropshipping business idea you choose.
Read on to learn about the tools you should use to start a dropshipping business, how to get started, and some good dropshipping business ideas.
Dropshipping Business Tools
Before running off with a new dropshipping business idea, you'll want to make sure you set yourself up with success by choosing the right eCommerce software. You'll need to be able to perform market research, procure products, share order data with suppliers, and more.
Here are the types of tools you'll need:
Product Research Tools
The success of your demand planning and product procurement rely on your ability to accurately determine what products are desired by your target market. This means you need to carefully select the tools you use to research products. The easiest tool to use is Google Trends. This is a free service offered by Google that gives you insight into search data and trends since 2004. You can easily identify surges in demand as well as seasonal cycles to help you understand what your customers are looking for and when.
You can also use built-in data on sites like Amazon or AliExpress if those are where you'll be sourcing products from. Both track sales and search data within their marketplaces and often denote products as trending. This can help you find products with existing demand and is a valuable tool if you perform drop surfing and want to find the cheapest supplier of a given product type.
eCommerce Platform or Marketplace
You can't run an online business without a digital storefront. This is especially true of dropshipping businesses, since you don't own any products, all of your time and energy will go into building and marketing your site. There are two primary options for your website, you can use a headless eCommerce platform and dropshipping website builder, or you can create a storefront on an existing marketplace. Both options have their pros and cons. Headless platforms give you more control over every aspect of your site, but require you to manually create and edit all pages and content. This can be very time-consuming and technically challenging. Marketplaces offer less control, but adding and removing products is much easier. Many of the best dropshipping websites are stores run on marketplaces.
Many dropshippers are choosing to sell online using BlueCart eCommerce for their digital storefront. It's an all-in-one platform that makes getting a dropshipping business up and running a breeze. We take care of store design, eCommerce payment processing, and more, so you can focus on selling. Even better, all BlueCart customers also get listed in our online marketplace where their products can reach 95,000+ buyers in the U.S.
Order Tracking Software
While the entire order fulfillment process is handled by your suppliers, you still need to be able to track orders and deliveries for your customers. Work with your suppliers to get access to any tracking software they use or invest in your own and set up data transfers so you are always kept in the loop. Poor order fulfillment can kill your business and leave a sour taste in customers' mouths that even the best customer service for dropshipping can't fix. This is an area where it may be worth looking into automated dropshipping so you don't have to manually track any information.
You should also speak with your suppliers to see what they can do for branding the sales you make. They may be able to help with private label dropshipping so all eCommerce packaging has your logo and customers won't know you don't supply your own products. At the very least you'll want to arrange to have a branded packing slip and RMA form in every order.
How to Pick a Dropshipping Business Idea
While most products that are sold online can be used in a dropshipping business, that doesn't make them good ideas. A good dropshipping idea needs three things: good dropshipping profit margin, a reliable supplier, and market demand. If even one of those is missing, you won't see much success and find yourself asking "is dropshipping worth it?" The key to all of these things is research and analysis. Instead of running headlong into a new venture, you should take the time to carefully consider how you can make the most out of each decision and stick with high demand products.
You should calculate your desired margin before investing in any products. Remember, there's a difference between markup vs margin, and mistaking the two can eat through your revenue. You'll also want to remember to set a separate wholesale vs retail price for every product you sell. No matter how good the base idea for your dropshipping business is, if you make a mistake here, you can easily lose out on quite a bit of money.
Good Dropshipping Ideas
Once you've figured out the tools you're going to use, planned for demand, and set eCommerce KPIs, you're ready to pick a dropshipping idea.
With that in mind, here are five good dropshipping ideas for 2021:
Though a more seasonal item, sunglasses are a great choice for dropshippers in 2021. As lockdowns across the world are lifted, people are seeking to spend more time outside than ever. This means products that keep you safe and let you spend more time outside are all seeing a boost in demand. Sunglasses serve a functional purpose, but can also help show a customer's style, interest, wealth, and more. Aim to maximize the revenue you get from these sunglasses by offering a variety of options that all match current demand trends. This plays a key role in how to make money dropshipping.
A perennial favorite, socks have proven to be a very profitable dropshipping product. In fact, the market for socks is expected to be worth more than $24 billion by 2025. They're low-cost, cheap to ship, and can come in more varieties than you can count. If you invest wisely in eCommerce marketing, you can build a unique brand and sell your selection of socks easily. This is also a great product for working with influencers to advertise, so you don't have to pick between affiliate marketing vs dropshipping. Quite a few dropshipping businesses have used socks to help them build a successful company quickly.
Food is always a good choice for an eCommerce business, but dropshipping offers even more flexibility. You can procure products based on a theme, like national origin or ingredients, or offer a wide array of products. The most important thing is to focus on non-perishable items as shipping other products can be costly and require special packaging. So, if you're looking to sell baked goods online, sell cookies online, or tackle alcohol and sell wine online, the dropshipping model isn't the right choice.
BlueCart is used by many food suppliers to sell their products B2B, DTC, or both. It's also a great way to find wholesale suppliers for your dropshipping business. You can even start kitting all the food you buy and sell subscription boxes through the platform. It's a great way to add recurring payments to your revenue stream.
Phones, laptops, and more all rely on USB chargers to keep them up and running. However, these chargers often break, are lost, or may even simply be too short. Though most electronics are more suited to reverse dropshipping since they're so expensive to acquire, chargers are a rare exception. They're low-cost with great margins and are used by a majority of households. They're also great for cross selling, so you can increase your average order value by selling other products that go well together like phone cases, PopSockets, and more.
When selling electronics, it's more important than ever to pay attention to product quality. Poor quality can easily upset customers and may even be dangerous depending on the flaw. Though it may be appealing to sell the cheapest products at a high markup, this is one of the biggest dropshipping beginner mistakes and ultimately leads many consumers to abandon your business or even ask "is dropshipping dead?" or "is dropshipping legal"?
Health and wellness products are all seeing growth this year as people emerge from lockdown and look to get back into shape. Yoga is one of the biggest sectors of the fitness market and it's also one of the best for dropshipping. That's because both yoga mats and yoga leggings are easy to procure and offer great margins. Look into finding products that are on-trend and in an array of colors and patterns to increase the chance you'll sell them. If you're looking to get into the clothing or health markets, this is a great place to start and they're easy to include in your dropshipping ads.
A good dropshipping idea executed well can lead to a fast-growing and thriving business. Follow the tips above, and invest time and energy into researching your chosen industry, and you're well on your way to profit.
For more guidance on how to dropship and increase revenue, start by reading our free drop shipping for dummies guide, then pick up some of our favorite dropshipping books, eCommerce books, and take dropshipping courses.