That’s it, you feel ready to open an online store and you have made the choice to create a dropshipping site. This is great news and a great adventure is about to begin.
I’ve been working in e-commerce for a few years now and I always wondered how I would do it if I ever decided to open my own e-commerce site. And the first step to create a dropshipping website is to create the store itself, that is to say the website where people will be able to connect and buy.
So I’m going to focus today on the different existing solutions to open an online store without stock and I will give you the advantages and disadvantages of each.
The different solutions to create a dropshipping store
There are three different solutions to create an online store without stock: buy an existing site, buy a dropshipping store and create your own site through an e-commerce CMS. I will try to present you the advantages and disadvantages of each of these options to help you in your reflection.
Buy an existing Site store for sale
The first solution offered to you will be to buy an existing site, that is to say a site which already markets products and which already generates sales, which already has customers and a certain notoriety (more or less high according to the sales realized by the site).
- Site that already generates sales ==> allows to reinvest the amount of sales
- Existing customer base (more or less developed)
- Training on the tool generally provided by the seller
- History already existing with dropshipping suppliers
- Site already exists in the eyes of the engines: SEO (natural referencing) which does not start from scratch
- Price of the site varies according to the turnover generated: investment can be important
- Site may be on an aging technology
- Site code can be difficult to take over for a new agency that would accompany you for the developments and technical maintenance
When to select this option?
There are many risks associated with the takeover of an existing e-commerce site. Among them, the most important are:
- The valuation of the site can be higher than the real value of the site
- No learning phase: risk of errors that can affect the turnover of the site
- Almost obligatory takeover of the various providers of the site: development agency, SEO/SEM support agency, suppliers, etc.
In my opinion, this solution should be considered for professionals in digital marketing and e-commerce, who already have a more or less successful experience in the management of an online sales site and who wish to launch their own account.
This formula is feasible for a beginner in e-commerce as long as he is supervised/coached by an e-commerce professional in order to avoid making too many mistakes, which could taint the success of the project.
Target: e-commerce professionals or association with an e-commerce expert
Where to find a Site store for sale?
There are many marketplaces where e-commerce site owners market their e-commerce site, whether in dropshipping or pure e-commerce. Among the existing sites, there are:
But the best solution to find an existing e-commerce site for sale is to establish relationships with the various merchant sites of the theme in which you want to launch: networking, follow the forums, contact the various owners of sites to ask them if they know a site for sale … etc..
Like the job market, most of the e-commerce sites sold have not been advertised on the internet and have been sold through word of mouth.
Buy a dropshipping website
The second solution, which is generally the one that is favored by e-merchants who start in e-commerce, is the purchase of a turnkey dropshipping site. This means that you buy a new site, on which the catalogs of products that you will sell are already connected and the connections with suppliers already in place.
- No technical skills required
- Dropshipping suppliers already selected and connected (product catalog, flow…)
- Agencies that offer this type of service provide after-sales service for 3 to 6 months
- Agencies provide training on the tool
- Agencies provide follow-up and development advice
- Price of the site: between 2500 and 3500€.
- Site starting from zero in terms of turnover
- Dropshipping supplier list dependent on partnerships with the agency
- Funding required to bring in new agencies
- Additional budget needed to get the ball rolling and generate the first sales
- Standardized site features
The point of vigilance of this formula: the quality of the supplier
Indeed, the supplier plays a determining role in the success of your e-commerce project. It is therefore essential to choose a partner who has the concern to work with quality suppliers, ideally with the following referencing criteria:
- Avoid suppliers based in China, your delivery time will be much too long for Internet users to be interested in your products.
- Profitability being the sinews of war, it is important to work with a supplier offering a sufficiently interesting margin in order to finance your customer acquisition cost and without forgetting to earn your living. Thus, between two agencies that propose a different supplier, think about comparing the proposed margin rate: it is sometimes worth paying a little more for your e-commerce site if the supplier provided with offers a more attractive remuneration.
- Avoid working with an overexploited supplier, i.e. one that already has too many resellers. Typically, this type of supplier can be found on the various sites that offer lists of dropshipping suppliers. You will have very little added value to bring on the web, while on the contrary, with a less exposed supplier, you will have more market share to take.
When to select this option?
This solution generally allows the e-merchant to train on the job while being accompanied by the agency that sold him the site.
Thus, this formula is particularly interesting for the beginners who have planned to launch without having big technical skills and who wish to benefit from an e-commerce site with professional features.
For this formula, it will however be necessary to envisage a budget more consequent than that of the purchase of the site in itself. Indeed, as the site is new, it will be necessary to invest in the purchase of keywords on Adwords to generate the first visits and sales. It will also be necessary to plan a budget to create, as soon as possible, a first community of influencers on social networks. Finally, it will also be necessary to plan a budget dedicated to the creation of massive content to quickly position the site and the purchase of the first external links.
Target: beginners in e-commerce with a budget of more than 10000€.
Where to find a turnkey site?
The best solution to buy a turnkey dropshipping site is to approach agencies that specialize in this area.
Indeed, they usually have a catalog of suppliers specialized in dropshipping and usually have a sales representative dedicated to recruiting new suppliers (which is one less step to do on your side). Moreover, they are specialized in the specific management that this type of marketing requires (such as data flows for example) and provide a perfectly adapted site.
There are many agencies specialized in selling turnkey dropshipping sites. I don’t have a specific example to give you but think about comparing because, as for everything, there is a lot to eat and drink.
Create your own dropshipping store from scratch
Choose a product
First, you will need to determine what products you want to sell. Choose a niche that you know well and have personally tested different models. Even if you don’t need to build up a stock, you will still need to inform your customers as best as possible!
Preferably select unbranded products to avoid counterfeits. Reviews from customers who have already tested the products in question can be very helpful.
It goes without saying that the items you offer for sale must be of good quality and proven to work or be durable.
You can also find out which categories of items sell best on the Internet.
Choose a supplier
The choice of the supplier for your dropshipping business is quite crucial, as you will depend on them first for products and deliveries. Your goal is to find a reliable wholesaler with whom you will be able to negotiate advantageous terms of sale in dropshipping.
Ideally, you should also be able to meet your potential supplier directly if you have the opportunity to do so, so you will be better able to evaluate the seriousness of the latter. Don’t hesitate to test suppliers by placing small orders to see how things go and what the real delivery times are.
It may be tempting to choose a supplier in Asia, where products are cheaper, but because there are so many players in this field, a partnership with a local supplier is considered less risky. In any case, find out a lot about the company in question: satisfaction rate, reactivity…
You will need to be sure that you can communicate quickly and properly with them in case of problems. Obviously, the supplier must be able to offer interesting prices that leave you a sufficient margin on each sale (to be comfortable, this margin should be around 50%).
To reduce your dependence on one particular supplier, you may want to consider having several. This way, you will be prepared to deal with the possibility that one of them may change its conditions in a way that is unfavorable to you.
Create an online store with shopify or wordpress
When it comes to dropshipping, you have the choice of creating your own online store or using a turnkey site. There are even online services that include both suppliers and online stores. You can also use an e-commerce solution like Shopify.
Ideally, the system should be able to transmit orders to your wholesaler without much manual intervention on your part.
The online sales site is the showcase that you will have to take special care of, make sure that your customers are attracted by the design, that it is free of spelling mistakes and perfectly secure. In short, offer a beautiful case to your products. The site should also be well adapted to smartphones.
Marketing: a step not to be neglected
You will have understood that a large part of the business model based on dropshipping relies on your ability to stand out from your competitors by being faster and more present on the Internet.
To do this, you will need to invest heavily in advertising and search engine optimization on the Internet. It is essential to arrive at the top of the results in search engines because many prospects will not look any further.
Be very present on social networks, many potential customers are there. Do not hesitate to launch marketing campaigns to your target audience.
Take care of your product descriptions. The more precise and interesting your product descriptions are, the better your chances of appearing in the top results.
Also offer your customers other “extras”: discount coupons, small gifts, etc. Customers are always sensitive to these gestures.
When it comes to shipping costs, offer free shipping if you can. This is a strong argument that can set you apart from your competitors.
The customer service
Remember that when it comes to dropshipping, it is you as the e-merchant who is responsible for the sales. Therefore, you will need to establish terms and conditions for returns and refunds, as wholesalers usually do not handle this aspect. You need to make sure that your customer service is impeccable and that your customers are guaranteed satisfaction.
Make sure you respond quickly and commercially to your customers when they ask for information or have problems with their orders. Since you don’t manage shipping and your supplier may be located in a distant country, it is common for your customers to experience long delays in receiving their goods. It may be a good idea to install a package tracking system on your site in the customers’ personal account.
Dropshipping is an opportunity for merchants wishing to launch their online sales sites without having to invest a large sum of money and it relieves them of all the logistics related to orders.
However, suppliers also benefit because they have a showcase to sell their goods without having to manage the marketing or the sales process. Executed with the right partners, dropshipping allows you to launch your e-commerce quickly and while limiting the risks.