Shopify Dropshipping. These two words have been on the tip of the tongue of thousands upon thousands of eCommerce aficionados and entrepreneurs in the past years, and even the coronavirus outbreak didn’t deter the industry. Let’s go in depth and check out some of the best practices, tips & tricks and how you can track the winning products to sell in your eCommerce store.
Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product using the dropshipping model, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the seller doesn’t have to handle the product directly.
The biggest difference between dropshipping and the standard retail model is that the selling merchant doesn’t stock or own inventory. Instead, the seller purchases inventory as needed from a third party—usually a wholesaler or manufacturer—to fulfill orders. Dropshipping isn’t a perfect, stress-free way to build a successful online business—hard work is always required to start a business. The model has some definite advantages, but comes with a number of built-in complexities you’ll need to address.
One of THE most important things is finding “the golden products”, the “winning products” for dropshipping. And Aliexpress comes into play – the largest supplier of products for the entire world.
A reliable supplier on Aliexpress is a must. Check for how long have they been in business, the rating of the item(s) they are selling and the number of ratings. Doesn’t really matter if the Aliexpress supplier has thousands of orders, this must not deter you, as long as the product solves a problem or a need.
As you can see in the screenshot, this seller is on Aliexpress for quite a while, has a great 4.6 rating score out of about 8.000 reviews, a pretty good delivery time in US (several days) and has had over 18.000 orders.
1. Using Facebook to find new products to dropship
Follow Ads on Facebook feed – you’re being targeted with plenty of products from Wish.com as well – how many views it’s got, shares, comments and general reaction. Save video, like it, even comment on it so that Facebook continues serving you with similar ads from dropshippers. Enter the store, add to cart and go to checkout.
So by doing these steps you’re basically telling Mark Zuckerberg & his team that you’re totally addicted to online shopping and that you want to be shown plenty of products on the feed.
If you don’t want to “polute” your feed I’ve found out that you can use incognito mode in your browser and Facebook serves you with plenty of products from dropshippers. Or you can simply
2. Using different (paid or free) tools to find products to sell through drosphipping on Shopify
AliShark (paid) – a research tool for Aliexpress, Ecomhunt.com (partially free) or SelltheTrend.com (7 days trial). Instead of constantly scrolling down the feed(s) of Facebook, Instagram or even Pinterest or Etsy.com, these sites help you find products that potentially match the criteria for testing on your dropshipping site.
Always sort for Newest First (usually it’s default), select a category if you love some products or hate selling others. You can find the profit margins on products, analytics and trends on the sales of the products and also helpful links to follow on the product – including the Aliexpress distributor.
You also usually have a “saturation meter” that shows if the market is already oversaturated or it’s worth trying to sell it in your area or worldwide.
How do you price the products?
We’ve covered cost and pricing in another article on Ecompedia.com, but the general idea is that you should try pricing a product based on the break even point. So ALWAYS find out what the break even point is, after calculating the costs you have to support (taxes, shipping, packaging, advertising, promotions, leaflets etc.), and then sell it.
3. Spy on your competitors (and more)
Maybe “spy” sounds a little pejorative, so let’s just call it “increasing your knowledge through analysing your competitors, trends and best sellers on different eCommerce channels”. Ok, let’s just leave it at spy.
There are literally dozens of spy tools to chose from out there, most of them offering a (very) short free period of testing or scrapes, and then charging around $20/month – it depends on the complexity of the subscription.
What do the spy tools do? They basically scrap for winning and popular products (not only popular, but with high margin niches), trending stores, new competitors and dropshippers. The spy tools browse through thousands of top Shopify stores to reveal their best selling items, Alexa rank, traffic, and more, by using Web crawlers.
Of equal importance is that they show trends of sales on the products – similar to Google Trends (see below about Google Trends).
The video below takes a (now paid) spy tool and describes it in depth.
4. Amazon, Wish, eBAY & Etsy – best sellers
Amazon has a best seller lists for every category on the platform. The nice(st) thing? It is updated EVERY single hour.
If they’re best sellers on Amazon, they could also be best sellers on your own store. So you can add products to your store, like this one, based on their performance on Amazon.
Also, even if the product is available on the Amazon (and a best seller), shouldn’t deter or intimidate you. Keep in mind that, most of the time, if someone sees your product from an ad first, they’re more likely to buy directly from you – especially if the price is BELOW the psychological threshold of $50.
According to a study by CreditCards.com, 44% of all the american IMPULSE buy. Even better, according to the same source, almost 80% of Millenials impulse buy.
Maybe these numbers, from 2019, will go down a little after coronavirus outbreak, but, all in all, this is your target – and it’s a huge one. These people won’t start scouring all the internet in search for a better deal – they’ll just buy from your ad if it’s appealing and your Shopify shop is well done, delivering quality content, photos and descriptions.
Also, you may be running a niche shop, let’s say outwear. You can complement your products with a water bottle, best seller from Amazon – it will come as natural.
Now, at this stage, you have to consider a few things before going ahead and selecting your next winning dropshipping product.
- Verify the size (envelop to shoebox packing) and price (less than $50, as I mentioned);
- Check the potential profit margin;
- Check for marketing opportunities.
Especially during coronavirus outbreak, but it applies in general as well, it is harder to promote faster shipping with dropshipping. So, offering free shipping is the best way to get around these long delivery times. Then, by selecting small products, you can save on shipping, and you can offer free shipping with your orders.
Also, when the price range is less than $50 people care a lot less about everything. If something went wrong, they wouldn’t panic a lot. Also, you can offer replacements without any hassles.
What you’re looking for is a problem solver, that is most likely selling to impulse buyers. Impulse buy products include things like:
- Colorful (or visually stands out when scrolling)
- Elicits an emotional reaction (“I need this” or “This is adorable” or “I love this”)
- Different design or style from anything you’ve ever seen.
Finally, you have to foresee your marketing opportunities too. For example, if there is a hot selling product in your store, you can select something that can be used for cross-selling with your hot product.
Most of the winning products on Wish.com attract the impulse buyers. So they would do well on visual platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
If you’re more on the handmade part of Shopify eCommerce, Etsy is THE largest shop you should follow. As Amazon and Wish.com, Etsy has also a best seller list you could follow at least weekly to see some trends.
eBAY’s “Watchcount” gives the best impression on what’s trending on the largest auction site in the world. You can either search for a broader section or by specific key words like “baby blanket” or “Towels” and see which model(s) are most watched. The best items to dropship are the ones listed with the most watchers.
5. Check the viral videos
Watch them as often as possible – you may find products that people are interested in. Then go to Aliexpress and see if there are sellers for these items and, using the afore mentioned tips, sell them.
6. What NOT to sell and what Google Trends tells you
Google Trends educates you about the searches people make and about their actual and immediate needs.
For example, typing “snow sled”or “sleigh” in Google Trends indicates that the worldwide interest in this winter sport product has collapsed, BUT most likely it WILL go up again starting October 2020. You can see in the .gif below that it is a recurring item.
It may be a great opportunity especially after the coronavirus outbreak – parents and kids alike will want to get outside the houses, do sports and, as a good Shopify and dropshipper, you’re ready to serve their needs.
You can also use Facebook to check out what are the trends there – search for a specific term or item and Facebook will give you results like videos, ads and general talking. Check the time of the posts, the interaction and based on this data and Google Trends you can make an educated guess – would this product sell right now? If not, when would it sell?
7. General golden advices to help you find the winning products
I’ve turned towards specialists and Shopify sellers out there looking for some golden advices for you to follow and implement – the power of the hive mustn’t be underestimated.
Tip #1 – Start with a niche, take the risk, learn, then niche down again…and build a strong brand you can expand with over the years.
One pretty known example is a guy named Jeff Bezos – listen to him in 1997, when selling books online WAS a niche.
– Bezos was impressed with a trend, created a list of things he could sell online, critically brought that list down to one;
– Started selling books he stocked (niche);
– Then sold books he didn’t stock (niched down);
– Then sold books that were out of print (niched down more)’
– Then expanded and expanded and EXPANDED to the Amazon we see today.
Tip #2 – Don’t go looking for a winning product as it’s like trying to find a pot if gold at the end of a rainbow, even if yes, it’s possible to find that one product. Find something that interests you as you will need the knowledge and passion to succeed.
Tip #3 – When you find that product, order a sample. See how long it takes to reach you. 10 days? 30 days? Does the Aliexpress distributor live up to his word? Take some photos of the product(s), avoid using the same ones as on Aliexpress. Stock images are ALWAYS a no, even if they look good at first glance. Describe the products as if answering your target clients questions.
Tip #4 – A/B test your site. Try different colours, different engage buttons, different pricing. Do this for at least 100 impressions and then compare them and pick a winner. A/B test often! Sometimes you will be very surprised to find out the most EXPENSIVE of your tests will sell the most.
Tip #5 – Most of the six and seven figure Shopify businesses have three things in common:
- Less than a dozen core products;
- Some or more original products;
- Micro niche.
Tip #6 – Focus first on ONE target audience person. You must know that persona as well as the back of your hand. What is her or his age, likes and dislikes, where does she/he shop – give her/him a name. Know that one person inside and out and then write and display for her/him directly. Then you can expand to a wider similar audience. But start with one in mind, and learn all you can about her/his habits.
Tip #7 – Whatever you choose to sell, have FUN. Enjoy the ride, be responsible, helpful to your clients and shoot for the stars. Improve yourself often, read books on marketing, install the best apps for your store and know your Shopify business inside and outside. Good luck!