LESSON 1: CHOOSING WHERE TO SELL
Before you can start selling products you have to have somewhere to put them up for sale. You probably have a place in mind, and that is great, however, before you skip this step I would highly recommend to read it entirely, as it may make the difference of your success with drop shipping.
There are several different ways to sell online, and all of them work if done correctly. Below is a list of these options, we will go over them in more detail further along in this lesson.
Marketplaces (Examples: eBay, Amazon, Bonanza, iOffer, eCrater, Jet etc)
Website(s) (Example: www.yourwebsite.com)
Classifieds (Examples: Craiglist, Newspapers, Magazines etc)
Social (Examples: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc)
Most of our customers come to us and right from the start they want to get selling on marketplaces like eBay and/or Amazon. Which is great, but there are some things to consider here. The amount of competition on the marketplaces is fierce, you will definitely get some sales and make money from them, but they are very difficult to deal with. If you are brand new, its going to make things even harder for you. But we will go over more on that later in this step.
There are a lot of benefits to selling on marketplaces. Here is a short list of pros and cons to explain better.
They have plenty of customers already, you don't have to do much in the way of marketing
Get sales right from the start
Easy to use venue that doesn't require a lot of setting up
High fees to sell on their site
Strict rules to abide by
More out of pocket expenses
Boost Your Reputation on the Marketplaces
If you have less than 200 completed sales on the marketplace(s) you want to sell on (this does not count purchases you made as a buyer), then you are going to want to do what I like to call a reputation boost. Most of the marketplaces work the same way, you come in at a standard level, where you will get visibility and sales, but usually its very limited and slow. The marketplace will judge you on the amount of time it takes for you to answer customer questions, the amount of negative comments you receive, if you ship the item within your stated handling time and how you solve problems. If you score high in those areas you will begin to get more search exposure and you will notice you will start to get more and more sales, if you do not stay on top of your business you will see less and less until there are no sales. That is how it works on most marketplaces and it generally takes at least a few months to build a reputation to the point of noticing a big change in your sales volume.
Unfortunately, the marketplaces aren't in as much of a hurry for you to have a lot of sales as you are. So you have to be creative. As an idea, I would recommend the following as it has worked more than once.
** Go to Best Buy or Wal-Mart (you can go anywhere you want or online), and buy up at least 100, preferably 200 new movies (for each marketplace you want to sell on, you don't have to do it in one trip if you aren't up to it, its ok to spread it out over 2-3 months) from the $3 and $5 movie bins (or cheaper if you can find them), but you probably want to make sure they are brand new and sealed. Try to get somewhat current movies, probably big hit movies that came out in the last 5 years or so. Then sell them at cost, or even under cost (if you can afford to), this will make the receiving customer very happy, and it will give you a quick giant boost to your online reputation, which will help you alot with sales when you start adding products to drop ship.
This method also works great, if you already have a built reputation, but would like to bring your scores up due to negative feedback, slow shipping times, order cancellations etc.
This actually is a marketplace, but I wanted to give Bonanza its very own section, because this will pay for your subscription with us every month and probably a small bill, like a phone bill, or internet bill etc and there isn't a lot of maintenance required and no upfront costs to use them. Bonanza is a marketplace similar to eBay or Amazon, although they have nowhere near the number of buyers, they still have millions of buyers themselves and they will get your products over to google shopping and several other places on the internet (for no charge). There are no sign-up fees or memberships, you only pay 3.9% when you make a sale (unless you pay extra for their turbo traffic, but I don't recommend this at first).
In the Bonanza feed we added 18% to cover your bonanza fees and your PayPal fees. Since Bonanza only charges you 3.9% in final value fees, you can run a sitewide sales and discount your products. This will help your sales on Bonanza, Alternative to a sale you can opt in to Bonanza turbo traffic where they charge you a higher value fee. You can experiment between doing a discount and using turbo traffic to see which one works better for you.
Your Own Website
I can't say enough about how important having your own website is to the success of your online drop shipping business. It is also perfectly fine to have more than one website; many successful businesses have multiple websites. However, just like everything else there is the good and the bad.
There are no marketplace fees
The customer base is your own
You get to set your own terms and rules
It is your own business that you have complete control over
You will have to work to build your own customer base
You can advertise on Craigslist, Newspapers, Magazines etc. I know this is an old school method, but it still works, and they generally are cheap and sometimes free to advertise on. In some cases, you will want to advertise a specific product, in other cases you will just want to advertise your website. In most cases you will find that advertising your website will be the better option. But we will go over more on that in our Marketing section.
Social sites are a great place to get the word out about products you have or your website especially if you already have a lot of friends/followers. You can post product(s) you have for sale directly on your social site of choice.
With that being said, the trick to drop shipping and being successful enough to generate a livable income is to get as many products out there on as many channels (places to sell) as you possibly can. Never count on any one channel for your entire income. If you have money and sales coming in from a lot of different places it really adds up. And if business starts to go down on one channel, you still have money coming in from several other places which will give you a steady strong income. You can easily build a six-figure income in less than a year if you are able/willing to put in the time and effort required. It won't be instant, but every month you will see more and more activity as you keep expanding to new channels and adding more and more products.