Drop shipping can be more appealing than traditional reselling on eBay. The eBay business model is simple and easy, it makes sense and it involves selling tangible, real products. The only downsides of that method are that you need to make that initial investment in your first order and you need to both store and deliver all your items. If you’re not a fan of wrapping parcels, then this can get very old, very fast.
On the other hand, Drop shipping allows you to skip over all the boring bits. Here, you are essentially acting as something between a reseller and an affiliate and you’re cutting out the middle man – in this case eBay.
So what drop shipping essentially involves is selling products on behalf of a wholesale supplier. You promote the product just as you normally would and then you process the payment. Thereafter, all you do is to pass the shipping details on to the supplier and pay them their share.
In many ways, drop shipping is the perfect business model. You get to sell real products that appeal to a huge range of potential customers and at the same time, you don’t have to worry about fulfillment or inventory. Better yet, most of your customers never need to know that you’re drop shipping. ‘Private label shipping’ means that you get to ship the product from the wholesaler with your branding and return address on the packaging!
How to Get Started Drop Shipping
The only downside of drop shipping as a business model is that it can be somewhat difficult at times to find willing wholesalers who will play along. This means you may need to do some extensive searching in order to find a company that supplies what it is you’re hoping to sell and that will offer the drop shipping service.
Fortunately, there are some tools you can use to easily find drop shipping wholesalers. One is Alibaba (www.alibaba.com/) which lets you search through a directory of products and then find the contact details for the seller.
Alibaba is by far one of the world’s biggest business to business marketplace. You will find there millions on suppliers with equal millions of products listing. It can also be daunting to select the select the right supplier but Alibaba has some features allowing to filter suppliers and select the one that best match your set of criteria.
Another is Worldwide Brands (www.worldwidebrands.com), though that directory requires paid membership (oh look, an example of a membership site!).
Another final option, is to target the manufacturers themselves. If you find a product you really like, then just look up who made it and find their contact details. It never hurts to try!
Creating an eCommerce Store
If you’re going to become a drop seller then creating an ecommerce store will be highly helpful when it comes to generating sales. What’s more, an ecommerce store can also be very helpful when it comes to several other of these business models.
An ecommerce store is essentially an extension of your website or blog through which you can sell products. This will list your items and allow people to easily buy them and will then manage your sales – for you to pass on to your manufacturers/wholesalers.
As with creating a membership site, you can often create an ecommerce store simply by adding a plug in to your WordPress site. One of the most popular options is WooCommerce (http://www.woothemes.com/woocommerce/) which simply requires you to install the plugin to your WordPress and then start entering your items, your prices and your payment details (for receiving payments).
If you’re looking for something a bit larger, then another choice is Megento (www.magento.com/). Magento works just like WooCommerce except it is not a WordPress plugin. This means you’ll need to set up a Magento store like a separate site on your server and then point to it. In exchange, you get a much more powerful system capable of listing up to 50,000 items (whereas WooCommerce is suitable for up to 500 items).
An alternative route to go is Shopify (www.shopify.com/). Shopify is a ‘hosted’ solution, which means that you don’t install or upload it yourself.
Instead, Shopify is like a separate website with a login and you then create a store on that site and then link to it from your own blog. Shopify grants you less flexibility as compared with a self-hosted solution such as WooCommerce. However, in exchange it is somewhat easier to manage seeing as it isn’t ‘your responsibility’ as it were.