Updated: Apr 30, 2019
Guest contributed from www.sipsmall.com
As a small producer being able to maximize revenue from your website is important to your business but other than selling wine and event tickets, what can you do? The truth is a lot, two party companies that provide drop shipping services have made it easy for anyone to populate an e-commerce shop without too much effort. With companies like Oberlo and Spocket you have the option of choosing ready made products that ship from the U.S and companies like Printful, who will dropship branded products ordered on your website.
What is Dropshipping? Dropshipping is a transaction through a website interface that displays products that are housed by another company available for purchase through your website. Your customer comes to your website, purchases the product, you receive the difference between the wholesale and list price of the purchase while the dropshipping company receives the rest of the payment. They then fulfill and ship the order to your customer and send you the transaction details.
In order to integrate a dropshipping business into your website, you need a website platform that will support it and most do. If your website is built in Wordpress adding a dropshipping plugin from either Woocommerce or Shopify will allow you to connect your site to multiple apps with huge databases of products available. Squarespace allows for a direct product integration as well, though it costs quite a bit more for the hosting package. Both of these options will get you a seamless interface to choose products and import them to your online product catalog. If you do not have a website in either of these platforms there are a few other options available or you could go with a stand alone Shopify store and connect it to your website via a link.
The hard part of dropshipping really isn’t the technical part of creating the website or integrating it into an existing system, it’s finding the right supplier with the right products. I personally recommend not working with dropshipping companies who don’t have warehouse space in the U.S. because it extends the shipping time to weeks, and even if you let customers know about the wait it still doesn’t reflect well on your brand. There are plenty of companies like those mentioned above that do ship from the U.S. so don’t worry that you will have limited options for your store.
The first step to finding the companies you want to work with after vetting warehouse locations is finding the monthly costs associated? Most dropshipping companies have a monthly fee though some have a free starter membership but trying to be successful on those platforms without paying the fee can be difficult because they hold back the best selling products and products with best profit margins for premium customers. Also compare shipping carriers and costs, you want a company that will allow you to offer free shipping and coupons through your store.
Once you’ve chosen your platform you will be given access to the product catalog which can be really overwhelming, which do you choose and why? The first consideration is to find products that match your brand, for a wine brand you will be able to find lots of lifestyle products related to wine-jewelry, art, glassware, kitchen products, cell phone cases, tote bags, T-shirts, oh my! The best way to get through it is to first scroll through and save products you just like, don’t worry about the profit margin or whether or not anyone else will like it.
After you have done that, go into your saved products and start refining by what you think will resonate with your customers and be in the right price point for your business. The next step is to look at the retail price vs the wholesale price, what is your profit margin on each product? This should be the last consideration since you have already vetted for customer preference and price point, you also want to make sure you have a variety of products available.
Once you have set up your shop and imported your products you will have some technical tasks to complete for finalizing your store and marketing your products. You will have to make sure your payment gateway is set up, your shipping preferences saved, sort products into categories and tags and get the word out to your customers. If you need some help with this or anything else in the article, please feel free to reach out.