Dropshipping is all the hype these days. A lot of investors are looking to invest in it. The trend of dropshipping in the UK has been constantly increasing in the past few years. Many people are wondering how to start a dropshipping business. Well if you’re one of those people then you have come to the right place!
In dropshipping, the business pays attention to demand more than just keeping a stock. Instead, it sells its products via third party suppliers. This method is different from the normal retail method in the way that you don’t have to keep any stock in the warehouse. The customer will order a product from you and the details of the product will be sent to the supplier that makes your products. The supplier will then ship the products to the customer directly. In this way, you can run a successful business without worrying about the management of the inventory.
Steps for Starting a Dropshipping Business:
Let us go through the many steps involved in the process of starting a dropshipping business in the UK.
#1 Make Up Your Mind:
Dropshipping may sound attractive because there is no hassle of manufacturing, storing, or shipping your product. It looks easy on paper. But in reality, many other factors set the direction of your business. You can’t expect six-figure earnings in the starting few months of business. You will need to give your time and attention to the business. You can also hire virtual assistants or other someone else to help you with the business but you will need investment for that too. Moreover, you need to research more about how the dropshipping business works. Being in the UK, you’ll have to register as self-employed with HMRC. Having a clear returns policy is also necessary. It should comply with the Distance Selling Regulations.
#2 Select Business Products:
Now that you have made up your mind to start a dropshipping business and have registered your business, the next step is to find a suitable product for your business. There are many things that you need to keep in mind before you start searching for some product. The list goes like this:
- Research different trending products on the internet. Use “Google trends” or trending products on different shopping websites such as Shopify, Amazon, eBay, etc. You will get a list of several products that are trending and probably going to trend in the future.
- Choose a product that offers more value. For example: If your business is related to mobile accessories, then choose the mobile-related products as people who come to your brand are more likely to buy related products.
- Find a product that is your niche. Having prior knowledge or passion for a product will make you more effective while you are dealing with customers or having issues in business.
- Try order by volume list in Oberlo or head on to Ali Express for more information on different products that you can buy.
- Consider the pricing of the products also. Dropshipping is more accessible when the products are cheap, popular, and easy to ship to the customers.
#3 Research Your Competitors:
Say, you’re sure of what you’d like to sell but you are wondering what strategy to apply that your business can find success. Well as they say, “keep your friends close, and enemies closer.” You have to find out who are the top competitors selling your products and how are they selling it. Chances are you’ll learn a lot about your product by focusing on how the top competitors market and sell it. You may subscribe to their newsletter or social media platforms to know more about how they market their product.
#4 Find A Supplier:
The next step is to find a suitable supplier for your products who will manufacture and ship your products. There are a lot of dropshipping places that you could try to find your supplier from. The most popular ones include Alibaba, Oberlo, Modalyst, AliExpress, etc.
Finding a supplier is usually not easy. Because many suppliers are not good at communication. You may prefer Asian suppliers because of their cheaper labour markets and low production costs. You should look at the reviews and ratings of the suppliers and ask them for the samples. The samples you receive will give you an idea of how the customers will get your products and you can customize the packing along with a quality check of the product.
#5 Start an E-Commerce Store:
Once you have found the supplier, it is time for you to open an e-commerce store. You can open up your online store or you can start your business in one of the popular e-commerce platforms like Amazon. With a net worth over one trillion US dollars, this is the best place to open up a store. You can also opt for eBay as it is very popular. If you are looking for a Chinese owned platform, you can open an account at AliExpress. Likewise, you can open an account on Walmart, Etsy, Shopify, and many other such platforms, where you can boom your business effectively. You will need to establish a business structure legally and later report your earnings to HMRC.
There are different themes and customizations available to make your stores attractive and up to date. You can find millions of customers on these market places and run your business successfully. Now you know how to start a dropshipping business.
How To Market Your Business:
Establishing a dropshipping business and creating an e-commerce store is the first half of the hustle. The next pertinent task for you is to market your product and attract as many customers as possible. There are many ways to increase your sales:
#1 Paid social media ads like Facebook and Instagram ads will increase your brand visibility and you’ll have more customers. Google ads are also effective though they are slightly more expensive than Facebook ads. Make a website for your dropshipping business and post relevant blogs on it to attract more customers.
#2 Create your brand accounts on all important social media and post regular updates and details about your business. Engage maximum audience through the social media presence.
#3 Ask your customers to review your products and rate them. This will add more credibility and trust in your business.
#4 Optimize your business via SEO (search engine optimization) and increase your rankings when the people search for keywords relevant to your products. This will put your business higher in the search results and you’ll be more likely to be chosen by the customer.
Benefits of Dropshipping:
Dropshipping in the UK has many benefits. Let’s discuss them one by one:
#1 Low Capital Investment:
You don’t have to worry about the cost of manufacturing goods and maintain a warehouse. This saves you from a big dent in your account. If you are an entrepreneur then dropshipping offers you a lot of potential success for less investment.
#2 Smooth Orders:
You don’t have to deal with long order details. The shipping, packing, and other details are handled by a third party which makes it much easier for you to run your business.
#3 Easily Add More Products:
Dropshipping allows you to check samples of different products and add more products to your business easily. Because you don’t have to worry to manufacture, list, or make space for new products in inventory. The supplier handles all of this.
Advantages Of Dropshipping:
There are a few disadvantages of dropshipping that you need to know:
#1 Reliance On The Third Party:
You have to rely on a third party for your stock. This means you can’t increase or decrease production according to market trends. Moreover, if your supplier runs out of stock then you can’t do anything about it.
#2 Less Profit:
There is less profit in selling a product order by order than buying the product in bulk and then selling it from your warehouse. So, you will have to work harder for the profit as compared to selling in a common retail method.
#3 Compromised Customer Service:
You are not in control of the deliveries that are made and tracking gets difficult. Moreover, the product may not be up to the mark when it reaches customers and customers will leave out bad reviews for you which is not good for your business.
In conclusion, dropshipping in the UK is a good option if you are looking for business investment. You now know how to start a dropshipping business with the pros and cons associated with it. If you are serious with your business then you may also need to give it a business structure. There are usually four types of business structures. Sole proprietorship in which you are the sole owner of the business, LLC (Limited Liability Company) where you get added benefits, partnership in which you share your business with someone, and corporation which makes your company a separate legal entity from the owners.