Drop shipping has become an increasingly popular way of making money online, which is presumably why you’ve come to this page. But what exactly is drop shipping? Drop shipping is a form of business in which a retailer sells products online. The way that drop shipping differs from other forms of online trading is that the retailer assumes responsibility for selling products. It differs from other forms of online trading in that, as a retailer, you wouldn’t have to pay for any stock upfront, store stock or pack and ship items. All of this is done by the drop shipper, leaving you to concentrate on sales.
So how do you make money out of this arrangement?
When you sell a product you basically sell that product for more than you were charged by the drop shipper. It’s up to you what you charge; obviously, the higher the mark-up price the more profit you stand to make. However, you need to be careful not to price yourself out of the market by charging too much, in which case your potential customers may find the same product cheaper elsewhere.
The great thing about drop shipping is that you can invest as much (or as little) time, effort and money into your business as you want. You don’t need any special technical or business competence either other than a very general level of internet competence. More or less every drop ship site will have plenty of guidance and advice to help the absolute beginner get started and begin making money. Seasoned retailers can also use these tools and resources to improve their sales.
Whether a beginner or an experienced online retailer, the reviews in this category will be of benefit to you. The following buying guide will point out some of the basics of choosing the drop shipper that’s right for you, saving you the task of doing the research yourself. It can be a little confusing when there are so many drop ship websites out there. So, take just a little time to read our reviews and you’ll be on the road to success in your new venture in no time.
Do I really need to use a drop ship website?
Yes! Joining a drop ship website is advantageous for a number of reasons. For example, you can get immediate access to a huge product database and a number of different suppliers in one place, without having to source products yourself. Furthermore, you don’t have to pay upfront for any products nor stock products yourself. It’s all taken care of for you. It would be a whole lot harder to do it yourself!
How do I become a member?
The first thing to do is take a look at some of our website reviews and think carefully about what you want to put in to your business, as well as what you want to get out of it. To turn a small profit shouldn’t take too much effort. However, if you want to make the big bucks you’re going to have to put in a lot more work! When you find the right site for you, registering usually takes a couple of minutes. Most drop ship websites require nothing more than a few personal details including a valid email address and payment method (credit and debit cards are the usual payment method). You can be up and running in just a few minutes.
What about shipping?
Shipping guidelines should be published on the drop shipper website. Individual shipping fees estimates are usually listed as part of the product details when you click on a thumbnail. All of the sites in this category deliver in the USA, though not all deliver internationally. This will often depend on the supplier and the product you want to ship. Details will be found on the site in relation to that supplier or product. If a supplier won’t deliver to your chosen destination you could always have the product shipped to you then mail it onward yourself. Just be sure to build the requisite costs into the price you charge, as it’s likely to be an expensive option.
What should I look for in a good drop ship site?
Given that you’ll make your money from the difference between what you pay for a product and what you sell it for, it’s important to find a site with products that you know will sell, and that have the lowest wholesale price. It’s also important to take note of additional fees, as these will vary between sites. Don’t just go for the site with the cheapest membership or largest product catalog. Finally, make sure that the website offers the kind of membership you want (e.g. where do you want to sell your products? On a website or an auction site, or both?).
What about drop ship website membership fees?
Membership fees can vary widely depending on the website. The majority of sites offer subscription memberships for which you pay per year, month or some other predefined period (e.g. Whlesale2b.com, Urbanload.com). Other sites charge a one-off fee (e.g. Worldwidebrands.com) whilst some offer free membership (e.g. Focalprice.com). Others offer free membership but require you to pay in other ways, e.g. via image licenses (e.g. Plumislandsilver.com) or per drop ship supplier (e.g. Inventorysource.com).
What kind of products are available?
Most drop ship sites offer a wide range of products, offering plenty of scope to either specialize in a specific product line (e.g. jewelry) or sell a variety of products. Popular products are electronic items and accessories, jewelry, clothing and computers and accessories. There are niche sites around that deal in specific types of product. For example, Urbanload.com deals in customized gifts, whilst Plumislandsilver.com sell a wide range of jewelry. Whichever drop shipper you use, you’re free to promote and sell as many or as few products as you wish.
Which products should I sell?
Whilst you’re free to sell as many or as few products as you like, if you’re looking to box clever you might benefit by checking out sites that offer regular reports on the latest sales trends. For example, Doba.com, Dropship-business.com and Dropshipper.com all offer advice on the most profitable products and by acting on their expertise you might just steal a march on your competitors.
Are there any minimum order quantities?
Most drop ship suppliers will not stipulate a minimum order quantity, meaning that you’re free to order a single product. However, on some sites (e.g. Worldwidebrands.com) you need to check that this is correct (as some suppliers on the site will specify a minimum order quantity). The upside of this is that the unit price is likely to be significantly cheaper. The downside is that you’ll have to pay for products upfront and arrange for storage.
What do I charge?
It’s not always possible to see a product range before you become a signed up member. When browsing products you’ll be informed of what is often referred to as the ‘wholesale price’. This is the price you pay for a product. However, you’re free to choose what to sell that product for. Sometimes a retail price is listed next to a product which can be helpful is deciding how much to charge. Remember that you need to also take into account any shipping fees and other handling charges, if applicable.
Where do I sell products?
There are two main platforms for selling your products. The easiest way is to list items on an auction site such as eBay. A number of drop ship website memberships are specifically geared toward using eBay and will feature tools that make it easy to ‘push’ items to sell on eBay in just a few clicks (e.g. Doba.com). The other option is to sell from your own website. Again, there are plenty of sites that offer direct interfaces and data feeds that automatically transfer product information to your website without having to do this manually. If you don’t have your own website but the idea of having one appeals, some drop ship websites offer this as part of a membership package. If you want to splash out it’s also possible to get a membership that allows you to sell on both platforms.
What if I don’t like the drop ship site I’ve joined?
It’s wise to be cautious and see if you like a particular drop shipper before you invest too much money. If you’re new to the drop shipping game, why not try a free membership option first (e.g. Focalprice.com and Productsourcing.com both offer free membership). However, these can be limited. Alternatively, you could register with a site that offers a free trial period (e.g. Megagoods.com offer a 30 day free trial). A few sites (e.g. Worldwidebrands.com and Salehoo.com offer a 60 day 100% money back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied.
How much money could I make?
This will depend on the amount of time and effort you put in. It's possible to recoup your membership fee by the end of the first day if you start straight away. Some online sellers reputedly make thousands per month, though it may well take some considerable time and effort to achieve this. But who knows? Many sites offer help and assistance with marketing strategies, as well as generating extra web traffic to increase sales (e.g. Salehoo.com).
How much control do I get if I have a website created for me?
If you take out a membership that includes your own website, you will usually be able to select your own domain name (which is then yours to keep) and be able to customize and alter the look of your site, add banners, sell as many or as few products as you wish and even add your own products to sell.
Where can I get further help?
All sites feature detailed guides on drop shipping, especially for beginners. You can also contact companies by telephone, email and post, whilst some even have live support. Their customer and technical advisors should be experienced enough to resolve any problem or query.