Dropshipping is an ever more popular alternative for online entrepreneurs. It is one of the most accessible eCommerce models around. Under this model, you can sell products anywhere without storing inventory. However, it is not without risks. Many entrepreneurs make costly mistakes in dropshipping. They focus on all its benefits without considering the downsides.
Here, we break down 12 of the most common mistakes in dropshipping that beginners make. From this guide, you will learn the errors to avoid, saving you time and money as you start your store.
Common mistakes in dropshipping
1. Unrealistic expectations
Due to the low entry barriers, dropshipping often comes off as a “get-rich-quick” scheme. As a beginner, you might think that it is easy and that there is no work involved.
However, even though it doesn’t involve direct handling and storing of goods, there is still plenty of work involved in growing a dropshipping store. Marketing activity alone can take up lots of time and resources to get your business those first few sales.
Customer service is also essential and requires a considerable amount of effort.
There are millions of eCommerce stores worldwide and more coming up every day. Therefore, you will have to employ a workable marketing strategy. That is, not just at launch, but all through your operations to drive traffic to your site and start making sales.
2. Fulfilling orders manually
Most beginner dropshippers start off by doing manual fulfilment. It works when you are still processing 5 or 10 orders a month.
However, as you scale, it can drain your time and resources and just isn’t feasible. So, it is best to employ some of the many automation tools available to you.
Wholesale2B, for instance, provides a highly automated solution for dropshipping stores. That way, you can get most of the repetitive, time-consuming tasks out of the way and focus on driving sales.
Furthermore, as you try to automate, also avoid using tools/apps carelessly. Remember that many of the programs available are vulnerable to bugs and even hacks.
Therefore, to avoid costly repercussions from these programs, use only those certified and recommended by credible sources. Also, use only those that are necessary for your operations.
3. Ignoring product reviews
A common mistake in dropshipping is not paying attention to product reviews or customer feedback. Just because the product looks attractive to you, doesn’t mean it will be the same for all customers.
So, it is critical to continuously read all the reviews that come through to your store. That way, you know if customers are satisfied. If they aren’t, it forms a basis for you to adjust as needed.
Following up and replying to reviews also shows customers that you care about their concerns. That creates trust and can encourage repeat purchase.
4. Too many or too few suppliers
When starting a dropshipping store, it can be tempting to have multiple suppliers for all products. However, managing stock and relationships between various supplies can be quite a heavy task.
Therefore, you should settle for fewer but reliable dropshipping suppliers that can provide your products. In so doing, you build a great relationship with them which could benefit your business in the long run.
On the other hand, another common mistake in dropshipping using too few suppliers. Anything can happen. For example, products might be discontinued or out of stock. These can put your business on hold and cause many losses.
Yet, if you have a few alternatives, such small hiccups with certain suppliers will not negatively affect your store.
5. Neglecting your website
Poor website optimization might be one of the most common mistakes in dropshipping. Sometimes, you might ignore your site design and only focus on driving traffic.
Yet, you are less likely to drive conversions if your site looks terrible and has low-quality content. An excellent dropshipping store design boosts credibility and customer confidence, like this one
Customers are more confident in buying from you as a result.
Several platforms can help you build a professional dropshipping website for your business—for example, Shopify and WooCommerce. So, make good use of them. Better still, you need not have any coding skills.
By enhancing the customer experience on your site, you increase your chances of success.
6. Ignoring SEO
Another mistake in dropshipping is not using SEO. It is common for beginners to only focus on influencer marketing or paid ads to drive more traffic. However, if you intend to run your dropshipping store long-term, you cannot ignore SEO.
SEO is a free and effective strategy that can guarantee traffic and sales for the long run. It also doesn’t take up all your money in the early stages like paid ads. Customers will be able to find you easily. And, since your page will be ranking, they will see you as more credible.
If you are unfamiliar with doing SEO for dropshipping, there are a few guides available to help.
7. Giving up too fast
You launched your store, ran a few ads, hired influencers, but little traffic and almost no sales to show for it. In such circumstances, you might want to throw in the towel and move on.
However, you must remember that dropshipping is not meant to give you overnight success. Competition is high. It takes time and dedication.
What worked for someone else may not necessarily apply to your situation. So, you must take your time to figure out what works for you and your business. Keep testing and refining your strategy. You can’t just give up at the first hiccup.
8. Inadequate research
It is a common mistake in dropshipping for entrepreneurs to venture into online selling without doing their homework.
You could think of a fantastic product, or even get one from product idea lists and choose to run with it. This is a dangerous approach. Simply because a product has been listed somewhere or looks popular, doesn’t make it your best option for a dropshipping niche.
Without research, how will you know factors like:
- Level of demand or search volume
- Profitability (costs and revenues considered)
- Shipping options
- Levels of competition
Therefore, resist the temptation of skipping this step, as it makes all the difference about whether you succeed or fail.
9. Too wide or too narrow niche
Beginner dropshippers make the mistake of settling for very broad or very narrow niches.
On the one hand, specialization is essential. It offers you the chance to build a brand that appeals to a specific group of people. It also facilitates your marketing activities in targeting.
However, choosing a niche that is too narrow is problematic. Why?
- There is limited room for expansion and scaling if you only sell a specific product
- You limit your potential market
So, as you narrow down your product niche, ensure it is not too narrow as well.
On the other hand, dropshippers make the mistake of trying to sell everything to everyone. It is not advisable to gather every product you think is profitable and add it to your store.
Such an approach is problematic because:
- You must now deal with a varied market, which in turn affects your marketing activities
- You distort your brand identity since customers cannot associate you with anything in particular.
As a beginner, it is best to choose a sizeable range of products to focus on. That way, you can grow your store faster through your brand. This store, for example deals with items for cat lovers
10. Poor customer support
Another one of the common mistakes in dropshipping primarily among beginners is ignoring customer support.
It can be daunting sometimes, especially when dealing with frustrated customers. Yet, it is vital for the success of your dropshipping store.
Excellent support keeps customers coming back. This is more profitable than attracting new visitors. Customers also become more willing to recommend you to their contacts.
11. Overestimating delivery times
In dropshipping, it is common to post unrealistic shipping times to encourage purchases or please customers.
However, a lot takes place during shipments, and anything can happen. When you post unrealistic times, you put yourself up for a string of angry customers and emails.
For example, if you tell your customer to expect their handbag in 3-5 days and because of some issues, it takes 10 days, it is unlikely that they will return.
Ensure to do your research based on the type of product and carriers, such that you can offer a reasonable time frame.
12. Competing on price
A common mistake in dropshipping to avoid is competing on price. You might think that the lower your price, the more conversions you will get.
Although this may work in specific times like the holidays, it is not sustainable to run your store. Extra-low prices dig into your profits. They may also sometimes signal to customers that you are selling inferior products.
Instead, focus your pricing strategies on other factors like the value your products offer.
In this guide, you have learned some of the costly mistakes in dropshipping, so you do not have to make them yourself.
Before you start a dropshipping store, adequate research is necessary. It guides decisions like product choice, pricing, marketing strategies, etc.
If you can avoid the blunders listed above and follow the tips, you’re well on your way to a successful dropshipping store.