The dropshipping success rate seems to be very low when taking into consideration all dropshipping business started by everyone.
But that’s not the right number to look at if you want to know your own chances of succeeding at dropshipping.
You can significantly increase your success chances by following some of the eleven tips that I will explain here in this list, regardless of the overall failure or success rate of others.
Dropshipping Success Rate
The success rate of dropshipping businesses is estimated to be between 3-10%, however, there’s no official and conclusive study that gives the exact number.
I wouldn’t say that.
It is important to understand that this percentage does not mean that if you start a dropshipping business, then your chance of succeeding is only 3-10%, but rather, it means that the percentage of people who succeed among those who start dropshipping businesses is in the range of 3-10%.
This is not a game of luck.
The chances of someone succeeding in dropshipping can go up to much higher than 10%, and can go down to lower than 3%, depending on the each individual dropshipper and on how they treat their dropshipping business.
And if you want to increase your chances of succeeding at dropshipping, then you can do so, by following the eleven tips you will find in the next section.
11 Tips to Increase The Success Rate of Dropshipping Stores
1 – Treat it as a Business
Because most people who start a dropshipping business come from the world of 9-5 jobs where they work as employees, they usually lack what it takes to succeed as business owners.
Even worse, they don’t want to put any time to it, and they want to succeed and make more money than what they do in their daily jobs!
Working in dropshipping means that you are now a business owner, and you need to behave like one if you want to succeed.
Unlike employees, business owners put the investment and the work in advance, so that they can make more money later on.
And as a dropshipping business owner, unlike an employee, you need to wear many hats at the beginning in order to create your business and run it until the point where have enough consistency and positive cash flow to hire others to help you.
You need to create a trustworthy store, do good research to find products that customers need, find reliable suppliers, market your store, fulfill orders, do customer support, deal with refunds, …etc.
And to be able to effectively do all of these tasks alone, you need to have a plan and a schedule that you would follow consistently, and you need to put in a specific number of hours on daily basis until you succeed.
You also need to be tracking your dropshipping business’s cash flow and to see if you are profiting or not, where you can increase the profit, or make it positive in the first place.
This is what most dropshippers ignore doing, or they simply don’t know that they have to do it, and that’s why they come in with the wrong mindset thinking that they can treat it as a hobby and succeed, but then things don’t work and they fail.
Also, one of the steps that might help you increase your chances of succeeding at dropshipping is starting an LLC so that you don’t face any issues with the payment gateways that usually put limits on dropshippers and online business owners.
There are online services that make it easier to start an LLC in a western country like US and UK for a small investment that saves you the time and hassle, such as Stripe Atlas and Launchese.
And you might ask now:
Then what’s the point from starting with dropshipping if I need to treat it as a business and not make money right away?
The advantage you have is that with a business, you can grow it and make much more money on the long run than it is with a normal job.
That’s why offline business owners take the risk in starting and managing their businesses without making profit in the first few months or sometimes years.
But luckily, when it comes to dropshipping, you can start a business with as low investment as $1,000, and you can work on it while still working your normal day job, buy you need to put consistent effort on daily basis and specify a number of hours to work on it.
2 – Create a Trustworthy Dropshipping Store
Before you try to promote your dropshipping store, ask yourself:
If I visited this store and I don’t know the owner personally, then can I trust buying from it?
This is an important question to ask yourself if you want others to buy from your dropshipping store and finally succeed.
And because most dropshipping beginners just want to make money fast, they ignore lots of what is necessary to make their store look trustworthy.
And they start promoting it before they complete building it, which makes the store’s visitors think that this store was created by some 15 years old kid, or by some scammer who is here just to take their money and run away with it.
And most of what you need to do in order to increase the trust in your dropshipping store are things that can be done without any extra cost, and you can do them by yourself without any special skills.
For example, most dropshipping store owners don’t even complete the elements on the home page, by leaving some sections empty, or by leaving some stock photos that come with the theme and that are not related to what they sell on the store or to the audience.
Another mistake is having spelling and grammatical mistakes, especially on product pages when they import them from a marketplace like AliExpress where they were written by people who can barely speak English.
Add to that, they don’t provide any contact information, and shipping details, any money back guarantees, ….etc.
All of these mistakes are avoidable and it doesn’t cost any money to create a trustworthy store.
Here are some of the tips that help you create a trustworthy dropshipping store:
- Use a reliable store builder or hosting platform like Shopify, so that your store doesn’t go offline every now and then.
- Choose a brandable domain name that is short and easy to remember, and preferably, related to your audience and niche.
- Use a nice looking theme like the Debutify theme for Shopify, which has a free plan, and it shows the prices in the visitor’s currency, which increases trust and relevance.
- Complete the store before you start marketing it.
- Use clean product images, preferably with a white background.
- Create a simple and clean logo, using a tool like Canva or Hatchful.
- Proofread the content and edit it to avoid any spelling and grammatical errors.
- Give a money back guarantee.
- Be clear about expected shipping times.
- Use reliable payment processors like PayPal and Stripe.
- Offer contact information like an email address and preferably a phone number.
And before you start promoting your store, again, ask yourself the question: if I visit this store and I don’t know the owner, would I trust them with my money?
3 – Understand Your Audience
One of the main reasons of the low dropshipping success rate is that most dropshippers go after a niche that they don’t understand, they don’t know how to talk to its audience, they don’t understand the problems they face, and what products could help them.
They go after a niche that they think, or someone told them, that there’s a lot of money in it, and they start to promote whatever products they find on AliExpress without thinking if these are good to dropship or not.
For example, many dropshippers go after the yoga niche because some “guru” told them that there’s a lot of money in this niche.
However, as a Yoga addict and certified instructor myself, I know that most of the money in this industry is actually spent on classes and courses, and these cannot be dropshipped.
Yes, girls spend money on yoga pants, and but these are available everywhere for a low price and there are no special yoga pants that you can dropship from AliExpress.
Actually, with apparel items you might run with issues related to the size and will get lots of returns.
However, if you understand this niche well, the solution in this case is to do your own unique designs and sell yoga pants with these designs through print on demand services like Printful and Printify.
But provide a sizing chart on every product page so that you minimize the return requests as much as you can.
That’s how you increase your chances in succeeding with dropshipping.
It’s by knowing what your audience wants and what they could by from you.
And even if you don’t know much about your niche and audience, you can still learn about them following these tips:
- Check out relevant sub-Reddits and Facebook groups to see what language they use, what pain points and problems they face, and find products that help them.
- Find the big influencers that they follow and see what topics they talk about and how they try to help their audience.
- See the best-selling products in your industry on Amazon and other marketplaces, read the customer reviews and see what these products are missing, and try to find products that don’t have these issues.
And finally, if you don’t have a niche to go after and you want to create a general store, then you can think of the problems that you face in your daily life, such as problems related to cleaning your house or car, preparing food, organizing your stuff, electronics, ….etc., and you can find what products solve these problems and sell them.
Because you have gone after products that solve general problems that you face in your daily life, you will be mostly be able to sell them to a large group of audience.
4 – Offer Good Quality Products
Most dropshippers go after products that has a very low price in order to make lots of sales and big profit.
And what happens is that once these products start arriving to the customers, the dropshipper starts getting lots of refund requests and charge backs.
And this takes up much of their time in order to get the item back to the supplier and request them to pay back the money, and then pay the customer their money back.
And don’t forget that the dropshipper has already paid some money on advertising, and that money has now gone without any return.
The solution to this is to order the product by yourself and test it before you start selling it to others.
Also, you better get the product from a dropshipping supplier who has a good rating, and one that has already sold a big quantity of the product itself and has many positive reviews from many customers.
There are many tools that help you find good dropshipping products like the Oberlo App for Shopify or SaleHoo Dropship.
And for dropshipping apparel with unique designs, you can use print on demand services from reliable companies like Printful and Printify.
5 – Find Reliable Suppliers
Another that lowers that success rate of dropshipping is that there are tens of thousands of suppliers, and it is a bit hard to find a reliable and trusted one right away.
Working with an unreliable supplier may cause lots of delays in fulfilling orders and many unsatisfied customers due to low quality or broken products, and as a result, you get many refund requests, charge backs and disputes through the payment gateways you are using.
Try to research the suppliers before you work with them, find ones with a long successful record, high rating, lots of reviews from happy customers, and you better work with suppliers who offer many products that are related to your audience, so that you can offer upsells and packages and fulfill them easily.
The SaleHoo Dropship tool has already researched and found reliable dropshipping suppliers from AliExpress who can sell from the US and deliver faster than most of other suppliers.
And their are many other services that offer dropshipping supplier databases like CJDropshipping, Doba, Wholesale2B, Worldwide Brands, …etc.
And for selling print on demand products like mugs, hoodies, leggings, hoodies, …etc., two of the top companies are Printify and Printful.
6 – Provide All The Necessary Details & Contact Info
Not being clear when it comes to shipping and returns can lower the level of trust in your dropshipping store and can cause it to fail.
For example, if people want to purchase a product from your store, but can’t find out how long it would take them to get it, they would runaway and try to search for it on another store, or on Amazon.
And even if they buy it from your store, if you don’t tell them in advance how long it is expected to take to arrive to them, they would probably assume that it will arrive within few days.
And we know that dropshipped products usually take much longer than a week before arriving to the customers.
This will lead to many angry emails from people asking about where there ordered items are, which will take a lot of your time and energy to reply to.
Add to that, many customers just ask for a charge back from the credit card company without talking to you, and this will lead you to losing the money after you have already paid the supplier who shipped the product, and after you have paid for the advertising.
Some dropshippers avoid giving the shipping times on purpose because they are afraid that people won’t buy.
But that’s a killer mistake, as this will definitely lead to people who would buy and then file charge backs because they haven’t received the ordered items.
It is better to be honest about the expected delivery times, and get only customers who would wait, rather than get more customers who would then request charge backs and make you lose what you paid to the supplier.
Also, many potential customers would avoid buying from dropshipping stores because they are afraid that they won’t like the product and they would lose their money.
The solution to this is to provide a money back guarantee and really give refunds when someone asks for it.
Also, it is always better to have a clear way to contact you through email, or better, a phone number.
People don’t want to buy from someone whom they can’t reach out to when they have an issue with the delivered item, or in case the delivery time got longer that it was stated.
7 – Create a Marketing Plan
Not knowing how you to get the right people to your dropshipping store will definitely lower your chances in succeeding with it.
There are many ways that you can use to get targeted customers to your store, some cost money, and some are organic.
And depending on your niche, audience, products, and on your experience and budget, some ways are better than others.
Although Facebook ads seems to be the most popular method and the one that can scale the fastest, but it requires more experience and a bigger budget when starting.
Using influencers can be started at a lower cost, but it works in certain niches and it is harder to scale.
Search ads can be used for promoting products that people actually look for on search engines.
And seo costs much less, but takes some time and work before you start getting traffic.
Choose one method that best fits your niche, products, experience and budget, and stick to it until you learn it well and become profitable before moving to the next method.
As a start, you can check my list of the ways to drive free traffic to Shopify stores in order to pick one that might be less risky to start with.
Also, don’t ignore retargetting people who visited your store and didn’t buy from the first visit, as many people buy only if you remind them.
Regardless of the traffic method you used the first time, you can run retargetting ads on Facebook and Google Display Network in order to bring people back to buy, and maybe you offer them a small discount to encourage them.
Also, you can use the abandoned cart email feature in Shopify to send an email for free to those who filled in their info in the checkout page, but eventually left without buying.
8 – Increase The AOV & LTV
AOV: Average Order Value.
LVT: Lifetime Value of a customer.
Most dropshippers try to make profit just from the first visit of the customers by selling them only one product, but that’s a big mistake, as most dropshippers can barely break even with their stores using this strategy.
The hardest part is to make someone buy from your store the first time, and it is easier to make them happy and try to sell them other products than to look for new customers.
You are basically leaving money on the table if you don’t try to sell more products to existing, happy customers.
A way of increasing the average order value is through offering bundles, upsells, and cross-sells.
And to increase the lifetime value of customers, you can remarket to the existing customers through email campaigns, or through display ads.
You can also offer them a discount code that is valid to use within a certain time span from making their first order on your store.
9 – Capitalize on What Works
If you notice that a certain category of products sell well, the see what other relevant products can be sold with it as an upsell.
Or try to expand and sell the same products to other audiences through a different marketing channel.
And if you sell print on demand products, and let’s say, a certain design on a t-shirt sold well, you can expand with the same, or similar design, and sell it on other items like hoodies, tank-tops, mugs, phone covers, …etc.
And if you found that a certain type of ad image or copy works very well, see if you can use it to sell other products.
You have found something that works, now capitalize on it and get the most out of it.
10 – Give it Enough Time
Most dropshippers come with the mindset that dropshipping is a get-rich-overnight game, but that’s completely false.
And the reason for this assumption is the rise of fake gurus on YouTube and Facebook who try to market dropshipping as an easy way of making money so that they can sell you their expensive courses.
Luckily, I found someone legit like Franklin Hatchett who tells you the truth in his Ecom Elites course.
Dropshipping, like any other online business, is a real business that requires effort and time before making you money.
As I mentioned in the first tip in this list, you need to treat dropshipping like a business, because it is a real business.
And this means that you need to learn the necessary skills, and apply them for a good period of time before expecting to make money.
I would recommend that you give it at least six months before you decide whether to continue or not.
And during these months, you should try to be aware of what’s happening, why are you not getting enough sales, and how to make profit if you found that you are spending more than what you get.
And if you are profiting a little amount of money, then see how you can increase your profit by optimizing your ads, product pages, the store, increasing the AOV and LTV, …etc.
There’s a learning curve where you learn, test, measure, and adapt.
It’s not a hit or miss thing.
11 – Re-Invest
Success can be defined differently from one person to another.
Someone might consider himself successful at dropshipping if he/she makes $1,000 in profit per month, while another person wants to make $10,000 per month in profit before calling himself a successful dropshipper.
If you want to increase your success rate at dropshipping, and scale your business, you need to spend money on some areas that can help you expand.
For example, if you get many orders that it makes it difficult for you to have the time to research new products to sell, then you may consider hiring a virtual assistant to help you either in fulfilling orders, responding to customers’ emails, or researching products.
And if you find that you are missing on potential sales because your store’s theme can’t offer upsells, then you may invest in a better theme or app that gives you this feature.
And if you sell a certain item very well on a certain platform, then you may invest in learning another advertising platform in order to start selling it there.
That’s how successful businesses grow, by re-investing wisely and trying to expand their audience, their product catalog, and their sales volume.
Conclusion – Can You Increase Your Chances to Succeed in Dropshipping?
Even though the success rate of dropshipping seems low, but that’s when you take into consideration all the dropshipping businesses started by everyone.
However, when it comes to your dropshipping business, you can increase the chances to succeed
By following the above mentioned 11 tips, you can increase your chances of succeeding at dropshipping regardless of the overall rate of success of others’ stores.
If you found the above mentioned tips helpful, please, share this list with someone who might need it.
And if you still have any question or need any help, then please, let me know in the comments’ section below, and I will do my best to help you out 🙂