Is dropshipping worth it after all these years, and after the number of dropshipping stores and merchants have increased significantly over the past decade? Or is dropshipping dead?
What are the metrics that make you decide if it is worth continuing with your dropshipping business, or to close it down and do something else?
Can you do anything to increase your chances of succeeding in this crowded environment?
After around four years of starting my first dropshipping business, I’m writing this article in order to help you find answers for these questions, so that I save you the time and money in case that you decided to do dropshipping.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Is Dropshipping Worth it?
Yes, dropshipping is still worth it this year and beyond, even after the number of dropshipping businesses have increased significantly, for many reasons, such as:
- The number of people who buy online is increasing everyday, whether because of certain events like the pandemic that started in 2020, or because more people started to feel comfortable paying online.
- There are new products that are being created every day, and their manufacturers and suppliers are looking for people to help them sell these products.
- It is cheaper to get started with dropshipping than with any other ecommerce model.
- It’s a flexible business model with low risk, and if one product doesn’t sell, you can switch to another one without a big loss.
- The rise of platforms and tools that made it even easier to start, manage, and grow your dropshipping business.
However, just because it is still worth it to do dropshipping online, it doesn’t mean that every dropshipping business will succeed.
Actually, the dropshipping success rate is not so high as many of the beginners are trying to copy others, which makes it hard on them to succeed they don’t have any added value that makes the customer buy from their stores.
But you can increase your chances of succeeding and make dropshipping worth it if you follow the tips in the following section.
11 Tips to Make Dropshipping Worth Your Time
Set Up Your Own Dropshipping Environment
You can do dropshipping on many places online, and this includes marketplaces that allow independent merchants to start their own stores on them, like Amazon and eBay.
However, when it comes to the dropshipping model in particular, using these platforms is not a wise strategy as these are very crowded marketplaces with lots of noise, and it is easy for other sellers to just copy your product pages and lower the prices.
And most shoppers on these marketplaces are looking for the lowest price, and if you want to compete with them, then you have to lower your prices and make lots of sales in order to make a good income.
This makes dropshipping on Amazon and eBay not worth it in my opinion.
The right place to start your dropshipping business and make it worth it is by building your own dropshipping store on your own domain name.
This way, you keep your shoppers focused on your products, and you have the ability to sell at decent margins that make dropshipping worth the effort.
Also, when having your dropshipping store on a separate environment that you can control, you can use many of the upcoming tips that can help you make it worth doing dropshipping even more.
And this doesn’t require any technical knowledge or experience in coding, as platforms like Shopify and Oberlo make it very easy to start and maintain your dropshiopping store.
And regarding the cost, you are going to pay anyway for Amazon and eBay if you set your dropshipping store on them, and the cost of using Shopify might be even lower.
Build a Brand (Doesn’t Require a Big Budget)
I am not saying to start a brand that competes with Ikea, Zara, or Chanel.
What I mean here is to make your dropshipping store unique and branded, one that your shoppers can remember and easy to find when they want to visit it again.
This starts by choosing a unique domain name that people can easily remember and type in their browser.
For example, if you want to sell green products through dropshipping, choosing a name like GreenFolks.com can work much better than a name like BuyGreenProductsOnline.com.
The first one looks more professional and branded, and it creates more trust, which helps increase the conversions and helps your dropshipping business succeed.
It also helps you get repeat customers as people who bought from your store and liked your products can easily remember your store’s name and come back to it to buy other products.
And you can create a logo using free tools like Hatchful from Shopify, or Canva.com that has a free membership plan.
Offer More Than One Payment Method
The shoppers are coming to your store from different demographics with different habits and backgrounds.
And some people in a certain demographic might prefer to pay with PayPal for example, while others might prefer to pay with credit cards directly, and some might prefer to pay with Apply Pay.
Including one payment method might make you lose some sales from the traffic that is coming to your dropshipping store, which could make a real difference in making your dropshipping business worth it and profitable, or just an endless cycle of a neutral or negative cash flow.
Try to offer more than one payment gateway in order to increase the conversions from the same number of visitors and thus, make it worth the effort to do dropshipping.
Be Clear on Whom You Want to Help
Not to know whom you want to sell to will make it just harder to make your efforts work.
Like any business, online or offline, a dropshipping cannot succeed without having a certain category of people with whom you can connect, and to whom you can find useful, or likable products to sell.
This is what we call “choosing a niche”.
By doing so, you have better chances of converting a higher percentage of the visitors to your dropshipping store, and you have better chances to get them come back later to buy more stuff, which makes your dropshipping efforts worth it on the short and on the log run.
If you have good knowledge about a certain segment of the market, what they like, what problems they suffer from, and what products could improve their lives, then you have better chances of making it worth the time to start dropshipping to these people.
However, you can still start a general dropshipping store and succeed with it, like it is with OddityMall, Bluecrate, and Inspire Uplift.
But you need to find products that are useful, unique, and solve problems that most of the people suffer from.
For example, you could sell products that make it easier to clean certain spots in the house or the car, or certain products that could help people save on the utility bills.
Fewer Dropshipping Products
Many beginners in dropshipping add countless items to their stores thinking that they can make more sales this way.
But this makes it harder to focus and find the products that sell well, and it makes it too much work to setup their stores and edit product pages at the beginning, and to maintain the inventory later as they need to keep checking with the suppliers if their products are still available or should the remove their listings.
Also, when you try to promote many products at once, you will have to distribute the marketing budget and your time on all of these products, which makes it difficult to collect enough data to optimize and scale what works.
Choose only few products to sell at first, don’t try to add more than 10-15 products that you believe have potential of making sales, test one-by-one and see what works, optimize and scale before moving to the next one in order to make your dropshipping business worth the investment in money and time.
Stop Copying Others
One of the main reasons why dropshippers fail is the fact that they don’t try to add any value or do anything unique.
They see someone in a course building a dropshipping store for yoga and meditation products, they do the same.
The use similar names to the store name he used, use the same theme, add the same products, do the same ads, target the same audience on the same platform, and all of a sudden, you have one hundred dropshippers advertising the same products to the same audience.
Then how would the target audience decide from which store to buy?
They would think that these are all scam stores selling low quality products.
None of these stores would succeed.
You need to make your dropshipping store stand out by NOT copying other stores, and by choosing products that are really good, but not many other dropshippers sell, so that you don’t go to the price war that no one wins.
There are some useful tools like SaleHoo Dropship and Viral Vault that can help you find good products that are trending, so that you take advantage before they saturate the market.
And you can sell print on demand products using fulfillment companies such as Printful and Printify that have a wide catalog of products.
Sell Only Quality Products
A guaranteed way to fail with dropshipping is to sell low quality products at a high market, without testing the quality buy yourself.
This will lead to many refunds and chargebacks, and the best case scenario would lead to losing money, not to mention that PayPal, Stripe, and other payment gateways might close your account if your store gets a high refund rate.
Try to look for products from suppliers with many positive reviews and order them to test them before adding any of those to your store.
Otherwise, you might start selling and scaling before the first item arrives to the buyer, and after selling many units, you might start receiving angry emails and refund requests, and it becomes difficult to return all these items to the supplier, but you still need to refund the customers, and this would make you lose all of your efforts.
Optimize with Time & Double Down on What Works
Like any other online business, dropshipping is not a “set it and forget it” thing.
Most dropshippers will test selling one or few products, and if they don’t make profit right away, they would give up on them.
But the truth is that rarely any dropshippers succeeds from the first time with the first product using the first advertising campaign.
You need to read the data, see what works, double down on that, and what didn’t work and get rid of it.
For example, a certain ad copy might bring sales, while another ad copy just wastes money, and instead of turning off the whole campaign, just turn off the ad that didn’t work.
Also, if many people are clicking through from the ad to your store, but then they leave without purchasing, then instead of turning of the ad, visit the product page and see what might be the reason that made these people leave without buying, such as the misspelling mistakes, the use of low quality photos, the sales copy does not show the benefits, …etc.
Optimize and test again, and see what works, and scale it.
That’s how you make dropshipping worth the work and the time you put in.
You find the least resistance point and go strong in that direction.
Otherwise, you will keep wasting your time testing one product after another without getting profitable.
Also, if you see that a certain product category works well, then you might test other products in the same category.
Sometimes, it is even wiser to create a complete brand on one product, along with its accessories, if you find a big audience that would want to buy it, like what the founders of BlendJet did with this portable blender.
Or, if you sell merchandise online through print on demand services, and one design sells well on t-shirts, then you might use the same design, or a similar one, on other products like mugs, hats, phone cases, …etc., and try to sell them as upsells to the original product.
Explore Different Advertising Channels
Most of the dropshipping courses teach you how to market your dropshipping store using Facebook ads, but this method might not always work for all niches and all products.
Some products are better advertised with search engine traffic, whether organic like SEO, or paid like Google Ads.
Otherwise, you might be spending money and not succeeding in getting sales because you have chosen the wrong channel, but you would give up because you don’t know where the problem is.
Also, you may consider other platforms to run ads at a lower cost and reach more people on those platforms, such as TikTok, Snapchat, and even Parler.
Ecom Elites course teaches many ways of driving traffic to ecom stores, paid and free.
Choose the right marketing channel so that you make your advertising efforts worth it for your dropshipping store.
Use Conversion Boosters
There are many ways of increasing the conversion rates on your ecom store, the average order value, and the lifetime value of the customer.
These can help you make more revenue and profit using the same advertising budget and effort.
Some of these methods are:
- Offering bundle upsells.
- Group upselling with a discount.
- Coupon codes for first time customers.
- Limited-time coupon codes for repeat customers.
- Free shipping after a certain cart value.
- And more.
I wrote a complete list of ways to increase sales on Shopify stores, but it applies to all ecom stores regardless of where they were built.
If you decide to use Shopify to build your dropshipping business, then there are many great themes that can help you use these methods with the features they offer, like Flex theme, eCom Turbo, Debutify, and others.
Focus on Repeat Customers
Getting a new customer is hard and costs money.
And if you just want to rely on getting new customers and selling them once and make profit, then your dropshipping business might not be worth your time and efforts, as it is hard to make a significant profit with this strategy.
On the other hand, it is 4-7 times easier to sell an existing (satisfied) customer than to acquire a new one.
This means that you can make more sales and revenue with a lower marketing budget and less effort, which means that you can increase your overall profit.
One of the most effective ways to increase the lifetime value of your existing customers is to use email marketing to advertise to them on regular basis, telling them about the new arrivals, items with limited-stock, seasonal promotions, …etc.
Conclusion – Start Dropshipping The Right Way & Make it Worthwhile
There you go.
I have shown you the many reasons why dropshipping is still worth it and profitable, and I have given you eleven tips on how to make your efforts, time, and investment worth it and succeed with this model.
To be honest, the most important tip is the first one, which is starting your dropshipping business on your own domain name in an environment that you can control, which will allow you to use all the other tips that you cannot implement if you wanted to do dropshipping on Amazon or eBay.
And Shopify is so good for dropshipping and it is the easiest platform to use, and the most reliable one to use for creating and managing your dropshipping business without any technical knowledge, which helps you focus on what matters the most: growing your business.
And it is a cost effective option as well.
That’s why I created my step-by-step guide to sell on Shopify without inventory, which will show you how to start your dropshipping store today in seven easy steps.