In this post, I will show you how exactly you can start and succeed in your dropshipping business.
It may be an all new terrain for you or you have tried and not been successful earlier. There may be skill gaps as well which stands between you and your dropshipping business success.
This guide will help you point by point to start and do exactly what is required to become a brand in your niche with loyal brand following with print on demand and dropshipping model.
1. Dropshipping Introduction
Dropshipping is a business model which allows anyone to sell physical products online without having inventory.
Orders are fulfilled to customers via third party wholesaler or manufacturer of that product.
1. Low Investment
2. Low Risk
3. Hassle free lifestyle
Dropshipping Business is suitable to anyone who wants to start selling online.
It is the go to option to monetise the fan following for YouTubers and Influencers.
2. Print on Demand Dropshipping
Print on demand dropshipping allows selling custom designed products online.
- Design and sell products online
- Product is printed after an order is received
- The supplier delivers the products to the customer after custom printing
- No Minimum Printing from the supplier
- The supplier refunds/reprints for any printing error of your designs
Choose products from the supplier product catalog and put your designs on them using the mockup generator.
This is most profitable model in dropshipping and basically removes the norm surrounding dropshipping as low margin business.
3. Register a Dropshipping business
Business registration is required if you are planning the business for the long term, it is advisable to register it.
- GST Registration is optional in India for businesses
- It is mandatory when your turnover crosses 40L per year
- Options of monthly, quarterly or yearly tax filings available based on yearly revenue
- GST is not mandatory for starting print on demand dropshipping with Qikink
This Business Registration post will give complete insights into GST impacts on dropshipping business.
Business registration can be done online in 1-2 days with few documents.
4. Dropshipping Products
Half the process is done when you choose the right product for dropshipping.
This list gives most popular dropshipping products across the world.
- Mobile Cases
- Coffee Mugs
- Canvas Prints
- All over Print Shirts
- Women Tops
- Tote Bags
- Button Badges
- Crop Tops
- Kids T Shirts
- Pop Grip
- Sipper Bottle
- Mouse Pad
These products can be custom printed and Dropshipped from the manufacturers like Qikink.
Product selection is important aspect of any dropshipping business. Check few posts while choosing the product as
- Product knowledge or research is required beforehand to serve the customers well
- Manufacturer must have enough details like product photos, features and description of the product
- Manufacturer should be able to supply continuously with consistent quality
- Cost the product should give enough margins
- Supplier is willing to add more varieties of the product
- Your customer base is familiar with the product or similar products
- Your designs suits well on the product
Decide on the product which are acceptable for your audience and it will be easier to convert and cash on.
5. Find Dropship Vendors
You can grow your business as good as your partners’.
List and choose your dropshipping business partners wisely based on a wide range of parameters.
- Wide product range. This gives a lot of scope to test and change to what works and add varieties to scale.
- True B2B pricing. Most important aspect of the business, to have good enough margins on every sale.
- Niche product or print areas. Qikink has Glow in Dark and all over print in Print on Demand dropshipping
- Continuous supply and consistent quality. Once you test and find a winner, you supplier should be able to get you profits with continuous supply with consistent quality as well.
- Easy to connect. Choose a Dropshipper who has an easy and convenient mode of communication.
- Product Knowledge. The product supplier must have thorough knowledge on the product to make continuous improvements and provide you with details like features, description, photos.
- Business automation. Automating parts of the business happens continuously to improve the drop shippers lives.
Thus once a vendor is chosen stick with them to grow together with same priorities.
6. Store Setup
An online store in required to sell products online.
You can text initially without a store via your social media channels.
- Shopify is best to start. Automation options are widely available with a lot of help videos and experts.
- Many other options available like WooCommerce, Squarespace, Zepo, Kartrocket, Magento, Wix and many
- Choose a self hosted platform. Choosing, settings and managing hosting space may eat up a lot of time if you are new to this.
- Have a web store with custom domain to enhance credibility, trust and custom domain for emails.
- Choose a theme with speed, and other best sales conversion best practices.
Store setup is the first actual work to get any sale. The web store is going to get hundreds of thousands of sales for the business.
So there must be enough attention and time spent on choosing domain name, platform selection and designing the store.
7. Graphic Designs
Connect with target audience with designs.
Original and refreshing designs to connect will highly enhance your profit margins, than selling stock designs or plain products.
- Get new design inspirations from online resources like vexels and creativemarket.
- Niche selection provides inspirations areas from real life products. A football design on a circle coaster for a football niche, famous movie dialogues for movie buffs, glow in dark for a minimal pop culture design are working examples.
- Have the design niche, web store, brand in same tone of message to let the customers associate your brand with you niche.
- Launch and test designs as many as possible.
- Design in vectors to scale with screen printing for winning designs.
- Combine various printing methods like glow in dark, all over printing for variety in designs
There is anther post here talks about the design resources for T-Shirts.
Having the process of designing right along with right print technique and products gives a strength hold for the ads to run.
8. Product Display Pictures
E-Commerce sales are driven by product photos. No, this is not exaggerated.
93% of customers consider product photos or videos are key deciding factors for their purchase.
- Order samples and Hire an agency to do photoshoot for your brand’s products
- If you prefer doing within budget, you can get a light box online and click photo via camera with samples received
- It can be done still cheaper and rich using mockup generator website like Placeit
- Qikink gives free mockup generator for all its products
Anyway, its necessity to make sure there are rich photos of the products by highlighting the features and inline with your brand story.
9. Pricing Strategy
Price can be fixed by testing for each product with at least 3 variations.
Do no go with low pricing and assume it will sell a lot. It will not.
- Add more value to the correct audience to charge higher price
- Competitive generic products can be charged around 2x of cost price(product+printing+shipping+taxes)
- Niche products like glow in dark, all over printing or accessories can be charged around 3x of the cost price
- Sell with comfortable margins to your smallest viable audience and know thy better to serve better
10. E-Commerce Best Practices
The webstore is the place the business happens.
It has to have all benchmarks covered fair and square. Focus on every details of the e-commerce website.
- Keep it clutter free everywhere on the website
- Use self hosted platform like shopify or buy a premium hosting plan
- Focus on E-Commerce SEO in depth for all your product, category, about us, contact us, home pages
- Build email subscriber list from day 1 and give some real offers for signing in
- Show customer service numbers to contact easily
- Offer Free Shipping with no minimums
- Charge extra for COD and incentivise paid orders
- Show product video for at least few best selling products
- Show customer reviews on the product pages and on home page
- Have a simple one step checkout process. Also try getting paid first and then getting shipping details.
- Allow guest checkout option and give cash back offer for signup
- Show breadcrumb or show sophisticated mega menu structure with category images.
These e-commerce best practices will ensure optimum conversion rate for the ad money spent.
Also check this post how to reduce COD returns.
11. Initial Sales
The initial sales are crucial and should be receive within 30 days of starting the web store. Focus on getting targeted visitors to your store.
- Write a personalised mail to your friends and family with an offer coupon
- Get friends and family to share the offer and website among all their contacts
- Start to work with influencers directly
- Bring online visitors from offline efforts like give offer coupons to nearby coffee shop customers
- Try minimum budget Facebook and Instagram Advertisements
- Send cart abandonment emails
- Do not under estimate the power of re-marketing
Ensuring the above points of action should bring in initial sales in much lesser timeline.
12. Digital Marketing
There are 25 million+ e-commerce websites in the world.
Only around 600k+ web stores make 1000+ USD annual revenue.
The missing link is digital marketing. No drop shipping company with proper digital marketing strategy in place will fail cheap.
Digital marketing is not only for scaling your business, it is an essential requirement to start off the ground.
- Choose your smallest audience who will purchase and share it with others
- Marketing in digital platforms comprise of Paid search ads(Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube), SEO, Influencer Marketing and Email Marketing.
- Facebook and Instagram offers unique targeting features proves best ones to start with.
- Keep focus on SEO and building email subscribers list
- Make sure to create irresistible offers time to time and shout out across all channels including email
- Use tools like Socioh for better Facebook advertisement conversion rate
- Give aways in social channels from time to time attracts followers (return orders can be used here)
- Deepen your knowledge on paid ads using online courses from Udemy etc.
Digital marketing is an essential part of dropshipping business to reach right audience and optimum cost.
13. Social Media
Social media is not just an extension of digital marketing. It is an extension of your web store.
This is where your old, present and future customers are hanging out.
- Create and post shareable content
- Use relevant hashtags
- Reply to messages as fast as possible
- Post regularly at a particular time
- Post Images, Product Photos, Review Video, Customer pictures, Feature Video and more to engage and share.
- Remember, commerce is going to become mainstream across social channels.
- Get mentions from Influencers
- Enable In-app purchases
- Use tools like canvas, Crello, Pixtellar to create visually stunning content
Enable the social media accounts of your brand in a proper way to interact with your niche audience.
See it as an opportunity to stay in touch and grow your tribe.
14. To Fulfil the orders
The orders started coming in, it’s time to do business.
For orders fulfilled by Qikink,
- For Shopify & WooCommerce users, you have integrated with Qikink during store setup. The orders are pulled to Qikink Dashboard automatically and processed with a click of a button.
- For other platforms, you can login to Qikink dashboard and place the orders. Either by creating orders individually or via bulk xls upload.
- Qikink processes and dispatches the orders with your custom designs and custom branding.
For orders not fulfilled by Qikink, you can contact your vendor in your preferred mode of communication with list of order details.
And follow it up until fulfilment. Here is the step by step Qikink Process for order Fulfilment.
15. Qikink Dashboard
Qikink dashboard is your one order management place. It allows to manage your day to drop shipping business activities.
- Create Orders via Orders -> Create, one by one. Or use the Bulk Order option to upload the orders via xls upload in bulk
- Check order statuses about printing, dispatch and delivery.
- Get air way number for all shipped orders in the dashboard
- Manage returns with 100 days effective return management system in place
- Download invoices to file GST and take advantage of input credit
- Create mockups in single and in bulk
- Get account statement of all your transactions
- Check final cost price before submitting any order
- Push Products to the Shopify store
It provides all necessary tools to start and run the print on demand dropshipping business profitably.
16. Taxation for Dropshipping
I will share the taxation for drop shipping businesses operating from India
- GST is mandatory to businesses in India with annual revenue above 40 L
- It is required to avail the benefits of input tax credit
- In GST terms, Qikink sells products to you(Registered or unregistered Business), you are selling the products to your customers.
- GST can be filed and paid monthly, quarterly and yearly as well
- GST registration place of address can be your home or office.
- Place of supply is from Qikink to your customer. This is mentioned in Section 10(1)(b) of GST act. For goods movement between Qikink and your customer, it can be billed to your principal place of business.
- Selling outside India(International sales) doesn’t attract any GST in invoice since all exports are zero rated
- GST is mandatory for selling products on marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon
Once GSTIN is registered, proper filing periodically as registered is mandatory for running business in the long run.
17. Scale up Dropshipping Orders
The time in which orders started flowing in continuously is to think about scaling up
- Save and analyse data as much to learn customers buying patters, repeat orders, locations, successful ads to improve on other campaigns.
- Move best selling apparel designs to screen printing in bulk
- Add new audience for the same product type
- Introduce new niches(allied) which are relevant to the audience. Do not jump into an irrelevant new niche onto the same brand.
- Bring in fresh graphics and design continuously
- Grow social media followers with giveaway contests
- Attract influencers relevant to your niche and target audience
- Double down on winning ad sets with relevant expansion in target audience
- Introduce special print types or new product types for the best selling niche
- Re-invest the money in the business.
Not all the business are scalable. Drop shipping allows the business to scale to new heights with every winning product and ad set.
Not limited to ads, creating a niche brand in a market like India provides enduring value.
18. Sell on Marketplaces
Marketplaces are to give more visibility to the brand you are building. Play the marketplace offering with few products.
- Do not offer the entire product range
- List the products on 1 or marketplaces only
- Identify niche international marketplaces for your products
- List the products with best content possible, which give good Listing quality score
- Use competitive pricing for selling in marketplaces
- Selling the best selling apparel designs with screen printing stock in marketplace is best fit
- Try sending best selling products from marketplace to their own inventory for priority search placement
Selling some of your best selling products with inventory provides advantage for better reach into the market.
With the brand reach of wider audience, your brand searches will increase and so your website visitors.
Check this post on Amazon Dropshipping to start selling on Amazon profitably.
19. Printing Methods
Dropshipping doesn’t mean your store has to be monotonous.
Offer variety of products with various printing methods to appeal diversified collection.
- Direct to Garment (DTG) Digital Printing for cotton apparel styles
- Dye Sublimation for Accessories like Phone cases, Coffee Mugs, Coasters and more
- Screen Printing for all apparel and cloth accessories like Tote Bags, Aprons and Caps
- Digital Printing on Paper Products like Posters, Cards
- UV Printers for Mobile Cases. Also for speciality embossed and textured prints
- Eco Solvent Printers for Decorative Acrylic Boards, Foam Boards, Stickers, Wall Decals and more
- Dye Sublimation Printer for all over printed apparel styles
- Vinyl Printing for Sports Jersey Logo, name and numbers
- Glow in Dark Vinyl for all apparel styles
- Embroidery Applique for Polo which can be applied on demand on Polo T-Shirts
- Cut and sewn color block sports wear models which can be sewn on demand as per the style ordered
Qikink is equipped with all the above printing and sewing methods to offer various range of products.
You are limited to your imagination to offer diversified product and service offering to your niche audience.
20. Tools for Dropshipping
Tools helps us in getting the required work done easily and quickly.
Successful dropshipping business requires such tools,
- Google Trends for free market research on trending products
- Use Google Keyword Planner from google Ads is best for Keyword research
- Answerthepublic is helpful to find search intent
- Google Analytics is best to analyse website traffic
- Google serach console for crawling errors, spam back links, search queries and more
- Pixel is mandatory to asses the Facebook Ads performance
- Placeit to create lively mockups
- Canva or Crello for social media creatives
- Biteable to create stunning video content
- Socioh to create creative facebook ad copies
- Shopify for web store development
- Zoho for all in one accounting needs including GST filing
- Godaddy for domain registration
- Buffer for social media management
- Zapier, a process automation tools involving most of the apps you use
- Semrush is a premium tool for complete website and keyword analysis
- Buzzsumo to find popular content across channels
- Mailchimp for email marketing
There are many more tools as well. Most of them are not required for you at every stage.
Choose few among them as per the stage you are in and use them completely to your advantage.
21. E-Commerce SEO
Last but not least, do not think SEO is not for e-commerce.
Tap the search queries on your niche and get free sales without ad spend.
- Yoast for WooCommerce and Plug in SEO for Shopify, install and configure every detail
- Make URLs shorter with most important keyword for the page
- Handle ‘page not found’ with 404 Page
- Check Google search console for possible errors to fix
- Use XML sitemap
- Avoid thin and duplicate content in web pages
- Use Canonical tag to show different various of the same product type
- Reduce page loading time by optimising images and reducing server requests
- Use hreflang for International websites if possible
- Check and fix internal and external dead links
- Use 1000+ words in Product description, price, shipping information on the product page plus different image variations, product video and user reviews
- Do Keyword research and search intent for keywords on product description content
- Title Tag must have offers and modifier text for better CTR
- Use offers and features in the description with search and search intent keywords
- Implement Product review schema
Implementing these will give an advantage over other websites on your niche for the serach queries.
Dropshipping can be taken as a lifestyle. It is worth the time spent on it.
Like any business, it has to be tried, tested and practiced to master the same.
Let us the know in comments which one helps you most in the above post.
We will keep the post updated with more information.