In the last decade, the niche of e-commerce stores developed a lot. More and more retailers prefer to have their business only in the online form without opening the actual physical store. However, you’ll still need to get your products, equipment, and materials somewhere, and you’ll need a place to keep them.
One of the business models that are extremely popular for companies of that type is the dropshipping model.
The rise of e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce, as well as the increasing accessibility of global suppliers through online marketplaces like AliExpress and Oberlo, has made it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to start a dropshipping business.
Plus, the fact that dropshipping offers a lot of flexibility and cost-effectiveness makes it extremely attractive and effective for people who are thinking about starting an online business.
However, it’s worth noting that while dropshipping can be a profitable business model, it’s also a competitive space, so it’s important to do thorough research and develop a strong marketing strategy to stand out from the crowd.
In this article, we gathered the main advantages and disadvantages of this business model and ways to create it. Keep reading to learn more!
Many people have heard about the term dropshipping, but not all of them truly understand what it is. So, first, let’s define what a dropshipping business model is and what it can offer you.
Basically, when you’re an entrepreneur that bases your business on a dropshipping model, it gives you the possibility to run an online store without the need to hold inventory. Instead of purchasing and storing products, a dropshipper sources products from a supplier who ships them directly to the customer.
This means that the dropshipper only pays for the product when they make a sale, and the supplier takes care of the logistics, including shipping and handling.
This type of business model is particularly suitable for someone who is only starting their way in sales. You don’t have to make big investments, like with traditional businesses when it’s inevitable.
However, just like any other business model, dropshipping has its own benefits and drawbacks. If you’re considering integrating this model into your work, it would be better to take these factors into account to minimize risks and mishaps.
Advantages of Dropshipping
As we have already mentioned dropshipping business model can be really advantageous for young entrepreneurs that are making their first steps in the industry. Let’s look at some of the biggest benefits this model can offer you.
- Low start-up costs. Without any doubt, one of the first and probably the biggest pros of dropshipping is that there’s no need for big upfront investments. This point is one of the key factors for people that are choosing this model. Unlike traditional retail businesses that need to buy and store inventory, dropshippers don’t need to purchase products until they make a deal with their buyer;
- No inventory management. Above, we have already pointed out that dropshippers don’t have inventory. So, they don’t have to be worrying about maintaining it, and they don’t have to always stock their storage and manage it. This saves time and money and eliminates the risk of overstocking or holding unsold items;
- Location independence. Dropshipping is an extremely flexible form of running a business. First of all, you don’t have a physical store that you’re tied to. You can run your business from anywhere as long as you have your smartphone and a proper Internet connection. This means that dropshippers can work from home, in a co-working space, or while traveling the world;
- Wide product selection. Usually, this business model allows retailers to offer a wider range of products for their customers, as they don’t have to invest in them in advance. This means that they can test different products and niches to find what works best for their business. It is much harder to do it when you’re running a traditional business;
- Scalability. Dropshipping can be easily scaled since there’s no limit to the number of products that can be offered. As the business grows, dropshippers can expand their product selection, target new markets, and increase their revenue without any additional spending.
Disadvantages of Dropshipping
Even though the dropshipping business model may seem like a piece of cake for you and you’re really attracted to that way of organizing your business, it has some drawbacks as well. To not be surprised by all the pitfalls of that business model, it might be reasonable to get more familiar with them.
- Lower profit margins. In most cases, dropshippers have to pay way more for the products they’re buying. The first reason for that is that they might purchase individual items, which are more expensive than buying in bulk. Plus, their suppliers are fully responsible for shipping and inventory. This can result in lower profit margins, making it harder to sustain a successful business;
- No control over product quality and shipping. The main point of dropshipping is that the product is shipped directly to the customer. A dropshipper only acts as a communication channel between the supplier and buyer. Basically, they have no possibility to look at the product and check its quality. If the supplier doesn’t deliver quality products or ship them on time, it can negatively impact the dropshipper’s reputation and customer satisfaction;
- Increased competition. We guess this point is pretty obvious. The cost-effectiveness of dropshipping is its biggest pro and con at the same time, as it creates a lot of competition in certain niches. This makes it harder to stand out and gain a competitive advantage. To keep their customers and attract new ones, you’ll have to pay more attention to the advertising;
- Lack of brand control. Since the products are sourced from a third-party supplier, dropshippers have limited control over the branding and packaging of their products. This can make it harder to differentiate their brand from competitors and may result in a less cohesive brand image;
- Legal issues. Dropshippers are responsible for ensuring that the products they sell comply with local laws and regulations. If a supplier violates these laws, it can result in legal issues for the dropshipper.
How to Create a Dropshipping Business Model?
If, after considering all the pros and cons of a dropshipping business model, you decide it’s suitable for you, we want to present you with a step-by-step guide on how to create it:
- Your first step is to choose a niche you want to take. You can sell anything, starting from cosmetics and clothes to books and electronic devices. However, it might be better to choose the one you’re more familiar with;
- Then you’ll have to find a reliable supplier who’ll provide you with all the goods you need at a reasonable price. For that purpose, you can use various online marketplaces;
- The next step is to create your very own online store. You can use social media to do that, or you can set it up on e-commerce platforms;
- Analyze which products are relevant and in demand at the moment and fill your online shop with those products. Create a detailed description that’ll attract customers and will be informative for them;
- Then you’ll have to set the prices. Check the prices of your competitors before finalizing your own. Make sure they’re competitive and affordable at the same time;
- Create a marketing strategy. You can use various platforms, social media, and websites for advertising your products;
- Pay attention to the management of your orders. Try to provide a fast response and be polite and empathic;
- Track your sales. Always analyze your sales and profits to understand what you’re doing right and what can be improved.
Overall, dropshipping is an attractive business model for those looking to start an online business with minimal upfront investment and maximum flexibility. However, like any business model, there are also challenges and risks that need to be considered and managed.
This field is really cost-effective but competitive at the same time. It offers you a lot of freedom in certain aspects but limits you to others. We hope our guide on dropship business models was helpful to you and it’ll be easier for you to decide whether it’s suitable for your needs.