How to Choose the Best Dropship Products
Choosing which products to sell online can be one of the most challenging aspects of setting up your online business.
While you can always switch products, it will save you time and money to pick a winner upfront, especially if you are designing an entire website around a specific product theme.
5 tips to choose the best dropship products
Tip #1: Start Small
People are often tempted to start dropshipping plasma screen TV’s and diamond jewelry because they think they’ll make the most money this way. It’s hard enough to get people to give you their credit card number for a small purchase, never mind something that costs $3000.
Until you’ve built a positive reputation and rating on eBay, with the BBB, and online in general, it’s better to be a little more conservative in your product choices.
The best dropship products may be ones in the $30-120 range, which tend to sell well online.
Remember, it’s not always the most expensive items that have the largest profit margin: you’ll make more money dropshipping $80 purses if you’re getting them for $20 than you would selling $400 laptops if they cost you $350.
Tip #2: Consider Shipping
Whenever you sell a product online, you need to consider how shipping will inflate the price.
The cost of the item plus shipping should equal what a person could get the same item for at a brick-and-mortar store. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule: if a product is extremely rare or is not sold in any great variety at your local mall, than it will have a greater demand online.
In general, dropshipping items like stainless steel refrigerators and swimming pools doesn’t work due to the cost of shipping such bulky products.
Tip #3: Don’t Be Afraid To Specialize
Choose a niche, not a general store.
You’re not going to be able to compete with the variety and price of products available online from Target or Wal-Mart. However, you can compete in a specialized niche market.
Focusing on a niche also allows you to write blogs, articles, and tips closely related to your product, which will improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), drive traffic to your website, and help build a relationship with your customers.
The best dropship products are often those related to a specific hobby or theme.
Tip #4: Find Your Point Of Difference
When people pitch their online business to me, I hear a lot of ideas like “My website will be just like Monster.com” or “It’s going to be just like Office Max”.
Your website shouldn’t be “just like” anything.
If your site is exactly like a bigger, more established website, how are you going to compete?
You need a “point of difference “, a product or service you offer that sets your online business apart. It should fulfill a need in your specific market that is not already being filled. You can get ideas for your point of difference by scoping out your niche community online (joining discussions on message boards, reading blog posts, etc.). You may discover that there are plenty of jewelry-making sites, but none that cater specifically to period-era jewelry, or maybe there are plenty of fishing websites, but a dearth of quality spear-fishing products.
Tip #5: Remember Your Own Purchases
If you’re having a horrible time brainstorming, and you just can’t think of anything you want to sell online, think back to the products you’ve bought online over the last month or year. What did you buy? What made you go online instead of to a local store? Why did you choose the specific website you purchased from? How did you find the products you were looking for? Examining your own purchases can give you more than dropship product ideas: it can also help you formulate a web design and marketing strategy.
If you need additional help choosing dropship products, check out the following blog article:
Products to Sell Online for a Profit
This article contains a long list of products you can sell online for a profit. You can also find suppliers for virtually any product on this site.
Leah Darrow is a blogger for a wholesale dropshipping company. She also writes educational material, all geared toward helping people start online businesses. She and her husband Ryan were married in December 2008, and they live in Provo, UT.
Top 5 Ways to Find Suppliers
Finding suppliers for products is debateably the most important thing a small eCommerce business start-up can do. Without products, there are definitely other ways to make money on-line but they generally take a lot longer to develop and require knowledge that many don’t have if they’re just getting started.
Here are 5 ways to find suppliers that I feel are the best and quickest:
- Your Own Products: ever heard of “spring cleaning”? This is such a great way to start making money on-line. I’ve seen amazing results, both personally and with clients, on Craigslist.org. It’s Free, it’s Free, it’s Free – need I say more? You can list practically anything on Craigslist and it doesn’t usually cost a dime (there are a few things that do cost). Before trying another option, why not give Craigslist a try? I’m sure we all know about eBay too. eBay is a great source to sell your own products too. There are fees to list and also fees if the product sells, but they are minimal if you play the game (list low to start). I’ve seen clients do amazingly well with eBay as a way to get rid of things. In fact, within their first few weeks in the coaching program, I’ve had clients sell over 50 items on eBay. Not a bad start if you ask me.There are other ways too: amazon.com, shop.com, shopping.com, overstock.com, become.com, half.com, etc. These are all buying solutions where you can list products. Most of these options have fees like eBay. Google also has a few options that you can look in to like http://www.google.com/products.
- Trade-shows: this is probably the best way to find suppliers of products that you want to sell over and over again. A trade show is ideal because this is where manufacturers and wholesalers go to find retailers for their products. Here are some good things to be prepared for or find out when going to a trade show:
- Attendance Pricing – Some events will cost you very little or even nothing; others may be pricey. It’s good to find out about this prior to making the trip. Even though some may cost, the return could be well worth it.
- Vendor List – Find out who’s going to be there. Before going to a trade-show, you need to have an idea what types of suppliers are going to be attending and if they fit in with your plan. You may be able to find out this information on the trade-show website or in a book or pamphlet they send prior to the event. The good news is, new vendors may be added to the list up until the very last minute.
- Floor plan and booth locations – Plan, plan, plan! “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” These trade-shows can be huge. Try to create a path you can follow that hits the key contacts and passes by other possibilities along the way.
- Build relationships – When going to a trade-show, I would say this is the most important point. Putting a name with a face can make such a difference long term. A trade-show is your best chance to build a solid relationship with a supplier and to get the best deals you can. Take business cards, write things down about contacts to help you remember then, try to interview them if it’s fitting for the event.
- Contact people you know: although this may seem odd, sometimes people don’t even realize who they know and what connections they may have. One of the first fears you have to get over right up front is talking to people. As a new business owner you’ll have to talk to people all the time whether you like it or not. Also, you can’t be afraid that someone might say no. Every “no” means you’re that much closer to a YES! As one client told me, “‘No’ is the first two letters in ‘Not Yet’!”
- Local Searches:
- Companies – go to a local company that sells the products you are interested in. See if they have a dropshipping or wholesale program. If they don’t, maybe they will give you someone to contact. As many of you know, this is how I found my first supplier for women’s clogging shoes: I went to a local company who I thought would make a great partner – they didn’t have a website but had access to the products I wanted to sell. Unfortunately they weren’t interested but I asked, “Would you by chance know of someone I could contact that might be a manufacturer?” Surprisingly they gave me their manufacturers contact info and things eventually worked out.
- Manufactures (that are found on the products in fine print) – talking to the right person may be difficult here, but it’s always worth a try. Even if they’re not interested, they may know of distributors that have drop shipping options.
- Storage unit auctions
- Case lot sales
- Garage sales (I won’t talk about these three too much now – come back for more information.)
- On-line: there are quite a few companies out there that claim they are the answer to all our product sourcing problems. BEWARE! Many of them have been found to be unreliable and expensive. WholesaleMatch actually goes to trade-shows for us. It’s a company that actually has a guarantee that they will help us find suppliers within industries that tie in to what we are doing. The one recommendation I give all clients is that WholesaleMatch is just one source, not necessarily the “end all cure all”. Occasionally a client will expect WholesaleMatch to find the exact brand and style of product they want. I’m sure this company will do all they can to help, but that is not part of the guarantee.There are other sources online too. www.thomasnet.com, www.alibaba.com and www.worldwidebrands.com are websites I’ve seen but haven’t personally used for my product sourcing. The other way would be to go to google.com and type in “‘your product’ dropshipper” or “‘your product’ manufacturer”. This will give you a lot of information, most of which may not be completely helpful to you. Just beware.
These ideas are specific things I’ve tested. However, I’m sure there are other ways too. Best of luck in your search. Let all readers know what’s worked best for you.
Finding suppliers can be fun with WholesaleMatch
Finding suppliers is one of the Two Main Hurdles I tell clients they have to get by when building a new eCommerce business. If you can’t get access to products to sell online, the rest of the stuff we talk about probably won’t even matter much. There are many ways to find suppliers: looking locally, searching online, etc. WholesaleMatch is one of the options I recommend when looking for product suppliers. There are many reasons why I like them but here are my top 5.
- They aren’t a Third Party affiliate system. What does this mean? Other product sourcing companies I’ve seen claim they are dropshippers. However, when you contact them for a sale you’ve made, they then contact the “real” dropshipper or manufacturer. Basically they are just an in-between of your company and the real dropshipper. This means the price you get at a wholesale price isn’t going to be as good as if you went directly to the source.
- They are always finding more suppliers. I’ve been aware of WholesaleMatch for over a year now and have seen so much added to their site. This, to me, is the sign of a good product sourcing company.
- They give great information in their blog. I know both blog authors and they have a wealth of knowledge. It’s a recommended read.
- The lifetime membership is a steal for what you get. I’ve created a few websites and always use TheShipper to find suppliers. To know that I will have access to this information for a lifetime is invaluable.
- They understand that they aren’t the ONLY product sourcing option. Some companies in the product sourcing market think they are the one-stop shop for all your product sourcing needs. That’s definitely not true at all. TheShipper encourages clients to look for all kinds of ways to find suppliers, including tradeshows, auctions, etc. This is commendable.
Here’s some feedback I’ve received about TheShipper from clients I work with. Read and enjoy!
“I am going to say a few words about WholesaleMatch. First, it is a very good directory for finding suppliers. I have been approved by two suppliers…the first one has about 25,000 products to offer; the second one has over 25 products – all of which are very good. WholesaleMatch has a wide variety of suppliers, dropshippers, wholesalers, and more. And as far as I can see, they keep improving all the time.”
North Brismick, NJ
Here’s another one:
I purchased a lifetime membership…My salesman was Steve S. who gave me a full membership with premium support. He told me I would be assigned a person from their product research team who would be my trainer and would make sure to find the dropship products I want. Even if I cannot find the products in their database, my trainer will go out to trade shows and find the product for me. They want to be my resource for finding products. For your information and records.
What have your experiences been with WholesaleMatch?