How Drop-Shipping Can Optimize Your Online Store and Business Process
Side hustles and e-commerce have sparked a surge in drop-shipping. One report even predicts the market size value to grow to $476.1 billion by 2026.
However, while drop-shipping continues to make its way into the mainstream, most people still have no idea what it is or how to get started.
So, What is Drop-Shipping?
In its purest form, drop-shipping is a business model where third-party companies fulfill orders on behalf of businesses. In doing so, business owners can run successful online stores without having to worry about tasks such as order management, product manufacturing, warehousing, production equipment and shipping.
Instead of managing the aforementioned tasks, business owners can spend time planning their product catalogs and executing crucial marketing campaigns.
Perhaps one of the more alluring benefits of drop-shipping is that it reduces the barrier to entry. With on-demand fulfillment from third parties, business owners will only pay for ordered products. This eliminates risky investments in purchasing inventory small businesses typically can’t afford.
Another benefit of drop-shipping is the simple setup process. New business owners don’t have to worry about previous e-commerce experience. By partnering with experienced organizations that can take on the brunt of the challenging aspects of the drop-shipping process, businesses can rest assured knowing they're in good hands. On the business owners’ end, they only need a digital space for selling and a brand name to sell the products under.
Drop-shipping is also low risk. Starting a business can certainly be intimidating. Think about it. Business owners invest large amounts of money with no guarantee of earning it back, they have to hire staff, and usually, they have to buy and store products on their own. Even if business owners find their drop-shipping partner failing to meet their expectations, they won’t be losing a crucial part of their investment. Additionally, time-to-market is quick, which makes it easier to test out new products and designs with low risk.
Last, but certainly not least, business owners can utilize print-on-demand drop-shipping. This form of drop-shipping allows business owners to separate themselves from competitors by creating their own unique products with their own designs.
No business strategy is perfect. With that said, drop-shipping does fall short in a couple of areas. Since drop-shipping continues to grow, there’s more competition. Someone somewhere is selling a similar product purchased from the same drop-shipper. In turn, this means business owners will have to find their unique selling point.
On top of competition, it may be difficult for owners to emphasize their brand. To combat this, custom packaging or promotional items can be beneficial, but even this can be difficult if the choices in any given area are limited. Also, business owners may lose some control since your drop-shipping partner becomes partially responsible for the brand.
Despite the cons, this shouldn’t detour business owners from pursuing a drop-shipping solution. The pros still outweigh the cons as owners are still taking a low-risk, high-reward chance.
How to Get Started
With more and more money piling up in the world of drop-shipping, now is the time for businesses to shift their focus to this scaling method to boost side hustles and e-commerce. There are a few ways to get started:
- Find a product and supplier: Find the best product for the business’s niche. Then, find a drop-shipping supplier.
- Set up shop: Create an online store on an e-commerce platform or marketplace.
- Connect: Connect with the drop-shipping seller to integrate the shop for automatic order flow.
- Market: Spread the word to grow a dedicated community.
Drop-shipping will continue to thrive. Business owners should consider drop-shipping to optimize their time and money. The tool is at your fingertips. It’s time to make the move.
Dairis Zarins heads up Printful’s North American operations development projects and oversees two production facilities with a total team size of 500 employees, and growing.
Dairis heads up Printful’s North American operations development projects and oversees two production facilities with a total team size of 500 employees, and growing. He began his career at Draugiem Group, a technology hub from Latvia that’s built multiple successful businesses, including Printful. His curiosity and initiative led him to Los Angeles in 2015 to oversee the first and, at the time, only Printful production facility. Since then, he has spearheaded multiple large scale projects to support and sustain Printful’s rapid growth. As a part of the leadership team at Printful, he promotes sustainability initiatives and fosters a growth mindset. He enjoys working in a team to find creative solutions to complex challenges"