Tell me if this sounds familiar: you want to be a dropshipper, but you haven’t quite put your finger on the exact niche or products to focus on.
Not surprising, as this is often the biggest challenge that dropshipping hopefuls face before their online biz takes off.
You’ll often hear people diving into a business idea based solely on their passion. While this might a good starting point from which you can further hone in on a specific product, you shouldn’t stop there. Ensuring that you attain success in your business will require that the product you pick is actually a profitable one – not just something you have a good deal of interest in.
If your primary objective is to develop a profitable dropshipping website, you’ll have to make a conscious effort to set your personal interests aside and do the necessary market research.
Picking the Right Product
Obviously, choosing the perfect product that you’ll market and sell is at the crux of your business, so make sure you set your sights on the right one.
The Right Price Point for the Service. You absolutely must think about the price tag in relation to the kind of pre-sales service you have to offer. For instance, if you’re planning on selling a high-ticket item, you’ll have to be able to afford a high level of service, including direct phone contact. Someone forking over $2,000 for a product will no doubt want to be able to chat with a sales rep first before opening their wallet. Make sure the margins are deep enough to justify the amount of support you’ll have to provide.
Marketing Potential. Don’t wait until after you’ve launched your product before you consider marketing it. That can be a total nightmare. Instead, start thinking about your marketing plan well in advance of the product’s launch and brainstorm some ideas to promote your online shop.
Not Easily Found in the Local Market. You can capitalize on a product that isn’t readily available in your local market, as long as you aren’t too razor focused. Anything that can’t be found at the local store will probably be searched for online, and your e-commerce store will be ready and waiting.
Low Turnover Rate. Try to focus on products that don’t have to be updated every year. This will help your capital last longer. In contrast, if the product changes annually, so will your website, which will just cost you a ton more time and money.
Snag the Ideal Customer
Zeroing in on the right demographic for your product can mean big business for you. Attracting the kind of clients that have no problem spending while being very courteous can really pay off. Focus on these types of clients for your dropshipping company:
Businesses. Business clients just about always buy in large volumes, which can translate into a hefty influx of cash for your company. Not only that, but by establishing a relationship with your business clients, you’re are likely to get your foot in the door and turn them into repeat buyers. Which brings me to my next example…
Repeat Customers. Repeat revenue is a wonderful thing, and an easy one too. Rather than constantly marketing to new groups of consumers, you already have a loyal base that keeps coming back without you even having to ask. Simply supply your consumers with a good product with great service, and voilà! You’ve got yourself a constant customer.
Hobbyists. You wouldn’t believe how much money hobbyists pour into their precious pastimes. You can successfully target the hobbyist niche by connecting well with their interests, which in turn can translate into a profitable business.
Is There Enough Demand For Your Product?
Even a newbie knows that without demand, there’s no business. If nobody wants what you’re selling, you won’t be profitable. It’s as simple as that.
For this reason, you want to make sure the market demand for your product is healthy before you start investing time and money into it.
Luckily, there are a couple of awesome tools at your disposal that can help you figure this out.
Google Keyword Planner
You can easily find out how many people are searching for your product online by using the Google Keyword Planner tool for AdWords. You can set the parameters of how the search will be conducted.
For example, you can set it up so that the system brings up only searches that have low to medium competition and have at least 1,000 searches per month. You’ll be able to select a broad, phrase or exact match to the keyword you specify when this tool searches volumes. It’s typically recommended to use the exact match option, as you’ll be better able to get an idea of the search volume for that keyword.
A few other things you’ll want to do include:
- Identifying the difference between local or global search volumes.
- Identifying where you’ll be selling your product. If you’re selling primarily to US customers, a local search would be justified.
- Identifying long-tail keyword variations. If you find a huge variety of these, it’s a good indication that your product is actively being searched for, which means the market is probably a strong one.
Another awesome tool supplied by none other the most popular search engine out there is Google Trends. This tool is great for looking at more detailed information about search trends. With it, you’ll be able to identify the search volume (which should ideally increase over time), what the most popular search terms are, where people who are searching for your product are located in the world, and if the demand for the product fluctuates at different times of the year.
Any product that you’re seriously considering selling should warrant some time understanding the complexities of your niche’s search volume. The Google Trends tool is great for helping you gain a better idea of your product’s profit potential to help you avoid making costly mistakes.
What’s the Competition Like?
It’s always a good idea to identify what the competition is like before you dive into an online business venture, but this can be a tricky thing to do. Too much competition could mean you’ll have a tough time building decent traffic, while too little competition could mean that the market is a small one that will limit your business’ ability to grow.
The best way to analyze your competition is to look at the sites in Google that are organically reaching top spots for a specific keyword. You’ll have to compete with these high-listers in order to land on page one.
This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. While you can of course pay for advertising, your dropshipping site will rely mostly on free traffic from the search engines.
Here are some things to look at when analyzing the competition:
Number of Linking Domains. Much of Google’s ranking algorithm relies on incoming links. The more quality links a site is receiving, the higher it will rank in Google. It’s helpful to identify how many inbound links your competitors’ websites are getting in order to give you an idea of what it will take to compete. Ideally, the links should be coming from unique domains. It’s more impressive to Google if your site is attracting new domains every day, as opposed to bringing in the same ones over and over again.
Authority of Competing Websites. Not only does Google look at how many backlinks a site is getting, it also looks at the authority of each site that it is linking to it. Google looks favorably on a website that is getting links from sites like The Washington Post as opposed to some ‘random’ site that’s only got a handful of pages and a PR of 0.
You can check a site’s Page Rank by using a browser extension like SearchStatus for Firefox. Essentially, anything with a PR of 5 and over is considered a high level of authority. If most of the sites ranking on the first page of Google have any of these numbers, your marketing efforts will have to be very strong.
So how can you be absolutely sure that the product or niche that you’ve picked for your dropshipping business will work?
Honestly, you really can’t be 100% certain of success. However, following the above tips can help put you in a much better position. Make sure you do your homework before you start investing your blood, sweat, and tears into your dropshipping business. And if one idea turns out to be a dud, move on to the next until you find one that looks promising.
Just don’t be on the lookout for that “perfect” scenario – if you do, you’ll be waiting forever.
Are you thinking about starting a dropshipping business? What are your biggest worries? Please share your thoughts below!
Image source: lemonhalf