If you have mental health problems and want a business that is easy to set up, then dropshipping is a good option. I will guide you through the pros and cons of dropshipping, using my experience and how it worked out for me.
Dropshipping is selling products on your own website. However, you do not store the goods. They are dispatched to the customer direct from the supplier; you are just the person in the middle who brings the product out in the open to your customer.
You can set up your business for as little as £16, read my article all about it.
Let’s Look at the Pros and Cons of Dropshipping
The idea of sitting back and relaxing while your dropshipping business takes care of things is the dream I had; how long did it last? Less than 24 hours of my first website going live. I needed the pros and cons of dropshipping before we even started.
What I have learned I pass on to you, and you can also pass the info onto us by leaving your experiences in the comment box.
This is what have I have learnt and what I wish I had known from the start.
1. Have an SSL Certificate
Why is this important? I had no idea in the beginning, and even now, I still have to look up what it stands for, Secure Sockets Layer.
What do you need it for? It involves encryption and decryption and adds a layer of security around your website and transactions. You know the little padlock at the top of your browser, this is SSL at work.
I learned after 2 days of building my first website; I didn’t have one. I found out because I couldn’t connect to a dropshippers integration app without it. I spent hours looking in our host provider literature, and apparently, my host did not offer them; I had to buy it.
Once I calmed down, and I was about £150 lighter, I realised an info site I ran had an SSL. And I didn’t pay for it. I complained to my rich host, and they said they just don’t offer them for free. If only I had known. But I now know and have transferred all my domains away from the rich host.
2. Not All Dropshippers Are Legit
Fly by nights they were. I stumbled upon one who had what I was after, it was free to sign up, and you manually add products to your store and then go onto their site when someone buys from you and pays for it. After the third complaint about something not arriving, I complained.
I then got locked out of the site; two months later, the site was gone. They only took about twenty pounds off of me, but it could have been a lot more. But I lost it twice because I had to refund customers. Imagine if it had been a grand; it does not quell the nerves.
I didn’t give up; I now buy before I add any products to a site to check out if the dropshipper is legit first. There are plenty of decent sites out there, and thankfully there is more than the bad ones.
Learning the pros and cons of dropshipping will hopefully stop you from making costly mistakes. I advise you to purchase, spend the money now to save later. Buy for yourself, then sell to customers.
3. No Control
As a dropshipper, you have no control over your stock; you could be running a promotion, and then boom, the product is discontinued. Or they change the manufacturing process, and instead of something being described as poppies, it is now daisies: still flowers but very different flowers.
You then have to work your pants off re-writing your product descriptions. Sometimes you might only find out once a customer complains they got daisies and they had ordered poppies. And, they hate daisies, so they want a refund. You then turn to your dropship liaison, and lo and behold, they did tell you, but you didn’t see the email or the blog post. Or the global announcement on the website with thousands of other announcements.
Yes, you have to be on the ball, forget relaxing this is a full-time business. Trying to be in control when you have no control. However, if you thrive on the unexpected you’ll love dropshipping.
I love it, and this is why I have written this article to let you know the pros and cons of dropshipping; without it, you may think you can sit back, not check things thoroughly and believe the hype of earning thousands while sleeping. You can, but you have to still work for it.
4. Deliveries Worldwide
I am in the UK, and we are in Brexit mode, yes it has happened, but customs is so slow. We ordered a hoodie coming from Europe; normally, 7 days after printing the logo, it took 10 days. It became stuck in customs on the UK side. I hope this improves, so I am now focusing on selling products from the USA as they arrive quicker because all checks are in place. I haven’t removed the products from our stores, but they are further down the category listings.
I also buy products from Asia, now here’s a little known fact – liquid takes a long time to ship from there, I assume it is to do with safety and has to travel over the sea rather than air. I order ink for pens, and it can take 20 to 60 days to arrive; I market as bespoke; what else can you do?
5. Anyone Can Sell What You Sell
This is good for healthy competition, but make sure you do your research first. If everyone is selling the same product, you will not undercut the person who lives in a country where it is produced.
Let’s take the craze for CBD oil when it seems everyone is selling it (I’m not), so how will you stand out. You won’t, not for free anyway. You will have to advertise and either have the lowest price or the highest quality. Difficult when there is a craze on.
I suggest you don’t follow crazes; it’s an essential part of the pros and cons of dropshipping. Apparently, rollerskates are making a comeback, so it might be worth dropshipping now, but not in months when everyone will be selling them.
Watch the news, read social media, be the first to spot something, then sell it first. When everyone starts selling it, move onto the next trend. Start before others and end before others. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time.
6. Lots of Dropshipped Packages
As a dropshipper, all your items will not arrive at the customer in one packet. They’ll arrive individually packaged and will arrive at different times. Unlike large retailers who buy in bulk then ship out from warehouses, you can’t do that, so your customer will have various deliveries.
The first thing is to make sure your website explains this. There is nothing wrong with telling the customer you deliver direct from the supplier or the printers. Customers are much more likely to trust you if you tell the truth straight away.
Also, make sure your profit on each item covers the shipping cost; that way, you can offer free shipping. Some platforms will charge shipping for each item or the weight of items, and some dropship suppliers do not list the weight, just the size.
The pros and cons of dropshipping will mean you will be savvy enough to realise you want to treat customers as you would want to be treated.
Cover all angles, but above all be honest.
7. Money, Money, Money
Are you going to make it or lose it? Most dropship platforms charge a fee except CJdropshipping, Something Different and Printful; this is not exhaustive. I have listed 50+ free dropshippers in an article. If you are paying a fee, you are spending, and until you sell enough and clear a profit to pay for those goods, you are losing money. If you have to refund and the supplier will not, you will have to refund, losing money.
Do not sell products where you only earn a few pennies. Please do it for a profit; make sure you cover the cost of your dropship supplier(s), postage and refunds.
For example, a handbag costs £5; postage is £5, don’t sell it for £11, sell it for £25 minimum. You might think, ‘but others aren’t selling it for that they are selling it cheaper. If others are selling it and cannot compete, do not enter the race and choose another product.
Choose products further down the lists, these are less likely to be seen everywhere.
I hope these 7 tips are helpful. If you are a dropshipping guru, let us know what else to look out for and give us some great tips for new dropshippers.
Be kind, be honest, be adaptable x