Dropshipping took off in 2018. There are many YouTube channels that teach “secrets” and “hacks” on how to succeed in dropshipping. What these YouTube channels don’t tell you, however, is that they are making the bulk of their money by selling “dropshipping classes” to you. It can be very difficult to make money by dropshipping, and it is going to be even more difficult in 2018.
Dropshipping using e-commerce tools like Shopify can still be profitable, but not using the same methods that you could have used in 2018. Fake social proof, false senses of urgency, free+shipping pricing methods are all ways to drive customers away from you.
Dropshipping from China is not a sustainable business model.
Sure, you can get sales, but those customers are not going to keep coming back. Waiting for a month to receive the item in a Chinese shipping label (that also typically has the price on it) is not a good look for your company. They aren’t going to buy from you again. This is a good place to start, but not finish.
Keep some inventory.
Start with dropshipping until you find a winning product. Once you do, buy that product in bulk. You can start small, and buy more as your demand grows. You will have to make sure to factor in shipping costs to your product price listing, but your customers will appreciate the faster shipping time and this also allows you to add a coupon or a business card in the package the customer gets. This also allows quality control of the products coming in.
Once the demand grows, switch from Aliexpress to Alibaba.
Once you start gaining traction, buy more in bulk. With Alibaba, you can communicate directly with the manufacturer, put your own logo on the product, customize the packaging and negotiate a discounted rate.
Contact other small businesses.
If you are running a e-commerce store selling cat beds, start to contact small pet stores in your area. Bring samples of your product and sell it to the owner at a discounted bulk rate. These big orders will take more work to fulfill, but they are much more profitable. Even if you are not making many sales selling directly to the customer, having a good looking online store can help you legitimize your business when selling to other businesses.