I believe after being bombarded by so many ads in our social media feeds and Youtube, it is easy to thought that dropshipping is easy.
Everyone is driving a sports car and able to afford expensive properties in those videos. In just a few clicks, the money will fall from the sky!. HELL NO!! Let’s be realistic about this. There is a lot of hard work behind the scenes and today I would like to share some challenges you will face when starting a dropshipping business and how you can overcome it.
Challenges Of Drop Shipping
The scariest part of starting a dropshipping is knowing where to start. There is a lot of information out there and pulling you in all direction. In Singapore, I have attended a few dropshipping courses previews from so called gurus and hoping to learn some dropshipping wisdom from them. However, a typical dropshipping course can range from 3 digits for a basic one to five digits if you decide to take on whatever they tried to upsell you. This brings me to my first point
Cost Of Learning
Not everyone can really afford the exorbitant fees I have mentioned above. Of course, if you were to compare it to the cost of losing money if you try to figure out on your own, it can also add up to the same amount.
Luckily, as a Singaporean, our government is really good to offer us free money to upgrade ourselves. My first foray into dropshipping in Ebay is actually from a course in Udemy. The good news is you can actually buy the course and claim from skillsfuture. However, before you went crazy and start to buy up all the dropshipping courses you can find, do refer to the skillsfuture site to ensure that the course you are paying for is approved and claimable.
So after buying the course now what, you get excited and digest it and cannot wait to start. The 2nd challenge is you are not sure how to start.
Doing Niche Research
This may seem simple to you but for a beginner, it can be overwhelming after you started your research. There are so many niches that seem exciting and trending now. How do I start? How do I guarantee that my first dropshipping store would be a success? These are the same thoughts that went through my mind when I am starting up. I would definitely recommend you not to be afraid of failure and use the failed experience to create the next successful one.[Related Article: How To Choose The Best Items To Dropship]
Of course, another way is to consider engaging someone from Fiverr or Onlinejobs to do the research for you. A budget between 50 – 100 USD should be sufficient and you focus to set up a dropshipping store. However, if you are like me and juggling this between a day job and side hustle, this whole process can drag longer than expected.
The Website Design Sucks
I am not a perfectionist when it comes to the layout of my website but I definitely would like it to be presentable as not to tarnish the brand of my website. If you were to do a simple google search “cost to design my website Singapore”, it can cost between SGD$899 to SGD$20k depending on the complexity of your requirements.
Of course, if you are really on a tight budget, you can just pay for a domain and Webhosting at Bluehost, design a professional logo, choose a free WordPress theme and just grab a free woocommerce plugin. It will not look fantastic but will be doable within SGD$200 budget.
Just in case, you have not heard of woo commerce, it is a flexible, open-source eCommerce solution built for WordPress website so you will be able to build an online stock with checkout capabilities.
Not Enough Time
After grinding for the past few years, it is really tough to focus on your day job, side hustle and have time for your family. Add on the fact that the day job has become more demanding and requiring you to put in more hours to climb the corporate ladder.
It is really easy to lose focus on interest on your dropshipping business. If you can only set aside less than 10 hours a week and have some spare cash that you are willing to lose, buying a profitable dropshipping business from auction house like Flippa can be an option for you.
Should I Buy A Dropshipping Business
Before you decide if you should buy a dropshipping business in Flippa, do note that almost 95% of sites listed there are quite scammy and you may have to do your due diligence before committing your hard-earned money.
The good thing about Flippa is that you can do some filters to screen out those scammy dropshipping sites. When you go to their website, click on Ecommerce. You can then filter from the side. Normally I will click on established sites and choose both established sites and dropshipping sites.
A quick search done on 10th May 2020 on Flippa based on this filter shows 918 results which are more than enough for you to do window shopping. Of course, you can come back every few days to see if there are any new dropshipping sites listed. A typical dropshipping site listed there can range from $1 to 7 digits. However, you must know how to do due diligence before buying a site from someone in Flippa.
It is not uncommon to lose all your money even for experienced buyers. Lets say you are able to set aside more than 10 hours a week for your side hustle, you will face your next challenge.
Ensure Your Dropshipping Store Is Equipped
In order for your to start operating, you must set up your woo-commerce website properly. This will include listing items manually one by one, set up your store to accept popular payment gateway like PayPal and credit cards and also ensure that your site is encrypted with SSL etc.
All these have to be done properly to gain confidence for any potential shoppers that landed on your site. You can refer to the video below for 6 simple steps to set up your woo-commerce store.
If it is too overwhelming for you and you just want to get it setup quickly and promote your products, you can try out Shopify. They offer a free trial program to test their platform too.
Have Enough Items In Your Store
Unless you are really good at marketing just one or two products, it is important to have at least a few hundred items in your store. If you are bootstrapping for your dropshipping business, you can just get the information from your chosen supplier and list them one by one on Woo-commerce.
Alternatively, you can also consider using Aliplugin to speed up the listing and save you hours of time. Do take note that they have two versions. One is for a website without Woo-commerce plugin while the other is made just to be compatible with Woocommerce.
Ensure Your Website is Mobile Friendly
The current trend now on the internet is that most of your potential buyers are shifting to mobile devices for shopping needs. If your website theme is not mobile-friendly or loads slowly, it may affect the user shopping experience and discourage them from shopping at your eCommerce store. This brings us to the next challenge.
SEO Friendly Dropshipping Store
This will not be applicable if you are dropshipping without a website. However, if you are creating your own dropshipping store, you have to factor in things like on-page and off-page SEO and website loading speed to rank well organically in Google Search. For a start you may like to write some content that are related to your niche to gather organic traffic for the long run.
Do also your product description for each listing is at least 200-300 words. If you do not have time, it is possible to outsource part of the content to an agency like the article writing company.
What I like about content agencies like them is that they help me spend less time on training and managing my own writers and ensure there is a certain standard of content quality and not spammy content. However, you must be quite clear in your instructions so that it is worth the ROI for your investment
This is very important as organic traffic to your website is free and helps to reduce your overall marketing dollars required to promote your dropshipping website.
Presented on Social Media
Once everything is set up with listings in place. The last thing to do is to ensure you have all the social media channels set up for your store. This will include the likes of your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or whatever channels you feel can quickly help your new dropshipping store gain as much exposure as possible. If you are on multiple social media platforms, consider using social media management software like iconosquare or crowdfire to save time on engagement with your potentials customers and for branding purposes.
You also need to have the know-how to ensure you are not wasting time on social media activities which will not bring you any results fast. If this is a bit overwhelming for you and is your first time setting it up, I would suggest considering spending an expert to set up everything for you from scratch.
It is a win-win situation for you as you can have someone with expertise answering all your questions and you can replicate it yourself when you move on to build the 2nd store. Honestly, the challenges and cost of setting up a dropshipping business is easily 4 digits and above.
The crazy thing is that if you outsource everything to one party, you can keep your dropshipping business investment to within 3 digits and the typical lead time is only 12-25 business days. Look at some success stories from dropshippers around the world.
You can check it out here if you are keen to find out more. To benefit our readers, remember to use GETSTORE15 coupon code to get a one time 15% off a ready custom store.
Dropshipping Statistics 2020
The last time I want to share is the dropshipping statistics 2020 above from google trend. You can see that interest in dropshipping is on a super uptrend for the Singapore Market for the past 5 years. This shows that dropshipping in this region is still very profitable in 2020.
I hope that you do not feel demoralised after I have shown you the 10 most common challenges many dropshippers have faced when setting up a dropshipping business from scratch. This will definitely not be a bed of roses and the journey will be rockier then you thought. However, if it can help to change you or your family life completely, it is definitely worth all the time and effort.
Good Luck and all the best in setting up your first dropshipping store.