Updated: Aug 23, 2022
The top dropshipping stores on Shopify all have several things in common. In this article we're going to examine what those things are and try to find the "secret sauce" behind successful dropshipping stores.
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If you’re considering a business opportunity online, you’ve probably stumbled upon the term ‘dropshipping’. This modern business model requires minimal investment and is well suited for amateur entrepreneurs because it isn’t as taxing as the conventional retail model.
With dropshipping, you don’t need to open a brick-and-mortar store, stock products, or pay overhead. You simply need to open an online storefront and purchase items wholesale from suppliers with existing warehouse space and products.
2021 Forecasts indicate a staggering 2.14 billion online store purchasers, globally. The dropshipping economy has responded incredibly well - over half a trillion dollars predicted to take place by the mid-2020s. It’s safe to say, therefore, that dropshipping is certainly worth a look if you’re interested in establishing an online business in 2021.
Before we begin riding that wave, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with the basics.
What is a Dropshipping Store?
A dropshipping store refers to a retail business where sellers accept customer orders without actually keeping products in stock. Instead of relying on a personally managed inventory, the seller instead passes on the order and shipment details to a third-party manufacturer, wholesaler, or fulfillment center - which then ships the goods directly to the consumer. What the seller primarily takes care of is marketing, branding, and sales strategy.
Terms Associated with Dropshipping
These are publishers or site owners that recommend a merchant or retailer to their target audience. An affiliate seeks to help increase the retailer’s revenue by forwarding qualified traffic and leads. In turn, the affiliate obtains a revenue proportion for every sale.
This describes the quantity, amount, or value of items that a retailer has currently. It doesn’t account for items that you’ve ordered from suppliers. Rather, it accounts for what is on hand physically and could undergo shipment at any time.
These are businesses and companies that sell directly to the consumer or end-user.
These denote URLs with a distinct identification number attached to the end that offers a means of quantifying an affiliate’s performance. Retailers offer links to affiliates to share them via social media and blogs.
Logistics denote product management as items progress from their origin to the destination. In eCommerce, logistics frequently incorporates the different transport phases that take place between an item’s manufacturing and delivery to a customer.
The term describes a transaction to establish the ownership of a platform, service, or any other item to which a user has rights.
This alphanumeric code incorporates information regarding any order’s shipment and is highly important during the shipping and especially the returns process.
This term denotes a small market segment that a seller can focus on to maximize exclusivity and brand identity.
What Makes a Dropship Website Successful?
One thing that remains the same between conventional stores and dropship websites is that the first impression is everything. An appealing window display will invite consumers while well-organized items will persuade them to browse and purchase.
You want to pay keen attention to how consumers flow through your website and make sure you eliminate barriers that prevent them from buying your product. You wouldn’t want prospective buyers to stall, wondering how to purchase an item.
The purchase process must be clear. Otherwise, any moment of reluctance could imply the loss of a prospective sale. Keep these points in mind if you’re seeking a successful dropship website:
A major rule to consider throughout the design of your website is simplicity. The more elements you integrate on the page, the more it undermines the website’s main objective - closing a sale. You don’t need too many elements, which merely serve as a distraction - sometimes less is more.
Detailed Product Information
Visitors should easily find facts and details on the products that they’re purchasing from you. If you provide confusing or vague information, they might not purchase from you owing to a lack of trust and confidence in your brand.
Imagine you’re a website visitor with information regarding the product. Does every item offer adequate information for users to make an informed decision? You’ll want to examine your website’s product pages to determine whether all the significant features are listed.
The dropship website should offer user-friendly navigation. After all, a worthwhile user experience maintains site visitors and ensures their return. You’ll need to include links or menus to product categories in a strategic place and ensure the products and categories have proper naming.
Furthermore, each page should offer users an easy means of returning to the home page, locate contact information, select a different category, or simply access the shopping cart directly. Remember to optimize navigation for both desktop and mobile use.
Use Color to Your Advantage
Selecting the colors for your dropshipping website isn’t merely about incorporating your personal favorites. Remember that color is a very powerful sales tool and once you recognize the psychology behind it, you can use it to your advantage.
It’s worth noting that different colors can inspire various emotions, feelings, and actions. Therefore, if you want your website to convert, you must capitalize on those inspirations. For instance, if you want users to purchase a product, ensure the purchase button stands out by using a bright color such as red.
Color psychology asserts that red evokes feelings of passion and excitement, which are driving elements behind spending.
Studies reveal that a red sales button can enhance conversions by 34%. If you want to boost credibility, you might want to include blue in your design. Besides being a universally favored color, blue is associated with feelings of trust. It’s no wonder you’ll find it in numerous logos - ranging from Visa to Facebook and Ford.
When it comes to web design, it’s a known fact that images enhance conversions. No one buys products without seeing them, so you want to include quality images if you want customers to purchase your items. Incorporating professional product images and showcasing them in various angles and scenarios will go a long way toward attracting visitors.
E-commerce solutions underscore the need for price filters integrated into a webpage. You'll discover they have wide usage in the e-commerce industry, so they require special attention. You must ensure that your customers have the option to sort out products based on the cost.
You should equally add the pertinent information in case the cost doesn't include the shipping price. Remember, the overall pricing details should be transparent without hidden charges. The idea is to make consumers feel your brand is trustworthy to maintain them for a longer period.
Can You Become Rich Through Dropshipping?
While it’s possible to become rich through dropshipping, the journey isn’t easy. You’ll discover it entails considerable product testing to attain a winning product that could generate millions. At the same time, some fail in this business for various reasons. It’s worth noting that it takes a blend of factors to succeed in this business, so research thoroughly before you consider it.
The Best Dropshipping Suppliers in 2021
This dropshipping platform makes it easy to locate products and offers more than 300,000 of the best dropshipping items in 60+ niche groups from a global network of suppliers, ensuring that you can reach a much wider network of customers.
Each usually provides numerous shipping choices for sending items to your customers and you can determine the shipping techniques a supplier adopts on each product page in the app.
Popular shipping techniques include China Post, AliExpress Shipping, and ePacket. Suppliers can have warehouses in different locations, so shipping costs and times can differ based on the countries you wish to target.
CJ is a marketplace that allows retailers to scale their business affordably. You could easily import items into your store - the supplier uses American-based warehouses to implement same-day store processing across the United States. It collaborates with UPS, FedEx, and DHL. You can access countless listings through the supplier and items range from mainstream items to difficult-to-find and virtual products.
If you can't find a product in the app, you can issue a request and the supplier will list it when it determines the best source.
The supplier is ideal for retailers who seek a one-stop American-centric solution for dropshipping, including order processing, quick shipping, and product sourcing.
Established in 1999, the American-based company is one of the oldest. It allows you to discover and learn about distributors and wholesalers from around the world. It boasts over 16 million-plus certified items and the main benefit is the impressive range of options it offers.
On the other hand, know that suppliers on this platform expect a tax I.D. from you before they engage you in business. This could bring friction when beginning new relations through this platform.
Beyond this, they have limited customer service. Furthermore, they don't provide live chat and it takes nearly two days to get feedback from their email support - there’s a clear price to pay if you’re looking to use their admittedly massive catalog.
The supplier links retailers to a wide array of products from a vetted list of American suppliers. You'll find that their shipping is accessible in 42 countries - although prices depend on suppliers and their shipping techniques, which you can access on each product page.
You'll also discover that it has a dedicated American warehouse that ships domestic orders quicker. In terms of product types, it provides over 35,000 items in more than 20 different trending groups from particular suppliers. The supplier is well suited for sellers who desire to sell distinct items on Amazon, eBay, and Shopify.
The American-based dropshipping provider has been in operation since 2002. It serves as a supplier catalog and as a tool for inventory management, with integration to online marketplaces and eCommerce platforms.
The inventory management module administers price markup, product filters, and custom categories. Merchants can incorporate their existing suppliers and equally use the supplier directory. Their directory features product images, details, pricing, existing stock levels, and grants you access to 200 plus suppliers across China and the USA.
The suppliers have wide-ranging catalogs with some comprising tens of thousands of items. Overall, the items span 30 varied categories, including electronics, clothing, and pet supplies. Its advantage is that it updates your virtual storefront and product inventory with the latest supplier data.
Furthermore, they route orders to your suppliers and sync the shipment's details with consumers automatically. Their drawback is that the starter plan only allows you to link with one supplier. If you want to source from numerous suppliers, you'll have to pay extra monthly charges. The pricing plan begins at $99 monthly and full automation at $150 monthly.
Why Look at Successful Dropshipping Stores?
One of the most effective ways to enjoy dropshipping success is by examining and learning from successful stores on the internet. Investigating successful stores will offer a source of inspiration, especially if you're just beginning.
You'll also have an opportunity to learn from other stores. This move is beneficial because you'll probably be clueless about how your store should look like when you're just starting. You'll understand what successful stores are selling, their web design, and how they handle social media profiles.
Remember, your goal isn't to replicate everything you see. Rather, you want to stand out and be better than other existing stores.
However, this could be challenging because dropshipping stores don't use a lot of marketing. It's okay to begin searching online, but you might also need to get on the phone and have an in-depth conversation with their representatives to establish how the business operates.
You'll also have a chance to learn from their mistakes and avoid the common pitfalls that dropshippers encounter in this industry. You'll also get a clue on how long you can expect to wait before you can enjoy profits in your business. Online research will also reveal the trends in this industry and the techniques adopted by successful stores.
Ways to Find Successful Dropshipping Stores
If you want to succeed in the dropshipping industry, you'll want to learn from other successful stores. This means that you need to find ways of locating them. Consider these strategies:
Search engines are an effective means of discovering the best stores - especially those with good SEO. You could perform a reverse image Google lookup for one of your product images, or a product you stumbled on while researching. Upon doing this, you'll come across other websites - mostly stores if it's a product image. Another way to locate dropshipping stores on the search engine is by inputting the product's name or niche.
Product Research Technique
Another excellent way of locating other stores is through a close examination while performing product research. For instance, if you're conducting product research and discover a store that's selling an item, it could be a dropshipping store.
This platform offers a great way of performing product research and finding other stores. If you discover an item that could sell on this platform, there's a high likelihood that you discovered it because somebody else is advertising it on the same platform.
The 5 Best Dropshipping Stores on Shopify
Understanding what works well for a dropshipping store requires a fair bit of research - when in doubt, always turn to what the competition does best.
Here’s a look into some successful dropshipping stores, and a brief list of lessons to learn from them:
Founded in 2017, Bluecrate specializes in providing customers with quirky, outlandish gift items that range from home decor to customized mugs, blankets, jigsaw puzzles, and even mini-mes - tiny human-shaped plushies that can be customized to resemble your family and friends.
The brand succeeds at bringing a sense of humor to regular everyday items while keeping the branding simple and letting their products do the talking.
● Prompt and personalized customer service replies on review platforms.
● A unique and vast catalog of personalized goodies.
● An understated and well-designed website that uses white space and bright colors to make their product images pop.
● Good-quality social media posts for both photo and video content.
● Occasional reports concerning late delivery times.
● Products are overpriced compared to competitors.
● No specific niche, other than general ‘quirky’ products.
Much more specialized than Bluecrate, Mooshe is a great example of doubling down hard on a good niche - in this case, cute and very-well marketed socks.
According to recent numbers, the store hits over 1,000 visitors a day - and is steadily rising with good product promotions and sharing contests.
● Excellent branding and product prints.
● Amazing product showcasing on the website - makes it very easy to pick a great pair and buy.
● Good brand synergy across social media feed, complete with contests to boost engagement.
● Only focuses on ‘cute’ patterns. Could add some variety.
● Has separate websites for shirts and other products - this greatly dilutes marketing spread. Would be better to have a single website with divided sections.
Cute cats have been a cornerstone of internet video content for around two decades - perhaps that's what the founders of Cats On Catnip thought of as they launched this dropshipping store.
The products are simple and straightforward - the brand sells cat toys, cat accessories, apparel, and personalized t-shirts. While the website isn’t too special, Cats on Catnip does extraordinarily well on social media, with over 240,000 followers on Instagram - using cat content and user-generated posts to draw more cat lovers to their website.
● Great social media presence.
● Well-stocked and owner-centric apparel designs.
● Great reliance on user-generated content.
● Weak website design - does not have good compatibility with desktop browsers.
● Very small product catalog outside of t-shirts.
● Custom t-shirt designs are quite weak.
Inspired by the subculture of Japanese and Korean stationery shops, Notebook Therapy aims to sell everything from various formats of journals to stickers, stamps, and many other great stationery products.
Not only do they make things great for their customers by providing free worldwide shipping, but they also offer 30-day returns and a great catalog of products.
● Excellent website layout - makes it very easy to browse and find the right product.
● Amazing social media team - currently over 1 million followers.
● Great understanding of customer base. To keep up with fans of Japanese culture, they’ve also introduced Japanese-centric collections.
● Active customer service staff.
● Profit margins may be quite low, necessitating high marketing efforts.
● Reports of broken and low-quality items.
● Low-resolution banner images on their website.
Classy, high-quality, and the perfect execution of a pretty uncommon niche - Warmly sells various kinds of lighting products ranging from wall fixtures to chandeliers and table lamps.
Currently, the page records a healthy bounce rate of around 58% - with over 138,000 visits per month. Their brand language seems inspired by high-end modern furniture brands - and if the numbers are anything to go by, it works well.
● Clean, minimalist, and product-centric website.
● Great product photography.
● Customer-centric return/refund policy.
● Very weak social media presence.
● Has offers and discounts, but no banner ads or highlights to help visitors stick around.
Common Elements Among Good Dropshippers
Social Media Presence
Without a doubt, social media can work wonders to push brands to the forefront - especially with video content being easier to film and edit than ever before. While it isn’t a necessity to make sales, it certainly helps boost the overall footprint of your brand, resulting in steady growth over time provided that you stay regular and fresh with the content.
This might seem apparent when it comes to developing a successful dropshipping business, however many don't recognize how much it takes to implement a successful fulfillment strategy. Fulfillment isn't merely about getting the item to a customer. Rather, it's about warehouse efficiency, shipment, and data accuracy as well as delivery speed.
Fulfillment covers every phase from the time you obtain an order to the moment the item arrives at a consumer's doorstep. Bear in mind that optimized fulfillment is vital to sustaining a positive association with trading partners.
The reason behind this is that your actions throughout the fulfillment procedure establish whether your partner can fulfill their consumer delivery promise.
You've probably noticed that Amazon packages arrive in their boxes irrespective of the product manufacturer. When you take on a new partner, the first thing you should address is any mandate from the retailer. These could range from label configurations to adopting specific parcel carriers.
Along with process prerequisites, a dropshipping business must adhere to time-bound conditions. For instance, some high-speed retailers expect an order acknowledgment within 30 minutes of sending it while Amazon expects vendors to fulfill 24-hour shipping timeframes for inclusion into the Prime program.
Compliance isn't just important for a business's profitability and growth. Without it, numerous retailers won't work with you.
Expanding into this business implies juggling various business systems, marketplaces, and e-store fronts to make sure the right items arrive at the right place at the appropriate time.
Most dropshippers begin by doing things manually, but as they add more partners, increase order volumes, and seek to meet tight delivery timelines, order processing can become an overwhelming obstacle. That's why integration between your business system and eCommerce channels is necessary. This way, you'll enjoy efficient order processing and expedited shipping.
Since vendors and retailers share the responsibility of meeting consumer delivery promises, teamwork is a vital component in dropshipping strategy. For vendors, the core of collaboration is information sharing.
If your partner has imprecise data concerning product accessibility or order status, they might be setting impractical customer expectations. When consumers realize that the items they wanted are unavailable or won't arrive within the stipulated time frame, the outcomes can range from negative reviews to expensive chargebacks.
Tips You Can Take from the Most Successful Dropshipping Stores
Dropshipping is a great model for new online store owners who want to break into the eCommerce industry owing to the low startup costs, low risk, and automated systems. Nonetheless, it can be overwhelming when you lack the experience. These tips from successful store owners will help you as you work your way to the top.
The key to success in this business model is having a narrow focus. You don’t want a general store that won’t permit you to hone in on the prospective audience or build your brand, both of which are vital to gaining website trust.
To select the appropriate niche, you’ll want to consider the industry trends, your passions, and your target shopper. You’ll equally want to assess and analyze the demand, market, and competition to determine how you could fit.
Select the Right Supplier
Ultimately, product selection reflects your brand, so you must be careful in your decision. During supplier selection, ensure you perform an audit where you examine all the details, the product range, and their reviews to ensure quality and credibility. Upon completing an audit, you’ll narrow the list down by contrasting the guarantees and product costs.
Prioritize Customer Service
Implementing superior customer service will give you a competitive edge in this business. You want to make customers feel respected, valued, and important if you want to increase sales and grow your customer base simultaneously. Customers should feel their needs and wants are important and your priority.
How to Find the Best Dropshipping Company for You?
If you’re seeking the best dropshipping company, consider these search avenues:
While numerous dropshipping directories exist online, several are low-quality and offer little value. However, some genuine directories also exist, which provide access to a searchable database of several pre-screened companies.
When performing a Google search, ensure it’s thorough. Just note that you might need to go through several pages before you stumble on a legitimate company.
Reach the Manufacturer
Once you determine the type of product you wish to sell, the manufacturer will be in a position to recommend authorized distributors.
How to Start a Dropshipping Business
Here’s a list of steps to take if you’re looking to begin a dropshipping company.
You'll require a niche before you can dive into this business model. Ideally, you should have expert knowledge in the chosen niche. It should also be a comparatively undiscovered product or topic. You’ll have a higher chance of succeeding if you have an advantage over the competition.
Find the right dropshipping supplier and eCommerce provider
Whether you have an existing store or learning how to start one from scratch, you must establish a good match between your supplier and the eCommerce provider. Ensure you conduct due diligence when selecting a marketplace and note that you require a supplier within the chosen marketplace. You’ll need to understand shipping charges, customer support, and the channels through which you can sell.
Generally speaking, Shopify is the best eCommerce provider in the marketplace, especially when it comes to dropshipping. They also offer a very helpful webinar called: "How to Get Started with Dropshipping."
Locating the first clients
Your store will need customers and visitors to flourish, so you’ll want to focus on marketing channels that have a high likelihood of attracting sales to your site. Consider possible channels and if you can access unique channels, use them.
You’ll discover you have a great way of obtaining your initial customers with this avenue. You might want to consider content marketing as an effective way of attracting customers. Ensure you develop quality content and have a target keyword. You might also need to commit some months to this strategy if you want to see great results.
Learn from Success Stories
Learning from those who are already operating successful dropshipping companies is key to succeeding in this business. You’ll learn some of the strategies they adopt and the best practices in this model.
Best Dropshipping Tools
Numerous tools exist that help in saving money and time, marketing, research, and enhancing results. Consequently, investing in a monitoring tool to track prices and stock is an essential requirement in this business. Here’s a list of tools worth considering.
Product finding and market research tools help businesses locate the most trending product niches and products being searched online. The tool promises important insights into search volumes to choose niches with a superior sale potential. The tool equally helps evaluate competition in trending niches and to research pertinent niche keywords to enhance your advertising campaigns.
Virtual assistants lend unmatched support to dropshipping business proprietors. However, VA management and access can be daunting, particularly if the assistants are in other countries. You’ll discover that Asana is valuable in this area. The tool helps track tasks allotted to the VAs and establish efficient communication.
The advantage of this tool is that you can access it using tablets, desktops, and smartphones. Alternatively, you could use Trello - a popular tool for project management. The tool produces cards, boards, and lists to manage tasks allocated to virtual assistants.
With this tool, you can produce weekly project plans, schedules, and to-do lists for effective collaboration with the most remotely accessible virtual assistants.
When you require an inclusive tool for monitoring and optimizing product prices and stocks to list products conveniently from marketplaces such as Amazon and Home Depot while offering effective customer support, this platform offers the best option.
Furthermore, the platform helps automate orders and enable automated tracking as well as develop bulk listings. Using this product finder will help you target the bestselling items and the latest deals. Whether you’re dropshipping on UK, eBay, or the US, the tool helps you attain benefits such as simple editing, saved time, and enhanced customer experience.
Images play a significant role in enhancing the overall value of product listings. However, you should tailor the images so they appear impressive and unique while complying with the set standards. This editing tool helps customize the dimensions and formats while adding special effects and colors to them. This tool further allows you to include text to images, including CTA lines by choosing from numerous font styles.
If you’re seeking a low-risk business with a great potential for high profits, you might want to consider dropshipping. While the business model offers numerous benefits, you might want to perform due diligence and understand the model before diving into it - beginning with a thorough glance through successful competitor stores.
Like any business effort, it will require a great deal of effort and time spent - but you’ll have plenty of resources and examples to follow along the way.