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Dropshipping in 2021 can spell success if you know the changing landscape, choose the right products to sell, and avoid common mistakes. Here’s a guide to all of that.
Online shopping is both a necessity and a new form of entertainment.
The ongoing pandemic is reshaping ordinary life in many ways, mostly undesirable. But one industry remains a bright spot with no signs of slowing. While the sports and entertainment worlds have had to make do with virtual workarounds that are pale substitutes for live entertainment or full stadiums, retail is surging to new heights.
Due to the pre-existing popularity and widespread adoption of online shopping, it took little effort for consumers to shift their physical store buying to online shopping when that became more of a necessity. The pandemic has accelerated e-commerce penetration by double digits.
According to Commerce Department figures, during the 3rd quarter of 2020 U.S. consumers spent $199.44 billion online, a 37.1% increase from Q3 of 2019. And this actually was a slowdown from the record-breaking 44.4% growth in Q2 of 2020. This can largely be explained both because of necessity and the fact that a majority of consumers have more time and money to spend online than ever before.
The New Normal and its effect on online retail
There’s a New Normal that’s taken hold, and its grip isn’t likely to loosen until the second half of 2021 at the earliest. Here are some of the major socio-economic changes we’ve seen since the pandemic began:
- Vastly more people working from home.
- Health concerns, and staying healthy, are top-of-mind.
- Less commuting and overall, more idle time due to ongoing restaurant and event closures.
- Leisure travel has mostly dropped off a cliff.
For many people who’ve retained their incomes but are forced to remain at home, the retail therapy of e-commerce is irresistible. It’s also prompting more entrepreneurs to look at dropshipping as a business opportunity–either to start a dropshipping business or to scale one up.
How to cash in on this New Normal
If you’re one of those looking to capitalize on these social and consumer trends, we’ve gathered some ideas for what to sell and also some tips from various dropshippers who’ve made their businesses a long-term success.
Best products to sell through dropshipping in 2021
Dropshipping coach Anton Kraly identifies these top 10 most popular products for dropshipping in 2021:
- Pet Supplies
- Kitchen Supplies
- Alternative Bicycles
- Home Game Room Equipment
- Kids Workspace Equipment
- Water Recreation Equipment
- Outdoor Furniture
- Home Bar Equipment
- Wine Refrigeraors
- Home Gym Equipment
Products that enhance a home-based lifestyle, promote good health, and care for kids and pets are all good bets for the coming year.
Tips for successful dropshipping in 2021
Tip #1: Make certain your store’s site looks and functions in a professional style, with clear and consistent branding.
E-commerce platforms like Big Commerce and Shopify come with templates that help you build a clean, pleasing design that works well and will inspire trust and confidence from buyers. Otherwise, your conversion rates will suck when they can’t navigate easily, or find your return policy, or see shipping rates before they buy. A badly designed website without a thoughtful user experience is the surest road to failure in e-commerce today.
Go here to see more tips on how to optimize an online shop.
Tip # 2: Beware of paid courses that promise dropshipping riches.
With the explosive popularity of dropshipping today, there are a lot of promoters out there pushing their secret to success, for a fee. Many are one-hit wonders with limited actual experience running and scaling a dropshipping business for long enough to gain the so-called wisdom that they’re hawking.
Don’t bite. There is plenty of free content available on the web to inform yourself. Authority sites such as Quora, and Slideshare (now owned by LinkedIn) feature pro users who contribute answers to common industry questions. You can pose your own questions, and browse through their vast content library for related questions and answers.
Tip #3: Invest in app extensions that simplify and automate time-consuming, manual tasks.
Using an e-commerce platform like the ones mentioned above also opens the door to app extensions such as Oberlo for importing products you’ve sourced from AliExpress, for example, or Loox for recording customer reviews.
Other useful app extensions include Live Chat for talking to customers, cart abandonment reminders, and tools for attaching tracking information for shipped orders. There are thousands of these extensions to choose from in the Shopify App Store.
One of the biggest time-savers, if you’re selling through more than one channel, is a product feed syndication service to insure all product listings are accurate, meet the requirements of each channel, and are optimized for online searches.
Generally, all of these extensions charge a monthly fee but the expense is worth it because you can sell more, take in fewer returns, and save yourself a lot of time in the process.
Tip #4: Make quality control Job One.
There’s no room for sloppiness if you want to succeed as a dropshipper. E-commerce is a mature industry, and consumers have high expectations around functionality when they visit your store, based on their wide experience with online shopping.
And, you’ll get throttled if you don’t. All of the major marketplaces like Amazon, Google Shopping and Etsy, etc. have product search algorithms that favor sellers who meet their strict quality standards for product listing accuracy, reliable shipping and returns, and high ratings from customers. Fast and loose won’t cut it–you literally have to deliver the goods.
With such a low tolerance for error, your dropshipping operation needs to be pre-tested at every stage for quality assurance. Go through all the steps from the public side of your site all the way through the checkout process, as if you knew nothing about your products and needed to be convinced. Is all the information about it easy to find? Can they easily continue shopping or look again at a product in their cart if they’re already on your checkout page?
Quality control is also the best way to win good reviews and repeat customers.
More time, more disposable income, and fewer ways to spend it all add up to a consumer bonanza for e-commerce merchants of all types, including dropshippers who are ready to do it the smart way.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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