Let’s say you’ve been thinking of opening up your own online business, but you don’t know where to start. You don’t know what you should sell, you don’t have the money to invest in products, and looking around, you don’t have any place to store inventory. That’s what dropshipping is all about.

You see, with dropshipping, you can sell stuff online without the products ever being in your hands. All you need is a computer, an online store, and a basic understanding of how to market and sell online.

  1. First, you find what you want to sell from a supplier.
  2. You list that product on your website at a price you set. 
  3. Next, when someone places an order for that product, your customer pays you the retail price you’ve set, and you make a profit. 
  4. Then you’ll place the order with your supplier at their wholesale price and have it shipped directly to the customer. 

Quick Example of Dropshipping

So, let’s say you’ve found this watch on a supplier’s website for $10. You would then list it on your website for $30. When the order comes in through your website, you then place your order with your supplier using your customer’s shipping information, keep the $20 profit, and have the product shipped directly to your customer. That’s it!

Why your store vs the wholesaler?

Now, I know what you’re thinking, why wouldn’t somebody just order the watch directly from the supplier’s website? Well, a couple of reasons. 

  1. First, it’s a very big internet and customers may not know about the supplier to buy from them directly. 
  2. Second, when people buy things, they’re not just buying products. They’re buying into the marketing, positioning, trust, brand, and lifestyle those products represent. With dropshipping, you can focus on marketing your products and saying the right things, at the right time, and on providing real value to the right people. Because you’re not warehousing, any inventory, or dealing with most of the other challenges that come with running an e-commerce business is not your worries.

Challenges in dropshipping?

A couple of big challenges that are needed to be considered with dropshipping is finding credible suppliers, with good quality products and making sure you have visibility into your customer’s fulfillment process.

Of course, there can be some other challenges with drop shipping too: First off, because it’s really easy to get started, there’s a higher potential for competition. That is why you’ll find a lot of advice out there recommends you start off finding a niche audience like cat lovers, or gamers. So you can operate with less competition. Next, there are supplier errors. Though uncommon, inevitably, a supplier will mistakenly ship the wrong item to your customer. If this happens, don’t take it personally and handle the return like a professional – either order a brand new product from the supplier or offer a complete refund. Also, since many dropshipping suppliers are based in China, shipping times are generally longer, turning some consumers off. ePacket makes it easier, delivering some orders in as little as two weeks, but generally speaking, if you make your shipping times clear throughout the buying process, many visitors appreciate the clarity – especially if you’re selling an item or in a niche where delivery times are less crucial.

Conclusion and tips for beginners

Dropshipping is pretty easy to learn, but there is a learning curve, and you will experience challenges along the way. However, mistakes can become learning opportunities, and if you can develop resilience along the way, there are plenty of people out there finding a lot of success dropshipping products. While there is a significant advantage in terms of capital investment over traditional e-commerce, dropshipping isn’t free. You’ll likely have to spend money to drive traffic, market your products, and handle returns. There is no overnight success, and this isn’t a get rich quick scheme. Dropshipping still requires you to work consistently for your store. True, you will need to dedicate less time compared to a traditional e-commerce business, but it’s not going to succeed without your hard work. You’ll always need to invest time in improving your business.

If you’re completely new to dropshipping, start small with a single product or a small handful of complimentary items from a single supplier. You can always add more inventory as you become comfortable, but it’s better to start small and build than to start big and become overwhelmed. And my final tip for once you’re feeling comfortable with dropshipping – diversify. Many dropshippers don’t rely on a single store for their entire income stream but operate a series of stores targeting various niches to build multiple sources of income.

Some Unusual Dropshipping Niches

After reading above you’re feeling adventurous and thinking about taking the plunge or are you an experienced dropshipper and bored with clothing and phone case shops? Do you want something special for your store? Then, read and learn! 

  • People like things that have a special meaning for them. Think about custom gifts – various items that can be decorated with a pre-ordered image, writing, or engraving. 
  • Another creepy but curious example is pet urn necklaces. Surprisingly, they make nice profits. 
  • We are all attracted to things that remind us of our past. This is the reason why vintage items see such a huge demand on AliExpress. Toys, collectibles, interior design elements, think of these niches. Also, don’t forget about vintage-inspired clothes, such as dresses, and accessories, for example, bags. People try to spend more time with their dearest and nearest, and it’s a growing trend. 
  • Look at party supplies, party games, as well as for various items for relaxing and comfortable outdoor activities. How about trampolines or barbecue accessories, for example? Childhood is probably the happiest period of a person’s life. Think about all this creativity and the ability to dream. Fairytale-themed items are a wonderful choice for a cute and cozy drop shipping store – what would you say about unicorns? 
  • People all over the globe look for ethnic home decorations, clothing, jewelry, and accessories. For many of them, this is the opportunity to explore their cultural roots and background. What a great idea for a successful dropshipping store! 
  • Hobbies are a large part of our life, and people are ready to spend lots of energy and money on it. You can go for really narrow and boring niches like woodworking tools or plastic plants for fish tanks if you surely know the specific interests of your target audience. You should be a pro in this sphere, too! 
  • Time is money. There is a massive niche of time-saving gadgets that help you minimize your efforts on cooking procedures, health checkups, and beauty routines. Explore technically simple products like kitchen timers, oven thermometers, massage tools, mini USB fans, etc. 
  • We’re talking about hype items that see a short but sharp increase in the public interest. You can look for the ideas in the Hot Products category on AliExpress, and also in the list of the most searched topics on Google Trends. Slip dresses, family matching clothes, cold shoulder blouses, off the shoulder, and many other types of garments are so hot right now! 
  • Research modern urban fashion and look for universal trends that are likely to stay demanded for some time. 
  • The health tools and gadgets category is awesome! The more the society advances, the more health-conscious we become, and the more markets you can enter with your offers. Remember: you’re dealing with people’s health in this case. Be ethical and responsible! 

Hope these unusual drop shipping niches and related ideas will spark some new ideas for you.