This is a guest post.
Dropshipping has recently become something of a buzzword in eCommerce and entrepreneur circles. A booming market has built up around it, which is forecast to be worth over 196 billion dollars by the end of this year.
You may wonder what a dropshipping website is, and want to know how to make a dropshipping website, and why is an optimized professional website the key to succeeding in this business?
This guide starts with the foundations, exploring how to make a dropshipping website business that is successful. In it, we cover eight key steps that every prospective eCommerce entrepreneur should follow and look at exactly why they work so well.
Ready? Then let’s dive in.
All product-based businesses boil down to making or buying a product, marketing it, and selling it to customers. In 2022, online orders and more efficient international shipping mean customers can purchase these items even if they’re on the other side of the world.
But what if you, the seller, never actually had to handle the product? This is dropshipping 101.
Instead of having an inventory and then shipping it out to customers, you only order from your manufacturer once the customer has already checked out. They then send it to a shipping company for you, which delivers it directly to the buyer.
Even if you’re running a fledgling online store from the desk in your bedroom, a dropshipping website has the potential to really boost your business. With a dropshipping website at your disposal, you have the opportunity to sell thousands of products without having to finance the warehouses needed to store such an extensive inventory.
You can buy almost anything on the internet, but eCommerce stores that use a dropshipping website tend to be centered in a handful of industries.
According to one analysis of search engine statistics, these are the top five most in-demand dropshipping website niches:
- Women’s clothes
- Baby products
- Tools (eg. screwdrivers, scissors)
- Car accessories
- Beauty products
Selling great products is obviously important, but what’s just as essential – and where you can really stand out from the competition – is by building a premium eCommerce website.
In eCommerce, your website is your storefront. It’s where customers browse your products, contact you if they need assistance, and place their orders. It has to convey your brand at a glance and meet all of your users’ needs.
Marketing, sales communication skills, and customer service are important at every stage of a user’s journey, and so is a website that supports these.
Simply put, you can’t run a successful dropshipping business without a strong website. Here are eight key steps you can follow to make a dropshipping website.
Most online stores, whether they use a dropshipping website or not, are hosted on a larger eCommerce platform. These provide basic eCommerce infrastructure to your site and offer building blocks for customization.
Some of the most commonly used platforms for dropshipping website businesses are:
- WooCommerce (via WordPress)
However, there are many more alternatives to Shopify and Amazon than the few listed here, so do as much research as you can to find the platform that’s right for your business.
One thing to consider is whether the host website runs on a cloud or on-premise platform. Cloud computing uses a network of millions of computers to run software and store data rather than basing it all on one device or a local server. For a globalized business, such as a dropshipping website, this means a cloud infrastructure may be better suited to your needs.
The platform you choose will likely have some impact on the other tips in this guide (eg. domain, SEO, and personalization), which is why we’ve put it as step one.
Your domain name is what makes your website look like an established business, not just a part-time side hustle. It’s also vital if you’re looking to attract customers from a particular region, as many nations have their own country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).
Choosing to buy domain name .com or co.uk, for example, can go a long way toward popularizing your eCommerce store in a particular country. Like many parts of the B2C business model, it’s about forming trust and building a relationship with your customer base.
Once you’ve secured a domain, your next task is getting your website up to scratch. A platform like WooCommerce, for example, will already have an in-house website builder available through the WordPress blocks tool. There are even templates and plug-ins set up specifically for online stores.
Whether you use a template or start with a blank slate, functionality and user accessibility should be your main priorities. Offering fantastic products at competitive prices won’t mean much if your customers can’t find them.
Here are some of the essential features for an eCommerce website:
Smartphones are most people’s go-to device for online browsing, with 65% of internet purchases made on a mobile. So, if your site is only optimized for desktop users, you could be missing out on over half your potential sales.
Luckily, it’s fairly straightforward to use beta testing tools to check how a website or app appears on multiple devices.
Mobile optimization is also a key factor in improving search engine rankings – see step five for more detail on how SEO can help you to make a dropshipping website.
Your homepage – which is most likely the first thing a customer will see – should clearly show your branding and highlight new or trending products. However, if a user already knows what kind of product they’re looking for (eg. sportswear), then they should be able to navigate to this easily.
Let’s look at this example from H&M of how to lay out a clothing website menu:
First off, the site offers sub-menus for the shop’s main sections, which only drop down when you hover over the parent category. This is less visually overwhelming for the customer than a menu that shows all product categories and sub-categories at once.
Once the customer clicks ‘sportswear’, they’re then taken to a page of products that only have both the ‘men’s’ and ‘sportswear’ tags. This selective menu and tagging process narrows down the available products to those relevant to the customer’s search. Cutting out irrelevant content in this way is crucial for holding a consumer’s attention in our fast-paced digital world.
A page answering frequently asked questions means less stress for you and your customers. For them, it means any queries or doubts about dropshipping websites are dealt with promptly. For you, it reduces the amount of one-to-one customer service needed.
Even though you’re not personally shipping products, it’s still important that customers can find this information. Surprise delivery fees are the reason for 48% of abandoned carts in the online shopping world, so keep it transparent.
As well as delivery fees, a shipping policy information page should include the following:
- Details of your shipping method i.e dropshipping
- Expected delivery times
- Order tracking information
- Returns and missing parcels policies
- Details for international orders
Any product or service exists to meet a need, and that need forms the ‘niche’ your business operates in. For example, companies in 2020 saw that more people working from home meant increased demand for software that could host video chats for free. Video calls thus became their niche.
Not establishing a niche early on is a common eCommerce mistake. There are unique opportunities to be found in clothing, beauty, children’s toys, or any other industry, but it’s down to you to identify what your target audience wants.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to getting your website seen by prospective customers. When they search for ‘buy beauty products/women’s clothes/tools online’, you want your dropshipping website to be at the top of their results pages.
67.5% of all clicks on search engine results pages (SERPs) come from just the first five results. More site visitors means many more opportunities to convert browsers into consumers.
Use rank tracking software to check your site’s position on SERPs. Make a point of studying this after every new SEO campaign to see what’s working and what needs improving.
The best way to establish dropshipping pricing strategies is by looking at what your competitors are doing. What kind of profit margins are they working with? Is their focus on selling thousands of budget-friendly products or marketing a small selection of high-end items?
Researching the competition can provide vital information on current trends in dropshipping websites. Keep up with what’s popular, but maintain a balance between following trends and catering to your specific business niche.
The simplest way to make a profit on eCommerce products is to sell them to the consumer at a higher price than you buy them for. Unfortunately, nothing is ever that straightforward! You’ll also need to factor in marketing costs, eCommerce platform and domain subscriptions, and any other overheads related to running your website.
As low-quality dropshipping websites become more common, consumers have gotten better at noticing when they’re getting a rough deal. So, balance building a financially healthy business with respecting what your customer wants from an online store. If they can get the same product somewhere else for cheaper, they will!
Find that extra special quality that makes your store stand out, and customers may be willing to pay an extra dollar or two. Perhaps it’s your reliable returns policy, or maybe the opportunity to earn discounts. Whatever it is, do something that separates you from the competition.
Building a website and sourcing products is a lot of work. Fortunately, there are some automated tools to help with running your dropshipping website.
Part of your campaign to increase brand awareness might utilize email marketing. Automated email tracking will tell you which messages are getting opened by customers.
Another useful automated tool is order tracking, which can preemptively address one of the most common customer service complaints i.e. ‘where is my parcel?’
Think back to that H&M menu we looked at earlier. Separating the menus is a great start, but it’s still a pretty overwhelming list of items. What if it prioritized the products that were most relevant to the user? Even a small level of data gathering offers a huge amount of information on what a customer is looking for.
Market research has found that 78% of customers are more likely to make another purchase from an online store that incorporates personalized elements. When it comes to the eCommerce consumer experience, personalization is becoming more of an expectation than an exception, and it’s easy to see why.
For example, if a consumer has recently searched ‘swimming pools near me’, then it would be wise to put your ‘swimwear’ clothing category at the top of their homepage. This kind of personalization can set your business apart from other dropshipping websites.
Keeping this customer data organized might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Personalization can be integrated at every stage of the eCommerce process, from browsing to customer service. When you use the personalization methods preferred by your target audience, this can boost your customer satisfaction score.
Building a dropshipping website business requires a blend of web design and sales skills, but once you have this foundation in place, there’s potential to develop a profitable and relatively low-stress business.
In this article, we’ve gone through eight key steps to make a successful dropshipping website. In summary: before your website launch, build a user-friendly site that fills a niche in the market, has competitive prices, and uses SEO and personalization to be seen by customers. It sounds pretty straightforward when you put it like that, right?
Found these steps useful? Then share this article with other would-be dropshipping entrepreneurs and eCommerce professionals who want to know how to make a dropshipping website