That last business model, involving becoming a reseller on eBay, is something that will appeal to a lot of people. This is a business model that is simple and easy, it makes sense and it involves selling tangible, real products. The only downsides of that method are that you need to make that initial investment in your first order and you need to both store and deliver all your items.
If you’re not a fan of wrapping parcels, then this can get very old, very fast. But what if I told you there was another option out there that allowed you to skip over all the boring bits while still doing essentially the same thing? Well, that business model exists and it’s called ‘drop shipping’. Here, you are essentially acting as something between a reseller and an affiliate and you’re cutting out the middle man – in this case, eBay.
So what drop shipping essentially involves is selling products on the behalf of a wholesale supplier. You promote the product just as you normally would and then you process the payment. Then, all you do is to pass the shipping details on to the supplier and pay them their share.
In many ways, dropshipping is the perfect business model. You get to sell real products that appeal to a huge range of potential customers and at the same time, you don’t have to worry about fulfillment or inventory. Better yet, most of your customers never need to know that you’re dropshipping. ‘Private label shipping’ means that you get to ship the product from the wholesaler with your branding and return address on the packaging!
How to Get Started Drop Shipping
The only downside of drop shipping as a business model is that it can be somewhat difficult at times to find willing wholesalers who will play along. This means you may need to do some extensive searching to find a company that supplies what it is you’re hoping to sell and that will offer the drop shipping service. Fortunately, there are some tools you can use to more easily find dropshipping wholesalers.
One is Alibaba which lets you easily search through a directory of products and then find the contact details for the seller. Another is Worldwide Brands, though that directory requires a paid membership (oh look, an example of a membership site!). Another final option is to target the manufacturers themselves. If you find a product you like, then just look up who made it and find their contact details. It never hurts to try!
Creating an e-Commerce Store
If you’re going to become a drop seller then creating an e-commerce store will be highly helpful when it comes to generating sales. What’s more, an e-commerce store can also be very helpful when it comes to several other of these business models. An e-commerce store is essentially an extension of your website or blog through which you can sell products. This will list your items and allow people to easily buy them and will then manage your sales – for you to pass on to your manufacturers/wholesalers.
As with creating a membership site, you can often create an e-commerce store simply by adding a plug into your WordPress site. One of the most popular options is WooCommerce which simply requires you to install the plugin to your WordPress and then start entering your items, your prices and your payment details (for receiving payments).
If you’re looking for something a bit larger, then another choice is Magento. Magento works just like WooCommerce except it is not a WordPress plugin. This means you’ll need to set up a Magento store like a separate site on your server and then point to it. In exchange, you get a much more powerful system capable of listing up to 50,000 items (whereas WooCommerce is suitable for up to 500 items).
An alternative route to go is Shopify. Shopify is a ‘hosted’ solution, which means that you don’t install or upload it yourself. Instead, Shopify is like a separate website with a login and you then create a store on that site and then link to it from your blog. Shopify grants you less flexibility as compared with a self-hosted solution such as WooCommerce. However, in exchange, it is somewhat easier to manage to see as it isn’t ‘your responsibility’ as it were.