by Armand Melanson
This is something I get email on all the time – people will say that they have checked out a dropshipper then gone to compare prices at eBay & found that the ebay prices are almost the same as the dropshipper's?
So let me clarify the right way to use dropshippers right here & now. I'll quote from http://www.dropship-suppliers.com where I talk about the difference between wholesalers & dropshippers:
“One mistake even some experienced online sellers make is to try selling products that are already over-saturated online. When you use a dropshipper, you will not be getting the same price on an item as if you were buying a container load. That's just common sense. But many people somehow think that a dropshipper will provide them with the same cost on a digital camera as WalMart gets when they buy 10 truckloads. Ain't gonna happen…”
“So the key to using dropshipping right is to use a solid repeatable process for picking & testing what you're going to sell. It means setting up with reliable dropshippers & testing their products quickly in order to establish the good sellers one product at a time. It means uncovering niche markets & staying away from things that compete with 10 ton gorillas like WalMart. That's a big part of what I teach in the Ultimate Dropshipper. The good news is that there are millions of niche markets just waiting to be mined & plenty of opportunity to make money.”
There are 2 key things in this:
1) You cannot sell successfully to a market that is saturated – there is simply too much competition! So when you're trying to decide what to sell, stay away from anything you can buy at chain stores like WalMart or Sears. The more specialized a product is the better. Look for oddball products that are not in the mainstream – these are products that will be much easier to sell online because you will be able to tap into a smaller but much more ‘targetable' market – remember, if you can't reach the people who want what you're selling, then you will not sell. That's marketing – connecting a prospect with what they want & are willing to pay for. It doesn't matter whether you like the products you sell or that they be appealing to you personally. They just have to be profitable.
Of course if you can mix your interests/hobbies with what sells then great. But don't get caught up in trying to make your hobbies into a business when other things can generate much more profit. Make your business your hobby – profitability is what counts.
2) Use a structured process to test potential products so that you can quickly build your business one product at a time. The person who compares the dropshipper price with the ebay price has got it only partly right. They looked at ebay only – is that were most people buy online? Nope. Damned if I can find the Jupiter research stats I saw just the other day on e-commerce! It showed that ebay gets a ton of traffic but that 75%+ of people buying online were buying from websites they found through search engines or other online marketing means.
So anyone prospecting a product to sell online has to go farther than ebay to determine if the product is viable. Check Google, Froogle, Yahoo, & ebay. Something that might not sell on ebay might do well from your own website & vice versa. As well, although someone might be listing at ebay for a lower price, are they actually selling? I often see products sell for higher than other people are listing. This can relate to better product presentation, keyword usage, feedback issues, auction or listing format, etc.
Always use the advanced search feature at ebay to check completed items on anything you are thinking of selling – this will show you how many auctions closed & at what price. Check the auction details for those sellers who are selling & getting more bids. What are they doing to be successful? Do the same thing…
I use Google Adwords ( Google's payperclick feature ) to test products all the time. In less than 24 hrs. you can find out if your product idea has legs – you can even be making profit!
My trick for speeding up the process of making a product available online is to use a simple shopping cart system like http//www.wholesale-dropshipping.com/get_store.php and there are plenty of other providers out there. The key is to establish a process that allows you to easily publish & test products. Here's an example of a product I am testing –
So far the results are not great & I'm not going to waste much energy on this product. In 6 months, I'll give it another spin – this is new technology & a little ahead of the curve. The point is that it's a piece of cake to test products this way.
The other thing is that you might have to research many products before you find a good one – I went through about 30 products one morning this week until I found one that looked promising. When I actually tested the product online, it sold right away & I am betting that it will keep selling. I get prices from a dropshipper then I just run through everything they have. If I find nothing, then I move on. If I discover some products that have potential, then I test them online. I keep the ones that sell & dump those that don't. It's that simple.
So be patient & diligent about researching & selecting products – I guarantee you will find some profitable niches…
I talk about all this in much greater detail in The Ultimate Dropshipper so check it out http://www.dropship-suppliers.com if you want the whole enchilada on Internet selling.
Armand Melanson is the author of Ultimate Emarketing & Dropshippers Guide, where you learn how to setup your own eBiz for peanuts and use dropship suppliers to provide everything you sell online.