First of all you have to understand what dropshipping is and how you can leverage on the system to start your first internet business in Nigeria.
Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where the retailer does not keep goods in stock but instead transfers the customers’ orders and shipment details to the manufacturer, another retailer, or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customers.
Dropshipping is a type of business model which enables a business to operate without maintaining inventory, owning a warehouse to store their products or even having to ship their products to their customers themselves.
How Dropshipping Works
In more simple terms, dropshipping works like this:
- A customer purchases an item from your store at retail price
- The order is forwarded to your supplier (you pay wholesale price)
- The supplier ships the item directly to the customer under your business name
This means that you – the dropshipper – don’t have to buy and store bulk stock, which saves you having to invest a lot of money upfront.
It also eliminates the risk of buying in bulk and not being able to sell all of the products, leaving you out of pocket.
This is why dropshipping is so popular – it requires minimal investment, but reaps similar benefits to traditional retail models.
How to start a dropshipping business
- Choose a dropshipping niche
A niche is a segment of a market. Choosing a niche is the first step to starting a dropshipping business. The rising popularity of dropshipping means it’s becoming harder to find niches that aren’t already saturated. But new products and niches are emerging every week, so the opportunities are almost endless.A common misconception about dropshipping is that you can be successful and profitable in any niche, but that’s simply not true. If you choose a niche that’s already saturated with sellers or dominated by major brands, you’re going to face an uphill battle with your new business.
- Find a reliable supplier
Finding reliable suppliers are a key factor that determines your dropshipping business success. You rely on suppliers to keep your product in stock, to uphold product quality, and to ensure orders are shipped to your customers in a timely manner. As a dropshipper, your supplier is your most important business partner.While there are several eCommerce platforms to source your products, here are top recommendations:
AliExpress – Inarguably one of the most popular wholesaler and dropshipping platform used by Nigerian dropshippers. Through the e-commerce site, dropshippers can easily connect with major product suppliers. The china-based e-commerce giant displays millions of items which cut across about 40 niches – from apparel to electronics. Interestingly, registration is free on AliExpress.
Chinabrands is a global dropshipper and wholesaler shipping to over 200 regions of the world.Unlike Aliexpress, sellers are wholesale or dropship from the different suppliers who registered on it, In Chinabrands, all manufacturers products are checked and stored in Chinabrands’ warehouses, like the US warehouse, the UK warehouse, and more.
When people source the products from its website, they will ship products directly to your customers from the nearest warehouses.
They facilitate the links between manufacturers and resellers and provide products at affordable prices.
You can find a way to bridge the gap involved in shipping to your Nigerian customers or you can create your business international markets.
- Choose a selling platform
Having reached an agreement with supplier, it’s time to set up your e-store. You have 2 ways to own your store:
a. Selling on a third party eCommerce platforms
While there are several top third-party e-commerce platforms to display your products and attract customers in Nigeria, Jumia and Konga.b. Create your own store with Shopify or WordPress, etc. To create your e-store with WordPress
To create an e-store, you will need a domain name – your website name – and hosting. The hosting company will automatically host your e-store and manage store data files.
As soon you have a domain name and hosting plan, you may proceed to install your WordPress and WooCommerce – popular ecommerce plugin – on your new website. You can get this done in just a few click and get started. You may modify the site to enhance appeal, reflect your style and improve visitors’ experience.
With WordPress, you can easily set up your website, without writing a single code. To build your WordPress store, get your domain and hosting from SMEG Hosting and Website Design.
On WordPress, there are plugins specially made to enhance your dropshipping experience – AliDropship, among others.
To create your e-store on Shopify
Shopify provides a platform for e-sellers to register and market their products. They offer sellers widespread services – from domain name to CMD, to hosting, Design, plugins, Payment Gateways – and other relevant tools needed to step up your online selling game.
Shopify creates a conducive selling environment for dropshippers –both newbies and professionals alike. They help you concentrate on your marketing and branding functions while they manage your store. You can set up your store and begin to sell in 5 minutes.
Interestingly, Shopify offers a 14-day trial package. Tip: You can make enough profits to pay for your hosting before the two-week trial period elapses.
Shopify is easier to set up. Again, it saves you the stress of designing your WordPress site or paying a freelance web designer to design one for you. Shopify charges $29 monthly on its basic plan.
You have to decide on the platform to sell. Whether selling on a third-party e-commerce platform or setting up a store with WordPress or Shopify? You need to take your times to consider this before starting.
- Market your products
Customers don’t come out of nowhere. If you need visitors, find them. Don’t set up your store, sit back, and expect people to buy your products. You may have to go show them what you have and they’d come visiting.Here are some good ways to market your products. While Facebook Ads and Google Ads are paid methods – and more effective – others are free and good for starters who may not have capital for running ads yet.
- Start running your eCommerceOnce you are set with your e-store, start running your business. Ensure you get your finances in order; track all of the data and metrics available to grow your business. When you are able to track every single conversion — to know where the customer originated from and what path they took on your website that eventually led to a sale — it enables you to scale what works and eliminate what doesn’t.AliDropship plugin will make your business easier. The plugin is specifically designed for dropshipping. It will help you to import product descriptions, photos, etc from your supplier website to your store. This can be done with just a click and when a product is sold on your store, it automatically sends the customer details to your supplier. The only thing left for you to do is to pay the supplier.After that, the supplier then ships the product to your customer address without questions asked and your customer won’t know the product is from a third party.
You should also consider the payment solutions that will enable you achieve your aim based on your target market.
You can go ahead and make proper research on it and confirm if it’s going be a business you can handle.