6 Common dropshipping mistakes to avoid

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Mistakes are inevitable as a business owner.

It doesn't matter if you're setting up your very first e-commerce website, or you're a successful entrepreneur with a team of 500 employees.

Mess-ups happen to the best of us.

With dropshipping it's no different. Nobody gets it perfect from the get-go, you can do the research behind your business, but it's once you get it running, that you start all the real learning!

Here's 6 of the most common dropshipping mistakes we will explain:

  • Getting your niche wrong
  • Poor or unprofessional branding
  • Using a supplier with slow delivery
  • Not checking the details
  • Going on holiday too soon
  • Bad customer service
  • Let's get into it and prevent you falling in the same traps.

    1. Getting your niche wrong

    Choosing a niche is probably the most difficult part of dropshipping.

    Deciding what will have plenty of sales, without going out of style too soon and that will ideally sell all year, feels like trying to use a crystal ball.

    Going too niche can harm your profits as well as going too broad with your product range.

    Our tips for what to do:

  • Don't choose a niche that is already highly competitive e.g. at the moment, phone rings and phone cases
  • Ideally, don't choose a niche you have little experience or interest in
  • Don't dive in and choose a niche without research
  • There is no perfect and guaranteed way to find a niche. There will be some risk as with all business ventures.

    2. Poor or unprofessional branding

    There are a lot of us that didn't take a bachelor's degree in marketing and advertising.

    Not to worry! It's still possible to impress your customers without going back to university or hiring a team of expensive ad executives.

    There are free and low-cost tools available for creating your Facebook and Instagram adverts but if you have poor skills or knowledge to make these, it will be even more damaging than not setting up these ads.

    People are bombarded with advertisements every day. Most of these are highly curated and designed by the best professionals in the business.

    As we are used to such high-quality advertisements, we naturally think less of those ads with poor branding.

    This includes low-quality images, poor colour choices, uninteresting copy, and confused messaging.

    Some tips for what to do:

  • Hire a freelance graphic designer to create your ad images, company logo, and social media graphics
  • Hire a freelance marketer to write copy that will sell
  • To do it yourself, read as much as you can on marketing messages and advertising copy
  • There are some affordable and free online courses to learn about digital marketing, e-commerce, and branding
  • Graphic design is a very specialised discipline with many professionals having a background in art.

    Not many people are naturally gifted with creating business and marketing materials using difficult software such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.

    Hiring an expert to help you will be worth the investment to make a positive impression on your customers.

    3. Using a supplier with slow delivery

    When choosing a supplier, think about how long your customers will need to wait for their orders.

    Suppliers such as AliExpress have a catalogue of products that are manufactured in China.

    These products have attractive low unit prices for dropshippers to try to make a good margin.

    However, if your customers have to wait weeks for their orders to arrive, you won't gain a great reputation.

    Also, think about national holidays. China celebrates Chinese New Year and during this time, it's normal for all businesses and manufacturers to be closed for a week.

    Tips for what to do:

  • Consider a dropshipping supplier, such as dropshippingXL, that can guarantee fast delivery to your customers
  • If you want a Chinese supplier, make sure customers are aware of the delivery wait
  • Don't forget to check the return policy of your supplier such as the cost and how long this process will take
  • 4. Not checking the details

    This is a big flaw that can happen with your website, your social media ads, or your email marketing.

    Even if you have experience as a web developer or marketing manager, sometimes small mistakes are overlooked.

    This might be an old product link accidentally included in a paid ad to promote your new product launch.

    It could be a typo for how long delivery takes.

    It could be forgetting to activate new plugins on the back-end of your website.

    Our tips for what to do:

  • Make sure you check your website regularly for any errors
  • Check, check, check your social media ads before they are published!
  • Use apps such as Grammarly (it's free!) to check your grammar and spelling
  • If you're using a web designer and developer, check the copy they add to your site as they aren't copywriters or marketers
  • Use free tools online to find dead or broken links such as Dead Link Checker
  • 5. Going on holiday too soon

    This is actually a fairly common beginner's mistake!

    The thing with dropshipping is that one day you might wake up with 200 orders out of nowhere.

    Especially when you are just starting out and don't have a team behind you, scaling can happen quickly and without warning.

    An unfortunate slip-up is when dropshippers take a weekend off or head on holiday without giving the helm to someone else.

    Processing orders on holiday is not an activity anyone plans.

    Even if you take time to do emergency work poolside, it can be a long and draining task with the risk of slow WiFi.

    In the end, you'll be welcomed home to a backlog of orders and customer emails.

    Our tips for what to do:

  • Taking even a day off at the beginning of dropshipping is a risk, so hire a freelance assistant or leave the business in the hands of someone you trust
  • When you start scaling, consider setting up a small team to help with distributing the work
  • Don't plan a two-week holiday to Bali last minute and leave your dropshipping baby in the lurch!
  • 6. Bad customer service

    This pitfall of many dropshippers seems easy to avoid but under the stress of running an e-commerce start-up, unhappy customers can get to your last nerve.

    It might be tempting to not provide any contact details to avoid customers getting in touch however, this could be very damaging to how much your customers trust your business.

    Try to respond to customer queries as quickly as possible. Make sure to check your social media channels for any messages too.

    It goes without saying, that being courteous, friendly, and helpful will go a long way to building a successful and loyal customer base.

    Our tips for what to do:

  • Include customer service hours on your website so customers will know when you are available to answer their queries
  • You can include information about how long they can expect to get a reply
  • If you are becoming extremely busy just with customer queries, consider hiring a freelance customer service or executive assistant
  • Make sure your alerts are on for new messages on your business social media accounts
  • Summary

    There you have it - 6 pitfalls to avoid with your dropshipping business!

    Mistakes happen in any new venture but hopefully, these tips will help you avoid any big mishaps.

    Articles you might be interested in:

  • How to choose a name for your dropshipping store
  • Why should you start a dropshipping business in Turkey?
  • What is Shopify and what does it mean for dropshippers?
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