In my pursuit of online money-making opportunities, I have always encountered something about dropshipping. Be it on Facebook, blogs and even YouTube where a group of self-proclaimed millionaires showcase their fleet of cars and luxury living from some exotic island in the middle of nowhere.
I’ve always been moved by these videos and wondered what I have to do to be like them. However, besides indulging into a little self-education, I have never dared to start a dropshipping business.
Setting up a website or amazon account, finding products to sell through keyword research and promoting my products don’t seem hard for me. I have done some of these things before.
This fear of starting stems from one very important fact, it seems too easy to be truly easy. The story these digital nomads sell to their readers and the concept behind it is that you set up everything online and never have to handle the products or even see them.
This involves you researching for products on AliExpress and other Chinese online shops which sell products cheaply. Once you find a good product you promote it on Amazon, Facebook or Instagram for a much higher price.
When a customer buys it from your platform, you use the money to order from the Chinese store and pay for shipping to the customer’s address. The profit accrued from the transaction is your income and you never have to handle any product. Amazon especially has a great system that does all this for you.
I came across this article from Wired which puts things into perspective. You ought to read this article if you’d like to know more about dropshipping but for the sake of busybodies, let me summarize some important details from the article.
The business model depends heavily on product promotion through ads. If you thought this was another get rich easy strategy that required less capital, you’re wrong. You will literally burn through thousands of shillings before your products start to sell.
Facebook ad charges are high and continuously increasing. Google paid traffic is not getting cheaper either. Also, for some products, you might have to purchase before getting customers to order.
Secondly, your customers are highly likely to get shit experience and this will backfire towards you in the form of rants. The products are shipped from China to the customers’ address without you ever handling them.
Thus, you’ll never know the quality of the product and packaging to assure customers of the best service. Once they start complaining, things begin to crumble. Wait did I not mention earlier that you need to higher customer care agents too?
If your product picks up well, you’re presented with a new challenge. What if the Chinese supplier cannot meet your demand or stop producing the product all in all?
Ellie, a former plastic-free homeware drop shipper recounts how her business went down this way and she ended up refunding her customers before closing her business.
Thirdly, most of these digital nomads don’t make money from the products and if they do, they’re not willing to share the details entirely. Rather they make most of their money selling courses on dropshipping.
These courses are usually very captivating; promising to turn you into millionaires within a year yet they contain very basic guides that anybody can find online. They purport to help you discover hidden treasures and secrets that will ensure you are successful.
Lucky enough for them, there exist more people who want a short cut to riches than those ready to put in the hard work for financial freedom. The latter group is easily pulled by the luxury lives portrayed by the digital nomads and wouldn’t mind to cash out thousands of dollars to get these ‘secrets’ only to find out later that what matters is pure hard work.
The story of how fake gurus mint millions online through online courses is best described by James Jani in this video.
Pal, you must watch this. It will make you change your perspective on these motivational speakers promising you heaven only if you buy their products.
Dropshipping was a great venture, at least when it was new. But now I feel like its best days are in the past. Dropshipping is only good for the entrepreneur, not for the customers.
If you really care about your customers, which is the ultimate route to success in business, then you should handle products not always, but regularly to ensure the best services to your customers.
Also, dropshipping guides are all over the internet, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars for some bullshit secret some guy with hired Lamborghinis wants you to have.
People are also realizing they can purchase products directly from AliExpress at the cheap prices instead of being extorted by drop shippers.
Lastly, most dropshipping entrepreneurs are ditching the trade as you will discover from the article I shared earlier. It might be high time to consider another trade too.