9 Beginner’s Dropshipping Mistakes You Need to Avoid

If you're a beginner, make sure you avoid these mistakes in your dropshipping store.

It’s challenging to keep a dropshipping store profitable and expanding. So how do you do it? How do you reach that point where you can officially say that your e-commerce store is successful? A good deal of your future success as an online reseller depends on you starting off on the right foot.

In other words, if you avoid certain pitfalls right from the get-go, then the likelihood that your store will be a major success is significantly higher. That being said, let’s take a look at the 9 dropshipping mistakes you should avoid if you’re a beginner. 

1) Not Picking the Right Niche

Use Google Trends to avoid Beginner's Dropshipping Mistakes

This is a big one! Remember, choosing the right niche can make the difference between success and failure – it’s crucially important to the health and profitability of your online store. 

That being said, there are a number of tools you can use to make this decision effectively and avoid the mistake in the first place. The most powerful tool at your disposal in this regard is Google Trends. This is a website that can show you the popularity of a given search query by analyzing how frequently it’s searched by users all across the world. In other words, this tool determines search trends for a given keyword or keywords over time!

However, always keep in mind that you’ll need to use Google Trends to find a niche that is trending but not trendy. What do we mean by this? Well, obviously you need to choose something that your potential customer base is showing interest in. However, this interest has to be long-term. Let’s take a look at the Google Trends for “fidget spinners” a few years back: 

Image result for google trends fidget spinner

Do you see an issue with that graph? The interest spiked up and then plummeted, never to recover. In other words, fidget spinners were a flash in the pan. 

Remember that an exploding trend can just as easily disappear. Ultimately, you’ll have to use your good, old-fashioned common sense to try and identify these short-term, trendy products. For example, it was fairly obvious, even at the height of the fad, that fidget spinners were largely isolated to a very specific age group and they did not have a wider appeal. 

Furthermore, be careful about picking a niche that is too competitive. Doing so means you might end up competing with retail giants like Amazon or eBay

2) Choosing the Wrong Supplier

This is another beginner’s dropshipping mistake that can kill your store right off the bat! It’s best to think of your dropshipping supplier as your partner. In other words, you and your supplier (or suppliers) are working together to make your store thrive. 

That being said, let’s take a look at the criteria you should look for in the best dropshipping suppliers: 

Customers Service Representatives who are available

A million things can (and will) go wrong at any given time, so the best suppliers will assign dedicated reps to help you navigate these challenges and troubleshoot for solutions. Don’t forget: this is a collaboration! By having dedicated representatives who are always available, most problems will get solved quickly. 

They also have to know the industry and the product lines. This is a must! Launching a dropshipping store and choosing the right niche can be tricky, so you may need them as a source of reliable knowledge and information. 

Innovative tools and technology:

The best dropshipping suppliers will have inventory-tracking software

The best dropshipping suppliers will provide you with the tools to reach success, including:

  1. Detailed and accurate product descriptions. 
  2. Inventory data feed as well as real-time tracking of inventory. 
  3. Comprehensive online catalog and extensive inventory of products.
  4. Customizable data feeds. 
  5. The ability to search your order history. 

These are necessities, not luxuries! Furthermore, it’s important to remember that the fanciest looking websites aren’t necessarily the best – it’s more about usability over style. 

Extensive inventory of premium products:

You’ll want access to a wide range of high-quality products. Having this access guarantees that:  

  1. Customers will be satisfied with the products (and may become regular clients). 
  2. Positive word-of-mouth can generate more referrals. 
  3. Fewer product returns and refunds.  
  4. Better reviews and testimonials. 

Efficient, dependable, and fast shipping:

Don't make the dropshipping beginner's mistake of choosing a slow supplier

Your supplier has to always be on it! If they take longer than 24 to 48 hours to pack and ship a package, then you’ll already have a dissatisfied customer. Dropshipping is a competitive market and lost customers have a huge number of other online resellers to choose from. That being said, there’s no room for slow-moving suppliers! 

Finally, there are some general guidelines you can use to effectively contact dropshipping suppliers. That way, you can make the best decision for your e-commerce store. 

3) Inefficient Customer Support

Like in every other business model, customer support plays a crucial role in dropshipping. First-time sellers tend to assume that once a sale is made, the customers are no longer in the loop. But while you know that it’s your suppliers who handle the products from that point on, your customers don’t know that. As far as they’re concerned, they bought the product from you and you’ll be shipping it to them. 

As a result, if they have a problem with the quality of the product or the shipping time, they’ll approach you. At the end of the day you’re responsible for your customer’s satisfaction and for the function of your store.

That being said, make sure you implement the following in your customer support system: 

  1. Respect your customers. 
  2. Always follow up on feedback that they’ve left (good or bad).
  3. Always follow up after completed sales. 
  4. Treat customer complaints like legitimate concerns. 
  5. Handle product returns and refunds quickly and efficiently.
  6. Try to understand what your customers need and want. 
  7. Create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) or Help page for your online store. 

4) Giving Inaccurate Shipping Times 

This is a beginner’s mistake that can totally derail your dropshipping store and ruin your reputation. This is especially true if you claim a shorter delivery time than your supplier can accomplish. Doing so is just asking for trouble in the form of disgruntled customers and numerous refund requests.

So how do you avoid this beginner’s mistake? 

  1. Order the product yourself. Place your own order for the products you’re dropshipping so you can see how quickly an order actually gets processed and how long it takes before the shipping gets dispatched.
  2. Clearly indicate how long they can expect their packages to be delivered. Setting your customers’ expectations early on will save you from complaints later on.
  3. Don’t shy away from contacting your supplier. Hopefully, you’ve chosen your supplier carefully and have a relationship with them. If there’s a problem, don’t hesitate to contact the supplier, even if your customer hasn’t contacted you about it. That way, when they do contact you, you’ll have something to update them with.

Furthermore, it’s best to list accurate shipping times in the following places: 

  1. The product description on the product page. 
  2. On the checkout page. 
  3. In the purchase confirmation email. 

Your customers will want to know this information, so be sure you make it abundantly clear! 

5) Not Personalizing Your Ads

Avoid the dropshipping beginner's mistake of copying other ads

Advertising is an important part of ensuring success for your online store. This can include either Facebook Ads or Google Ads, with each having their respective pros and cons. Ultimately, it depends on the particulars of your store and what your budget is. For example, Facebook Ads are considerably less expensive than Google Ads.

Plus, Facebook Ads allow you to target your audience via demographics or by selecting for their interests. This is really easy to do! You simply have to go to the Events Manager page and then click Create a Custom Audience. Once you do this, you have a number of different criteria you can use to target your audience quickly, conveniently, and effectively, including: 

  1. Demographics (age range)
  2. Interests (pages they like)
  3. Geography (location) 

That being said, when you’re building your e-commerce store, you’ll have to decide which is the right one for you: Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Whatever you decide, make sure you personalize your ads! A major mistake that beginners make when they start dropshipping is that they copy other stores’ ads. In other words, they second-guess or doubt themselves and fail to personalize their ads. 

Don’t forget that for many online shoppers, the ad will be their first introduction to the store. As a result, make sure that it’s exciting and has: 

  1. Original content.
  2. Captivating pictures that trigger shoppers’ imaginations. 
  3. A layout or copy that stands out in peoples’ feeds. 

Shoppers want to hear your story, so be sure you share it with them!

6) Undercutting Your Prices

Don't price your products too low

It’s tempting to undercut your competitors and offer the lowest prices in the market. After all, customers always want the lowest price, right? Well, as many online resellers have found out the hard way, having price as a competitive advantage is not sustainable in the long run. Over time, as competition grows, the profit margins plummet.

So what should you do? The answer is simple: offer higher-priced products to increase your profit margins. Selling products with higher price points will give you the breathing room to set higher profit margins on your products. 

Furthermore, there are a number of methods you can use to determine the best price for your desired profit margins. This includes calculating the various costs that will come along with running a dropshipping store. 

Finally, be sure you do proper product research so that you can best understand the demand and price points for a specific product or group of products. 

7) Poor Inventory Management

If a product is listed as in stock on your online store, you better be sure it’s actually in stock with your supplier. This is a major dropshipping mistake that a lot of beginners make because they have poor inventory management. 

If you allow this error to happen, you’re pretty much guaranteeing an angry, disgruntled customer! Plus, you’ll definitely have to refund their money and potentially offer them a discount on a future transaction. Remember, you can’t afford to lose any of them! 

Since you’re not in charge of inventory, you’re dependent on your supplier to update you regarding inventory. Some suppliers have a straightforward way of doing this via inventory management software, but others surprisingly don’t.

Ultimately, you have to make sure that your inventory management is impeccable. Don’t forget that one of the criteria to look for in a dropshipping supplier is the inventory tracking software they supply, so be sure you keep that in mind when choosing your collaborator! 

8) Not Developing A Good Relationship With Your Supplier

Don’t forget that this is a collaboration, so you want a great relationship with your supplier. So, be sure that you: 

  1. Always pay on time! This is a no-brainer, but if you want them to pack and ship on time, then you need to pay on time. Plus, some suppliers might give you better prices if you have a sterling payment history. 
  2. Communicate effectively. Good communication is at the heart of every successful business relationship, so don’t be shy and feel free to contact your supplier with any questions or concerns. Plus, you should also keep them informed about any changes you might want to implement, including new products you may want to try out or sales promotions you’re considering implementing. 
  3. Work together rather than trying to blame them. Don’t forget: this is a collaboration. That means that you need to put your heads together to get stuff done effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, you should avoid blaming them immediately if something hasn’t gone right. Instead, focus on how to improve operations in the future. 

9) Not Making Full Use of Customer Email Addresses

Avoid the dropshipping beginner's mistake of not maximizing customer email addresses

Don’t just use customer’s emails to promote products. In fact, you should use their email addresses to keep them satisfied and make them purchase from you again. Here is some information to include in your follow up emails after you get an order:

  1. Send an order confirmation email with the shipping times.
  2. Follow up with an email to let customers know when the order has shipped. Remind them that they can track their order online and give them a link to how they can do this.
  3. Make yourself available – if they have any issues, they can email, call, or chat with you. 

In other words, avoid the dropshipping beginner’s mistake of not capitalizing on having your customers’ contact info. This is valuable and will help you build a future relationship with them. Remember, the long-term goal is to turn one-time visitors into regular customers. 

You can also use their email addresses for marketing campaigns. For instance, sending discounts or promo codes on their next order could help you increase sales.

Contact GreenDropShip to Start Selling Today

Greendropship is your ideal dropshipping supplier

Avoiding these beginner’s dropshipping mistakes is crucial for your success. That being said, you need a supplier that is reliable, effective, and efficient. You also need access to a great inventory of premium products so you can offer customers as many choices as possible. Doing so will ensure that they keep coming back to your e-commerce store.

If you are trying to figure out how which supplier you should collaborate with, look no further than GreenDropShip! We have over 20,000 natural and organic products that are made in the USA. We have also developed highly innovative methods for packing and shipping, including perishable goods. Finally, we provide our customers will all the cutting-edge tools and software they need to build their dropshipping store into a profitable business. 

Contact us today to speak to a sales representative who can answer any and all questions you may have.

Marcin Ossowski is a writer based in Los Angeles, California. At GreenDropShip, he writes about e-commerce, lending his expertise to online retailers and entrepreneurs on how to best drive sales and market their online stores. In his downtime, Marcin spends a lot of time outdoors and is actively pursuing his passion for writing fiction, creative nonfiction, and satire.