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Planning to try BigCommerce dropshipping? Here is what you need to know to get started right.
Dropshipping is trendy these days. This order fulfillment method attracts thousands of aspiring e-commerce entrepreneurs thanks to its exciting benefits: few initial investments, no need to store products, and many others. One of the crucial steps every dropshipper has to take is the choice of a suitable e-commerce platform. Among many alternatives, BigCommerce stands out as a great tool for building online stores. This post is a mini-guide for everyone about to start the BigCommerce dropshipping business.
Web technologies have transformed the business world. In the past, an ordinary person without startup capital could hardly hope to set up and run a successful retail business with thousands of customers. E-commerce and dropshipping have made this a reality.
These days, you will find a large number of e-commerce platforms for all intents and purposes. Only a few shine, though, when it comes to building a dropshipping store. One of these is BigCommerce. Since you’re reading this post, you’ve probably heard about dropshipping and are thinking of using BigCommerce for your business.
You are on the right track. However, don’t jump on the BigCommerce dropshipping wagon headlong. There are a few things to learn before you finally click that “Launch Store” button. We discuss these in our post in two sections:
- Dropshipping Essentials
- BigCommerce Dropshipping Essentials
Hopefully, this overview will clear the fog away and help you decide if you really want to become a BigCommerce dropshipper.
First, let us talk about dropshipping in case you still have only a vague idea about it.
The Dropshipping Business Model: What It Is
Whoever invented dropshipping was wise. In essence, dropshipping is a “hands-free” business model for the masses. This is how it goes for you, the dropshipper:
- You build a virtual storefront either from scratch (very rare) or based on an e-commerce platform. For example, you can go down the BigCommerce dropship path.
- You pinpoint your market niche and find dropshipping suppliers. For instance, you can use specialized dropshipping apps to source products.
- You promote your dropshipping store via paid advertising, social media, etc.
- A customer places an order for your merchandise.
- The order goes automatically to the supplier you’ve struck a deal with.
- The supplier ships the products to the customer’s address.
How do you earn? You set the price for each item on your store higher than the amount you paid to the supplier. The difference between these numbers is what you ultimately put in your pocket. For example, a dropshipping supplier sells you a T-shirt for $30. You increase this price to $40. Thus, your profit is $10.
The interest in dropshipping has been on the increase recently. This chart illustrates the popularity of this order fulfillment method in the United States over the last five years:
What makes dropshipping so attractive? Here are some of the most compelling reasons.
What Motivates People to Launch Dropshipping Stores
You Don’t Need a Sackful of Money to Get Started Immediately
One of the most convincing arguments to embark on the dropshipping adventure is almost no upfront expenses. All you need to pay is a subscription fee for using the e-commerce platform of your choice, such as BigCommerce.
That’s all, in essence. You can start selling the products you’ve sourced through your dropshipping store right away. However, if you want to customize the look and functionality of your site, this might incur fees to professional BigCommerce developers. Plus, factor in your marketing budget if you’re serious about beating the competition.
You Don’t Need to Store and Ship Products Yourself
Another motivating factor to start a dropshipping business is no need to deal with warehousing and delivering goods. This part is handled by the dropshipping suppliers you’ve partnered with. Therefore, you can direct your energy to what really matters — advertising and increasing traffic to your store.
You Can Sell Products in Far-Away Locations Without Much Risk
Some e-commerce platforms, including BigCommerce, allow you to sell merchandise in other countries and regions. You just need to find dropshipping suppliers in or near those locations and have them deliver products to your customers.
That brings you particular value in countries with a considerable tax burden or exorbitant shipping fees. If you had to keep your own warehouse and store your inventory physically in those places, it would cost you too much. Dropshipping helps you avoid these problems and ensure that your store is still profitable.
You Don’t Have to Worry About a Deficit of Products When You Need Them Most
Dropshipping in general and BigCommerce dropshipping in particular saves merchants from the trouble many traditional e-commerce retailers often suffer from. We’re talking about the shortage of merchandise that’s currently in demand.
This is an especially burning issue during busy times such as Christmas or Easter sales. In many cases, conventional e-commerce stores sell out popular items in a flash and thus lose money they could otherwise easily earn. One response is to keep more goods in the inventory just to be on the safe side.
However, demand for these items may suddenly slow down, and they will no longer sell after the season is over. That leads to more storage expenses down the road. Dropshippers can avoid this unpleasant scenario. They can always control the amount of inventory by ordering it from a dropshipping supplier whenever they need.
As good as dropshipping may sound, it’s not a bed of roses. There are a lot of success stories. It’s true. There are also thousands of dropshipping businesses that fail without making any profit at all. Before you decide to try dropshipping yourself, then, you should be aware of some difficulties you may have to overcome.
What Problems You May Have to Solve as a Dropshipper
A Hard-to-Find Balance Between Purchase and Selling Prices
If you believe that you are going to get rich overnight by launching a dropshipping business, think again. On the surface, this model looks hassle-free. Very little initial investment, no storage or shipping costs. All this should bring you a larger income, but only in theory.
In practice, you will always have to seek a fragile balance between the prices you pay to dropshipping suppliers and those your customers actually pay for the products on your site. Make this difference too little and your profit will be thinner. Make it too big and you risk losing sales.
It’s a particularly high hurdle for fresh dropshipping stores that have not established themselves in the market yet. That’s why experts recommend approaching dropshipping only if you already have a firm footing in e-commerce.
You Will Have to Fight with Lots of Hopefuls and Seasoned Players for Your Place in the E-Commerce Sun
Thanks to the fact that you won’t need heaps of money to start a dropshipping business, it has become a magnet for one and all. The emergence of e-commerce platforms like BigCommerce accelerated the growth in the number of dropshipping sites to gigantic proportions.
The result? You will have to compete with other beginners as well as with mature businesses who already have sizable customer bases. That’s a tough nut to crack. You will be forced to reduce prices. This will negatively affect your bottom line.
One day, you may simply fail to offer a price lower than one of the other guys, especially if it’s a larger and older dropshipping store. Then, you can call it quits. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Why should they purchase your products if they are identical to those another site sells at lower prices?
Customer Care Nightmare
Customer service is one of the most important aspects of business. Traditional brick-and-mortar and online stores have all the tools and resources to address their customers’ concerns. They can handle delays in shipping goods, refunds, and other issues themselves quickly and efficiently (as a rule).
Dropshippers are not so lucky in this respect. Why? That’s because not everything depends on them. They pass on orders to dropshipping suppliers for fulfillment. What happens next is beyond their reach.
Customers know nothing about the supplier. They know about you, the merchant. Whenever they have a complaint to make, they will message you. You can only get in touch with the supplier and ask them to resolve the problem. How fast they will fulfill your request or if they will fulfill it at all sometimes remains a mystery to the very last moment.
Even though you are actually not to blame for delays or damaged products, customers will point the finger at you. If you come across a really annoyed buyer, expect negative feedback on social media or elsewhere. That’s even worse than lost revenue because it puts your reputation at danger. Other shoppers may read the angry words and decide to steer clear of your dropshipping store.
We’ve highlighted just three problems many dropshippers have to grapple with. There are more. Even these show that dropshipping is far from a pleasure cruise. It requires a lot of work and time on your part if you want to stay afloat and make a few bucks into the bargain.
Not discouraged yet? Then let’s move on. The next step is to choose a suitable e-commerce platform. One of the viable options is BigCommerce. As a Certified BigCommerce Partner, we know all the ins and outs of this powerful system. It can be a good fit for setting up a dropshipping store. Here is why.
BigCommerce Dropshipping Essentials
When you decide to launch a dropshipping business, you have three main options:
- Sign up with a marketplace like Amazon and sell your products through their site.
- Use platforms like WordPress, BigCommerce, or Shopify to set up an independent store.
- Combine both methods, with the latter being the basic one.
As for the first method, you will be just one among the crowd of merchants selling the same merchandise. Your target audience may fail to distinguish you from others.
The third method gives you the greatest number of benefits. Yet, it’s more work. That’s why these two approaches are not optimal for beginning dropshipping businesses. Time-to-the-market and uniqueness matter a lot to them.
Using an e-commerce platform, on the other hand, is beneficial for startups. They can quickly put together a dropshipping store with ready-made, customizable themes and all the required e-commerce features to start selling straight away.
There are self-hosted systems like WordPress and cloud/Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems like BigCommerce. The former gives you almost unrestricted customization freedom. However, you will have to handle every aspect of managing your site — from security to updates.
SaaS platforms, by contrast, allow users to focus on their business matters instead of worrying about security issues, updates, or page loading speed. The platform itself deals with all these things. BigCommerce belongs to the category of cloud-based e-commerce systems. You have to pay a subscription fee to keep using it on a regular basis.
Some Facts About BigCommerce
BigCommerce was founded around 12 years ago — in 2009. At the moment, the Austin-based company serves over 60 thousand merchants in more than 150 countries.
The solution has the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) among e-commerce platforms. This means you have to spend less on subscribing to it and operating it over a long time span than with a similar system. Therefore, BigCommerce is good value for money.
What Makes BigCommerce a Good Choice for Dropshipping and E-Commerce in General?
You Can Quickly Customize the Look and Feel of Your Store
Whatever industry or niche you come from (Health & Beauty, Home & Garden, Automotive & Industrial, and others), you’re sure to find something interesting for yourself. What’s more: every theme offers from 1 to 4 different styles and is optimized for mobile devices.
You can use a page builder visual editor with the drag-and-drop functionality to mold your pages into any form you wish. Also, you can fine-tune the checkout experience with a server-to-server checkout API and SDK.
This normally requires assistance from professional developers and thus may add up to the total cost of running your BigCommerce dropshipping store. However, a smooth-working, handy checkout is one of the crucial conversion factors for every e-commerce site.
No Transaction Fees Allow You to Keep Your Profit Margin Larger
This is a really attractive feature for every dropshipping business. As we said earlier, it takes quite an effort to find the right balance between purchase and selling prices. If there were also a transaction fee, this effort would be even greater.
BigCommerce Facilitates Selling Products to Customers from Various Countries and Regions
Every business, traditional or online, always strives to transcend borders and reach out to consumers all over the world. Certain e-commerce platforms put up a stop sign in front of merchants with international ambitions. Not BigCommerce.
It makes selling goods on every continent as simple as possible. Here’s how:
- Customers can see prices for the goods on your dropshipping store in their specific currencies.
- Customer support agents provide assistance in multiple languages.
- Your BigCommerce dropshipping site visitors in almost every corner of the world can use a default tool to find out how much taxes they will have to pay in their country when they purchase your products.
All this builds up trust in your dropshipping business by international buyers.
A Range of Apps to Import Products to Your BigCommerce Dropshipping Store
BigCommerce also provides a number of specialized dropshipping apps through their official site. At the moment of writing, there were 12 such applications.
By using them, you can browse online marketplaces that sell products in bulk and pick the most profitable options. You can also easily add those goods to your dropshipping store and pass on the orders your buyers place to your dropshipping suppliers in autopilot mode. You don’t have to do it manually.
For example, you can install the Aliexpress Dropshipping app by CedCommerce to take full advantage of the respective global marketplace.
All these great features make the BigCommerce dropship path well worth following. Note, however, that the platform does have quite a steep learning curve. It takes more time and effort to set up properly. That’s why you might find it a bit challenging if you’ve never had any experience with e-commerce and dropshipping before.
Dropshipping is an easy-to-apply order fulfillment method that requires very little money to invest upfront. It does have its benefits and drawbacks you need to know before you decide to try it.
For example, you will have to search for the best purchase-selling-price ratio in order to earn decent revenue. You will also have to face lots of other dropshipping businesses doing their best to rob you of customers and income.
If you want to have a go at dropshipping despite all of its challenges, you might consider BigCommerce as your business platform. It provides many customizable templates and dropshipping apps out of the box, charges no transaction fees, makes international sales easy and convenient, and has other goodies to help you succeed.
Need to make your BigCommerce site one of a kind to attract leads and convert them to customers? Want to customize its functionality to meet your unique business objectives? The expert GetDevDone BigCommerce development team is here to deliver a top-quality solution for you.
Let’s talk about your project today!
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