Dropshipping is potentially a great way to make money online because you literally have the whole world to pick from in terms of what you sell and to whom. There are virtually no limitations, not even financial. But this can also be the biggest problem.
With so much to choose from, how do you choose what products to sell? Who's looking to buy?
As an online seller, you shouldn't try to hog the market and sell everything to everyone. For one thing, you're likely to fail simply because the logistics would be monstrous. You won't be able to focus your marketing efforts, which means that you'll probably fail to create an effective brand for yourself.
As such, you would be lost in the shuffle of thousands of online sellers.
The first thing you have to do when starting your dropshipping business is decide on a niche. If you really like shoes, you may be tempted to develop that niche solely because of your personal preference, but while shoes are a popular category that buyers search for, you also have to compete with a lot of sellers for an occasional purchase. You will have to have a wide customer base to compete in that area.
What's important in building your niche is to look at the market and see where you can stand out. Does this mean you should find a unique item that you alone are selling and lets you pretty much dictate the price? That could work, especially if you market it well and create a demand for it. But what are the odds of that for the average dropshipper? You could make your own product, but then you are no longer dropshipping, and that leads to headaches.
There is one type of product for which most dropshippers fail to appreciate the profit potential. That's because they are typically priced in pennies. I'm talking about craft supplies.
The SaleHoo Market Research Lab shows that there's potential to make quite a lot of money in the sale of craft supplies, at least on eBay.
Not bad, huh? But that's not the whole picture.
There were also 113 daily sales of craft supplies, and 10,886 listings. If you think about the work involved in listing thousands of items, and then processing each sale for an average sale price (not profit) per item of $6.11, the prospect is a bit daunting.
Compounding the issue is the “Hard” competition rating. Yes, that's a lot of hard work for relatively small profit. But that's because you're thinking small. What if you dropshipped wholesale craft supplies, instead?
Now don't turn your nose up just yet. Believe it or not, crafting is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there is no reason why you can't be a part of that as a dropshipper.
When you think in terms of wholesale, you're after volume, so you want to discount craft supplies to attract bulk orders. For example, if you make a one cent profit for every 10 beads you sell, it doesn't seem like very much. However, if you sell 100,000 beads to a wedding dress maker, you can make $100 on a single order. And when you sell beads for a wedding dress, most likely you'll also have sequins, seed pearls, lace, artificial flowers, and so on.
A crafter, or in this case, a dress maker, will need each of these items in bulk. Once you get an order for beads, you're very likely to receive requests for the rest of the materials as well. It will all fall into place if you play your cards right.
According to the Craft and Hobby Associations (CHA), 47 percent of the US population has been seriously engaged in crafting for at least 10 years, and in 2012 more than 60 million people participated in at least one crafting activity. That's a lot of potential customers.
As a dropshipper, you won't make much selling to individuals. You'll want to target retailers and manufacturers who order from you in bulk instead. So rather than looking at the demographics of the end user, you have to move up one level and target organizations and businesses where the end-users shop.
Craft supplies are used in a variety of industries for a variety of reasons, and in most cases they're needed in bulk. In general, your market for craft supplies would include:
…and at some point most probably you and me, even if indirectly!
A good place to source potential clients is through sites like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy. Look for sellers of handmade or handcrafted products and chances are they have a regular need for wholesale craft supplies.
Etsy, which is a selling platform exclusive to makers of handcrafted items, reportedly has about 800,000 active sellers at any one time. That's a pretty broad base of potential customers. You can contact them via email offering products they are likely to need and providing links.
You can also go to the websites of craft organizations, schools, and craft-related businesses to provide them links to your catalog and/or specific products. Offer them special packages and discounts to get them interested in getting in touch. That's the first step.
When looking for wholesale craft stores, buyers will be looking for the best price for the best quality. You should pick and choose products you think will sell well as a wholesale product at a reasonable profit. However, as a wholesale craft supplies outlet, you'll need to be proactive about filling your customers' needs by anticipating which craft items naturally go with others.
You may have to take in less money for some items to keep your customers happy and build relationships. You will learn along the way how to strike the proper balance between your profit margin and customer satisfaction for maximum benefits.
Some buyers aren't necessarily in business for themselves but are part of an organization (hobbyists and schools are both examples of this) that will order in bulk, so they can take advantage of low prices and share costs with a large group of people.
These non-commercial buyers tend to be less demanding and more loyal than commercial buyers, who are always looking for a way to cut costs. It should be noted, however that commercial buyers also tend to buy in bulk more often, so you want to keep them coming too. It's all in the balance.
Have you had any success selling craft supplies wholesale? What was the most interesting thing you learned from it? Let us know in the comments section.
Discover four of the most profitable niches on eBay and get details for the best suppliers for these niches. Enter your details below and we will send them instantly.
Your list of profitable markets and supplier details are on their way to your email inbox.
Be sure to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your safelist to ensure we can deliver the free suppliers details to you.
If you haven't received an email from us in 5 minutes, please check your spam folder or email us at email@example.com.