Entrepreneurs wear many hats, no matter the industry. Just take a look at any entrepreneurship course online, and you’ll find topics ranging from marketing to finance, both of which need their own departments. Dropshippers are no different. They need to master multiple skills to succeed.
10 Skills dropshipping entrepreneurs need to succeed
eCommerce is a fruitful but competitive industry. To stand out from other dropshippers, you must be a jack of all trades to succeed. Here are 10 skills all dropshippers should learn.
1. Sales and business strategy skills
In a sales-focused business, you need to become a competent salesperson. Many dropshippers market their products on their website or social media profiles. However, it’s possible to make a killing on Poshmark or Depop because these platforms empower the seller to make offers.
A great sales strategy can’t work without a general business strategy. By setting achievable professional goals, you can build your store into something that’s scalable. You should plan for future prospects, as it’s the best way to keep your dropshipping business alive for many years.
2. Bookkeeping and general finances
Dropshippers barely need upfront capital to start a business, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into financial trouble. Lack of capital is the main reason why businesses fail. Failing startups are less in tune with their daily operational costs and how they should price their products.
To eliminate most financial shortfalls, calculate a profit margin that’s fair for you and your customers. Take bookkeeping lessons, so you can understand concepts like self-employment taxes and invoice management. Keep track of your finances so you aren’t overwhelmed.
3. The ability to find excellent suppliers
Your whole business rests on your ability to get products to your customers, but that isn’t easy to do without the right supplier. There are hundreds of fake dropshipping suppliers that exist to steal your money, so you’ll need to vet every company that makes contact with your products.
Whether you’re looking for dropshipping clothing suppliers or a general courier, make sure your company of choice is highly rated, offers fast delivery, and provides superior service. If you plan to do this full-time, favor suppliers that have a large catalog and convenient return policy.
If you’re looking to personalize your products and offer a unique customer experience, consider finding a reliable fulfillment partner rather than relying solely on the supplier.
4. Optimal customer service skills
Communication and customer service skills go hand in hand, but if you’re just starting your business, you won’t need to speak to your employees. However, you’ll need to communicate clearly and kindly with your suppliers and customers, even when they’re unhappy or angry.
As a solopreneur, you’ll be in charge of managing customer feedback, processing refunds, and conflict resolution. If your customer has a bad experience due to your attitude, they may leave a bad review. That’s why communication is essential during every stage of the buyer’s journey.
5. Being organized and time-conscious
Dropshippers don’t have to rummage through their inventory or pack their items, which limits the amount of busy work. But you still need to stay on top of what’s in stock and what’s no longer being sold. Otherwise, you may miss a delivery date or have to cancel a customer’s order. To minimize the hassle, it’s important to have a good understanding of electronic data interchange (EDI), which is a powerful tool for dropshipping. To get started, take a look at this guide to EDI for dropshipping.
If you’re unable to track your inventory due to time constraints, you’ll have to create a schedule and stick to it. You probably don’t want to work on weekends or into the evening, so you’ll need great time management skills to avoid this trap. Burnout can hamper motivation and productivity.
6. Adaptability, flexibility, and resourcefulness
All businesses have to be adaptable, but dropshippers need this skill for two reasons. First, they need to change their products based on market fluctuations and customer needs. But more importantly, a flexible dropshipping business is able to source products from all over the world.
Without the ability to stay flexible, dropshippers will struggle at being resourceful. Do you know what you’ll do if one of your suppliers is busy? What will happen if you run out of a product after it’s been ordered? A resourceful dropshipper will have answers to these and other questions.
7. A “think-outside-the-box” mentality
There are thousands of dropshipping companies in your niche competing for the same space, and most of them sell similar products. Fortunately, there are thousands of more ways to attract customers to your eCommerce site. You won’t even have to spend money on traditional ads.
If you sell clothing, consider hiring models to wear your products. Take accurate measurements of each item to reduce returns. You could even create a “make your own bundle” option on select products and offer a discount. Try to think of your own creative ways to sell products.
8. Technical skills, like website creation
Shopify is one of the most popular create-your-own shopping platforms on the web, but you can’t just use their templates and expect your eCommerce site to explode in popularity. You’ll need to understand how to create, run, and streamline your site for your target audience.
Google Analytics, an online analytics tool, can connect to your website and track user data. This data can be used to target specific customer groups. Search engine optimization (SEO) and A/B tests are essential marketing tools that can help bring organic traffic to your eCommerce store.
9. Marketing/content marketing skills
Speaking of SEO, content creation and keywords are essential when it comes to attracting a new audience. If you’re able to write compelling content, you’ll connect with your viewers and lead them down your sales pipeline. Content can be anything from blog posts to videos.
Email marketing, SMS marketing (or text marketing), social media marketing, Google AdWords, and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads can also keep your brand relevant. Without advertisements, even the coolest products in the world wouldn’t sell, so investing in a marketing strategy is necessary.
10. Staying determined against all odds
Being your own boss comes with several positives, but being in charge isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Running a business can be stressful, defeating, and unmotivating at times, but you’ll need to push through these emotions. It may take a few months, even years, before you see a profit.
Business owners also have to deal with harsh words, bad reviews, and unhappy people. Some of your close friends and family members may question why you’re becoming a business owner, but you need to stay determined. Determination is a necessary ingredient for success.