It's 2023, and the dropshipping world looks dramatically different from what we remember a few years ago.
Artificial Intelligence has made waves, same-day delivery has become the norm, and Amazon is taking over retail space across America faster than ever.
But how does dropshipping fit into all of this? Is it still a viable way to generate income, or are there better solutions?
Let's dive in and take an honest look at dropshipping in 2023 – the good news and the bad news.
You'll be surprised by what you find!
What is dropshipping?
If you’ve stumbled upon this article but are still not sure what dropshipping actually is, we will give you a brief summary.
Dropshipping is an online business model that involves shipping products to your customers directly from your suppliers. This means that you will never hold inventory:
For a more detailed explanation, you can check our article here.
There are many pros and cons to the dropshipping business model, and they really need to be considered before you decide to go ahead with it:
Advantages of dropshipping
- No inventory. You won't find yourself stuck holding inventory that's hard to sell.
- Low initial capital. You can start a dropshipping business with a relatively small investment.
- Location independence. You can run your business from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Wide product selection. You can sell a wide variety of products without having to purchase or store them.
- Scalability. You only order products based on demand, which makes scaling easier.
- It's easy to learn. There are endless resources to learn dropshipping before starting.
Want to learn more? We've outlined all the advantages of dropshipping in this article.
Disadvantages of dropshipping
- Low control over product quality. Since you never see the product, you can't control the quality before it goes to the customer.
- Shipping complications. If a customer orders multiple items from different suppliers, coordinating shipping can be complex.
- High competition. Because of low barriers to entry, the dropshipping space is very competitive.
- Low profit margins. Dropshipping often has lower profit margins than traditional retail methods due to operating costs.
- Dependency on third-party suppliers. If your supplier runs out of stock or fails to deliver, it could negatively impact your business.
Want to learn more? We've outlined all the disadvantages of dropshipping here.
As you can see, there are good arguments for and against dropshipping. The decision ultimately depends on whether it is a good fit for you and what you want to achieve.
And yes, before you wonder, there are also large ecommerce stores that are using or have started with dropshipping as their fulfillment method.
Why dropshipping might be worth it: A low barrier to entry
One of the biggest benefits of dropshipping is the low barrier to entry; you can start with very little money and still be a success, as shown in our article here, where Amer shared his experience of starting a dropshipping store with €300.
One problem that many are facing today is competition. The wide availability of knowledge and low barrier to entry means others are also entering the market.
Tip: Did you create your Shopify account already? If not, sign up by clicking this link here to get a free 3-day trial + pay $1/month for the first 3 months!
There are plenty of sources of information regarding dropshipping; however, there is also a great deal of misinformation out there.
Over the years, the business model was commonly used by gurus to sell courses that promise six-figure returns in a very quick timeframe.
These courses generally offer very little value as the information can usually be found by a little Googling around.
So, if you're ever tempted to buy a paid dropshipping course, be warned!
How much capital do you need to start dropshipping in 2023?
Okay, you're ready to start dropshipping, but how much cash do you actually need?
Of course, the answer is always, ‘It depends.'
Do you want to hire a team of marketing experts and web designers, or do you want to do everything yourself using only free tools?
In general, we recommend having at least $500 to start dropshipping in 2023. This will help you set up a dropshipping store, purchase some product samples, and launch your first ads.
To help you determine roughly how much capital you need to start dropshipping, let's break down all the costs:
First, you need a domain.
It generally costs around $15 per year and can go up dramatically depending on how good the domain is. It is advised to shop around as the same domain can be priced differently depending on where you buy it from.
Namecheap is generally the cheapest platform to buy from, so it’s always worth it to take a look there first. They also provide free privacy protection for the Whois Registry.
If you’re not sure yet about your store name, then you can check out this article with tons of tips for picking the right name.
Next, you will need an ecommerce platform to build and manage your dropshipping store.
Shopify is one of the most popular ones and doesn't require any technical knowledge to get your store up and running:
After the initial free trial, it will cost you $39 per month on the basic plan.
Another option to consider is WooCommerce, which gives you a great deal more flexibility with your stores’ look, apps used, and monthly costs. However, it is not as powerful as Shopify straight out of the box.
You can learn more about the best ecommerce platforms for dropshipping here.
Advertising is generally the second-largest cost for a dropshipping business after the cost of goods sold.
To begin with, you can put as little as $10 per day into marketing just to test audiences and general interest in your store:
When you have figured out what is working and what isn’t, you can then look at scaling, which could cost as little or as much as you want.
If you're interested in learning more about all the marketing options for dropshipping stores, then you can take a look at this article here.
Product samples are a very overlooked part of setting up a dropshipping business.
As you will not be holding the product, it is crucial to know the quality of the product you are selling as well as its delivery time.
Starting a dropshipping store without physically seeing your product first is a recipe for disaster.
For one-product stores, you have virtually no excuse not to buy a product yourself first. However, for general stores, you should, at the very least, look at buying a few of your predicted best-selling products.
As this is going to be your only means of quality control, you must get this bit right.
If you plan to have a sustainable business, you have to make sure that your products are both of good quality and arrive within a reasonable time frame.
You can also use these initial purchases to build the required dialogue with your suppliers and get to know them better.
In a previous article, Amer spoke of a very embarrassing situation in which he was put in a very awkward position with regard to packaging.
This is also another reason to always sample your products; you aren’t only sampling the product itself, but the customer experience, which will reflect onto your business.
It is worth mentioning that AliExpress is not the only place to dropship from.
Yes, many of the tutorials and articles you may have looked at may focus on them, but it isn’t the only platform out there.
There are lots of ‘premium' dropshipping suppliers that are located in regions like the US and Europe that can offer fast delivery times to your customers. On average, they charge about $29 per month.
For more, check out our list of the best dropshipping suppliers!
Branding is a very important element of your business that truly impacts how your customers will initially perceive your business, and it could potentially determine whether that visit results in a conversion or not.
Not only will you need a logo to go onto your store, but also social media activity for your social proof.
You can use tools like Shopify's Hatchful logo generator, which generally gets the job done for free:
If you are looking for a more professional outcome, you can outsource this on a platform such as Fiverr or Upwork. This can usually cost between $5 to $100; just remember that you get what you pay for.
To start dropshipping, you usually need a few apps that make your life a lot easier.
Think about an order tracking and mailing list app, which are often considered essential.
The good news is most of these apps either have a free trial period or access to limited features within their app for free.
Paid versions of these apps generally cost between $10 to $30 per month.
There are also others to consider, such as image compression, currency/language switchers, and SEO optimization apps.
If you’re going to use Shopify for your dropshipping store, then you can check out this article here which contains both free and paid options for every app that you need!
Whilst Shopify and WooCommerce both offer free themes, the premium themes make your store stand out from the others and also have some cool built-in features that the free ones don’t provide.
The price of premium themes can vary from $50 to $500.
If you have the budget to buy a premium theme, then we would strongly recommend one; however, if you have a low budget, the free themes work just fine.
If you're wondering now what the best themes are, then check out the articles below:
- 10 Best Shopify Dropshipping Themes in 2023
- 10 Best Free Shopify Themes for Your Online Store in 2023
Is it possible to offer fast delivery times now?
So, you've probably heard a common complaint about dropshipping: slow delivery times.
A few years back, this was a real struggle. The time taken for a product to reach the customer was one of the biggest deterrents for many would-be dropshippers, leading to plenty of customer complaints and difficult-to-manage expectations.
But guess what? Things have changed, and they've changed for the better.
Fast forward to 2023, and the dropshipping market looks vastly different. Now, with the emergence of local suppliers like Spocket, Syncee, and AppScenic, sluggish delivery times are becoming a thing of the past.
Take AppScenic, for example. It's a platform that connects dropshippers to thousands of suppliers, most of which are located in the US and Europe.
This geographical proximity to the target market means your customers can receive their orders in as little as 2-5 days. Amazing, right?
So, is it possible to offer fast delivery times in dropshipping today? Absolutely!
Can you start a profitable dropshipping store in 2023?
If you're thinking about launching your dropshipping store this year, you're probably wondering, “Is it even possible to start a profitable dropshipping business in 2023?”
Well, let us reassure you right away – it's a resounding YES.
But there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
First and foremost, adjust your mindset. Success in dropshipping – or in any business, for that matter – doesn't happen overnight. Dropshipping requires patience, dedication, and a willingness to learn.
You're likely to encounter bumps along the road, but that's okay. Every misstep is an opportunity to learn and improve. Cultivate a growth mindset and treat every challenge as a chance to become better.
Next, strive to be unique. With so many dropshipping businesses popping up, it's crucial that your store stands out from the crowd.
Don't just sell products; sell a unique experience, sell a solution, sell a lifestyle. This could be in the form of offering unique products, customizing your offerings, or even excelling in customer service.
Find a niche that aligns with your passion and knowledge, and go all in!
While dropshipping is an accessible business model with relatively low startup costs, don't overlook the small costs that can add up.
These might seem insignificant, but when unaccounted for, they can slowly eat into your profit margins!
So, roll up your sleeves, immerse yourself in the dropshipping world, and start creating your success story today!
Before we go to the final verdict, we've created a quick summary of this article for you, so you can easily remember it:
- Pros of dropshipping include low initial capital, location independence, wide product selection, scalability, and ease of learning.
- Cons include low control over product quality, shipping complications, high competition, low profit margins, and dependence on third-party suppliers.
- Despite high competition, dropshipping's low entry barrier makes it a viable business option.
- A minimum of $500 is recommended to start dropshipping in 2023, covering costs such as domain, ecommerce platform, advertising, and product samples.
- You can achieve fast delivery times in 2023, thanks to local supplier platforms like Spocket, Syncee, and AppScenic.
So, after all this information, you're probably excited to hear our final verdict:
Final Verdict: Yes, dropshipping is worth it in 2023. It's a versatile business model that requires low initial capital, offers location independence, and opens the door to selling a wide selection of products without holding them in stock.
However, success isn't guaranteed.
The days of picking a random product on AliExpress, running some Facebook ads, and making the insane figures they tell you about on YouTube are pretty much over.
You'll need to differentiate yourself with a unique product offering, pay close attention to small costs, and maintain a growth mindset to become profitable.
We wish you a lot of success on this exciting journey!
Want to learn more about dropshipping?
Ready to move your dropshipping store to the next level? Check out the articles below: