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Case Study

How to Start a Dropshipping Business: A Successful Dropshipper Story

By
Guest Post - AMZScout

If you want to learn about dropshipping, it's best to stick with those who have experience. Amy Hunt is the ultimate example of this.

As one of the original dropshippers, she started before dropshipping was called dropshipping. She also has dropshipping experience without using the dropshipping tools of the modern era. 

Below, we will provide you with everything you need to know about applying her experience. Keep reading if you want to know how to start a successful dropshipping business. 

About Amy and How She Got Started

Amy Hunt from Home Business Expert started in the early 2000s as someone selling excess items from around her house. She began her sales during the apex of eBay. Amy didn't have any prior experience in sales . 

She started during an era when dropshipping wasn't popular. There were almost no people on YouTube talking about it, making her a pioneer of the industry. 

Her decision to start selling during 2001 was one of necessity. Her daughter was born with a disease requiring special food. Her story is an inspiration that reminds us that mothers can make a living while staying at home. 

In 2003, she expanded to include Amazon, selling products on behalf of a friend struggling to understand the platform. Back then, Amazon was still primarily known as a book-selling platform. 

Today, she uses that experience to grow her Shopify store. After the first month of finding the right set of analytical tools, she made nearly $3000 the following month.

How to do Product Research (From Amy's Experience)

When dropshipping, you need a product with good sales potential. Below, we will show you how you can use Amy’s proven process.

Ways to do Product Research 

Success comes down to using data with almost any dropshipping business model. You can find a lot of this data across Ecommerce analytical tools. Here are some tools you can use:

  • Third-Party Analytical Tools - The usage of Ecommerce-specific tools expedites the data research process. It collects and maintains historical data to identify success metrics more easily.
  • Google Trends - This tells the consistency and search volume of potential products.
  • Amazon and Walmart - Using the best sellers category within narrow product niches can help you identify new successes. The Movers & Shakers category on Amazon offers excellent potential for trending product ideas.
  • Social Media - Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are full of influencers and trending topics revolving around the latest products. Using these available sources might help you find products that work. 

Amy used AMZScout, an Ecommerce tool that is specific to Amazon. Despite it being specific to Amazon, it contains a lot of data you can use with other stores. Amy used this tool to sell on Amazon and Shopify.

Using the correct data brought Amy a first-month earnings level of nearly $2,900 on Shopify. So, despite having specific tools for Amazon or Shopify, Amy’s experience shows that successful Ecommerce doesn’t change with the platform. 

What Makes a Product More Likely to Succeed?

To find products that will most likely be successful, you need to pay attention to specific analytical pieces. To see more about these pieces, you need to ask these questions:

  • How many people are already selling the product? If the same particular product is already sold by many sellers, it might be too competitive.
  • Can you make money off of your product? Ideally, it would help to look for a per-product profit margin of at least $5 to $10. 
  • Who do you want to sell it to? Targeting a specific customer will enable you to market your product better. It is easier to sell if you have a particular target (a buyer persona). 
  • How many people are likely to buy it? Having high sales will depend heavily on the number of people searching for it. Ideally, you'll want to look for at least ten thousand potential searches. 

Amy describes one of her greatest struggles as being afraid to take risks. Without asking the right questions and having specific answers, the process quickly becomes challenging.

The more data you can get, the more likely you'll run into a success. By asking many of the questions seen above, you will reduce your chances of failure.

How Does Amy Source Products? 

Initially, Amy had a friend she worked with to get the products she would sell on Amazon. Once that friend retired, she had to learn about product sourcing by herself. 

Eventually, she moved on to a combination of print suppliers, custom products, and various foreign and local manufacturers. Like many sellers, she uses sites like Alibaba to get the ball rolling. 

Here are some tips you can use when finding good product sources:

  • Be sure to order a sample from the manufacturer before deciding to go with them. It is easier to handle product quality if you check for negative feedback beforehand. 
  • Try to stick with lightweight and small items to reduce shipping costs. 
  • For non-dropshippers, order in bulk so that you can reduce the wholesale price. However, never order so much that you need to pay a storage fee, if possible.
  • Pick a dropshipping niche you have a bit of experience and passion for. The more you know, the better off you will be if a customer service issue arises. 
  • Be sure to stick with reputable dropshipping suppliers on sites like Spocket.

What Can Amy Recommend for New Sellers?

For new sellers, there are a couple of things worth recommending:

First, new sellers will struggle more with Shopify. The primary bonus of using a site like Amazon is bringing customers to you. You can also apply this logic to sites like eBay. When using these online marketplaces, focusing on keyword research lets you train one skill. 

Starting a store via a website takes extra work, often requiring you to start your business from scratch with more steps. Often, new sellers lack the resources to get through these steps, especially when Shopify starts charging that first monthly payment. While you should plan on shifting to Shopify, starting there isn't a great move for a newbie.

Second, to reduce risks, you need to use analytical tools. Amy's Shopify wasn’t immediately successful.It took some trial and error.  An Ecommerce business can be challenging, but it is essential to learn from your failure. 

Amy learned from this short-term issue by returning to using her strong data-driven systems. In Amy's case, it was an analytical tool to find products. 

She took the data from AMZScout and applied it. This is exceptionally important as you run into the much more challenging environment of Shopify. 

Third, you'll need to decide on a product that feels right. While it is much easier for you to use these third-party tools to find products that work, you need to start somewhere.

Many new sellers are too nervous when it comes to getting started with new products. They make the mistake of focusing so much on the research, that the opportunity is gone by the time they start selling. 

So find a few aspects that encourage you and stick with what feels right. If you trust your sources and start selling based on what works, you won't miss your opportunities. 

Following Amy's Path, How Dropshipping Has Changed Her Life

Overall, Amy's life has completely changed with dropshipping. At the time, it was a way to continue taking care of her family while bringing in income. 

Today, it's a consistent reminder that she is her own boss. Being in control over her schedule allows her to go out and do things she wants. It allows her to spend time with her family.

Through a lot of hard and thoughtful work, Amy has built an empire of working shops. With a constant urge for growth, Amy's stores continue to make her a good deal of money. 

As she continues to grow, Amy plans on putting more effort into her Shopify store. She also plans on expanding the work she puts into her YouTube channel. 

Conclusion

Amy's example provides us with quite a bit of inspiration to go off of. By taking this experience to heart, you can avoid the mistakes of early dropshippers. 

Amy started when it wasn't as easy for everyone to get involved. However, modern dropshipping offers millions of products with a lot of data. Finding something that works for you is easier than you might think. 

Today is the right time to pursue your dropshipping dreams. Use Spocket for the ultimate integration system, so you can get trending products on your storefront today.  


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Guest Post - AMZScout

The AMZScout Corp. was established in 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a vision of helping struggling Amazon sellers get a handle on the market, minimize product launch risks, and grow a sustainable income. AMZScout became a multinational company with a mission of helping Amazon sellers increase their profits by providing them with accurate market data for investment decisions.

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