Being a fashion entrepreneur does not necessarily mean that you have to be a fashion designer. While the market is filled with fashion designers, there are other aspects of fashion entrepreneurship like fashion retailing.
Dropshipping is a form of fashion retailing that does not require you to have a physical store where you stock products. In fact, with dropshipping, you do not even have to have the items you wish to sell at hand.
In this video, Beth Fayemi shares on how to start and successfully run a dropshipping business in Nigeria.
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is the process of advertising and selling products that you do not have in stock to customers. There are two types of dropshipping:
- Product Reselling.
- Business Extension.
Product Reselling: This is when your customer pays you for a fashion product, you go to buy from your supplier, and then ship it to your customer. In this type of dropshipping, the fashion product goes through you.
Business Extension: This is when your customer order fashion products from you but your supplier ships it directly to them without you having any contact with the product. You customer receives the products without knowing it was not sent directly from you.
This method is ideal for fashion entrepreneurs that are in a location that is not convenient for shipping and for those who do not want to go through the stress of logistics.
How to Run Both Types of Dropshipping Business in Nigeria
1. Do your Research
Research is key in every business. You should research on;
- The viability of the market. How viable is the market for the fashion product you wish to sell? Will it sell or be a waste of time and resources?
- The number of suppliers of the product. Are there enough suppliers of the fashion product you intend to sell? You have to research on this because sometimes your supplier might run out of stock of the product and your customers need it. So, it is important to make sure you have multiple options to choose from.
- The competitors in the business. How well are they forging on? Are there any competitors in the market? Is it a business you can thrive in as a new entrant?
- The quality of the fashion products you wish to sell. There might be numerous suppliers of this product so you have to be sure which one sells good quality products.
Research on anything and everything that has to do with your business because research really would save you.
Not doing your research can put you in a bad light with your customers. Imagine you sell bags and the supplier promises you that the bags are genuine leather only for you to drop ship it to your customer and find out that the bag began to peel after just 3 months. This will make you look like a dishonest seller to your customers.
Research on various prices to be sure that a supplier is not delivering to you at a very high price when you can get it from another supplier that will deliver the same quality products to you at a lower price.
2. Haggle/Negotiate With your Supplier
After you have done your research and you are sure that you still want to delve into the business, the next thing to do is to haggle. You are going to haggle from supplier to supplier to negotiate prices with them.
Tell them you are doing dropshipping and you will like to work with them, then let them tell you their prices for working with them. While some suppliers will give you their fashion products at a discounted price, others will not because you are buying in pieces from them and not in bulk.
Never be too shy to negotiate prices with your supplier because negotiation can cut you really good deals with some of them.
Always negotiate and haggle price with your supplier because you need to make a profit. In dropshipping, the profit you get might be small because you are not the supplier and you are not buying in bulk so negotiation puts you in a position to make something for yourself.
It is recommended that you get 3 to 5 suppliers for the fashion product you wish to sell. This is to ensure that you do not get disappointed when one supplier runs out of stock on the item.
3. Collect Good Quality Visuals from your Suppliers
This is a very obvious and important point because if you are selling something to your customers you need to have pictures or videos to show them. Make sure your suppliers give you top quality pictures and videos.
Top-quality because that is what will appeal to your customers. For instance, even if you want to sell a bag that is N3,000, ask your supplier to send an image that makes the bag look like it costs N20,000. This will appeal to your customers and make them want to buy from you.
4. Set Up your Online Platform
Here, we will focus on selling on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media platform you might choose to use.
In setting up your online platform, you can set up a lunch date to inform your family and friends about the date you intend to launch your dropshipping business. You should tell them to tell their friends and everyone they know to follow the page just to make people anticipate your launch.
Create anticipation for what you are about to sell.
Ahead of time, you can post pictures and video of things you intend to sell so people know what you are bringing to them.
5. Start Selling
Now, it is time to sell products. For starters, you shouldn’t sell on every platform at once because it can get very overwhelming, and trying to manage everything at once might not work. Just choose one platform to start with and focus on it.
Since you are a drop shipper, you need to do strong advertising for your products because you want people to trust you and come to you. Let people see that you are there and they need to buy from you.
When people start to trust you and buy from you, take good pictures and make good videos before you ship out their items. You might feel like you already have pictures from your suppliers so you do not need to do this but you do.
The pictures you take by yourself are to be used to create your image on your page. The pictures your suppliers have given you are the same ones they will give to every other person that comes to them for dropshipping so you need to take your pictures.
You have to make your page stand out from others so people are sure that you are not trying to scam them. This point stands for those that are product reselling and not for those that are doing the business extension because the latter will not get to touch the products at all.
6. Build your Customers Trust
As a drop shipper, you need to build the trust your customers have in you. If the business is moving slow, it might be that people do not trust you enough to buy from you.
How can you build their trust?
If you are selling on a platform like Instagram where there are so many scams, people are generally afraid to give their money to sellers.
1. Show your Face
One way to build trust is by showing your face on Instagram. This is because people tend to trust people they can see, so, you cannot afford to be anonymous on your page.
Make videos, let them know that you are the owner of the page and the business because it will make people trust you. This will form a form of online connection between you and potential customers.
2. Get Customer Feedback
Another way to build trust is to get feedback from customers you sell to. Ask your customers to send feedback to you so you can post it on your page and use it to advertise to others.
Politely let them know you are new and trying to get more sales then you can ask them to tag you when they wear the fashion product they have ordered from you. Ask if you can tag them on your page and so on. While some customers will not want to be tagged, others will not mind.
When others see the people have bought from you, your business will begin to pick up speed.
Building trust can be a lot of work but dropshipping on its own is a lot of work, trusting people to pay you is also a lot of work but you have to put in that work if you want to be successful.
Consistency and hard work pay. Before you know it, you might become a manufacturer or store owner from your dropshipping business.
Dropshipping is not a hard business to grow but it does require a lot of dedication, as all other businesses do. So, if you wish to sell fashion products without having to manufacture them yourself, dropshipping is something you should consider.