15 Common Dropshipping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them as a Beginner

1. Do your research with paid advertising

For many dropshipping beginners, you will be focused on using Facebook ads to drive traffic to your store. It’s important to understand the different campaigns, adets and objectives.

When I first started dropshipping, I made the mistake of setting up my Facebook Ads campaign objective around Traffic.

I was getting a significant number of visitors to my store each day.

I was spending $20 a day even scaling my budget to $50 a day to see if I can make a small return just to break even at this point.

However, I did not make a single sale… Why is that?

The traffic that was coming from Facebook wasn’t targeted at people who are actively shopping online. I was literally pouring money down the drain and feeding Facebook’s wallet.

I recommend playing around with the Facebook ads dashboard to familiarize yourself with the platform before investing your money in paid ads.

YouTube and blog articles are great resources to educate yourself. Keep your budget small if you’re a beginner. 

To be successful with paid ads, you will have to test, test and test to find out what works best for you. 

You can increase your ad budget when you scale winning ad sets. 

2. Selling Tradmarked Products

Selling trademarked products on your store is a recipe for disaster. 

There are hundreds of products you can find on Aliexpress with Star Wars, Rick and Morty and Harry Potter designs and branding.  

These products are much easier to sell since the brands are already established with a passionate fan base.

However, selling these trademarked products on your store may get you into some trouble. 

When I first started out with dropshipping, I use to sell anime related products that were trademarked on my store.

Things were going well until Shopify payments, Stripe, PayPal and Facebook banned me from using their services. Just like that, I was wiped out.

Even though making sales was easy, it’s really not worth the headache. At the time, it was very unfortunate but it was a great lesson learnt. 

An easy way for beginners to find products to sell is to look for products that are problem solvers. 

3. Always Test New Ads

Facebook is constantly being updated with new ways to display ads on their platform.

Testing new ads will help optimize your adsets to find what works best for your store and your customers. It also keeps your brand fresh by using new ad creatives. 

Have a look at small and big brands to find inspiration. Analyze their copywriting and visual elements. Are people commenting, sharing and liking the ad?

Right now, if you check your Facebook feed and engage with an ad, I guarantee you will see a different version of that ad targeting you again. 

That’s because they are constantly trying new ads to see what makes the most ROI. 

Knowing which ads works best for your customers will allow you to make better decisions when you invest in paid advertising. 

4. Wrong Expectations

Most dropshipping beginners expect to make thousands of dollars by running $5 Facebook adsets. 

I’m not going to lie, I thought it was going to be easy at the start but I was wrong. 

Dropshipping is a business and you will have to treat it like a real business to see the right results.

Many marketing gurus make dropshipping sound easy so that people will buy their courses. 

The hard truth is, most of these gurus don’t make their money from dropshipping but from selling people their courses.

There’s a saying, when there is a gold rush, sell shovels. 

5. Giving up to soon

Similar to the previous point, if you have the wrong expectations from the start, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. 

Many beginners give up too early in their dropshipping journey and claim dropshipping is a scam or its “dead”.

There can be a variety of reasons why your store isn’t converting the way you want it to. It can also be your ad sets and how your marketing your products.

To make any business work, whether its a traditional brick and mortar or online store, you will have to focus, be determined and persistent in order to achieve success. 

6. Spending too much time deciding between a general and niche store

There’s going to be mixed opinions about starting with a general store versus a niche store.

If you’re a beginner, I highly recommend you start off with a general store so that you have the opportunity to test multiple products from different niches.

Once you find a winning product, you can branch out and start another store around that niche. 

This is where you can scale your dropshipping business by ordering in bulk and letting a fulfillment center process your orders. 

As a result, you will have your own branded products and more control over shipping times. 

7. Know your audience

Understanding who your customers are will help you target the right people who would benefit the most from purchasing your products or services. 

Knowing these small details about your customers will help you create marketing content that resonates with their pain points thus easier to convert them on your store. 

This also helps with lowering your adspend when your ads are placed in front of the right people.

8. Poor customer support

This is a common problem I see many dropshippers fail to get right.

They are too focused with making sales and ignore their customers who are asking questions or making a complaint about their recent order.

If you have a Facebook page for your store, please communicate with your customers like talking to a friend and avoid copying and pasting your product page URL when it’s not relevant to the customers enquiry. 

9. Having the wrong mindset

I get it, you started a dropshipping business to make money. But if you’re constantly chasing the money, you will eventually burn out and lose interest in your business.

Use your dropshipping business as an opportunity to help solve your customers’ pain points. Promote high quality products and be passionate about your customer service.

When I changed my mindset from wanting to make money to helping and providing value for my customers, it kept me motivated and more focused with my dropshipping business. 

10. Find trustworthy suppliers

There are thousands of suppliers on Aliexpress and it can be a bit overhwelming finding the right ones to rely on.

Don’t make the mistake of choosing any supplier and finding out later they haent shipped out your customers orders or become silent when you try to contact them.

Here are a few things I look for when selecting a vendor or supplier to work with:

  • Are they responsive to your questions?
  • Are the products high quality? (Check past customer reviews or order the product to test for yourself just to make sure)
  • Do they ship on time and honor their refund and return policy?
  • How old is their store and what is their overall rating?
  • Do they have high quality images?
  • Do they have related products for upsells?

It’s always a good idea to build a relationship with your supplier so that you can do business with them long term. You can also negotiate prices and even faster shipping times. 

11. Be clear with your Shipping and Handling details

Its important to display your shipping and handling times throughout your store and product pages. 

You don’t want a customer to freak out when they haven’t received their order in a few days. 

Being transparent and upfront will reduce the number of emails from ing from angry customers asking about their package. 

You can offer your customers a flat rate shipping price to make it easier for you and your customers.

12. Not enough branding

You want your brand to be seen throughout your store to increase brand loyalty and retain more customers long term.

Avoid using colors or fonts that does not match your branding. I have seen many stores use bright fluro colors with fonts that make is very difficult to read text on their store.

Make sure you have a high quality logo on your homepage and checkout page to ensure your brand is seen throughout the shopping experience. 

Some suppliers also offer custom packaging and branded packing slips printed with your logo. 

You can also send a follow up email to say thank you and ask the customer to fill out a survey about their shopping experience.

13. Supplier Marketing Material

When a customer places an order on your store, it is your duty to make sure you process the order as soon as possible to avoid any delays. 

One thing you should not forget is to leave a little note for the supplier to not include their own marketing material when they ship your customers package. 

You don’t want to confuse your customers or raise any red flags when they open up their package.

14. Not optimizing for Mobile

Many beginners focus on optimizing their store on desktop but forget to optimize for mobile devices. 

They often use images that are too big which takes forever to load on smaller devices. Let’s not forget about the plugins and extra apps that need to load every time a user refreshes the page.

Since you will be using Facebook to run ads, most of your customers will be viewing your store on mobile.

If you’re on a budget at the start you can opt of a free Shopify theme that works pretty decent for both desktop and mobile. 

But if you have some extra cash, I highly recommend investing in a premium theme and I guarantee it will make a huge difference in improving your store’s user experience on desktop and mobile.

Most premium themes include marketing plugins that will help you save money long-term compared to using a standard theme and installing apps which you have to pay a monthly fee to use. 

This can quickly add up and affect your profits. 

15. Be clear with your refund and return policy

Be organized and have a system in place to handle refunds and returns. It’s important to work with trustworthy suppliers and selecting high quality products to minimize your returns and refund rate. 

You can state in your store’s policy that you do not offer any returns on items that are on sale. 

If they are very unsatisfied with their purchase, just refund their money, no questions asked. 

Sometimes you will have to take a loss and move on as it’s not worth dealing with an aggressive customer.

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