Learning how to Sell Using a Dropshipper
Unless you have a regular client/customer base list that offers enough items to sell to make consistent money every month, you may want to consider another option.
How much money would you like to make? If part time income of only a few hundred dollars a month is all you want, private selling is good. You could even expand your business later on to teaching eBay workshops at your local community center. Some community centers only offer volunteer services though, so you would have to call around and do some research.
When my mother and I held our workshop at the seniors center, it was $50 a person for the 4 hour course. We had an average of 4-8 students per session. The contract we had was for half per person. On average our day was $60 each or $15/hr. We wrote up a lesson plan based on some of the eBay tutorials and a manual from an eBay course we had bought ($100), and distributed copies every month. The community center allowed us to use their copier so we didn't even have to pay for paper and ink.
Once in the sessions, we ran through all the steps, helping them setuptheir eBay accounts, Paypal accounts, and practicing bidding. We then showed them how to list an item, and put it on their Watch list so they could track the progress for the week until it ended. Then we had one of our own items that had just been sold available to show them how to print out the shipping label from Paypal, package the product and ship it. It is a little harder to show certain things with a one day course.
We did have a class set up that ran for 5 weeks, one day a week. Through that we were able to allow them to sell something themselves and ship it out. One of our prize classmates had an Eskimo soapstone sculpture that she had purchased from a garage sale in 1987 for .25c. She added a really colorful description for the item and had very detailed photos, even showing the artist's signature enscribed on the bottom. Since she was not expecting much for it, and since she had paid so little, her opening bid was set at $1.00.
She had done some research to see what other stones like hers were selling for and felt she was offering a deal. The beginning of the week was slow. It was at $13 by the Wednesday. Friday was our class, and the auction was scheduled to be over around 11am. When she came into class she was excited. The bidding had gone up to over $200. By the closing time she had a final bid of $320!!!!!
Now that was an awesome experience for her. She was hooked. She rushed home to see what other goodies she could sell. Some things do not sell. I remember when I first started. I listed around 10 items. I sold one. I made $5. Other times, I messed up the shipping calculations, and lost a few dollars. That is why research is important. Weight is important. If I had gone to the post office before listing it and found out exactly what it would cost to ship, I may have saved some money. But that is how we learn.
Also, researching to see what items people are looking for is key. My first month, before I properly learned how to keyword research, I had an eBay bill of $150. I had earned $45. Not a good ratio, but exactly what I needed to get myself learning everything I could. That is when I discovered the option of drop-shipping.
Drop-shipping definition: An arrangement whereby a mail-order or Internet merchant accepts orders for products, and then pays a manufacturer or distributor to ship the product to the customer. Have you ever sold Avon, or Mary Kay products? You get a catalog, go around door to door, or to your friends and family, round up some orders, send in the order form to the company and the company sends you the products to give to your customers. You earn a commission and do it all over again.
With the explosion of the Internet, a lot of big companies have seen the benefit in this idea. Now, you sign up with them to be a reseller, use their pictures and descriptions to put on your own website or auction listings.When people order from you, you take the money, place the order with the drop-shipper and they will mail the order out to your customer with only your information.
They give you a wholesale price, and a suggested retail price. You decide on the final price to charge (usually somewhere in between) and the difference is your profit (commission). Example: Vista Wholesalers offers a Winnie the Pooh fleece blanket up for sale. Vista is charging $9.25 to me for the product. Suggested retail price is $34.99. I go online and start researching others who are selling this product. The range of prices for sale is $15-$30. I decide that I should sell it for $20. Vista has a shipping calculator, so I punch in some zip codes and postal codes to find out pricing for American and Canadian shipping.
Someone buys my blanket. The $20 plus shipping is put into my Paypal account. Once I have seen that is cleared, I place the order with Vista, and pay the $9.25 plus shipping to them. They then ship the item to my customer under my name. I have just made $10.75.
There are more and more companies coming up online stating that they are true manufacturers who drop-ship for you when really they are "middle men". They deal directly with the manufacturer, get their low cost, and then give you a cost that allows you to still make a profit, just not as big as you could if you dealt direct.
If you want to sell items but are not sure how to setup a website, and add products, there is a good company that provides you with the means to. Shopster offers products, a website you can design with your own logo and their templates, and web hosting for the cost of $29.95 per month.
The Shopster warehouse makes available over 900,000 drop-ship products ranging from electronics, children toys, books, sporting equipment, clothing, and accessories. Their world class system provides retailers the functionality to sell through online auctions like eBay or other online storefronts. There is a $99.00 setup fee. It is an easy to use system. You find an item you want to sell in their warehouse listing, click on it and add to inventory. It is populated on your site.
You can then go into your control panel and create categories, change, edit, delete. They offer a 7 day free trial. During the holiday season they offer 3 months free. This is a great way for the new beginner to start.You don't have to try to figure out how to setup a website by adding products manually. Trust me, I have done it both ways. This saves a lot of hours and headaches. There is a complete tutorial of how to design and create your website so it becomes uniquely your own. You set the prices depending on how much money you want to make profit for each item.
Remember to do your research first before you price things. You can choose to have it automatically set on a percentage of low, medium, or high and the system will do it for you, or you can set the price manually yourself for the exact amount you want to charge.
Go here now and give it a try: Shopster trial
With the Shopster option once you have loaded it into your site, the program itself will state "out of stock" when it is not available. Also, since Shopster is a drop-shipper, once a customer has ordered from you, your job is done. You also don't have to deal with trying to figure out shipping costs for all locations since it is pre-programmed into the Shopster software system. You don't have to handle money and then place orders individually to another company. If they order off your site, it goes to Shopster, and at the end of the month, Shopster sends you your profits (commissions).
Shopster is now integrated with eBay. If you still want to setup auctions, you can do that through your control panel. Web hosting can costs from $9.95-$20.00 a month. Then there are all the man hours of finding a good drop-shipper, signing up for their account, deciding what products to use, then copy and paste of all pictures and descriptions to post into the site builder of your own website. Of course you could just post them on auctions. But that is an ongoing thing every week.
You could sign up for one of their stores, the basic eBay store costs $15.95 a month plus .30c a month per listing. eBay does provide a lot of traffic, you can create your own logo and business presence, but still have to do the finding of the products, and posting them. Then you have to keep tabs every month to ensure the products are still available.