What is dropshipping? Is it really profitable
18 Dropshipping Mistakes: Successful Store Owners Share Their Most Memorable Mistakes
There are many dropshipping success stories - and that's a good thing. But hardly anyone talks about the many dropshipping mistakes that lurk on the road to success. Want to change that with this article.
Sure, success is cool and inspiring - but what about failure? Sometimes it's nice to know that when starting a business and all the challenges that come with it, you're not all alone.
It's not just newbies who make mistakes. If you dig deep enough, you will find that behind the fast cars, the fancy watches, and the huge self-confidence of the most successful shop owners, there are some (and sometimes quite large) dropshipping mistakes.
Today they put the cards on the table and provide an insight into their often bumpy path to success. We asked 18 successful entrepreneurs to share their most memorable dropshipping mistakes.
What should be avoided when doing dropshipping? From huge sums of money spent on Facebook advertising with the wrong link to hair-raising problems with suppliers, today we learn what can go wrong in the life of a dropshipper. There are also helpful tips that you can use to avoid making the same mistake. So let's get into our dropshipping guide of a different kind:
Don't wait for someone else to do it. Set yourself up and take the reins in hand.Start for free
Beer + Facebook Ads = 😬
Today Chris Wane is a seasoned Facebook Ads expert. But back when he was just starting out, over-confidence and alcohol ("the cause and solution of all life's problems") made a hugely memorable dropshipping mistake. That happened:
Not long after I started making a decent profit, but before I really fully understood the subject of Facebook advertising, I decided to launch a brand new product on a Saturday morning. To do this, I hired 50 different ad groups at £ 50 a day each. So I planned with a total of £ 2,500 a day trial! I was such a fool.
My thought behind it was, “I know what I'm doing, this product is going to be a winner. I just have to spend more and will take more accordingly. ”How wrong I was.
To make matters worse, I went on this day for a friend's birthday, which was supposed to go on all day boozy. So I just wanted to see from time to time whether things were going well. If not, my plan was, I could just pause the ad groups. So no big deal.
The problem was, the party quickly got out of hand (there was a lot of beer, a lot of beer) that I completely forgot to check my ads. The next day, when I woke up hungover and found that I hadn't been monitoring my ad account, I felt sick
In total, I'd spent over $ 3,100 on ads and made only 10 sales ... a loss of over $ 2,900.
I quickly learned that spending more doesn't always mean more income. Fortunately, I had other products that were profitable. Still, it hurt, very painful.
The moral of the story: Don't run expensive campaigns when you want to go partying.
Dropshipping Mistake: Don't let yourself be nipped into a niche
Today Harry Coleman's success is so legendary that he calls himself the "Beast of Ecom". But when he started he found himself in a situation that many dropshippers know all too well. Below you will find out what happened, how he found his way out and what, from his point of view, should definitely belong in a guide for dropshipping.
My biggest dropshipping mistake came from my very first shop. It was a niche shop. I sold nail products and the website was completely pink. So I was severely limited in terms of the products that I could effectively sell. I then spent $ 800 on ads and made only one sale. The whole thing was so limited to that one niche that I couldn't test any other products that I saw as potential winners. So I stopped everything and opened a general shop.
From this I learned that if I started all over again, I would always rely on a more general shop. So I am not restricted in terms of possible product tests, which would definitely be the case in a niche shop that only sells a certain type of product.
Sometimes you should NOT trust your gut feeling
Like so many successful entrepreneurs, Yuanda Wang is a very logical person. He's very rational about his business and carefully evaluates the data before making a decision. That was not always the case, however. He had to learn the hard way that instinct can sometimes be deceiving.
My most memorable dropshipping mistake came about from being too greedy and not following the numbers. I chose one Influencer post on a large meme page, although the numbers suggested the action wasn't going to be profitable. The account had a lot of followers, I think about 10 million. They asked me to pay $ 1,500 for a post, which only generated $ 800 in gross income. That meant I lost a lot of money after purchasing the goods and after deducting the fees.
I've learned that when doing business you shouldn't rely on intuition - you should always listen to the data. If the numbers are right then just do it. It does not matter whether it is a shoutout or even the decision for or against the sale of a certain product. Your gut feeling may help you in other situations, but often in business situations it will cost you a lot of money.
Dropshipping error: Horror in the shipping process
For their first shop, dropshipping newcomer Allanah decided to take advantage of the spooky season with a Halloween shop. After her first sale, she was still on cloud nine when a customer asked about a ring she saw in an ad. The horror started with what happened next.
I had posted the ring with a discount code on Instagram and could see that it generated traffic but no sales. I was frustrated but thought people were just curious and then clicked away. Then I got this message from a customer in the US who said she was having problems with the order.
I realized that while I was building my shop I had set up a new shipping profile to offer free shipping to the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. At that point, I had imported some products into my store, but not all of them. So while the existing products in my shop were added to this shipping profile, all newly imported products (such as the ring) were added to the general profile.
Unfortunately, I hadn't set any tariffs for the general profile, so the system assumed that we wouldn't send these products at all.
This meant that potential buyers could add the item to their cart and provide their shipping information, including choosing which of the five countries the product should be shipped to. However, in the next step, the shipping section, they were told that shipping cannot be offered.
I then quickly fixed the problem and passed the information on to the Instagram user, who actually placed an order. Obviously it was good to get the sale. Even so, the realization that this dropshipping error went completely unnoticed until the Instagram user contacted her was quite frustrating. In the end I was lucky. How often do you contact a website owner if you discover a bug in their shop? As good as never before!
Pro tip: Avoid this dropshipping mistake and find out how to set up your shipping profiles correctly.
Wait a minute ... where is the influence?
When friends Marc and Noah first heard about influencer marketing, it seemed like an easy and effective way to get their products out there. But when they started working with influencers, they made a mishap that should quickly teach them a hard lesson.
We saw that many dropshippers rely on the reach of influencers for shoutouts or product advertising. Since it apparently worked for others, we wanted to test it too.
So we tried a few collaborations with influencers in different niches, most of them with around 50,000 - 150,000 followers. We paid between 100 and 300 euros per post, but none of it worked. Our return on ad spend (ROAS) averaged 0.7 to 1.3 for influencers, while we always achieve a ROAS of 1.5 to 2.7 for our own Instagram campaigns and Facebook ads.
Our experience has shown that influencers are not worthwhile for dropshippers unless you have an established brand and want to scale even further. Influencers are much better able to promote things that are already working and merely expand the spectrum of Addressing target groups. You have to be willing to spend larger sums of money on influencers, who also represent a greater risk than, for example, Facebook advertising.
Dropshipping mistake: sales go up, credit goes down?
Today, Yuliya and Mike are proud owners of a seven-figure e-commerce business. In the beginning, however, they were on the verge of quitting and faced a tough battle to bring their shop back to profitability. They tell us how this could happen and give valuable tips on dropshipping.
Our biggest dropshipping mistake was that we were pretty blind for the first six months of business and didn't know how much money we were making. We just roughly calculated our profit in our heads and thought we were actually making good money. But then we looked into our bank accounts and asked ourselves: "Where is all the money actually?"
We spent a lot on ads and tried to get out of this mess. This went on until we could no longer afford to continue. I remember saying to ourselves, "Any normal person would stop at this point." We worked around the clock. We literally tried the same things over and over again – and nothing worked. Then we started trying different strategies and finally made it with our backs to the wall.
I wish this was a lesson we learned much faster because it was a very slow, painful failure. But once we really figured out everything, we were able to scale massively and, above all, profitably – and that is the most important thing after all. Profit comes first.
The little difference between success and failure
The dropshipping mistake of the young dropshipper Christoph Filgertshofer was not long ago and is therefore still painful. His story shows how sometimes the smallest details can lead to big problems. Let's see what happened.
My biggest dropshipping mistake happened just a few months ago. I had prepared a huge Facebook marketing campaign for a product relaunch. I had tested the product before and knew the item and advertisement for it would work. So I set everything up and started on a Saturday with a daily budget of 1,000 euros.
I was super excited and looking forward to the first sales after my ads were approved. But nothing happened. I checked the shop for bugs but couldn't find any. Then after 24 hours I had to pull the plug and turn off the displays. I hadn't made a penny in sales, but already wasted € 1,000.
The next day I talked to my team about the failed relaunch and we found the problem. I had used an old link for the product that was no longer live i.e. H. all prospects were directed to a link that was not working.
Invest in quality ... otherwise ...
When you're just starting out and don't have a lot of budget to spend, it can be tempting to choose the most cost-effective product to sell. But as Marcelo learned, you can quickly cut yourself into your own flesh with this strategy.
My first real dropshipping mistake was choosing a supplier whose quality wasn't very good, which in turn left me with a lot of complaints and returns. I made a refund for any customers who complained, which in turn cost me a large portion of my profit. Besides, I wasn't proud of what I was selling.
The product quality of my second supplier was much better than that of the first. I realized that the difference in quality of the same product from different suppliers can be huge. I compared the same item from both suppliers and the difference was clear. My advice is to make sure you are getting the best quality for a reasonable price. With my new supplier, the refunds have decreased significantly. But what is even more important: I am proud of what I sell.
Dropshipping error: Did you double check the address?
Sometimes the smallest mistake can lead to the biggest headache. After a tiny mistake during the ordering process, the beauty dropshipper Sarah found herself in a mishap that would continue to unfold. This is their story.
When I was selling wigs, my supplier couldn't ship to a specific customer's country. So after some back and forth, the customer and I agreed that I would send the item to myself and then to her. The whole process would take 30 days.
I don't know how this could happen to me, but instead of sending the package to myself, I sent it to another customer who had previously ordered. Your address was entered automatically, which I only noticed after the order was shipped. I tried calling the post office and sent more than five emails to this customer explaining the situation to her and offering her a discount code in case she could send the item again.
But even after two weeks I got no answer. So I had to apologize to the customer, who was still waiting, order the wig, send it to myself and then pay extra for the express delivery. The lesson from this experience: Always check that you have entered the correct information before processing an order – this can potentially save you a lot of money and headaches.
Turn customer annoyance into an opportunity
Courtney White, owner of the baby clothing store Finer and Dandy, was so busy building her website, researching products, and finding suppliers that she hadn't taken the time to worry about customer service. Then she faced a mishap that forced her to make a decision that would affect the future of her entire business.
In the beginning, I spent months researching, contacting suppliers, ordering and testing products, and thinking about my item choices. After settling on a couple of reliable suppliers and starting out with great service and fast delivery, some customers suddenly contacted me about pacifier clips that hadn't arrived.
When one of my clients (Adrienne Jennings of @thejenningsgirls) asked where her pacifier clip was, my first instinct was to just clear it up with a refund so I could get on with other things.
That was a defining moment for me. I realized that mine Customer service would be the core identity of my business and was the single most important factor that would give me a tremendous advantage over my competition.
Rather than get rid of the problem as soon as possible, I offered to send her some free products and refund her for the pacifier clip (which ended up being delivered). She was enthusiastic about the articles and asked me to set up a giveaway for Instagram with her.Adrienne's Instagram presence is an influential site in the baby sector, which is why this collaboration gave me a nice boost in followers and engagement.
What could have turned into a disgruntled customer became my most ardent advocate.Today Adrienne is my most reliable partner as the stylist and designer of digital content behind the brand and Instagram presence.
Not putting my customers first was the biggest dropshipping mistake I made in the beginning. Fortunately, the cost of these refunds and free products was only $ 63. However, the lesson I learned was priceless. I took the same approach to every customer interaction as I did with this pacifier clip.
I now work with a very customized customer service that focuses on creating meaningful connections. And that ultimately became the whole core of my brand identity. I am forever grateful for the missing pacifier clip and for how that experience helped take my brand to the next level.
A dropshipping mistake in pricing
When Mike Marino of our social media team wanted to test whether he could make a profit on $ 10 a day on Facebook advertising, his experiment resulted in a spectacular dropshipping bug. And that had nothing to do with advertising and a lot to do with ... price multipliers ?! That happened:
When a product is out of stock on AliExpress, the platform sometimes sets the price of the product to zero before the item is put back into the system. That's just one of the special features of AliExpress.
With global pricing rules in this scenario, a $ 3 product would be priced at $ 9 in your shop. However, that things can go wrong here under certain circumstances, I had to learn the hard way. If a product is temporarily sold out on AliExpress, there may be problems with the multiplier, which will reset the cost to $ 0. And yes, $ 0 times 3 is still ... 0!
This is exactly what happened to me and caused an avalanche of free orders. Far from ideal. This was definitely my biggest dropshipping mistake.
To avoid this, you need to set your price and then your Automatic update settings select the “Do nothing” option. Otherwise, you may be giving away products for free.
Make sure you (actually) get paid for your first sale
Often times, when you're trying to get your first sale, you're so fixated on it that some of the smaller details can be quickly forgotten. The dropshipper Karolis Rimkus reported the following dropshipping experience, which made him sweat for a short time.
When I first opened my store, I wasn't sure which products would work. So I went to popular online forums for runners, read people's stories about bad shorts or terrible headbands, and made suggestions, adding my products here and there.
After a while, this strategy finally worked. But I was a total newbie. Payments were made through Shopify Payments, which was not available in my country. Shopify then actually refunded the customer the entire amount within a week. But it still counts as a sale, doesn't it?
Pro tip:Karolis made this dropshipping mistake so you don't have to. Find out if Shopify Payments is available in your country.
What does the Facebook data really tell you?
Data. For drop shippers, this one word creates both fear and joy. When you know what to do with your data and how to use it properly, you are on an unstoppable path to success. However, if you misinterpret your data, you will quickly find yourself in a situation as delicate as that of successful dropshipping entrepreneur Ryan Carrol.
My biggest dropshipping mistake was simply spending a lot of money on Facebook and not realizing that I was losing money every day. I just didn't look at the data properly. I had spent about $ 5,000 in three months and thought I was making money - but I didn't.
The most important metric to watch out for on Facebook is the cost per purchase. Of course, if your cost per purchase is well above the amount you're selling the product for, you're losing hard cash. So you have to make sure your cost per purchase is below this value, including the cost of the goods.
I should have learned from my mistake early on, stopped the ad groups and just moved on to a new product.
Manage inventory yourself? Not a good idea!
Sales are fantastic. We'll probably all agree on that. But what if you make a sale and you're not even sure you have the product in stock? This is the situation in which Nohealani Cutting from Modern Rustic Home found himself in the first days of their dropshipping shop. That happened:
My biggest dropshipping mistake happened at the beginning. Little did I know I could get and sync inventory from apps like Oberlo. I manually adjusted my entire inventory from various sources and had to manually search through their inventory lists to see if any of my products were out of stock.
Sometimes I missed an article. Customers then ordered something that was no longer available, after which I had to cancel the order. Not only was it embarrassing, but it also made a bad impression on my brand. In these situations we have probably lost loyal customers who would otherwise have bought from us again.
I remember spending hours late at night searching each supplier's website for the correct inventory numbers and updating my inventory. It was extremely stressful and time consuming. When I found services like Oberlo, that saved me dozen of hours a month and of course, annoyance on the part of my customers. I can now use this time for marketing and expanding our customer base.
Make sure suppliers can grow with you
Things went really well for Andreas and Alexander. Your pet supplies shop was running at full speed and generating more orders every day. They were ready to scale up and started increasing their ad spend. But as things took off, problems arose. Soon they found themselves in the middle of a rather gruesome dropshipping scenario that went like this.
It was difficult to find a supplier who could handle this volume of orders per day. We had a lot of problems with the first supplier of our winning product. He made a lot of mistakes and really messed up hundreds of orders. Many customers received the wrong size, color, or custom print. Everything that could go wrong also went wrong.
It's been two and a half months since we switched to a new supplier, and we still receive emails from customers telling us that their order was wrong.
I would never go to a supplier again and order such a large sum. One of our dropshipping tips is therefore to first order small quantities between 10 and 50 items in a month and then see if it works. Only then should you order larger quantities.
Thousands of clicks later ...
Adam Greenspan is the man behind the seven-figure e-commerce powerhouse called Wallplates Warehouse. His products may be an unusual choice for a dropshipper, but his mishap seems like something that could really happen to any of us. He tells us about his experience and shows how even successful dropshippers can make a fool of yourself at any time.
A manufacturer has discontinued a certain product family, which is why I have removed it from my shop. Months later, I realized that I was still paying for Google ads for the discontinued products. Thousands of dollars later, I'd learned a costly lesson. Before I remove anything from my shop today, I always check out all of my live ads.
Watch out! The Chinese New Year is coming!
In January 2019, things were going very well for Rodney and Kory. By the end of the month they had earned $ 100,000. So they started preparing for an even bigger February, which at first sounds like one of those typical dropshipping success stories. However, this started a mishap that every dropshipper should know about.
Little did we know that Chinese New Year is a time when all vendors close and that there would be a month delay in shipping orders. We were just in Hawaii when the whole thing struck us with great horror. At that time, we were generating 1,000 orders a day.
We spent weeks processing our customers' orders and answering their emails. Even today we have nightmares of a long list of e-mails that keep asking about the whereabouts of orders.
After that, we realized that there had to be a better way to do this. So we started shifting to higher quality items within the industry and lower sales volume in terms of the number of orders. And that's only because we just couldn't keep up. It was so brutal.
Dropshipping Mistake: Too much of a good thing on vacation
Emma Reid speaks openly about her dropshipping experience, which includes your worst mishaps. In fact, she devotes her Instagram presence to every aspect of her dropshipping history - the good, the bad, and the slightly embarrassing. When I asked her about her biggest dropshipping mistake, she didn't have to think twice.
It was clearly the time when I took a week off to go on vacation to Bali. I think the universe wanted to teach me a lesson. Because right after I landed, my advertising began to go through the roof – my sales climbed to an all-time high. However, I was completely unprepared. It was the first time I really scaled.
I didn't have a virtual assistant to handle my email requests, and Oberlo didn't have the auto-fulfillment feature either. So here I was sitting by the pool, Bintang beer in hand, pounding on my laptop processing all of these orders. But it just didn't work. The wifi was lousy, and my laptop was one of those Thinkbook bricks that looked straight out of the 90s.
Earning $ 8,000 a day - the sounds great at first ... until you realize that your system can't handle it. I was so overwhelmed that I just deleted the Shopify app for the rest of the trip and pretended I had no business. So the ostrich principle. When I got home, I assessed the damage and spent five deadly boring days in clean-up mode. It was driving me insane to process all of the orders one by one and respond to all of these customers.
If I could go back I would probably call a friend or maybe borrow a trained virtual assistant from someone to do it. Hell, I would even try to train my cat - which probably wouldn't be that difficult as she already likes to push around on my keyboard. I would do anything just not to have to do it myself. Ideally, however, I would make sure that the right systems are in place before scaling. Lesson learned: delegation comes before acceleration!
Summary: common mistakes in dropshipping
Now we can take a deep breath together to leave these partly unbelievable and partly amusing dropshipping mistakes behind us. It was a bit like dropshipping group therapy, wasn't it?
The truth is, even if your business continues to grow and thrive, you will keep making dropshipping mistakes big and small. What changes is the way you deal with it. After all, we learn as much from our mistakes as we do from our successes.
With that in mind, let's look at dropshipping errors in a different light. It will no longer be what makes us give up. Instead, we will see each new misstep as a new chance to pause, reflect, and set off to become bolder, better, and bigger. Aside from the many dropshipping success stories, this is perhaps one of the most important dropshipping tips we can give you.
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