Source: Freepik

The success rate for dropshipping businesses is around 10 to 20%. Even if you have a brilliant idea for your online store, there’s a high chance you could fail.

However, there’s a reason why the dropshipping market is expected to reach $301 billion in 2024. It’s a model that works.

If you’re considering starting a dropshipping business, it’ll require a lot of time and dedication. But with some hard work, it’s more than possible to run a highly successful dropshipping store.

So, what makes a successful dropshipping business? In this guide, we’ll unpack some useful dropshipping and eCommerce business strategies to help you run a thriving online store.

Is Dropshipping a Successful Business Model?

If you’re considering starting your own dropshipping business, you likely want to know if this is a successful model. Let's take a closer look below:

✅ Low startup costs: A dropshipping business model eliminates the need for a large initial investment in inventory. You don’t need to purchase stock, which reduces the upfront costs of starting a business.

✅ Reduced overheads: Unlike traditional business models, dropshippers don’t need to pay for things like physical space to store inventory. This saves money and simplifies how you run your business.

✅ Flexibility and scalability: This model offers flexibility as you can operate your business from anywhere in the world. You can also scale up or down quickly depending on seasonal changes or demand.

However, the success of a dropshipping venture comes down to one thing: the business owner. You’ll need to put in the hard work if you want to run a sustainable business. 

Luckily, there are some strategies you can follow to get your dropshipping business idea off the ground and ensure success.

How To Take Your Dropshipping Store To The Next Level

It takes a lot to run a successful eCommerce store. But if you start on the right foot, you have a much higher chance of seeing great results.

Here are some strategies you can use to build a good foundation for your own online store:   

1. Start with a solid marketing strategy

As a dropshipper, you’ll spend much of your time marketing your products to online shoppers. Many dropshipping businesses fail because they don’t have a strategy behind their marketing efforts.

Simply publishing posts on social media a few times a month or running some paid advertising isn’t going to get you far if you haven’t put any thought into your marketing strategy.


Source: Freepik

To develop a marketing strategy, you need to hone in on:

🎯 Your target audience

You need to know who your potential customers are and the platforms they spend their time on. 

Let’s say you’re marketing to Gen Z shoppers. Your research might uncover that they spend plenty of time on TikTok, which is then the social media platform where you should focus your marketing efforts.

🎯 The platforms you’ll be using

You may think that marketing a successful online business means being present on all channels. But this isn’t the case. Instead, you need to select a handful of platforms to focus on. 

Trying to market your dropshipping business on every channel means you’re spreading yourself thin, and you won’t have the time to give each platform your full attention.

🎯 Your content pillars

Whether you’re sending out email marketing campaigns or writing blog articles for your website, you need to maintain a good balance between sales-oriented content and helpful, informative, and insightful content.

Your marketing strategy should include the pillars and topics around which you’re going to focus your marketing content.

🎯 Your branding

You need to think about what your branding will look like and how you’ll position your business online. 

You don’t have to design all your branding assets yourself, you can hire a freelancer on Fiverr to do this for you. 

However, your strategy does need to include specifics like:

  • How often you’re going to display your logo in social media posts.
  • The type of imagery you want to use in your email blasts.
  • Where and how you want to display your branding on your website.

⭐️ Top Tip: Consider Your Tone of Voice

Keeping a consistent tone of voice throughout all your marketing activities is vital to the success of your business. It helps keep your messaging cohesive and makes your brand recognizable. 

When you’re developing your marketing strategy, don’t forget to give some thought to the type and style of language you’re going to use in your online advertising.

2. Work closely with your suppliers

Your dropshipping suppliers are crucial to the success of your online store. If you choose an unreliable supplier or you don’t communicate with them effectively, your business could quickly fail.


Source: Freepik

There are three main reasons why working closely with your suppliers is crucial to dropshipping success:

👉 Product availability and stock levels

Close communication with your suppliers means you stay informed about the availability of the products you’re selling and stock levels.

As you don’t hold this inventory yourself, you need to know what stock levels are to avoid selling products that are out of stock, leading to unhappy customers and potentially damaging your brand’s reputation.

👉 Quality and consistency

You want the products you’re selling to your customers to be consistently high quality. Regular interactions with your suppliers can ensure that the products being shipped meet quality standards and are in line with the product descriptions on your website.

This can help to reduce returns, complaints, or negative reviews—all of which can tarnish the brand you’re working hard to build.

👉 Timing and logistics

Working with your suppliers gives you better control over shipping times and logistics. It also keeps you updated about any potential delays or issues in the supply chain that could affect your delivery times. 

Having a good relationship with your suppliers may also mean you can negotiate better shipping methods or rates. 

⭐️ Top Tip: Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

Some suppliers will offer a bulk discount if you can guarantee a certain quantity of orders to retain you. If you’ve been hitting some great sales figures lately, get in touch with your supplier to negotiate better per-unit pricing or deal terms.

3. Sell profitable products

Did you know that dropshipping profit margins are only 20% on average? You don’t have a lot of room for error, which means you need to constantly ensure your products’ profitability. 


Source: Freepik

If you’re struggling to improve your profit margins, you can try: 

💰 Selling one-size-fits-all products

Fashion and technology can be profitable, but they can be very challenging when it comes to returns. Sizing, colors, and compatibility also cause a lot of complexity in your business. 

Sell items like outdoor furniture, pet care, toys, and fashion accessories to cut down on return costs. 

For example, PetCulture is an online store that sells pet care products, which are likely to have a lower amount of returns compared to fashion:


Source: Swanky

💰 Running tests

Want to feature a new product? Instead of going all-in, ask your supplier to do a limited run. Analyze the metrics over a set period of time to see if the product is worth it. 

Rather than committing to a large volume of products that might not sell, you can see if a new item will generate sales first.

💰 Niching down

Selling to a smaller, specialized niche can be highly profitable. 

When you have a very broad product, you’re opening your business up to more competition and lower prices. Niche products have less competition, more loyal customers, and higher margins. 

An example of a niche is the Old Spice Barber Shop. The store offers beard and hair products for men, items that appeal to a small segment of customers but could be highly profitable:


Source: BigCommerce

⭐️ Top Tip: Find Trending Products

You can use Shopify’s trending product lists to find out which products are in high demand across the platform’s stores. This is a great way to get some ideas for profitable niches.

4. Work with an accountant

If you use an eCommerce platform like Shopify, there’s a lot this tool can do for you. 

However, relying solely on your chosen eCommerce platform isn’t enough to keep track of your finances.

Although hiring an accountant may be expensive, it’s a worthwhile investment in your dropshipping business.


Source: Freepik

To be successful, your dropshipping operation should run like a well-oiled machine, and that means having financial systems in place. 

Since 82% of businesses fail due to poor cash flow management, this should be a priority for you.

Try partnering with an accountant who specializes in eCommerce or dropshipping. They’ll be able to help you collect sales tax, organize your finances, and potentially improve your tax liability. 

If regular accounting services are too expensive for you right now, you might want to consider consulting with a tax practitioner at key times, such as during tax season. 

This may be more cost-effective while ensuring you’re compliant with tax regulations. They can also advise you on tax deductions and credits you may not know about.

5. Offer more than a product


The biggest downside to dropshipping is that other online stores can sell the same products as you. How do you stand out from your competitors, especially when they’re charging less? 

Instead of participating in a margin-destroying race to the bottom, focus on delivering more than just a product to your shoppers. 

Your goal should be to solve their problems better than any other competitor on the market, boosting your brand’s value. 

That can take the form of: 

👍 Extended warranties

Online shoppers may be more likely to support your business over others if they’re getting a longer warranty with you. 

Providing extended warranties also makes your brand seem more trustworthy and that you truly care for your customers. This can help turn one-time shoppers into loyal customers.

👍 Loyalty programs

The average American consumer belongs to more than 16 loyalty programs. Shoppers love receiving exclusive access to products, discounts, and freebies.

Offering a loyalty program to your customers might make your business more attractive to them, even if your products are more expensive than the rest.

An example of a loyalty program that offers rewards, exclusive access to sales, and free shipping is FARFETCH Limited’s Access:


Source: Open Loyalty

👍 An online knowledge base

Customers could perceive your brand to be more knowledgeable and trustworthy if you provide them with the information they need to get the most out of the products they’re purchasing.

Offering them free guides in the form of written content or a video series can help them feel like you care about their experience with your products rather than treating them as just another sale.

6. Discount carefully

It sounds counterintuitive, but discounting items on your dropshipping website can improve sales. 

Since 70% of U.S. online shoppers say discounts are the biggest factor in their buying decisions, you must offer discounts. However, you should discount your products with caution. 

Let’s use Shopify as an example. The platform allows you to list certain items on sale as well as create special discount codes

You’re able to create sales on either a dollar or percentage basis, but this is where discounting becomes tricky. 

Discounting isn’t about slashing your profit margins. It’s about price perception. If a consumer perceives a discount to be a good deal, they’re more likely to make a purchase. 


As a general rule, customers will be more likely to make a purchase if you follow these pricing principles: 

  • If the product costs less than $100, offer the customer a percentage discount like “25% off.”
  • If the product costs more than $100, offer the customer a dollar discount like “$50 off.”

The messaging around your discounts also matters, and using the right price settings will encourage more shoppers to convert. 

⭐️ Top Tip: Spend Less Time on Discounts

If you don’t want to spend too much time on pricing and discounts, you can always try a repricing app for Shopify. This ensures your prices stay competitive, preserve profit margins, and save time.

7. Work toward retaining existing customers

Acquiring new customers requires a large investment. However, retaining existing customers is significantly cheaper. They may even spend 31% more on your products than new customers.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to focus on strategies that can turn your once-off shoppers into repeat customers. Here are some strategies you can follow to retain your customers:

🤝 Implement affiliate or referral programs

Rewarding repeat customers with an affiliate, VIP, or referral program that involves points systems or discounts can make shoppers feel valued. This may make them more likely to continue buying from your dropshipping store.

🤝 Enhance your customer service

Providing each of your customers with exceptional service gives them a good reason to continue supporting your dropshipping business.

Good customer service creates a positive perception of your brand and makes your customer’s interaction with your business more memorable.

Your customer service process should include:

  • Ensuring a smooth purchasing and after-sales experience.
  • Consistent communication throughout the process.
  • Being available 24/7 to answer customer queries and resolve complaints.

🤝 Run retargeting campaigns

Retargeting campaigns are when you target someone who has purchased from your store to ideally get them to return to it. The purpose is to convince them that it’s worth their while to come back to your website and purchase more products from you.

This marketing tactic can be implemented through targeted ads, personalized email marketing, and special offers tailored to your customers’ interests and purchasing behavior.

For example, if a customer visits your website and purchases a pair of shoes, you could set up a retargeting ad that they’ll see on other sites that shows them other products in your store that they might like, such as socks or shoelaces.

Here’s an example from Nike of how they used retargeting to get customers to return to their online store to buy more shoes:


Source: Replug

🤝 Use email to your advantage

Did you know that the return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is between $36 to $40 for every dollar spent? 

Email isn’t just an effective way to communicate with your customers during the shipping process, it’s also an ideal platform to keep them engaged and get them to return to your store.

One example is to send your customers emails on their birthdays with a special discount for them to use the next time they visit your store. Be sure to include an expiration date on this discount so your customer acts soon.

Here’s an example of a birthday email discount from Loomi:


Source: Unlayer

8. Build an outstanding dropshipping store

Just like if you were to build a great physical store on the street to attract customers, you need to create a website that does the same.

Your website is often the first point of contact for potential customers and your first chance to make a good impression. 

An attractive and professionally built website is also important when it comes to building trust and credibility online. You need to look like a legitimate business if you want shoppers to support you, having an excellent website is how you do this.

Finally, your website is where you get potential shoppers to convert into paying customers. For this reason, it needs to be designed to encourage visitors to make a purchase.


Source: Freepik

There are a few key components of a good dropshipping website:

🌐 User-friendly design

If you want visitors to find the products they’re looking for and purchase them quickly, you need to create a user interface (UI) that makes it easy for them to do this. 

This means your website design needs to be clean and simple. This makes navigation easy and ensures a smooth shopping process.

🌐 Mobile optimization

More than 45% of consumers use their mobile phones to shop online every day. For this reason, your website needs to look good on smartphones. But it doesn’t stop there. Your website should load perfectly on any device, which is also called responsiveness.

You must ensure your website is responsive on any device to ensure potential customers have a seamless experience while shopping for your products. A positive user experience (UX) on your website can increase conversions by 34%.

🌐 High-quality product pages

As the main purpose of your website is to sell your products, your product pages should be your priority when building your store. 

Since your customers can’t see or touch your products, it’s essential that you use high-quality images and detailed descriptions to give them a good reason to purchase your items.

Try including multiple images for each product, ideally showcasing it from different angles. You should also use images to highlight specific features.

Your descriptions should help shoppers make informed decisions by giving them all the relevant information about each product, such as:

  • Core features.
  • Benefits.
  • Specifications.
  • Usage instructions.

Here’s an example of a product description from Clorox. It immediately describes the value of their product and uses lists to communicate benefits:


Source: Salsify

🌐 Fast loading speeds

Around 40% of users will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. This makes fast loading speeds crucial if you want potential customers to browse your site.

You can improve your website’s loading speed by:

  • Optimizing images: Compress your images without sacrificing their quality and ensure you use the right image format, such as PNG and JPEG. 
  • Enable browser caching: This stores your website data in a user’s browser so that when they return to your site, it loads faster.
  • Reduce re-directs: Every time a page redirects somewhere else, the response process and loading times increase. Identify the redirects on your website and delete them if they don’t serve a purpose.

⭐️ Top Tip: Test Your Website Speed with Google’s Tool

You can test your website’s loading speed by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. It measures the performance of a page for both mobile and desktop devices.

🌐 An optimized checkout process

If users fill their carts and then leave your website due to a complex checkout process, you’re going to lose out on a lot of revenue.

Your checkout process needs to be simple. You can do this by reducing the number of steps a user has to take to go from their cart to finalizing their purchase and shipping.

You may also want to allow customers to complete their purchases without needing to create an account, also known as a guest checkout. Having to create an account to make a purchase is another reason why shoppers abandon their carts.

Lastly, you’ll want to provide as many payment options as possible to cater to different preferences. Try to include credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet at a minimum. The more ways users have to pay, the more likely they are to complete their purchase on your site.

9. Use social proof

Customer reviews are powerful. 98% of online shoppers say reviews are essential to their purchase decisions. And 45% of consumers won’t purchase a product if there are no reviews available for it.

Consumers want to hear from real customers about whether your product has solved their problem. They also want to know that they’re getting a consistently high-quality product before they spend any money.

Customer reviews are known as social proof, and you should encourage your customers to provide this feedback wherever possible. It proves to your potential customers that your brand is trustworthy and that they need what you’re selling.


Source: Freepik

You can encourage your customers to leave reviews or provide you with their feedback that you can use as social proof by:

✍️ Sending them post-purchase emails

Once a customer has received their product, you can send them an email that asks them to review it on your website or on social media.

Keep in mind that customers often won’t act on your requests unless you give them a good reason to do so. With this in mind, you may want to include an incentive in your post-purchase emails.

You could offer them 15% off their next order if they review what they purchased on your website. Or, you could let them know that their review will automatically enter them into a giveaway for a $100 voucher to use on your website.

Here’s an example of an email requesting a review from Chewy:


Source: Wordstream

✍️ Hosting social media contests

Another way to get customers to provide you with social proof is to run a social media competition. 

The prize could be a hamper of your products or a voucher to be used on your website. These would be given in exchange for customers posting reviews of your products on social media.

⭐️ Top Tip: Respond Wherever Possible

You should show your customers that you value their feedback by responding to every review you receive, positive or negative. This shows that you care about your customers’ experiences, which can motivate other shoppers to trust your brand and purchase your products. 

Use Spark Shipping for Ultimate Dropshipping Success  

There’s one thing that successful dropshipping stores have in common: they use the right tools to run their businesses. This includes dropshipping automation software.

Automation software helps dropshipping businesses succeed by removing the need for time-consuming manual tasks. It also reduces the risk of human error, which can be costly to your new online business.

With Spark Shipping, you can automate:

✔️ Uploading products.

✔️ Updating inventory.

✔️ Sending orders.

✔️ Receiving tracking updates.

You can do this all in just a few simple steps.

Visit our website to get a Spark Shipping demo and find out how our software makes you a successful dropshipper.