Dropsurfing vs Dropshipping
What Is Dropsurfing?
Dropsurfing is a product buy-and-sell strategy that is based on dropshipping and is usually implemented by experienced dropshippers.
First you need to know what Dropshipping is.
Is Dropshipping dead? That’s one of the most common questions people ask about dropshipping or dropsurfing.
With dropshipping, you already know there is a product that people want. Your customer places an order on your online store for that product.
Your business is a droppshipping business, and you don’t own any product or the warehouse that keeps the product. You purchase the product from your supplier who you usually buy from.
Your supplier can be someone who has a store on the Aliexpress.com website.
The supplier takes care of the rest by handling the fulfillment of the product – The product gets shipped to your customer.
You pay your supplier X dollar for the product. You sell to your customers for X+P dollar. “P” is the profit that you keep.
In brief, dropshipping is a business where you buy low and sell high.
Drop surfing is the upgrade version of dropshipping.
With Dropsurfing, it’s still about buying low and selling high, but this time you try maximizing your profit.
- How Does Dropshipping Work?
- How Does Dropsurfing Work?
- Is Dropshipping Dead?
- How to Start a Dropshipping Business?
How Does Dropshipping Work?
Dropshipping is a business where you own an online store.
On your store, you properly display all the products you’re selling.
Each product has well written or edited product name, product description, product specifications, price, variants (e.g. color, sizes, if they’re applicable), and more.
For each product, you display several photos that would best represent that product.
Your store could be hosted on Shopify, WordPress, and any other website builder that is capable of supporting the basic functions of an eCommerce site. You can find out how to set up a Shopify store.
But actually you do not have a warehouse to keep any inventory of the products that you say you’re selling.
You don’t even own any inventory at all (at any given time).
People visiting your online store or your potential customers would believe you’re the owner of your online store and the products.
Often people may think dropshipping is a product fulfillment method. They may be right and wrong.
When a customer purchases a product on your store, you then go to your supplier (who is most probably on Aliexpress), buy and paid for the product.
When you made the purchase on Aliexpress, you would fill in the shipping details of customer, which you receive from your customer when she placed the order on your store.
The rest is left to the supplier to deliver the product to your customer. All you do is to track whether the product has been delivered to your customer.
How Does Dropsurfing Work?
When your business is based on drop surfing, you don’t restrict yourself always to the same supplier for the product.
Your customer places an order, and you go and look for the product. But this time, not the usual supplier who you’ve previously purchased from and who have done a great job shipping the product.
With dropsurfing, you go on to the Aliexpress.com website and start comparing prices for that product among multiple suppliers.
This is the key to drop surfing. You want to make sure that you can purchase from the most inexpensive supplier. Doing that will let you make maximum profit.
The possible problems you’re going to face include the following.
New Suppliers – Can You Trust Them?
Many suppliers may change shipping costs, shipping methods, and the price of the product.
You may have found the supplier with the lowest price, but you haven’t used this supplier before.
How did you know this new supplier is going to do well with fulfillment?
Long Term Business Relationship
When you always buy from the same supplier or only a few suppliers, it helps you to build good business relationship with the suppliers in long term.
You buy more and more from the same suppliers as your business grows. This “history” allows you to negotiate better deals with your suppliers. Better deals mean it will help your profit margin.
But when you don’t stick with any supplier for sufficent time, you lose the opportunities to build long term business relationship
Drop Surfing or Dropshipping – What’s Your Choice?
Whether you should apply dropsurfing or not, it depends.
Stick with the same supplier for the same product all the way (i.e. dropshipping), when:
- The process of selecting and comparing all the suppliers for the best price take up too much time.
- It takes up too much effort to build business relationships with many suppliers.
- It’s too risky and you’re afraid of providing bad customer service when you’re allowing untested suppliers to do fulfillment.
Is Dropshipping Dead?
This question has always been asked year after year:
Is dropshipping (or drop surfing) dead?
The simple answer is NO.
Dropshipping has become more competitive, but not dead.
But what’s the problem?
The main problem is that dropshipping doesn’t create considerable value or assets in the first place.
Many dropshipping business doesn’t go before its marketing campaign (such as a retargeting campaign or an email list campaign).
An example with a typical dropshipper is that she would run a Facebook ad campaign for a single product where she picked up from Aliexpress.
Once all the potential buyers (of the product) have seen the ads, and some of them have purchased the product from the dropshipper, there won’t be many prospects left for the next round of purchase.
The second dropshipper would repeat what the first dropshipper did.
Each time a new dropshipper advertises the same product, the sales conversion rate would gradually go down.
Eventually one day the product would not be worthy for any promotion because you won’t make enough profit to cover your advertising cost.
Dropshipping is growing.
The entire dropshipping / dropsurfing business has grown and the world has become a larger town. Because it has been constantly under the spotlight, it has attracted so much awareness and people in the business has grown knowledge about it.
When more and more people has come into the dropshipping business, it gets harder to sustain as a small scale business.
That’s the reason people feel dropshipping may be dead – But the truth is that it’s more difficult to enter the business.
Often people don’t buy what they need, but what they want.
You may see people rush into buy the latest version of an expensive iPhone. That doesn’t mean they need this latest phone, when their old phone is still working perfectly fine. They ordered the phone because it’s from a big brand – Apple, which is what they want all day.
That’s the value a dropshipper can deliver – Matching people who want the product to that product.
How to succeed as a dropshipper?
You need to follow the trend closely.
You need to find the next profitable product.
But how to find out what niches or products are going to be trending?
How to Start a Dropshipping Business?
Start your dropshipping (or dropsurfing) business with the following steps:
- Set Up Your Online Store
- Find the Best Dropshipping Products and the Suppliers
- Create a Brand
- Promote Your Store
Set Up Your Online Store
You’ll start with setting up an online store for your dropshipping / dropsurfing business.
You can use one of the many website builder / solutions. But with Shopify, you can quickly set up your store and start selling right away.
Go through the step-by-step guide to set up your Shopify store.
Find the Best Dropshipping Products and the Suppliers
The first stage is to find the product that you can sell and make a good profit.
The second stage is to find a supplier or a few suppliers who can sell you the product.
When you’re to start selling a second product, you will repeat this same product search and supplier search. You’ll repeat this process for your third product, fourth product, etc.
To find your first product, you’ll identify a niche that your business is going into. You don’t want set up all-in-one store that sells everything, because that’s not going to work well.
The good strategy is to always keep all your products in the same niche. Only after you’ve done well with this first niche, you’ll expand to the second niche, and more.
Get the list of 2,000+ niche ideas. You want to see what the profitable niches are available.
Use tools to find the niche product. Now you get your hands dirty and do the product research.
Now go to Aliexpress.com and find a supplier (or a few suppliers, if you’re to dropsurf) who has the product.
Create a Brand
Build your own brand – You’ll need a brand in long term.
It is a dropshipping business you’re running and managing on a daily basis, and you have an online store.
The next immediate natural step is to create a brand.
With a brand, your dropshipping business will have more value.
Usually you would use the store’s domain name as your brand name. You’ll have to register the domain name. Check your chosen name for availability with Shopify Name Generator or any other domain name checkers.
If you struggle coming up with a good brand name for your store, let people on Naming Force to provide name suggestions.
Promote Your Store
This is all about getting people to visit your online store.
Spend on paid traffic
You can test if your chosen products would work by advertising through Facebook Ads or Google Ads.
The advertising campaigns that would result in the best conversion rate are usually retargeting campaign and email list campaign.
But from the beginning you wouldn’t have a list for the email list campaign or sufficent cookie data for running an effective retargeting campaign.
While you’re spend on advertising, you collect the lists and cookies. After getting more than enough data, start running the retargeting campaign and email list campaign.
Make use of free traffic and SEO
But for your business to sustain cost, you would start laying the groundwork for getting free traffic.
One type of free traffic you can get is from search engines (including Google, Bing, etc).
When setting up your Shopify store, you’re creating web pages for your products. Shopify gives you some built-up features to write search engine friendly and optimized page titles and meta descriptions for your product pages.
SEO isn’t only that. Make sure you go through the SEO best practices, or this longer version written in Traditional Chinese (especially for Hong Kong & Taiwan).
Other types of free traffic would involve spending time to grow organically on each traffic source (or website). Finding all the websites that you can nurture and grow traffic would take a long time. This guide reveals more than 200 free traffic sources that you can build customer base for your online store.