Dropshipping is a hugely popular business model, where you can sell items without having to keep products in stock. It’s a simple idea, yet has revolutionized the way people sell and shop online. And as a model, dropshipping has boomed in recent years, which means that there are a plethora of stores out there to inspire you.
Of course, with many thousands of examples of dropshipping stores out there on the web, it can be overwhelming to know where to take inspiration from. This article has done the hard work for you – we’ve taken the time to carefully explain what dropshipping actually is, what the various benefits are, and provided 10 inspiring examples of dropshipping stores.
Dropshipping is a fulfillment model for ecommerce businesses whereby products do not have to be kept in stock for customers to purchase them. It works in the following way:
- A customer places an order from an online retailer
- The retailer accepts the order and processes the transaction
- The retailer passes the sales order over to a third party dropshipping supplier
- The third party fulfills and ships the order to the customer
- Happy customer!
Sounds simple, right? But you may be wondering what’s so different about this as a model, and what the benefits are. Here we’ve laid out the key benefits, plus some potential pitfalls to consider. You can find even more detail in our separate explanation of the differences between dropshipping and ecommerce fulfillment.
- Low overheads. The beauty of dropshipping is that you don’t have to pay to store your products. Plus in many instances, products are not even produced until an order is placed, which avoids stock wastage.
- Simpler and cheaper to start. Using the dropshipping model, practically anyone can set up an ecommerce business because there are many services out there to help you, few upfront costs, and low risk.
- Greater flexibility regarding stock. Because you’re not actually producing products upfront, you can offer a wider product range. Crucially, this means you can test and learn which products are most appealing to customers.
But remember, there are some drawbacks as well. Make sure to do your homework and fully understand the commercial and financial arrangements around your dropshipping setup.
- Be aware of the costs. Typically, dropshipping service providers will take a cut of around 10-15% for processing and fulfilling your orders.
- Understand the supply chain. A potential pitfall of dropshipping is that as a business owner, you are relinquishing control over the fulfillment. Any customer complaints around product quality, speed of service or return issues will be at the mercy of the supplier.
- Tough competition. A final consideration is the huge competition facing the ecommerce marketplace. With many business owners and suppliers utilizing dropshipping it can be difficult to achieve cut through or make your store stand out. Don’t let this put you off entirely, but do read on for tips on how to mitigate this.
The world of dropshipping is busy, with many business owners jumping on the bandwagon. To help stand out in this marketplace, you need to make sure your dropshipping store is great. It should be slickly-designed, offer a brilliant variety of products, and provide a seamless user experience. Here’s a checklist to work towards:
Store integrations. There are endless possibilities when it comes to store integrations or apps for dropshipping. These will allow you to add features to your store, so you don’t need to worry about elements such as storage, production and printing, fulfillment, returns or customer support.
Quality products. This is key, yet often overlooked. Make sure you are clued up about the product range and quality, since ultimately your brand will be judged by the products you sell. Do your research – find out where products are made, what materials are used, whether they offer environmentally-friendly options, and what past customer reviews say.
Range of products. The important thing here is to try and find the sweet spot. Offer too few products and you won’t be meeting your potential customers’ needs. But offer too many, and customers may be overwhelmed and put off by the sheer volume.
High potential profit margins. Different products and models have vastly different profit margins. So do your market research and calculations carefully, try to offer more niche products, and balance quality with costs.
Fast shipping. Shipping times vary greatly and slow fulfillment can put customers off returning. Make sure you think beyond the US and consider shipping speeds for international customers too.
Reputation. However you decide to set up your store, its success or failure will ultimately be up to your customers and how impressed they are. Ask for feedback and set up a review functionality, and all those (hopefully) glowing reviews will speak for themselves for future customers.
Now we’ve explained what dropshipping is, it’s time for the most exciting part: real world inspiration! Take a look at these 10 stores who have all carved a niche for themselves in the world of dropshipping.
This organization’s speciality is east Asian inspired stationery, which Notebook Therapy ships worldwide. Some of its most popular products are the Tsuki Pop-up Pencil Case and the Large Cord Eco-friendly Tote Bag. These, along with the rest of the product range, are popular due to their cute, minimalist designs.
Asian stationery has a reputation for brilliant quality and thoughtful designs. Notebook Therapy has successfully jumped on this trend and subsequently amassed a large and loyal online following, with a particularly impressive social media presence and over 1 million followers.
Rosamiss is an online store specializing in fashion, lifestyle products, and home accessories. Rosamiss prides itself on fast shipping, customizable gifts, and a gigantic product range.
The key thing that sets Rosamiss apart from its competitors is the niche range of home improvement products, with its top selling product being a well-reviewed Protective Furniture Film. It might be that this product is not widely available elsewhere, meaning that Rosamiss is successfully tapping into customer demand.
Focusing on home, gardens, and tools, Inspire Uplift claims to have served over 1.5 million customers, making it a huge dropshipping success story. Some of its top selling products are a Space Projector Lamp and Magnetic Curtain Tiebacks.
It’s become successful by focusing on products that are simultaneously useful and unusual. Plus, we noticed that nearly all products are offered with a discount, which taps into its customers desire for a bargain.
The charmingly-named Meowingtons is, you’ve guessed it, a leading online store for everything feline-related. Here you can find everything a cat or cat-lover might need, from catnip through to cat-themed jewelry.
The store is a success because it taps into the needs and wants of cat owners. The most popular trending item is an elaborate Jungle Gym Cat Tree, which suggests that the visitors to this site really value the welfare of their feline companions.
OddityMall is a success because it taps into the ridiculous and absurd. Anyone need a Bacon Band-Aid, or a couch made to look like Tetris? Look no further – this store has you covered.
Although at first glance the product range may seem a little strange, we believe OddityMall is a success because of this strangeness. The items for sale are perfect for zany gifts, pranks, or parties.
Just like Meowingtons for cats, Dog Pawty is one of the leading stores utilizing dropshipping for our other favorite companions: dogs. It specializes in apparel, jewelry, and accessories.
The success of Dog Pawty is down to the business owners’ real love of dogs and dog-related paraphernalia. Dog Pawty gives away a certain amount of its profits to good causes for dogs. Plus, it sends a regular newsletter which includes product deals as well as tips for keeping dogs happy and healthy. All of this contributes to a successful business with a loyal customer base.
The people behind Pet Boutique noticed a gap in the market whereby new and innovative products were being taken to market, but without adequate quality control. They therefore seek to offer the highest quality pet products, combined with excellent customer service.
The most popular items on Pet Boutique are the DeepSleep Calming Beds and Blankets. These aim to replicate the mother’s fur, and provide an incredibly calming sleeping experience for pets. We believe this combination of quality, innovation, and a great customer experience are the ingredients that have helped Pet Boutique to flourish.
This Canadian-based sock brand has a mission to “create happiness without breaking the bank.” It releases new, fun, and iconic designs every month which has helped to establish them as something of a cult, must-have brand.
The success of Mooshe Socks lies in its simple approach to business. The website is cleanly-designed, the product offering is clear, and the products come in just one size. This type of offering is incredibly easy to set up with dropshipping with very few overheads or risks.
This store does what it says on the tin: wallplates. What sets it apart from the competition is the staggering range on offer, in a huge range of sizes, materials, and types. It is unlikely that rival home improvement stores would be able to offer such a wide range, but the dropshipping model means Wallplate Warehouse can fulfill this.
As with the example above, we believe the success of Wallplate Warehouse lies in the simple business offering. Its mantra is: stock one thing well, charge competitive prices, and ship it fast.
The final inspiring example is Aesthentials, a female-focused and fashion-forward apparel and accessory store. All of its bestselling items are quirky, fun, and original, such as cherry stem earrings and motif tees. Its success stems from its ability to quickly respond to fast-changing fashion trends and update its store accordingly.
We hope this article has been helpful, persuaded you of the benefits of dropshipping, and provided some inspiring examples of stores that utilize it well. For further reading, check out our five simple steps on how to start your dropshipping business. Thank you for reading!