Finding the right tools to turn your online store into a dropshipping enterprise can be as difficult as choosing the right products to sell. For the uninitiated just understanding dropshipping as a concept is difficult enough. So if you want to get your business up and running and need the right tools to do so, how do you go about finding them?

What is dropshipping

Dropshipping is ecommerce with a difference. Rather than having a stockroom full of products, a dropshipping business purchases the products from a third party, generally the manufacturer or a wholesaler, before having it shipped directly to their own customers. This saves the seller the cost of keeping the products and having to buy in bulk. An ideal model for small and home businesses.

This is a super-accessible way of setting up a business quickly and is even supported by some of the biggest ecommerce CMS around today. There are lots of tools to make this model even more effective, let’s take a look at how you find them.

Get used to spotting trends

Running a dropshipping business is all about spotting trends and exploiting them. There are so many online retailers out there doing things in a more conventional manner, you need to find a niche product you can buy in bulk that people are still interested in buying by the time you get the price down.

It’s vital you find the right tools to spot these trends. To do this do your research into general trend-spotting tools, rather than just looking for ones specific to drop shipping. You don’t want a tool that just tells you what is popular right now, you’re looking for the very best ways to spot what’s coming up around the corner. Succeeding in dropshipping is all about being an extra step ahead of the consumer’s desires.

Even using a trend-spotting tool such as Google Trends can be a great way of gauging which way the wind is blowing and what topics are heading towards their peak. It can also help you spot trends that may have passed but could be rejuvenated with the right product and price.

Do competitor research

Properly thought out and executed competitor research is one of the most essential parts of setting up any kind of online store. It can help you avoid making costly mistakes and inspire you to get more creative in your content among many other benefits.

Researching other successful dropshipping companies can help give you an idea of the difference in how they operate in comparison to traditional ecommerce stores. On top of this, it indicates to you what tools they may be using throughout their website and their own product research, giving you something to work back from and apply to your own operation.

Don’t just look at the biggest dropshipping successes for inspiration, look at businesses of all sizes and niches and spot the patterns within them to reach the position within the industry you aspire to within your first year.

Join online communities

Online communities can teach you a lot about anything, with people at all different levels of within an industry sharing wisdom and presenting new opportunities for collaboration. As a new dropshipping business there are few places better poised to teach you about the model and introduce you to the best new tools.

From online discussion forums such as Wholesale Forum to even more popular formats such as Reddit, there is an abundance of places to discuss the ins and outs of dropshipping. The users within these online communities are incredibly knowledgeable and will give you the opportunity to learn about popular products and methods as well as the best tools. You don’t even have to limit yourself to specialist forums, as the discussion of dropshipping will often spread across to social media.

Entrench yourself within these communities and you’ll be climbing up the dropshipping ranks in no time.

Read expert blogs

When you’re researching any topic or industry, thought leaders are generally a great place to start. When it comes to finding the best tools to assist your dropshipping adventure, few people have more technical experience using them than industry leaders do.

Becoming a regular reader of industry and company blogs is a great way to make sure you’re only learning from the best. They don’t just have experience with tools, they offer a unique insight into how to get the best out of them and apply them directly to your own dropshipping model and product niche. These thought leaders often develop their own tools that they’re more than happy to explain in great detail and have been specifically crafted with dropshipping in mind.

Take a look into the people that inspire you within the industry of online retail in general and heed their advice and recommendations. Don’t be afraid to connect with them directly for advice, they’re generally more than happy to communicate and discuss their favourite topic.

Finding the right tools is just the first step in setting up your online dropshipping store. Once you’ve found the best ones for you it’s a case of making them worth it and applying their results to your store.