I got the inspiration to write this after going through the eCommerce subreddit just now. There are lots of people posting for someone to critique their new site or asking for help on how to get traffic or why they have no sales. So far after looking at 4 sites they’re all Shopify dropshipping. I’m surprised people are still thinking that space is viable.
But these sites are so easy to build, this is the reason many people are still thinking they can become self-employed running their eCommerce store a few hours a week.
Too Easy to be True
To me, a dropshipping Shopify (or whatever eCommerce platform) site is so easy to build that I’m automatically wary. Things that are easy quickly get saturated and the market overflows with competitors until everyone gets pushed out except the few really good sites. In the case of these sites, that’s already happening. (Also think of social media marketing and the proliferation of agencies and courses on how easy it is to make money selling these services)
Amazon is where dropshipping seemed to have really taken off. Everyone was private labeling some product they saw on Amazon that they felt they could improve and sell more of than the competition. It became a race to find the “perfect” product with low competition but high potential. I’m sure a majority of products have gone through this already with the hype around private labeling and all the courses out there.
But Amazon knew what it was doing and now they’re finally getting in on the game. They can see what items sell best, contact the manufacturer directly, put their own Amazon branding on the item, and use their size to get huge discounts so they can compete on price. With that, dropshipping is likely a dying business on Amazon.
People then started moving the Shopify. They just show products from the manufacturer on their store and voila they can start rolling in dough. It’s so easy to do because you don’t hold inventory, don’t have to take product photos, you just set up your site, drive traffic, and you’re done.
But it’s not that simple. People setting up these sites think that if they build it visitors will come and if they have enough traffic someone has to buy eventually. Right?
Who wants to buy on a site they’ve never heard of, with products that have brand names like Bingju or Gla Day? Products with no reviews and scant information on the products? Yeah, me neither.
The stores that will stick around are the ones that have actual brands, real stories, authenticity, and a product they stand by. I think of brands like Allbirds which sells high quality wool shoes. The site looks trustworthy, they have tons of reviews, are featured everywhere, and just look like a really high quality product.
Contrast Allbirds with a dropshipper selling some sneakers called KingHu. The shoes are $40, no reviews, a few photos, no write ups, nothing about the person or team behind the site. I’d much rather spend whatever Allbirds charges and know I’m getting a good product than take my changes on an unknown site.
This is the way eCommerce is going. For the time being, dropshipping is still around and kicking but I think it will start to help consumers realize the difference between a cheap product and spending a bit more on quality and authenticity. The fly-by-night dropshipping sites will come and go, but these great products like Quip will have staying power.