How to start dropshipping in South Africa?
Dropshipping in South Africa cannot become easier than this. Back in the day, the thought of starting a e-commerce business in South Africa was a very far fetched idea. It was either impossible or intimidating. There were typically only two ways to start a e-commerce business:
- Make a unique product from scratch. Do you love knitting cashmere cat sweaters? Great! You’ll have a completely unique product to bring to the marketplace. But can you create demand and scale your business?
- Purchase inventory in bulk. This is the most popular route that businesses took. Buy low, and sell high! The typical retail model. Only problem is you have a garage full of inventory which we are not certain it will sell!
This made it very difficult to start an online store in South Africa. So now I can imagine somewhere down the line, some genius wiz kid had a stupid idea to create listings of products he did not have in stock, and sell them on the internet. All he had to do was make sure that if he gets orders, he had an agreement with a supplier that will ship these items on his behalf. This is what we essentially refer to as dropshipping (Completely hypothetical story by the way)!
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping allows store owners to fulfill orders directly from a wholesaler or manufacturer. That means that you don’t have to worry about inventory management or shipping; you simply transfer orders to a dropshipping partner who handles all of the inventory and logistics.
The Pros & Cons of Dropshipping In South Africa
Dropshipping in South Africa can sound like a magic bullet for making money online, but don’t be fooled. Like anything else, there are upsides and downsides to dropshipping.
1. No startup capital. If you’re just getting started, dropshipping lets you launch without investing a lot of money. Traditional retailers need to buy and store inventory in order to sell it to consumers. But if you’re using a dropshipper, you can offer a full catalogue of products with little overhead.
2. Less hassle involved. As mentioned above, you don’t have to deal with on-hand inventory, which means that you don’t have to handle packing or shipping either. This lets you focus your time and energy on marketing and growing your business.
3. You can easily expand your offerings. If you want to expand your offerings, dropshipping is a great way to test new products with your audience. This will allow you to truly see if they’re a market fit without having to invest in large amounts of expensive inventory up-front.
1. Managing the logistics. The logistics for dropshipping in South Africa can be hard to overcome as your business expands. If your supplier relies on multiple warehouses, this will be even more of a challenge. Poor logistics management can lead to a sub-par customer experience, due to improper tracking numbers, incorrect addresses and shipping delays. In addition to this, most South African dropshippers use Aliexpress which in my opinion is a terrible idea with shipping times that can take up to 4 months. Find suppliers that can ship quicker! We offer these in our dropshipping course. Join here
2. The low barrier to entry. This sounds like a positive, and it is. But at the same time, because of the low barrier to entry, plenty of other people will be selling the same products. This makes it harder to stand out as a new business and means there can be competition. Remember, if a supplier dropshipping for you, they’ll dropship to anyone, and that makes it tough to stand out.
3. No control over the packaging. If you’re an online-only store, the very first physical interaction you have with your customers is when they open their purchase. But if you’re dropshipping, you give up control over the packaging. That means no special touches or cute thank-you cards that can really make your store stand out. These days most reputable dropshippers will at least allow for private label shipping with customized invoicing and packing slips.