Become a Drop Shipping Entrepreneur! Learn the Desi Way

Photo by Ravi Sharma on Unsplash

Let me introduce to you the idea of drop-shipping, the desi way. In this blog, I will talk about a business model that you can try out in India with practically zero investment. This is not the usual “sourcing your product from China and selling it on Amazon” business model. So read on, and I will show you a couple of examples as well.

Identifying the products that you want to drop ship is the first step. With extensive research on the products you want to sell, you can get started with your drop shipping business. Today there are different tools and platforms which fall under the category of product research tools or supplier discovery tools. These platforms help you identify what products are trending locally, the consumer behaviour, profitability, and sales potential and come with even more features that help you launch your drop shipping business. Most of these tools are paid, but you can get started by researching local Indian marketplaces, on social media platforms or Google Trends.

Let us look at an example of how to start drop shipping with little to no money the desi way.

Drop ship school supplies and make a profit!

The back-to-school season in India is a good opportunity for drop shippers. It is this time of the year when every parent wants to gather school supplies like school bags, notebooks, lunchboxes, and other school essentials. By understanding this seasonal trend, you can target your drop shipping business to cater to this specific audience. So how do you start?

Look for the products that people are talking about on platforms like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. Check out marketplaces such as Flipkart, Meesho or Snapdeal to understand the gaps in the market and identify your product. Next up is sourcing the product. In this case, I would check out Meesho for stationery and school supplies where I can get it at a reasonable price.

You can also check sellerapp.com or junglescout.com websites, these platforms give you sales data from Shopify and Amazon online stores and help you identify the right trending products for your store. Look for trending back-to-school supplies that are popular in your area.

Building your online store is the next step. Create a brand and set it up on Shopify. Target working parents through Facebook or Instagram ads. You can start with Facebook ads, as it is one of the most affordable advertising options for Indian businesses. Make sure your ad copies resonate with working parents who prioritise convenience or appreciate colourful school supplies for their kids.

Now, how do you act as a middleman in this business? Let me just break down for you how the orders work:

  1. When a customer places an order on your online store, you head over to Meesho (in this example) and purchase the same product.
  2. Provide the customer’s shipping information on Meesho.
  3. Forward the order details to the customer and Meesho completes the order.
  4. The difference between the products’ price on your store and the actual price of the product on Meesho is your profit.
Considerations (Challenges)
Efforts/Growth
Investment
Free or paid website builders, paid advertisement cost on social media, eCommerce platforms like Shopify and payment gateway integration
Risk level
Moderate
Profit margin
15% - 30%
Scaling the business
Widen your product range, build brand awareness, sourcing new suppliers
Legal and Regulatory
Register your business and get GST registration
Marketing and sales
Facebook ads, search optimise your website, especially for mobile users
Customer service
Timely communication is important for order updates, returns and refunds
Building a team
Optional. Consider as you scale your business
Product selection
Consider products with unique selling potential
Pricing
Offer competitive pricing

Conclusion

Another example is the monsoon season in India which opens the opportunity for drop shipping rain gear which solves the common problems during monsoon. The festive season in India and weddings also offer a goldmine of opportunity for drop shippers.

Ideally, you are creating a brand that addresses the pain points of a consumer here. Understanding the preferences of your target audience is key to thriving in the desi drop shipping market.