Even though many consider it to be a business fad, dropshipping as a business model has been around for decades. In this blog post, we will discuss how viable it is to start a dropshipping business from Ireland.
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a business model that allows you to create a website or social media page that advertises a product that you can rebrand as your own if you please.
You do not keep any stock of the product on hand, once a customer orders the product from you, you then buy it from the supplier who then ships it directly to the customer.
It is made viable through effective marketing so you can charge a premium on top of what the supplier usually charges for this product. You keep the difference as your profit margin.
The best platform to build a dropshipping ecommerce website from Ireland
By far the best platform for starting a dropshipping business in Ireland is Shopify. With Shopify you can build your own website with one of their many templates, no coding experience is needed.
One of the biggest benefits of the Shopify platform is how easily it integrates with payment providers, email, suppliers and social media advertising accounts. You can build one place that will house everything you need to run your business through Shopify. A full list of integrations can be found here.
Shopify also give you a 14 day free trial to try it out before you go fully live with you website.
When you take the plunge an then sign up for a subscription it can range from €24 p/m on a basic account all the way up to €289 p/m for a really advanced account.
Things to consider before dropshipping from Ireland
Supply chain delays
Dropshippers usually source their products from low-cost suppliers on Alibaba. Even before the pandemic, there were significant time delays from when the customer ordered their product to when it was delivered to their door.
These delays have been further extended as global supply chains have been put under severe pressure to recover from shutdowns and to meet huge demand since reopening. Significant delays need to be well communicated to customers if they are to be accepted.
To better control this process you might want to order and keep stock of the products yourself to ensure you can get them out quickly to customers. But this will then add more risk to the business model as you could potentially be left with unsold stock and lose the money invested.
Top tip when using a supplier from Alibaba: always order a sample product and test it out before adding it to your site. Products can vary considerably in quality and look from the pictures and reviews online.
Customs and VAT
Depending on your product, the profit margins for your business can be tight so it is important to not forget to include customs and vat into your workings.
Any goods imported from outside the EU will have to go through a customs declaration process. To expedite this and not cause any further delays it is advisable to register your business immediately for tax and get an EORI number. Check out our guide to registering for an EORI number here.
This EORI number will need to be added to relevant haulier transport documentation and will act as an identifier for you and your goods when they reach customs. The correct customs and VAT can be added and paid online in a much speedier process which will save you a lot of time.
Are there any local suppliers interest in a dropshipping arrangement?
Rather than sourcing your products from Chinese suppliers, an alternative would be to look for European suppliers or even specifically Irish suppliers that would allow you to list their products on your website.
Although this is likely to lead to tighter profit margins it will help you still maintain a position where you do not have to keep stock on hand and still get products out to customers on a speedily.
How are you going to generate traffic and sales?
When you are creating a website it is not going to automatically rank in Google and start bringing visitors to the site that can then covert to sales.
It is a smart move to try and formulate a plan for how you will generate interest in your products before you build your site. It may be through paid ads on Google, Instagram, TikTok initially but this can be very costly and may not be viable over the long term.
Ideally you want to create content that will bring you sales organically. If you are just planning to do this solely through a website be prepared for a quite 6-9 months before Google trusts you.
Other side hustles worth considering
If you are interested in dropshipping then most likely you are searching for ways to make some additional income on top of your day job.
Here are some options:
- Writing on Medium.com
- Taking stock photos for platforms like Shutterstock
- Selling digital products on Etsy
- Social Media Management
You can check out how I got on with some of these side hustles in this post/
Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advise.