Imagine that you first announce what are you going to do on National television and only after that you start working on your idea.
Would it be possible in your country (probably someone would start working on it the next day)?
It was possible in my country, Latvia!
I did an interview about Dropshipping business in Latvia and also told about my plans to make the biggest e-commerce shop of Latvian manufactured products – DiscoverLatvia.eu. I was invited for this interview, because I rank at first place in Google for this keyword in Latvia and also I have decent experience with dropshipping business.
Why I decided to start local Dropshipping business?
You probably know, that everybody’s first idea about starting online business is to open a Shopify store and dropship products from Alibaba, AliExpress or Oberlo.
I think, that all these businesses are crap and they all will eventually fail.
There are such big competition for such low quality products from China. And the shipping usually takes two weeks or more.
I believe that quality and originality is the right way to go.
So I decided to make a Dropshipping business for products that are manufactured in my country – Latvia.
And I`m proud doing that! Not only I can make extra money for myself, but I am helping out lot of new local businesses to expand their marketing and reach more people.
How to make a local dropshipping e-commerce store?
So, are you interested in creating a local e-commerce store based on dropshipping business model? I can tell you how I managed to create a largest store in Latvia where you can buy only products from local manufacturers.
By the way, there is more that 30 manufacturers in DiscoverLatvia.eu and it is not so hard to manage it!
At first I was planning to make a bit different store. I was going to make a online marketplace where manufacturers could add their products themselves (something like Etsy, but only for Latvian audience). I did find the best platform where you can do that – Sharetribe. But when I was doing competitor research, I discovered that there already is an online marketplace for local manufacturers. It was exactly like I was imagined mine! When I was digging through their website I found out that they receive 13% commissions for every product sold via their website. There also was a statistics of how much products they have sold (on each product page). And those numbers were very small! I immediately canceled this idea!
But then the time passed and I wanted to do something with Latvian local manufacturers. And as I have had some previous experience in dropshipping I decided to make a e-commerce shop that sells locally manufactured products on this business model.
So I started to work on this project.
I spent a month and a half developing online store and finding first dropshipping partners.
At the time I did launch my local dropshipping store there was products of 12 manufacturers. The products that they was offering included wooden watches, wool slippers, hoodies, women clothing, child furniture, ecologic bedding sets for children, hammock chairs etc.
And the best thing that all those manufacturers were selected by me. I was able to choose to cooperate only with partners whose products I liked.
I was looking for products that was priced over 20 euros. I did that, because I do not want to deal with offers from which my profit is lower than 4 euros. Yes, the commissions that I offered to my partners was 20%. And with some I was able to agree on more than 20%. Some partners offered their products for wholesale price and I was able to get a profit of about 50% from those deals.
If yo do not know, how to start conversation with your potential dropshipping partners, then I can share how did I do that:
Example e-mail of dropshipping cooperation offer to local producers
Email 1 – Telling a bit about yourself and explaining idea
I am creating an online store that will sell products only from Latvian produces and I would be glad to see CompanyName in this store. I am sure that you would also be interested in expanding your reach in various marketing platforms and increase the sales.
The idea of DiscoverLatvia store is to be the largest online shop that offers only the most interesting and original products made in Latvia from different industries. At first, we are going to develop our client base in Latvia, but afterwards we are going to do marketing activities all over the world.
Our initial collaborative model will be based on the Dropshipping principle.
In DiscoverLatvia.eu website there will be a dedicated page to each producer with information, story and products. Also the products will be added to product catalog. Marketing activities will be carried out on social networks, e-mails, product comparison sites, SEO etc.
A little bit about me: Tell about your experience, vision and reasons why the partner should cooperate with you.
Email 2 – explaining dropshipping business model
Our cooperation model is based on “dropshipping” or direct delivery business model. The Dropshipping model works as follows:
- Information about the partner and his products is added to DiscoverLatvia’s e-commerce shop’s catalog.
- DiscoverLatvia carries out marketing activities in soc. networks, price comparison portals, Google Ads, SEO etc.;
- When a product is sold, the order is handed over to a partner who packs the product and sends it to the customer;
- Partner issues an invoice to DiscoverLatvia with a commission 20% discount (DiscoverLatvia commission).
In order for us to add your company to the DiscoverLatvia.eu catalog, you will need the following things:
- Information and descriptive story about the company (you can take the example from companies already listed on the store)
- List of products and their prices, descriptions and pictures;
- Information on the types and costs of delivery;
- Your logo/
If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!
This will be a good start to your conversation. If the partner that you would like to work with is more white-collar then you can give him a phone call and arrange a private meeting, where you explain your plans and advantages of this kind of cooperation.
After that, you will have to gather all necessary information from partners and add them your online store.
I do not have any legal agreements with any of my 30+ partners. We are working on mutual agreement, that they give 20% or more discount to orders that comes from my store.
What to do next?
Did you know, that creating e-commerce store or any other online resource is the easiest part of online business? After you have created what you imagined, only then you will have to start to work really hard.
And that is called marketing!
Marketing your e-commerce store is definitely the hardest part of dropshipping business.
There are thousands of other stores offering similar products. All of them want to make profit. And all of them will be showing ads to Facebook users, make ads on Google adWords, send e-mails to their clients.
You will have to think of something different to really stand out and make people buy products on your store.
I do not have formula how to do that. It strongly depends on niche that you are in, the marketing canals that you use and many other factors.
If we are talking about DiscoverLatvia.eu, then I can use Patriotic accent in my advertisements, posts and e-mails. That really works!
Here is an example of patriotic Facebook ad. The copy says: Products made in Latvia that every Latvian should be proud of!
And the heading of article is: 7 stylish and cool products made in Latvia
And what is the best part of ads like this? You can get visitors to your shop for few cents! In this case I got 126 visitors for 5 euros which is 4 cents per visitor.
Social media advertising is only one of the tools that you can use to advertise your e-commerce dropshipping store.
I will not go in to details, but will list other tools that you can use to market your store: SEO, E-mail marketing, price comparison engines, video marketing, Hotjar (for Conversion rate optimization), guest posting, guerrilla marketing etc.
I hope that my experience will give you motivation to create something beautiful yourself. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!
My first experience with dropshipping
I opened my first store that was based on dropshipping business model about 5 years ago.
I was semi-professional BMX Freestyle rider at that time and I was really interested in cool action sports brands. So I started to look for business partners in this niche and found UK based company DevilWear, offering over 3,500 items from the most popular skateboard, surf and snow manufacturers.
The store was able to buy items from the following brands: DC, Metal Mulisha, Alpinestars, Neff, Matix, Famous SAS, DVS, Quicksilver, Protest, Volcom, Zoo York and many more.
I was super hyped about this opportunity! I contacted DevilWear and told about my idea. I got a dropshipping contract and started to work hard to open my shop as soon as possible.
I had to open a Business and it was a big challenge for me, as I was not done something like that before. But everything went smooth and I opened my first e-commerce shop in like one month. I called my first store GoBig.lv and it was running on Prestashop CMS.
Was this e-commerce store successful?
Of course no! I spent a lot of money opening and promoting it, but the return was really low and I was loosing money.
After a year or so, the shop was closed
Why? Because the partner had problems with the inventory of goods in stock! At the end, many orders were canceled and money returned to customers because the ordered goods were not in stock. Those situations were awkward. I spent more time apologizing to customers and explaining to them the situation than advertising the shop and thinking about attracting new customers.
If you are looking for some European based Dropshipping companies, read this article: 10 Dropshipping Companies With Warehouses in Europe