As the dream of owning a successful dropshipping store blossoms in the minds of the millions who consume YouTube business opportunity videos, some of them will take action and start building a dropship store. You may be at that crossroads moment yourself and you’re mapping out your options on how to proceed.
You probably want to know how much you’ll need to do yourself versus how much you can have done for you. Traditional dropshipping businesses do require a considerable investment of both time and money. You’ll still need to patch together a quilt of technical and marketing services to run your funnels and generate those leads that become the customers you market to in the future.
We’ve scoured the market for dropshipping-related services to determine if there was any true DFY (Done For You) solution to compare with doing everything yourself. To be perfectly honest, we expected more but found only one company you could rightfully call a top to bottom provider of all the services required to run a dropshipping store with quality products. That company is Why Unified.
WhyUnified.com is singularly focused on helping dropshippers either market their existing stores or by providing an all-in-one package called their Dropship Plan which gives you a pre-built store with tested products ready to go live and start selling.
The Dropship Plan is fully managed by Why Unified. They build the ad campaigns for you, collect emails from those clicks, run email sequences for your list, fulfill the orders and handle customer service. The time commitment for you is minimal. It’s your uniquely branded store with vetted products they claim are proven to sell, but they do all the work.
The best way to answer if the Why Unified Dropship Plan would be a good choice for you is to walk through the steps you’ll need to take if you go it alone. We’ll cover what it entails when you Do It Yourself (DIY) vs. Why Unified as the alternative.
A Word About Mindset and Risk Management
Business gurus begin their courses with a lecture on mindset for a reason. It is a requirement for success in dropshipping too. You must be committed to the smooth and methodical execution of every step in the customer journey and the supply chain. A lot has to go right and just one missed detail can be the difference between sales and failure.
A common falsehood is that because you hold no inventory you have eliminated all of the risk for you as a dropshipper. This is false. You still risk committing extensive time and expense to build and promote your store with no guarantees of success.
Understanding the risk factors in dropshipping is key to making good decisions that lead to sales. As we go through each point, consider which choice minimizes risk more. This is a good exercise for evaluating which pathway actually has the greatest odds of success for you. And it could be the difference between losing all of your money or making it back in sales over time.
This is the initial rabbit hole you will enter. Get it right and you are off to a good start. Get it wrong and nothing else will help you.
Your research will need to confirm your niche size and competitive factors, your target demographic and their spending habits, is it a trending or a perennial category, what are the average net sales on a typical product, and so on.
It was much easier to pick a niche and make money 10 years ago. You have highly focused competitors now. Niche research has evolved into a craft with various methodologies, hacks, and tools. It can be your secret weapon or it could be your undoing.
In their Dropship Plan, they select the niche for you which includes subsequent product testing to validate if they have chosen winning products. Why Unified leans toward tightly focused product categories in perennial niches that allow for highly specific branding and targeted ad campaigns that work well year after year.
Product Selection & Validation
Your niche research will narrow down your search for the products you will choose based on variables like your target demographic, price points, uniqueness, or shipping costs.
Thus begins the discovery process to see who provides the products that fit your niche. You could easily spend weeks googling for competitors, hunting for their suppliers, and then finding your own.
With the advent of inventory tools that easily connect the data from supplier websites like AliExpress directly to your store, dropshipping took another step into the mainstream. You could build a store and populate it with products in one day, but ease does not equal success. With mass migrations to these services comes the common issues of market saturation, pricing wars, and an inability to brand your products.
Among dropshippers, universality breeds copycats and among consumers, familiarity breeds contempt. It becomes more difficult to generate authenticity and brand loyalty when everything looks the same. Since repeat and referral sales are core to long-term growth, the future belongs to those who create brand traction.
You can research and locate products that fit your niche and take the time to locate the best suppliers and perhaps even secure exclusive fulfillment deals with them,
You could do what everyone else is doing and fill your bucket with a smorgasbord of products you found browsing your AliExpress enabled app and hope you’re not throwing good money after bad when you start running ads to promote them.
Why Unified takes the guesswork out of this process and selects the products for you. Their products are first market-tested by running ad campaigns for tens of thousands of dollars to verify if they will convert those traffic clicks into actual sales. By selecting the winners and dumping the losers, Why Unified takes the risk out of it for you which is an expense, not every dropshipper can manage on their own. When you factor in the immense time savings as well, this is a legitimate option instead of sourcing products yourself.
Product Suppliers & Fulfillment
Lining up high-quality suppliers is the next step. It is implicit they will provide fulfillment and shipping for you.
You have two pathways for DIY here: Old School Product Sourcing or automated Product Selection.
Old school means this is not only how earlier dropshippers found their suppliers, but it actually is often how the most successful dropship businesses continue to secure valuable manufacturer relationships today, particularly when it comes to locking in exclusives which can be what puts you over the top. This is what that often entails:
- Study your niche so you’re ready to talk with suppliers who specialize in those items
- Build a list of potential dropship wholesalers.
- Obtain directories of dropshipping suppliers.
- Research which suppliers your competitors use. Can you also use them? Alternatives?
- Network via trade shows and professional groups related to your niche’s industry.
- Contact Manufacturers and sample their products.
- Negotiate contracts and costs and sign up your supplier(s).
Newer tools like Salehoo allow you to connect your Shopify store to AliExpress and download product listings directly to your website. This is how many newcomers to dropshipping get started. They browse products using add-ons and choose items for their new store hoping to come up with a nice product mix that will appeal to consumers.
Why Unified’s products in their Dropship Plan are exclusives they have with their suppliers. They have vetted the products as strong sellers and secured fulfillment from unique channels so you don’t have to compete with a thousand AliExpress clone sites.
Branding & Design Creatives
It is hard to expect long-term viability for your dropship store without solid branding. In eCommerce, private label suppliers are often the way to go. This has been the de facto standard for supplement brands, but it could apply to any item that can either be given its own logo, printed on-demand, or produced by your supplier with fresh design variations on an exclusive basis. It is possible to market test an unbranded product and then brand it.
Branding is not a one-time thing. You’ll need to stay on top of your brand and keep evolving it while mastering the process of product fit and ensuring you keep producing compelling variations on your chosen theme.
Creatives could be anything from website images and photos to your logo and branding scheme. You can do them yourself or outsource them to a designer. It will be your responsibility to maintain a consistent design for your brand. You may use stock product photography provided by your supplier, but keep in mind that so is everyone else selling that product if you’re getting it from a platform like AliExpress.
All of these elements are handled for you by Why Unified’s Dropship Plan. You will receive your own unique brand created by their in-house designers that gives you logos and brand colors ready to go. Your products are professionally photographed in-house as well.
Tech Stack & Funnels
It’s one thing to figure out what your niche and product selection is and to design a nice store, it’s another thing entirely to effectively market your brand.
Everybody’s talking about funnels these days and you’ll need one too. And you will need to manage the email list from those advertising campaigns. You could go with expensive products like Click Funnels or Active Campaign or piece it together from the multitude of cheaper products that now flood the SaaS Marketing App marketplace.
At a minimum, you’ll be required to design landing pages to snag the email address of the leads you generate from your ad campaigns. Then you’ll need to set up autoresponder sequences in your email program to stay in touch with your growing list.
And even if you love tweaking your Shopify or Woocommerce store it is up to you to keep it properly configured and optimized for conversions.
All of the above tasks are handled for you by Why Unified’s integrated marketing and technology stack. In the Dropship Plan, your site design, hosting, and optimization are managed for you. All of the funnel elements are built and implemented for you and your email list is handled as well. It is likely the closest you’ll get to an anxiety-free experience when it comes to managing a dropship store.
To get sales you need clicks. To get clicks you need to run paid ads on a platform where your customers are. It is how dropshippers make money and build lists. It isn’t easy and it requires allocating capital so the risk is you will buy ads and don’t get the results you desire.
The main piece of advice here is you will probably need to spend more than you want to, it will take longer to generate results than you hope for and you must exercise the patience to do so. It is how affiliate and eCommerce marketers roll. They spend money to get data insights they can then make better decisions with like dump their losers and scale their winners or to more sharply target their ads to 45-55-year-old male beer mug collectors who make over $100k per year.
You will have to choose what platform to advertise on with Google, Facebook, and Instagram, Snap or TikTok being typical choices. Google is tough for limited budgets and for most dropshippers is a good long-tail solution for organic traffic which won’t generate the results you need to grow now.
Facebook includes Instagram and is the most common choice for B2C products for good reason. Their granular targeting will find relevant prospects if you know what you’re doing. Facebook does still work in 2022, but it is no longer dirt cheap and it may take weeks or months to mature an ad campaign.
You will have to decide if you want to devote dozens or even hundreds of hours to learning Facebook Ads or to let someone else manage your ad campaigns for you. You can start at around $10 a day to get your feet wet, but eventually, you must be prepared to spend more to build a rich data set. And there is always the risk that after all that, your product is not a strong seller and you have to chalk it up to experience and eat the loss.
Managing ad campaigns is one of Why Unified’s primary activities. They offer it for all of their plans, not just the Dropship Plan. The advantage of allowing them to run your Facebook ads for you are:
- Facebook certified Partner
- Protection against Facebook bans
- Volume discount pricing that make your ad dollars go further
- Massive data set from spending millions on ads for many dropship stores
- Better targeting
- Ongoing campaign optimizations
In sum, you have a professional team designing your ads and running your campaigns. The time savings for you could be quite valuable and more than pay for their management fee.
When planning the budget for your dropship store consider the opportunity costs that may be incurred by engaging in one activity over another or the potential loss of capital due to risk factors. The primary risk factors are poor niche and product selection but could be any one of many potential points of failure throughout the sales chain of events.
There are many ways to go for the indy dropshipper, but we’ll sample the approximate annual costs of running a Shopify store with Salehoo as your product sourcing platform.
$313 Shopify (annual)
$270 Salehoo Shopfiy Plug-in (annual)
$970 Clickfunnels (annual basic plan)
$948 ActiveCampaign (annual basic email 5,000 contacts)
Your prices will vary. You may dump ClickFunnels and pay for a higher ActiveCampaign plan that includes landing pages. Or you may locate a cheaper email provider that meets your needs. This pricing exercise does not include the many incidental costs that may arise so alway budget for some wiggle room.
And then you must factor in your daily ad spend if you’re using Facebook. Many people start at $10 a day and gradually raise it from $300 per month to $600 month. Successful dropshippers can easily grow into spending hundreds or even thousands per day if they scale well. That starting budget should plan for a bare minimum of $3,600 in ad spending the first year, but likely more if your campaigns gain traction.
WhyUnified’s Dropship Plan can be paid for on a monthly basis, but this makes little sense when their current annual discount is a whopping 70% off which drops the average monthly cost from $689 to $206. Everyone’s unsure of how long this promotion will run, but it’s up for grabs.
$2,480 Dropship Plan (annual)
Your only other cost will be the same ads budget cost as explained in the DIY option above.
In terms of pricing, the cost of doing everything yourself vs. letting Why Unified do everything for you is remarkably close. What you don’t see in those numbers is the considerable opportunity cost gains from choosing a managed solution with tested products.
From a cost-benefit analysis, spending roughly the same amount of money on a Why Unified Dropship Plan store vs. researching, niching, branding, building, sourcing, and running your own dropship business appears to be a significant value.
Why Unified’s scale has helped drive down the cost of an integrated set of services that would be very time-consuming and far riskier to assemble on your own.
The primary thing you give up by going with Why Unified’s Dropship Plan is creative control. They do review their marketing plans with you before launching your ad campaign, but aside from that, it is up to their discretion what products you get and what branding you will receive. But you are paying for their expertise in identifying and validating those niches so it makes sense that a done-for-you package has some inflexibility to it.
For most clients, knowing their odds of selling their goods just went up by choosing Why Unified’s Dropship Plan is rationale enough. If you need to do it yourself because you must build your brand idea that is totally understandable.
We hope this overview helped you understand what it takes to do it yourself. But if you need a competitive advantage from letting someone else run the show for you, then WhyUnified may be the perfect choice for you.
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