After almost 3 months, I finally decided to share my DROPSHIPPING journey. I’ve been keeping this a secret for a long time but my close friends and followers already knew that I’m doing e-commerce in the Philippines while working overseas. I was keeping it a secret for a while since I wanted to prove myself first and be successful before I recommend it to others. We had our highs, we also had our lows… but in the end, I decided to take a break for a while early this year.
For those of you who want to venture into business, now is the right time for you to start. I was fortunate that I was able to enjoy the peak of the pandemic when the e-commerce business also boomed and people depend so heavily on home deliveries for their essential needs. And I saw that getting into LAZADA and SHOPEE is a good opportunity to learn and to earn.
LAZADA and SHOPEE are two of the most popular online shopping platforms, not only in the Philippines, but in Southeast Asia. They provide opportunities for sellers to sell their products on their platform for a minimal commission. What happens is that sellers will set up their online stores, upload their products, and promote them to Lazada or Shopee buyers by participating in different campaigns or sales periods like 9.9 in September, 10.10 in October, 11.11 in November, and 12.12 in December, etc (this year they even started early at 2.2 in February 2022. Sellers can also offer FREE SHIPPING and other discounts to entice buyers but may also increase their prices to cover these expenses.
When a buyer purchase an item, the seller will then arrange the products for dropoff and pickup by Lazada and Shopee courier. The Seller Center (Lazada or Shopee dashboard) will update the seller on the delivery status, and even the payout amount (which is usually released every week) – meaning Lazada and Shopee collects and delivers the items from the sellers, receives the payments from the buyers, and remit the total payout to the sellers after a week (via registered bank account).
It may sound easy but it’s actually a very complicated operation. Uploading a product is one, but making it land on the first page of Lazada and Shopee is another, and it entails a lot of work – you have to make a really good product image, product details or specifications, competitive pricing (considering the promo costs and Lazada/Shopee commissions, etc), and inventory management. Not only that, you have to also get yourself familiar with the platform’s marketing campaigns and other opportunities to sell (flash sales, ads, etc). The key is taking your time to watch their tutorials and learn the intricacies of the system. If you skip this part, there will be a big chance of not earning and loosing money. There’s no shortcut to success in online selling – but when you get yourself familiar with it, you can just develop or use your skills to make it easier later on.
Finding a place to sell is now very convenient – you have two of the most trusted and very popular online selling/buying platforms like LAZADA and SHOPEE. During big campaign periods, you can even see both of them promoting their season sale on television and hiring social media influencers and popular artists to lure shoppers via big discounts and raffle promotions. While some can use Facebook Marketplace or even sell on Instagram, our focus for this series is how we can start up a dropshipping business using Lazada and Shopee.
And speaking of DROPSHIPPING, it is one of the popular marketing approaches that I’ve discovered while watching Youtube tutorials about online selling/e-commerce business.
In traditional business, you own the product (on-hand), sell it to your customers, and earn. With dropshipping, someone owns the products, you just sell them, and depending on your arrangement, you earn a third-party income or commission.
There are pros and cons for both the traditional and dropshipping business which I will discuss in detail in the next part of this series. But in summary: Traditional Business will require a big capital investment to purchase your inventory and a place to store your products. The advantage of this is that you will have full control over the items that you sell: from product quality, to pricing, to packaging, to delivery (with personalized tags and all).
The nice thing about Dropshipping is that you can set up a business without the need for a big capital. You only need to find a dropshipping company that owns a wide range of products, just pay a minimal subscription fee (or depends on their arrangement) for you to have access to sell and earn as much as you can. These dropshipping companies make selling easier for business owners since the sourcing, inventory management, and delivery are usually handled by them – leaving only the marketing and promotion (on Lazada or Shopee) to their subscribers/the sellers. The notable disadvantage (as per my personal experience) is the quality of the product and control of inventory since it is “shared” by all subscribers. It will be inevitable for you to experience complaints about bad quality and wrong orders as well as getting OUT-OF-STOCK since inventory management is handled manually and assigned to each seller on a first-come, first-served bases.
When I tried dropshipping in November 2019 during the height of the pandemic, I really have to spend more time learning the whole process, and even experienced almost closing out early on since the warehouse of our first dropshipping company was damaged by a fire just before New Year’s eve of 2020. However, I was also fortunate to be given more time to learn and adjust my marketing strategy. When we reopened after two months, I also opened two stores in Lazada and earned my first 6-digit income only after 3 months!
Drop your questions in the comment section and we will try to answer it in the next post (no private message or direct message will be entertained).