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Austin Allegro

Dropshipping - any ideas?

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I have an idea for a small, cheap to produce safety device for cyclists. I have done quite a lot of research and found nothing like it seems to be available. 

(I don't want to reveal too much as I may be getting it patented). 

I don't want to get involved with selling it online or having tons of stock in my back bedroom. 

I am thinking of selling it by dropshipping but I am not quite sure how this works. It seems something like:

1. Pay some company in China to make the gadget.

2. They send it to a dropshipping company who handles the warehousing and sales, possibly advertising on Amazon and Ebay. 

3. The money goes into my bank account less a cut for the dropshipper. 

4. Rinse and repeat. 

What I'm not sure about is: 

Do dropshippers link to Amazon /Ebay or does one need to do one's own advertising on cycling websites or have one's own website etc?

Any info useful!

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Ignore selling direct through the internet for your product much better trying to get it listed with existing cycle retailers.

Despite what's said in the media online volumes are still surprisingly poor.

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9 minutes ago, SNACR said:

Ignore selling direct through the internet for your product much better trying to get it listed with existing cycle retailers.

Despite what's said in the media online volumes are still surprisingly poor.

Thanks - so, you reckon get it produced then try to sell it wholesale to cycle shops?

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If this is your first 'thing' I'd be extraordinarily careful.  As a starter, I'd have thought that your patenting costs will exceed your budget (whatever it is), and won't stretch to policing it afterwards.  You'll find every legal man and his dog will be trying to get you to part with your money on getting your idea patented -- they're pretty much all Charlatans, simply after your money.  Also be very wary of scams -- the minute you've got a patent you'll have a dozen or more letters through the post about fees you've got to pay -- they're pretty much all just scams, which assume that 1% of people just pay up.  Trademarks are the same.

Your 'dropshipping' is ass-about-face -- this is what you do when you're buying stuff off-the-shelf, or, possibly when you've got an easy-to-implement product (like a specific design on an otherwise standard item).  If you're doing something as a new product in China you're talking about lots of visits to China to set up manufacturing, check on quality, etc.  Once that's done you can use a fulfilment centre to do all the warehousing, packaging, sure.  It can be difficult to work with overseas countries, though -- you'll need to do research on how to sell in USA and EU (after Brexit).  UK should be straightforwards enough.

Anyway, to answer the question:

If you're using an independent fulfilment service -- you sort out your own website, etc, linked to Amazon shopfront.  You might as well use something like Shopify to do all the hassle stuff, as Amazon take such a massive cut you might want to try to sell as many via your own shop.  Ebay is fine, but generally looks a bit cheap.  Also, Amazon won't like selling your product without you having your own sales page on the internet (funny that).  They'll not sell it unless you've taken care of trivial stuff like buying an EAN/UPC (easy, though). 

You're going to have to do your own marketing -- I'd have thought that your marketing budget would need to be massive (maybe all of first years 'profit' spent on marketing).

You might find it easier to use Amazon's fulfilment service -- it is expensive but it is very easy and integrated for Amazon sales.  You've still got to do your own marketing though.

Last point -- if you manufacture in China and your product is a success you'll find copies available for sale cheaply within 6 months.  You'll find that it is extraordinarily difficult to police any patents you have -- they'll just ignore you, disappear then reappear under a different name, etc.  I'd suggest trying very hard to work out ways to get around this problem (eg, getting different components made in different factories). Manufacture in EU is best, though.

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1 hour ago, Austin Allegro said:

I have an idea for a small, cheap to produce safety device for cyclists. I have done quite a lot of research and found nothing like it seems to be available. 

(I don't want to reveal too much as I may be getting it patented). 

I don't want to get involved with selling it online or having tons of stock in my back bedroom. 

I am thinking of selling it by dropshipping but I am not quite sure how this works. It seems something like:

1. Pay some company in China to make the gadget.

2. They send it to a dropshipping company who handles the warehousing and sales, possibly advertising on Amazon and Ebay. 

3. The money goes into my bank account less a cut for the dropshipper. 

4. Rinse and repeat. 

What I'm not sure about is: 

Do dropshippers link to Amazon /Ebay or does one need to do one's own advertising on cycling websites or have one's own website etc?

Any info useful!

If you want to outsource all of it, you won't have much left for yourself at the end. Though it is perfectly possible; there are companies which will do this. Or, a hybrid option whereby you rent space to store the stuff and the place you rent from handles the shipping etc.

Conversely, to flick this back the other way around - if you had your own website and did all of this yourself (extreme example: you keep all the stuff in the shed and pack and send it yourself) you'd keep a greater share of the profits - true - but the product is going to have to be rather niche and something very special for you to be able to get decent page-rankings on Google.

If you work out what phrases people will key into search engines to find your product, a little research time spent in their Adwords product will give you data about volumes of searches and size of markets.

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1 minute ago, DTMark said:

Conversely, to flick this back the other way around - if you had your own website and did all of this yourself (extreme example: you keep all the stuff in the shed and pack and send it yourself) you'd keep a greater share of the profits - true - but the product is going to have to be rather niche and something very special for you to be able to get decent page-rankings on Google.

If you work out what phrases people will key into search engines to find your product, a little research time spent in their Adwords product will give you data about volumes of searches and size of markets.

I have decided, probably based on my ineptitude, that most internet advertising is useless for 'new products' -- it only works when people are looking for a 'thing' and you can indicate how you're so great.  Anything where they wouldn't be searching for a 'thing' already just doesn't seem to work well with Google (and the other big internet advertisers).

I think you've just got to go back to old-fashioned techniques, although taking advantage (not paid adverts) of social media can work out well.

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Oh, one more thing.

  • If you've got a brilliant product your most likely number of sales is 0.
  • if you've got a brilliant product and brilliant business plan and brilliant marketing you might just sell millions.

But a brilliant product on its own is (nowhere near) enough.

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18 minutes ago, dgul said:

Last point -- if you manufacture in China and your product is a success you'll find copies available for sale cheaply within 6 months.  You'll find that it is extraordinarily difficult to police any patents you have -- they'll just ignore you, disappear then reappear under a different name, etc.  I'd suggest trying very hard to work out ways to get around this problem (eg, getting different components made in different factories). Manufacture in EU is best, though.

That's one of the advantages with injection moulding - at least that is pretty automated process so the margin between manufactured abroad and here is not so great and gives you a fighting chance. Packing and handling would be more costly than the production most likely.

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5 minutes ago, dgul said:

Oh, one more thing.

  • If you've got a brilliant product your most likely number of sales is 0.
  • if you've got a brilliant product and brilliant business plan and brilliant marketing you might just sell millions.

But a brilliant product on its own is (nowhere near) enough.

I have developed a lighting system that I use in my woodland and it is so well prototyped that it looks like a manufactured piece of kit - I wanted something similar for years but could not find it so I made it 🙂 I am also developing a camping pod that will be awesome! I’m too busy to market these - you are correct about having to put alot of effort into making a success of it so I will not even consider progressing until I can devote the time it requires.

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1 minute ago, OurDayWillCome said:

I have developed a lighting system that I use in my woodland and it is so well prototyped that it looks like a manufactured piece of kit - I wanted something similar for years but could not find it so I made it 🙂 I am also developing a camping pod that will be awesome! I’m too busy to market these - you are correct about having to put alot of effort into making a success of it so I will not even consider progressing until I can devote the time it requires.

One thing you could do is team up.  Find someone that can do marketing and someone that can do new product project management (not necessarily 'experienced', but at least procedural and enthusiastic).  They take 1/3rd of company each -- then you could actually get something done, rather than nothing.  

I'd note that 1/3rd of something is considerably more than 100% of nothing.

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2 minutes ago, dgul said:

One thing you could do is team up.  Find someone that can do marketing and someone that can do new product project management (not necessarily 'experienced', but at least procedural and enthusiastic).  They take 1/3rd of company each -- then you could actually get something done, rather than nothing.  

I'd note that 1/3rd of something is considerably more than 100% of nothing.

I can do marketing as I own a marketing company 🙂 It’s the legal and production side that I find less interesting.

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6 minutes ago, OurDayWillCome said:

I can do marketing as I own a marketing company 🙂 It’s the legal and production side that I find less interesting.

Same applies -- get others to do the stuff you don't have time to learn how to do.

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1 hour ago, dgul said:

One thing you could do is team up.  Find someone that can do marketing and someone that can do new product project management (not necessarily 'experienced', but at least procedural and enthusiastic).  They take 1/3rd of company each -- then you could actually get something done, rather than nothing.  

I'd note that 1/3rd of something is considerably more than 100% of nothing.

I specialise in bringing products to market, managing and advising on new product development and launch marketing. So happy to discuss over PM with any of the mad inventors on here.

Some good advice already on this thread.

Edited by The Idiocrat

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47 minutes ago, The Idiocrat said:

I specialise in bringing products to market, managing and advising on new product development and launch marketing. So happy to discuss over PM with any of the mad inventors on here.

Some good advice already on this thread.

dosbods Inventors Club is now up and running in the invisible place 😉

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