The most technically mature web shop, a sophisticated marketing strategy, the best SEO – that’s the passive income via dropshipping. Really? No … two factors determine success. Most people know one, but very few think of the other.
Dropshipping, or “distance delivery” in German, is often cited by digital nomads when newbies ask about a possible source of income. “Do dropshipping, it’s very easy, and you can make money without doing anything.” Well, it’s not that easy. In theory, that sounds great – set up a web shop, advertise products, customers buy and the manufacturer takes care of the logistics. Everything completely automatically. No storage costs, no investments. And you collect a lot of money without having to worry about shipping.
If it were that easy …
Then why doesn’t everyone do it? Because it’s not that easy. Here is a detailed look at the matter. There are now a large number of e-commerce providers who actively promote and support dropshipping, including Shopify.de, of course. “Everything easy, everything online in ten minutes”. Again: why don’t all digital nomads do that, lie in the sun and count the money, but fight each other over poorly paid mini-jobs on Upwork? Dropshipping is tough business and easy money is an illusion. My opinion. Successful e-commerce is not a kindergarten. From a technical as well as an entrepreneurial point of view. If you don’t have a knack for it, you should keep your hands off it.
On the one hand, I think it depends a lot on how you scale dropshipping and integrate it into your income mix. Recommendation, if that interests you: Concentrate on your core competencies for the time being and consider dropshipping as a nice-to-have by the way, as a hobby or a test balloon. I guess many of you are like me:
For me these are bohemian villages. I can and must think entrepreneurially when I work for my customers, i.e. have ROI, CPC, CPO and so on in the back of my mind for every concept. But I’m not an entrepreneur myself. Texts, planning, none of this is an issue. But dropshipping? Huh? What? Not for me, I’m not the type for I would have the best prerequisites for this. Why? Equal. First:
It’s really no secret: Without a USP or specialization in niche markets, you have lost business, regardless of whether online or offline. Of course, this also applies to dropshipping. Or what do you want to offer in your webshop that tens of thousands of other webshops do not offer? Service, quality and delivery times – with dropshipping you have little or no influence on this. So why buy from your webshop of all places? Sure, with clever marketing and creative advertising you can differentiate yourself a little from the competition. But only marginally. What now? How can dropshipping still be promising for digital nomads?
Set up a web shop (easy), set up dropshipping (possibly with help) and take advantage of the advantages of digital nomadism:
You are trend and product scouts!
When you are on the go, you will have many aha and oho experiences. Be it through encounters with other digital nomads, expats or locals. You get to know products that you would otherwise never have found. Products that are as good as unknown in Germany, some of which are difficult to obtain or at very high prices. And these are products that are either ingenious or simply unique. You can then fill your webshop with it – after all, almost nobody else has it on their screen or on offer, they don’t know about it.
For example, many things in my backpacks are only there because I came across them by chance while traveling – in Moments of Truth. I’m sure you know moments like this when you saw something else on vacation and thought: Great, I need that for my next vacation! Or you can find something in a small shop or in a market that you think: I need it for home! Here is your chance. After all, you are permanently on the move around the world and you will discover a lot. “What is that guy talking about?” You might ask yourself now. Three examples that I came across on the way and with which one could perhaps serve a huge niche market, because nobody else does it …
Mosquitoes, what else?
Sandflies, Seaflies, bed bugs … I think it was on Koh Phangan in Thailand where I once went on vacation. In the evening I met two older men in a beach bar. And one of them looked terrible – stabbed almost beyond recognition. But smiled and told me that everything would be okay, his buddy took care of his 254 stitches every morning (they counted them). They noticed my astonished look and took a small device out of my trouser pocket.
Bite away is an opto-mechanical device for the treatment of insect bites. It works immediately and permanently against itching, pain and swelling. Works solely with concentrated heat, battery operated. It has also been dermatologically tested and is used by the DLRG and the water rescue service, among others. That thing works! I can confirm from my own experience – great! Put it on the stitch, press the button, it gets a little warm, hold it until it beeps. Finished. They explained to me why and why, something with enzymes or proteins or something that are killed by the heat, the stuff that causes the itch. Forgot it.
But I remembered my father who, when I had any stings or bites as a child, would go very close to the affected area with the flame of his lighter. Ovambos once showed him that when he lived in Africa. Same principle. Anyway, I digress. Bite Away is available at amazon or in pharmacies, but only on order – they do not advertise it and pharmacies prefer to hand some expensive remedies over the counter when it comes to mosquito prophylaxis and treatment. I prefer Yellow Oil, but Bite Away is a great product, especially for families with children. No chemicals, no oils or ointments.
Isn’t it just something for vacation? Not at all! Next summer is coming in Germany too, and with it the mosquitos …
So, and now? Calculator! This is available online at Amazon from 30 euros. Alibaba or Aliexpress start at ten euros … Nice margin for dropshipping.
Also applies to disposable mosquito bracelets: 30 days of complete mosquito protection on the whole body. Also available as an ankle strap, baseball cap or scarf. Works with essential oils.
A friend gave me a gift when he had to go back to Germany. Great thing. Pocket calculator: Selling price in Germany via Amazon from six or seven euros. And between 15 and 35 cents for one-way and 50 to 80 cents for reusable at Alibaba. Compare that with the price of a bottle of Autan …
Sand, just sand everywhere!
Okay, something more for the holiday market, but at least: the Quicksand Mat. Always fun to watch, rarely fun to experience it yourself. Lying on the beach, going in the water, splashing around, swimming and back on the towel. And after five minutes it looks like a breaded schnitzel. One knows. No matter how often you can shake the beach towel out, it doesn’t help. Schnitzel. And you bring half the beach into your room. The quicksandmat is new. Some new kind of web technology (from weaving, not internet!). All the sand trickles through the mesh – the surface remains free of sand. The people who had a mat next to me didn’t look breaded, just well roasted – had forgotten to put on lotion. Pocket calculator: The online shop of the original costs up to 130 Australian dollars. On Aliexpress: from 13 euros …
Okay, one more thing on the subject of holidays, but it’s actually also interesting for Germany all year round: cooling towels. Right now as I write this I have a bandana on. It is currently 37 degrees. Am i sweating No. Is the heat bothering me? Nope. Cooling towels are made from a special microfiber. You soak them completely in water, can also be warm water, makes no difference. Then you wring it vigorously and shake it violently through the air, let it pop in the air. Only briefly. But then these towels are cooled down to 15 degrees – in seconds. And that for about two hours. Then just repeat the procedure. The effect: If you put a towel around your neck or use it as a headscarf, the entire body is cooled down. No shit, that’s very pleasant. Also called Magic Towels. I discovered it when a Swiss checked in at my resort on Koh Chang with something like that on his head. He explained it to me, I didn’t believe it, he demonstrated it to me, I was speechless.
At the time, these things were only available in selected sports shops in Germany. But at prices around 25 to 40 euros. Meanwhile on Amazon from five to six euros. Purchase price on Aliexpress: from 25 cents. Margin, Marge, Marge… Cooling Towels are not just for vacations in tropical regions. Sport, fitness, gardening in Germany, the vulture knows.
No matter. But not quite
These were a few examples that I have come across. Products that I wasn’t familiar with in and from Germany, that I stumbled upon while traveling. I once asked about it out of interest in the German specialist trade – the employees didn’t even know they had something like this on their shelf … There are a few more, but that would be too much of a good thing here. Whether you want to do dropshipping with them or just want to use them for yourself – it’s up to you. What I just want to say: When you are told “do dropshipping”, don’t just consider the legal, the technical, the organizational, the effort in relation to the yield and so on. Choose more specific products. Niches, Unique Selling Points. Products that not everyone offers. With the 76.891 webshop for mobile phone accessories you are wasting time. And you will find such special, new, innovative products when you are on the go. Many digital nomads are quite proud of their things and like to show them off. Where did you find them, why they are so cool and so on.
I mentioned it, as a digital nomad you can easily consider yourself a trend scout. If anything in Southeast Asia or South America is the hottest shit on earth, or completely normal, then it is. That doesn’t automatically mean that everyone in Germany knows it. It often takes a long time for something to spill over to Europe. So you’re way ahead – and that’s good for dropshipping, because you have little to no competition. Yes, the products described above are also available from Amazon. But who knows the products? If you use good marketing on your webshop, do good SEO, possibly have paid ads in social media, and cause a lot of buzz yourself, dropshipping can turn out to be something. Until you get competition – imitators, then the market will become thinner. But then you’re already on and discover the next great things. You could always be one step ahead. If you keep your eyes open while traveling.
Would you like to find out more about life as a digital nomad? No problem, you read more at Rob’n’Roll around the World!