What is drop surfing ecommerce and how does it differ from dropshipping? It's a relatively new term that has been showing up recently (at least from what I've been seeing) and in this article, we are going to explore exactly what it is and how you can take advantage of the tactic.
If you're not familiar with dropshipping or Shopify then we will need to discuss what it is in order to make sense of drop surfing online.
But first, What is dropshipping?
Drop shipping has been around for a very long time. A fantastic business model that allows entrepreneurs to get started in e-commerce with little to no financial outlay.
Dropshipping allows you to remove all costs of holding inventory by allowing you to purchase the item from a supplier as someone places an order with your store.
The beauty of building a dropshipping business is it removes the backend inventory management allowing you to focus on perfecting the marketing side of your business.
A lot of the Shopify dropshipping stores start as side hustles from people with full-time jobs. By removing the extra cost and time associated with learning inventory management allows you to spend your time focused on key areas.
Different ways to dropship
Within dropship selling, there are a couple of key different ways you can sell your products;
- White labeling (Selling someone else's product rebranded as your own)
- Selling someone else's product (often clean skin brands, not rebranded as your own)
- Print on demand (creating your own designs and having another company print and fulfill your products)
And there are a lot of different ways to dropship when it comes to platforms;
- Amazon FBA
I have given you a very brief overview of what dropshipping is purely so we can focus on the art of drop surfing on Shopify or any other platform.
What is Drop Surfing Ecommerce
There are 2 trains of thought when it comes to drop surfing and we are going to take a look at both.
Drop surfing Suppliers
Drop surfing definition 1;
When you have found items on AliExpress, sorted by 5 stars and number of orders you will often find a number of the same products sold by different suppliers.
Instead of always choosing the same supplier you choose based on price. Suppliers often change shipping costs and methods along with the cost of the product. Drop surfing allows you to choose the best price each time by choosing a different vendor for your product.
Unless you do your research on each supplier you end up diluting your relationship with one vendor at the chance of saving a dollar here or there. Most times, if you have a product that is selling a decent quantity you are in a position to open a conversation with your vendor to get the best price.
I have not dabbled too much into the drop shipping world with AliExpress so have not fully tested this method. The Chinese are big on trust and if you work with a company and give them a reason to work with you can find yourself in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Drop surfing strategy
Drop surfing definition 2;
The second definition (Made popular by Jared Goetz) of drop surfing is in riding the different trends of winng products. Going from one proven winner to the next. Jumping onto and spotting trends early are key to the success of this method.
Some key ways to spot trends;
- Spotting trends with Google
- Using AliExpress Search to sort by ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✩& Up & Orders
- Using a variety of tools that are available.
Drop surfing vs dropshipping
As you can see from what we've covered, it's not so much a battle of drop surfing vs dropshipping. It's rather a different way of dropshipping. It in itself is a strategy that has merit and is obviously one that most people would like to achieve.
It is by this continual process of riding these trends that you start to find consistency in your business. Much like the early days of Teespring and POD, this style of selling is more akin to money flipping than building a brand.
Storehacks doesn't condone this type of dropshipping. There is far too much product being tested before the product is actually touched or tested by a seller. It is putting more and more rubbish out onto Facebook destroying the user engagement, particularly that of people who do purchase.
In order for you to be an ethical marketer, a marketer that stands the test of time and that is still allowed to use Facebook in 10 then we must concern ourselves with the experience we're providing for our customers.
While drop surfing shipping or vendors is a legitimate strategy I urge you caution in this style of selling. Ensuring that we look after not just our customers but Facebook (and any other platform you use to drive traffic) users we ensure our longevity in this industry.
4 years ago we were at the height of the Print on Demand revolution and as we've seen with the influx of new drop shippers, we had thousands upon thousands of new marketers coming in.
With the lack of proper education, (it was a matter of the blind leading the blind.) New marketers were actively being coached into infringing on other peoples trademarks.
Trademarks, from massive companies who as we've now seen time and time again are suing POD platforms for allowing this to happen.
It wasn't just companies that were being affected. Poorly designed t-shirts were making their way onto Facebook newsfeeds. Terrible grammar with words often missing from the design.
Look after your customers!
From a Facebook users perspective, these products were being “endorsed” by big blue (From a brand standpoint, Facebook was starting to look like a dodgy chop shop.).
What made this more of a joke was the fact that these ads had “Sponsored” under the title of the page.
All in all, it was a complete shit show and it has only been in the past 12 months that Facebook has really started to clamp down. They no longer stand for the complete disregard of its users by marketers.
If there is one thing I would urge you to do when drop surfing, it's to be mindful of the end user. Chose your vendors based on quality and be mindful of the product your customers receive. While a quick buck today is great, making a buck tomorrow is most important.