Find out how to become a successful online entrepreneur by starting one of these dropshipping businesses I’ve listed in this extended guide. I’ll also pinpoint the most important aspects of how to start, run, and grow your business.
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Written by Martin Nikolaev: Point of Sale Expert
I’m certain that you’ve come across hundreds of dropshipping business ideas when browsing online. All of them appear to be tempting, but only a handful of them are both appropriate to start with and profitable. In this article, I’ll suggest the top 10 dropshipping business ideas you can adopt. But I’ll start with the basics first, and I’ll throw in advice on how to run your dropshipping operation and how to get its cogs turning. Even if you already know the definition of dropshipping, I suggest you go through all the notes below.
Starting a Dropshipping Business: Key Takeaways
- Dropshipping defined
- Why start a dropshipping business: pros & cons
- How to start a dropshipping business in 6 steps
- 200 dropshipping business ideas to turn into your own success story
- Tips to run a sustainable dropshipping business (or any other online small business!)
- Inspirational dropshipping success stories
What is Dropshipping?
Aspiring entrepreneurs often consider dropshipping to be one path to follow when their experience is next to none. While they have a good point, it has nothing to do with being an easy journey, I promise you that. Just like any other business, it requires time, patience, effort, and (some) funds.
By definition, dropshipping is a type of eCommerce business that allows entrepreneurs to sell items without having to store them or maintain an inventory of any sort. Dropshippers sell goods to end customers by ordering them from third-party suppliers and directly sending them to their clients, thus eliminating much of the logistics and costs involved in a typical buy-and-sell type of trade, such as wholesale or online retail businesses.
The no-stock business model always looks tempting, and it actually is, at least when it comes to the most popular niches. Running a dropshipping business is all about finding a working balance between your clients and your suppliers. It’s not exactly being a middleman because your business is what the clients see, trust, and, hopefully, choose. This is why dropshipping has a lot to do with any classic type of online sales operation.
Why Choose Dropshipping: Pros & Cons
Choosing to become a dropshipper has plenty of perks, but it’s also challenging. The struggle to get a piece of the enormous online sales industry pie is very real, but you are likely to be wildly successful at it, even if you don’t believe it at first. You also have every reason to give it a try, if starting an online small business is what you’re determined to do. To be honest, I believe that most types of businesses related to eCommerce are bound to bring profit. After all, the global eCommerce industry is expected to be worth $3,6 trillion in 2022! It’s a staggering figure, no matter how you look at it.
But for now, let’s get back to the perks of starting a dropshipping business from home. For starters, dropshipping is a well-tested business model. It’s proven to be successful and any potential flaws are clear. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; all you need to do is follow the beaten path and add something different to stand out from the rest. It could be a specific product, the exquisite quality of what you’re selling, or a very attractive brand (although dropshipping is not the type of business that allows for extended branding).
Additionally, dropshipping requires a lot less capital when compared to almost every other type of online retail business you could think of. Some dropshippers start their journeys using nothing but a laptop and the comfort of their homes or nearby cafés.
I’ll list down the rest of the pros and cons of dropshipping, so you could decide for yourself if it’s worth getting involved with this fast-paced industry.
Pro #1: A niche with a jaw-dropping projected growth
This is the most obvious of all dropshipping perks. Just a couple of years ago, the dropshipping industry was worth approximately $129 billion. In four years (2026), this number is expected to be a whopping four times bigger! This is a good enough reason to become a dropshipper. The best time to do it is today, and the second best is tomorrow. Statistics don’t lie: look at this Google Trends graph showing an upward trend in dropshipping interest from December 2021 to December 2022.
Pro #2: Easy and almost immediate launch
Dropshipping is the type of online small business you can set up in days. It’s all a matter of organizing your supply chains and sales channels, which could happen very fast. Since there’s no need for a physical location such as an office or a warehouse, you could create relationships with suppliers online, and find clients the same way by promoting your online store. You won’t need to maintain any stock, meaning that you won’t need money for it when you’re starting out. Plus, you can start this type of online business at almost no upfront costs. It’s one of the businesses you can start with no money. Also, you’ll enjoy much lower monthly expenses compared to almost every other online business you could think of.
Pro #3: Flexibility and mobility
Being able to control your entire operation from anywhere you please is a big plus. This is one of the perks that small online business owners love the most about their line of work. All you need is a computer, a phone, and a stable internet connection. Plus, there are amazing platforms that will make your life even easier, such as Shopify.
Pro #4: Unlimited audience and portfolio
One of the obvious upsides to becoming a dropshipper is that you’d have access to the widest possible clientele: the entire world. Plus, you’ll have the freedom to choose the products you’d like to sell without having to comply with anything other than possible regulations and local legislation. You can design your entire portfolio if you manage to find the right suppliers you can trust. Plus, you can always test your chosen business structure and how your target audience will respond to the items you sell without risking too much. After all, no inventory means no upfront investment that could go down the drain.
Pro #5: Scalable structure with a wild growth potential
The thing I like about dropshipping in particular is that the scale and the growth of the business can increase dramatically over just a couple of months. Since it’s mostly up to the effort and skills you put into your business, it doesn’t take much for it to become bigger than you ever imagined it to be. If you sell amazing niche products with great quality and a competitive price, and you also manage to market them accordingly, then you’re looking at a bright dropshipping future. Of course, all of this is easier said than done.
I’d be lying if I told you that becoming a dropshipper is all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not, but it’s still worth all the effort. I’ll note some of the downsides to this form of online business.
Con #1: Possible inventory troubles
Even if you find the most reliable suppliers, there could still be issues regarding the availability and quality of the goods you’re supposed to sell. Sometimes, your suppliers can go out of stock or have manufacturing obstacles that you would have no way of foreseeing. This can cause hiccups in your sales process and you might have explaining to do if your clients don’t receive what they paid for. The reason for these issues is often supplier neglect, which leads to mistakes that your clients will blame you for.
Con #2: Shipping Delays
Most dropshippers need to secure several suppliers if they want to have a wide variety of goods in their catalog and dependable substitutes when they need them. Still, nobody can escape unexpected issues with shipping delays, loss, or even theft. More often than not, your suppliers would struggle to explain why there’s a delay in delivery or who exactly handles every step of the process until the parcels reach their destination. Things can get very complicated when your clients order several items, all of which come from different suppliers. Receiving them all at once would be hard to coordinate.
How to Start a Dropshipping Business in 6 Steps
The dream of finding the shortcut to success is often associated with the dropshipping business model, but the two are incomparable. While it’s true that you can sell a lot of stuff while not leaving your bedroom, things don’t happen at the snap of your fingers.
Starting a dropshipping company requires most of the preparation and planning typical for any other online small business (or a medium-sized one, for that matter). I’ll suggest some of the essential steps to starting such a business, regardless of the idea you have and the niche you intend to join.
Step 1: Choose a Niche
It all starts with deciding which route to follow. With dropshipping, the area of expertise you have might help determine the products you will sell, but this is not a must. You can sell products that you haven’t even seen in person, which is the beauty of this process. Of course, choosing the right niche requires research, planning, and preparation.
Step 2: Determine Your Audience
You need to identify your audience at all costs, which will more or less shape every other aspect of your business, such as the product catalog you develop, the countries you want to sell in, and so forth. Even the best price/quality ratio and the most attractive marketing campaigns would fail if you target the wrong people.
Step 3: Create a Business Plan
The first two steps I mentioned above should lead to the blueprint you must create if you want to be ready for what comes next. You should include every aspect of your idea in it, including the location from where you will run the entire operation, the suppliers needed, the sales channels, the delivery process coordination, the software and hardware you will need, and a lot more.
Step 4: Find Suppliers
Since I mentioned suppliers, this should be on top of your agenda. Being able to source reliable and trustworthy partners is essential for the well-being of your dropshipping business. They need to provide the right quality for the right price, but they must also be flexible and willing to ship goods whenever you need them.
Step 5: Launch a Store and Define Your Sales Channels
Once you have the whole operation designed and ready to launch, you’ll need a virtual shopping window: your very own website. But it shouldn’t be just one, at least in most cases. Dropshippers usually prefer to join as many eCommerce platforms and online marketplaces as possible, depending on their goals and audience.
Step 6: Market Your Dropshipping Business
A proper marketing strategy is everything in the world of online business, meaning that it should be among your top priorities. There are plenty of different ways to approach buyers, and choosing the best one will take time and research. Hiring a consultant could help you enjoy the successful launch you planned.
Top 200 Dropshipping Ideas to Start Your Entrepreneurial Journey
You could spend countless hours comparing dropshipping ideas, and you’ll find that it’s a tough choice to make. If you don’t have a clue where to start, don’t worry. This might be a good thing, as having a clean sheet of paper in front of you means that you’ll be able to draw the right path if you have all the information you need. This is where I come in. Below, I’ll list the ten best dropshipping ideas that I consider the easiest to turn into a reality and to profit from sooner rather than later.
When I created the list of suggestions you will see below, I tried to highlight niches that are both profitable (given their chunk in the dropshipping industry altogether) and the opportunities they hide for newly emerging dropshippers. The niches that I’d strongly suggest you consider involve electronics, fashion, toys, appliances, and personal care, among others. They are the leading segments in the dropshipping industry worldwide.
Category #1: Gadgets, Mobile Devices, and Electronics
Here’s a niche you can’t go wrong with. The already impressive global electronics market will nearly triple its value by 2030 compared to 2021, which is a good enough reason to think about this niche. It’s a good place to start for several other reasons, too. Electronics and gadgets need to be produced under strict requirements in most markets across the world, meaning that they comply with certain quality and safety standards. Their category and certifications will tell you if they are the right goods to sell to your target audience. Plus, setting up your own brand and selling a selection of goods that you know are all quality-made units is a winning strategy, because your clients will start recognizing you among others.
Let’s look at some categories in this niche you should pay particular attention to:
- Wearable devices, such as wristbands and smartwatches
- Audio devices, such as portable speakers
- Cameras and photo equipment, including action cameras
- Cases and dust guards for Airpods
- Car accessories: DVRs, chargers, jump starters
- Smart LED lights, smart plugs, and other smart home accessories
- Mobile phones
- Mobile phone accessories
- Gaming accessories
- Computer parts and upgrades
- Computer peripheral devices
- Earphones and headphones
- Power banks and mobile device batteries
- Home security systems
- Surveillance equipment
- Game controller skins and triggers
Category #2: Clothing and Fashion Accessories
Another niche you could hardly go wrong with is the clothes and personal accessories industry. In the U.S. alone, the eCommerce apparel, shoes, and accessories market will be worth more than $200 billion this year. Considering the wild growth rate this niche has seen in the last decade, there’s no wonder why many entrepreneurs decide to join it.
The good thing about this niche is that you’re likely to find exactly the type of supplier you need. Plus, the possibilities in front of you are endless: you could only sell a couple of ultra-specific products, or you can have an extended portfolio with thousands of products and variations.
Here’s a list of top dropshipping products in the fashion category:
- Kids’ fashion
- Bridal accessories
- Fitness clothing
- Plus-size items
Category #3: Kids and Baby Products
Selling toys, accessories, games, and other kids & baby products might appear to be a bit too challenging at first due to high competition, but not when it comes to dropshipping. This niche allows for choosing a wide variety of suppliers that can cover an extended product portfolio. Overall, it’s a profitable business niche with a lot of potential. In 2022, the worldwide toys and baby products eCommerce niche is expected to be worth a tad less than $89 billion, and it’s expected to grow by more than 50% to nearly $150 billion in 2027.
To create a sustainable business that’s easy to be recognized by clients internationally, you need to create a strong, distinct brand identity. Additionally, you need to choose higher-quality products if you want to develop the brand further.
This is a popular category, and here are 20 of the trending baby products to choose from:
- Baby strollers
- Baby monitors
- Baby carriers
- Bottle warmers
- Bottle trainer kits
- Travel accessories
- Breast pumps
- Baby bath accessories
- Diaper bags
- Changing mats
- Nursery mobiles
- Car seats
- Night lights
- Baby photo albums
- Baby swaddle sets
Category #4: Furniture, Kitchen Equipment, and Home Décor
Thanks to most of the social media channels you could think of, the furniture and home décor industry has been booming for years. Everyone wants to follow a trend or have an accessory they saw while enjoying their afternoon portion of Instagram reels. As a result, online furniture, kitchen equipment, accessories, and decorations sales have seen their best years yet. The online home décor sales niche, for example, is expected to grow at an average of 7.7% in the next five years. But it’s not all about the growing industry. As an aspiring dropshipper, you’ll realize that it offers an amazing variety of goods, allowing you to create the kind of diversity you want when you build your product portfolio.
I believe that the recent pandemic was one of the big factors in the growth of this sector. People spent more time at home than ever before, and they felt like they could improve their living spaces. The same could be said about electronics, by the way.
Check out some of the best products in the home furniture and décor category to dropship:
- Home fragrances
- Wallpapers/Wall stickers
- Storage solutions
- Picture frames
- Wall clocks
- Patio decoration
- Foldable chairs/tables
- Gaming furniture
- Bean bags/Poufs
- Home textile
- Furniture accessories
- Laptop desks
- Kitchen tools
Category #5: Pet Products
Pet owners most often accept their animal friends as part of the family. I know this from experience, having four pets at home. And family members need to be treated well, right? As a result, the pet goods industry is another field where new opportunities continue to emerge fast.
The online pet food and products market in the U.S. alone is worth $18 billion. Your dropshipping business can become part of it. The usually low-to-average profit margins typical of the dropshipping business model are different here. In the pet products niche, buyers prefer to pay more for a quality product, which is good news for you.
Here are 20 of the best pet products to consider dropshipping this year:
- Pet food
- Dog harnesses
- ID tags
- Cat litter
- Pet seat covers
- Cat posts
- Pet carrier bags
- Chew toys
- Pet clothes
- Drying coats
- Pet nail clippers
- Bird cage covers
- Pet shampoos and care products
- Dog poop bags
- Pet beds
- Pet blankets
- Bath brushes
Category #6: Personal Care and Personal Hygiene Accessories
I’ve combined these two niches into a single suggestion because they are both focused on providing individuals with comfort and care, meaning that there are plenty of similarities in the approach you need to have toward both.
The personal care products include a variety of cosmetics and supplements that may require some type of license or a permit, depending on the market and country you’re in, or the ones you intend to sell them in. When it comes to personal accessories, such as belts, wallets, bags, and other similar items, things are much easier in terms of organization, and there are a lot more possible suppliers to choose from, too.
, and you can take part in that statistic by choosing to dropship some of these products (among others):
- Body hair removal kits and gadgets
- Nail kits
- Hair extensions
- Hair brushes
- Makeup sponges
- Scalp massagers
- Makeup cleaners
- Cosmetic brushes
- Lash products
- Makeup organizers
- Hair accessories
- Blackhead removal kits
- Beauty mirrors
- Hair growth products
- Neck massagers
- Anti-smoking patches
- Face rollers
- Sleep masks
- Sweat belts and clothing
- Posture correction devices
Category #7: Jewelry
Setting up your online jewelry business can be done following the dropshipping pattern. The tricky part is that you need to be absolutely convinced of the quality of the items you intend to sell, as this is what matters the most here.
Depending on the price range of your products, you will face different challenges, but finding a specific type of product that is exclusive in some way and marketing the whole thing properly is one good way to see results fast.
You can’t go wrong with choosing jewelry (it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry) as your dropshipping niche, but some products in this category are easier to sell than others. Here’s a list of items to consider dropshipping:
- Hoop earrings
- Fine jewelry
- Wedding rings
- Costume jewelry
- Bridal jewelry sets
- Chain bracelets
- Chain necklaces
- Cross jewelry
- Boho jewelry
- Teardrop earrings
- Jewelry storage solutions
- Jewelry assembly kits
- Pearl jewelry
Category #8: Product Kits/DIY/Hobby
This is one of the curious and trending niches to join as a dropshipper. Market demand dictates the availability of kits instead of assembled products. Consumers often prefer to buy a kit that will save them the hustle of searching for a service-based business. For example, a headlight polishing kit will eliminate the need for a visit to an auto shop and having someone polish them. The same applies to nail varnish kits, knitting kits, and whatever you can think of. There are endless possibilities in this niche.
The DIY/hobby niche is also a growing one. Combined with the toys market, it accounts for more than 20% of the dropshipping industry worldwide. This is impressive, and it’s also a good reason to give it a try yourself.
Starting a dropshipping business with products from this niche should involve some of the following goods:
- Car cleaning kits
- Tool kits
- Car model kits
- Train model kits
- Sewing kits
- Folding ladders
- Embroidery kits
- Paint-by-number kits
- Jewelry assembly kits
- Sushi kits
- 3D puzzles
- Gardening kits
- Cooking kits
- Coloring kits
- DIY electronic modules
- Candle-making kits
- Educational assembly kits
- Science kits for children
- Craft DIY kits
Category #9: Fitness and Wellness Products
Since the online fitness industry has been growing rapidly in the past years, many people are looking for ways to start their own online fitness business. This industry will be worth approximately $80 billion in just a few years. This could mean only one thing: many people will need equipment to train at home.
Given the above, you have an endless pool of opportunities by creating a dropshipping business aimed at providing fitness and wellness products. From simple yoga mats to specific equipment, such as resistance bands and pull-up bars.
- Yoga and training mats
- Vibrating plates
- Training bags
- Resistance bands
- Weighing scales
- Fitness apparel
- Stretching rollers
- Pull-up bars
- Push up racks
- Water bottles
- Muscle stimulators
- Jump ropes
- Training ladders
- Ab roller wheels
- Yoga balls
- Protein powder
- Protein bars
- Fitness smartwatches
Category #10: Office Products
Here is one suggestion that sometimes gets neglected, but it deserves a lot of attention. While some consider working from home to be the next big shift in the way we live, offices are highly unlikely to become obsolete soon. This means that selling office products remains a profitable business.
When you choose to go this route, make sure that you find the right providers. Otherwise, things just wouldn’t work the way you want them to. The risk is worth it because you can often find affordable products that you could easily market and sell. For example, creating a Shopify store and finding dropshipping connections on Alibaba is a great combo, as there are a lot of automation and integrations available through software add-ons. They will allow you to create the workflow you want much easier.
Let’s look at 20 products that would be a good fit for the office products niche.
- Printer paper
- Foldable keyboards
- Desk pads
- File folders
- Bubble wrap
- Ink cartridges
- Whiteboard markers
- Laptop stands
- Desk organizers
- Pencil cases
- Gel pens
- Air purifiers
- Adjustable desks
7 Tips to Run a Successful Dropshipping Business
Once you join the dropshipping game, you’ll discover you need to be constantly monitoring and perfecting your business if you want to persevere among the countless competition you will probably have.
To help you make the most of it and never think about quitting when things get rough (And they often do), I decided to throw in some valuable advice on how to run and improve your dropshipping business after it’s up and running.
Tip No. 1: Embrace Hardships
As I already mentioned, dropshipping is not the easy-to-start, easy-to-win game most people think it is. The struggle to keep things afloat may be too real for some individuals. If you happen to find it difficult, especially in the first couple of months, don’t worry: it always is. Keep pushing and doing the right things meanwhile, and you’ll see results soon.
Tip No. 2: Don’t Bite More Than You Can Chew
Here’s a tip that may look like a cliché (and it is, to be honest), but it’s very applicable when it comes to dropshipping. Being able to keep things as simple as possible is the key to sustaining your online small business from home or from wherever you choose to run it. Trying to work with a myriad of completely different products would require different strategies and a lot of effort, meaning that you might not be able to take care of everything as you should.
Tip No. 3: Don’t Be Afraid to Take Responsibility but Hold Your Ground
When working with suppliers, you will have to deal with their mistakes sooner or later. This means that you need to require some sort of compensation or find an alternative. Your clients will hold you responsible for the mistakes your suppliers might make, so you should take action when they occur. Of course, your customers could not care less who actually supplies the goods, so the professional thing to do would be to take the blame. Plus, there are always ways to compensate your clients for delays, damaged goods, or other issues.
Tip No. 4: Never forget to keep track of your suppliers’ inventories
Dropshipping requires having a constantly updated inventory. Not one you should keep, but the one your suppliers need to have. Being able to keep in touch with them and regularly make sure that they have the inventory needed is a must.
Tip No. 5: Learn to Be Flexible
There will be mishaps related to running your dropshipping business, but there is also something you can do about any of them, regardless of the situation. If a client receives a lower-quality item than expected or the item they want is not available at the moment, for example, you can arrange for them to get a better substitute. If you think that the demand for certain products will be higher than the supplier you have could handle, then find another supplier who can deliver identical goods. The more options you have when it comes to procurement, the better. Also, make sure that your suppliers are strategically placed, so you could organize faster deliveries for your customers.
Tip No. 6: Be Aware of Potential Scams
Selling anything online is prone to fraudulent activity. Either the seller or the buyer could be a scammer, and the latter concerns you when you’re a dropshipper. To avoid such a scenario, always ask your clients to fill in their addresses and bank information to see if they match. The billing and shipping addresses and names should also match, at least in most cases.
To have access to payment processing, you’ll need to be a legally registered business entity, and you’ll also need specific software to make it happen. A quality POS for eCommerce, online retail, and dropshipping operations, such as Shopify POS, is a must-have. This is how you could create client profiles, store credit card information, and a lot of other perks.
Most of the biggest eCommerce platforms have built-in protection systems and algorithms that allow for early fraud prevention, but you need to be aware of all this when you run a standalone website.
Tip No. 7: Take Care of Shipping, Returns, and Customer Assistance
You need to be ready to handle all the moments when clients choose to return the items they bought. To avoid confusion, you need to design an immaculate return policy that describes all the possibilities, depending on the situation. The same goes for shipping, both domestic and international. Your clients need to have a variety of shipping options to choose from. You should provide different packages, depending on the order value, specifics, destination, and chosen delivery terms.
In case any technical issues occur, or your clients want to learn more, you should provide them with the opportunity to call customer support associates. Since it’s a dropshipping business and you’re most likely to start small, hiring staff may be out of the question. This is where outsourcing such a task would come in handy. Companies such as Zendesk can provide a solution for you.
Dropshipping Success Stories
The success stories I’d like to share are too many to list, but I’ll include a couple of them, just to prove that dropshipping works in all kinds of ways.
Leon Green went from having just $50 to his name to making a quarter of a million dollars by focusing on a single product that was exclusive and specific. He used the power of social media to find and sell the product that made him successful. Here’s the story:
Another example is Nathan Nazareth’s journey. After too many unsuccessful attempts to make it, he discovered dropshipping. Using Shopify, he was able to turn the odds in his favor in a matter of weeks.
Top 200 Dropshipping Ideas: FAQ
What is the most profitable item to dropship?
Every possible niche features at least a few items that would be the best to dropship. You should start with determining the most profitable niches first and then proceed with researching them to see which specific products are sold best. In general, items such as electronic appliances and gadgets, personal and car accessories, toys, and beauty products are top sellers.
How can a beginner start dropshipping?
There are important steps to begin with. A dropshipping journey should always start with choosing an idea and, respectively, a niche, conducting research, studying the competition, finding the right suppliers, and creating an online store. Having a business plan is essential, of course.
What’s the best dropshipping idea for this year?
The best 2023 dropshipping ideas include beauty, wellness, and health care products, jewelry, electronics, toys and baby products, books, hobby and crafts items, and more.
Can I start dropshipping with no money?
Yes, you can. Most aspiring dropshippers start their journeys with almost no money to their name. This type of business is not related to any fees, such as maintaining an inventory, and there are plenty of free online platforms to start doing business.