Dropshipping is an ideal business for digital nomads. It doesn’t require being in an office or interacting with customers face-to-face, so if you want to travel the world while working, why not? All you need is reliable internet access. You could sell fashionable clothing from a rooftop cafe in Hong Kong if you wanted to.
However, that does not mean that the road will be perfectly smooth. Dropshipping might require less work and expenses than traditional retail, but there are still obstacles you will have to overcome, and navigating them can be especially tricky while abroad. Here are a few tips to make your dropshipping venture as a digital nomad as successful as possible.
Have a means of communication
In the dropshipping business model, you are the connection between consumers and manufacturers. Even though you do not produce products yourself, you are who customers turn to when something goes wrong because they bought it from you. People’s first instinct might be to call you, but what if they cannot reach you because you don’t have an international phone plan?
Specify your means of communication clearly on your website. Maybe you can handle customer service on Facebook or Twitter, which are internet-based applications you do not need a cellular provider for. Email is always an option, but other methods might reduce the risk of customer concerns drowning in a sea of other messages.
In addition, when are your business hours? You’re going to be doing all sorts of adventuring, naturally, but do you want to get back to customers as soon as possible, or only during weekdays between 9am-5pm in whatever time zone you (or they) are in? It’s practical to have some form of internet connection wherever you are beside Wifi. Options include using local SIM cards, Google Fi, or walking around with a WiFi hotspot.
Be prepared to deal with hurdles
You will also need means to contact your suppliers if necessary. There are a variety of things that can go wrong when you are dropshipping, such as vendors confusing orders or shipments not arriving on time, so be mentally and technologically prepared to deal with such issues when they arise (you might need to wake up late at night to deal with a situation happening during regular work hours in the US). Some dropshippers have encountered problems processing credit cards in different countries, so reach out to other digital nomads for their experiences and advice.
Keep up a YouTube channel
One of the perks of marketing a dropshipping brand is that it’s primarily online. You already know the importance of SEO and social media, but do you know what else you can do from anywhere? Maintain a YouTube channel. Lots of dropshippers have come up with exciting YouTube channel ideas that promote their brands and drive sales, such as offering tutorials or posting humor videos. As a digital nomad, you are in a perfect position to leverage your travel experiences for promoting your brand. So grab a camera, hop on a zip line in Costa Rica, and tell people about your products.
Cultivate your travel Instagram
You can also use your travel experiences to your advantage through Instagram. There are numerous #travelgram accounts, so you’ll need to find a way to distinguish yourself from the crowd, but Instagram is a massive social media platform you can use to drive sales.
Identify a niche audience you can target and establish a unique brand. What makes your adventures different from someone else’s? Maybe it’s the kind of things you see, the people you meet (be sure to get their consent before you post), the types of stories you share (followers might get a kick out of hearing about your worst ordeals), or a unique approach to photography. Don’t be over-promotional—let people know about your business, of course, but allow them to connect the dots. There are also ways to buy Instagram followers if you need an extra boost expanding your online presence.
Do your best to be productive
Digital nomads sometimes struggle with productivity. There’s much to do and see around the world, but working is what makes it possible. Do what you need to be as productive as possible, such as operating from a co-working space, sticking to a routine, or setting a timeframe to work while allotting for exploration breaks. Dropshipping may not be as demanding as brick-and-mortar retail or manufacturing your own products, but you still need to pay attention to your business.
Dropshipping is a convenient business model that enables digital nomadism, but be aware of the challenges you may face. What else should dropshipper-digital nomads keep in mind while traveling?