In my role as Customer Service with Dropified I get asked all the time, “I am not very technical. Can I still do Dropshipping?” Or, “I hardly ever use the computer, how can I do this e-commerce thing?”
Of course there is a threshold of knowledge you need to get started in any computerized endeavour but the learning curve is not that steep with e-commerce and Dropshipping. The following is an outline of the basics you will need to know to get started.
Computers – What To Buy?
So you are ready to jump in, and, like any good business person, you have your pencil out ready to start your budget. The first consideration is what kind of computer do I need?
You might be thinking, I have that six year old clunker downstairs, surely this won’t really work for all the power I will need to run an eCom store? So you think, “my first investment has to be a new shinny computer.”
Should you budget $150 for a Chromebook or $1800 for that streamlined Macbook you have seen your friend, the computer savvy business entrepreneur, using?
Actually, you might be surprised to hear your six year old clunker downstairs will probably work fine and meet all your needs for now. It will need to have good internet access and enough power to do some serious web exploration. But as long as it can surf the web, add a browser, install some minor programs, it should be adequate.
Of course speed and convenience are considerations. So if you want to spend those start up monies on hardware (you may want to save this for marketing later but a computer is so tangible) then I recommend a decent laptop computer that will add convenience and save some money for a second screen.
Having two screens is one of the best upgrades you can ever do with your laptop. I have a three year old Acer i5 with touch screen and I have a 28 inch screen that I plug in at home. When I am out for coffee or on the road my office goes with me.
But, don’t worry. The clunker will get you started.
What About Mobile Devices? I Like To Work Off My Phone.
As great as all the new phones and tablets are today they often fall short. One important thing they can’t do is access all of the types of programs used for most e-commerce. I will cover this next, but for now, the browser software is not up to the same standard as a full PC, Mac or even a Chromebook.
Google Chrome is a necessary component for many Dropshipping tools. You can get a mobile version of Chrome, but it will not allow for Chrome Extensions. So we don’t recommend trying to run your store off of a mobile device.
Which Browser For My Computer?
So the browsers like Safari, Firefox or the latest thing Microsoft is calling theirs (Edge, really?), is probably the most important piece of software. It is your window to the internet. It has become the main software for almost all internet based activity. So this is an important choice. The good news is they are all free.
So, you should choose the browser that is used most by Dropship software and Sellers: Google Chrome.
There are so many reasons why you should choose Chrome as your e-commerce browser. The most important reason is Extensions. Firefox has them as well but most programs in e-commerce use Chrome because of their ease of use and quality options with Chrome Extensions.
If you are using Dropshipping software, like Dropified, it is likely using Chrome Extensions to communicate between your browser and the sites like AliExpress or eBay. Also the amazing business features in Chrome make this the right choice no matter if you are on a PC or a Mac.
Here is where you can find anything you need to know about Chrome: https://support.google.com
What Basic Computer Skills Should I Know?
OK I am going to assume that you know how to turn the computer on and open your Windows or iOS platform. I am assuming you know how to launch and install a program like Google Chrome. How to navigate to a website like Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc.
Let me stop and say this here. You will have to learn these basics, but the good news is that the computer itself is the best teacher. All of these tips and tricks can be found in your computer and on the internet.
Here are some places you can find tutorials on using the basics:
- www.linda.com This is a great site to learn anything.
Once you master the basics of File location, cutting, pasting, saving, etc. then there are some skills that will really make your life easier.
Certain keyboard commands like:
- CNTL + C which is Copy
- CNTL + V which is Paste
- CNTL + A which is Select All
Installing certain tools like a good Screen capture program that will take a picture of a screen. Microsoft includes this with their software called Snipping Tool. I like a great free tool called: Screenpresso.
Of course good Browser Skills are a must as well. This will be where you spend nearly all of your time in e-commerce.
Learning how to search on Google, is easy and intuitive once you get started. Also managing your browser windows, tabs and shortcuts will make life much easier. Just searching for Chrome Shortcuts will give you all kinds of shortcuts. Don’t forget that the best teacher for this is the Computer and Browser itself.
Do I Need To Be A Web Developer To Build My Store?
I get asked this all the time. “How can I have a webstore, I don’t know how to build websites?”
So the answer is “No” you don’t have to have any special website skills. You will need to understand a few basics of how the web works.
Common Questions like:
- What is a URL or Web Address: URL means Universal Resource Locator but is simply the www.xxxxxxxx.com that you locate the site at.
- How do I get or register a URL? This is done by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) but many of the Store sites (like Shopify) will set that up for you. You may want to wait until you go to the store site.
- Won’t I need a server for my site? Technically yes, but again your Store site will set this up for you and “Host” your site for you. Until you get way more savvy at this internet thingy then I highly recommend sticking with a site that will set this up for you.
So I recommend that if you are a beginner to build your Webstore at Shopify: (https://www.shopify.com) This is the easiest place to start. Yes there is a learning curve and most of all you will have to learn how to navigate this site with all its terminology. But you can be up and running in a few hours.
Shopify will also help you set up the following:
- A Webstore name and URL
- An email account with your store
- Themes for the look and feel of your store
- A merchant system so that you can take money on your store
Learn to use Support at Shopify or the platform you are using. firstname.lastname@example.org
Where Do I Find Products? What Should I Sell?
So this is where we get you started in Dropshipping. The idea of dropshipping is simple. You find a product on a site that sells products like AliExpress or eBay then you post that product on your webstore.
You then tell others through some advertising on sites like Google and Facebook and get customers to buy your product at a markup price. Then after they buy your product you can “fulfill” their order on the site that you found the product originally. And this should be for less than your customer paid you for the product.
Simple to explain but there are a ton of steps to post this product, get the order, go to the site where you found the product, place the customer’s address, pay for the order. Send the tracking information for the delivery, etc. etc.
So this is why Dropified is such a good choice. Every step mentioned above is handled by Dropified. This saves you time, expense and trouble.
There are all kinds of sites out there for Dropshipping but most Dropshippers are relying on two or three sites places to get products.
Take some time and search through AliExpress and eBay. These are the two top sites for Dropshipping:
www.AliExpress.com and www.eBay.com.
What Else Should I Know To Start?
So one thing for sure is you are on a journey to learn a new industry. Thankfully it is a new frontier which means there is lots of room out there for your success.
Learning the ropes will begin to be necessary for processes like Marketing and SEO placement (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, etc.
I recommend that you start to learn the terms and processes if you plan on being successful in your web endeavour.
Thankfully Dropified, which you will want and need for Dropshipping, has an amazing course for you for free if you choose to use this software. This can be found in the Dropified Academy. You can learn more about it here: https://challenge.Dropified.com/
One thought on “Computing 101 for Dropshippers: How Much Do I Really Need To Know About Online Computing To Set Up My Store And Dropship?”
Really, I learnt a lot, even being a newbie.