This blog post will break down five products you absolutely should not sell if you’re new to dropshipping.
But we won’t stop there. For every product on this list, we’re going to offer an alternative product to sell that will save you time and make you money.
By the end of this video, you’ll know what products to sell in order to:
- Reduce returns
- Avoid trademark issues
- Avoid annoying the Facebook advertising gods
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Dropshipping is one of the easiest ways to start an online business. You can browse through thousands of products on Oberlo and sell them in your own Shopify store. But, what products should you choose, and which ones should you avoid?
That’s one of many questions that come up for new dropshippers. And here at Oberlo, our job is to help you find answers.
Alright, let’s get to the list. After consulting dropshipping experts and helping countless merchants, we’ve put together five types of products you should not sell if you’re new to dropshipping. We’ve seen the problems they have caused firsthand, and we’re here to help you avoid these common dropshipping pitfalls.
1. Tight jeans
The first product you should avoid selling is tight jeans.
If you’ve ever had to return clothes because of the sizing or fit, this first product won’t surprise you. The rise of online shopping has also meant the rise of clothes that don’t fit once they arrive. For your business, that means more potential returns and refunds.
The first issue you’ll run into with tight jeans is the difference between U.S., European, and Chinese sizes. Pant sizes vary from store to store, even in the same mall. So, it’s no wonder that sizes from a supplier in, say, China will vary as well. Typically, Chinese sizes run one to two sizes smaller than U.S. sizes. If your customer in the United States normally wears a medium, they will have to order a size up.
Sure, you can include a size chart. But most customers will instinctively order the same size they always wear. Including a disclaimer to order one or two sizes up can cause confusion and doesn’t make for the best customer experience.
If your customers end up ordering jeans in the wrong size, be prepared for potential returns and refunds.
The second issue you’ll run into with this product is that customers are just plain picky about how their jeans fit. Even if they do order the right size, it’s not uncommon for customers to complain that the jeans don’t flatter their figure as expected. That’s why this product is so tricky to sell. Even if you’re clear about size differences, there’s a high potential for returns.
So what do you sell instead?
Consider selling leggings or pants that stretch. Although you’ll still want to include a size chart, the stretch will help ensure a good fit.
Loose or stretchy pants are easier for your customers to buy. Customers will feel more confident ordering a medium knowing that there is some stretch in the material. For you, the business owner, this means less returns!
Okay, let’s move on to the second product new dropshippers should not sell.
2. Trademarked sneakers
The next product to avoid selling is trademarked sneakers. If you don’t have a reseller license then you cannot legally sell trademarked sneakers.
This is a very common pitfall I’ve seen new merchants fall into. They spend hours on their store, and after they open their business, it gets closed down. Why? They didn’t have a reseller license. If you do not have a license to sell trademarked sneakers, your store and your hard work will be for nothing.
It’s tempting for new dropshippers to sell trademarked sneakers because they sell really well. They have a recognizable brand that customers know. But it’s not worth the risk. Dropshippers cannot build a sustainable business around trademarked sneakers. Sooner or later their store gets shut down. And you’d be surprised how quickly merchants get caught.
Here’s what to sell instead: Shoes that are unbranded, or are branded with the suppliers own brand. Many suppliers have their own in-house branding that is not trademarked. You can sell these shoes without any issues.
There are thousands of high quality shoes to sell that are trademark free. They are trendy and take inspiration from popular models, so you can be confident that they will sell well. Not only will this help you avoid trademark issues, but it will allow you to build your business for the long run.
Alright, let’s move on. Have you ever browed products online, only to find that same product in a local department store? If so, you probably bought it there instead of waiting for shipping, right?
That’s why you shouldn’t sell this next product.
3. Black bags
You might be asking yourself, “What’s wrong with a simple black bag?” There’s your answer: it’s too simple!
Whatever you sell, you want your customers to feel like they should purchase that product right away. Successful dropshippers have a strong understanding of how to get their customers to impulse buy. If you run Facebook ads for a product that’s too plain, you’ll see very low conversions. The same is true if you try selling a product that customers can find in their local mall.
Products like this geometry bag will immediately grab the attention of someone scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed. They’re colorful, unusual, and makes for a good video ad. Customers will be far more inclined to click on the ad to learn more about it.
Here’s a Facebook hack to help you figure out if your product is catching your audience’s attention. In Facebook Business Manager, you can see the click-through-rate of your ad. This is the number of people that saw your ad and clicked on it. If the number is below 2%, this is a sign to do more testing. You can advertise different products, or try other formats for your ad, like video!
The next product is one that is a result of a new trend in dropshipping. Some dropshippers are trying to sell just a few expensive products rather than many inexpensive products.
But I would caution you against this because of this next product.
Although you can sell furniture at a high markup, furniture is almost guaranteed to cause you a lot of hassle.
Selling furniture violates one of the most important rules for beginner dropshippers: You should never dropship a product you can’t ship with ePacket shipping! ePacket shipping is a shipping method from China that is cheap and fast.
ePacket shipping is so fast because it has a size restriction: To be eligible for ePacket, a product must be 90 by 60 cm, and weigh less than two kilos. Don’t worry, most products meet these constraints!
But furniture – well, not so much. That means you’ll need to select another shipping method. Other shipping methods will cost much more, sometimes even more than the product itself. And they may take much longer than ePacket. That is not a good experience for you or your customer.
At the same time, home decor is a very profitable niche. So if you want to stay in this niche, here’s what you should sell instead.
Consider selling bedding sets, or any products that can be used as accessories to large furniture items. Think throw pillows for sofas, tablecloths for dining room tables, and so on. These products are in the home decor niche, but they’re small enough to ship with ePacket.
Alright, one more product that we recommend not selling.
5. Face masks
Why? Well, if you read Facebook’s Advertising Policy closely, you’ll see that you’re not allowed to advertise products that make health claims.
That’s a challenging rule to deal with because health claims are so broad. To put it simply, none of the products you advertise on Facebook can claim they change someone’s state of health. That means, for example, that you can’t say your face masks brighten people’s skin because, in Facebook’s eyes, that is considered a health claim.
Is that a stretch? Maybe. But to take advantage of Facebook’s massive audience, you need to play by their rules. If you sell something and claim it will improve someone’s health, your ad will be disproved and your account could be banned. Serious stuff! After seeing many beginner dropshippers make this mistake, I have an ad-approved alternative.
Makeup mirrors! Sell this and you’ll be able to target the same wellness-obsessed audience, but you won’t have any worries when it comes to advertising on Facebook.
Not only are these mirrors Facebook-friendly, you can rest assured that your customer won’t have any allergies to it.
If you’ve found a winning product that cannot be advertised on Facebook, don’t worry. Find an accessory or related product in the same niche. Advertise that accessory on Facebook to drive traffic to your store. From there, customers can choose if they want to buy the vanity more, or perhaps they’ll discover those face masks. This way you won’t have to redo your store or branding, and you won’t get banned on Facebook.
Over to you! What products would you never, ever dropship? Why? Make sure to leave a comment below so we can learn from you!