Should I do business in the States or should I do business in another country or another region?
So what I want to get into today's episode, are some things specifically that I think that you should look for and look into, if you're located outside of the US and you're wanting to get into dropshipping.
Curious to know if dropshipping works in your country? Then listen to today’s podcast to learn what you should look for before you start an online dropshipping business outside of the U.S.
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What's up everybody, Anton Kraly here from ecommercelifestyle.com, and welcome back to the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast. In today's episode, I want to talk about dropshipping outside of the US, and the reason I wanted to talk about this today, is because we get a lot of questions from people that are located all over the world, asking if they can still get involved with Drop Ship Lifestyle, if they're not from the States. And on my end, I think it's funny that we get that question so often, because I see our stats, right? And between students at Drop Ship Lifestyle, between YouTube subscribers and podcast listeners, we only have about 60% of our members that are in the US. So 40% of our audience, which is hundreds of thousands of people, are literally located all over the world. We have a lot in Europe, we have a lot in Australia, but we've got people in the Philippines, we have people in South America, we have people in Eastern Europe, just literally all over the world.
So pretty cool, and the short answer, again, is this business model does work, regardless of where you are, and you can choose to do business where you're currently located. You could choose to do business in the States, even if you're not from here. But again, where there's a will, there's a way, and our members from all over the world have proved that the Drop Ship Lifestyle business model can work just about anywhere. So what I want to get into in today's episode, are some things specifically that I think that you should look for and look into, if you're located outside of the US and you're looking to get into dropshipping.
So the first question you should ask yourself is, "Should I do business in the States or should I do business in another country or another region?" Well, we actually get a surprising amount of people that ask us, "Hey, I'm from the States, and I'm currently studying abroad or teaching abroad, or currently living in another country. Should I wait until I return to open a business?" And if that's your scenario, again, if you hold a US passport or a citizenship, and you're just somewhere else in the world, living or working or whatever, just do business in the States. You don't have to be here. I lived abroad for like five years, as I ran all my businesses that were based in the States. So yeah, don't worry about that. Again, if you're a US citizen and you're living somewhere else, just do business in the States. It's easy, and that's what I would recommend.
Now, if you're located somewhere else and your citizenship is somewhere else, then you have to decide, "Should I set up a business in the States, or should I do business where I am?" And there's a couple of things that you want to ask yourself to make that decision. The first is, are people already buying online where you're from? So you would know this, because you're from there. Hopefully, you pay attention to what you do, and what your friends and family do. But are people already comfortable buying online? Do people where you live have credit cards and debit cards? And you might be thinking like, "Yeah, I'm in New Zealand. Of course," but I'm promising you, some people are watching this and they're like, "Oh, you know what? No, we really don't buy online, or we pay for things cash on delivery, where we buy things online, the items get delivered and we have to pay cash for it."
So if you're finding yourself in that situation, then I would not recommend doing business where you're currently located or where your citizenship is. Again, if buying online is not yet a thing, if people don't have credit or debit cards, then I would not recommend doing business where you're currently located, and instead, doing business in the States. Now, a good way to kind of just check this if maybe you're unsure, maybe you're thinking like, "Well, people do buy online, but not everybody. I don't really know." What I would recommend you do is go check out Shopify Payments, and I'll post a link in the podcast description, but Shopify Payments is basically a way you can accept money on your Shopify store. They allow you to accept credit cards, debit cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay and a whole bunch of other stuff, and they are accepted in a whole bunch of different countries, and the countries that they are in, the countries that they support, are typically the countries where people are buying online.
So again, if you're unsure, look for the link in the description, go to the Shopify Payments page, see if your country is supported. And if it is, that's a good sign that will show you that enough people are interested in buying online, that they're actually making their services available to you and to your country. And I'll just say one more quick thing about Shopify Payments that's pretty cool. Because it does work worldwide, they actually adjust payment options that they accept in different parts of the world. So for example, there are parts of the world where most people pay via WePay, right? Lots of places in Asia. And if you have a Shopify store in Asia and you're using Shopify Payments, you can actually accept WePay also. And the same thing goes for Central America, South America, all around the world. So not only will they allow you to accept money, but they'll allow you to accept money in the way that people that buy in your country are most comfortable already paying, which is super helpful.
Okay. So once you confirm that people actually are buying online, wherever it is that you're located, the next thing that you want to look for is, is there enough demand where you are? And by demand, I mean, are there enough people buying the thing that you want to sell? So in the US, we have 330 million people. That's gross, that's everybody including little kids, but there's a lot of people here that spend a lot of money. In the UK, I think there is 66 million people. Again, that's a lot of people that buy online. In Ireland though, there is a little less than 5 million people. So this is the way I want you to think when you're deciding where you should do business. So let's just say I'm at a stand-up desk now. If I wanted to sell stand-up desks in the US, I'm dealing with a subsection of 330 million people. In the UK, still, 66 million people, that's a lot of people. But then if I wanted to sell stand-up desks in Ireland, I'm dealing with a small subsection of only 5 million people.
So even if stand-up desks were trending and going crazy in Ireland, if that's who my store targeted, if that's the only market I served, then guess what? My potential sales are going to be limited, because there's just not enough people, there's not enough consumers. Not saying there's not enough to make any sales and to make any money, but you have a lot of chance to grow a lot bigger when you have more potential customers.
So what I want you to think about again is how big is the area that you'd be serving? How many people are in the country or region that you'd be marketing to? And if it gets smaller, and smaller, and smaller, and in the example I just gave, if it was like 5 million people, like in Ireland, if I was based in Ireland and I wanted to sell stand-up desks, well then I wouldn't build standupdesksireland.com, I would build, maybe standupdesks.com, and sell them either in America or in the EU, or maybe even in both, right? That's something you could figure out, but you want to make sure again, that the addressable market is big enough, so that if your store does well, you can actually make real money. So keep that in mind.
Now, one thing that you'll want to look into, this is coming from me, as somebody that does business in the States, so I don't know much about this, but you'll want to look into if you can sell to your country and also in neighboring countries, if it's someplace like the EU where you're literally driving an hour and you're in another country, if everything is close like that geographically, then what you want to look into is are there different fees, and taxes, and tariffs, if you're going from country to country? I'm not sure how it works with the whole Brexit thing now that the UK is separate, if there are different tariffs involved, but if for example, you were somewhere in Central America and you were going from one country to another that was just right there, is that as easy as you just saying, "Hey, we ship there," or do you have to pay different fees to get in and out of neighboring countries?
But look into that. Again, it sounds like a lot of work, and that's because it is. Again, this is a real business we're building here. By the way, if you're watching this or listening to this, and you're brand new and you want to know how we build these stores, be sure you go to dropshipwebinar.com. I'll post a link in the description as well, and you can get my full free training there on how we build highly profitable semi-automated stores. But again, make sure that your either country or region has a big enough market that it makes sense to sell into.
Now, let's say you do that and you say, "Okay cool. You know what?" Maybe you're in the UK, and you say, "We have 66 million people, which is more than enough," then what I want you to look at is, are there enough suppliers in your area, to basically build a business off of? So if you've watched any of my training, when I talk about supplier sourcing and market research, you know that we try to find at least 20 potential brands that we can sell for, for every niche that we enter. So if I want to sell stand-up desks, I would want at least 20 different suppliers that make stand-up desks, okay? So I want to sell for all of them.
Now, if you're, let's say in the UK, and you're doing your research and you can only find four different brands that ship to the UK or that have warehouses in the UK that have stand-up desks, then my advice to you wouldn't be, okay, now you have to sell it to the EU, or now you should just automatically go and sell to the States. Instead, my advice would be how about you niche up a level? Do what I call niche up, and what that means is instead of just selling stand-up desks, maybe now you're selling modern office furniture, and maybe in the UK for modern office furniture, you could find 30 different suppliers and brands that you could sell for, and that would be great. That's what I would recommend to you. So make sure you're looking into how many suppliers are in your country, and if you need to niche up.
Now, another consideration that I want you to take into account when you're deciding where to do business is, is Google Shopping available in your country? So I love Google Shopping ads. I am a master of Google Shopping ads. I'm comfortable saying that, because I'm obsessed with them, have been for a long time. They make us a lot of money, and it's a great ad platform, but it's not available in every country. So if you want to do business wherever you are, and you see that Google Shopping ads are not available for you to advertise, then what you need to look at is are there any other marketplaces where people in your country typically buy or are comfortable buying from?
And if there are, you need to do some more research there and figure out, is that someplace you could potentially advertise in the future? Is that someplace you think you can learn to be a top marketer on? Again, I haven't done that so I can't tell you what country uses what platform. I know our students have done really well with that in Australia, for example. I think Gumtree is one of the marketplaces that people have really excelled with, but you kind of have to custom tailor the whole dropship blueprint to your country if Google Shopping ads are not an ad option. So just keep that in mind as well as a consideration, when deciding where to do business.
Now, let's say you're going through these steps, you're trying to figure this out and you decide, "You know what? I want to do business in the States," you're from somewhere else, but you know that we have 330 million people, you know that people here are consumers and we love spending money, and you're like, "Okay, I want to do business in the US, what do I need to do?" Well you have a couple options. One of them and the one I would recommend you try first, is to use Stripe Atlas. I'll post the link to that in the description as well, but you're probably familiar with Stripe. They're the biggest, I think at this point, the biggest merchant account company in the world, they allow you to accept credit and debit cards.
Now, they also have a service called Stripe Atlas where they'll set up people that are not from the US. They'll set you up with a legal US business entity, they'll get you a US bank account, they'll get you a US debit card, and they'll basically get you everything you need to start doing business here. So Stripe, I trust. I mean, we've processed tens of millions of dollars in sales with them, they're a great company. Never used Stripe Atlas, because I haven't needed to, but Stripe in general is a great company, so I would highly recommend going with them, because they'll get you set up on the business formation side.
You still do have a couple of other options though, if for some reason you apply with Stripe and they deny you, or you just don't want to go that route, there are a ton of companies out there that will just assist you in setting up US corporations, should you want to do that. You don't have to, but if you want to and you don't want to use Stripe Atlas, you can find the companies on Google, look for the best reviewed ones obviously, that will set you up with a US business entity.
Or, what we've even had people do, is use their business entities from abroad and apply with US suppliers, while using their business information from other countries. And I can't say that's going to work a hundred percent of the time, but it definitely has worked in the past. And the reason why, if you think of it this way, the suppliers, right? The brands we work with, the tens of thousands of them, what they're looking for is relationships with retailers that are going to bring them sales. They don't care what you sound like, where you're from, they don't care about any of that. They care that you're going to take care of your customers, that you're going to bring them additional revenue, and that it's going to be a good business relationship.
So whether you have a US company that you set up via Stripe Atlas, whether you set up a US corporation with any website you find on Google, like legalzoom.com, or whether you use your business information from Ireland, they're going to approve you if you present yourself the right way, if you can explain to them how you're going to increase their sales, then they have no reason not to work with you. So if you want more information on that, like how we get approved with our suppliers, our supplier scripts, everything like that, I do talk about it on my free training that's at dropshipwebinar.com, but the full in-depth training with all of those copy and paste scripts is inside my coaching program, The Drop Ship Blueprint, that was voted best eCommerce course by Shopify. So be sure you check that out if you want the full blueprint, the whole training.