The purpose of the case study was to test whether Doba is worth the upfront fee and/or monthly investment for an entrepreneur looking to cut their teeth in ecommerce via wholesale drop shipping.
Access to thousands of products priced below retail and you never handle inventory. I should point out this can happen with any reputable drop shipping company eliminating a competitive advantage for Doba.
Extremely large product selection. One-stop shop.
The push to marketplace feature (integrated instant push out to Ebay) works effectively but is useless because of the deep discount mentality ebayers are so typical for. Instead of Ebay focus on more profitable outlets that will garner a higher sale price but still be below retail. Go for more “retail” type outlets like Amazon, Craigslist, overstock, epier or an Adwords approach via niche keywords.
The so-so wholesale rate coupled with a flat Doba fee (usually $2.50) and a high shipping fee leaves a less than desirable profit margin for the ecommerce entrepreneur in most bargain outlets with Doba products.
A few recommendations I would throw out would be the following:
If you have experience in web development you should grab an open source solutions like ubercart (especially as part of Drupal) or Oscommerce. Take a solid month or two to build out your ecommerce solution and use Doba’s product line to fill your product coffers. Please note, whatever solution you choose CSV or XML import of the Doba catalog is paramount or you will be spending the next three years filling your ecommerce database one Doba product at a time.
If you are less savvy at web development then go for a popular licensed or hosted ecommerce solution like cubecart, agora cart pro or yahoo small business setup. All the tools will be built in for the novice and worth the investment.
When you decide on your ecommerce solution dropshippers can be used to flesh out your product lines. Shopster is another popular competitor to Doba. If you want to get more of a direct relationship with wholesalers rather than middle men like Doba and Shopster than think about visiting Worldwide brands. Also peruse through this small biz article.
Doba is far from the panacea for a drop shipping startup especially for the “get rich” entrepreneur looking to kick back, never touch a product and clear 20% every sale on Ebay. Doba should certainly be considered for any drop shipping strategy but only in conjunction with an exclusive ecommerce store promoting successfully researched niche products.
For the average Joe, skip Doba’s upfront fees and parlay the money into an ecommerce website along with a healthy SEO campaign. When you get some real traffic you can always consider adding Doba. Like so many other startups the real success will come from research, elbow grease, passion and a little luck.
Happy drop shipping!