Starting a dropshipping business is one of the best ways to build a successful business in today’s modern times. The growth of Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify and other online ecommerce platforms means that anyone can start an online business for as little at $10.
With the starting investment being so low to start an online business these days means ecommerce has exploded in popularity and competition is highly fierce.
Throw in a dropshipping business to that mix, and startup costs are even lower. Selling merchandise to your customers without holding any inventory, the need for physical warehousing, or need to hire staff for fulfillment sounds like a dream come true. Which is why dropshipping is the fastest growing ecommerce segment, and is also the most competitive area to be in today.
Nonetheless, there are still many people making five, six, and seven figure incomes from dropshipping.
The secret? Go niche and sell where others aren’t. The real opportunity lies in where others aren’t or haven’t quite figured out about yet.
Does that sound like you? Probably. Why else would you be reading an article about dropshipping costumes. An estimated $3B market with limited or non-existent dropshipping opportunities- well, until now at least.
You already know the seasonal and costume market is huge. It’s the main revenue driver for Party City, the reason you see those Halloween pop up stores like Spirit Halloween each year, and the reason your social media is flooded with costume photos year after year.
In this guide, we’ll give you the 3 important steps to take to become a costume dropshipping pro.
Step 1: Drive New Customer Acquisition
Okay, this ones more of a reason. Costumes are a huge customer magnet.
Besides dropship costumes making profits, it will also be a great way to drive floods of traffic to your business helping with brand recognition and new customer acquisition.
Any chance to bring a new customer to your store is not to be taken lightly. A new email and contact to your marketing list means reoccurring revenue for your other products. It goes without saying that increasing customer LTV (life time value) should be on the top of your priority list.
How does selling costumes create so many new customers?
Well, consider the massive amount of sales that happen during Halloween in just a few short weeks. That’s $8.8B generated in just a few weeks on Halloween spending alone, since no one is shopping for Halloween in February.
Peak costume selling months are September to December for Halloween and Christmas. Yes, Christmas is another huge costume category to be taken advantage of!
Other seasons and holidays also sell well although their volumes are much less in comparison. These are events and holidays such as Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest, New Years, Hanukah, Cinco De Mayo, and others.
By dropshipping costumes, why not take advantage of all of the holidays available to make sales? After all, the biggest risk to selling seasonal products are getting stuck with leftover inventory that won’t sell until next season (i.e a whole year later).
With dropshipping, the supplier takes on all the increased risk related with seasonal items. As for you? No inventory, no risk.
Step 2: Go Big On Pet Costumes
Remember when we mentioned the NRF’s estimate of $3B spending on Halloween Costumes?
Well, half a billion went to pet costumes alone.
Fido is not forgotten during Halloween, and the NRF predicts that figure will rise in the coming years. And with more Millennials treating pets like family more than ever, the predictions are that this will continue to be the fastest growing category in the costume market.
The pet goods dropshipping niche is incredibly profitable for those who are already focusing on it. Adding costumes to the mix will prove a smart idea for those who are already shopping for their furry family member.
And for those who aren’t in the pet niche? Don’t pass up the opportunity to capitalize on pet costumes.
We’ve seen trends and have collected data on a number of ecommerce stores that are successfully upselling and cross selling pet costumes to their (human) customers. After all, pets aren’t the ones going online and shopping for themselves.
Party City and other large online e-tailers have paired human and pet costumes like a mustard bottle human costume with a hotdog pet costume, therefore increasing profitability. These pairs can apply to all sorts of themes.
- Batman Adult and Pet Robin Costume
- Elsa Child and Pet Olaf Costume
- Darth Vader Adult and Pet Yoda Costume
- Minnie Adult with Pet Mickey Costume
…and the list goes on.
Pet costume pairs and furry friend groups are incredibly popular as well. For those who have more than one pet or go out to celebrate with their furry friends from the dog park.
- Matching Batman and Robin pet costumes
- Matching the entire Wizard of Oz movie cast (Scarecrow, The Wicked Witch, Tin Man, and others)
- Matching Buzz and Woody pet costumes
…and again, the list goes on.
Bottom line, pet costumes are big. Real big. Consider adding pet costumes like dog costumes and cat costumes to capitalize on the fast-growing pet costume market, whether you’re in the pet niche or not.
Step 3: Find A Reliable Dropshipper
Finding a reliable dropshipper is difficult for any niche you decide to get into.
For costumes and seasonal sales, it’s even more important.
You rely on your suppliers to keep your product in stock, to uphold your product quantity, and most importantly, to ensure your orders are shipped in a timely manner. We’ll get into how important timely shipping is for seasonal items.
Some main points to look for in a dropshipper:
Be experienced: You’ll want a supplier that has years of experience with seasonal products. The seasonal business is complex and you need someone who has a product list that’s proven to sell.
An experienced seller will also provide you with high quality product images, descriptions, and size charts to minimize your risk for returns and exchanges.
Not charge huge fees: It’s normal for suppliers to charge small fees for their services. After all, they’re holding onto stock for you, organizing, packaging, and shipping for you. Not to mention taking on all the increased risk that comes with selling seasonal product.
Let’s remember you’re not getting stuck with inventory that doesn’t sell until a whole year later. Costumes are a tricky business.
Provide fast shipping: Probably the most important point ever for a costume dropshipper. Shipping speed is everything when it comes to costumes. The same lightning speed that sales come in for costumes need to match the speed they go out to your customer.
Besides last-minute shoppers, consider the customers with costumes that didn’t fit and need an exchange. There’s a strict deadline to meet – Halloween Day.
Your customer can’t wait 20 days for an overseas China shipment for the next size up. That’s a lost sale.
Most dropshippers are located in China. Although you can try to use an overseas supplier to dropship costumes, be prepared for the possibility of lost sales and unhappy customers when they don’t receive their order in time.
We suggest going with a supplier that located in your country to meet those seasonal shipping speeds you need to stay successful.
That brings us on to our next point…
Where to find a reliable costume dropship supplier:
Most dropshippers for costumes and in general are located in China. For high volume, fast selling , time sensitive costume products finding a supplier based where your customers are located is strongly recommended.
Overseas Dropship Suppliers:
If you’re on Shopify, you’ve probably heard of Oberlo. They’re a huge dropship market with suppliers based in China. They have a costume selection (although limited)
You’ll also want to keep an eye for knock off licensed costumes (i.e Superman) and keep them off your store to avoid legal issues.
An incredibly well known marketplace based in China. They have a large costume selection, but you’ll have to do some deep research and due diligence on each supplier. Order reliability is dependent on your choice.
Be sure to ask them if they dropship, since not all suppliers on Alibaba do. You also might have to select different dropship suppliers to build your costume product category which might get complicated to manage.
You’ll also want to keep an eye for knock off licensed costumes which is rampant on Alibaba (i.e Superman) and keep them off your store to avoid legal issues.
USA Dropship Suppliers:
A costume dropshipper located in the US is rare to come by. When you consider that the costume market has long been cornered by big box retailers it starts to make sense why.
We really only have two options to choose from. Buy Costumes and Kostumed (that’s us!).
They are a US based costume dropshipper with a $1,000 charge to create a dropship account agreement.
You’ll also have to meet an annual $10,000 USD dropship partnership minimum.
Their transaction fees sit at $3.50 per dropship order which may require you to price your products a bit higher than the current market.
Integrations with ecommerce platforms are unknown.
This dropship supplier is probably reserved for the larger dropship players.
A US based costume dropshipper with zero one time startup costs.
No minimum annual spend thresholds and no transaction fees per order.
Kostumed also aims to be competitively priced to promote dropship success with average margins of 30-40%.
With a 900+ product catalogue loaded high quality product images, product descriptions, and accurate size charts for upload, you’ll be set up for success to reduce page bounce and increase chances of a sale.
Kostumed also seamlessly integrates with all major ecommerce platforms including Shopify, Woocommerce, Volusion, Magento, Bigcommerce, and more.
The integration allows for real time inventory updates, new order syncing, Branded invoicing, and the ability to connect your own shipping account or use Kostumed discounted rates.
Simply put, we’re built on the fact that the lucrative costume market has long been off limits to small and medium sized ecommerce sellers and dropshippers, and we just didn’t get why.
Sure, there’s an increased risk in selling and holding inventory for seasonal product, but we’ve been in the costume industry long enough to learn the ins and outs to minimize those risks and pass on the opportunity to other sellers.
Learn more about Kostumed here.
Whether you choose to go with one supplier, or you’re ready to take on managing different suppliers in the US or overseas for a larger product catalogue selection, be sure to throughly research your options.
Your success and customer satisfaction is heavily tied to your dropship partner. It’s not something to be taken lightly.