If you've been interested in starting your own internet business but you've been trying to avoid the hassles of things like developing and producing products, tracking your inventory, setting up warehouse space, and maintaining a confusing shipping/receiving infrastructure, then drop shipping may be your answer. It allows you to sell quality, brand-name products on your website for a hefty profit, while someone else looks after product development and order fulfillment. Although the process can be a boon to internet entrepreneurs, you should know the advantages and disadvantages to this business model before getting started.
In addition to not having to worry about shipping products yourself, there are a few other advantages to this business model. First, it saves you the cost of building your own inventory. If you're like most people starting a small business, you don't have a ton of extra money lying around, so the last thing you want to do is tie up your cash in inventory that you may or may not be able to sell.
Second, no inventory also means no leftovers. If the product you sell suddenly becomes outdated, obsolete or just plain untrendy, you aren't the one with a room or warehouse full of stock nobody will buy. Many online retailers find themselves having to offer deep discounts--and taking huge losses--on old products just to get them out of their homes or warehouses to make room for more inventory.
Third, you'll be able to add new products to your site almost instantly. Since you don't have to worry about stocking inventory, if you find your customers clamoring for a particular product, it's not unrealistic to expect you could add the item to your site in just a few days.
Have you noticed there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of sites selling huge mish-mash selections of inexpensive gift items . . . things like plastic gnomes and porcelain figurines? That's because there are a few very large drop shipping companies that import these items and then recruit websites to sell them on their behalf. Unfortunately, this is not the way for you to go if you're getting started with drop shipping. There are already a lot of giant gift sites out there--and way too much competition for you to reasonably expect to be successful at it.
According to a small National Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) survey (1), an estimated 10% of Americans have tried acupuncture, and of those who haven't, two-thirds would consider it. If true, this would mean about 30 million Americans have tried acupuncture, which is amazing, considering it's only been in the U.S. for 30 years, and there are only about 15,000 acupuncturists, many of whom have only been licensed in the last 10 years. However, data from a 2004 U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services report (2) analyzed responses from a much larger group of Americans (31,044) from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey, and found that only 4% had ever tried acupuncture. Still, the same data shows that acupuncture is slightly more popular than homeopathy, four times more popular than naturopathy, and ten times more popular than ayurveda.
Succeeding the now outdated 1997 National Institute of Health's Consensus Statement on Acupuncture is the World Health Organization's 2002 Review of Randomized Controlled Acupuncture Trials. They grouped their results this way:
28 diseases for which acupuncture is undoubtedly effective
63 diseases for which acupuncture has been shown effective but more proof is needed
9 diseases Western medicine can't treat well (proof is weak but acupuncture is worth trying), and
7 diseases in which acupuncture could be tried if the practitioner has sufficient medical knowledge and equipment.
Of course, this is only one kind of research, which answers the question, "Does acupuncture definitely help people with such and such disease?" Answering such questions is complicated by the fact that there is more than one style of acupuncture, and so even if one style doesn't help, if the others haven't been tried, we can't conclude that ALL acupuncture won't help the condition in question.
Plus, there are other types of research that look more specifically at what parts of the body are affected by different acupuncture points. For example, MRI's and PET-scans have shown specific areas of the brain (e.g., the visual cortex, or Broca's area on the left side) activated by specific points. Since different people with the same disease have different issues, breaking the research down into these component parts may provide more valuable information for clinical acupuncture than simply finding out that one or another combination of points helped a certain percentage of people with a specific disease.303