Dropshipping musical instruments

Dropshipping musical instruments

No matter what their age or nationality, everyone has some type of music that they love. Music has the power to move us emotionally and physically, connecting us, and expressing our passions.

It’s not merely one of the oldest art forms on earth; it’s also an activity that shapes and defines who we are. Naturally, then, so many people make listening and playing music part of their lives, and that so many people want musical instruments.

In fact, 63% of the $7.6 billion global musical instrument market consists of hobbyists and non-professionals.

There is a massive market for musical instruments at all price ranges and quality levels, from hand-made artisan instruments to mass-produced, accessible ones. There are even small, simple instruments designed for children.

With a potential market that spans the globe and includes all cultures and age groups, a business dropshipping musical instruments can present an excellent opportunity to make money while connecting people to their passions.

Musical Instrument Market Fast Facts

By conducting a bit of Google search, we can uncover some general facts about musical instrument market. In 2018, the top ten musical instrument markets by sales volume are:

Musical instrument annual sales volume vs. country
statistics from Music Trades Magazine.

If we input musical instrument keywords into Google Trends, we can find out the relative popularity of each instrument at any geographical location:

Average search interest of musical instrument keywords on Google (2019)
statistics from Google Trends.

Despite the enduring dominance of the guitar as the instrument of choice, the piano remains one of the most popular instruments around the world to learn to play, and drums, rhythm machines are seeing a surge in popularity outside of US.

Also, it’s worth remembering that, while instruments themselves are an important source of revenue, fully half of all music instrument sales in the US are generated by sales of parts, accessories, software, and other musical equipment.

Each type of musical instrument may have a few sub-types. For example, guitars may be acoustic, classical or electrical. The demand for each varies. The electrical version is more expensive.

statistics from Google Trends.

Choose Your Sub-Niche

Success in any business rests on choosing the right niche.

In most cases, merely offering “musical instruments” won’t help you compete with more established retailers. Specializing in a specific product or segment gives your musical instrument dropshipping business some key advantages:

Target Your Marketing

By choosing a particular niche, you can build the most profitable business, with good demand from your targeted customers, and avoid going head-to-head with big competitors.

Differentiate Yourself From the Competition

By choosing to specialize, you can connect with a target market that wants what you offer.

Establish Expertise

You should never go into a business that you don’t understand, and your customer expects you to be knowledgeable about your products. Moreover, it’s easier to learn the nuts and bolts of a smaller market.

Research Your Niche

When researching your niche, here are some aspects to consider:

Is there a type of instrument you want to focus on? 

You may want to specialize in specific instruments or types of instruments. For instance, is there an instrument you personally play?

How strong is the demand for the instrument? How competitive is the market for the demand? The chart below shows the number of Shopify stores selling each type of musical instrument—representing competition level, plotting against the search interest from the statistics we have seen earlier—representing demand.

statistics from ShopiStore.

As usual, the higher the demand, the more intense the competition, the prime example being guitars. However there are gaps, less stores are selling pianos and saxaphones relatively, given the level of demand they have.

Is there an advantage to your location? 

Research the market in your city or country. Many people prefer to shop locally, or in their native language, or seek the instruments most popular in the region.

What kind of customer do you want to do business with? 

You might specialize in professional instruments, or children’s instruments, the DJ and club scene, and so on.

What are other add-on products you could offer? 

Depending on your niche, you may also want to offer instrument accessories like amplifiers, or software packages, or music lessons. How can you expand your service offerings to meet the needs of your customers better?

guitar accessories

Choose Your Wholesale Musical Instrument Distributor

Once you have researched and identified your potential niche(s), it’s time to choose a supplier. It’s after you have identified your supplier that you can make an informed business plan that includes all your costs.

Suppliers have different wholesale agreements, product lines, and member benefits, so it’s essential to make the right choice.

Here are some of the top musical instrument dropship supplier platforms:

1. Wholesale Music Warehouse

Wholesale Music Warehouse

Wholesale Music Warehouse dropships over 10,000 musical products to your customers in the United States. They carry products from Gibson and Fender, Ernie Ball, Martin Strings, Korg, Dunlop, Monster Cable, and more.

Wholesale Music Warehouse requires that dropshippers have a Tax ID number, and pay a one-time $249 registration fee for instruments only, or $399 for musical instruments and audio equipment at wholesale prices.

They have been in business since 2002 and have a 5-star rating on Trustlink. They update their product database weekly, offer a 100% guarantee, and provide faster shipping from US-based warehouses.

2. AliExpress

Aliexpress

AliExpress is based in China and has nearly 2 million listings for musical instruments. The platform has thousands of suppliers of musical instruments of all kinds.

Registration with AliExpress is free, allowing you access to all of the suppliers on the platform. They are a popular site and are compatible with Shopify, so you can use Shopify apps to import and dropship AliExpress supplier products.

3. Wholesale Deals UK

wholesaledeals

Wholesale Deals UK is based in London and connects you with dropship and wholesale suppliers in the UK and Europe. Their database includes over 300,000 suppliers.

They offer three levels of membership, ranging from £14.99-£24.99 per month, with discounts for 6-month and 12-month packages.

With Wholesale Deals UK, you can get access to all their suppliers and dealers. They provide premium support and a 100% uptime guarantee for just £69.99 a year. They even offer a money-back guarantee.

Large platforms like these can connect you with a vast number of suppliers, and offer some protection for you and your customers. But, depending on your niche, you may still want to do more individual research, find your suppliers, and build your network.

Plan Your Marketing Strategy

When developing any marketing strategy, you need to consider who your customers are and what they want and need.

Once you know who your customers are, you can determine the best way to reach them and show them how your product(s) meet their needs. Then you find the communication channels they are most likely using and tailor your message to get their attention.

Generally speaking, musical instruments are recreational expenses. They aren’t necessary and can be expensive, so a great marketing strategy is critical.

Some aspects of your marketing plan are basic, inexpensive, and essential, like:

  • Offering excellent service and support.
  • Building positive word of mouth through referrals, reviews, and testimonials.

Building a new brand includes using e-mail and social media marketing to attract new leads and grow your business. Still, video and audio marketing are incredibly important in the world of music.

Consider starting a YouTube channel or a podcast and inviting customers to share videos of themselves using their instruments.

Offering Value-added Services

Your marketing plan may also include added value that customers can’t get anywhere else. Can you offer them specialized services like:

  • Expert advice and recommendations
  • Extended warranties or guarantee
  • Product bundles with accessories and add-ons
  • Express shipping
  • Deals and discounts 
  • Music lessons, software tutorials, or other how-to information

Make your marketing plan well in advance, so that you can plan for seasonal demand.

For example, if you want to take advantage of the holiday season as a great opportunity to sell musical instruments, you should begin planning in summer, so that you can offer deals and discount codes, faster shipping, gift wrapping, or other holiday services.

Many students also purchase musical instruments in the fall, as part of their back-to-school shopping. It is often helpful to research the marketing methods of your competitors, to help determine what makes them successful.

Some of the biggest musical instrument retailers are:

1. Guitar Center

Guitar Center has been in business for more than 50 years and has over 300 locations in the United States. They offer lessons, repairs, and instrument rentals in addition to pure sales. They also offer layaway payment plans, insurance services, and have an affiliate program.

2. Swee Lee

Founded in 1946, Swee Lee is Asia’s largest music retailer. With only 12 physical stores in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam, they do most of their business online and have more than 50,000 online customers.

They offer deals and discounts in their newsletter, fast shipping, warranties, and more. Swan Lee presents itself as a lifestyle brand, curating the customer experience from their ambiance, service, and support of musicians everywhere.

3. Engadine Music

Engadine music is located in NSW, Australia, and opened in 1980.

They are a Yamaha Pro Network Dealer and offer free shipping in most of Australia. Staffed with professional musicians and music educators, they are able to provide the best expertise and advice.

They sell instruments, accessories, software, and more, and offer lessons, rentals, payment plans, repairs, and warranties. Also, they focus on being a good citizen by supporting several local events and music-related causes.

These are just a few examples of different musical instrument retailers and how they connect with customers and grow their businesses.

Depending on your niche, you may also want to look at the marketing strategies of nonmusical companies. For example, if you specialize in children’s instruments, you may want to examine the marketing strategy of companies that sell educational toys. If your products are aiming at DJs, you might want to check out your local club scene.

Conclusion

Musical instruments are a vast and fast-growing market, with many opportunities for new dropshipping businesses in specialty niches. Plan your business carefully, develop a good marketing strategy, offer your customers the right products, and you could be making money working in an industry that is exciting, creative, and rewarding.

Jeff Wong

Jeff has spent 12 years architecting data analytics and offering consultation services for clients in the b2b, telco, healthcare and e-commerce industry. He likes to blog about the problems online businesses are facing nowadays and share creative and inexpensive solutions.

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