Even though we’ve been witnessing the constant growth of e-commerce from year to year and the rise of online sales in the following period was certainly expected, 2020 has surprised us all and accelerated this process. The 10 years of e-commerce growth happened in just three months.
Caused by the lockdown and safety reasons people needed to move to online shopping, but these circumstances have also changed the way that we’ll be approaching shopping in the post-pandemic period. Millions of people became familiar with the concept of e-commerce, more comfortable with purchasing things online, and spoiled by the service that “shopping from home” provides.
As expected, the sudden boost in online sales has influenced a record number of competitors, trying to take their slice of the cake, and unlike a couple of years ago, dropshipping has become a highly competitive ground. And while it’s still a profitable business model, the way things are done in dropshipping has changed and we have to change our strategies accordingly in order to stay in the game.
In this post, we’ll talk about the 8 tips that will help you scale your dropshipping business and beat the competition.
Branding is one of the most powerful things that can distinguish you from your competitors. A brand consists of many components that work together in creating a unique customer experience, build trust, and influencing the way customers perceive your products. Creating a brand enhances credibility and loyalty and eventually drives more sales.
Let’s take a look at one example. Although we can’t possibly know how profitable this store is, it seems like they’ve done most of the things right:
● Professional Website
Start with combining the colors, making high-quality images and video material, and creating copy without typos and grammar mistakes. Keep your design simple and clean. Put some time into writing product descriptions that are engaging and persuasive.
● Unique Product Name
After seeing your ad, customers might google for your product, and with the generic name, it will be very difficult and expensive to rank first in the search.
On the other hand, a unique product name will help you get more ecommerce conversions because your store will be the first to appear in the search and you’ll be competing with less competition for the customers’ attention.
Just try searching for “3in1 Wireless Charger”, and you’ll get hundreds of different websites selling it. Meanwhile, searching for “Univolt charger” gives you the results with the first two places reserved for this brand.
● Increased Perceived Value
Once the customers start recognizing you as a brand, “is this the cheapest place to buy it” won’t be a concern anymore. In fact, people don’t mind paying the extra money if they trust the store with the higher price and if they’re going to get an effortless and enjoyable shopping experience.
As a final result, the brand increases the perceived value of the product, so you’ll be able to create more profit, and invest in business scaling.
2. Winning Products
Although it can be a time-consuming and challenging task, product research is the step that will pretty much determine the future of your business. And while there are a lot of things that should be considered when looking for the right products to sell, a typical winning product should meet at least one of the two main requirements:
Look for the products that are PROBLEM-SOLVING. Those are the ones that can be easily sold even to a cold audience because they directly aim to the problem that the customers are struggling with. (Example)
The second requirement is a WOW FACTOR. These products are perfect for video ads because they can grab customers’ attention within the seconds. They are fun, engaging, surprising, and can’t be easily found in the local store. (Example)
3. Shipping Experience
Of course, having a winning product doesn’t mean a lot if your customers need to wait a month for it to arrive. According to the Global Web Index research, next-day delivery is one of the main things that motivate people to shop online. That’s why having a fast delivery should be the priority when looking for a supplier to cooperate with. It will certainly drive more sales, plus you’ll deal with fewer refunds, fewer negative reviews, and fewer questions for your customer support.
If you’re dropshipping from AliExpress the good news is that you can still find products with fast shipping.
Just open a category that you’re interested in, choose a “Ship to” country, choose a “Ship from” country (those two have to be the same), click on the “Fast delivery ”filter, sort the products by “Orders” and you’ll get the ones that can be delivered in a decent period of time.
You can also contact a supplier and ask him directly if they have some other shipping method with faster delivery than the one that is listed on AliExpress.
4. Customer Experience
In dropshipping, you can’t (shouldn’t) compete with the lowest price, and you certainly can’t compete with the unique products, but what you can compete with is the outstanding customer experience.
Pay attention to every single detail because everything counts - from the first moment when a customer opens your website to the post-purchase experience,
delivery, and communication afterward. Here is a quick checklist to improve the customer experience:
● Free delivery - it’s always better to add a dollar or two to the original price and then offer 100% free delivery.
● Customer-friendly return policy - this can encourage them to buy from you, because they won’t be afraid of not getting their money back if the package doesn't arrive, if it arrives damaged, if they pick the wrong size, etc…
● Loyalty programs, coupons, and gifts - we all love presents, right? Prepare a little surprise for the new customers as well as for the existing ones and show them you appreciate that they’ve chosen you.
● Responsive customer support - be there and be on time for every question that a customer has. If the problem arises make sure to act upon it and find a suitable solution as soon as possible.
● Human touch - people like seeing that real people stand behind a brand. Polite and friendly customer support and personalized messages will make them feel special and appreciated.
5. Develop Trust
Did you know that an average consumer reads 10 reviews before being able to trust a business? And it’s not your fault that the internet is full of scammy websites with low-quality products and no return policy, but it is your responsibility to show that you're not one of them.
Put some effort into collecting reviews that will be shown on your website as powerful social proof. Make sure your website contains policies including the Privacy, Return, and Refund Policy. Display trust badges, and contact information, as well as detailed and accurate product descriptions, images, and videos so the customers can be sure of what they’re about to order.
6. Customer Retention
Rather than just acquiring new ones, focus on customer retention as a marketing strategy for creating long-lasting relationships with existing customers. The research shows that even just a 5% increase in customer retention can drastically increase your revenue by a fascinating 25-95%.
After the purchase, stay in touch with your customers via newsletters, content marketing, Social Media, coupon codes, loyalty programs, cross-selling and upselling… Show them that you care about their feedback and their shopping experience by asking for a review or sending out the feedback form.
7. Social Media Presence
Kind of an obvious thing, but Social Media presence isn’t just about having profiles on Social Media and running ads such as Facebook Ads. It rather represents a place where customers can connect with you, ask questions, learn about your products, hear your brand’s voice, and where you can be a part of their everyday life. It is a place where you can gather a community around your brand, and acquire user-generated content.
8. Not Giving Up
Dropshipping has become a synonym for “easy money” and overnight success. And while it is a lucrative business model that doesn’t need an initial investment, no holding inventory, and gives you a chance to test hundreds of products, just like with every skill you’ll need some practice before the money comes in.
The majority of wanna-be dropshippers just give up after a first failed store, but the chances are great that the first couple of products and stores will be a miss until you gain some skill, experience, and knowledge.
And while the competition has never been greater, the free knowledge on blogs, YouTube, and Social Media has never been more available, as well as the tools for optimizing the stores and sales, finding the winning products, advertising, and more... So the last tip for dropshipping in 2023 is persistence. Learn, try, make mistakes, try again, and the results will come.
You can also check out our guide on How to Build a 7-Figure Dropshipping Business.
About The Author:
Ivan Mazinjanin is the founder and CEO of AliInsider - AliExpress Product research Tool for Dropshippers. He’s an experienced entrepreneur and marketer, as well as the owner of several e-commerce businesses.