How to stand out from the crowd of other dropshippers
Avoiding common pitfalls will help your store get noticed
So you’ve created a dropshipping store! Congratulations. With a few clicks and some work on the back end of your Shopify store, your site is now populated with a bunch of live products that the public can now come to you and buy.
Except…you’re getting no sales. You may have the traffic coming into your site. You’ve got page likes, responsive emails, and you may even be finding your site ranking on Google organic search, but people aren’t purchasing from you.
So what’s happening?
There’s a variety of reasons that might be causing your shoppers to bounce from your store before a purchase, and I’m hoping to give you a few pointers here to help you get past these pitfalls.
Pitfall: you may have too many products
With tools like Oberlo, which allows you to easily import dropshipped products directly into your Shopify store, it’s very easy to go to a dropshipper like Ali Express and select every interesting product you see there. Before you know it, you’ve got thousands of products in your store, organized by rough sub-group.
The problem is, you’ve got way too many choices for users to sort through. Shoppers need to quickly find what they’re looking for and if you’ve got every conceivable version of a product available on your store, you’re going to end up scaring your potential clients away.
If the user can’t find what they’re looking for within a few clicks, they’re going to bounce from your site and find a place that specifically offers exactly what they’re looking for.
The solution: curate your products and only feature the best-in-class. If you want to have lots of products, make sure that you define them in clearly understandable subcategories and get a theme that can organize your products by tags or even give you multi-level dropdown navigation.
Pitfall: you may not have a clearly defined market
Just who is your client? There’s an instinct to try and reach out to the widest possible market you can find (eg.: men and women, between the ages of 18–65, who like online shopping), but that methodology only works for department stores and huge retailers who have the space to showcase and organize their products.
With small businesses online in the 21st Century, it’s not the width of your market that wins: it’s how well you know your market and how specific you are with your targeting.
If people will be searching for something specific online, they don’t want to sort through a site that hides what they’re interested in among a bunch of other products that appeal to other people. Ideally, when they come to your site, they will quickly find what they’re looking for, but they’ll also see a bunch of other related stuff that they’ll want to buy.
The Solution: be super specific about who your people are. Imagine your users, and find a few defining qualities that are in them all, and have products that would appeal to most –if not all –of them.
Pitfall: you may not have solid SEO
Getting your site ranking on Google can be a bit of a challenge, but the overall effort is worth it. In the short term, you can engage in paid advertising to get things really up and running, but the long term success of your store will require that you get your store serving on search engines.
The Solution: apply best practices to get that ranking higher. I’ve written an article on the subject that can go into some deeper detail about the steps you should consider.
Pitfall: your Images are too generic
Dropshipping makes getting up and running really simple. The shippers supply the products, the descriptions, and also the images. But, unfortunately, they’ve supplied the exact same images to your competitors as well.
In the example above, I did a search for a popular dropshipped item. You’ll notice that all but one are using the same style of image — likely because they’re coming from the same dropshipper.
But you’ll notice there’s one that did a bit more with their work. Obviously they took their own photograph and even put a person in the object to give it a sense of scale. For most shoppers, that’s the listing that stands out.
The Solution: get samples of the products you’re selling and do your own photographs whenever possible. Customize those photos to make the product stand out. Having samples will also give you an impression of the quality of the items, and if it’s something you’ll be willing to put your name behind.
Pitfall: you don’t know who your competition is
The key to finding your customers is understanding who they are and where else they go to get the services or goods you’re offering.
Do a quick Google Search of what you’re looking to offer. How many competitors do you have? What kinds of price points are those people hitting? Can you compete against the people who race for the lowest price point in a hope to get volume sales?
The Solution: if you find yourself offering the same products as many others, you may need to reconsider the ways you can distinguish yourself from them. To stand out, try and highlight your service. Offer different bundles, or even offer an extra personal level of support. If the market is too saturated, you’ll need to find a different, or very specific market to reach or you’ll find yourself with a high bounce rate and low sales.
Pitfall: you don’t have a personal investment in the product
Its easy to simply select things you think will sell online, publish them into your store, and hope for the best. However, when you do that, it’s easy to loose focus and interest in your product and store.
The Solution: When times get tough, especially when starting out, it makes it a lot easier if there is a genuine investment in what you are doing and what you would like to achieve. Having fun and enjoying what you do can be half the motivation battle some times.
The bottom line
There are no overnight successes on the internet. If you look closely, those success stories are a culmination of years of hard work and discipline.
With a worldwide market in the billions, there are tons of opportunities for small business owners to find their niche. Try to stay focused on the areas you know with the market you can describe clearly.