How to use affiliate programs to grow drop shipping sales
Getting visitors to your dropshipping website is one of the hardest things to achieve and for new businesses growing your audience is crucial if your online enterprise is going to succeed. In this article we are going to look at one of the most effective ways to get potential customers to your website: affiliate programs.
Why should I consider an affiliate program?
In a nutshell, affiliate programs work. According to PRWeb, 40% of Amazon’s income comes from affiliate sales. That was $24 billion in 2012-13. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that generates a lucrative income stream for all kinds of businesses. If you don’t have an affiliate program, you are losing sales.
What is an affiliate program?
An affiliate program is a highly effective way to promote your business online. It’s a system whereby you recruit affiliates to put links to your website on their website (or newsletters and emails.) The links can be in the form of adverts or hyperlinked text. If a visitor from an affiliate’s site buys from your website, you pay them a commission. Unlike Google Adwords, they do not get paid if someone clicks on the link but doesn’t buy.
How do affiliate programs work?
You can purchase affordable affiliate software that is easy to set up and use on your existing website. The software works by giving a unique id to each of your affiliates so that when someone visits your website via their site and makes a purchase, you know who to pay the commission to.
How does affiliate software help manage an affiliate program?
Affiliate software manages your entire affiliate program for you. It lets you set the level of commission for each sale, organise commission payments and keep a track on which of your adverts and affiliates are performing the best. It also creates an affiliates’ registration page and gives them a user area where they can see their statistics (impressions, clicks and sales). They can also get your sales banners and links form this area.
One of the more advanced features of affiliate software is the ability to create tiered affiliate programs. What this means is that if an affiliate recruits another affiliate, they make commission not just on their own sales but also on any sale that the affiliate they recruited makes. You can choose whether or not to offer tiered programs but, if you do, there can be up to 5 tiered levels of affiliates. The advantage of tiered affiliate programs is that it encourages affiliates to recruit more affiliates to advertise your products on their sites. Affiliates can be very well connected and, if incentivised, can sometimes recruit more new affiliates for you than you can do on your own.
How do affiliate programs improve dropshipping sales?
Affiliate programs are one of the favourite methods used by bloggers to monetise their websites. The reason this is important is that bloggers specialise in writing about specific niches. If you can find a blogger who writes about a niche which matches the products you sell, then it is highly likely that they would be willing to put one of your adverts on their site – especially if they feel it would be relevant to their readers. If one of their readers buys from you, both you and the blogger make money.
The other way in which bloggers can really boost your business is by writing about your products in their blog posts. If you sell shoes, for example, a fashion blogger might give you a good review and put a link to your website in the post. This is a far more effective and powerful way to sell your products than simply having an advert on the page. This is because blogger are internet influencers – people visit their websites because they value the blogger’s opinions. If a blogger likes your products and publishes a post about them, that post may be read by thousands of people, many of whom will share the post on social media so that it will be read by many more.
This can cause an avalanche of publicity for your business and have a long term positive impact on your sales. A good blog post will stay around for a long time and will appear in Google search results for key words linking to your product or business. To get the best success, you need to recruit the best bloggers in your niche to be your affiliates. If you were selling Timber World log cabins in the UK, for example, getting a review on an authority blog like Best Garden Buildings UK could transform your business.
The good news is that in niche markets, like log cabins, there are very few retailers with affiliate programs and so bloggers in that niche are regularly on the lookout for new affiliate programs and products to review. And of course, once one blogger starts to promote you, it won’t be long before others start to take notice.
How do I recruit affiliates?
The easiest way is to create an affiliates page on your website (most affiliate software packages do this automatically for you when you install the program) and put a link to it in the footer menu. By creating that page, it will be searchable in Google search results. This lets bloggers, who are used to searching for affiliate programs, to find your program simply by searching for your products and adding the word ‘affiliate’, e.g.: Log cabins affiliates or log cabins affiliate program. If they type this, your affiliate program will appear in the search results.
The second method is to search for relevant blogs in your niche and contact the owners directly asking them if they would like to review your product or put an affiliate banner on their site. Again this can be done relatively easily by using the keywords and adding blog or review. Sometimes this can be a little more difficult because many of your competitors will have their own blogs and reviews on their website – you will need to find independent blogger as there is no way that a competitor will advertise your products.
Using social media, especially Twitter , Google + and Linkedin, is another way to find bloggers who may be interested. The easiest way to recruit lots of affiliates, however, is in the method below.
Using an affiliate management company
The most effective way to generate lots of affiliates is to join an affiliate management company such as Affiliate Window. Affiliate window manages affiliate programs for hundreds of UK businesses and it has thousands of affiliates signed up to advertise their products. When you join, your company will be listed and information about your products will be send to every one of those affiliates. They will also be able to search for you on the Affiliate Window site.
What makes joining a company like Affiliate Window even better than setting up your own affiliate program is that you are assigned an account manager whose job it is to match your company with affiliates who operate in your niche and then recruit them for you. The account manager will also have an excellent understanding of your market niche and will know what tactics work best to get you sales. They will work with you to help create marketing materials and organise promotions which the affiliates will publicise on their websites.
Whilst you may have to pay Affiliate Window for the service, the increased sales which will result may have an enormous impact on you sales. If you can afford their services, it is worth taking this route.
Affiliate programs are used by many businesses to achieve direct contact with customers who are interested in their niche. They generate targeted traffic and increased sales. However, do remember that once an affiliate sends a visitor to your website, it’s up to you to clinch the deal when they arrive. You also need to remember that part of the money you earn from selling drop shipped products will need to be paid in commission to those affiliates who help sell the products for you. However, any losses in margins would be more than compensated by gains in volume.
If you are considering selling log cabins or garden buildings and need a company which drop ships high quality garden buildings for you and provides you with outstanding customer support, then take a look at our Timber World Dropshipping Account. It’s free to join.
In our last article we looked at how to market your dropshipping business. In this article we are going to focus on an important marketing technique for every drop shipper: promoting your unique selling strategy.
However, you need to develop a unique selling strategy before you can go on to promote it.
What is a Unique Selling Strategy and why is it important?
When you sell on the internet you will be in competition with other businesses who are selling the similar products, at similar prices, from similar looking websites, using similar promotion methods. It can be hard for customers to see the differences between these companies and with so many to choose from they’ll often choose the ones that appear at the top of the search engine results.
Your unique selling strategy is the things you do to make yourself different from your competitors and it’s importance is that it helps you gain an advantage over them in terms of adding value to their shopping experience. So how do you do create a unique selling strategy?
Create a unique product selection
Many people starting a dropshipping business mistakenly believe that the more products they put on their website the more money they will make. They also believe that putting on a wider choice will be better for their customers. But this is actually counter-productive.
As a dropshipping retailer, one of the first things you need to do is be a curator. You need to look at all the products which you could dropship and then choose only the ones that are relevant for your customers.
Here’s why. Let’s suppose you have a website which caters totally for people with small gardens. On it you put a range of smaller log cabins, which you have carefully chosen for your customers. If that customer visits another log cabin website they may have to spend a lot of time searching for the right sized products. It can take a lot of time to work out where to find them and whether they will fit their garden. On your website, they know that every log cabin they see will be the right size for them. It makes shopping easier for them and their online experience is more enjoyable. So, what’s your unique selling strategy? Your products are hand-picked for your customers.
In this sense, your job as a dropship website owner is to think of yourself as a personal shopper. You look at all the products available and filter out anything that would be unsuitable. What you are left with is high quality products chosen specifically for your customers. Instead of saying we’ve got millions of products, go have a look, it’s better to say, look at this fabulous selection we’ve put together just for you. Of course, you do need to have a good understanding of your customers and niche to do this well.
Improve your customer’s online experience
Before the advent of the internet, the good shopping experience was created in-store and even today, dropshippers can learn a lot from visiting real shops. What makes one shop more appealing than another? It’s not just the products they sell; it’s equally about presentation, ease of access and the quality of information given about the products.
Take these things on board and make them unique selling point for your business.
How attractive is your website to your customers? Is there something unique about your website’s design that makes it appealing? If you are selling luxury goods, does the website feel luxurious? Is it the kind of place people would feel comfortable spending large amounts of money? If you are selling log cabins, does the website help the customer visualise their dream log cabin or show how good a garden can be with a log cabin in it?
Do you have something unique to present to your customers that no-one else can? For example, here at Timber World we offer the fastest delivery of log cabins in the UK. We can have our standard models dropped off at your customer’s house in a week. No one else can do that. We have this information shown in the slider on our homepage, so everyone who visits gets to see this important unique feature.
What is your unique selling feature? Have you won an award? Are you a member of an association that will give your company more credibility? All these are things which will make the presentation of you company better.
There is nothing worse than going to a shop or a website and not being able to find what you were looking for. Is your website set up in a way that makes it easy to browse categories and sub categories? Do you have a search bar where customers can search for a specific product? Can customers search by product feature?
If you have these things set up, then make noise about it? “Our specially designed website makes finding the right product simple and quick.”
Quality of information
The standard practice for dropshippers, when listing products on their website, is to import the product descriptions and images supplied by the wholesaler and use these on their website. It’s easy and quick to do and if you use an import tool you can put thousands of products on your website in minutes.
Unfortunately, what you are doing here is making your website content exactly the same as everyone else’s and filling it with the duplicate content that Google dislikes. It won’t rank well and it won’t add any value for your customers.
To make the quality of information on your website a unique selling technique, it is best to write your own product descriptions (specifications you can leave more or less as they are). You don’t need to do this from scratch, just take the information given from the wholesaler and change it to suit your customers.
In addition, take your own product photographs. Anyone who has ever searched through Amazon or eBay will know that if you see a product picture and click on it to have a look, you won’t bother looking at any other retailer using the same picture. You’ve seen the product once, that’s enough. If you have your own pictures, you are different from everyone else. It’s unique. Even if it’s the same product, if it’s a different picture, people might click on it, especially if there is no other picture like yours.
If you are selling garden offices, imagine what a customer would want to see. Ideally, your images would need to show a garden office fully set up with all the office equipment in there. To give your customer a way to visualise their ideal garden office, everything in the cabin would need to say ‘success’ – the décor, the accessories, the furniture, even the brand of the laptop you place on the table. Of course everything should be neat and tidy and outside the sun should be shining. Do this and you instantly make your products far more attractive to the visitor. They can now see the finished result, not just an empty cabin.
Hopefully, these tips will give you some idea of how to create your own unique selling strategy and make your website stand out from the crowd. The key points are to: curate your products, make your website different, make it easy to find things and give information about your products, including images, t http://wholesalelogcabins.co.uk/successful-dropshipping-techniques-writing-product-descriptions-that-sell/hat other retailers don’t. Do these things and you will be much more successful.
If you are considering selling log cabins or garden buildings and need a company which drop ship high quality garden buildings for you and provide you with outstanding customer support, then take a close look at our Timber World Dropshipping Account. It’s free to join.
Okay, so you’ve chosen the drop shipping products you are going to sell and you’ve decided where you are going to sell them. It could be eBay, Amazon or even your own website. Wherever you choose, one of the most important elements in making an online sale is your product descriptions.
Why are product descriptions so important when dropshipping?
When you buy online, you can’t see the product you are buying. All you get are pictures and words or occasionally, videos. We’ll talk about pictures and videos in a later post, but in this article we’ll look at why the product description is so vital to your success as a retailer. The reason, of course, is that it provides the information that will make the customer decide whether to buy the product or not. And, more importantly, it is what will make the customer decide whether to buy the product from you or from a competitor.
So what makes a good product description for a dropshipping product?
There are quite a few things that make a product description good and we’ll go through them here.
Stand out from the crowd
One of the first mistakes people make when selling online is to simply cut and paste the manufacturer’s sales literature on to their listing or website. True, this is probably well written and describes the product extremely well. However, when every retailer is using that description no-one stands out from the crowd. Even worse, when Google indexes all the sites listing the product, it will see the descriptions as duplicate web content and, as a result, many of the sites won’t rank for those listings, only the ones that Google considers the most relevant.
The secret to success is to rewrite the listing, keeping the vital product information in there, but changing the language to appeal to your own target market. One of the ways to do this is to focus on how the product will benefit your niche customers.
If you sell log cabins for example, you could be focussing on selling them as garden offices. Your target niche will be people who work at home. So, when you write the product description, you would mention the same features as your competitors but you will explain how those features can benefit those who need to work at home: doing this will make your company stand out to that segment of the market and make them more likely to buy from you.
Too many retailers fail to sell because all they do is describe the product features. Whilst customers admire products with lots of features, they are much more likely to buy if those features can solve problems or offer solutions for them.
For example, this is part of our Timber World product description:
“As the UK weather can get very cold in the winter, we do offer the option to purchase wall, floor or roof insulation for our log cabins. Choosing insulation will reduce heating expenses and let you use the log cabin in comfort throughout the entire year.”
As you can see, the first sentence tells you about one of our features and why we offer it. The second sentence, in bold, give the solutions that the feature offers to the customer: cheaper bills and increased comfort.
If we were targeting our log cabins just at people who wanted a home office we would have written the last section like this: Choosing insulation will reduce your business’ heating expenses and let you work in comfort in your garden office throughout the entire year.
Including benefits and solutions for your specific market can greatly increase your chance of being a much more successful dropshipping business.
Write professional descriptions
If you run a business, you need to be completely professional in everything you do, otherwise customers will turn away. This includes how you write your product listing descriptions. Poor spelling, punctuation and grammar give the impression that you are an amateur outfit, perhaps not even a legitimate business. So, if you don’t want to come across as a cowboy, you have to get your English spot on.
Similarly, you need to adopt the right tone of voice in how you express yourself. Whilst the writing can be friendly and engaging, it has to come across as trustworthy, professional and accurate. Always try to use positive language to make your customers feel happy about buying from you.
Be honest and realistic
Whilst the aim of writing product descriptions is to make your product sound better than others, you must not embellish your descriptions with things that are untrue or give customers unrealistic expectations. You can’t make claims like ‘This car will never break down,’ or ‘Our aftershave makes women go weak at the knees.’ You can get into trouble with the Trade Description Act if you make inaccurate claims, but it’s more likely that you’ll get disappointed customers who never come back, ask for refunds and give you negative feedback.
Give customers the detail they crave
Here’s a fact. Product listings with very little description leave the customer wanting. To increase sales you need to write in much more detail. Detailed listings answer the customers’ questions, leave them feeling better informed, make them feel they are getting more for their money and show them that you know more about the product than sellers who write very little.
Avoid adjective overload
When you ask people to describe something in writing they often go overboard on the use of adjectives. Whilst adjectives are helpful in product descriptions, they are not as effective as solving problems or offering solutions and, if over used, can seem amateurish. So avoid things like, ‘This is a beautiful toothbrush with fantastic, soft bristles and a strong, sturdy deliciously pink handle.’ And instead replace it with ‘This sturdy pink toothbrush is specially designed with soft bristles that gently clean your teeth and keep your gums nice and healthy.’
How Timber World can help
When you decide to sell our log cabins we provide you with a Web Pack which contains all the product specifications and images needed to sell our log cabins. Of course, on top of this you will need to write your own listing so that they are unique and focussed on your target market. If you need help in writing them we can put you in touch with a copywriter with specialist knowledge of the log cabin and garden building market.
If you are interested in selling our log cabins, why not take a look at our free dropshipping account and see how we can help your business become even more successful.
If you are looking to retail log cabins and garden buildings in the UK then you might have already noticed that the number of wholesale suppliers selling these products is quite small. Finding a supplier of the right calibre can be a difficult process.
Finding a dropshipper: how useful are wholesale directories?
One way to find a wholesaler is to join one of the wholesale directories. If you haven’t come across these before, basically they are websites where wholesalers list their products so that retailers can find them. It sounds like a good idea and for many it can help in understanding what products are available and where you can find them. The downside, of course, is that these wholesale directories charge monthly memberships for you to access the details of these companies, sometimes this can run into hundreds of pounds a year.
Another problem with wholesale directories is that whilst they let you know what products are available and who’s selling them, they don’t actually guarantee that you will be able to buy them. Once you’ve found the wholesaler of your choice, you’ll still need to apply for an account with them. They will then assess whether your business is the kind of customer they are looking for before they decide to sell to you or not. This decision may be based on a whole range of things: you may be based in an area where they have already met saturation point with retailers; you might not have sufficient funds to warrant credit; they may not be interested in small, internet traders; you might be wanting to sell the products in places they don’t want you to, like eBay or Amazon.
In essence, whilst wholesale directories do have their uses, it can be just as effective to contact the wholesaler directly and save yourself the monthly fees.
Is your wholesaler competing with you?
Another thing you need to be cautious of is the type of wholesaler you deal with. Of the log cabin and garden building wholesalers out there, there is a significant proportion who are actually retailers masquerading as wholesalers – selling to retailers at trade prices. This practice is even undertaken by one of the UK’s leading log cabin retailers which sells one of the country’s major brands. The problem with these types of companies is that you are buying your products from your main competitor. As a much larger and more established business, not only will they be able to sell the log cabins cheaper than you can, they will also have better delivery services and customer services already in place and have the higher ranking website site to generate more sales. If they undertake dropshipping on your behalf, their own sales will always take priority over yours, so if there is a stock issue, it’s your customer who will go on the waiting list, not theirs. From a business perspective, it simply doesn’t make sense to use these suppliers.
Are you being asked to pay for nothing?
Other dropshipping wholesalers will even ask you to pay a monthly fee just to use their dropshipping service. You will need to sign up for membership of their dropshipping service and you will only be allowed to order their products whilst your subscription is being paid. You’ll still need to pay for the products and the delivery on top of the membership fee. You don’t find these sorts of requirements with genuine wholesalers or dropshippers.
Use a top no-fee dropshipper like Timber World
Here at Timber World, we are a top no-fee drop ship wholesaler for log cabins. Like most wholesalers, we ask you to apply for our dropshipping account so that we can verify that you are a retailer and not a member of the general public, but once you have been accepted the only things you pay for are the products and the cost of shipping the product to your customer.
Unlike other companies, we never sell our products directly to the general public. We are essentially a log cabin manufacturer that has chosen to wholesale our own products rather than go through a range of distributors. Our focus is in producing the highest quality log cabins and providing retailers with a first class service to help them sell our log cabins, garden offices and bespoke garden buildings. We offer everything from bespoke garden building design, home delivery, after sales care and even installation. We also sell our products as white label so you can brand them as you wish. We’ll even supply all the images and product specifications for your website or sales brochures.
If you are looking for a log cabin dropshipping company that understands its retailers and can offer excellent products, quick and reliable fulfilment and very good margins, then get in touch or apply for our no-fee dropshipping account today.
If you are looking to find a dropshipping wholesaler to supply your garden building products, one of the first things you need to do is to distinguish between genuine and fake wholesalers. Genuine wholesalers are those companies who only sell their products to retailers, fake wholesalers are those who sell their products to both retailers and at a slightly higher price to the general public.
The reason you need to avoid these kinds of wholesalers is that, because they are selling to the general public, they hold the dual position of being both your supplier and competitor at the same time. What this usually means is that their wholesale prices will be too high to allow you to compete with them in the market place. They will undercut you on price. In this way, they sell products to you in bulk and then take away your business by selling the product cheaper themselves to your customers.
What’s worse is that this is not always done transparently. They will often sell wholesale through one business and retail through another. Sometimes you can catch them out when the wholesaler and retailer have the same business addresses, registered addresses and company directors.
There are other ways to discriminate between genuine and fake dropshipping wholesalers. One of the primary tactics of fake wholesalers is to charge a joining fee or even ongoing fees to participate in their dropshiping service. This identifies them as fake because the genuine wholesaler makes its money from selling goods to retailers which they sell on. The fake wholesaler makes much of its wholesale income from dropshipping membership fees and the rest from selling directly to the public. Because it competes against its own customers, those customers are never going to be successful, so it is obvious that wholesale is not the core business activity.
In order to join a genuine wholesaler you will need to apply for a wholesale account and in doing so will need to prove you are running a business. You might need to disclose your business address, Unique Tax Reference, company registration details or proof of your online shop. Different wholesalers require different types of proof. This is to make sure that they do not sell to the public. A fake wholesaler on the other hand, won’t care too much about whether you’re a legitimate business, they will just want your money.
Some genuine dropship wholesalers will require companies to pay a ‘per-order fee’ to cover the increased cost of packaging and delivery for sending out individual items. Remember, they normally distribute in bulk, so have to cover the increased costs of one off deliveries somehow.
You will also find that even genuine wholesalers offer smaller margins for dropshipping than they do for bulk purchases. This is to cover the increased cost in distribution and because they become liable for ensuring that fulfilment to the final customer is done correctly. As a retailer using a dropshipper this might seem unfair, however, any reduction in margins is offset by passing warehousing, insurance and distribution costs to the wholesaler.
The final difference between real and fake dropshipping wholesalers is that genuine ones understand the important role they play in their customer’s fulfilment process. They will have knowledgeable, dedicated staff and expert fulfilment services there to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Are you looking for a genuine dropshipping wholesaler?
Timber World prides itself on being a first class drop ship wholesaler of log cabins, garden offices and bespoke garden buildings. As both manufacturer and wholesaler of our products, it is in our best interests to ensure we do everything we possibly can to help our customers sell our products. For this reason we do not sell our products to the general public.
As with all good wholesalers, we will verify that you are a business when you register to become one of our customers; to do this you will need to sign up for a Dropshipping Account. However, we do not charge a fee to become a customer and there no on-going fee to remain one. Nor do we charge a per-order-fee. Once your Dropshipping Account application is approved and you become a customer, you only pay for the products you buy and the cost of delivery (which you can pass on to your customer).
If you would like to know more about retailing our products click here.
Why Micro-Niche sites are the way forward
Setting up an online store is anything but easy. Those of you who have already undertaken research will already know that the only way for smaller retailers to get a foothold in the marketplace is to specialise in sell niche products. With increasing competition, today’s successful start-ups tend to be micro-niche companies: businesses that specialise in one segment of a market niche. So for example, if your niche was cameras, you might specialise in underwater cameras. If you were interested in garden buildings as a niche, rather than selling sheds, greenhouses, and summerhouses, you might just focus on log cabins, or even on bespoke log cabins.
Whilst focusing on a micro-niche will limit the size of the market you can sell to, it does offer huge advantages. As a micro-niche site, you will be seen by consumers as a specialist in that area. This will mean that your customers will see you as an expert in your field. By building on this expertise, you can command greater authority over that area of the market than less specialised stores and this can lead to a greater proportion of sales than the size of your company could generate if it didn’t specialise.
Specialising also creates a higher level of trust for your business; helps to build customer loyalty, thus increasing repeat sales; and means that customers will often pay a higher price for your products even though they could get a similar product for less elsewhere.
Once the micro-niche company is making money, the next step would not be to expand the niche the business operates in, but to repeat the process by starting up another dedicated micro-niche website.
Best Micro-Niche products for online retailers
We believe, that at Timber World, we have the perfect range of niche products available to help you start an online niche business. For a start, the log cabin market niche is only just taking off in the UK and now is the ideal time to establish your business as a niche leader. Whilst most online stores focus on a large selection of building types, mainly sheds, green houses, summer houses and log cabins, by focussing on log cabins you will be automatically building a micro-niche business on which to create your brand.
To help you beat the competition and develop your brand, all the log cabins, garden offices and bespoke log cabins that we sell are white label. This means you can give each model its own brand name. No-one else will have that name, so there will be no direct competition with our other retailers.
We also understand that setting up an online niche business can be expensive and difficult, however, by selling Timber World log cabins you can make this much easier. For a start, our free dropshipping service means you don’t need to pay us for our products in advance – only after you have taken the payment from your customer. This is the ideal solution for new businesses which need to keep tight control over their cash flow. We also deliver the product direct to the customer for you, so that you don’t have to deal with the fulfilment part of the sale – we even provide an after sales service on your behalf. All you need to do is set up your website and focus on sales; and even here we will provide you with all the necessary product images and specifications to upload.
Of course, none of this would be much good if the products we were selling were not up to scratch. However, our log cabins, garden offices and bespoke garden buildings are exceptionally well designed and built to the highest standards.
If you are considering setting up an online retail business and are looking to find high quality niche products, why not take a closer look at our products and our free dropshipping service.
As one of the UK’s leading drop ship companies, here at Timber World we know that there are a lot of people who have heard the term ‘dropshipping’ but don’t fully know what it means. The aim of this guide is to give readers an understanding of dropshipping and to explain how the process works.
What is dropshipping?
Quite simply, dropshipping is a service offered by wholesalers to retailers whereby they deliver the product directly to the customer on the retailers’ behalf. This model replaces the traditional model of the wholesaler delivering to the retailer and then the retailer delivering to the customer.
What kinds of businesses is dropshipping suitable for?
Dropshipping isn’t suitable for all types of business. If you have a physical shop or outlet and sell products that customers expect to be able to take home with them, then it’s important to have those products in stock.
However, if you sell products that need ordering before delivery, such as a log cabin, or if you sell any product online, then dropshipping can be a viable delivery model.
What are the advantages of dropshipping?
Dropshipping has many advantages for the retailer. The main advantage is that you do not need to order your items in advance or in bulk. This means that there is no risk in losing money though buying products which you might not sell. It also means a more stable cash flow as you do not need to order and pay for products in up front. With dropshipping, you take the order from your customer before you pay the wholesaler.
Dropshipping also helps the retailer to save money. As you will not have products on site, you will not need to warehouse, deliver or insure them. Nor will you need warehouse staff.
Another advantage is that delivery is often quicker, as wholesalers often have far more advanced logistic systems in place than smaller retailers who often rely on 3rd party shipping companies or Royal Mail.
Is it true that dropshipping offers smaller margins?
The answer to this depends upon how you do the calculations. In general, the margins are smaller, but not necessarily the profits. If you take a product that retails for £100, you might get it at whole sale price for £66 and at a dropship price for £85. It looks at first that you will make £19 more through the traditional wholesale method. However, out of that £19 you will need to deduct storage, delivery and insurance costs plus any labour costs needed to handle and dispatch the product. In addition, in order to get a price of £66 you may need to order 20 of the products in advance and may only be able to sell 15 at full price, the rest may need to be sold off cheaply in a sale.
In the end, it’s a matter of choice. However, if you don’t have the necessary cash flow to pay in advance and don’t have the logistics set up to warehouse and dispatch the products, than dropshipping is a safe and sensible option.
At Timber World, for example, we offer between 10% – 15% margins on our log cabins. This means that you could be making several hundred pounds on each sale you make.
What are the disadvantages to dropshipping?
Dropshipping in itself has no disadvantages. It’s offered by many wholesalers to help smaller companies sell on the internet and whilst it is only just starting to take off in the UK it’s a highly established practice in the USA. The only disadvantage is in choosing a dropshipper that cannot deliver the right product at the right time to the right customer. One thing to remember is that a good drop ship company will not charge you for opening an account.
Are you looking for a wholesaler who will drop ship for you?
Here at Timber World we are actively looking for retailers who we can build long term dropshipping relationships with. We want to help you to sell our log cabins, garden offices and bespoke garden buildings. If you want to find out more about our great products and first class dropshipping service, click here.
When choosing a dropshipper for log cabins or garden buildings, it’s absolutely crucial that they provide you with a high quality drop ship delivery service. If they don’t, you could be putting your entire business in jeopardy. In this article we’re going to be looking at the different delivery services retailers need from a good dropshipper and why you need them.
Why quick deliveries are key
When a customer buys a product, especially something they have paid a lot of money for, like a log cabin, they don’t want to have to wait a long time for it to be delivered. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, some customers get suspicious if you ask them to pay for a product which they have to wait for a long time for; and, secondly, if they can get something similar, but much quicker, from another retailer, chances are they will.
You need, therefore, a retailer with the ability to deliver quickly. Here at Timber World, for example, we deliver all out standard models within one week. For non-standard and bespoke models, which have a longer delivery time, we remove any suspicion by only asking for a deposit at time of purchase and the rest to be paid just prior to delivery, making the customer feel much more confident about the delivery we carry out on our retailer’s behalf.
There’s nothing worse than an unreliable delivery service for generating customer complaints and getting your business bad reviews and a poor reputation. When using a dropshipper this can be complicated because if they have a poor delivery service, it’s your business which will suffer.
A good dropshipper will deliver on time, to the right address, and the product will reach the customer complete and undamaged. Here at Timber World we pride ourselves on our reliability. All our components are bar coded so that no log cabin can leave our premises incomplete, they are checked before they leave and we schedule our own deliveries using modern, purpose built vehicles that can provide easy drop offs. We make sure we have made contact with your customer beforehand; so that someone is home when we arrive and that there is provision to get the product to exactly where it needs to be installed.
There are quite a few dropshippers who only deliver to certain parts of the UK. This can be awkward if you are selling online and can get orders from any location which you need to fulfil. Failure to be able to offer these locations for your products means you are potentially losing out on lucrative sales. Ideally, you need a dropshipper who can deliver throughout the UK. At Timber World this is exactly what we do.
Log cabins, garden offices and other timber buildings are large and heavy products to transport. They require large, purpose built vehicles, with integrated cranes, to carry and drop the products off. Buying the vehicles, paying for drivers and fuel as well as covering overheads like insurance, road tax and servicing means the cost of transporting a log cabin can be expensive. Some dropshipping companies will not only try to charge the full amount to cover their delivery services, but will also try to make a profit on top. This can be the one factor that loses you the deal when selling a log cabin.
At Timber World we have an entirely different approach. Firstly, we don’t try to make a profit on delivery; we don’t even pass on the full amount. We do charge, but we think it’s a very reasonable amount to pay. However, only our retailers know what we charge for deliveries. As a retailer, you have the option to hide the delivery cost completely, by charging a little extra for the log cabin and offering free delivery. The choice is yours.
Unbranded drop ship delivery
Many retailers choose to create their own brand and want products which are unbranded to sell. A good dropshipper will not only allow this to happen with their products, but they will help their retailers to do this. When it comes to delivery, the last thing you want is for your branded log cabin to turn up with different branded name on the pallet and with different branding on the paperwork. It gives your customers a very bad impression of your company when it happens.
If you become a retailer of Timber World log cabins and garden buildings, you can be sure that all our products are white label; there’ll be no branding to confuse your customers.
As a retailer, you’re the expert at selling log cabins and not an expert in their construction and installation. As you use a dropshipper, the chances are that you will not have actually seen one of the cabins you have sold. It can be extremely problematic, therefore, if a customer needs to contact you about a specific question or has a problem.
A good dropshipper won’t just take care of the delivery, they’ll also support you by providing your customers with a helpful aftersales service; offering them the expert advice, whilst letting you concentrate on sales. Here at Timber World, we offer a first class customer service on your behalf and if you customer needs it we can even arrange for their cabin to be installed for them.
The problem with finding high margin products
If you’re a small internet retailer, finding products you can sell online that will earn you high margins can be a difficult task. To make a significant sum on each sale requires you to be retailing expensive goods, however, to buy these in bulk, in the traditional wholesale way, is very costly and, if you don’t manage to sell them, a risky operation.
In normal wholesale practice, you would need to pay up front for the goods you wish to sell, unless you could prove that your business was financially secure enough to be allowed a credit agreement with the wholesaler. Even then, the size of your margin would be dependent upon the size of your order. The more you buy, the greater the discount. For small retailers, this can be a huge stumbling block to selling highly valuable goods with significantly high profit margins.
The other obstacle is that, even if you could purchase them, you are then left with the costs of storage. High value goods are precious commodities. They need to be warehoused securely and safely to prevent theft or damage. If you have invested this amount of money into the products, you’ll want them insured in case the worst happens; otherwise, your business may go bust. You’ll also want to make sure that they don’t go missing or get damaged during delivery.
The cost of storing, protecting, insuring and delivering high value stock all adds up and reduces the final profit from your activities.
The solution is to find a wholesaler or manufacturer who is willing to dropship their products for you. Using a dropshipping service is the perfect answer for a small, online retailer wanting to make a move into high margin goods.
By using a dropshipping manufacturer you don’t need to buy in bulk before you get your hands on the products. Instead, you sell the product online first, collect the payment from your customer and then pay the manufacturer or wholesaler. The manufacturer or wholesaler will then deliver the product straight to your customer for you.
The advantages are obvious: no huge cash advance to be paid, no storage, security, insurance or delivery costs eating into your profits and no risk of even a single unsold product. It’s safe and simple. But is it too good to be true?
We’ll almost, because whilst dropshipping is big business in US, here in the UK there are surprisingly few manufacturers or wholesalers who are prepared to offer this service to their retailers. There are some dropshippers around, but the vast majority deal in small, low value goods, where the profits are small.
Dropshipping the Timber World Way
Here at Timber World, we offer a fantastic dropshipping service for all manner of online retailers and garden centres. We offer a margin of between 10% and 15% on our products, which, when you consider the retail price of our log cabins, can earn you hundreds of pounds profit per sale.
Most importantly, our products are of exceptional quality, our delivery times are short and our customer services are second to none in the industry. So, not only will you make a reasonable profit from your retailing, you can also be assured that through working with us, your customers will be highly satisfied with the quality of their garden building and the service they receive – all of which, as far as your customers are concerned, will have been provided by your business.
In addition, all our products are unbranded, allowing you to create your own brand around them and we ensure that there is a minimum price at which our products can be sold, so that margins are guaranteed. We will even provide you with a web pack containing all the sales materials you need to get your website or promotion up and running.
So, if you are still looking for high margin, wholesale products to sell online, sign up for a dropshipping account with Timber World today.
Dropshipping offers small scale traders a low risk, low investment way to start and grow an online business. It’s the perfect solution for those wanting to start their own business but who don’t have the capital available to buy wholesale products in bulk.
However, its take up in the UK has been hampered by bad publicity, due mainly to the poor reputation of some of the wholesalers who were the first to offer dropshipping in the UK.
The problems which faced the retailers were many: some of the wholesalers charged customers simply for signing up; the products they sold were poor quality and were widely available; and the margins they offered were so low, it was impossible for retailers to make a living.
In addition, there were issues with stock availability and delivery and perhaps worst of all, some wholesalers undercut their own customers by retailing their products more cheaply. Sometimes they did this under their own name, sometimes by setting up a new company to keep their customers in the dark.
As a result, internet forums for online retailers were full of accounts of people complaining about dropshipping and the companies that were operating these types of business.
In the USA, however, dropshipping has been used successfully by reputable businesses for decades. Rather than sticking to a small number of large scale retailers who buy in bulk, American manufacturers and wholesalers also dropship for many smaller internet businesses that serve niches in the market place. It’s been an incredible success for them. Now the bigger businesses are getting involved in dropshipping too. Over 30% of US, online retailers use dropshipping in whole or in part, including Zappos, Amazon, Sears and Wayfair.
Now finally, after years of not being taken seriously, the UK market is beginning to take notice of how dropshipping is used in the US as a successful solution for order fulfilment. A growing number of companies now offer dropshipping and an increasing number of high profile retailers are now requiring manufacturers and wholesalers to offer it.
Whilst dropship margins are slightly lower than traditional wholesale margins, this is offset by completely eradicating the losses attributed to unsold stock and by the huge savings retailers make in warehouse and delivery costs. It also helps them enormously with cash flow, as the final customer pays them before they pay the dropshipping company.
Here at Timber World we take our dropshipping service very seriously indeed. We know that if we restrict ourselves to traditional wholesale methods we create a barrier for many smaller scale retailers. Log cabins and garden buildings are expensive for retailers to buy, costly to transport and require large storage space, warehouse staff and equipment to move them.
Our dropshipping service means you do not need to worry about any of this. You can sell our products without the need to buy up front, store in a warehouse or transport them to your customers. All you need is a channel through which you can sell, be it a website, online auction, leaflets, brochures or advertisement in a local newspaper.
In addition, we’ll guarantee you a margin or 10% – 15% (depending on the product) and as we do not sell any products to the general public, we won’t undercut you. And, of course, like any reputable manufacturer, we wouldn’t dream of charging you to sign up for an account.