Part 1: Essential elements to setting up an online shop
The number one obstacle that stops people making money from selling drop shipped products online is that they don’t know how to set up a drop shipping store. The second reason is that they think it will be too expensive to do.
Neither of these is true. Whilst building an online store, finding the stock and marketing it looks like an incredibly complicated process, it is, in fact, very easy to do. So easy, that you could probably get your e-commerce shop built and selling and earning you money within a few days.
As for expensive, think again. We’ll show you how you can fill your shop with products to sell without the need to spend a penny on buying stock in advance.
If you are one of those who have been put off because you think the process is difficult and expensive, Timber World will, in our next series of posts, guide you, step by step, through the process so you know exactly how to do it.
Why are we doing this? Because we get a lot of budding entrepreneurs who are interested in selling our products but who tell us they wouldn’t know where to start or they don’t have the start-up capital to begin. We want to encourage more people to get on board and sell our fantastic log cabins.
The three main elements to setting up a successful drop shipping store
There are three major elements needed to set up your own drop shipping website: an online store from where you will sell your products; a wholesale dropshipper who will supply the products you sell; and an effective marketing plan to make sure you attract customers.
An online store
In order to sell, you’ll need an online shop or e-commerce store where you will showcase your products to your visitors and take orders and payments when they decide to buy. You’ll need a store that looks attractive, matches the products that you want to sell and makes finding the products easy for your visitors.
The store needs to be professional, both in terms of how it looks and in the quality of the written content. You will also need to set up a payment gateway with a company like PayPal so that you can accept payments online.
We’ll show you how to get excellent, cheap hosting and a low cost domain name (website name) and how you can set up a professional site, quickly and easily for no cost – using the same free software that powers 30% of the world’s online shops, including many huge stores run by well-known brands. We’ll also show you where you can get thousands of useful free designs to make your website looks spectacular and tens of thousands of free tools that give your shop much more functionality and make it more helpful for your customers whilst they are shopping.
Finding a wholesale drop shipper
As a retailer, you’ll need to find wholesalers who will supply you with the products you want to sell. To stock your website without the need for any up-front investment what-so-ever, you’ll need to find a reputable, wholesale drop shipper, like Timber World.
With a wholesale drop shipper, you don’t need to buy bulk quantities of stock in advance; instead, you wait until you’ve taken the order from the customer first and then, once you have been paid, you order the product from the wholesaler and they then ship the product to the customer on your behalf.
Operating this way means that you never need to buy stock in advance. This improves your cash flow, gets rid of the risk of buying stock you cannot sell and reduces any need to pay for warehousing, stock insurance, shipping fees and labour costs.
We’ll show you how to find wholesale dropshippers so you can get your online store selling very quickly. If you are interested in selling log cabins and garden buildings, we can even provide you with our own drop shipped products to sell.
A marketing plan
by many Once you’ve got the store built and the wholesale drop shipper in place to provide the products, the last essential element is to let people know your shop is out there. Marketing is essential if you are going to attract visitors to your website and make sales. However, when you first start-up you don’t need to spend thousands of pounds on expensive marketing campaigns or hire huge marketing companies to run them.
We’ll show you how to market your products using some of the most effective techniques employed of the world’s leading e-commerce sites. In this digital age, there are lots of ways to help your business reach out to potential customers without the need to spend anything.
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.
By Timber World, the UK’s leading dropshipping wholesaler for log cabins
A guide to successfully pitching your dropshipped products to online customers
In order to pitch your products successfully, you have match the product to the customer. To do this, you have to understand the type of customer in your market and what they are looking for when they buy something.
Common Pitching Errors
When many people starting selling dropshipped products, they tend to think that it is the features of the product that will sell it to the customer. This isn’t actually how it works. Whilst the features are important, what actually sells the product is the benefits the features give to the customer.
When selling online, you should write your product descriptions to include the benefits of the product for your customer. However, before you can do this, you have to understand the benefits the customer is looking for and to do that you need to know the different types of customer who visit your site.
For example, if you are selling a vacuum cleaner to a customer who has a small house with little storage space, instead of focusing on the vacuum cleaner’s ability to suck up dirt, you should solve the customer’s real problem. “When you’ve finished using this vacuum cleaner, it folds up easily into a compact unit, small enough to be stored under the kitchen sink.” The customer needs a space saving device. If you pitch it that way, you sell the vacuum cleaner.
What are the best types of customers to pitch to?
1) Desperate customers
Desperate customers are ones that have problems which they urgently want solving and because of this they are impatient to buy and willing to spend money to solve it. Their urgency offers you potentially rich pickings, especially with upsells, but they are also the type of customer who will complain if your products don’t solve the problem they need to remedy.
With online stores, pitching to desperate customers means writing product descriptions aimed directly at them. You have to imagine what their problems will be and explain how your products and services will solve them.
If you sell log cabins, for example, a desperate customer might be someone who needs extra space at home but cannot afford to or move; perhaps they have a growing family. When pitching your log cabin you would show how much extra space a cabin would offer and then explain all the uses it could be put to. You would then discuss other benefits that having extra space could offer: somewhere for the children to play, storage space to declutter a busy household. You could also mention that it is much less expensive than having an extension built or a loft conversion. These are all things which appeal to a desperate buyer for this product.
Think of the products you sell. Why would someone desperately need them? If you write down the ways your product could solve their problems you have the ideal content to pitch that product to that customer.
2) Customers with a hobby
A customer with a hobby is an enthusiast, someone who is willing to pay well to do something they love. As they tend to have a passion for their hobby they will usually want the best products they can afford and this makes them a very good group to upsell too. They will, however, be quite knowledgeable about what they want and so you can’t pull the wool over their eyes with overblown marketing promises.
When you pitch to a hobbyist, you need to understand the pleasure they get from their hobby and how your products can enhance that pleasure. With log cabins, for example, there are two sorts of hobbyist that may be interested in your products: gardeners and people looking for a building in which to do their hobby.
With gardeners, you know that what gives them the most pleasure is a beautiful garden. The pitch, therefore, has to be about how the log cabin will make a perfect centrepiece for their garden, how attractive it looks and how it will enhance the gardener’s enjoyment of their garden. You can also show how it can be used as the perfect place to sit and admire their garden.
With craftspeople looking for somewhere to do their hobby, you would pitch the log cabins as a place where they could retreat to, a quiet, spacious place with lots of natural light and the freedom to move around or store lots of their equipment. It doesn’t matter if their hobby is restoring motorbikes, making dresses or working out, but as long as you explain the benefits, the hobbyist will be attracted.
For your own products, try to imagine why someone with a hobby might want them. How could they enhance the hobbyist’s enjoyment? How could they make doing their hobby better or easier? This will help you write a product description pitched at this type of customer.
3) Repeat Buyers
Some dropshipped products are ideal for repeat buying, especially items which are disposable or have a short lifespan. Repeat buyers are people who have developed a relationship with your website and find it a place where they feel comfortable on the internet. They have learnt to trust your company and like the things you sell. This puts you in a very powerful position to take advantage of this relationship.
With repeat buyers, you need to get them to buy other products besides the ones they keep coming back for. The first thing you would need to do is research your existing customers and find out what products they regularly buy. The next stage would be to find related products that they might be interested in. You can then pitch these products to them. This can be done in several ways – via your newsletter, at the bottom of any emails you send them as part of their purchase – such as an invoice, or you could ask your dropshipping company to put printed material in the packaging for you.
Once again, you would pitch the products by linking the benefits it offers to the same benefits they get from the products they regularly buy.
With log cabins, you would imagine that there is not much scope for repeat sales, but in fact, there is. Whilst a customer obviously isn’t going to buy a new log cabin every month, there will be other cabin related products which need renewing on a regular basis, for example, wood treatment, external paint, battery operated light bulbs, window cleaner, wooden floor oil. As a specialist log cabin retailer, you customers would think that you know the best products to sell and will buy them from you even if they are more expensive than elsewhere. When you pitch them, flag up you expertise before explaining how they will benefit the customer.
As you can see, pitching requires you to understand your customers and the reasons they are buying from you. Once you know this, you can capitalise on it by focusing your product descriptions on meeting the needs and desires of those customers. This will help you increase sales of your drop shipped products.
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.
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.
Our latest post to help you improve your online drop shipping business will focus on one single tactic that can have a massive boost on converting visitors into customers: free shipping.
How do we know offering free shipping boosts sales?
Thanks to internet giant, Amazon, we now have a much better understanding of how shipping costs affect sales. Recently, they undertook a highly detailed study of online customers’ buying habits by following shoppers from the moment they arrived at their site all the way to their exit. One remarkable discovery that Amazon made was that almost half of all customers empty their shopping cart when they find out that the retailer doesn’t offer free delivery! The impact of this is obvious. You may have created the perfect website, chosen and curated the ideal items to sell, designed a successful marketing strategy that encourages visitors to your site, and promoted your products with well written listings and attractive images. With all these in place, your shoppers decide to buy, add your products to their basket and proceed all the way to check out – and then, once they see you charge a for shipping, almost half of them leave and buying nothing. That’s almost 50% of your sales lost. Or to put it another way, you could increase your current sales by almost 100% if you offered free shipping.
It gets even better
But it doesn’t stop here. Amazon also found out that if you do offer free shipping, three quarters of customers will actually purchase more than they first came for. So, for those of you who have been following Timber World’s Successful Dropshipping Techniques series and have put upsells, cross sells and bundles into place on your website, you now know that if you combine these with free shipping, you have a 75% greater chance of increasing your sales.
It works best for dropshippers
The best thing of all is that offering free shipping is much easier for dropshippers than it is for traditional retailers. Traditional retailers have to actually pay for the shipping out of their own takings, and so, by offering it for free, they have to take a smaller profit on their sales. When you retail using a wholesaler, like Timber World, who drop ships products on your behalf, you don’t need to lose anything – your margins can remain exactly the same..
How to offer free shipping without losing money
How do you offer free shipping if you use a drop shipper to deliver your products? Let’s take a look at how this works with Timber World log cabins. Imagine that you are selling a log cabin for £2000 and that the delivery cost Timber World charge you is £75. As a result you need to charge your customer £2075 in total.
Using he old way of trading, to try to make your product look more competitive, you would have advertised it at £2000. You would only mention the delivery costs right at the end of the buying process, when the customer had got to the check out. However, we now know that when customers see the £75 delivery charge, half of them will drop the purchase and look elsewhere.
Instead, you should now advertise your log cabin for £2075 and at the same time make a point of letting customers know this is with free delivery. You are still getting exactly the same price and profit as you were before and the customer is still paying the same price overall.
More importantly, the customer doesn’t know that the cost of shipping is built into the price of the log cabin, and so, psychologically, they think that delivery is free. This means that the 50% of buyers who would abandon the sale will now see it through to the end.
Even better, 75% of all your customers would go on to purchase an up-sale, cross sale or bundle – so you end up selling bigger log cabins with better specifications and a range of bespoke features. In the end, your £2000 initial log cabin could have developed into a £2500 sale.
So, the next time you are working on the pricing structure for your drop shipped products, remember that this is a clear advantage that you have over traditional retailers who find it difficult to absorb the costs of giving away free shipping.
Additional benefits for drop shipping on eBay and Amazon
There are other benefits too. If you sell on eBay and Amazon, your products are much more likely to rank higher in product search results when you advertise free shipping. eBay used to let you search for products by price so you could find the cheapest deals, now it’s price including postage and packing. Retailers who sell at lower prices with higher shipping costs can no longer jump above you in the search results. Nor can traditional retailers reduce their selling fees to compete better. These days all retailers have to pay eBay and Amazon a percentage of the total sales price, including delivery. Gone are the days when you could list products for a penny and charge £25 delivery fees just to get out paying eBay its 10% final valuation fee.
As a dropshipper, these changes really make it much easier for you to compete when you offer free delivery. You are also likely to get more satisfied customers and consequently better feedback if you advertise free shipping.
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 AccountTimber 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.
One, all too familiar, problem for people who start online businesses is that after they have put so much effort into building a fantastic website they find that once it goes live no-one buys anything.
The problem here is not having poor products or that the website design was all wrong. Other businesses will sell the same products and many will have less sophisticated websites. The reason, instead, is that no-one knows your website is there. If no-one knows it is there, you will not get any visitors and no-one is going to buy from you.
To run a successful dropshipping business one of the things you need to do to help people get to your website is do some good marketing to attract customers.
Tips for marketing your dropshipping business
The most common method for marketing your business is to advertise. You can do this in many ways, but online, most people tend to use what is known as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. One PPC advertising you will have seen all too often is Google Adwords, where you see adverts at the top, bottom and sides of Google search results. Google are not the only company to offer PPC ads, there are many other companies out there who do the same, including Facebook and Bing.
The way advertising networks like Google and Facebook work, is that you create an advert, either text or image, and add a link to the page of your website you want visitors to go to. You then tell the ad network which search results you want your advert to appear on. The final thing you need to do is to set an advertising budget and tell the network how much you are prepared to pay for each time your ad is clicked.
If, for example, you were selling log cabins and you set up a Google Adwords account, you could arrange your adverts to appear only when people in the UK searched for the term ‘buy log cabins’. You could set the maximum you were prepared to pay to 50p every time someone clicked and fix your weekly spend to £30. (The more you offer to pay for each click, the higher up the advert list you company will appear when someone searches.)
As a result, you would be getting 60 visitors a week coming to your website and know that they had got there because they were looking to buy log cabins. What you are getting from the ad, therefore, is a targeted sales lead which you need to make the most of on your site.
Whilst you are not guaranteed to get any visitors at all from this method, you do only pay when someone clicks. If you are not getting any visitors it will be because your ad is not appealing or because other advertisers are out bidding you and your ad is appearing at the bottom of the list.
The disadvantage of PPC advertising, of course, is that it can be expensive. Not every click will translate into a sale and different types of business have different success ratios – it could be that on average only 1 in 100 clicks results in a sale. That would mean a £50 marketing cost for each log cabin you sell. This may need to be factored into your pricing.
If you don’t have a budget for PPC advertising there are other, more creative ways to market your business. Here are a list of them:
Post about your business on Twitter
Find a relevant #hashtag for your business on Twitter and send out regular posts. Follow people who are interested in your sector. For example:
“Grab a 10% discount on the UK’s best log cabins – hurry, ends Sunday. #logcabins #gardeners”
Set up a Facebook Business page
Set up a Facebook business page and post pictures of your products on there. Then ask your personal friends to like your web page. Remember to post regularly to keep people interested. People can search Facebook like Google and find your website from there. Once you have done this on Facebook, so the same on Instagram.
Set up a Pinterest Board
Pinterest is another effective marketing tool you can use. If you were selling log cabins you could set up a board called “Beautiful Gardens” then add hundreds of pictures of gardens and garden furniture which would generate lots of people coming to look. Once you started to get people sharing your pins and following you, start adding all the pictures of your log cabins and make sure you place them in highly visible parts of your board. The pictures will link back to your website when people start clicking on them.
Get bloggers to write about your business
Inviting bloggers to write about your products or your business can introduce you to enormous new audiences, especially as blogs are one of the most shared and commented on forms of internet content. You can even ask bloggers to review your products. For log cabin and garden building dropshippers, getting a review on websites like bestgardenbuildingsuk.co.uk can be very beneficial. To get in touch, simply find the Contact Us page on the blog that most appeals to you and ask the blogger if they are interested. Depending upon the blog, you may have to pay a small fee or send them a product to review.
Open an affiliate program
One way that many businesses market their products is through opening an affiliate program. Affiliate programs are where you get bloggers and other websites to put adverts, banners and text links to your website on theirs. Unlike PPC, where you pay every time someone clicks on an advert, with an affiliate program you only pay when someone actually buys from you.
Bloggers who put affiliate adverts on their websites do it to help them make money from their blog. However, you will find that they will only advertise products which are relevant to their audience. The other thing they will do is promote the company that makes them the most money. For this reason, you are more likely to get affiliates signing up if you pay reasonable commission rates. The average is 5 -10% for physical products. For software, companies often pay up to 50% commission on each sale. For a £1500 log cabin, this could mean paying the affiliate £75 for the sale. However, if you have 100 affiliates each sending you 1 sale a week of £1,500, that would give you a turnover of £7,800,000 a year.
Affilate programs work by using software which tells you where each person who visited your site came from. If they came from an affiliate it will tell you which affiliate sent the customer and how much the affiliate earned. There are two types of affiliate program – self hosted and managed. With self-hosted you can simply get a plugin, such as AffiliateWP (for WordPress sites), which adds to your website and you set it up from there. This is an easy and free way to set up an affiliate program, but its big disadvantage is that affiliates have to find your website in order to sign up. If you are trying to get affiliates to find you then using a managed affiliate program can be better.
With a managed affiliate program you will pay both the affiliate and the company that does the managing – however, the huge advantage is that you will be given an account manager who will actively seek out the best bloggers for you and encourage them to put your adverts on their websites. There can be thousands of potential bloggers with millions of viewers ready to start finding your website – and the account manager is the person who can put everything in place. To find out more take a look at companies like Rakuten Affiliate Marketing orWebgains.
As a drop shipping business owner it’s important to look at ways to maximise your sales and increase profits. For many dropshippers, this can be achieved by trying to get customer to keep coming back, time and again. However, when you drop ship products like log cabins and garden buildings, this is not going to happen; a garden building can last 20 years, even longer, so it’s important to make the most from each sale opportunity you have.
In this article we discuss three simple but very effective sales strategies used by many retailers which are ideal for maximising profits for one off sales.
Up Selling is the technique of persuading customers to purchase a more expensive item than the one they initially intended to buy. For example, if you were selling a car, you could upsell by trying to get customers to buy a more expensive car or by persuading them to buy additional, premium features like leather upholstery, alloy wheels or air conditioning.
With Timber World products, you can concentrate on selling the higher spec, non-standard models, larger buildings or even persuade customers that they need to design their own, bespoke log cabin. The way you achieve this online is to make sure that each product page has a photograph and a link to a more expensive model. When selling premium features, always discuss each feature separately and explain how buying this feature would benefit the owners.
Quite often, you will find that if people being to look at one model on your website, if you show them two more expensive models, they will either decide to go for the middle priced one, or buy the cheapest but with a few premium add-ons. In this way you will have upsold.
Remember this when you design the product pages on your dropshipping website as it can be an effective sales technique to boost profits.
In essence, cross selling means getting your customer to buy what they came for and something else in addition. For example, if a customer came looking for a log cabin, it would be great for business if they also went away with some decking, paving and fencing as well.
Many supermarkets and DIY stores have a technique for doing this when you are in store. You go in and pick up the product you want to buy and then, as you make your way to the checkout, you are forced to pass the section where all the deals are. By putting the deals on the way to the checkout they are tempting you with a bargain as you go to leave. Many people fall for the temptation and leave with an additional purchase that they had no intention of buying when they entered the store.
This can also be achieved with a website. The way to do this is to have a bargain section built into your checkout process. The customer adds their product to their shopping cart and clicks on checkout. When they press the confirm button, before the payment is taken a new page comes up with one or two targeted special offers, just for them. So, if they have bought a log cabin offer them something that would look nice inside the cabin as a bargain price. Let them know that only people who buy the log cabin can get the product at this special price and if they come back later they would have to pay full price for it. As a sales technique it really works.
Bundling is where you group items together and sell them as one product. So for example you could put a mop, bucket, sweeping brush and a dustpan and brush together and sell them as a cleaning kit. Bundling is a fantastic way to sell more products, but you have to get your calculations right for it to be effective. The advantage for you is that you sell more products and make more money and the advantage for the customer is that they get more for less.
The difficulty is in working out the pricing, because what you are doing is selling some products at a lower price than normal. If we take a look at our cleaning kit above, we have 4 products: mop, bucket, sweeping brush and dustpan and brush. Let’s imagine that we buy these for 40p each and sell them at £1 each. If we bundle all 4 together we can reduce the price from £4 to £3.40. In this way, we offer the customer a 15% saving. From a profit point of view it looks like we are actually selling one of the products for 40p and not making any money on it. However, the advantage is this: most people only ever buy one product at a time, but here, by selling one at no profit, we have managed to make full profit on three products. Our turnover has risen from £1 to £3.40 and our profits have increased from 60p to £1.80.
With log cabins there is the potential to add a variety of products as part of a bundle or package. For example you could create a winter kit for log cabins, selling a heater, draught excluders, underlay, and rugs. This could be added to your website as a separate product to your log cabins and sold not only as a bundle but also as a cross-sell as people are at the checkout!
Hopefully, these three methods will give you helpful ideas how to improve sales for your dropshipping company.
If you are considering selling log cabins, why not find out more about Timber World’s fantastic log cabins and our excellent dropshipping service for retailers. Click here to find out more.
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.
When you set up an online dropshipping business and have chosen the niche you want to concentrate on and the channels in which you are going to sell, one of the next steps is to identify the ways your business can add value for your customers. The reason for this is quite simple: companies who add value are far more successful than companies that don’t.
What is adding value?
To fully understand ‘adding value’ think about this scenario. Twenty online businesses are selling the same log cabin. They all get the same amount of web traffic and they all sell the product at the same price. As the product is dropshipped, there is no difference in delivery cost and all the delivery times are the same. Yet, 90% of customers buy from one particular website. Why?
Because something that company does ‘adds value’ for the customer.
A good online retailer doesn’t just sell a product. Above and beyond that they sell a solution, offer expertise and give useful advice.
In a nutshell, ‘adding value’ is solving problems for your customers.
How do you add value for a customer?
The best way for us to illustrate how to add value is to show you how we do it. Here at Timber World we see adding value as a key element of our business and it helps us to be very successful. As a manufacturer and wholesaler, our job is to solve problems for our retailers – so how do we do this? Here’s a list of 9 ways we solve problems and add value:
If you notice, none of these are about our actual products. Instead, they are about the things we do to make buying from us valuable to our retailers. Of course, our log cabins have to be excellent too.
So what can you do to add value to your dropshipping business?
Here are some examples:
As you can see, sharing your expertise is a key component in adding value. By solving problems for your customers you make yourself valuable to them. You become the expert, you become trusted, you are building relationships and this means you are building a serious business. Customers like that – and buy from you.
We’re doing it right now – by sharing our expertise of dropshipping to help you develop your business. We want you to know, that if you sell our log cabins, we’ll provide the solutions to make you successful.
So, if you are considering setting up an online business selling drop shipped products, think carefully about how you can add value for your customers and, in doing so, compete far more effectively with your competitors.
If you are thinking about selling log cabins and other garden buildings online, then Timber World can add considerable value for you and help you add value for your customers. If you want to find more check out our dropshipping service.
Dropshipping on Amazon
In our last post we looked at dropshipping on eBay in this post we’re going to look at another major dropshipping sales channel for online retailers, Amazon.
Many people actually think that Amazon only sells its own range of products. In fact, Amazon also sells products for third-party retailers and even members of the general public who want to sell their used goods. In this sense, Amazon has two branches of its core business: one is as a retailer and the other is as a version of eBay, with the exception that it doesn’t auction, it only lets you sell at a fixed price. Just like eBay, Amazon helps you carry out the sale and resolve problems with customers. In this sense, it’s an ideal place for online retailers to show case their products.
The Advantages of selling on Amazon
Easy to set up your selling account
Just as with eBay, it’s very easy to set up an account and start selling on Amazon. However, careful thought needs to be put into selling the products in the best way. If you are selling log cabins on Amazon, take time to research and see which other sellers are doing well. Analyse their sales, read their product descriptions, look at how they present their log cabins and themselves to the readers. Check your prices in comparison to theirs. What things do the reviewers say about them? By using your competitors as a guide you’ll quickly become aware of the best practice to put into place when selling your products on Amazon too.
Gigantic UK market
One of the main advantages of selling on Amazon is that your products are immediately accessible to a large and growing market. Although Amazon has been overtaken by eBay in the UK over the last few years, it is still, by a considerable margin, the second biggest online market in Britain and only slightly behind eBay in terms of visitors. It has almost 27 million visitors per month which is more than the next three biggest online stores, Argos, Tesco and Asda, put together. Just like eBay, your products will be presented in search results directly to those people searching for them, so you do not have to spend large amounts marketing your own products to drive sales.
Limited competition for log cabin sellers
For those selling niche products like log cabins and garden buildings this is an ideal way to make sure that your products get seen by those people looking for them. Amazon’s ability to put the right products in their customers search results is one way to guarantee your products will be put in front of the customer. At the time of publication there were less than 100 log cabins on Amazon UK and many of these were just summer houses or decorative sheds. There is very little competition and so the opportunities are there to those who want to launch a log cabin store on Amazon.
A name customers trust
Where Amazon wins over eBay is with customer trust. Some people are still quite wary of buying on eBay whereas Amazon seems to have more credibility when it comes to resolving issues with returning products or getting your money back. This is more perception than reality as eBay has made great strides in improving the protection for customers. However, that perception exists and can affect buying choices, especially with high value products like log cabins. If a customer saw the same product for the same price on both Amazon and eBay, the likelihood is that they would feel more secure in their purchase if they bought it from Amazon.
The disadvantages of selling on Amazon
Just as with eBay it costs to sell your products on Amazon. The fees vary depending on what type of product you are selling but for log cabins and garden buildings there is a referral fee of 15% for every product sold. For log cabins, this can be a sizeable amount. You will also need to pay other small fees to list your products. Either 75p per product or £25 a month is you sign up for a professional plan (over 33 products a month).
At first glance it looks like selling on Amazon is more expensive than eBay. Final sales figures for eBay are 10% whereas they are 15% on Amazon. However, on eBay you have to sell through PayPal and they also charge you either 3.4% (if you sell up to £1500 per month) or 2.9% (if you sell over £1500 per month) and on top of that there is a 20p fee on every payment you receive. With these figures added on, the difference between the two is very little. What it does mean is that you have to work these figures very carefully into you pricing structure to make sure you end up with a profit.
At Timber World, we do not limit the price you can charge for our log cabins so you will not be restricted by Amazon fees. Every other retailer will have the same fees to pay, so in essence no-one is put at a disadvantage. Even better, we do restrict how cheaply you can sell our products so that no retailer can undercut another and force them out of the market place.
Getting the product spec right
It’s important when selling on Amazon that the information you give about the products you sell is detailed and accurate. Timber World provides online retailers with a web pack containing all the product descriptions and detailed specifications as well as images you can use. This will assist you in selling our products on Amazon as it will let customers know exactly what they are getting and make your business look much more professional.
Just like eBay, Amazon customers are used to leaving feedback for their purchases and are able to sort their search results by both product review score and popularity. On top of this, third-party retailers are given a feedback score which looks at their customer feedback over the previous 12 months. Both the feedback on the retailer and the product will affect sales, especially if negative. Having no feedback can also cause some customers to think twice. To stop fake reviews being put on, Amazon now tells its readers if the customer actually bought the product they reviewed.
The difference between eBay and Amazon is that it is harder to get good reviews on Amazon. With eBay all you have to do is buy 10 small things and pay for them immediately and you’ll get 10 positive feed backs from the people you buy from and a score of 100% – even if you’ve never sold anything. With Amazon you have to sell and there’s much less pushiness from Amazon to make you give feedback than there is on eBay.
If you are thinking of selling on Amazon you can begin by viewing their ‘Sell on Amazon’ page. If you are considering selling our log cabins on Amazon, or anywhere else, take a look at how our dropshipping service can help you boost your online business.