Categories
E-commerce

What is Dropshipping?

‘Dropshipping’ – another one of those buzzwords flying around the web.

But if you’re just starting out in e-commerce, dropshipping may be just the solution you need. Rather than sinking money into holding stock, your suppliers maintain the stock, wait for an order from your customer and the dispatch it.

Dropshipping sites typically integrate with large wholesalers, Amazon, eBay, Ali Express and Dsers and the like importing them into your website and displaying them as if they were in-stock on your store. A customer completes the online order and, on confirmation, that order is sent to the supplier for dispatch.

Sounds Amazing. Why Isn’t Everyone Doing It?

Because of the low cost of entry into the marketplace, it is highly competitive. As always, the correlate of something that is cheap (or even free) is that it takes time to do it well. Lots of stores open but few really do enough business to justify the time invested.

So Can You Make a Profit Dropshipping?

Sure you can. But as with all things, you need to start right. If you’re interested keep things in mind as you build your ideas:

  • Unless business itself is your interest, pick a market segment about which you like. You’re more likely to know about what you’re selling and it’s less likely that it will bore you in a year or two’s time.
  • Analyse your potential competitors, remember dropshipping is a busy market, check out their products both for things you might want to sell and look for gaps in their range where you could complete.
  • Choose your suppliers carefully and, if you can, negotiate for the best possible margin.
  • You’ll need a website to display your products.

Building Customer Trust

To stand out from the crowd, you’ll need a corporate identity – a logo, colour choices and consistent font usage.

Consider using a professional designer who really can produce an original identity for you. There are a huge number of generic logos out there. Within Sheffield alone I have seen car dealers using the same logo with different text.

Poor design decisions can cheapen your brand and undermine customer trust before you even start.

Choosing a Website Platform

The following are recommended:

Shopify

Shopify integrates seamlessly with Amazon and eBay. If your site does not look professional, customer trust will be undermined. With the Shopify theme store you have a great head-start with sharp, full-featured designs ripe for customisation. Backed up by enterprise level reliability, it’s a great choice.

WordPress

Not as simple to code and harder to keep looking fully professional. But WordPress and WooCommerce can be used to make a highly effective dropshipping platform.

Consider the Disadvantages

Lower Profit Margins

Because your orders (at least to start with) will be in retail quantities, not wholesale, you are unlikely to be able to command wholesale prices from the supplier – meaning that in order to keep your prices competitive, profit margins are likely to be slim.

It’s Not SImple

You’re not dealing with a warehouse but you still have to manage many of the headaches of owning a retail business: returns and complaints and so on. This with the headache of the extra step to the supplier. In some ways you’ll just be the go-between. Which leads us to …

Limited Quality Control

You may rarely see the products you’re selling, if the quality dips, the first you hear about it may be your customers complaining.

Limited Potential to differentiate your products

Again, because you are buying from your client in retail quantities, the extent to which any supplier is prepared to brand your products or offer you exclusive variations is likely to be very limited. It may prove difficult to offer something Amazon doesn’t.

Hidden Costs

If not set up carefully, shipping costs can mount up and rapidly profits. Many of the hidden costs that apply to a standard e-commerce store apply to dropshipping sites too. All those plugins can start costing a lot month-by-month.

Still Interested?

Good. Crack on. If you’d like help making a success of it, you can always contact us.

Categories
SEO and Digital Marketing

What is SEO?

A quick myth debunked – “Will SEO get my website to the top of Google?”.

That’s just not the point.

True story. We once had a client boasting/complaining that he had come from an agency where he had just spent £10,000 to get the term “printed latex balloons” to the top of Google.

We can still hear the tumbleweed rolling.

We checked (we have the tools to check) and counted the number of people who had searched for “printed latex balloons” in the previous month.

It was quite a round number.

The point is, given enough time and money, you could probably get anything to the top of Google.

But if you start in the wrong place, you’ll more than likely climb the wrong mountain. And, after all that effort and expense (and frostbite), you’ll probably find no customers up there to greet you.

So Just What is SEO?

Put simply, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is using marketing and technical practices to maximise profitable website traffic.

It is definitely not a quick fix or suitable for a short term solution because SEO is a medium to long term strategy which takes time. The rewards of which are rankings in the natural search results of Google where all the clicks are free so you don’t require having a budget in place to remain visible to the Search Engine Results Page.

By working on the tags, titles and other parts of a web page which send signals to Google (and other search engines). SEO makes the optimised content more prominent and more rankible by search engines when it is laid out in the right way.

Unlike the case of the printed latex balloons, it’s also a great idea to have an SEO professional to conduct keyword research which will ascertain whether there is any search volume behind the choice keywords that you have in mind. SEO companies have online tools which allow such analysis and we can report to you on how many times that keyword is searched in a given timeframe and also how difficult it will be to rank for the keywords.

SEO can also compliment other activities within Digital Marketing such as Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising.

If a PPC landing page is fully optimised using SEO tactics then this can lead to an enhanced Quality Score which is a factor Google uses when calculating click costs based on the relevance of the page that the ads are to land traffic on. A higher quality score means lower click costs as the Quality Score is doing to heavy lifting so the click cost doesn’t need to to serve the ads in the optimal places on the Search Engine Results Page.

So when creating a page for your website it’s a great idea to optimise it for search engines so it ranks in the natural search, and if you want to have instant gratification and to land traffic on that page sooner rather than later then the smart move is to land PPC ads onto the page to drive further traffic and garner quicker results.

Please do get in touch if you want to know more about SEO, PPC or any aspect of Digital Marketing.