Have you decided to open your own online store? With the dropshipping method, you don’t need to manufacture your goods or even hold inventory—all you need is an internet connection, a website, reliable suppliers, a few social media accounts, and maybe a blog.
Just because you do not require much capital, though, does not mean that it’s the easiest work you can do. Dropshippers are heavily reliant on marketing, which means that you need to spend significant effort on your brand. Many online retailers neglect the importance of branding and how much energy it entails, so here are a few mistakes you would be wise to avoid:
Making your audience too broad
The temptation to cater to a massive audience is understandable. The logic here is along the lines of, if you market to only a few people, then only those few people will buy from you; but if you market to everyone, then everyone’s money will come rolling in.
That is not how it works, though. People often prefer to shop at specialist online stores rather than general, and making your audience too big will render your branding inconsistent (and your products cannot sell themselves). If your audience is more substantial than you can handle, you will spread yourself too thin, and far fewer people will buy from you than if you had directed your energy towards a niche. It is this niche that actually has a need for your product—otherwise, you are wasting your time.
Neglecting a well-defined brand identity
You doubtlessly can think of a few brands that you recognize everywhere. Up and Up has its signature arrow, Nike is famous for its “Just Do It” slogan and Target’s concentric circles are iconic. You cannot trust that people will simply stumble upon your website and decide to buy from you if your brand identity is too vague or nebulous.
Ask yourself: is your logo eye-catching and consistent across your social media channels? Do you have a brand voice or tagline that lets people know you care about their experience? A more concrete band identity will help distinguish you from your competitors and improve customer retention.
Not boasting a well-designed website
When you shop online and open a shoddy website, do you have a look around, or are you inclined to leave immediately? There are so many scams out there that you are understandably cautious of anything that does not look promising. Your customers have the same thoughts, so if you want to keep them around, put in the effort to make your website aesthetically beautiful.
Beauty alone is not enough, though—it needs to work well. Your website is the digital equivalent of a physical store, and do you enjoy shopping in buildings that you can get lost in or have obstacles in the way? No, you prefer places that are simple to navigate and make purchasing easy. Make sure all of your features are working properly and that your UX and UI are top-quality.
Failing to use video
Social media is image-heavy, but you shouldn’t stop at pictures because video is just as powerful. Shopping online lacks the opportunity to feel a product’s texture in your hands, so visual media is your chance to help customers imagine what a product would look like in their lives.
Whether it’s an Instagram story, YouTube vlog, or other kind of video, Google “professional video editing software free download” to find tools that can help you bring moving projects to life. Some ideas include instructional guides, interviews with experts, behind-the-scenes looks, insights into your industry.
Not leveraging UGC
Consumers trust their peers far more than yourself or celebrity influencers. When people see other people participating in something, they are more likely to assume that whatever it is is worth their attention. This phenomenon is known as “social proof,” so if consumers do not see that you have an engaged customer base, they will not feel inclined to belong to it.
Interact with your followers. Let people know that another person is on the other end of your business, not a faceless corporate entity. Provide them with incentives to create user-generated content and leave reviews. When consumers hear what real customers think of you, they’ll know that you are a trustworthy brand.
Not being available enough
One of the caveats of dropshipping is that when something goes wrong, it’s your job to fix it, even if it’s not your fault. Your customers are purchasing products under your brand, so you are who they contact instead of your suppliers. If customers are faced with an issue and cannot get a hold of you, you’ll have much bigger problems to deal with. Make yourself available during business hours through phone, email, and social media direct messages, and keep in mind that you might have customers in other timezones that need to contact you at different times, too.
Managing an online store requires establishing a recognizable brand presence, which is not as easy as you might expect. What branding mistakes will you be on the lookout for?