Dropshipping is a popular and lucrative business model that promises huge rewards for those who put in enough time, money, and effort. But the web is also full of dropshippers, and there’s growing concern about how competitive the space has become.
With multiple sellers offering the same products, branding is the key to success. But it’s something many dropshippers overlook - meaning you can get the jump on the competition with a few savvy branding tactics. Here are five to get you started…
1. Find your “why”
Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to set up a side hustle and start selling online. Starting your own dropshipping business is simple, which sadly means that people often rush into it for the wrong reasons.
Think about why you’re selling your products. The answer shouldn’t be “to make money” - it’ll come as no surprise that this doesn’t win over customers. Instead, you need a reason to sell your products, a problem to solve for your customers, or a passion for your niche.
In short, you need a mission statement.
This might sound like an empty business box to tick, but crafting a mission statement for your dropshipping business will do wonders for your brand identity. It’ll help you create a character for your brand, target the right audience for your products, and win customer loyalty.
89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values - so, how do you go about putting together a mission statement?
Your mission statement should be action-focused. Most mission statements start with the word “to”, followed by a verb - an action word describing what your business sets out to do.
For example, Coca Cola’s mission statement is: “To refresh the world… To inspire moments of optimism and happiness… To create value and make a difference.”
Address the three Ws
Remember that your mission statement should give consumers an idea of what your business is all about. To answer this effectively, you should write it with the three Ws in mind: why, who, and what.
- Why are you in business?
- Who are you trying to help?
- What does your company offer?
For example, here’s the Make-A-Wish charity’s mission statement:
“Our mission at Make-A-Wish UK is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.”
The why here is to change lives, the who is critically-ill children, and the what is to grant wishes for those children. Even if you’ve never heard of Make-A-Wish, you can understand its core mission from this statement.
Keep it short
You might have a lot to say about your business, its goals, its customers, and your reasons behind starting it - but make sure not to get carried away with your mission statement.
Customers don’t want an essay, so keep it short and sweet.
2. Identify your target audience
A common mistake in dropshipping is to try and sell to everyone - but as with all branding strategies, you need to start with your target audience.
A good way to understand what your customers are looking for is to head to social media and find some real people who are using products similar to yours.
For example, you could type in “men’s jackets” on Instagram and scroll through the top results. Try to find captions that have some personality - pick out common words or themes that tell you something about your audience.
For example, the captions that appear from searching #mensjackets throw up words such as:
- be confident;
- we all have our own style;
- love yourself first;
This gives you an idea of the sort of message your brand might want to send to its customers. From these themes, you might want to focus on unique styles and individuality, and target confident, casual customers.
3. Set your products apart
One of the biggest struggles with dropshipping is that you’re usually selling other people’s products. This can make branding difficult, as you can’t rely on your product to bring that unique or stand-out factor.
In fact, if customers are searching on places like Pinterest, your product might be displayed next to an identical - or nearly identical - product from another dropshipping store. Telling them apart could be difficult for a customer who’s quickly scanning the page results. In an already competitive market, using stock product photos like these makes it even harder to stand out among your competition.
When you take into account that 93% of consumers consider visual appearance to be the key deciding factor when deciding whether to make a purchase, bland product photos become a real problem for your branding.
To solve this problem, you need to get creative:
- Take your own product photos - or get a professional to take them for you.
- Bring your products to life - think about your target audience, and how you can model your products in a way that will connect with them.
- Take multiple photos - people want to see what the product looks like, from all angles and in different situations. 91% of individuals want the ability to spin products a full 360 degrees, so that’s something to aim for!
By creating product photos that stand out and connect with your target audience, you’re setting your products apart from your competition and aligning them with your brand.
4. Find your voice - and use it!
It sounds simple enough, but crafting a tone of voice for your business is a serious matter. This is the voice you use to communicate with your customers, so it needs to reflect your brand’s personality.
Here are some tips to get started:
- Be authentic - people can tell when you’re faking, so try to stay true to your own voice.
- Talk to your target audience - if you’re selling to millennials, it doesn’t make sense to use stuffy or formal language. Your voice should sound natural to your customers.
- Keep it appropriate - if you’re selling fun products, your tone of voice can be light, cheeky, and energetic - you can even be sassy! But remember, this is your brand’s tone of voice, and it represents your business, so choose your vibe carefully.
Once you’ve found your voice, use it. On your website, in product descriptions, in emails, on social media, replying to customer reviews online, on your store’s error pages and cart checkout - your voice should remain consistent across every customer interaction.
5. Make your storefront beautiful
A big part of your visual brand is your storefront. It’s the place where you can combine all your branding efforts, from displaying your mission statement on your About Us page to carefully uploading all your beautiful product photos.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your storefront is as beautifully branded as the rest of your dropshipping business…
Pick a colour scheme
Choosing a colour scheme for your site is a huge part of creating a recognizable brand (Coca-Cola, anyone?). In fact, colour can help increase brand recognition by up to 80%!
Different colours can say different things about a brand - blue inspires trust, green promotes health and wellbeing, and so on - so it’s worth doing some research on which colours match your brand before diving in.
If designing your own colour scheme seems too daunting, why not use a generator tool to help you out?
Use a professional theme
Website builders such as Shopify and BigCommerce, as well as open-source platforms like WordPress, come with pre-built themes for you to customize. This makes your life much easier, as it means you don’t have to start from scratch when designing your store.
For example, all the themes in Shopify’s theme library are already laid out to the best ecommerce practices. All you need to do is replace the example content with your own, no coding needed.
You still have creative control, and using a professional theme can help take the pressure off when it comes to creating a good-looking storefront.
Create a logo
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a design guru to make your own logo. A logo helps to cement your brand’s identity in your customers’ minds, and is a great way of using your carefully chosen colour scheme to great effect.
It only takes 10 seconds for people to form an opinion about a logo, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right.
Don’t make your logo too big on your website - instead, place it in a prominent position near the top of your page, and use it to link to your homepage. You can also roll it out across your social media pages to further connect your logo firmly with your brand.
To get started, here are a few free, high quality logo making tools to play around with:
Dropshipping is a business model that continues to boom as we progress through 2020. But it comes with its own challenges, meaning that creating a strong brand has never been so important.
Take your branding strategy firmly by the horns and use these tips to beat the fierce competition. Don’t leave your success to chance - make the most of your branding and enjoy the benefits!
Copyright 2020. Featured post made possible by Lucy Carney, writer for Website Builder Expert, the leading authority in helping people of all abilities build an online presence.