Drop Shipping and Social Communication

May 19th, 2011
drop shipping social communication

Use the Social Web to Stay Available

For those that have already launched a web-based business, the next challenge is finding customers. It doesn’t end there though … the process continues on, even after you find a customer and sell something to him or her.

Providing Customer Service

Though drop shipping makes the process of delivering products to customers easier than ever, it doesn’t eliminate the process altogether.

Customer service goes beyond helping people with sales. Excellent customer service leads up to the sale, and then continues beyond in order to assure the customer he or she made a sound choice to buy from you. This is where social communication comes in.

Follow the Customers!

The social web is often criticized as something businesses just do for fun — but the proof is in the pudding, and this pudding is being enjoyed by a lot of business owners and retailers online. Getting involved with the social web is now an important aspect of survival and success as a business owner, because not only does it help in terms of search engine optimization, it also enables business owners to find new customers, and help them with concerns no matter what point in the process they need help.

Make yourself available by getting involved with the social web. This might mean joining Facebook, Twitter, or starting a blog. The best thing to keep in mind is that you need to be where your customers are … that should you lead you to the appropriate social network and other communities.

Making yourself available will enable you to provide answers to those with questions, explain your products or service, pitch your brand to potential customers, invite people to check your content out (without spamming them!), and even drive traffic back to your website. For those that have already become your customers, you’ll find that you can provide them the support they need using these same social communities, which is where your customers feel most comfortable.

So even while your customer waits for you to drop ship their product to them, you can provide them additional support as opposed to disappearing.

Creative Commons License image credit: Tim Morgan

How to Win Customers With Your Business

May 18th, 2011

how to win customersDespite how easy it is to start a business online, run a retail store, and make money online, the internet is still a very highly competitive place. Unlike a local brick and mortar, you’re competing with all the other brands and businesses online, which can be based just about anywhere in the world.

In order to succeed, you need to build your profile as a professional in your niche of business and prove to customers that you’re the one they should be going to for their needs.

This is called winning over the customer … and it’s everything in terms of doing business online. With so many options online, consumers need your help to find the best retail store online. To do this, you need to focus on answering their questions throughout your content, create pages entirely dedicated to frequently asked questions, offer a contact form, and most importantly, be there and available for them when questions come up. You don’t need to be available by phone necessarily, but just as any retail store, you need to be available as much as possible. Remember, whenever someone asks you a question about a product, it gives you the chance to sell something. Your style depends on how you want to approach your sales and customers — it doesn’t have to be aggressive, yet it doesn’t have to be completely neutral and passive either. Provide the customer with the information and let them know how much it will benefit them to have it. For more on this, check out Every Product Page is a Sales Page.

3 Ways to Win Customers

Here are a few ways you can take this idea to the next level and actually practice with your own retail store online — with time, hard work, and even a little luck, you’ll be increasing your sales before you know it.

  1. Organize Your Website — this is where a lot of retailers go wrong. Without a proper website set up to the latest standards online, you’re going to find it more difficult to persuade people to check out your products and become your customers.
  2. Provide A Lot of Information — go beyond the manufacturer product description (it’s duplicate content anyway) and create content that provides a lot of information for the potential buyer. This is where you create your pitch and actually persuade the viewer to buy the product from you.
  3. Be Transparent and Upfront — Present yourself and your business upfront as much as possible. This has become a major selling point for those shopping online, because it adds a layer of trust.

Where to Win Customers

You can win customers just about everywhere, but perhaps the most common place includes right on your website — this is where most people fail, because they’re not providing what the customer demands upfront, which is excellent customer service and messy website design (read how to clean your retail store online).

Other places where you might be able to win over customers includes any social network in which you’re active, such as Facebook and Twitter, video sharing platforms, such as YouTube, and through your blog.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Orin Zebest

How to Clean Your Retail Store Online

May 17th, 2011
cleaning a retail store online

Cleaning a retail store online

A retail store online isn’t all that different from a brick and mortar retail store — they both offer a collection of products, they both strive to provide an excellent customer experience, and they both need to be cleaned every now and then.

Just as you sweep and dust every aisle and every shelf of a brick and mortar, you need to straighten up your retail store online … not because customers are moving your product around, but because your product pages constantly need to be monitored for progress. If a particular product isn’t doing well, you need to take a look at what your options are in terms of bringing it up to par with your other pages.

Search Engines Optimization

Cleaning your retail store online usually comes down to a bit of the old search engine optimization. Because search engines are constantly changing and users are constantly changing the way in which they search for content, it’s crucial to consider search engines optimization at his point.

It doesn’t have to be much of a process if you have a professional optimization specialist at your side, but for those that don’t, the overall idea is to use the best practices (which change frequently) to get your product pages ranking better in the search engines index. Whether this means creating new content, improving your on-page link sculpting, focusing on the actual copywriting aspect of your pages, or a combination of a bit of everything is up to you and varies from project to project.

Creating New Content

Freshening up a page doesn’t have to be a major operation … adding some fresh content can go far when optimized for the right keyword. This works especially well for landing pages, which tend to focus on presenting a lot of optimized content.

In addition to focusing on the actual amount of content, you should focus on diversifying your content so the page is relevant and interesting. This might involve creating a list style article within your actual page, a few photos, info-graphics, and videos.

Link Sculpting

This technique involves reviewing every link on your website, no matter if it’s in the content body, the header, or the sidebar. The idea here is to optimize your links anchor text so it helps inform search engines your particular piece of content is relevant to the keyword you’re targeting.

Think of this like polishing your entire store — it takes time, but the end result will help create a better experience and maybe even attract new people to your retail store online.

Copywriting

Reviewing the actual copy of your page, headlines, and descriptions is an often overlooked segment of the retail store online to which you need to spend a lot of your attention. Because the copywriting involves the actual language people relate to and search for with search engines, the more relevant and universal your copy, the better your chances are of attracting customers through the search engines and persuading them to make a purchase or subscribe to your newsletter.

If one keyword isn’t working well, change it to something that looks like it might work well.

Creative Commons License photo credit: DanBrady

The Single Most Common Reason Why Online Retailers Fail

May 16th, 2011

Why Online Retailers FailNo matter if you’re running a brick and mortar business or a business online, it’s going to take a lot of work on your part — no one is going to establish your brand, promote your products, and provide customer service for you … unless of course you’re paying to do so.

Small business owners work hard to make their dream a reality.

When running a retail business online, the story isn’t any different. It’s going to take work … and a lot of it. This is where a lot of people fall off the bandwagon, because they’re holding on to the idea that the internet is a cash machine. While it can seem like a cash machine from time to time (The RunningShoes.com domain recently sold for $700,000), it’s not average.

The single most common reason why online retailers fail is because they approach the activity with a mindset it will generate passive income.

Your Business Isn’t Going to Work for You

Though a business can eventually reach the point where the business owner can afford to step away and go on vacation or let the business coast through the week, the majority of businesses require a tremendous amount of work upfront in the beginning — especially if you’re planning on wearing multiple hats.

Yes, Drop Shipping Makes It Easy

One of the most advantageous perks drop shipping the products you sell is the fact that you don’t have to deal with the overhead a brick and mortar store pays. With no need to worry about storage for your inventory, keeping that inventory stocked, or products that don’t sell, business owners can focus on getting what matters … making sales.

Learn how drop shipping works!

Drop Shipping Doesn’t Replace Your Workload

Many business owners fall into the notion that drop shipping products enables them to spend their days on the beach as their business runs itself and the cash rolls in, which often leads to failure and upset.

The truth is, drop shipping makes it possible for people to jump into the e-commerce retail market and make money — good money — by forgoing the overhead and focusing their efforts on positioning they sell through their retail store online in front of consumers.

The internet is a very competitive place, so it’s important for business owners interested in e-commerce and drop shipping to understand that while it may be easy to ship products around the globe,  it takes hard work before you can ship.

Drop Shipping As A Tool

If you approach e-commerce with the understand that drop shipping is merely one aspect of the overall process of how you operate a business — a tool if you will — then you’ll be able to focus on the other parts of your business, including establishing your brand, marketing, and reaching out to customers with excellent customer service both before and after the purchase.

 

 

Creative Commons License photo credit: griffithchris

Worldwide Brands Weekly

May 14th, 2011

Worldwide Brands WeeklyWelcome to the fist edition of the Worldwide Brands Weekly — this is a series of posts that will roll out on an ongoing weekly basis and review the content published throughout the week.

This is a series of posts for those with too little time to check out the blog throughout the week. With the Worldwide Brands Weekly, you’ll get an overview of all the content that published throughout the week alongside a brief commentary conveying the basic idea of each post.

If you can’t wait for the weekly wrap up, consider subscribing to the blog via email — it’s free, and you’ll receive the latest content as soon as it’s published!

And as always, please let us know what you think by posting a comment or two and interacting with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Every Product Page Is A Sales Page

If you’re like most retailers online, you might be missing out on sales due to your product pages. While it’s crucial a product page provides the information about the product, it also needs to provide the sales pitch … the reason why the customer needs the product.

Read the full post

Caution: Product Descriptions from Manufacturers Are All Triplicate Content!

One of the most common mistakes online retailers make with their stores has to do with the product descriptions … more specifically, the way they re-purpose the manufacturer’s product description as their own. In terms of search engine optimization and content development, this is called duplicate content … except it’s worse. Product descriptions are plastered across the web in hundreds — maybe even thousands — of places, create a huge red flag for search engines.

Read the full post

Provide Excellent Customer Service Before the Purchase

Business owners with brick and mortar establishments understand how important it is to provide excellent customer service not only after the purchase, but also before the purchase. This provides the customer the comfort and insight he or she requires before making a purchase from a store. This is especially true online due to the competitive market and trustworthy brands out there with unlimited advertising budgets. In order to compete and claim customers, you need to respect the customer and work hard to win them over.

Read the full post

Friday the 13th … And What It Means for Your Business

It’s important to think about upcoming holidays and other recognized days when marketing your business, because you can make just about anything into an event. Friday the 13th is a simple example of a day we recognize as a community, and so it’s up to you to attach your brand to the day with a special promotion or offer your community op customers will find compelling.

Read the full post

Creative Commons License photo credit: ShironekoEuro[off]

Friday the 13th … And What It Means for Your Business

May 13th, 2011

Marketing OpportunityFor a lot of people, Friday the 13th represents a day of bad luck. As a business owner, however, it represents something completely different … opportunity.

Friday the 13th is an opportunity to reach out to prospective customers and do special in light of the date. Whether that means running a special promotion for that day only or even reminding people to enjoy their Friday the 13th is up to you, but if you let it go by you’re missing out on the opportunity to communicate with potential customers.

Today is just one example though, there are plenty of special dates just like Friday the 13th that bring us together — whether it’s in light of superstition or a national holiday, we unite on certain days with a type of universal understanding. Getting your brand involved with that unity might mean the difference between selling product and not selling product for certain customers, so it’s crucial for business owners to reach out to their community of potential customers every opportunity they get.

Consider keeping a calendar that gives you advanced notice of upcoming holidays or special days, such as Friday the 13th. Paying close attention to what’s on the horizon will give you a chance to prepare a sale, newsletter, or blog content directly related to that date.

Are you doing anything special for your potential customers today? How about in the near future?

Creative Commons License photo credit: DaveBleasdale

Provide Excellent Customer Service Before the Purchase

May 12th, 2011

customer serviceThe single most common reason why people bounce from an online retailer’s website is due to the lack of connection and customer service the retailer provides the customer before he or she makes a purchase.

It’s easy to promise the world in terms of customer service after the purchase (24 hour support, free shipping, professional assistance, returns), but customers demand customer service before they make a purchase … in fact, it’s what often leads to the purchase more than anything else.

Brick and mortar businesses understand this, and strive to provide the best customer service possible. From the moment the customer enters the store to the moment he or she leaves, the business associates are ready to help them with any questions or needs. This is how businesses win over customers, gain loyalty, and receive positive reviews about their brand — they work hard to earn the sale.

You Have to Earn the Sale

As an online retailer, you’re running your business in one of the most saturated areas in the world … the internet. It’s like operating a business in a busy mall, however, you don’t have the benefit of collective traffic.

Just as a brick and mortar business strives to provide that customer service that leads to the purchase, you need to focus on earning the sale with your own customer service. To provide a great customer experience for prospective buyers, think about the information you’re providing them on the product pages — it should be original, it should teach them about the product, and it should sell them on the product. The last thing you want to do is paste the manufacturer content onto the page and call it a day — manufacturer product descriptions are harmful to your business.

Remember, people demand exceptional customer service before they buy something from a business — it’s your job to go out of your way to deliver that customer service and earn the sale. The mom and pop shops of yesteryear paved the way in terms of excellent customer service — always remembering their customers’ names, their orders, how they like their coffee, what the like on their sandwich, what type of bread they enjoy … you need to provide customer service both before and after the sale if you hope to succeed as an online retailer.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jsome1

Caution: Product Descriptions from Manufacturers Are All Triplicate Content!

May 11th, 2011

As the web becomes more and more competitive for business owners operating online, search engine optimization, social marketing and solid customer service are just a few things many business owners are focusing on in effort to cut through the competition and connect with the community of consumers.

Duplicate Content

One thing you can’t miss when researching search engines optimization is “duplicate content” — a term that defines content that has been published in more than one place online. While it may seem like a smart strategy for extending your reach and getting your articles the most exposure possible, search engines frown upon this activity and even penalize publishers that take part in it.

The reason publishers are penalized for duplicate content is because it adds no additional value to the overall web, so search engines try to keep it out of their index as much as possible.

Triplicate Content

Though duplicate content covers the idea of publishing a piece of content, whether an article, review, or product description, triplicate content is just an expression for any piece of content that’s been published in literally hundreds of places online.

Product descriptions are some of the most popular piece of triplicate content, because most retailers online, bloggers, review websites, and other content publishers often fall into republishing what the manufacturer provided about the product instead of re-writing the content.

In turn, this ruins your chance of ranking for anything related to that piece of content — title, description, meta … it all gets thrown out by search engines once their algorithm concludes your content isn’t original.

Original Content – Why You Should Write Your Own Product Descriptions

Original content is perhaps one of the most important things a website can have — search engines love it because it adds value to the web, and so they want to feature it prominently in their index for their users.

The key to stepping up to the next level and cutting through the competition in your niche is to take the product descriptions from the manufacturers and rewrite them completely. In fact, you should probably aim to write more than what the manufacture provided, because the more original content you have the better. By presenting a few paragraphs for a product page, as opposed to the few sentences the manufacturer provided, search engines will see that you’re providing more value than your competition, and thus your position in their index will move upward.

In addition, this type of content creation will attract more organic links from other publishers because they’ll want to share your content with their friends or following rather than the majority of other sources, which make use of the triplicate content from manufacturers.

Bottom line: the only thing you should be doing with the manufacturer’s product description is using it to create your own original content. That way you have the specifications and features the product offers, yet you also have unique content published exclusively on your website.

image credit: iboy_daniel

Every Product Page Is A Sales Page

May 9th, 2011

One of the most common mistakes retailers online make has to do with the actual selling aspect of their business. As a retailer, it’s your job to get people to your store and sell them what you have to offer — especially now that consumer can find products for less through networks like eBay and Amazon.

Though you’re not in a store, you still need to present the products you’re selling in the best light possible and inform the customer not only what the product is, but also why they need it. This is where the art of the sales person and pitch comes into play. Just as it comes into play during the experience in a store, the people browsing your products online require some sort of sales pitch and experience if they’re going to buy from you.

A few things to keep in mind while creating your products pages include the following:

Keep It Organized

Just as with all retail stores, you need to provide your customer with an experience they find pleasant and welcoming. Achieving this is as simple as keeping your website organized and helpful. Refrain from too many distractions, yet provide enough product on your site to attract potential buyers to purchase additional items.

The key is to make it easy for your visitor to navigate while still using the space you have to cross-promote products and lead customers toward that check out area.

Link It Up … In a New Window

Building links between your product pages, blog posts, and other pages is an important aspect of running a website. For  business owners, it’s how you send people to other areas or products on your website (much like telling someone something is on aisle 14, website owners can offer a hyperlink to that area). However, you have to be careful when interlinking between pages because often times a visitor will be set on buying something, then navigate away form the page. To avoid this, simply add the specification for the link to open in a new window. This will launch the web browser in a new window and enable them to view the new page, without leaving the first page.

In essence, this is a tool that enables the website owner to avoid losing the customer forever when they shut the second window.

This helps keep the visitor on your website, which in turn helps increase sales.

Make it Easy to Contact You

Another problematic area for a lot of online retailers is offering a way for visitors to contact them for more information about a product or special offer. This is absolutely crucial if you hope to persuade customers to buy from you. Without the ability to contact you, they aren’t going to trust you.

Providing your contact information or a contact form should be a part of every sales pitch, just as it is with retail stores offline. Phone number, email address, social networks, and a reminder of the website where they’re viewing the product — all of these will help increase the potential of visitors buying from you.

Combining these few tips will increase the potential your product page has of converting a visitor to a customer.What else do you find works particularly well on your product pages?

Struggling to Find and Manage Products You Want to Sell?

October 1st, 2009

Are you wanting to sell products online to make extra income?  Are you struggling to find wholesalers who will sell to an online store?  When you find a wholesaler and the products you want to sell, are you struggling to organize the information and get back to it quickly when you need it?  What can you do to drastically reduce the time it takes to assemble product information and then make sense of it?

To sell products successfully online, you need some critical information for each product:
1. Market and product research information
2. Current Demand
3. Current Supply
4. Current competition
5. Competitive pricing in eBay Auctions
6. Competitive pricing in major Retail (Amazon)

Once you secure the information for EACH product you want to sell, you need to sort it and track it different ways. It’s a major task to try to set this up on Excel Worksheets. That’s why the team at www.worldwidebrands.com has developed a unique Product Sourcing Tool designed to meet the needs of active online retailers.

Research

Using a keyword, the Research Tool provides a complete Demand/Supply/Competion Picture for you in one place using simple organized tabs.  For each keyword you use to search, the tool identifies the other keywords used by browsers to find such a product.  This way you can perform multiple product searches to help identify the niche you can possibly sell into.  Your searches can be saved for later to help with trending.  There is no risk of errors trying to cut and paste or re-key information into an Excel Worksheet.

Suppliers

For each keyword search, The Product Sourcing Tool identifies qualified wholesale suppliers willing to work with online retailers and supply wholesale products to sell via Amazon, eBay, Yahoo Stores or customized websites.  It identifies the wholesale supplier that offer products for dropshipping, light bulk, large volume & liquidation.separately.  Searches can be saved by Supplier.  Suppliers can be located by city, state or country in the tool as well, so if you want to locate a supplier in your region, you can easily locate them.   You can save your Preferred Suppliers separately – Add To My Suppliers.  You can also list suppliers that you cannot review when you see them but want to come back to them – Preferred Supplier.  It’s a fast way of finding retail wholesale relationships and identifying drop ship products.  http://www.worldwidebrands.com/pop_taketour.asp.

Saving You Time

Time wasting for new online retailers includes:

  • Keying and emailing your company information to multiple wholesalers to request the opening of an account with those wholesalers.   The My Account section of the tool allows you to update the information once and then send an accurate, up-to-date information sheet to as many wholesalers as you need.
  • Looking for specific products you don’t find listed.  With WorldwideBrands.com, you don’t have to do the work.  Just contact info@worldwidebrands.com, tell us what product/s you need to find and we will do the research work for you and find the right wholesale supplier for you.
  • Identifying what’s new.  You can select Show Only Last 30 Added from the Tools’ Dashboard and bingo, all the latest stuff is there for your review.
  • Wasting time researching products that eventually you determine you cannot sell on eBay or Amazon anyway.  The Tool clearly identifies these in the search result before you spend any time contacting the wholesale supplier.

 

Time is of the essence when you start to develop your own online retail business.  As Product Sourcing is an ongoing requirement to keep your business fresh and alive, and growing, it’s important that you have an organized and swift method of getting product information and being able to recall quickly it any time you need it.

Visit the WorldwideBrands.com Testimonials section to hear how many others have saved time finding and managing the products they want to sell.