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There have never been as many ways to pay online as there are today. Nor has it ever been more important to make sure you offer your consumers their preferred option.
For some, that might be a long-trusted Visa or Mastercard. Others may prefer Apple Pay, PayPal, or another digital wallet. And, increasingly, consumers are choosing to use buy now, pay later solutions when they checkout.
But what is this payment solution? And is it time you added buy now, pay later to your website? Read on to get my views on the topic.
The name says it all. “Buy now, pay later” literally lets consumers buy a product and have it delivered while delaying payment until a later date.
This option is very similar to the old-school layaway method, in which stores let consumers reserve an item while paying it off in installments. Once all payments were made, they’d then be able to take the item home.
Buy now, pay later offers an even more consumer-friendly alternative to layaways. There’s no need to wait to access the item until it’s paid off in full—consumers only have to wait for their items for as long as they take to reach their doorsteps.
You’ve probably seen buy now, pay later payment options at checkouts in many places you shop. Mattress company Leesa partners with Affirm. Anthropologie partners with Klarna. Sezzle partners with Bodega.
Unlike layaways, consumers don’t necessarily use buy now, pay later to fund expensive purchases. They use the payment method to buy all kinds of things, from everyday needs like clothing and homeware to big-ticket items like fitness equipment.
While there are several options for buying now and paying later, they all broadly offer the same thing. The consumer gets to make repayments over several installments (typically between two and four) or in full within 14 to 30 days. Failing to pay will usually result in a fee, but not always.
One of the reasons buy now, pay later solutions are proving so popular is because they offer consumers an easier way to access credit. Unlike credit cards, which require users to hand over a lot of information and pass a rigorous credit check, buy now, pay later providers only ask for a consumer’s name, email address, date of birth, and billing address.
The solutions also mirror the purchasing habits of young consumers who are more likely to buy a selection of items, try them out at home, and then return the ones they don’t want. Returns are often more manageable and less stressful using a buy now, pay later solution since consumers don’t pay for the products in the first place.
It’s not just consumers who like buy now, pay later solutions. There’s a lot to like about them from a store owner’s point of view, too.
Here are six benefits to buy now, pay later.
When you allow consumers to spread out payments, they may be more likely to make a purchase. Consumers don’t even have to have the money in their account to buy your products.
They just have to be confident they can pay for them in the next few weeks. This is particularly handy for capturing consumers with paydays on the horizon.
The increase in conversions can be particularly dramatic if your items are higher priced, as consumers may be more willing to buy something pricey they otherwise wouldn’t when they can split the payment into manageable chunks.
More and more consumers are choosing this payment option. Even if they have the cash in their banks, there is little downside to spreading the payments out when they aren’t charged interest.
That means some consumers might actively look for stores that offer their favorite buy now, pay later options. Recognizing this, many buy now, pay later providers offer lists of where the service can be used. Some, like Klarna, even have apps allowing consumers to shop online directly through them.
It used to be almost impossible to get a trial period for many consumer products, but buy now, pay later often makes this possible. By purchasing via a buy now, pay later solution, consumers can test out your product without committing to the purchase.
If they like it, they can pay as usual. If not, they can return it without having to worry about getting a full refund since they haven’t spent much, if anything, yet.
A small increase in free returns may cost you more in the short-term, but the long-term benefits of increased consumer loyalty can be substantial.
Customers may see you have enough confidence in your products to risk the possibility of returns and trust them enough to make good judgment calls for themselves, free of the questioning they may get in stores.
Around 6% of cart abandonments are caused by a lack of payment options, according to the Baymard Institute. If you increase payment options by including a buy now, pay later solution, you may see a decrease in your abandonment rates.
That’s not all, though.
Buy now, pay later can also make your checkout process much smoother. Consumers don’t have to enter card details or a billing address; they only need to log in with their Klarna or Affirm account. This fact is important because 28% abandoned their carts because they didn’t want to create an account, and 17% didn’t trust the sites with their information.
If your competitors haven’t already integrated at least one buy now, pay later solution into their checkout, the chances are high they will do it soon. Research shows one-third of US-based e-commerce stores plan to integrate a purchase finance option over the next one to two years.
If you fail to keep up with consumer demands, you’ll inevitably lose customers to competitors that do keep pace.
The fact of the matter is buy now, pay later is a much more affordable finance solution than credit cards for many consumers. Not only that, they are often a much safer form of debt than credit cards or payday loans.
The former can have double-digit interest rates, while the latter can trap you into a spiral of debt. And if your customers need those to pay for things, they may hesitate to make purchases at all or end up in a financial situation where they can’t become a repeat customer.
You may worry about selling to customers who can’t afford the products up front, but don’t worry: like credit cards, buy now, pay later companies pay you when the transaction is made, and it’s on them to pursue non-paying customers.
Buy now, pay later tools aren’t perfect for everyone. As a consumer finance solution, there are some issues you need to consider.
There’s a cost for the increased conversion rates and new customers that buy now, pay later can bring. They come in the form of higher fees. Klarna, for instance, charges a $0.30 fee and a variable charge of up to 5.99%. That’s significantly higher than almost all Visa and Mastercard payment gateways.
It’s not just the higher fees you need to worry about. There’s also the opportunity cost of listing another payment solution. Every time consumers use a buy now, pay later option, they are choosing not to use another payment option with lower fees.
While buy now, pay later solutions are marketed as consumer-friendly finance products, some critics believe they are just another way to trick consumers into taking on more debt than they need.
This is true whether you sell t-shirts at $10 a pop or mattresses for $1,000. Buy now, pay later encourages consumers to take out credit agreements with third-parties even if they can already afford to pay for the product in cash.
Owing to the issues above, buy now, pay later solutions have received a lot of negative media coverage. There’s every chance these solutions may be looked on favorably in the future given the value they provide for some consumers—but only time will tell.
If negative media coverage of these solutions grows, and public opinion turns against these options, brands that facilitated these payments may become targets.
However, this coverage could disappear or improve as people become more used to these products, so it’s something to consider but not necessarily something to panic over.
Competition in the buy now, pay later space is fierce and growing. That means consumers have more options. You’ll probably want to consider having more than one buy now, pay later option to keep consumers happy.
Here are some of the leading players you should consider integrating into your checkout.
Klarna is a Swedish bank and one of the most prominent players in the buy now, pay later market, partnering with thousands of businesses in almost 20 countries. The platform offers users two ways to make repayments: “slice it” and “pay later.”
With slice it, consumers pay for purchases in four installments over six weeks. With pay later, consumers receive a bill for the full amount after 30 days. The payments are interest-free for consumers who qualify. Brands using Klarna include Uniqlo, H&M, and Anthropologie.
Affirm is designed to help consumers finance purchases of all sizes. It supports small, everyday purchases like the rest of the solutions in this list, with interest-free payments split over weeks or months.
It also helps consumers make more significant purchases or needs like car repairs with interest-bearing loans spread over six to 18 months. How long consumers spread out the payments is up to them.
Affirm also doesn’t charge any fees, including late and repayments fees. There’s no fee to open or close an account, either. Brands using Affirm include Peloton, Walmart, and adidas.
Quadpay lets consumers split purchases into four installments paid over six weeks when they shop online or in-store. Approval is instant and performed using soft credit checks.
There’s no need for store owners to install Quadpay at their checkouts. The payment tool is available anywhere Visa is accepted because the company provides users with their own Quadpay Visa card numbers.
All your customers need to do is choose the retailer and enter the purchase amount—Quadpay takes care of everything else.
Sezzle lets consumers split purchases into four interest-free payments due over six weeks. There are no fees if consumers pay on time, and there’s no impact on their credit ratings.
Sezzle partners with over 24,000 stores, including Brandless, YoungLA, and GHOST, and integrates with all leading e-commerce platforms.
Afterpay lets consumers make interest-free purchases and repay the amount with four equal payments due every two weeks. If consumers miss a payment, Afterpay charges them $10. A further $7 will be charged if they fail to make payment within a week.
Afterpay differs from some lenders on this list by approving users for every purchase rather than approving an account. The company has stated its algorithm has been programmed to favor users who have previously used the service and paid on time. Participating brands include Jimmy Choo, lululemon, and UGG.
It’s essential to provide as many payment options as possible and give your consumers their preferred choices. Integrating a buy now, pay later solution can result in more sales, decrease cart abandonment rates, and build trust.
You also need to consider drawbacks, like the higher rates that come with buy now, pay later options.
Will you be adding a buy now, pay later solution to your site, and if so, which one?
The post Should You Add Buy Now, Pay Later Options to Your E-commerce Site? appeared first on Neil Patel.
Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
Do you dream of having an online shop that attracts customers immediately? You need an e-commerce website that makes it easy for you to sell and for customers to buy.
Don’t think your WordPress theme matters? Think again.
WordPress already comes with inherent features. An intuitive, well-suited theme enhances your e-commerce website’s performance.
This guide will help you find an e-commerce WordPress theme that works to your shop’s advantage and offers everything you need to keep selling.
Choosing a WordPress e-commerce theme is about more than just looks. It matters for your optimization, too.
With over 11,000 WordPress themes, the options can feel overwhelming. Knowing exactly what you need for your online shop helps you determine which theme will work best for your business before you commit.
You can certainly get free themes, but in most cases, you’ll want to spring for a paid one. Paid themes usually have better design, usability, SEO features, and customizability.
You should also pay attention to certain features that apply to all themes across the board, from the ease of use to visual aesthetic to SEO rankings.
In terms of being user-friendly and accessible, follow the three-click rule. In other words, buyers should be able to find what they need within three clicks.
According to Marketing Dive, 53% of users will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Loading speed also contributes to the user experience, so slow loading means a lower ranking.
You might not think your page loading speed is a theme issue, but it is. Before you buy one, check how it displays images and products, and look for ways to improve it to meet the three-second rule.
As more people use smartphones and tablets to shop, it becomes more important to meet them there. According to Sweor, 85% of adults think a website should look and function as well or better than it does on a desktop.
If you don’t have a mobile-friendly shop, it will drastically reduce your customer service base. Not to mention, Google has implemented mobile-friendliness as part of its ranking criteria. Before you buy a theme, test the mobile version to verify its performance.
Security is crucial for your customers, so it should be important to you, too. Some WordPress e-commerce themes come with extra security features beyond what your web host already offers. A secure e-commerce site builds trust between you and your customers, meaning that these features can only help your business.
With so many e-commerce WordPress themes available, you don’t need to settle for a generic setup. And if you want to stand out, you shouldn’t settle for anything.
Different types of WordPress themes offer different e-commerce capabilities and features. Here are a few types you should look for to create the optimal e-commerce site.
A responsive theme lets your e-commerce website adapt to any device. You won’t have to worry about mobile compatibility because it’s already designed to work on laptops, tablets, smartphones, or virtually any device the customer uses.
Multipurpose themes work for many different types of e-commerce shops. Do you have an online apparel store? An online shop for your bakery? A hotel?
Multipurpose themes’ adaptability allows room for your business’s growth, saving you time and money later.
The larger your business, the more you need an e-commerce WordPress theme that can accommodate it. Corporate e-commerce WordPress themes let you expand your catalog as much as you need and still make it easy for buyers to find products with the three-click rule.
Corporate themes are often more customizable to your brand, have more flexibility, and higher quality.
Astra is one of the most popular WordPress themes, even outside of e-commerce. It works with different page builders, like Elementor, and has tons of features for performance, design, layout, and more.
Even with the free version, you get everything from custom and responsive fonts to SEO integrations. When you upgrade to the Pro version, that’s when the real magic begins. It has all the e-commerce features missing from the free version.
With Pro, you can make online shopping more convenient for your customers. You can enable custom features like infinite scroll, a dropdown cart, quick view, sales bubble style, and more. You even have plenty of gallery options to create a comprehensive catalog or portfolio.
Astra Pro also lets you create a unique look for your e-commerce WordPress site using custom headers, footers, and even 404 error pages. It also gives you display conditions so you can implement custom layouts sitewide or on one page. Plus, you get many color and typography options.
Astra comes in three paid tiers:
You get over 20 starter templates at the Pro level, plus one-on-one support, training, and unlimited website usage. The Mini Agency level bumps you up to more than 55 starter templates along with all of Astra Pro’s features. You also get the WordPress portfolio plugin and a page builder addon of your choice.
At the Agency tier, you get all the Mini Agency features and Ultimate Addons for Elementor and Builder Beaver, so you don’t have to choose. You also get Convert Pro and Schema Pro plugins.
Perhaps most impressive, the Agency package comes with SkillJet Academy. This course shows you how to use marketing to your advantage and grow your business using your website.
Astra takes a little extra work to build compared to some other e-commerce WordPress themes. But if you’re willing to put in the work to set up your site, you can create a truly exceptional, customized experience for your customers.
Divi is a multipurpose theme with over 1,000 layouts to design your WordPress e-commerce site. When you buy Divi from Elegant Themes, you also get access to their other products—Extra, Bloom, and Monarch.
Divi doesn’t have a free version, and it only has one paid tier. For $67 a year or $187 for life, you get a theme that allows you to customize your shop’s design more than any other. It even has an e-commerce-specific design layout.
Divi comes with features that include:
You won’t run out of ways to make your site match your branding. Even better, it has convenient tools to help both you and your customers.
With multi-select and bulk editing, copy and paste styles, extendable styles, and Divi quick editing, you won’t need to spend hours redesigning your site. WooCommerce modules also let you create product layouts to make your items pop.
Aside from the design features, Divi comes with built-in marketing tools. It can also integrate with other products from Elegant Themes, like Monarch, to reach your social following and expand your reach, and Bloom, an email opt-in and lead generation plugin.
Divi also has a robust help section with Quick Action to help users find video tutorials and search all available options to get the most out of their site.
Flatsome’s design focuses on making e-commerce easier for people on both sides of the screen. That’s part of what makes it the most popular WordPress theme on ThemeForest.
Its versatility makes it easy to use and especially convenient when you need to make quick site changes, list new products, or even do a complete overhaul. Flatsome’s designs focus on being intuitive for users and do updates regularly to keep everything current. If you use WooCommerce, it is nice to know that Flatsome is the number one best-selling WooCommerce theme with thousands of five-star reviews.
With over 300 layouts for customization, it has fewer design features than Divi and Astra. The good news is that if you don’t need a complex website, Flatsome does most of the work for you. Plus, its fast loading speeds and intuitive design make for an overall positive user experience.
Flatsome makes it easy to maintain your site, whether you do it yourself or have someone to handle it for you. They claim you need absolutely no coding experience to get the most out of their theme using their responsive Live Page Builder and an extensive library of building and customizable elements.
Flatsome doesn’t have a free version. For $59, you get all features with a regular license.
OceanWP’s responsive, fast-loading theme comes with e-commerce features, built-in SEO, and even language translation. Since it has built-in ecommerce features, you don’t have to worry about tacking on extras. Ocean WP also integrates well with other page builders.
This e-commerce WordPress theme comes with a native cart popup that increases conversion rates by an average of 8%. Combine that with the floating add to cart bar that increases conversions by 5% on average, and you have a recipe for better sales by simply choosing the right theme.
OceanWP makes a great customer experience by utilizing Quick View, where people can hover over a product listing to see more details without needing to load another page. Ocean WP also gets top marks for fast loading times. Another feature is importing live demos, giving your customers an even better understanding of your products.
You can try the free OceanWP theme before you commit to the paid version. Once you decide to buy, you have the choice of three tiers:
Unfortunately, you don’t get any additional features with the upgraded tiers. You are paying more to use the theme on more sites.
Porto has an e-commerce-specific design with over 20 premade demos to help you build your site. It even divides its design variations into niches, making it easy for you to choose the right one for your business without sifting through a list of layouts.
Many of Porto’s designs look similar, so if you want something completely one-of-a-kind, it may not work for you. However, the designs it does have give any site a functional, clean look ready for any e-commerce industry.
You can tailor your site to what you sell, so your theme matches your brand. With customizable headers, product quick view, and product page customization, you have what you need to help your listings stand out.
Porto offers six different versions of product detail pages to give your customers exactly the right view of your products and also has an extensive library of documentation and responsive support to help you get your site up and running ASAP.
When it comes to conversions, Porto’s SEO-friendly setup helps you get noticed in searches. Plus, with a responsive, organized theme, customers will want to stay on your site. Porto is even Retina-ready, so you’ll have no problem displaying high-quality images.
You can get this theme from ThemeForest for $35 for a regular license.
Shopkeeper focuses on e-commerce first by prioritizing conversions and sales for your shop. With extensive product pages for long-form content, reviews, images, and related products, you have all the tools you need to draw in customers.
Shopkeeper works well for beginners and people who don’t want to spend a ton of time building their site before starting to sell their products. This theme has pre-built layouts for your homepage and individual product pages, so you don’t have to worry about coding.
Auto-updates take the effort out of site maintenance. Plus, with drag-and-drop page building and plenty of stylistic features, Shopkeeper gives you a convenient way to create the e-commerce site you want. It even has built-in space for your blog and portfolio.
If you ever need to turn off purchasing options, such as if you are out of stock, Shopkeeper has a Catalog Mode, where you can quickly turn on and off the ability to make a purchase. Your site is still active in Catalog Mode, and users can continue to view your products and descriptions and read your blog.
With a responsive, fast-loading design, this e-commerce WordPress theme gives you the foundation for a high-quality shop.
At $59 for a regular license, it offers everything you need to impress and convert site visitors.
Halena works well for people who want a minimalist, no-frills shop. It has plenty of pre-built templates, so you don’t have to do any heavy lifting to get your shop off the ground.
Despite its minimalist design, Halena still has enough options to make your shop stand out, including:
Despite being pre-built, Halena still offers a good amount of customization. You can add progress bars and customized pricing tables, milestone counters, change button types, and add calls to action throughout your site. If you have physical locations, you’ll love the integrated Google Maps feature so customers know where to find you.
At just $49 for a regular license, Halena does all the hard work for you. The theme also includes WPBakery Page Builder and a drag-and-drop content editor, making it easy when it comes to site-building. Despite its ease of use, Halena still offers features like the advanced AJAX filter so that customers can find products in a few clicks.
No single e-commerce WordPress theme works best for every shop. Choose the right one for you based on your products, niche, and personal preference.
While you want to consider your customer’s experience, consider your own, too. A well-designed theme can make or break your e-commerce business, so weigh each feature before you commit to one.
Google is constantly innovating and testing new features, and augmented reality (AR) is a hot topic right now.
You might think of AR as a way to make digital images appear in your living room. But Google’s visual search technology for Android, Google Lens, does a lot more than that.
It enables you to bring your physical environment into the digital world.
Google Lens is an image recognition technology that allows users to interact with real-world objects using their phone’s camera.
Using AI, Google’s technology interprets the objects on your phone camera and provides additional information. It can scan and translate text, see furniture in your house, and help you explore local landmarks.
Have you ever been traveling and wished you could read that train ticket in a foreign language? With Google Lens, just hover your phone camera over it, and it will translate the text for you.
You can also use Google Lens to learn about your environment in other ways. If you point your camera at a nearby landmark, you’ll see historical facts and information about opening hours. If you use it on an animal or plant, it can identify the type of flower or the breed of dog.
When eating out at a restaurant, you see which items on the menu are most popular (this information is pulled from Google Maps). Students can even use it to help them with their homework: if they hover over an equation, they’ll get a step-by-step guide to solve the problem.
But one of Google Lens’ most exciting applications for marketers, and the one I’m going to talk about today, has to do with online shopping.
Say a user is browsing on their phone and sees a sweater they like.
Rather than typing a long query into Google (“brown sweater, zig-zag pattern…”), the user can tap and hold the image, and Google Lens will find the same item (or a similar one), so they can buy it.
The app also provides style tips and ideas about what items to pair with the sweater. The recommendations are based on AI’s understanding of how people in fashion photos typically wear similar clothing.
Before the shopping feature came out, users could already search for clothing by taking a screenshot and opening it in Google Photos, or by pointing their camera at a physical item in a store. Long clicking on an online image for an instant search just makes the whole process easier.
In the future, Google plans to make AR showrooms available, so shoppers may soon be able to try on clothes at home virtually.
Once SEOs experiments with the long click search, we’ll gain some more insights into what works and what doesn’t with that specific feature.
But we know a fair bit since Google Lens and image search have been around for a few years.
Here’s what you do if you want to optimize for Google Lens:
Before we get into specifics about image optimization, you’ll want to make sure your product listings show up on Google. So how do you do that? With product listings.
If you take advantage of Google’s free product listings, your products will show up in Google Search, Google Images, Google Shopping, and Google Lens searches. However, they need to follow Google’s policies, and you’ll need to do one of the following two things:
Google Merchant Center lets Google know more about your products, so they can list them in search.
Here’s how to sign up for Google Merchant Center:
Go to Google’s Merchant Center homepage and sign in to your Google account.
Click “Sign in to Merchant Center” in the dropdown menu.
Then, enter your business’ name and information.
Scroll down, and fill in more information about your checkout process, tools you use, and whether you’d like to receive emails.
When you’re finished, agree to the Terms of Service and click “Create Account.”
Once you’ve created your account, don’t forget to add your products.
You can do this by creating a product feed. On the home screen of your new account, click “Add product data”:
You can then choose to add individual or multiple products.
If you don’t want to use Google Merchant Center, you can still get your products to show up on Google Lens and elsewhere. However, you’ll need to add some structured data markup to your website. (In fact, I recommend doing this even if you do use Google Merchant Center.)
For example, Schema can tell Google that a specific page is a recipe, an article, about a local business, or an event.
To implement Schema.org markup, you’ll need access to edit the HTML on your site.
Google provides a helpful support guide on setting up structured data so that your site is compatible with their Merchant Center.
If you use WordPress, there are also several Schema markup plugins.
Once you’ve added the code, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure Google understands your markups.
Google Lens technology is similar to Google’s reverse image search, but with a more sophisticated use of AI. A lot of the same principles that apply to regular image optimization for SEO also apply when you’re optimizing for Google Lens.
Large images that load slowly (or not at all) can hurt your SEO (as well as making your website less user-friendly).
Since e-commerce websites tend to have many images (as they should!), loading times are particularly important.
Make sure to use keywords and descriptive language wherever you can, for example in image titles, ALT text, filenames, and EXIF data.
Add image titles and ALT text via the HTML of your website, or using your content management system (like WordPress or Squarespace).
EXIF data can be edited locally on your computer. This data adds more in-depth information to your photo, such as the time and date it was taken and what camera was used.
Although machine learning tools like Google Lens rely more on image recognition than text when executing a search, adding clear and relevant information to your image can improve SEO and user experience.
Another way to optimize for Google Lens is by providing crystal clear product images.
If someone long clicks on a brown sweater in a photo, and that sweater is a product you sell in your e-commerce store, you want your product to come up as part of their search. To do that, Google needs to understand the brown sweater you’re selling is the item the searcher is looking for.
Look through your website and replace any images that are blurry, cropped oddly, or don’t fully show items.
Ideally, you’ll want to use high-resolution images taken on a professional camera while balancing quality with file load time. Opt for a high-quality file format like .PNG or .JPG.
Google Lens isn’t the only game in town. Pinterest offers a similar feature, called Pinterest Lens.
Just like Google Lens, Pinterest Lens allows users to shop for products from third-party retailers. Users can take a photo, upload one, or hover over a physical item with their camera to use the feature.
So what’s the difference between Google Lens and Pinterest Lens?
On Pinterest, there’s a lot of action going on inside the Pinterest app. Unlike the all-pervasive Google, Pinterest is a specific ecosystem with its own Verified Merchant Program and internal search engine.
If you want to optimize your brand for Pinterest Lens, make sure you have a Pinterest business account, get your products onto Pinterest using Catalogs, and join the Verified Merchant Program.
Otherwise, many of the same rules apply as with Google Lens. To get found in Pinterest Lens, optimize your images by adding keywords in the filename, title, and ALT text, and ensure photos load fast and are high quality.
Advances in Google Lens search aren’t just changing the nature of SEO. They also represent a significant shift in the way people look for products.
Nowadays, if you want to shop online, you might go to an online store and type in a specific search term. When you’ve found what you’re looking for, you’ll check out and go back to whatever you were doing before.
But with Google Lens, every minute you spend online becomes a potential shopping experience. While you’re busy looking through social media posts, reading blog articles, or messaging friends, you might spot an item you like and start casually browsing through products.
Tech journalists have viewed Google’s focus on improving the Shopping and Lens experiences as part of a broader strategy to compete with Amazon… and they’re probably right.
Google wants people to spend more time in Google search and less time browsing e-commerce websites.
If you’re a marketer working in e-commerce, this is big news. It means in the future, fewer people might be visiting your website directly by typing it into the address bar. Instead, they may arrive directly via channels like Google Lens or Pinterest Lens.
In the future, we may see brands investing more heavily in strategies like product placement as part of their marketing. If tons of pictures of a famous person using your product are floating around the web, people could then easily seek that product out directly with a Lens search.
Google is always innovating and creating new and different ways to search. Google Lens is the most recent example of the search giants’ constant growth.
For e-commerce retailers, this new technology should not be ignored as it could very well be the future of image search.
As marketers, we’re expected to pivot rapidly as technology changes, and Google Lens is no exception.
Have you heard about Google Lens or Pinterest Lens? What are your thoughts about this way of searching?
The post How Google Lens is Getting Your Products Found Online appeared first on Neil Patel.
In today’s global marketplace, it’s a great time to be a consumer. The rise of e-commerce means more and more businesses are striving to get the consumer’s attention, offering better prices and services just to keep them interested. With online sales representing 16 percent of total retail ad spend, business owners don’t want to leave money on the table.
The smartest business owners know that the only way to consistently beat the competition is by offering more value to customers.
However, if everyone in my industry is selling the same products, at the same price, how can I stay competitive? The answer: Create memorable experiences.
If you’re looking for a unique way to offer value to consumers, customized products can be a powerful, engaging tool that improves customer satisfaction and drives up conversions in the process.
Customized products exist as a way for consumers to customize their purchases and walk away with a unique brand experience.
These examples showcase the importance of offering customization and customization.
It’s not just a theory. Epsilon’s research found that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer customized experiences.
The concept of customization was designed just a few decades ago to promote exclusivity. Customized products were a status symbol, a vehicle to make consumers with massive budgets feel special.
Although that’s still the case with certain products (exotic cars and designer handbags, for example), rapid advances in technology have made mass-customization a possibility for everyone.
Still, despite the lowered barrier to entry, product customization maintains a certain allure to consumers. This begs the question: If the key component of customized products is no longer there (the exclusive status symbol), then why are consumers still so interested?
The answer is actually pretty straightforward: Businesses were operating with a fundamental misunderstanding of what made customization so appealing in the first place.
What massive brands around the world have figured out, and what e-commerce business owners need to understand, is that exclusivity was only a small piece of the puzzle.
Product customization can have a massive impact on customer satisfaction, and by extension, your e-commerce business’s success. Why? Because not all of your customers want to experience your product in the same way.
Think about it. When it comes to something like marketing, we understand that different customers have different needs. The first-time visitor to your site needs a different call-to-action than the customer with the abandoned shopping cart. Customized customer experiences are nothing new, it’s just time that e-commerce businesses started to expand their customization horizons.
Where things get really interesting for me is when you start considering the potential financial value this brings to companies all over the world. Let’s not ignore the fact that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations. More specifically, it puts business owners in a win-win scenario.
When you offer dozens of different variants and options to users, you’re creating a more inclusive marketplace, and different consumers with unique priorities can still walk away with something they like.
Even more interesting is the capacity for testing. You don’t need to make everything in your store customizable. Instead, you can test for specific features and determine the ones that people love.
Over time, business owners can collect data and use this information to build product offerings that their customers are statistically more interested in. More value for consumers, more value for the business. Win-win.
The benefits of customized products are pretty easy to measure. When a consumer can personalize a purchase, it gives them a chance to “stand out” and be distinctive.
Let’s use the example of a custom T-shirt. On the surface, it seems like customers are simply modifying something to maximize the value of that product. In reality, the experience is a bit more layered.
For the sake of analysis, let’s break down a study conducted by the Journal of Information Technology Management.
We’ve established that customizing products brings consumers a certain level of enjoyment. We can view “Enjoyment” as the umbrella category.
Within that category, there are two subcategories of enjoyment. On one hand, there’s “Use Enjoyment” and “Design Enjoyment.” Certain customers will fall into certain categories, depending on what they value in particular.
Each of those subcategories had its own subdivisions.
Consumers who fell in the “Use Enjoyment” category either enjoyed the unique appearance of the item or enjoyed the functionalities of the item that fulfilled their unique needs. Consumers in the “Design Enjoyment” category either enjoyed innovating or enjoyed participating in the design process.
You can use this framework as a way to test what your consumers expect from your business, but the key lesson to keep in mind here is that product customization should be an engaging, exciting process for customers.
All of this can get a bit abstract, so let’s take a look at a tangible example. Here’s how Dollar Shave Club handles customization.
They start with some strong and clear copy, and with a single click, you’re building your custom Dollar Shave Club box.
From there, you’ll complete a quiz and come out on the other end with a straightforward recommendation and a strong call-to-action. Of course, you can further customize your options by scrolling down the page.
On the surface, this might look like just another way to sell their products. In reality, that’s only half the story. Every aspect of this quiz is designed to ensure that consumers are presented with a solution that accurately addresses their pain points.
Lenovo, on the other hand, actually lets you build out your dream laptop.
It’s important to keep the limitations in mind, of course. While the laptop would be customized, the capacity of the laptop is limited.
When creating your customized product offerings, remember that removing concerns about compatibility can make life much simpler for your consumer. Unless they’re particularly tech-savvy, they probably wouldn’t understand why certain components just don’t work together.
Alleviating friction before it becomes an issue is one of the many benefits that come from creating a rich customization experience.
All of that looks and sounds great, but how on earth are you supposed to create customized products for your consumers? After all, offering 100+ options isn’t exactly budget-friendly.
Well, remember that consumers aren’t just interested in custom products. They want customized experiences. Most business owners already know this. It’s the reason so much time and money goes into marketing campaigns.
Focusing on customized experiences helps you develop a deeper relationship with your consumers. They can buy products anywhere, but your business is the only one that helps them customize their experience. Those better experiences lead to customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and hopefully, repeat customers!
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the tools you can use to build tailor-made products and experiences.
Whether you sell swimsuits, winter jackets, or everything in between, you understand that selling clothes online can be a customer satisfaction nightmare.
The biggest problem? Fit.
Everyone seems to have different definitions of small, medium, and large. While this can usually be fixed with a quick return and exchange, it tends to leave a bad taste in your customer’s mouth.
So rather than focusing on fixing the problem, let’s find a way to make sure it never happens again. Making it an engaging sales tool is just a bonus!
A Custom Fit quiz might seem simple but make no mistake: Making your customers feel more secure about their sizing choices means they’re more likely to purchase as possible sizing issues are avoided.
One of the most undervalued aspects of product customization is its potential for reducing friction.
When you offer to bundle an accessory with a particular product, you’re not just upselling to make some extra money on the sale. You’re addressing two possible customer pain points before they even arise.
Right off the bat, you’re making customers aware of the fact that a particular accessory is necessary to ensure they maximize their purchase. As a bonus, you’re able to confirm compatibility by clearly showing consumers which items they should pair together.
It’s a way to ensure that consumers walk away with everything they need after a single transaction. Further, it’s more than just a good sales tactic. It’s an effective, thorough customer satisfaction tactic.
Maximizing your sales and profit margins is always going to be a priority, and every tactic here is designed to support that goal.
That being said, selling a consumer on the concept of customized products is less about actively selling and more about creating experiences that guide customers down the sales funnel with valuable information.
As far as I’m concerned, the best-customized experiences sell themselves. Of course, it helps if you’re building experiences that are so compelling and engaging that consumers can’t help but click the “Buy” button.
Use these tactics to drive conversions while still keeping the shopping experience engaging and personal.
All this talk of customized products might have you worried that you’ll need to spend tons of money on new inventory and be stocked up for potential buyers.
In reality, the process should start small. Unless you have a massive budget, your best bet is to test the waters and figure out what versions of products consumers are actively seeking.
If you’re experimenting with customizable T-shirt colors, you don’t need 50 new colors. Start with a few set colors, and give yourself plenty of lead time so you don’t have to rush production.
People aren’t interested in new colors? You can phase them out without worrying that you’ve let hundreds of dollars go to waste.
We already discussed this a bit earlier, but the value of the customer quiz shouldn’t be understated.
Let’s say you frequently have website visitors that don’t have a well-defined shopping list yet. These are people who are just browsing and seeing what catches their eye.
Well, what if you could guide that person towards a sale, while also providing them with value in an engaging way? Sounds like a great way to kick-start your relationship, if you ask me. Keep in mind that 90% of consumers are willing to share their behavioral data if it’ll make their shopping easier.
By creating a simple quiz and offering customized product recommendations, you can accomplish so much.
For starters, customers will walk away with a much clearer understanding of their needs. They’ll also associate you with industry authority since your business showcased your know-how and expertise.
Beyond that, your consumers are one step closer to making a purchase through your site. All thanks to a simple, two-minute quiz.
Customized products are often seen as some sort of gimmick, a cheap way to offer variety instead of value.
Interestingly enough, I’ve found that well-designed customized products offer an impressive amount of value to consumers.
Consumers can be empowered by a process that simplifies their shopping experience. Or they can walk away with a deeper understanding of what they need from your business.
As long as your customized e-commerce experience is compelling, engaging, and generally value-driven, you can be optimistic that you’re enhancing your customer’s shopping experience and by extension, increasing your chances of making a sale.
What kind of customized products do you think offer the most value? Let me know in the comments below!
The post Why You Should Consider Selling Customized Products appeared first on Neil Patel.
With a net worth of $1.7 trillion, Amazon has dominated the e-commerce sector for years, leaving many of its competitors in the shade. But are there alternatives to Amazon?
With an audience as vast as Amazon, small business start-ups and solo entrepreneurs flock to the site to sell the products, get established, and build their enterprises. Despite the audience Amazon offers, you may want to look for other online venues to list your items.
There are many good reasons to broaden your e-commerce horizons.
First, it makes little sense to put all your eggs in one basket. Second, selling on a wider range of marketplaces gets your products in front of a larger audience. And finally, looking at the other choices available could save you money on fees, or get you closer to your target buyers.
Below are some viable alternatives to Amazon. We’ll look at their advantages, their fee structures, and what makes them different.
We already touched on one of the main reasons to seek other venues: the perils of depending on one sales platform.
It’s not unheard of for sellers to have their accounts blocked. If you haven’t already established yourself on one of the alternatives to Amazon, your business could tank.
However, by setting up multiple accounts with different marketplaces, you’ve got greater flexibility if things go wrong. Plus, you can use other online platforms to test out which ones are the best for your products.
And there are other benefits in finding additional marketplaces, like:
All e-commerce sales platforms have some measure of control over your business. They determine:
These terms might not be suitable for your business. So, If you’re looking for greater flexibility, then seeking alternatives to Amazon is a good idea.
Perhaps you feel the vendor or customer support is lacking. Amazon provides useful resources for sellers, like its university. But some sellers feel seller support is sometimes thin, especially when things go wrong.
Amazon has changed its fee structure over the years, bringing frustration to some.
Amazon sets its professional selling plan at $39.99, with individual plans available free. And referral fees differ, depending on which category you’re selling in.
Shipping is a further reason to consider seeking alternatives as individual sellers on Amazon lack flexibility over their shipping costs.
If you’re looking to cut fees or branch out, then signing with some alternatives to Amazon may allow you to further scale your business while reducing costs.
If you’re a seller on Amazon, you’ll know it makes payment via ACH or electronic funds transfer. Amazon distributes these payments to your bank account every two weeks, and they can take up to five days to clear.
But that doesn’t always work for everyone. If you’re a small business and cash is tight, signing up to e-commerce platforms with a broader range of payment options can improve your cash flow.
Before you search for alternatives to Amazon, you need to decide what you want from your business. You’ll need to consider the products you’re selling and your target customer, too.
For example, if you’re selling printable products, Etsy could be an excellent choice. Or, if you’re looking for consumers who understand tech, you may find Newegg works well for you.
Other areas you’ll want to think about include:
Marketplaces that allow you to add items efficiently mean you can list more products in less time. But you’ll want to view any alternatives to Amazon from your customer’s perspective too.
How important is the ease of use? Well, if you note some recent research from Digital Commerce 360 and Bitrate, you’ll see this is a significant factor in the buying decision.
When researching new platforms, perhaps test them out for yourself and consider areas like:
Think about your ideal consumer and the type of users the platform attracts. For example, eBay is huge, with 182 million active buyers. It’s great for snapping up limited-time deals, brand name products, and pre-loved items.
However, it’s not always the first place shoppers think of when looking for handmade goods or unique items. They’re more likely to head somewhere like Etsy.
Fees can take a considerable chunk of your profits if you’re not careful. Depending on the fee structure, some sites may not be suitable if you’re selling smaller, lower value items.
If you need some help in this area, fee calculators are helpful. Here’s a list of the well-known ones.
What are some of the best Amazon alternatives when you’re looking to sell your products online? Let’s look at some of the top options, in no particular order.
Established in 2007, Bonanza has built itself a loyal following, with a vast range of categories. Sign up is free, and fees are straight forward. Final offer value fees are 3.5 percent for sales under $500. Sales over $500 attract an additional 1.5 percent fee.
Although it’s much smaller than Amazon, Bonanza has some advantages over its larger rival. They include a greater emphasis on building customer relationships and developing a sustainable business through repeat customers.
Equally appealing to sellers is the marketing tools Bonanza provides. These give you access to valuable data about product performance, allowing you to spot trends, optimize listings, and better market your items.
Other features include:
But what makes Bonanza stand out is its focus on unique items. It’s not trying to be another Amazon. As Bonanza puts it, it’s a site where you’ll find “everything but the ordinary”.
One of the most prominent alternatives to Amazon is eBay. Like Amazon, eBay has made considerable changes since its launch back in 1995. Over the years, eBay’s focus has moved away from the collectibles market it used to cater to, and it’s now more product-based.
Many famous brands like Rolex, Hasbro, and Microsoft make their goods available via ebay.com brand outlet site, enabling consumers to bag a bargain. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for more unusual or collectible items.
On eBay, listing fees and final value fees vary, but it sets many of its final value fees at 10 percent or less. If you need to calculate fees before listing, use an eBay fee calculator.
Some advantages of selling on eBay are:
What makes eBay stand out, though, is its auctions. Auctions may not be ideal for every business. However, sellers who specialize in collectible or rare items may find the bidding pushes their final sales price up higher than they could’ve imagined.
If your business primarily sells printable products or art and craft items, then Etsy might be for you. Of the many alternatives to Amazon, Etsy has perhaps one of the most affordable and straightforward pricing approaches.
Each listing costs just 20 cents, and the listing is good for four months. Then there’s a five percent transaction fee for goods that sell. Payment processing fees are variable and depend on location. If you want to grow your business further, Etsy Plus is available at $10 a month.
Re-listing is simple, too. Just select the auto-renew option, and there shouldn’t be anything else to do on your part.
Advantages of selling on Etsy are:
That’s the advantages, but there are a couple of possible disadvantages worth mentioning. First, Etsy is much smaller than Amazon, which means there’s intense competition, so your products need to stand out.
Second, although fees are cheaper, you may make more sales on Amazon Handmade because of its larger audience share.
Amazon dominates e-commerce, but Walmart is gaining ground. Recent sales figures show Walmart’s e-commerce sales have soared by 74 percent. This stat means if you’re looking for alternatives to Amazon, Walmart could be promising.
Like Amazon, Walmart now offers a fulfillment service. Although storage and fulfillment fees apply, Walmart’s fee structure is less complicated than Fulfillment by Amazon, and referral fees are competitive.
In addition, with Walmart’s marketplace, there’s no start-up or ongoing monthly fees. However, you’ll want to factor in other costs, like unique product codes (UPCs).
Advantages of selling on the Walmart marketplace include:
What makes the platform different? Unlike Amazon, Walmart’s marketplace is only open to invited brands. You can’t just register and start selling. But you can sign up.
To register your interest in selling, Walmart asks businesses to fill out the interest form.
Newegg has gained a reputation as the top global tech marketplace online. But it also sells apparel, home and lifestyle products, sports/health-related items, TVs, and plenty more.
As for fees, non-elite membership is free. Elite membership has two tiers ranging from $29.95-$99.95 a month. Commissions vary, with the highest being 12 percent.
Advantages of selling on Newegg include:
But it’s the multi-channel fulfillment option that may interest sellers the most. If you’re selling from various platforms, Newegg provides a central point to manage all your orders.
When you sell on a third-party platform, you have limited control. Many online sellers favor setting up their stores the Shopify platform.
The site offers new sellers a 14-day free trial to get them started. After that, a basic Shopify store will cost you $29 a month. Online credit card rates are 2.9 percent + 30 cents. And you should find it easy enough to start selling.
Once you’ve signed up for the free trial, the next steps are to:
The benefits of Shopify include:
There are a variety of reasons you might be looking for alternatives to Amazon. Maybe you want a platform that provides a wider range of payment options, a site that’s more niche, or you just want a more extensive selection of online marketplaces to sell your wares.
As you can see, there are many venues available, and they all have their advantages. Sites like Bonanza have established a loyal audience, and Walmart’s e-commerce presence is growing strong.
Niche sites such as Etsy and Newegg are ideal for specialist items, and eBay offers greater customization and various selling methods, including auctions.
If you want to go it alone, there’s always Shopify, where you can set up and market your own e-commerce business.
Are you an online seller? Tell us about your favorite platform and your experiences below.
Dropshipping is a popular method for building an e-commerce empire. The challenge is, there are tons of people out there trying to do the same thing. So, how do you get a competitive edge? By using dropshipping tools to get the most out of your dropshipping business.
This post covers the basics of dropshipping and the 11 best dropshipping tools to maximize this fulfillment method’s benefits while minimizing the drawbacks.
Dropshipping is a fulfillment method that allows e-commerce stores to sell products without storing or maintaining stock.
Using the dropshipping model, your store markets a third-party’s (a wholesaler or manufacturer) products. When someone places an order from your site, you buy the product from a third-party, who then sends the product directly to your customer.
You don’t have to worry about logistics, and the difference between the price you sell at and the price you buy at is your profit.
This model is popular (in fact, 23% of online sales are fulfilled through dropshipping) because it allows e-commerce businesses to focus on what they do best, marketing and selling products without worrying about logistic issues.
One of the major benefits of dropshipping is starting an e-commerce store with low start-up costs. You can create the framework for a great online store with relatively little investment.
The issue is, you’ve still got to invest in and warehouse stock — unless you use dropshipping.
Dropshipping limits startup costs while allowing e-commerce stores to offer a wide range of items to customers.
By working with a third party, you can quickly set up your online store and tap into a wide selection of high-quality products from suppliers around the world.
The benefits of this are:
These benefits sound pretty great, right?
As you might expect, there are also some drawbacks to dropshipping. The most apparent negative to dropshipping is lower profit margins. Companies that buy in bulk can save money, but buying one item at a time can be more costly.
Although you’re in control of your pricing (you can lower and raise prices as you like), you’ll have to keep your prices in line with your competition. And, because there are few barriers to starting an e-commerce business with a dropshipping model, there’s lots of competition out there.
Here are some challenges to consider with dropshipping:
Whether dropshipping is an effective strategy will depend on your business needs. If you’re ready to take on the stiff competition and aren’t reliant on branding to sell your products, then dropshipping could be a viable option.
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to using dropshipping as your fulfillment method, but there are some drawbacks as well.
These dropshipping tools can help you run a successful dropshipping business.
Shopify is the biggest e-commerce platform out there, and it’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your store up and running.
Shopify isn’t so much a dropshipping tool as the starting point for creating your store, so it’s important to feel comfortable with it. To ensure Shopify is right for your business, you can test out a 14-day free trial.
Once you’ve decided to build your store on Shopify, you have the following pricing options:
You will still have to pay for your website hosting (here are some recommendations) which can be factored into Shopify’s price.
Whatever your goals, Shopify has a plan to suit your business needs and allows you to make the most of their customer support and a wide range of helpful plugins.
Oberlo is a Shopify app that links you to a large market of suppliers, allowing you to choose from a huge range of products and sync them to your website in seconds.
Their free starter package allows you to sell up to 500 products a month, so it’s an ideal way to dip your toe into dropshipping.
If you see good results, you can upgrade to the basic package for $29.90 a month, allowing you to sell more products and benefit from enhanced order tracking.
You can also choose the pro package for $79.90 a month, which allows you up to 30,000 sales.
If you already have a website that runs on WordPress, or you want a cheaper alternative to Shopify, then try WooCommerce. It’s a free plugin that can turn your WordPress website into an e-commerce store.
WordPress powers around 35% of the web, so you know you’re in safe hands with this platform, and the WooCommerce plugin allows you to give it powerful e-commerce capabilities.
Already have an e-commerce store set up? Spocket is one of the best dropshipping tools to connect you with suppliers from around the world.
Spocket integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, BigCommerce, and AliScraper. It offers a free trial which allows you to view their catalog, but to truly benefit from this tool, you need one of the paid plans:
With many suppliers based in the US and Europe, Spocket is an excellent dropshipping tool for stores that value fast, easy fulfillment.
AutoDS is an all-in-one dropshipping tool for e-commerce stores that plugs into both Shopify and eBay. With AutoDS, you can automate processes like stock monitoring, optimizing pricing, updating tracking numbers, collecting social proof, and much more.
This dropshipping tool takes a lot of the busy work out of running your store and gives you more time to focus on boosting your sales.
One of the great things about AutoDS is they offer a vast range of packages designed to suit your business. They start at $6.33 a month for basic stores but can accommodate stores with up to 100,000 products.
Dropified connects you with suppliers and automates your dropshipping processes. With integrations for e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, GrooveKart, and CommerceHQ, it aims to give you all the dropshipping tools you need to run a successful business.
With lots of helpful automation, Dropified is ideal for sellers looking to develop their custom brand. They offer two distinct pricing structures:
This dropshipping tool price might seem costly, but the ability to use private labels helps you overcome one of the most significant drawbacks of dropshipping – difficulty establishing your brand.
SaleHoo is a directory of wholesale companies and a great dropshipping tool for market research. Their annual plan gives you full access to the directory for $67, or you can choose a lifetime plan for $127. Those prices make it an affordable tool to research the market and find the best suppliers.
There’s also the option to upgrade to full automation, and you can get lifetime access to the SaleHoo education program for $47.
With so many apps helping you run your business, you might be wondering how to coordinate them all. The answer is Zapier.
Zapier automates workflows across different apps, which reduces manual work. For example, when you receive an order on Shopify, Zapier can instruct MailChimp to add that customer to your monthly newsletter and create an invoice through Invoice Ninja.
With a free lifetime plan that allows you to create 5 “zaps,” Zapier is one of those dropshipping tools you’ve got to try. If you find it significantly streamlines your store, then there are many plans to choose from.
AliDropship connects you to suppliers. However, there’s one big difference — with AliDropship there are no monthly fees. Instead, you make a one-time payment of $89 for a lifetime subscription.
You can also have AliDropship create you a website for a one-time price of $299, making it a viable alternative to Shopify. You will have to pay for your monthly hosting, but this option is about as quick and easy as it comes in terms of getting started with dropshipping.
For sellers looking for a fast, convenient way to get into dropshipping, AliDropship is an ideal option.
While many of the dropshipping tools on this list offer important insights about customers and traffic, some of the most important metrics can be found in your Google Analytics dashboard. All the data you need to know about your store is in your analytics for free.
There’s no need to pay for extra website analytics if you know how to make the most of Google Analytics, and this is the reason why it’s one of the most powerful dropshipping tools.
Track your visitors, understand where your traffic comes from, what content works well, and how to boost your store’s all-round performance by making use of the data that’s available to you.
If you’re dropshipping through eBay, then Chili-Hunter is a handy market research tool. Use it to discover new trends, find the most profitable items to sell, and get insight into your store’s performance and your competitors.
This dropshipping tool provides vital information to maximize your profits, and the best part is it comes in one simple plan.
You can choose either a monthly membership for $39.99 per month or a yearly membership for $16.66/mo.
With Chilli-Hunter, you can find the best products to dropship and boost your business’s performance in seconds.
One of the biggest challenges with dropshipping is maintaining workable margins. To do this, you need your e-commerce store to be as streamline as possible so you can adapt to changing markets and build up a large volume of sales.
To scale your business, look for ways to automate areas such as marketing, order processing, and product selection. This is where dropshipping tools come in handy.
While you will need to pay the monthly subscription fees for the right dropshipping tools, the return on investment can be immense.
How do you use dropshipping tools to give your store the edge?
High-quality video content is a great way to showcase products professionally in an e-commerce store. AI Multiple, a digital B2B research firm, found that video content makes website visitors 64-85% more likely to buy a product, compared to static images.
There are many ways to edit your videos for free. Free video editing software has become increasingly popular in recent years, and the perks of the programs are always evolving.
These days, you can create high-quality, engaging video content that converts without paying the high sticker price of big-name software. If you’re not sure about product videos for e-commerce, or you don’t know where to invest your money, then free video editing software is a great place to start experimenting.
Paid doesn’t always mean better. Free video editing software has come a long way since its inception, and the latest platforms are incredibly versatile.
Many paid tools have impressive free versions, so you can use your favorite software without paying a subscription fee. This is a great way to test out content types and figure out the design direction for your videos.
These free versions allow you to test out paid products and see how they work. If you’re a beginner, there are tutorials and walkthroughs that can get you started.
That being said, there are many free tools with equal or greater editing options as paid tools. It’s important to figure out what kind of features you’re looking for, whether that be short-form, DIY social videos, product testimonials, online ads, or animated clips. Once you know what you need, it will be much easier to find the tool that suits your verticals.
Video content can help you display your products in new and inventive ways. Customers appreciate being able to see a product in action. They also want to know what other people think of it, so posting reviews and demos can be a great way to target those audiences.
Youtube is the second-most trafficked site on the internet, coming in right after Google. This tells us the public is interested in video content and is searching for it every day. In fact, it’s estimated that users spend almost 100 minutes a day watching online video content.
So, what are these consumers looking for?
The CMO Council, a marketing research firm, found 48% of consumers want to see content that reflects products or services they are already interested in. Likewise, 43% of consumers want to see content that gives them clear information on the next steps they need to take in order to purchase.
Free video editing software can help you speak to this growing demographic and introduce your products to their vast sales funnel.
With well-edited videos, you can showcase the way your products move, answer FAQs, make your own promotional videos, highlight customer reviews, and give live product demos. This offers new value to your consumers that static content misses.
Want to find out how to get started with video marketing? With just a few simple tools you can maximize your conversions and extend your reach online.
Free video editing software can help you to create stand-out video content for your e-commerce platform.
There are so many different programs to choose from and even more features to consider.
But don’t get overwhelmed!
The first step is to figure out what you want your content to look like. Are you making short-form ads for Instagram Stories? Are you creating Google ads, Facebook banners, or on-site product pieces? Different content requires different features, so make sure you know what you’re looking for.
Once you know what you want to create, sorting through the noise is easier. Here are some features to consider when choosing your free video editing software.
If you’re brand new to video editing, it’s best to start simple. Choose video editing software that doesn’t have too many complex features and one that will give you a tutorial. You can also find an online walkthrough to explain the best ways to use the software.
Give yourself enough time to play around with software before your project deadline. These tools can have a learning curve depending on which software you choose, so keep that in mind before you commit.
Some platforms, such as Youtube, require specific formats in order to upload content. It’s important to research what your format requirements are before diving into the new software.
If you want to publish your content in 4K, or maybe convert it to 720p, it’s a good idea to factor that into your content creation planning.
Some free video editing software platforms have a range of compatibility options, while others are very limited. Be sure to read the fine print before downloading anything.
Depending on what kind of content you’re producing, you may want to add audio tracks or musical elements to your videos.
Some free video editing software support audio mastering, while others don’t have those options. You may be able to add audio in through a secondary program if you want to, but it’s probably better to find software that does everything you need it to from the start.
Likewise, the audio tools may be limited to in-program purchases or pre-determined tracks. So be sure to choose software that will allow you to upload outside media if that’s what your content needs.
Titles and subtitles are a great way to overlay branding or text. You can also increase accessibility and speak to consumers who may have their volume turned off as they scroll.
Many free video editing software platforms have title and subtitle options. That being said, not all of them allow you to export or import these and you may need to do a bit of extra research to find a platform that supports more advanced text options.
If you’re looking to involve your team members in the editing process, then choosing a tool that supports collaboration will be important.
Many of these tools have limits on how many collaborators can participate, so make sure you know how many people will be logging onto the software and in what capacity they will be contributing.
No matter what kind of content you want to create, there is a free video editing software out there that can make your e-commerce dreams come true.
Remember, there are different apps for mobile, desktop, and even Instagram-specific editing tools. Read the software details to ensure you’ll be able to use your video on your desired platform.
Adobe Spark is one of the most approachable free video editing software platforms. You can add images, soundtracks, and animations directly into your uploaded videos. You can also edit and share your videos from the app, so you don’t have to spend time waiting for lengthy uploads.
The free version gives you access to most of their basic editing software. You can also go premium for $9.99 per month.
Avidemux is a great beginner video editing software. It can be used on Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems and boasts a clear, simple, easy-to-navigate interface.
The downside is there aren’t as many features as some of the other software platforms we’ve discussed. That said, if you’re just getting into video editing, this is a great place to start.
Avidemux is 100% free.
Clipchamp lets you edit clips directly in your browser without having to upload anything. It’s compatible with all file sizes and offers a range of customizable video templates curated by industry professionals.
Clipchamp is a great option for those looking to do some quick and easy editing. Although it lacks some of the in-depth, professional features that can be useful, it makes up for it by being easy to navigate and learn.
The basic platform is free for up to 5-minute pieces. Premium plans begin at $14 per month.
HitFilm Express is a professional-grade free video editing software that can be used on either Mac or Windows systems.
HitFilm offers advanced and beginner features that rival some of the best paid platforms out there. The catch? You have to post about them on social media before you can start editing.
If you’re a beginner, factor in some extra time to learn the interface. Don’t worry too much, there are a range of tutorial videos to get you started which are based on popular Hollywood franchises like Star Wars and Marvel. The videos are fun to watch and you might even learn something!
Wave.video is free video editing software for creating branded content. They have a huge stock video and image library and an array of different templates you can add to your video.
Wave.video is free for up to 15-second videos. Paid subscriptions start at $8.25 per minute.
Looking for more video editing software options? Check out these 5 video editing tools.
Once you’ve chosen your software, it’s time to get to work!
Depending on the software you pick, your next steps will look a little different.
If you choose a professional video editing software such as Avidemux or HitFilm Express, then you’ll need to upload some content of your own before you get started.
If you have some product shots or e-commerce reels, you can upload them into these platforms to cut them into shorter clips, add in text overlays or branded content, or add in audio tracks or music.
If you chose a more simple software like Adobe Spark or Wave.video, you could start by choosing a template and editing it to make it your own. You can also upload product images or videos and then utilize some of the free, in-app features like typography or animations to enhance your video.
To maximize your content for e-commerce conversions, make sure you tailor your content for your platform. If you’re trying to showcase how your product works, a product video is a good place to start. If you want to advertise a sale or discount on a Facebook ad, be sure to pay attention to sizing requirements and formatting options.
We know how important video content is for e-commerce conversions, but making video content doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag.
Who knows, maybe with a little practice, you’ll be the next Spielberg of e-commerce.
What are some ways you can use video content to strengthen your e-commerce sales?
If you ever plan on finding investors, partners, or employees for your e-commerce startup, you’ll need to know how to create a business plan. A lot of people make this process out to be more complicated than it needs to be. When you do it right, creating a business plan doesn’t have to be so difficult.
In this guide, I’m breaking down step-by-step everything you need to know about creating a powerful e-commerce business plan.
Have you ever thought about something you wanted to accomplish in your business? You’d likely jot down a few lines discussing strategies, costs, and methods behind the steps you would take to achieve those goals.
If you’ve ever done that, you’ve created a basic business plan, and there isn’t too much more to it than that. An e-commerce business plan is a strategy for how your business will work, how you’ll fund it, who your audience will be, and how you plan to succeed.
Understanding how to create a business plan is key. It requires research, understanding your audience, budgeting, and more.
The overall key to writing a business plan is to create something comprehensive enough, so you never have to wonder what step is coming next. As you navigate the sometimes challenging process of starting an e-commerce business, don’t leave anything to chance.
When you’re struggling or having a hard time envisioning the next step, you don’t have to worry because your business plan thoroughly outlines everything you’re going to do, when you’ll do it, and how much it’ll cost.
Another aspect of business plan writing is looking for investors or partners. You need to pitch your e-commerce business in a way that is easy to understand. Investors aren’t going to jump aboard something that lacks vision or appears unorganized.
Having a thorough business plan that gets straight to the point will show investors that you know what you’re doing and you have a concrete strategy for success.
The way e-commerce businesses reach their customers is much different. At a brick and mortar store, for example, foot or vehicle traffic will contribute to a lot of free advertising for the business.
E-commerce stores, on the other hand, can very easily get buried in the SERPs, never to be seen by anyone if you don’t know how to get the word out. You need to keep these types of things in mind when putting together your business plan.
As for research and development of your business plan, standard businesses need to factor in local licenses, ordinances, building codes, and other factors that may influence where and how they can conduct business.
Luckily, e-commerce doesn’t have to worry as much about that, but it doesn’t mean you can ignore it either. It’s your responsibility to understand any restrictions or requirements that may prevent you from sourcing and selling your products.
Understanding how to create a business plan means nothing if you can’t see the importance behind it. While I believe there are more important aspects of starting a successful business, every e-commerce venture should have a stable foundation, beginning with a business plan.
You’re the driver of this business, but you’ll end up going in circles, wasting time and money, if you don’t know where you’re going. Having a solid business plan guides you through the steps of starting and growing a business. Think of the plan as the GPS of your business. If you ever get lost, you can fall back on your original plan.
This process is much easier than it seems. It might seem like this looming dark cloud of horror, but once you dive in, the juices will start flowing, and you’ll find out that you probably have a lot of great ideas. This may be the first project of your new venture, so business plan templates and how-to guides can help.
Getting your audience right is the most important aspect of an e-commerce business. If you’re trying to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one. A big part of your business plan needs to be the development of a customer avatar. This avatar is your perfect customer. They’re the ones that buy everything you sell because they love you and your brand.
Whether you’re looking for funding or business partners, you’ll need a business plan. Having a strong strategy shows investors that you’re confident in what you’re doing, you understand the business, and investing with you is a smart choice for them.
What better way to look back and see everything you’ve dreamed of come to life? You can map out the next few years in a business plan and look back as everything comes together, and keep track of everything you’ve accomplished. A business plan acts as a “to-do” list for your new venture.
If you’re wondering what a business plan should include, it might look a little different than you originally thought. The days of massive 15-page business plans are over; you don’t need a super complicated plan to find investors and sell your products.
Lean business plans are growing in popularity. This e-commerce business plan involves a one-page “pitch” of your business. You’ll document the problem you’re solving, your unique solution, your market, the competition, your team, and a little information about your company culture.
Think of an Executive Summary as an overview of your company’s goals and objectives. If you had to hand someone a piece of paper explaining as much about your business in 250 words or less, what would you say?
It should include information such as:
While you’re not going in-depth in any one area here, this is the most important aspect of the business plan because it’s your overview. When people think of your e-commerce brand, this is what they’ll think.
Who are you, what is your experience, and why should you have the right to sell products to other people?
The company’s description is a lot less about what you want it to “be like” and more of what “you’re like.” You’re pitching yourself, your experience, and your ability here.
A great business example here might be:
In this description, we covered what we’re selling and provide the credentials of the owner, which will create confidence in potential investors and partners.
If you don’t understand your audience or the industry you’re working in, you’re doomed. Researching the market is critical, and there’s a big difference between standard business and e-commerce here.
When you’re researching the market for a retail store, you’re very limited in who your audience is, so it’s a bit more cut and dry.
As for e-commerce, the world is your audience, but you need to narrow it down to a specific demographic to cater to your products and marketing to those people.
Ask questions like:
Forget learning how to create a business plan; we all go into business to profit, right? Having an operations plan helps ensure you remain profitable by keeping all your costs in line. This section of the business plan discusses managing, staffing, preparing products, fulfilling orders, inventory management, customer service, and more.
This part is where you get to start outlining what a typical day will look like in your business. How will it run, how will people convert, and how will you fulfill those orders?
Start thinking about things such as:
Make sure you keep your industry, market, and target audience in mind as you prepare your operations plan. You don’t want to venture off in the wrong direction as you dive deeper into it.
It’s a no-brainer that you’ll have to market your business if you want to have success, but you need a plan. In e-commerce, you have a few different options, and the choices you make will determine a lot.
You need to highlight the methods you plan on using so partners and investors can see that you have a clear path to success. Some of your choices may be:
I recommend using a combination of all of these because they each have upsides and downsides. For example, SEO is a relatively low cost to get started, but it takes time, and if you don’t possess the knowledge yourself, you’ll have to hire an agency to do it for you.
PPC can be costly if you don’t know what you’re doing, but the results can come quickly because you’re leapfrogging over a lot of the competition.
Regardless of what marketing methods you choose for your e-commerce business plan, you need to highlight them and explain how you plan to use them.
Now you need to wrap up your business plan and put a nice bow on top. Based on everything you’ve included so far in your business plan, what are your costs versus your revenue? Keep in mind that first-year revenues aren’t always extravagant, but you need the potential to gain more revenue in the future.
As long as investors and partners see that you have the growth potential, they won’t worry too much about first-year losses. The goal should be to keep your costs as low as possible and your revenue as high as possible (makes sense, right?).
Predict the total cost of operation in your business in the first year or two and include that in the plan. Then, anticipate the revenue prediction as well and include that.
If you’ve followed everything in this guide, there should be a clear path that brings you to those numbers. You should know how much everything will cost to get started and operate the business for a year.
Based on your market and what your competition is doing, that’s where you get your first-year revenue predictions.
Make it transparent and keep it simple.
Now that you know how to create a business plan, what are your next steps? What do you plan to do with the business plan? Most people will use their business plan to find investors, partners, and employees when they’re getting started.
If you’re thinking about pitching to investors, you’ll want to choose carefully because not all investors are the right choice for you. Even if someone is willing to give you what you ask, they might not be the right fit, and taking their money will lead you down the wrong path.
First, you want to look at an investor’s expertise. When they have experience in a certain area, it makes it easier for them to understand your potential, and they can offer guidance to help you succeed.
Second, in what stage is your business? Different investors specialize in different stages. Some invest in pre-seed, while others won’t even hear your pitch until you have revenue.
Third, how much do you think you need? What you think you need and what you need are two different things.
Lastly, how do you plan on involving your investors? Some investors will back you financially and offer nothing more, while others will demand consistent financial updates and reports while offering guidance and assistance. You need to determine how involved you want your investor to be in your operations.
Now that you know how to create a business plan, the rest is up to you. Remember that gathering information and understanding something is important, but it’s nothing if you don’t implement what you learn. Take the steps outlined in this guide and put them to work.
If this seems a little daunting, we have plenty of resources to help you. Your business plan doesn’t need to be this elaborate essay; you can complete it in a day with the right strategy.
What do you think is the most important part of creating a solid business plan?
Choosing the right Amazon marketing agency can be the difference between becoming a thriving seller on Amazon or one that flops.
Do you know why I say so?
A pool of more than 2.5 million sellers fights for the attention of Amazon’s customers. Out of this, only 10% generate annual sales of more than $100,000.
Only a few sellers make a great income on the platform.
Are you a seller struggling to attract buyers on Amazon? Would you like to increase your store’s reach and drive more revenues?
By partnering with a top Amazon marketing agency, you can improve the visibility of your store, reach more buyers, and drive sales.
Below, you’ll find my recommended steps on how to choose a top Amazon marketing company to grow your store business on the platform.
A marketing agency won’t re-invent your store on Amazon.
They’ll work with you to achieve your goals and realize your business outcomes.
If you, the store owner, fail to define what those goals and outcomes are, how can a marketing agency perform magic and turn you into an overnight success on Amazon?
It doesn’t work that way.
To help you get started, let’s explore some scenarios when you should hire an Amazon marketing agency.
I’ve already mentioned that Amazon has over 2.5 million sellers.
But that’s nothing close to the number of products vying for your potential customers attention and credit cards on the e-commerce site.
According to Retail Touchpoints, more than 353 million different products for sale on Amazon.
With so many stores and products, your store basically doesn’t exist unless it ranks well in Amazon’s search.
Let’s assume you sell belly button rings and someone goes on Amazon to search for it:
This search term alone produced over 96 different products on Amazon’s first search results page that included about 12 stores.
What if your store isn’t one of them?
Your goal should be to improve Amazon SEO.
The higher your rankings, the more visibility you have with Amazon’s customers. And more visibility equals more sales.
As you see in the screenshot above, an excellent way to achieve this is to ensure your store and product descriptions are optimized with relevant keywords.
Is this why you’re looking for an Amazon marketing agency?
Then, consider one with a battle-tested SEO-driven content marketing program, as both store and product descriptions are forms of well-targeted content creation.
Let’s keep using our belly button ring example.
This time, assume you’ve optimized your store and product descriptions, adhering to all Amazon SEO requirements.
Despite this, it’s possible to still have other sellers with similar products on Amazon rank higher than you. You can expect this because Amazon has several ranking factors.
For instance, see the first product listed for the belly button ring we searched earlier:
This product was promoted to the very first position on Amazon search results page. The store spent money to get their ad to the top of the list. It’s pay to play.
That’s why it has a “Sponsored” label.
This scenario shows that you can promote your products on Amazon to reach targeted buyers based on different criteria like search terms, locations, age range, etc.
If this is your goal, the outcome would be to skip the queue and reach potential buyers on Amazon.
Amazon has an entire ad network that you can now access. Like any ad network, it requires a ton of setup and lots of ongoing attention if you want to make a decent profit.
An Amazon marketing agency is ideal for this type of work. You already have your store and products, you just want an experienced team to run your ads for you.
Will an agency add to your total costs instead of running the ads yourself? Yes. But the ads will also perform a lot better. The agency will easily pay for itself.
So if you have either of these two goals, I highly recommend working with an Amazon marketing agency.
So, what characteristics should you look out for when choosing one?
Below are six characteristics you’ll find in exceptional Amazon marketing agencies.
Marketing your store and products on Amazon has its best practices.
It also has its dos and don’ts.
To determine if an Amazon marketing agency knows and puts them into practice, check if they have practical knowledge of how the Amazon marketplace works.
Exceptional Amazon agencies share these best practices in the form of how-to guides and training resources, showing how to drive more sales on Amazon:
Marketing, on its own, won’t do all the heavy lifting required to turn your Amazon store into a thriving business.
Other essential things like proper store setup, products’ listing optimization, brand-specific creatives, PPC management, and others must go into the equation.
And you won’t achieve all that with a one-person team.
Hence, a characteristic of great Amazon marketing agencies is that they work with a diverse team of experts.
In the agency world, a battle-tested process makes all the difference. It’s the only way to deliver reliable results with new clients.
Without a solid process, working with an agency is like rolling the dice. Sometimes it works, sometimes… it doesn’t.
Successful agencies will customize processes based on your unique needs but they should have a solid core with a proven track record.
For my team at Neil Patel Digital, we’ve developed a comprehensive program to help Amazon sellers drive traffic to their stores and product pages.
Before you choose an agency, it’s important to examine who they’ve worked with in the past.
You’ll find this in their clients’ portfolio.
This is also a critical characteristic to check for, as it gives you a sense of the type of companies the agency typically works with.
Great Amazon marketing agencies take it one step by having an impressive portfolio of clients.
When choosing an agency, most people omit the company culture of an agency they want to partner with.
Working with an Amazon marketing agency is usually a long-term partnership. If your beliefs are not aligned, you face the possibility of running into problems in the future.
To avoid this, choose an agency with a great company culture with similar values as your own.
Before you choose an Amazon marketing agency, take a moment to look out for testimonials they’ve received from past and present clients.
This gives you an idea of what people think and feel about their services. It also helps you to see if what the agency offers is worth the fee.
Working with an Amazon marketing agency follows a series of steps. And you should adhere to them to ensure a smooth partnership.
For great agencies, expect go through the following steps:
When you visit the agency’s website, the first step is to fill their inquiry or contact form.
There’s usually forms for basic information about your business.
It’s also the first opportunity to share what your needs are and how you want them to help you.
For any well-run agency, you should hear back from them within 24 hours. If it takes longer than that, proceed with caution.
Experienced Amazon marketing agencies will want to do a one-on-one consultation session.
You should expect this, as it gives you the opportunity to share your needs and talk directly with a marketing expert.
No two business cases are 100% identical.
Great agencies take what you share with them from the first call and perform in depth research to come up with recommendations unique to your Amazon store.
Usually, a second call will get scheduled to go through everything.
By going through the recommendations delivered to you by an agency, you’ll gain more clarity if working with them is a good fit.
Right after this, you’ll usually receive a proposal and contract that sets the terms for working together.
Project management plays a very essential role when working with an Amazon marketing agency.
To ensure both parties have an understanding of who does what and when, excellent agencies would take you through an official client onboarding process.
Over this process, you’ll get to know who is your account manager (the expert overseeing your project) and get a full scope of the project, deliverables, and timelines.
So far, I’ve walked you through the characteristics and steps to working with an Amazon marketing agency.
But one question remains, how do you find an agency that is right for you?
The first step is to always know your goals.
The next step is to choose an agency with expertise in the area you need help with.
To help you, we profiled the top Amazon marketing companies and what they excel most at.
With SEO-driven content marketing, you can score higher Amazon SEO points by optimizing your store and product descriptions.
In turn, your store and products will become more discoverable with higher rankings when potential customers search on Amazon, as you saw in the example above.
It’s been ages since you could get away with one good photo and a basic product description. These days, you need a host of professional photos, videos, optimized descriptions and titles, comparison tables, FAQs, and detailed descriptions that address every objection in the market.
This is a core part of the offering at Neil Patel Digital:
Companies from across the world, from startups to enterprise brands, trust Neil Patel Digital.
When potential buyers research products or services on Amazon, a whopping 64% of them don’t click beyond the 1st three results.
To get your store and products in those top positions, you may need to use sponsored posts on Amazon.
Another name for this is Amazon PPC.
Thrive Agency is a company with over a decade of experience in this area:
This company has over 150 five-star reviews across Google, Facebook, and Clutch with Amazon-specific case studies.
Your Amazon store account health, product deactivations, shipping performance, intellectual property violations, and several others have a direct impact on how well your marketing performs on Amazon.
Vertical Rail is the agency I recommend to ensure you’re 100% compliant on Amazon and reach your marketing goals:
This agency has great case studies on how to run your Amazon store more efficiently.
This trend could be the next big marketing opportunity. And with big marketing opportunities like this, you can make a bundle if you get in early.
Voice SEO is the agency you can turn to for this:
TopSEOs, an agency ranking domain, ranked Voice SEO as its number one company for voice search optimization, and they have accreditations to demonstrate their expertise.
Most successful Amazon sellers turn to social media to engage their target audience with the ultimate goal of driving traffic to their store and product pages.
If you want to take advantage of social media to drive sales for your Amazon store, Voy Media is great for that:
This agency combines strategy and creativity to help Amazon sellers drive sales on Amazon via various social media platforms.
Yes, and I’ll tell you why.
To give your business a chance, standout from the crowd, and get found on Amazon when potential customers search for things you sell, you’ll need marketing.
And that’s where hiring an Amazon marketing agency comes in.
Whether you want higher rankings or want to run profitable Amazon PPC ads, get an expert that knows what they’re doing. There’s too much competition on Amazon to do it all yourself.
Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
It’s no secret that the ecommerce industry has been booming. As those trends continue to climb, the dropshipping market is following the same trajectory.
Dropshipping makes it possible for anyone to run an ecommerce shop without having to purchase, store, or ship inventory. Essentially, you can operate an ecommerce site from your couch without ever touching the products you’re selling.
But in order to do this successfully, you’ll need to find a dropshipping company to handle the logistics of fulfilling orders.
Whether you have an existing ecommerce business or you’re new to selling online, this guide will help you find the best dropshipping company for your unique needs. Continue below to learn more about my top recommendations and strategy for evaluating different options.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of different dropshipping companies on the market today. Without a buying guide to follow, narrowing down your options can seem like an insurmountable task. To make your life easier, follow the methodology that I’ve outlined below.
These are the factors that you should take into consideration as you’re researching and evaluating different dropshipping solutions:
Dropshipping companies come in all different shapes and sizes. So the first thing you need to do is determine what type of company will meet the requirements for your business.
Do you need a manufacturer? Wholesale supplier? Supplier directory? In some instances, you might just be looking for dropshipping software to facilitate your existing supplier relationship.
We’ll cover the types of dropshipping companies in greater detail shortly. This will give you a more detailed explanation of your options.
Next, you need to make sure that the company you’re considering supports your sales platform. It’s worth noting that not all dropshipping solutions are compatible with every ecommerce website.
For example, online stores using Shopify won’t necessarily be using the same dropshipping company as a business selling via eBay or Amazon. A brick-and-mortar retailer that wants to add an online sales channel won’t have the same needs as new business selling via Wix or WooCommerce.
So verifying the compatibility between your online sales channel and the dropshipping company’s logistics will be a great way to narrow down your choices.
In addition to the logistical benefits of dropshipping, you’ll also have access to wholesale rates. But like any type of inventory, those prices will vary from supplier to supplier.
Some dropshipping companies force you to pay a monthly or annual membership for access to wholesale pricing. In many cases, these membership fees are well-worth the discounts you’ll get as a result. But usually, the manufacturers will offer the best rates if you buy directly through them.
You’ll have to walk the line between what makes sense for your convenience vs. profit margins.
What products are you selling? What are you planning to sell online?
The answer to these questions will definitely impact the dropshipping company you choose. If you’re selling shirts and hats, you probably won’t have the same dropshipping needs as an online store that sells computers, headphones, and other electronics.
Are you selling brand name products? Or will you be putting your own logo on inventory?
These are other questions to consider as you’re evaluating prospective solutions.
The best dropshipping companies leverage automation, which allows you to be as hands-off as possible.
You need to understand the logistics between how orders get processed from company to company. What happens after a customer buys something online? How does that order ultimately end up at their doorstep? The answer varies depending on the solution you choose.
In some cases, you’ll have to manually enter those order details from your own website to the dropshipping platform. But with an automated process, you won’t have to do anything. An online order will automatically be sent to the supplier without any extra steps on your end.
For those of you who already have relationships with suppliers, you can leverage dropshipping software to automate your fulfillment process.
Even though you’re not touching the products with dropshipping, your company is still responsible for the product itself.
The customer doesn’t care where the product came from or who shipped it. They expect high-quality products delivered quickly. If the dropshipping company you’re using takes weeks to ship and delivers defective products, it’s going to be a poor reflection of your company—not theirs.
So choose a company with an established reputation in this space. You might have to pay a little extra for the inventory, but it’s worth it to keep your customers satisfied.
As previously mentioned, there are different categories within the dropshipping space. Here’s a quick overview that explains each type of dropshipping company. This will make it easier for you to determine which type addresses what your business is looking for.
A dropshipping marketplace is an online platform with a network of different dropshipping companies. You’ll be able to facilitate your entire operation and manage the relationships between different dropshippers from a single place.
This is a great option for ecommerce shops that plan to sell products in different categories sourced from multiple suppliers. It’s also a great way to shop around and evaluate different companies from a single source of truth.
Going straight to the manufacturer is one of the best ways to get the lowest possible whole inventory prices—you won’t be going through a third-party.
However, not every manufacturer will be set up to facilitate dropshipping out of the gate. So you might need to use dropshipping software to manage this relationship. Another downside of using a manufacturer is that you’ll be limited to what that manufacturer produces. If you want to sell products that they don’t make, you’ll need to source them from a different manufacturer. At scale, this can be tough to manage.
A wholesale supplier doesn’t necessarily manufacture products. But they operate warehouses with inventory from various manufacturers.
The prices from a wholesale supplier will still be low, but definitely not as low compared to coming directly from the manufacturer (the wholesaler has to take a cut). These dropshipping companies are great for businesses that want to sell a wide range of different products in various categories.
Supplier directories don’t actually handle dropshipping. Similar to an online marketplace, it’s a single location for you to find various suppliers.
But to access information about these suppliers and prices, you usually have to pay a membership fee to the directory.
Dropshipping software is a great way for online stores to automate order fulfillment with their suppliers and manufacturers. These tools eliminate the need for ecommerce shops to manually enter order details after something is purchased through their online sales channels.
With dropshipping software, the order information gets sent directly to the supplier for fulfillment. This is faster, more efficient, reduces human error, and allows the site operators to stay more hands-off.
Doba is one of the most popular dropshipping services on the market today. Its popularity is largely due to the fact that it can accommodate such a wide range of ecommerce shops with varying needs.
With Doba, you’ll have access to millions of products from hundreds of suppliers in a single online catalog. Here’s how it works:
Other noteworthy highlights of Doba include:
Plans start at $29 per month. If you sign up for an annual subscription, you’ll get two months for free. Try it free for 30 days.
More than one million products are available on Wholesale2b. The platform makes it easy for anyone to integrate dropshippers to their online store.
Wholesale2b is compatible with multiple sales channels and online marketplaces like Amazon, WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, Ecwid, eBay, Magento, and more.
Here are some of the top reasons why Wholesale2b ranks so high on my list:
Whether you have an existing online store you’re planning to start a new ecommerce business, Wholesale2b has you covered. Sign up and try it today—it’s free.
If you’re using Shopify to sell online, look no farther than Oberlo. The platform integrates seamlessly with your Shopify store, so you can start dropshipping with ease.
More than 100 million products have been sold online with Oberlo.
Oberlo is free for basic use, but you’ll definitely want to upgrade to a paid plan, or you’ll be limited with what you can accomplish. Some of the top features include:
Paid plans start at $29.90 per month. This entry-level plan supports up to 10,000 products. You can join Oberlo for free to get started.
Megagoods is my top recommendation for online retailers in the consumer electronics space.
They provide fast shipping, efficient processing, and have a great selection of brand name electronics products.
Here are some of the most popular product categories offered through the Megagoods platform:
In addition to the extensive electronics options, Megagoods also supplies items like watches, kitchen appliances, cutlery, cookware sets, and more.
The interface is a little outdated, but a Megagoods subscription costs just $14.99 per month. This membership fee gives you access to exclusive pricing. Try it free for 30 days.
SaleHoo is one of the most popular wholesaler directory platforms on the market today. A membership grants you access to 2.5+ million products from 8,000+ suppliers.
With SaleHoo, you can find products and start selling them online in a matter of minutes.
For 15+ years, more than 137,000 people have used SaleHoo to sell online with dropshipping services. Here are some other reasons why they come so highly recommended:
Annual pricing for the SaleHoo supplier directory costs $67. Alternatively, you can pay a one-time fee of $127 for lifetime access. Try it risk-free.
Dropified is another popular dropshipping solution. It seamlessly integrates with ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and more.
Unlike other dropshipping tools, Dropfied is also compatible with eBay and AliExpress.
If you’re using eBay or AliExpress for inventory, Dropfied eliminates the need to copy and paste customer order details. These orders can automatically be shipped to your customers directly from the supplier.
Other top features and perks of using Dropfied include:
This list of features and benefits goes on and on. It’s quite extensive, to say the least. Dropified plans start at $47 per month. The entry-level plan supports 15,000 products and unlimited monthly orders. Try it free for 14 days.
Inventory Source is a bit unique compared to other dropshipping companies on our list. They provide software to facilitate dropshipping automation.
To improve the logistics with your existing suppliers, Inventory Source will be a great option for you to consider.
Here’s why I like Inventory Source so much:
Overall, the software is really easy to set up. It will benefit you and your suppliers alike. Plans start at $99 per month. You can create an account for free to browse supplier product feeds, automation tools, and integrations.
The concept of dropshipping is extremely appealing for anyone interested in selling online. But it only works well if you’re using the right dropshipping company.
Which dropshipping company is the best? It depends on your needs.
Just use the recommendations and buying guide explained in this post to find the best dropshipping services for your online store.