How To Create Blog Content Strategy For Your Business

Does your online store have a blog section? If so, great – because you not only have a great source for website traffic, but also a fun destination to connect with your customers while promoting your brand. But how does one go about with establishing posts on his blog? What should he write about? How can he turn his posts into calls-to-action or nuggets of wisdom that can translate into sales?

To clear things out, in the today’s post, we’re going to take a look at how to promote your online store with the power of blogging! To help you create a winning blog content strategy, we’ll discuss how to start up your website blog and create engaging content – here we go!

7 steps to designing the right blog content strategy

#1 Know what your blog goals are

Like with social media posts, blog posts need to have a strategy too. Whether your posts are meant to inform (and be shared) or drive customers to purchase items through tooting product benefits, blog posts work greatly on your very own ecommerce site by sharing knowledge, industry/niche insight, or fun stories about your company, staff, or customers.

Be sure your blog has a section where readers can leave comments and share your post. This helps reach engagement goals for your post. If you are trying to increase sales through product links, make sure your links work properly. If you want to increase SEO, make sure you have fitting keywords (more on that in a second) and good on-page and off-page links.

#2 Find out what is relevant to your niche and audience

Once you know your website’s audience and niche (which by the time you create or buy a retail website, you should already be crystal clear of), you can better determine what type of content your shoppers will resonate with. For example, if you’re an online shop selling workout gear or accessories for instance, you can center your blog content strategy around workouts, nutritional meals, ways to reduce stress, pain management and massage methodology, just to name some examples.

#3 Create a content plan

Once you can highlight what type of information can be of value to your audience, it’s time to plan out your posts. Whether it’s cool behind-the-scenes trivia about your company or some community giveback initiative or a fun food recipe, utilize your blog to promote your online store through bringing insight and knowledge to viewers. 

While there isn’t an ideal number of times to post, try to aim for at least one blog post a week. If you have more manpower or become part of a larger company, daily posts could be great. If you are the sole person for your marketing or have a growing team, you can delegate different blog posts or categories/post types to different people. For example, one person can gather posts on trending topics in your industry and another can do write-ups that give insight into your company’s history or employees (ex. Interview with CEO, marketing manager). The key is to be consistent. Don’t write one post then go MIA for 2 weeks.

#4 Dive in on keywords

And when you create your content plan or start your posts, be sure to find a main keyword or phrase or handful of phrases you want to focus on for each post. The Google Keyword Planning Tool is a popular go-to (and it’s free). The Keyword Magic Tool by SEMRush is also a great free alternative, as are other options such as WordTracker or the Moz Keyword Explorer. Note these all require you to register for an account to get started, and Google requires billing information in case you want to run PPC ads.

#5 Be informative and be fun

Remember, blogs are a place to bring in traffic to your website. So the stuff that you are posting should be of value to readers: from did-you-know information about subjects in your niche or fun ideas for gifts or how to incorporate some of your products for certain situations (ex. Best kitchen accessories for a first-time homeowner).

#6 Be sure to distribute

Do you have a weekly newsletter or monthly round-up email that you send to customers? Or are there scheduled promotional emails? Whichever you utilize, make sure your blog is a part of it! Work with your graphic designers and copywriters (or do it yourself) to dedicate a section of your emails to highlight your blog or feature the latest post. This ensures your contacts list is seeing your posts.

You can also regularly link your blog posts to your social media such as Twitter or Facebook or Instagram to increase your potential traffic.

#7 Seek out guest bloggers

Speaking of increasing potential traffic, one great marketing spin on your blog is to feature guest bloggers. And this plays greatly into working with influencers – you can have a personality guest-write a series of posts about his or her experience being in your niche (beauty, fitness, decor, etc.) or favorite items from your website.

Examples of great company blogs

How do large-scale corporations promote their businesses through blog entries? Here are some inspirational examples to take a look at.

The Container Store

The U.S.-based home-storage solutions chain store features a blog on its website called the What We Stand For Blog. The page features many posts on community and corporate efforts, as well as those on storage ideas and home organization tips. The blog also features some employee highlights and how they get cleaned up at home. The Container Store’s blog showcases a great way to shine the light on your involvement efforts in your niche (taking part in eco-friendliness events, design scholarship contests) and showing corporate culture (hiring events, employee spotlights), all the while weaving in highlights about your products (organization tips).

H&M

The international fast-fashion chain serves up engaging posts through what is known as the H&M Magazine on its website. The publication features a diverse range of topics, from how to dress and pair clothing for the seasons to corporate efforts towards employee equality and interviews with designers and celebrities. The blog allows viewers to not only engage with H&M’s releases, but also see how the brand plays a role in influencers and figures in the fashion industry, all while playing another role as a socially-responsible brand.

Sprouts Farmers Market

A health-foods grocery chain located in the U.S., Sprouts Farmers Market is a destination for conscious eating and eco-friendly lifestyle – so it comes as no surprise that the company has a bustling blog. Although blandly titled as “Articles & Resources” on its website, the blog boasts a sales-driven blog strategy by showing items for different occasions, seasons, and themes; this ensures customers have visibility to what sauces or snacks or fruit they want to pick up on their next visit. The blog also features guest chefs and wellness and fitness tips, rounding up a very engaging blog that positions the happy-eating supermarket as an expert in the niche of supermarket chains.

United Airlines

When your business is about traveling the world, you’ve got a lot to share with everyone, right? Although selling a service and not so much an actual product, United Airlines still makes incredible use of its blog, called Hub, to share travel tips, company news, travel recaps and stories from actual employees, and community efforts. You can see great blog title ideas with information in numerical lists, which makes for an easy click and read for viewers. The blog posts span different subject matters from tips to personal stories and recaps of trips – this all makes for a mix of content that is informative and entertaining, which is the ideal balance to strive for with blog content.

These examples give fantastic insights into how to promote your online store with the power of educational, entertaining, and informative articles. Using these tips to create a powerful blog content strategy, you’ll be able to boost your own in-store blog significantly – and make a positive change to your overall business performance as well.

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How To Schedule Instagram Posts In A Click: 6 Most Helpful Tools

Would you like to improve your Instagram engagement? Are your posts getting inconsistent numbers of likes and comments? If these challenges are familiar to you, don’t worry! Today we will dive into how to schedule Instagram posts and boost your Instagram performance

Why you might want to schedule Instagram posts in a specific way

Scheduling Instagram posts is an ever-changing topic that needs constant attention. Because of the frequent updates, Instagram’s algorithms change and have a lasting effect on its users. It affects everyone, from ordinary users to Instagram bloggers and Instagram-based stores. So, it is essential to know how the platform organises the posts in the newsfeed and on the search/discover page. 

Instagram posts used to be arranged by the date of the publication and were displayed in the news feed in chronological order. Though the timing of the posts still plays an important role, the current algorithm assesses the posts by their relevance and engagement rate. 

For example, your audience has various times of activity during the day. If you post at the time of their lowest activity, your publication will receive a low amount of likes and comments. As a result, Instagram will render your post not as appealing as the average one, thus displaying it to a lower number of followers and potential customers. Because of this, it’s essential to figure out the time of day when your audience’s activity rate is at its highest, and post during that time. 

What are the best solutions to schedule Instagram posts automatically?

Let’s be honest: you’re highly unlikely to always sit in front of your computer/laptop or mobile device awaiting the much-anticipated hour to publish your post. Wouldn’t you rather have a tool that allows you to publish your social media content automatically? Let’s review the best tools that can help you accomplish this with little to no effort. 

Sked Social 

Sked offers almost everything you might need from a scheduling app. It supports several social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and its primary objective – Instagram. Sked Social is great for people who work in teams, as it has a Collaboration feature for people who work on the same project providing access to all the team members. Not a lot of scheduling tools can offer this kind of functionality. 

Sked Social has advanced Instagram posts and story analytics features. Using these, you will find it easier to identify the best working times and fully maximize your rate of engagement. Sked Social offers the following: 

  • Accurate analytics and reports
  • Uploading in Bulk 
  • A social media calendar with complex scheduling features
  • A mobile app where you can check and manage your scheduling

What scheduling features does it have? The most essential ones are: 

  • Automated hashtags placement in the first comment 
  • Automatic publishing
  • Opportunity to tag people, products and location 
  • A content calendar which allows you to preview and plan your Instagram posts
  • An auto-posting feature that allows to schedule carousels, photos, video posts, and even story content 

Additionally, it also allows you to visually set up your grid, for you to get a better understanding of what it will look like. It is especially convenient for users who like to make their grid look aesthetically pleasing. 

Sked Social has a 7-day trial and offers the following pricing plans: 

  • Fundamentals ($25 per month) 
  • Essentials ($75 per month) 
  • Professional ($135 per month) 
  • Enterprise ($260 per month)

Combin scheduler

Combin Scheduler is used for planning ahead and instant posting. It allows you to publish from anywhere, even from your desktop. Some of the most useful features include: 

  • Editing images size 
  • Uploading stories in bulk 
  • Tagging users and locations 
  • Hashtag management 
  • Stylizing your Instagram grid, etc.

Combin Scheduler has three types of pricing plans: Free, Personal ($15 per month), and Business ($30 per month). 

The free plan allows you to manage only 1 Instagram account, which includes an automatic posting of 3 posts and 15 stories per week. 

By upgrading to pricing plans, you receive the ability to post unlimited stories and posts, tagging unlimited users and locations. Combin is a great solution for planning and publishing content on Instagram. It will help increase engagement with your following and drive traffic to your Instagram store. 

Later

Later allows you to manage content on multiple social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and of course Instagram. It is mainly utilized to plan, organize, and schedule Instagram content. Later offers easy to use scheduling and analytics. Other features of Later include: 

  • A visual planner to arrange your Instagram grid 
  • The ability to easily search for user-generated content and add it to your personal library 
  • A link in Bio tool 
  • Complex Instagram Analytics and Instagram hashtag analytics
  • The ability to preview your feed before posting 

With all the useful features Later offers, some drawbacks need to be addressed, such as: 

  • Free accounts won’t allow you to upload posts of certain dimensions and file sizes. Video uploads are allowed on a few specific plans. 
  • Later permits you to plan out your Instagram Stories and Carousels, however, it won’t automatically post them for you. You will receive a notification and post manually. 
  • Free plans don’t allow you to view analytics or view posts that are two weeks old. 

Later offers many pricing plans to manage your Instagram schedule: 

  • Free (for individuals) 
  • Plus – $9 a month (for power users & solopreneurs) 
  • Premium – $19 a month (for small businesses), 
  • Starter – $29 a month (for growing companies), 
  • Brand – $49 a month (for agencies & large teams). 

One thing that should be noted is that there are Yearly and Monthly pricing plans. By purchasing a yearly subscription the price will be slightly lower than a monthly subscription. 

Later is a great piece of software that will help you see the information about engagement rates, the best time to post, and much more. 

Tailwind

Tailwind is a powerful social media scheduler that mainly works with visual content, and supports Instagram and Pinterest. This tool helps you optimize your planning and helps increase your engagement with followers. Besides its scheduling features, Tailwind has practical analytics like profile metrics, trend reports, and engagement rates. Some of the most significant features it includes: 

  • Hashtag search that will find hashtags lists and recommendations useful to you
  • Smart scheduling which will determine the time when your followers are most active 

Tailwind has a Free plan with limited functionality. Upgraded plans start at $15.99/month for one Instagram account and 400 posts per month. Higher priced upgrade plans have more additional features and offer further detailed analytical data. 

Sprout Social 

Sprout Social is one of the best tools for social media management out there. Besides Instagram, it supports many other platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+. It isn’t simply a scheduler: it can help with other components of social media management. There are so many features that they are sorted by the following categories: 

  • Analytics 
  • Automation 
  • Collaboration 
  • Engagement 
  • Listening
  • Publishing

Keeping it short, this tool allows you to publish, schedule, draft and queue your posts. Additionally, it can help you measure the engagement of the posts once they are published. Other helpful features include: 

  • Monitoring of profiles, keywords, and locations
  • Social reporting for Instagram and other social media platforms 
  • Suggestions of the best time for publishing 

Sprout Social is undeniably one of the best solutions for not only scheduling but also optimizing your content to gain the highest engagement possible. However, it has its downsides as well. 

It allows you to choose the frequency of posts, though you can’t choose the specific time of posting. That’s a major disadvantage for users who want to post during the peak activity of their followers. 

Sprout Social has limited features as well. Instead of auto-posting, it only supports sending notifications and reminders to post. There is no support of Instagram carousels and hashtags in the first comment. Furthermore, Sprout Social does not allow to add locations to Instagram posts. 

It offers a 30 day free trial period, though one of the major downsides is the price tag. There are 3 pricing plans: 

  • Standard ($99 per user per month)
  • Professional ($149 per user per month) 
  • Advanced ($249 per user per month)

If you have a limited budget or even require a limited amount of features, then this probably isn’t the right tool for you. 

How to schedule Instagram posts with Social Rabbit 

How To Schedule Instagram Posts: Social Rabbit Plugin

The Social Rabbit plugin is the ultimate tool to automate all of your managerial tasks and help you save time and money in the process. If you’re wondering how to schedule Instagram posts conveniently and take care of multiple other social networks, too, this is a perfect solution! It works with the four most popular social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

What is Social Rabbit? Besides scheduling Instagram posts, it offers many other helpful features that are centered around promoting your products or services and your business. Here is what it does:

  • Publishes store products 

With this feature, Social Rabbit creates a post based on the products you sell on your online store. It automatically publishes a random item together with its image, title, price, and link. 

  • Creates unique posts 

For this function to work properly, you need to upload images, hashtags, and text templates beforehand. Social Rabbit automatically gathers the content together to create unique posts without you having to do anything more. 

  • Sends Welcome messages 

Social Rabbit has a feature that will instantly greet new followers with a premade message you can write and change at any time. 

  • Boost social media activity 

The plugin automatically searches and goes through pages with keywords that are related to your store niche. Follows them, likes and comments on their posts, which results in attracting more attention to your profile.

  • Finds business partnership opportunities 

This feature is available for Instagram only. By specifying the keywords related to your niche and store in a message template, you let Social Rabbit find the appropriate Instagram accounts and automatically send them invitations for collaborations. 

  • Gives your account a vibrant, non-spammy appearance

Using the Social Rabbit to create automated content for your social media, you don’t need to worry about making your page look ‘spammy’ or ‘robotic’. Thanks to the Posting Frequency and Posting Time Randomizer settings, you can specify how often the posts will be published, and vary your posting time slightly to make it look like you’re posting manually. Also, you can set the Rabbit to post at completely random times of the day!

So, in a nutshell, the Social Rabbit plugin allows you to post automatically, at a predetermined time, makes its best to increase your organic traffic and conversion rates, and runs 24/7 letting you shift your focus to other business tasks safely. 

The pricing is one of the best things about Social Rabbit. With its several pricing plans (Basic for $69, Expanded for $149, and Advanced for $209) it only requires a one-time payment with no monthly fees. In addition to this, it offers round the clock support from a support manager and free updates as long as you have an account. 

Have you been wondering how to schedule Instagram posts easily and conveniently? Hopefully, you found this article informative and insightful! If you are looking for more tips and secrets on how to manage your social media promotions, be sure to keep up with our blog. We wish you the best of luck in your online journey!

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Some Entrepreneurs Make These Dropshipping Mistakes. What About You?

Running a dropshipping store is engaging and entertaining.

While bringing you an impressive profit, this business is relatively easy to manage – still, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing much to improve and enhance now and then!

If you browse the Web, you’ll see that it’s quite a common cry for help: “I just got a dropshipping store and I see no sales. What’s wrong?

What’s wrong, indeed? Let’s take a look at the most common dropshipping mistakes that store owners make. As a BONUS, we’ll give you simple action plans to help you fix them!

Dropshipping mistake #1: Doing nothing

Oh, that’s the easiest way out, right? It sounds really tempting to create or to buy an online store, and to simply wait until someone stumbles upon it, gets interested, and makes a purchase. Passive income, yay!

In the real world, it doesn’t always happen.

No promotion means no sales, and no sales means no profit.

If no money and effort is invested into the dropshipping store promotion, it will just stay there dead as a rock – a professionally developed, smoothly working, beautifully designed, but completely unused website that brings no income.

That’s exactly what happened to Alex – after he got a dropshipping store, he just put it aside. In a month, though, it became clear it’s time to start doing something. Trying an ever-changing mix of promotional techniques, he gained an impressive audience of loyal customers and, as the result, sold one of his stores for a breathtaking profit.

Your action plan: Read these real-life stories on what it takes to make the first online sale, and follow these tips to achieve your first sale faster. This list of free traffic sources that can drive more visitors on your website will be helpful, too!

Dropshipping mistake #2: Taking a too broad niche

To be honest, we’ve all been here. Choosing the perfect dropshipping niche is not easy at all.

Even the successful dropshippers who have a huge experience in the field definitely had troubles with the niche choice at some point of their business journey. The case of Mousslim is a shining example – even though his dropshipping business brings him dozens of thousands of dollars every month, his very first niche was a really bad choice. That’s why it’s vital to deeply know the niche and to be genuinely interested in it!

The saddest dropshipping mistake that can be made at this point is going for a VERY broad niche.

Let’s take ‘Clothes’, for example. If ‘Clothes’ is the niche AND the main keyword, the store owner is definitely going to have a bad time. No doubts, he (or she) will find thousands of matching items on AliExpress, and will gladly upload them on the website. Then what? What to do next?

From the point of view of SEO optimization, the ‘Clothes’ niche is hopeless. An extreme competition, a vague keyword – none of this is good for a webstore. Even carefully targeted Instagram ads won’t help much.

Your action plan: Take a look here to see how to work in the apparel niche, and use the same approach for any other niche you choose. Don’t hesitate to ask us for a deep niche research if you need expert assistance!

Dropshipping mistake #3: Having no knowledge about the target audience

Customers are the driving force of any online store growth.

That’s why it’s absolutely vital to know as much about them as possible! A familiar customer segment means a lot for the success of the whole business.

A serious dropshipping mistake that can be made on this stage is going with blind guesses.

It happens when dropshipping store owners don’t rely on any researches, statistical data from their own stores, or actual clients’ feedback. They have some general idea about the people who might want to buy from them, and they just don’t go any further.

It leads to absolutely weird marketing decisions. As a rule, such actions take lots of time, money, and energy, but bring little to no results.

Your action plan: Check out these 3 ways to identify your target audience, and apply them to your business. To make your promotional messages well-targeted at a proper audience, consider ordering video ads and ads packages for Facebook and Instagram that go together with recommended audience settings.

Dropshipping mistake#4: Choosing poor marketing tactics

If dropshipping store owners know nothing about their customers and don’t understand the market (this is why it’s so important to be passionate about the chosen niche!), strange things start happening.

  • Store is promoted to everyone. The marketer does nothing to narrow down the target audience and just goes through Web shouting about the store. Lots of time and energy (and money) goes into attracting the wrong people. They just don’t have the slightest relation to the store and show no interest towards the offers.
  • Ads are placed on unsuitable channels. The marketer makes no research and randomly promotes the offers through all the media imaginable. As you can guess, the efforts are mostly put into absolutely fruitless channels that bring no return.
  • Store is promoted through 1-2 channels only. The marketer relies on a few channels and uses them over and over again, not willing to try anything else. It’s good if these channels work well; but what if other ones work even better?
  • No tests are performed. To see if a new channel will be beneficial for a dropshipping store promotion, it is necessary to try it several times with different settings, different audience segments, and different product categories. If there are no tests, it’s impossible to say which channel works the best for specific audiences and items.

Your action plan: Use this monumental guide on how to promote your dropshipping store. If you need any professional assistance, there are lots of ways we can help you: look through the list of expert marketing services here.

Dropshipping mistake #5: Using no automatic promotion tools

There’s actually no wonder why dropshippers stick to a few randomly selected promotion channels and rarely use anything extra.

There are only 24 hours in a day.

Even if there is any interest towards the use of some new and awesome strategies and techniques, there simply might be no time for it.

Automated solutions can do the trick; the most useful of them, for example, automatically promote a store in social networks using the owner’s settings and preferences. Unfortunately, ecommerce entrepreneurs tend to overlook such solutions.

Your action plan: Watch this video explaining how to automate your social media marketing efforts without making you look like a spammer. Don’t forget to also check out this handy tutorial on auto-running your Instagram account!

Dropshipping mistake #6: Neglecting SEO

In our experience, there are some people who hardly ever pay attention to search engine optimization.

That’s really sad because SEO constantly works for a store in the long term! Even if the results don’t seem to be immediate, they accumulate over time.

Ideally, SEO should work for the benefit of the webstore since the very moment of the store launch.

In reality, it commonly turns out that store owners don’t even do a keyword research at the planning stage, to say nothing about further product pages optimization and so on.

Your action plan: Follow this SEO ecommerce checklist to see if your online store is properly optimized, and make sure you’re not making any of these critical SEO mistakes! If you assembled your store on your own, without any developers’ or marketers’ help, you might also want to check out this SEO Starter Pack.

Dropshipping mistake #7: Learning no lessons

And this is the most serious dropshipping mistake a store owner can make.

All of our first business steps are shaky – it’s impossible to be 100% confident about things we never tried before.

All the people who nowadays run highly profitable dropshipping stores had some difficulties throughout their way. It’s absolutely fine to have no knowledge about something; it’s not that fine to keep staying unaware of important things.

An awesome feature of dropshipping in particular is the possibility to learn from one’s experience and mistakes. There are tons of helpful ecommerce materials that are available for free, and this is an educational opportunity that you simply can’t miss out on.

Your action plan: Monitor your store performance, gather the clients’ feedback, take free courses, read guides, watch tutorials, attend webinars and exchange experience with other entrepreneurs – this is what helps you grow your business and prosper.

All the experiments, tests, trials and discoveries are the drivers of your online business growth. And you know what’s the best part? You’re not alone on your ecommerce journey 😉

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Online Business In India That Made $52,000+ In 7 Months: Ankit’s Story

Can you launch and run a successful online business in India? What do you need to do to make it happen? Today, we’re talking to Ankit, a 21 year old online entrepreneur who kindly agreed to share his first-hand experience – so, welcome our guest!

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please, introduce yourself!

Hi, I’m Ankit Patra, a Bachelor in Computer Science, and an owner of an online business in India. I run 3 dropshipping stores mostly targeted at the buyers from the United States.

Why did you decide to launch an online business in India?

Frankly, it all started when I was looking for sources of income to become more independent in college. It is very normal and customary for Indian students to be in college and still be totally dependent on their parents for their tuition and literally all of their expenses. I was no different but, I dared to think beyond just to at least pay for that meal on my own, you see it’s simple…I didn’t want to be dependent.

What motivated you to try AliExpress dropshipping model for your business?

Freedom. Isn’t that the reason why everyone enters into the online space in general? Well, the dropshipping model was the most welcoming with tons of content online and a lot of guides (not courses) available which made the initial process a breeze and I could literally search for any of the topics and there’s always more than 10 results to help me out with my problem. That gave me confidence as a newbie that okay, I can do this and there will always be people who can help me out.

How did your online business in India begin?

For my first store, I went with simple WordPress hosting and WooCommerce – I felt Shopify was too expensive. I used AliDropship Woo plugin to get this store going and with its help, my first store got off the ground.

I didn’t have much experience, though, and AliExpress was my first platform to experiment with. Maybe that is the reason for my initial failure, but trust me, I learned a lot from my failures to reach where I have reached today.

I have worked for months without success and testing tons of products only to be met with my fair share of failure. But I am a pretty disciplined individual and take my work seriously, so I kept going.

How did it all change? Do you remember the first sale made from your store?

Yes, I do remember the first sale: it was on the 9th of December, 2019. I just started running my ads and chi-ching! I got a sale for $29.95 (including shipping) for only $5 in ad spend and that was the motivation I needed. Frankly, I was elated and I am sure anyone would be. I am not very expressive with emotions but I won’t lie that I let that tear drop down when I saw my first sale.

It was only the month of August, 2019 when I entered into the whole dropshipping scenario. Day in and day out, I had been researching and testing products and already spent $1,000 with no returns or so I thought. I kept watching 4-6 hours of YouTube everyday and implementing whatever I learned in the Facebook ads and store. So, it took me about 4 months of rigorous testing and $1,000 to get my first success. For some it might happen sooner or later, but, I guess I got the right amount of time to hone myself to be able to run a proper business and I am glad it took me 4 months.

How does your online business perform now?

Here’s a performance screenshot I want to share:

So, you see nothing goes to waste, you just have to stay till the end, which I did and at the age of 21 I currently have a net worth of $50,000 and no liabilities.

How did you get the right idea for your online business?

To find a winning niche, I did research with the help of Google Trends. Also, checking out popular Facebook videos turned out to be really helpful to see what users want and expect to get.

While choosing the right products to add to my stores, I analyzed the AliExpress stats. Both the product and the supplier must have an average rating of 4.8 stars or more to make me interested. I keep adding new products to my stores from time to time: after an initial check, I test them with Facebook ads. To set the new prices, I usually multiply the original price by 2 – or even by 5 if it’s a low-ticket item.

How do you promote your online store?

I use Facebook and Instagram ads only, didn’t even try any other channels. Getting the right audience for my products is one of the most difficult challenges, so I test out several creatives and copies and do A/B testing to discover the best performing ads. Also, I test several interests at once to determine the best audience for my ads. On average, it costs me around $5,000/month to promote all my 3 stores.

What can you say about your business management?

It takes me around 2-3 hours every day to manage my stores. The most time-consuming task apart from ads testing is product research and product pages editing.

Sometimes, customer service can also be tricky. Usually, about 1% of customers are very difficult to deal with, so I try to keep enough margin to give out refunds. I just price my products as such that for every 100 orders I have at least enough money to maintain my 2x margin even after refunding 5 of them. But buyers are different, of course: my biggest order was for $518 without even a $1 discount. Probably, that guy thought that the price was too low…IDK

What about the legal side of running an online business in India?

Well, I registered my business officially. It’s not really difficult. You must be over 18 years of age, have a government issued ID, and have a rented place with proper lease agreement. Simple and no fuss!

How has your life changed?

Speaking of my daily life, nothing much has changed. But, I have been able to get that dream machine 16″ MacBook Pro and my dream Sony headphones. Just the best combination to get my work done. I don’t want any liabilities or whatsoever and want to invest this money in my future business ventures. You see, in the future, I plan to start my own advertising and marketing agency. I have a long long way to go and be much more successful.

What do your friends and family think about your business?

They couldn’t have been happier. As an Indian family, my family couldn’t believe that I had acquired this much wealth just over the period of 6-7 months. Just to give you a broad picture, in India an entry level software engineer at say Facebook earns only $17,000 base salary in a year. So considering that I had almost earned 4 times of that in just a few months…that was a big feat.

What can you advise our readers – those who already run their stores and those who didn’t start the business yet?

I would like to tell all of the folks out there, to never give in and just keep going on. I know you must have heard this from everyone. But, trust me you never know when you will get your first taste of success and frankly it won’t come if you are just waiting for something magical to happen. You have to work hard and put the money where your mouth is (Facebook ads and any apps).

Remember, in dropshipping time is of essence. Imagine you are trying to advertise a product which recently went out of trend: you would hardly be successful! So, my advice is: invest money wherever necessary, and don’t try to do everything on your own. Not good at building stores? Pay for it if you can and save your time for other things… don’t break your head over petty things, you can’t be a master at everything so let others – specialists, apps, subscriptions – do their work for the money you paid.

Good luck!

We are beyond grateful to Ankit for his kind and detailed feedback! His experience proves that launching an online business in India is totally worth it – and hopefully, it will encourage you, our dear readers, to make your first steps in dropshipping, too.

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13 Best Free WooCommerce Plugins That Upgrade Your Store

Managing your own online dropshipping business may be challenging unless you know what tools you can arm yourself with! In this article, we have collected the best free WooCommerce plugins that work for the benefit of WooCommerce store owners.

Online shopping market is constantly growing, and the competition is sharp. To gain the upper hand among online retailers, you should make your dropshipping store as user-friendly and functional as possible.

It might be quite a challenging task…unless you use special tools that extend the functionality of your site and improve its performance. Various add-ons can provide stable organic traffic from socials, promote your products, improve page loading speed, stimulate purchases, and whatnot.

But there are thousands of plugins and add-ons available on WordPress.org. How can you know what satisfies your needs in the best way? You hardly have enough time to try them one by one in order to find some gems in this pile.

The AliDropship team has eased the problem of this choice. Below, we will list out the best free WooCommerce plugins and extensions that can save you hours of routine work. Their unique features are really helpful for everyone who wants to boost sales of the WooCommerce dropshipping business. All of them are tested on our stores and fully compatible with AliDropship Woo plugin.

Best free WooCommerce plugins for ecommerce facilitation

Dokan

Dokan is the top marketplace builder plugin for WordPress powered by WooCommerce. With over 20,000 active marketplaces around the world, now it’s moving forward to power up the community of entrepreneurs through more advanced features and functionalities. You can turn your single WooCommerce store into a multivendor marketplace using Dokan in minutes. It has a stylish and user-friendly dashboard. It also comes with the Easy Order and Shipping Management System. 

Dokan made everything easy for anyone wants to start an ecommerce marketplace from creating a site to manage everything he/she could need to meet the success. Dokan offers dedicated store management for every vendor. So your vendor will be able to manage their stores on their own.

With Dokan, you can build a professional marketplace free of charge. The rich collection of Dokan’s extensions is fairly priced considering the feats they perform.

You can easily build a site like Amazon using Dokan and add countless vendors and brands. It’s a never-ending process. So your earning also will increase day by day. So now it’s time for you to make a decision and start your dream journey with Dokan!

DropshipMe

DropshipMe - free WooCommerce plugin

DropshipMe plugin is a groundbreaking solution for AliExpress dropshipping. It makes the process of filling your WooCommerce dropshipping store with the best and promising products from the most reliable suppliers as easy as ABC.

This free WordPress plugin suits dropshippers’ needs when it comes to product sourcing. It allows importing thousands of carefully selected and manually edited AliExpress bestsellers to your store. You can easily search, choose and import the best items from the huge and ever-growing database with dozens of thousands top selling products and add them to your store in one click.

Pro dropshippers handpick products and edit their titles, descriptions, images, variants, etc. manually. So, you can save tons of time on niche/product research and editing and enjoy your perfectly pre-optimized product pages without tiresome manual work. Just select a category, import products in a couple of clicks and start selling. Besides, the plugin has other useful features – product ratings and reviews, recommended pricing markup, etc.

Yoast SEO

This plugin is a must for every eCommerce entrepreneur who takes care of SEO. It is created to enhance all necessary aspects of your store’s SEO – and we don’t need to explain why it is so important for eсommerce websites.

The plugin performs thorough content and SEO analysis allowing to create more SEO-friendly texts. Yoast SEO is great for working with focus keywords. It automatically checks if your articles and meta tags include your focus keyword. You can preview the snippet to look how the webpage will look in the search results.

With Yoast SEO you can optimize your site structure using the options of cornerstone content and internal linking features. You can also set canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content and forget about Google penalties.

The plugin can be integrated with Google Search Console with allows to control your online store performance in the search engines and fix crawl errors. Besides, it is possible to manage SEO roles if your colleagues need to have access to specific sections of the plugin.

Top free WooCommerce plugins to improve visitor engagement

Abandoned Cart Lite for WooCommerce

Abandoned Cart Lite for WooCommerce

How often do your customers add some products to their cart but leave the store without completing their orders? You can solve this annoying problem with the help of the Abandoned Cart plugin. It creates automatic scheduled email notifications that remind the customers to return to your store and confirm their orders.

With this WooCommerce plugin, your customers can recover their abandoned carts at the touch of a button. When the customer recovers the order, you will receive an email notification.

The plugin can capture abandoned cart even if the user did not log in. A guest user’s cart can be held on the Checkout page, if the site visitor has already entered the email address.

The plugin provides one default email template, and you can create your own unlimited customized email templates. You can define time intervals to send repeated notifications as well.

Pixel Caffeine

Pixel Caffeine was made to manage Facebook Pixel and Facebook Product Catalog, as well as to create highly tailored custom audiences on WordPress.

The plugin is installed instantly, and then, you can track conversions, create custom audiences for various parameters, manage your product catalogs – and do all this in just a few clicks! Try and see for yourself: this is one of the most useful free WooCommerce plugins for your store.

With Pixel Caffeine, you can create audiences based on standard/custom events, referring sources, categories/tags of content, specific URL and many other parameters.

The plugin includes Facebook Dynamic Ads with WooCommerce. This option automatically tracks visitors based on what they viewed – product name, category or tags, and then dynamically retarget them with advertisements on Facebook or Instagram.

The plugin generates and uploads product catalogs on FB really quickly. It can also constantly sync your catalog with FB. Using the plugin’s advanced filters, you can select particular items for your product catalog to be promoted. All these features make Pixel Caffeine one of the most useful marketing tools.

WooCommerce Wishlist Plugin

WooCommerce Wishlist Plugin

WooCommerce Wishlist is an effective instrument that can increase the amount of your site visitors and convert them into regular clients. More conversions mean more sales, and your profits shoot up. Let’s see how it works.

Quite often, site visitors cannot (or don’t want to) purchase a product at once. But if they have an opportunity to save some products that they like, it encourages them to return to your site and complete the purchase. When the customers can add products to Wishlist easily, it may motivate them to buy even more things than they previously planned.

There is also an option of sharing wishlists. It’s very convenient for users who would like to give their friends some ideas of a gift. Every time someone shares a Wishlist, you have new potential customers without any efforts!

Great free WooCommerce plugins to improve your store appearance and visitors’ trust

FooGallery

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? High quality pictures can stimulate your store visitors to buy products as they provide deeper understanding of how these products actually look like. And everyone knows how impressive the images of satisfied customers can be.

With the help of FooGallery, you can enjoy all benefits of impressive pictures.  Albums are built in and activated as an extension. You can add and manage your albums as well as galleries using a special menu item.

FooGallery supports higher quality thumbnails on retina displays. Now you can forget about blurry thumbnails and be sure that your thumbnails will look great on any device.

Social Icons

Social Icons WooCommerce plugin

This add-on is designed to display different popular social icons via widgets and shortcodes. It allows you to select and change the optimal social profile icons sizes and shapes. The plugin supports lots of the most popular social icon profiles – there are more than 200 icons at your disposal.

The add-on is easy to use: you can quickly sort your social icons by putting them into the appropriate order, drag the widget in your sidebars, and change the settings directly in the widget form. You can also use the shortcode and paste it on your page, post or wherever you like.

High-class free WooCommerce plugins to manage your email marketing

Easy WP SMTP Plugin

This plugin for WooCommerce provides delivery of emails to your audience and prevents them from going into spam or junk folder. It configures and sends all outgoing emails via a SMTP server and can be used with Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail SMTP servers.

The plugin allows connecting your WordPress store with a mail server to handle all outgoing emails. It looks like all emails come from your email account.

Easy WP SMTP has an option to enable debug logging to check if the emails go out successfully. It also provides an opportunity to specify a Reply-to email address.

Pepipost – free plugin for email marketing

Pepipost - free WooCommerce plugin for email marketing

Pepipost is one of the most popular email delivery services – and our favorite one. It is another free WooCommerce plugin designed for sending outgoing emails that helps to make sure your emails satisfy all filtering requirements.

All your email marketing efforts can fall flat if your emails go to spam or other unimportant folders. With Pepipost, your emails get right to your customers’ inbox. The plugin replaces the WordPress wp_mail function, using API integration to send emails from your WP installation.

Just enable your PHP-curl extension, go to the plugin settings page, set the Pepipost credentials, and select how your email will be sent – either through SMTP or API.

User-oriented free WooCommerce plugins for convenient store management

Advanced Access Manager

If you have a huge online store with several administrators, editors, authors, followers and other types of users, then you know how crucial it is to manage roles and capabilities. Advanced Access Manager is a powerful and flexible developer-oriented WooCommerce plugin for improving security and managing the access to the content of your WordPress site.

The plugin allows managing access to all types of the website content for different roles and users, define the default access to posts, pages, categories, etc. You can manage Backend Menu, Roles and Capabilities, temporary user accounts. Using the Backend Lockdown option, you can restrict access to the backend side of your online store for any role/user.

Such valuable features as 404 Redirect and Access Denied Redirect set the redirection area if the page does not exist or the access is denied.

If necessary, you can filter or replace parts of your content, define custom login and logout redirect for different roles or user, and all that. In other words, you can enjoy full control of your website.

Currency Switcher Plugin for WooCommerce

Currency Switcher Plugin for WooCommerce

This simple but useful extension has lots of features that are highly helpful for any international online store. For example, it updates currency exchange rates automatically. It can use the user’s IP or the chosen language to select the suitable currency. The original currency can be restores on checkout.

Prices in Currency Switcher for WooCommerce are set on per product basis. The extension provides the opportunity to place the currency switcher in different places and select various format options. Besides, you can add currency switcher as widget or as shortcodes.

WP Super Cache 

WP Super Cache is the number one WordPress caching plugin that speeds up and optimizes your WordPress online store. With WP Super Cache, your website will load faster as it will use less server resources.

The mechanism is the following: the plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress website. Your server will serve that file instead of processing the heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.

The static html files will be served to the most part of your users (users who are not logged in, who have not left a comment on your blog or who have not viewed a password protected post, that amount to 99% of your site visitors). One cached file can be served thousands of times. Other visitors will get custom cached files according to the specifics of their visit. If they are logged in or have left comments, those details will be displayed and cached for them.

The plugin serves cached files in 3 ways with different speed. You can choose among editing PHP files and using simple mode. The latter is fast and very easy to set up.

WooCommerce dropshipping business owners have to solve lots of tasks every day. And it’s great that there are so many useful instruments that can save you countless hours of manual work. Try these free WooCommerce plugins and enjoy the precious time that you can spend more effectively and get higher income!

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What Will Ecommerce Look Like In The Future?

The world continues to shift and change with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but as many of us have seen, life is starting to return to normal in some places in the world. However, at the same time, there are growing fears over a second wave of infections for the coronavirus. We’re all still in a time of unprecedented uncertainty – so where does that leave us with the retail sphere and the future of ecommerce?

As many of us may know, ecommerce has been hot for nearly a decade now, being cited as a reason for the decline in physical retail – but it has also taken a great surge in popularity in the past few months due to the coronavirus lockdown as people turn to online shopping while being quarantined in their homes.

So today, let’s take a prospective look at how the ecommerce sphere can change in the next few years!

What’s shaping the future of ecommerce?

For a start, we’ll cover some reasons as to why ecommerce can survive and grow in this period of the unknown, and how you can keep your online store afloat.

The industry will only continue to grow

ecommerce industry will continue to grow (eShopWorld)

Chart courtesy of eShopWorld.

It’s no secret – worldwide pandemic or not, ecommerce will only continue to lead the way for retail. For example, Irish ecommerce service eShopWorld has reported 109% total growth in year-over-year order volume for May 2020 and 77% growth from April for its clients alone; its stats represent shoppers from countries such as Mexico, Russia, Canada, and Chile. Imagine how those statistics translate over to larger online retail platforms. eMarketer predicts in the US, consumers will spend $709.78 billion on ecommerce this year, which is an 18% increase from last year. Of course, these jumps are due to the coronavirus, but again – with the market segment continuing to blossom, it’s safe to say that the future of ecommerce looks quite promising.

Mobile shopping is growing

Mobile shopping future

With just about everyone having a smartphone today, mobile phones are (and have been) a prime target for online shopping. Business Insider predicts that by the end of 2020, 45% of the total ecommerce market in the US will consist of mobile sales. The business-finance giant also notes that as of 2019, mobile sales had doubled since 2015 – imagine the growth moving beyond 2020.

This also means that it’s crucial to ensure that your online store is mobile-friendly. Having an app is also a growing trend, so that’s something to consider as well if your business can develop in that area.

And we’re all on our phones now, anyway

The Future Of Ecommerce: The Number Of Mobile Users Will Grow (Statista)

Chart courtesy of Statista.

Right. Chances are, you’re either reading this from your phone right now or checked your phone at least once in the last ten minutes. In fact,  Hackernoon found that the average American spends over four hours on their smartphone every day, and Inc. reports that we check our phones as often as 150 times a day. And mobile use will only continue to grow, with Statista projecting the number of worldwide mobile-phone users to reach 3.8 billion by 2021.

Essentials are still a priority (for now)

personal protection equipment in high demand

As we have noted in past blog posts, data-collecting sites such as Stackline have reported that items designated as personal protection equipment (PPE) and products to disinfect and clean will continue to hold prevalence and high demand. Aside from that, must-haves for bearable at-home living are also in high demand. And we can expect this to be a natural trend in lieu of a vaccine for the coronavirus (and this shouldn’t come as a surprise).

But also note as some countries and places start easing down on lockdowns, people’s desires may change as they are able to return to “normal” activity such as camping and shopping in public spaces. Gyms will start to open as will amusement parks and national parks. Whether it’s summer or winter where you are in the world, the slow return of the “normal” will bring with it demand for non-essential items. Which means, you can always shift your website’s product selection as you see fit (that’s the beauty of dropshipping). You can get some help on what niche you can establish your business in – or you can utilize our Premium Products subscription service to ensure you get the most in-demand items straight to your website’s backend dashboard weekly.

Luxury is not hot right now

Luxury is not hot right now in ecommerce

As many people continue to be laid off from their jobs, high-price purchases are the last thing on many people’s minds. From pricey designer shoes to sky-high luxury apartments, spending extravagantly is not “in.” Financial Times reports that high-fashion brands have estimated 2020’s losses to be in the $450 billion to $650 billion range when compared to 2019’s earnings (this is for items like posh clothing, watches, jewelry, shoes, handbags). So you can translate that market’s effects over to housing and other big-ticket items like expensive cars or pricey non-essential services or items. If your online store is geared towards more upscale merchandise, you may want to adapt to this trend of the ecommerce future and consider switching to something more affordable but of essential value to consumers.

Your competition will grow

Ecommerce Future: competition will grow

The lockdown of coronavirus has caused many big-name and small-name businesses to permanently close. But locking one’s brick-and-mortar doors doesn’t mean that a business is gone forever. In fact, many small businesses have seen success with apps and setting up ecommerce sites to continue business even after their stores have been affected by COVID-19.

Also, note that many companies will continue to develop convenient mobile apps to reduce physical foot traffic while maintaining contactless delivery during this time. What does this all mean? Consumers will have more options (sometimes literally right in their hands) for shopping. This means to have the winning edge, you’ve got to have a can’t-be-beat selection of items, low and competitive prices, and the quickest shipping or delivery time possible. It’s all about bringing more convenience and remote-purchase options now.

How can business owners make the future ecommerce trends work in their favor?

future ecommerce trends for business owners

Promote and be observant!

To beat competition, you have to be creative with your ads and social media strategy to entice shoppers who are shopping online or on mobile. We have some tips here and here for your Facebook ads and Instagram content. As for sales:

  • Observe your competitors and monitor your sales and prices to stay on-par with other websites in your industry.
  • Increase average order value; encourage customers to buy more in one transaction. Create bundles and promotional specials. Remember: consumers want value right now.
  • Long shipping times tend to be an issue in dropshipping, so take our advice here to see how you can shorten your supplier shipping time.
  • And of course, with the big dog Amazon, learn our tips to work your website around it to stand your ground.

SUMMARY: We’re all in a challenging time of the unknown, but we’re confident the online shopping world is not fading away anytime soon. And with the right positioning, prices, and convenience factor (remember to be mobile-friendly!), your business can ride the next few years with little worry. Be sure to stay on top of consumer demand though, as it can change with what’s going on in the world.

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Is It Worth Becoming A Home Decor Dropshipper? Sure!

Are you fond of home decor and cozy accessories? Do you know that you can not only spend lots of money on it, but also make a fortune with your hobby? In fact, that’s really possible if you go in for home decor dropshipping!

As we are staying home more, we’re starting to pay a closer attention to the convenience and appearance of our own apartments. It makes market researches think: what if there actually is a whole promising niche with a large target audience and strong demand? So, for the purposes of this article, we decided to check whether home decor items truly have an attractive potential for those willing to start a dropshipping business!

Is it profitable to become a home decor dropshipper?

Certainly, when you start your business, one of the most important aspect you should pay attention to is a business idea. So it’s necessary to understand whether it’s profitable to dropship home decor.

We can safely say that the answer is yes!

First of all, let’s see what Google Trends can tell us about home decor dropshipping.

home decor google trend

And Google Trends clearly shows that the users’ interest towards home decor is stable and consistent – this year, as expected, it’s over the roof! It’s the COVID-19 outbreak which affected this leap:

COVID-19 outbreak affected interest towards home decor (Statista)

This market segment proves to be financially appealing, too. In 2019, the global home decor market was valued at $616.6 billion. What’s more, analysts expect it to grow by 3,7% every year in the next 7 years and reach 838.6 billion by 2027!

So there is a strong demand for home decor products that doesn’t seem ti be ending any time soon. Does it tell us that this is a promising ecommerce niche? Yes, it is! And if you go on considering dropshipping home decor, you will see lots of its other benefits:

  • Lots and lots of products categories (from candle holders to pictures!)
  • Extremely low initial price = higher markup
  • Low prices = impulse purchases
  • Possibility to build a cool online store with eye-catching products

How to become a home decor dropshipper and make the most of your business?

Definitely, there are lots of home decor features which tell us that this niche has all chances to become your gold mine. But how to start your business right to get the maximum benefit from it?

Basic

First, decide if you actually want to work in this particular niche. If you’d like to take some particular, narrower segment within it, you’re welcome to go for the Deep Niche Research service.

Remember that if you want to successfully start and run your home decor dropshipping business, you need to know a lot about home decor, follow the latest trends in this area, and have some creative spirit to create the most outstanding offer for your store visitors. And of top of that, of course, you need to keep the boring routine business tasks in order, too!

Where to find trusted suppliers?

Certainly, one of the most important aspect of your business is suppliers who deal with vital operations of manufacturing and shipping products. It doesn’t matter if you sell low-cost products or deal with high-ticket dropshipping: choosing proper suppliers is paramount.

That’s why we recommend you deal with trusted suppliers only. But where to find them? In fact, there is nothing challenging about it. Here are two primary means to find reliable suppliers.

The first one implies that you do it yourself. But this way has several crucial cons.

In practice, there is no certainty that you happen to find a reliable supplier on the first try. Meanwhile, you are risking your money. Is it worth this?

Certainly, there is one more way to find reliable suppliers – it’s AliDropship Insights!

AliDropship Insights is a large database of trending products to sell, time-tested suppliers to deal with, and promising niches to start your business in.

So here are the time-tested suppliers of home decor.

home decor dropshipping suppliers

Well, if it’s not enough for you, go to Insights from AliDropship and use only reliable sources when running your business.

By the way, AliDropship Insights are absolutely free of charge!

Where to pick up trending products to sell?

Well, if you are going to start home decor dropshipping, you should also pay special attention to the products you will import into your online store.

First of all, we often recommend that newcomers deal with low-cost and moderately priced products in order to facilitate running of their businesses and minimize all the risks. Actually, we believe that high-ticket dropshipping is perfect for experienced entrepreneurs and those who’ve tried lots of options to expand their business.

Then, if you’re a home decor dropshipper, you should understand that tastes differ. And since it’s challenging for an online store owner to focus on each home decor product group, we would like to recommend you ignore all the too bright and annoying items.

Meanwhile, don’t forget about classics. And the most interesting fact about classics for you is that it’s also in strong demand. That’s why try to focus on something neutral, like all-time favorites and common for people to have in their households.

By the way, home decor products are often made of glass. These are the products we also recommend you don’t deal with because they can be damaged when transporting. So if you’re running a home decor online store, we would recommend you focus on plastic products since they suit the dropshipping business model perfectly.

Furthermore, it’s great if you ignore large products since there is also a risk of getting it damaged.

And now, here is a compilation of 150+ home decor products for you to benefit from!

Anti mosquito curtains

Anti mosquito curtains

Curtains

Curtains to sell

Curtain tiebacks

Curtain tiebacks to dropship

Window film

Dropship window film

Chair covers

dropshipping chair covers

Sofa covers

Sofa covers

Tapestry

What to sell as a home decor dropshipper: tapestry

Flower pots

What to dropship: flower pots

Crystal soil

Crystal soil

Candle holders

Candle holders

Wall clock

Wall clock

Wall stickers

home decor dropshipping: wall stickers

Christmas lights

Christmas lights

Letters

Letters

Frames

Frames to sell

Pictures and DIY

Pictures and DIY for home decor

Diffuser sets

home decor: Diffuser sets

Music boxes

home decor: Music boxes

Becoming a home decor dropshipper: final thoughts

Well, statistics say that home decor is a perfect niche for your business. In fact, that’s the way it is. And if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur and just fight to find yourself, home decor dropshipping is supposed to be your brilliant choice.

So, now you know which products you can safely sell in your online store, where to find reliable suppliers on a permanent basis, and more. Well, are you eager to become a home decor dropshipper and start your own profitable business now? You’ve got all it takes!

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AliExpress or Alibaba? Dropship With No Confusion!

Can you use Alibaba to dropship? What are the opportunities and limitations of this website? How is it different from AliExpress, and which of these platforms is more convenient for dropshipping business? Let’s figure it out!

Sometimes, AliExpress and Alibaba get mixed up. Entrepreneurs-to-be don’t see the difference between these platforms, and think that they can find dropshipping suppliers on both of these websites.

In fact, this is not entirely true, so let’s discuss it in more detail.

Why would anyone want to use Alibaba to dropship from?

The answer to this question seems to be pretty obvious: Alibaba is a eCommerce giant of a global importance. In 2017, it earned the status of one of the world’s top 10 most valuable companies, on a level with Facebook and Amazon. In 2018, it was calculated that Alibaba has the 9th highest global brand value, and the company’s revenue achieved an impressive 144% growth in the 2017-2019 period.

So, it might seem that Alibaba is perfect for a dropshipping store owner looking for suppliers – the platform has:

  • A large product offering

Alibaba, indeed, is one of the largest eCommerce websites in the world. Here, thousands of suppliers and manufacturers (mostly originating from China) showcase their offers and communicate with potential buyers.

  • Low product prices

The suppliers featured on Alibaba charge moderate prices for their products; plus, the bigger is your order amount, the lower is the price per one item.

  • Favorable business environment

Alibaba facilitates the communication between entrepreneurs around the world and allows easy, transparent transactions.

Still, when you consider the potential of Alibaba as the platform for dropshipping suppliers search, you need to remember: Alibaba operates as a B2B website.

What makes AliBaba inconvenient for dropship store owners?

The B2B (business-to-business) model means that end users (regular people who just want to buy something for their personal use) never participate in the transactions.

The deals are made on a corporate level: one company agrees to cooperate with another, and their partnership has a more or less official tone.

This is why you won’t see Alibaba ads in your Facebook feed or elsewhere: you are not the target audience of this platform’s sellers. Instead, the companies listed on Alibaba target other businesses, and obviously, it impacts their promotional and selling techniques.

To be more precise, one of the most important aspect of operations on Alibaba is its focus on wholesale activity.

Since Alibaba sellers are not attracting end users, they don’t see the need to sell one item at a time. Instead, they have a minimum order requirement. Simply speaking, the majority of the sellers will only allow you to buy items in bulk. So, you will have to purchase several hundreds units of the same item, keep them in stock in your own warehouse (if you have one), and then ship them to your customers by your own effort.

None of this sounds like a proper dropshipping business, right? It’s more like the usual reselling of the products that you physically possess, and, if you want to run an online business without inventory, Alibaba doesn’t suit you well.

Theoretically, you can try finding the products that don’t require a large minimum order. To do this, you need to put “2” in the “Min Order” field. On the search results page, you will see the products that can be ordered in a single unit.

But, sadly, in this case you won’t get an appealing price: since Alibaba is aimed on wholesale, the sellers set higher prices for smaller amounts of the ordered goods.

Plus, it’s simply not likely that large-scale manufacturers will be interested in your one-time orders of a single product; after all, they have joined this platform for a completely different reason.

Does it mean that it is entirely impossible to use Alibaba to dropship?

So, you can’t refer to Alibaba sellers as to your dropshipping suppliers, and you definitely can’t open your own dropshipping store within this platform because it won’t make any commercial sense.

Still, there are some indirect ways to boost your dropshipping business with the help of Alibaba:

  • Look for product ideas

If you have already tried all the ways to generate product ideas that we have shared earlier, Alibaba might become an interesting destination for your creative pursuits. Maybe, some of the products demonstrated on the platform will give you a brilliant idea of a moneymaking dropshipping niche!

  • Research the price levels

What is the average level of retail prices for the items demonstrated on Alibaba? Researching the offers with the minimal required order amount, you will get a general idea about the traditional price levels that are customary for this particular product type, and it will help you create your own pricing strategy.

  • Connect with the same sellers on AliExpress

Quite often, manufacturers are ready to sell their items to both the businesses and end customers. But, obviously, they choose different channels to target and reach these opposite types of buyers. As a rule, they use Alibaba to interact with companies, and they prefer AliExpress to contact private individuals.

So, if you like the product range of some particular Alibaba seller, contact this supplier and ask whether he or she has a store on AliExpress. There, it will be much easier for both of you to communicate on dropshipping terms. You can even ask the manufacturer whether it would be possible to produce custom-made items on your request and distribute them through AliExpress – what if it will give you an access to absolutely unique items?

Why would you choose AliExpress over Alibaba to dropship from?

Actually, we have already explained what makes AliExpress such a convenient platform for the suppliers’ search, but let’s go over the major points once again and compare this website to Alibaba.

What aspects help AliExpress stand out?

  • Convenient product search

Frankly speaking, you can easily get lost on Alibaba. Try writing the same product query in the search field on Alibaba and AliExpress, and you will instantly understand which of the platforms has a more convenient product filtering system.

  • Low prices even for retail

AliExpress is famous for its low prices. That’s exactly what makes is so appealing for private buyers all over the globe. Plus, it’s the perfect reason for you to consider adding these affordable product to your own webstore. You won’t even have to order hundreds of items to get these appealing prices!

  • No minimum order requirements

That’s probably the best thing for a dropshipping store owner. On AliExpress, you can order as many items as you need, and they will be shipped directly to your own buyers, so you won’t have to keep physical stock.

  • Customer-oriented communication

AliExpress was designed as the platform which connects manufacturers with end users. So, it allows regular customers to talk to the sellers freely and conveniently. You can count on a timely reply from an AliExpress seller, and, as a dropshipping store owner, you can even expect an easy refund procedure in case your customer gets a faulty package.

  • Less official terms of interaction

In the description boxes of many product pages on AliExpress, you will see something like “welcome, dropshippers”. It’s really illustrative: most of the local sellers are happy to cooperate with dropshipping store owners. This partnership gives them a constant flow of orders and is more beneficial that one-time purchases from usual end buyers.

Plus, you don’t necessarily need to have an official registration as a business entity. AliExpress is designed as a B2C (business to consumer) platform, and the local sellers easily accept orders from private individuals. This is why they will never ask you for a license or anything like that.

Now, you know more about the possible ways to use AliExpress and Alibaba to dropship. We hope the knowledge will be highly beneficial for your dropshipping business!

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5 Types Of Cross-Selling Products That Will Boost Your Profits

It’s not uncommon to see businesses offer an additional product or service to a customer who has already paid for something. This sales method known as cross-selling is available for dropshipping entrepreneurs, too. In this article, I will explain what cross-selling products you can offer.

What is cross-selling?

Cross-selling is a sales method based on offering complementary goods to customers that want to purchase or have already purchased another product.

Lots of online and offline businesses use this technique to increase their average order value. For example, if you put a winter jacket to the shopping cart in an online store, you may be offered a scarf as a complementary product.

Cross-selling is similar to other techniques, namely upselling and down-selling. Upselling means offering the same product of a higher tier. In simple words, it’s when you offer a better and higher-priced item. Down-selling means offering a product of a lower tier, i.e. simpler and cheaper.

Cross-selling is different in that sellers try to convince customers to purchase a product of a different type. However, cross-selling products must always be related to the original purchase. For example, if I buy a bicycle, I’d be surprised to be offered a computer keyboard as a complementary product.

What can you offer as cross-selling products?

It sounds simple at the first glance, but if you have little experience in marketing, it may be hard to come up with product ideas. What exactly should you offer to new and existing customers to satisfy their needs?

AliDropship’s Ecommerce Department has tested a number of cross-selling ideas on our self-owned dropshipping stores, and now we can share them with you.

1. Same product with a discount

The simplest cross-selling idea is to offer the same product as the original purchase for a lower price. Or, simply speaking, offer customers to buy more at a discount.

The best part of this idea is that you don’t have to search for related goods. However, this technique will not work with just any product. Cross-selling suggests offering something a person may need in addition to the original purchase, but in most cases people don’t need two or three identical items.

“Buy a car and get another one at a discount” – doesn’t it sound weird?

What you need is a product that people often buy in quantities:

  • Goods that you replace regularly like socks, dusters, etc.

cross-selling socks (goods that you replace regularly)

  • Products that easily break down, or get lost, or expire (buttons, batteries, expendable materials).

cross-selling buttons (products that easily get lost)

  • Goods that often come in sets like glasses, dishes, boxes, spoons, etc. Having one or two more won’t hurt.

cross-selling glasses (Goods that often come in sets)

These are just several examples of cross-selling products in this category. In order to make the product really tempting, offer a discount. If a customer wanted to buy two items, he or she would do it without any cross-selling offers. So, to trigger their interest, make the second purchase cheaper.

AliDropship’s Bulk Discounts add-on is just what you need for offers like this. It lets you set volume discounts on identical products bought in quantities.

2. An additional part to the main product

In most cases, sellers offer another product type to complement the original purchase. It goes without saying that they should be related to each other. This particular idea is about offering accessories, components and parts as an addition to the product customers have purchased.

For example, if you sell drills, they probably go with a number of attachments. However, stores also sell stand-alone attachments for narrow tasks. So, why not combine them in a single offer?

cross-selling drill and attachments

Just make sure the two parts can actually work together. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with a lot of angry customers.

3. Cross-selling complement products

Unlike the previous one, cross-selling products in this category cannot be a part of the original product. But they are very closely related: have the same function or can work as a pair.

For example, if a customer orders glasses, it’s a good idea to offer him or her a case, because it perfectly complements the original purchase.

cross-selling glasses and case (complement products)

Gloves will make a great additional product for garden scissors as they can work as a pair. A cloth can complement a cleaning product and so on. Try thinking the following way: the customer wants this product; probably he or she wants to do this; what else can he or she need for it?

4. Same niche product

In this case, you offer products that don’t necessarily have the same or similar function as the initial purchase. Although the two products should still be related, this relevance can be much more general.

For example, if someone wants to buy coffee cups, you can also offer plates or flatware. Or if the buyer wants a flash drive, offer a mouse pad.

cross-selling flash drive and mouse pad (same niche product)

As you can see, these pairs have different functions, and there’s no way to tell if the buyer needs the cross-selling product. Still, one can hope to interest customers as long as the complementary goods are affordable. It’s like the products you see in supermarkets next to the cashier which make you think, ‘Well, why not buy this chocolate bar while I’m waiting in the line?’

5. Similar products of a different form, size, color, etc.

Finally, after purchasing the original product, some customers may agree to buy another, slightly different product of the same kind. Such cross-selling products do not add any functionality but rather expand what customers can do with the original purchase.

For example, if a site visitor orders a set of cookie cutters, one can offer him or her another set of cookie cutters of a different shape. If the client has bought cat-shaped cutters, a set of pony-shaped cutters can make a good addition.

Cross-selling cat and pony cookie cutters (Similar products)

You can also cross-sell a T-shirt with a different print on it, a different colored pen, stickers of a different shape and so on. The purpose here is to increase the variability of the offer, so to speak.

Conclusion

Cross-selling is one of the many marketing and sales techniques along with content marketing, SMM, SEO, PPC, creating good-looking product pages, etc. However, it’s different from them in that it’s aimed not at convincing customers to make a purchase but at making them spend more.

These are the basic types of cross-selling products, and they all have one thing in common: the seller always tries to offer something related to the original purchase. Never forget that such goods must always be relevant, and this technique will bring you additional profit.

AliDropship’s Purchase Upsell offers you the easiest way to benefit from cross-selling products while running your dropshipping business. With this tool, you’ll be able to show complementary products to your customers right after they buy something – and count on the growth of the average order volume!

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Starting A Business With Little Money: From 0 To €43K+ In 1 Year

Is starting a business with little money really possible? Of course! Even low startup investments can let you start a rewarding ecommerce journey. 

This point is brilliantly proven by Tristan, a well-off dropshipping business owner who kindly agreed to share his first-hand experience in an interview with AliDropship. Let’s hear him out!

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please introduce yourself!

Hi, I’m Tristan Gatellier from Paris, France. I am very curious and passionate about technology – so, when I was making my first steps as an online businessman, I already knew how to make a website. Still, I had no practical experience in ecommerce at all – only a bachelor degree in business 🙂

As a newcomer to ecommerce, why did you choose the dropshipping business model?

In my opinion, the dropshipping model is the best model to start with very limited investments. I had almost 0 on my bank account when I started it.

So, what’s your story of starting a business online with little money?  

The truth is, I actually wanted to learn SEO because I wanted to build great websites for my clients and to work like an agency. But I had 0 skills in SEO, so I decided to create a blog to learn and experiment. When this blog started attracting some traffic, I decided to try earning money from that traffic. This is how I learned about dropshipping and figured out that in terms of monetizing a blog, it’s way more lucrative than affiliate marketing.

What technical solutions do you use to power your dropshipping business?

Everybody talks about Shopify, but from the point of view of SEO, WordPress is the best platform for blogging. So that’s what I’ve chosen, and I also benchmarked extra WordPress solutions that would make my blog more business-friendly. AliDropship plugin turned out to be the right software for my goals, so I got its WooCommerce version and that’s how it all began!

Now, I use AliDropship Woo plugin every day. Even though I work with an agent, the plugin helps a lot with products import and shipping tracking. 

How does your business perform now?

I run 2 stores. The first one was launched about a year ago and made €43K during this period. I wasn’t spending much on advertising there, and my profit margin was about 55%.

The second store was launched 2 months ago and made almost €10K during this time. On average, there’s a 25% margin, but it increases with every sale.

Do you remember the first sale you made?

Yes! I sold a moon lamp 🙂 It happened 1 month after launching my first ads. So basically, it took me 1 month of hard work (and isolation) to achieve it. And really, it was like a spark, a spark that tells you that you can make it !

How do you promote your stores?

I mostly focus on SEO and driving organic traffic to my sites, so backlinks and Google Ads work best for me. Facebook ads are not efficient in my niche: the profits they make don’t outweigh the expenses. They can only bring some profits on Christmas or Black Friday.

On average, it costs me €600/month to promote my stores, and I’d say my advertising expenses are pretty low. I do lots of research to understand my target audience, for example, track the search bar on my sites to see what people want. Also, analytics is amazing and helps me a lot: based on the interests of my blog readers, I launched some new products, and it worked great!

How do you choose the niches and products for your stores? 

The first store was logically linked to my SEO blog, and for that blog (and the store topic) I took one of my passions. The product choice there was not easy: I made a lot of mistakes, but that’s how I learned.

For my second store, I used my SEO software and skills that I gained during the creation of my first store. That’s why I was trying to focus on the products with a big number of orders, and to filter out the unsuitable suppliers.

In general, I don’t follow the ‘Hot sale product’ strategy: instead, I rely on SEO because it lasts over time and keeps working in the long term. My business performance results are improving every month because my stores are SEO-friendly. This is the SEO dynamics of my first store, for example:

To set the prices, I usually multiply the supplier’s price by 3, but it depends on the price itself. Sometimes, if the original price is high already, there’s no need to increase it 3 times.

How do you manage your business on a daily basis?

It takes me about 2 hours a day to manage the stores. The hardest task is not to create a store, but to maintain and take care of the incoming orders even if you delegate this part – and I work with an agent now! 

I take time to teach people to do the client support because many clients are worried about the orders’ delivery. It helps a lot if you answer them quickly: if you answer them within 2 hours, even angry customers will relax. And if a customer is still difficult, I have no problem to make a refund. There’s no reason to spend your time on it – isn’t worth it!

Did you register your business officially?

Yes, it’s 100% legal. I live in France, which is one of the most demanding countries in terms of a business registration, so I have to register my business as a real company and pay VAT.

Did starting a business with little money change your life in some way?

Actually, when I discovered the dropshipping business, I understood that it gives the opportunity to move freely all around the world. You can live whenever you want and make money with nothing but a computer. And that’s what I did up until the pandemic – I was travelling all year long!

I have optimistic plans for the future. I want to create stocks out of my best-selling products and build a long-lasting business.

What can you advise our readers?

Remember that short-term money is great, but long-term money is better! You need to plan your business so that it keeps having clients in the future, so think about SEO and invest in customer support!

Thank you, Tristan, for your words of wisdom! This first-hand experience of starting a business with little money is not only insightful and helpful, but really inspiring, too! We hope it will encourage others to set off for an ecommerce journey as well – and we will be more than happy to assist them along the way.

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