Customers buy products from sellers for one reason only; the value they receive from owning or using that product.
As a seller, it is your responsibility to identify the value proposition of your product and amplify it to your customers. Not only does it help to drive sales and increase revenue, but it also guarantees customer satisfaction.
Satisfied customers make the best brand ambassadors. They propagate the excellent name of your brand for zero dollars.
In this article, we'll look at ways you, as a dropshipper, can add value to your products for your customer's benefit.
Ready? Let's go!
How do you add value to your dropshipping store?
There are different ways you can add value to your store. These methods depend on the nature of your products or services and your ideal customer. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this.
For example, printing a Marvel superhero on a t-shirt is a great value addition for a Marvel Universe fan looking for a t-shirt.
The same person would probably be looking for something different in coffee capsules. An image of a superhero on a coffee capsule wouldn't do much to influence their purchase decision.
Generally, you can add value to your store by:
- Adding value to your customer's shopping experience.
- Increasing the value of your brand.
- Increasing the real and perceived values of your products.
Now, let's break these points down. Shall we?
1. Add value to your customer's shopping experience
Every customer likes being acknowledged by the business they are buying from. They like knowing that they matter. After all, they are spending their hard-earned money on your business.
Treating your customers like royalty is the best way to get them to come back. Strive to develop personalized relationships with all your customers. For example, if they buy shoes today, keep their shoe size.
The next time they return, they'll smile when you remember their name and shoe size, and ask them about the black pair of shoes they bought last time. It's the little things that matter.
Here are a few more things you can do to enhance their experience:
Have an excellent customer service
Excellent customer service is a secret weapon. Customers get frustrated quickly if they don't get prompt help from a business when they are stuck.
You've probably experienced this yourself. Suppose you ordered an item from an online store, and they promised to deliver in two days.
However, you had not received your package six days later, and they hadn't communicated the delay.
You probably initiated a chargeback on your order and left a one-star review on Google reviews. Okay, probably not, but you get the point. Right?
It is essential to keep customers in the loop (communication-wise) from when an order is made to when it arrives.
How do you achieve proper communication?
- Adopt email automation. Every time a customer moves to a new stage in your customer journey map; your website should automatically send them updated information on the status of their journey.
For instance, when they make a payment, let them know you have received the funds by sending them a receipt. Additionally, share information on the next steps they should take to guarantee the safe delivery of their order.
- Always ask your customers what they want. This can be achieved through your business's socials or by including a link to a feedback form in every email you send out.
Further, develop surveys and run them to get feedback on your products, services, and processes. Doing so will help your business grow by identifying and improving weak points.
This list is hardly exhaustive. However, there are more ways to communicate effectively with customers.
This not only instills confidence in your customers that your business is world-class, but it also reduces the number of chargebacks you have to deal with.
Improve shipping times
Great shipping comes at a price. Then again, cheap shipping increases your profit margins but will have you getting more chargebacks.
This does not sit well with many people, especially when companies like Amazon have proved that orders can be fulfilled in 24 hours.
So, what are the best ePacket alternatives?
Remember that we said ‘good shipping,' not ‘excellent shipping.' This is because shipping, even with good companies, will still take upwards of seven days, depending on the destination.
- YunExpress. This is, by far, the closest thing you have to the old ePacket. They have fast, consistent, and reliable services. YunExpress is built with ecommerce in mind, provides clear labeling, and offers customized routing and customs.
- SF International. SF International also offers most of the benefits that ePacket had. They provide reliable services, have a reasonable shipping time of 17 days, and offer relatively low shipping costs.
There are other ways to get faster shipping times.
If you still find most of them sluggish, maybe it's time to consider switching to using local dropshipping suppliers, which are located in the same country as your customer.
Create a friendly return policy
Dropshipping returns are complicated for two reasons:
- Dropshippers don't have physical addresses where returns can be shipped in the local jurisdictions of the recipients. And sending them back to the supplier (in China) is not cheap.
- More often than not, customers who return products will usually ask for a refund. This costs you the cost of purchasing the item, the shipping fee, and the cost of advertising that sale.
Despite these complications, prioritizing the needs of your customers is not optional.
A lot of dropshippers get mad when they receive refund requests. They don't understand that customers don't always do this in bad faith.
Sometimes, life happens, and people need the money they spent buying your product. So they return the item.
It's not the dropshipper's fault. The customer may come back later and spend even more.
Let's look at some numbers.
Up to 25% of items purchased online are returned. Customers return items for a variety of reasons:
- Almost 30% of returns are made by customers who deliberately order more than they need and then return items they don't like when they arrive. We know it sounds ridiculous, but this is where service personalization comes in.
You can help customers order only what they need by offering personalized services.
- Other customers order several variations of the same item and then return the items that don't fit. This is more common with fashion items.
Once again, personalization can help you overcome this issue.
- Customers return broken items. The breakage almost always takes place in transit and accounts for the majority of returns made.
Did you know that shipping damages account for up to 20% of all returns? Moreover, it is estimated that the average cost of replacing broken items can be up to 17 times higher than the original cost of shipping the product.
Sadly, there isn't much you can do about this. Except for maybe using premium shipping companies.
- Items failing to meet the expectations of the client. In many cases, the item does not meet the description provided on the website. Sometimes, this is an issue of transparency and honesty on the seller's side.
Now that we know why customers return products, how can you prepare and reduce the number of returns?
- Consistently deliver what you promised the client on your website. Never try to trick customers into buying your products by using overedited images or inaccurate descriptions of product specifications.
If a t-shirt is 70% cotton, ensure the customer is aware. Don't tell them that it is 100% cotton.
- If you sell apparel, create measurement guides for regions where your clients are based. When your clients understand the measurement system of your products, they are likely to order the exact size they want.
- Wrap all delicate items in protective packaging and label them accordingly. The shipping company will likely handle them with more care if you indicate that the items are fragile.
Have a seamless checkout
Are you using Shopify for this?
If yes, you're in luck. Shopify has a simplified checkout process ready to go out of the box.
However, as you modify the design of the checkout process, stick to the KISS strategy. ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid!'
If something feels like it shouldn't be there, that's because it shouldn't be there. Trust your gut; let it go.
- Unexpected charges during checkout. This is a huge NO. Don't surprise your customers with charges during checkout. These include taxes, shipping fees, or other hidden fees.
Be upfront about your fees, so clients know what they are signing up for.
Use the space in the product descriptions or the price section to make the customer aware of additional charges they may incur during checkout.
- Tedious checkout process. As pointed out earlier, keep it simple, stupid! Get the shipping details and payment details, and then complete the order. If you need to add anything, it must be necessary.
- Limited payment options. There is a plethora of payment solutions out there that can be integrated with Shopify. Different countries (and customers) have preferred payment methods. Ensure all your customers are represented.
Also, assure security to your customers. Nobody wants their card or bank details sold on the dark web.
- Mandated sign-up. Signing up is great. It helps you grow your mailing list. But, it can impede customers from completing the checkout process.
Depending on your business model, think about whether you want to force all your customers to create accounts to check out.
Tip: Check out these 9 checkout examples from ecommerce stores!
Offer multiple payment options
Shopify allows you to accept payments from hundreds of payment gateways.
2. Increase the value of your brand
Your brand needs a voice. Brand elements like a logo and website need to engender curiosity from strangers.
A brand needs a wow factor to distinguish it from competitors.
So, what are some of the things that add value to your brand?
Build a high-quality website
A website is the face of an online business, a sales agent, so to speak. It's one of the first things customers interact with when they explore your business online.
Would you assign the role of interacting with new customers to an intern? Probably not.
What makes a website high-quality?
- Great design. Many ecommerce platforms allow you to bootstrap a fully functional ecommerce website in a few hours. They include Shopify, WooCommerce (via WordPress), and Magento.
These platforms have thriving developer communities that create exceptional themes you can load into your store and tweak a few things to suit your needs.
Great themes can create a perception of luxury, trustworthiness, and even urgency where necessary.
All these things can help to drive your conversion rate up.
- Load time. 53% of website visitors will leave a website (bounce) if a website takes longer than three seconds to load.
This increases the bounce rate (the number of people who land on a page on your website and leave without taking any action) of your website.
A high bounce rate is not good for SEO. Ensure all the pages on your website take less than three seconds to load.
- Responsiveness. Responsiveness is the ability of a website to adapt to different screen sizes without distorting the contents of the website.
A responsive website is non-negotiable. Bounce rates are higher on mobile devices than desktop devices and tablets because websites take longer (on average) to load on mobile devices than on other devices.
All these factors can lower your conversion rate and slow your growth.
Consider using tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix, and WebPageTest by Catchpoint to gauge the performance of your website. They help you pinpoint issues that could be slowing down your website.
Why is a high-quality website essential?
- Trust signal. A high-quality website is a great trust signal for potential clients. Think about it. What do you do when you learn about a brand that sells something you'd like to get? You go to Google. Right?
What happens when you google the brand and can't find information on the business online? You start being skeptical.
Also, when you find the brand but it has a shady-looking website, you also become skeptical.
Take your time to build a website and make it look good. You can do it yourself if you possess the technical skills required. If not, you can hire a developer or an agency. Finally, you can buy a premade store.
- A website is the virtual face of your business. This is pretty obvious. Any marketing you usually do points in the direction of your website because it is responsible for converting customers.
Your website should inspire trust and encourage customers to make purchases without confusing them.
- Your website is your agent. It is an assistant in the sense that depending on how you build it, it can help a shopper get the items they want faster, upsell them, and provide answers to simple questions they might have.
Ecommerce quizzes on a website can help customers find the right products. For instance, a quiz can help them find a product's right size, style, or color.
Use high-resolution and professional logos and images
New business owners often overlook the essence of a good logo and excellent images. This is a grave mistake.
Huge images (sizewise) with poor resolution can break your store, prevent you from making a single sale, and devalue your brand.
All images must be:
- Compressed to a reasonable size to cater to customers with slow internet connections. Your website also loads swiftly on many devices.
- Optimized in terms of resolution. This enhances their appearance on the website. It also prevents overflowing on limited viewports (mobile devices).
Your images strongly reflect the level of detail you pay to your work.
It shows if you pay more attention to your photo shoots, plan them in advance, and exhibit ingenuity. Your brand is also empowered.
Also, have you ever noticed how many online stores have the same product photos?
Yep, it’s a common problem.
Using those old, duplicated images from your supplier can actually hurt your store's visibility on search engines like Google.
That's where OnModel steps in. This Shopify app uses AI to transform your existing photos into unique images!
- Swap out the models in your clothing images (For example, according to your target market.)
- Put your t-shirt design on an AI-made model (No more costly photoshoots!)
- Change photo backgrounds
- Add faces to cropped images.
In short, OnModel makes your store photos unique and fun. So, if you're in dropshipping or POD, you can try it here!
Write detailed product descriptions
A product description is a canvas. Using words, you paint a vivid picture of the product in the customer's mind. Ultimately, the copy in a product description also helps the customer to pull the trigger and purchase the item.
If your copy is insipid, customers will zoom right past it without batting an eyelid.
Worse, poor descriptions could turn off clients who are excited about buying the product.
Aspire to describe every aspect of the product as genuinely as possible for the best results.
This article contains valuable information about how to write product descriptions. You will also find great examples of product descriptions there.
Write great copy
Product descriptions (covered in the previous section) are part of your copy. Website copy includes the wording found on your website's landing page, product page, catalog, etc.
The main goal of copy is to give customers information about your business, products, processes, or services. It can also help your business lower your ad spend through SEO, which attracts valuable free traffic that is likely to convert.
Not everyone is well-equipped to write excellent copy. However, you can outsource the service to an experienced copywriter who will do all the leg work for you at a fee.
You keep the rights to the copy once they hand it over to you.
Ensuring you get a copywriter that understands your product is also crucial. But that's a topic for another day.
Great copy should:
- Prioritize SEO. Identify the keywords that your website or product should rank for and include them in your copy as naturally as possible.
- Focus on converting the customer. Beautiful language is fantastic. The main goal of your copy, however, should be to encourage the customer to take action. Make it clear but don't come off as too salesy.
- Align to the audience's intent. Ask yourself what the customer intends to do with the product. The copy should include the valuable benefits the customer will realize from using your product.
Add a FAQs section
Customers will have questions regardless of how polished your website and products look. They'll want to know things like:
- How long their orders will take to arrive.
- Which fabric do you use to make your apparel?
- Which measurement system do you use?
- What is the voltage input of the products you sell? Are they American or European?
Customers are not patient; they can't afford to be. If they can't find answers to their questions fast, they won't risk making an order. They'll bounce. This is precisely why you need FAQs.
FAQs will help with the following:
- Insights. They provide you with insights on the questions customers view more. With this information, you can determine customers' concerns about your products, which helps you improve.
- They answer questions when you are not available to answer them. FAQs are always available on the website. Customers can have their doubts about your products or processes alleviated without your intervention.
- Building trust. You can use FAQs to enhance the transparency of your business and build trust. Explaining your processes and important aspects of the business without solicitation creates the impression that you have nothing to hide.
- Enhancing your SEO. Search engines like Google love direct answers. When you answer customer questions directly, they are inclined to stick around, lowering your bounce rate.
A low bounce rate informs search engines that users like your website, so they recommend you more.
Add your phone number and a responsive email address
These two are crucial. They provide channels for customers to talk to you or your employees directly if they have concerns or follow-up questions. They also help to build trust.
Frustrated customers are bad for business, especially when they can't reach someone within to talk to about their issues after buying from you.
They'll probably go out on social media or review sites and trash your business.
You don't want this, do you?
3. Increase the perceived value of your products
Each product in your store has a real and perceived value.
The real value of a product, in simple words, is the total amount of money you spend to put the product together. For most dropshipping businesses, this is the amount of money you pay your supplier.
In most cases, keeping your real value as low as possible is in your best interest.
The perceived value of a product is the amount of money the customer thinks the product is worth to them, depending on its perceived usefulness to them.
For instance, a t-shirt that costs $10 to produce can go for $40 on your website and $2,000 on Louis Vuitton's website.
It seems ridiculous, but some customers will skip your $40 t-shirt and buy it from Louis Vuitton for $2,000 because of the product's perceived value. With Louis Vuitton, they aren't simply buying a t-shirt; they are buying the bragging rights too.
Your store doesn't offer the same perceived value to the customer.
Sometimes, increased perceived value implies increased real value. However, this is not always true.
Let's look at ways you can increase the perceived value of your products:
- Customize products in saturated markets. In a market where competition is intense; you have to stand out. For instance, if you sell t-shirts, you could use a custom fabric that other vendors can not access.
- Bundle your products. Consider bundling your products with relevant products at a discounted price. For instance, bundling t-shirts with matching socks or hoodies at a discounted rate could bring more customers to you.
Customers will buy from you because of the perception that they are getting more for less from you compared to your competitors.
- Provide expert education about the product. All a customer sees when they look at your t-shirt may be, well, just another t-shirt. But, you know the fabric you used to make it is rare.
Let your customer know how rare the fabric is and how much trouble you went through to get it. People like owning rare valuables because they appreciate that not everyone can own the same product.
- Offer discounts for frequent buyers. Let your customers know that every third or fourth item they buy from you will always be discounted. Alternatively, you could offer them a discount if their order total exceeds a certain amount.
This ‘trick' pushes your customers to reach the goals you set for them so they can get the reward you promised them.
- Dedicated customer service for specific products. This is common with digital products like software, especially SaaS (Software as a Service).
SaaS products are offered on a subscription basis. The subscriptions come with features like dedicated support, which is available in some plans and absent in others. You can customize this concept and apply it to your business.
Why is adding value important when dropshipping?
Businesses that are aggressive with value addition stay in business longer and make more than businesses that don't.
Value addition is often the only thing that sets your business apart from your competition.
Here are a few reasons you should pay attention to value addition:
- Sell exclusive products or services. When you create exclusive products, you enjoy exclusive selling rights. Customers have no choice but to buy from you because they can't find the products anywhere else.
- Offer customers a unique shopping experience. Customers enjoy a unique shopping experience when you provide unique products, excellent customer service, and fast shipping. These things keep them coming back for more.
- Gain your customer's trust. A happy customer trusts you to deliver every time. They know you are reliable. So they unconditionally trust your decisions and recommendations. Every entrepreneur should strive for this kind of trust from their customers.
- Showcase your expertise. By adding unique value to your products or services, you showcase your unique abilities (expertise) and gain even more trust from your clients. No one can take this away from you.
FAQs about adding value to your dropshipping business
At this point, you might be asking yourself some questions about value addition. That's a good thing. It means you understand your business's infinite growth potential through value addition.
Let's look at a few common questions to get you started.
When should you start adding value to your business or products?
Short answer: As soon as possible.
You don't need to wait until you have the capital to add value. Things like excellent customer service do not require money to work on. Start offering the best customer service from the onset.
You'll have yourself to thank later when customers can't stop talking about how good your business is.
What is the cost of value addition?
Short answer: It's tentative.
As pointed out earlier, value addition can take on different forms. Some forms are tangible, while others are not. Printing an image on a mug is a tangible form of adding value.
However, abstract concepts like social movements can add intangible value to a brand. For instance, a brand can be built around the hustle culture.
Therefore, the cost can be zero or infinitely high, depending on the nature of your product or service.
Does value addition apply to every product?
Short Answer: Yes.
You can add value to any product or service. If you are committed enough, you will find an audience to whom the product or service you're selling matters and sell it to them.
This ties to the point we made earlier on perceived value. If it matters enough to someone, they'll pay for it.
What are the tell-tale signs that I need to add more value to my business?
Short answer: When you experience stagnation in growth.
This is not always true because some businesses die when the demand for their core product or service dies.
For instance, a business built primarily on customizing surgical masks for COVID-19 dies when the government lifts restrictions on masks.
In this case, pivoting to a different product is the only logical course of action.
However, when the sales in a business that isn't seasonal stagnate, it's probably time to find ways to give your clients more value.
Which should I prioritize, branding or products?
Short answer: The option you can afford now.
Branding a product almost always requires additional investment. This is because you need to change the product to improve its appeal, which costs money.
In contrast, many things that add value to the brand do not require an additional investment upfront.
For instance, sharing helpful information on social media, offering excellent services, etc., can be done at no extra cost.
Before we go to the final verdict, we've created a quick summary of this article for you, so you can easily remember it:
- Value addition is an essential part of any modern business.
- Some methods of adding value require capital, and others do not.
- If you are working with a tight budget, always begin with methods that do not require massive upfront investments.
- When more value is provided, customers tend to trust you more. This organically propagates your brand name on the internet because that's where your customers converse.
- You can add value to a product, a brand, or a customer's experience.
Value addition is the cornerstone of a successful business. Even though it seems to go against the fundamental principles of dropshipping, it is the way to go if you envision a lasting business.
Value addition is not something you achieve in one day or month. It is a continuous process that requires attention and commitment.
It requires an understanding of customers (new and existing) and an awareness of your value proposition to your customers.
Even though you have to be patient with your business, asking your customers what they want can help to expedite the process. Eventually, when you get their feedback, please don't sleep on it.
Make any changes that will enhance the shopping experience for all customers.
Want to learn more about dropshipping?
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