In this post, we’re discussing a question that every dropshipper has asked at some point: “Which platform is the best for a dropshipping company?”
First things first, “What is a sales channel -platform?”
Well, a sales channel is any place where you can market and sell your products. This can include: Your e-commerce website, Physical stores, General marketplaces like Amazon, Bidding sites like eBay, Or social media platforms, like Facebook.
Now, many sales channels are not a good fit for every business. So, how do you work out which is best for you? In this article, we’re going to look at what you need to take into account when choosing a sales channel. We’ll also look at the potential pros and cons of some of the major sales channels available for dropshippers.
Here’s what you need to consider when choosing a sales channel:
1- Who Are Your Target Customers?
Do you sell to a wide demographic? Or, are you targeting a specific niche? For example, if you sell workout equipment, Instagram would be a good sales channel to test out because fitness is a popular niche on the platform, and the platform is dominated by younger people who are more likely to be active.
But, if you sell mobility products for older people, perhaps a trusted global marketplace like Amazon would be better.
Bottom-line? Knowing exactly who you’re targeting is extremely important when choosing a sales channel.
2- Would Someone Buy Your Product On Impulse?
Or, are they likely to do some research first? For example, think about when you go to the store to buy groceries. The vegetables that are on your shopping list are planned purchases. But, that little tub of chocolate ice cream that you pick up on your way to the checkout -that’s an impulsive purchase.
Now, Facebook is a great channel to promote impulse buys. Why? Because, people can see your Facebook ads in their feed, click and buy your product within 30 seconds. But, if you sell more expensive products, customers might want to do some research before buying. And, in this instance, having your own e-commerce website that people find while they’re doing research might be a better option.
And lastly, you need to consider the fees that some sales channels charge. For example, eBay charges fees to list your products and takes a percentage of your sales. So, it would help if you had a margin large enough to pay these commission fees, and still make a profit.
Okay, now you need to evaluate the pros and cons of each sales channel itself. Let’s take a quick look at some of the major sales channels available for dropshippers today.
Amazon, and eBay. The main benefit of these large, general marketplaces is the millions of shoppers visiting them every day. This makes marketing easier. But, there are some major drawbacks.
Firstly, you have to pay to access this large network of buyers through commission fees. Also, you’re limited in how much you can customise your product pages. So, building a lasting brand can be extremely difficult.
Another downside to marketplaces like eBay and Amazon is the lack of connection you have to your customers. When a customer buys from your own store, you’re able to start building a long-term relationship with them. Marketplaces like eBay and Amazon actively prevent this.
After all, it’s in their interest to ensure that your business is reliant on their platform. Building a long-term relationship with your customers is key to a sustainable business. And these large marketplaces are not set up for this.
Social media sales channels, like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. The benefit of these sales channels is that you can reach your customers where they spend most of their time online.
For example, as I mentioned before, you can sell directly from Facebook by adding a shop to your Facebook page. This is a great way to simplify your sales process for customers. So, if you have high levels of engagement on a social platform, start using it as a key sales channel.
You can create your own e-commerce store. I think this is the best method. Primarily because you’re in control of your customer experience, and relationships. Platforms like Shopify provide many customisation options. Simply choose a design theme, and tweak it until you’re happy.
Also, if your store is built through Shopify, the designs will be mobile-ready. This is super important, as nearly a quarter of online purchases are made via a mobile device. And platforms like Shopify, let you manage your entire business from your mobile. So, you can build your business on the move. You’re also able to connect directly with your customers in many ways. This allows you to grow those all-important, long-term relationships with repeat customers. Plus, if you’re interested in selling your business down the line, it’s much easier to sell an independently owned e-commerce website.
In summary, choosing the best dropshipping sales channel very much depends on the individual needs of your business. But that said, having your own e-commerce store gives you the most flexibility and control over your business.