A thought that came up for me a lot in the beginning of venturing into starting my own dropshipping store was “why would a customer buy from me, if they can technically buy the item directly from a supplier on Aliexpress”. Aliexpress is open to the public to purchase items, so why would someone get them from me?
After much thought, I realized there are tons of advantages for a customer to buy from a merchant’s shop, over buying direct from a supplier. Here are the reasons I came up with!
Branding is a big aspect of the customer buying process. As a customer, if I am looking at the exact same product, but one of the sites showcase the item better, that is likely the site I will buy from. This is everything from the product description, the product photography, and details shown in the photo.
This also includes branding your site as a whole, to make it appealing, trustworthy, and welcoming.
Trust is another big one. Buying from suppliers, who you do not know, and who may not have reviews of the product left from customers, can be a draw back. Even with a cheaper price, as a customer you may not know what to expect. Here is where you as a merchant come in! If you can establish a sense of trust with your customers and your brand, customers may feel more comfortable buying from you directly, rather than sorting through the thousands of products on Aliexpress to find a reputable supplier.
If possible, I suggest ordering in all items to your location, and testing them out, so that you know too you are offering quality items to your customers.
I also recommend creating a community around your brand, this is another great way to establish trust - and is a reason for customers to shop from you rather than the supplier.
Lastly, explore implementing customer reviews on your shop - using an app such as Product Reviews - this can help, again, in building a community.
Aliexpress has THOUSANDS of products, of all kinds. Sifting and sorting through items to find the perfect pair of earrings can take forever as a customer. So by offering a select number of items on your shop, that are all carefully selected to match your brand and audience, can save a shopper a lot of time.
On top of having a well established brand, which customers trust - perhaps you also offer additional content! As an example, maybe you offer blog articles which customers find helpful, or have a loyalty program in place so that customers can save when they buy from you. There are many ways you can offer additional, valuable content to customers - and this can be a big draw for them to your shop.
Lastly, it might be as simple as you reach out to the customer first! If you have a well established target audience, and marketing plan, you might be able to reach them first and therefore they buy from you for that reason.
Remember that the concept of merchants buying products from suppliers for lower prices and stocking them in their stores long predates dropshipping itself. Most stores in your own community likely do the same.
Now that you know what advantages you have as a merchant, here are steps I would recommend you do!
Build an awesome brand that is unique to you - style your products, images, and content around that.
Build a community around your brand, and see what kind of additional, valuable content you can offer customers.
Order your own products in to test the quality of items - this way you know exactly what customers are getting PLUS this doubles as an opportunity to take your own product images, and content.
Establish a great marketing plan, and build from it.
I hope that inspires you to let go of the fear of customers buying directly from the supplier, as it is not as big of a concern as many of us make it. Let me know what ways you make yourself as a merchant unique! I would love to know.