Dropshipping is dumb.
Why would a customer buy from your niche store instead of Amazon and AliExpress when both stores are easily accessible?
I often read about this in forum sites and on comments from blogs, YouTube, and others. This argument makes sense, but only if you are looking for an excuse because:
- You failed at dropshipping
- You do not like dropshipping
Today, I will counter this argument, and provide you with some reasons why people would rather buy from you than AliExpress or Amazon.
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1. Buy from your niche store: A niche store makes it easier to find a product
If your niche store is about cats, then you must be selling cat stuff and nothing else. From cat leash to cat food and cat clothing—you have it all.
How many cat items can you find in giant online market places? You will find millions. And with millions of products, a customer can get lost and become indecisive.
Just imagine having to sort through all the variations of a product. Each product has a different vendor, and all these vendors have different performance ratings.
On top of that, the customer will get inundated by suggestions and upsells. Sometimes these upsells do not even have anything to do with the product they are looking at.
As a niche store, it is likely that your online shelves have a maximum of 100 products, all of which are neatly categorized in your collections pages. If you are operating a cat store, your site visitors know that you are the go-to person if there is anything they need for their cats.
2. A niche store offers better customer experience
Both AliExpress and Amazon are gigantic websites. I am not saying that their customer service sucks, but it can become really problematic for a consumer to look for answers.
Many sellers on both marketplaces have no customer service background, and in my experience, their answers are so short and crisp that I do not feel like I am being serviced at all. Most store owners in both platforms have a tendency to “rush”, and I do not think I always get the answer I am looking for.
Because even if I do not buy, they know that both marketplaces dominate in terms of traffic. There is always a new customer who will buy what they sell.
And can you also imagine how a customer needs to ask the same question from different buyers? And then get a different answer?
This is an opportunity that presents itself to you. If you do well on the area of customer service, you will have a patronage in no time soon.
3. A niche store educates its users
I have never seen a niche store that does not have a blog. Whether you use Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, or Ecwid, you have a dedicated area where you can launch your blog post.
In both Amazon and AliExpress, consumers do not get educated about what they are buying. While there surely are product descriptions, these are not enough to educate users.
Just think of a customer who knows nothing about drones. If this person goes to either AliExpress or Amazon, this customer will not even know now to begin.
But if he goes to your niche store, chances are you have a drone guide for beginners. Over time, your site visitors will get to learn about what you are selling.
And then you build your credibility. Since you have been instrumental to this customer’s learning process, he views you as an expert. In his eyes, you are a trusted person, not just an online seller.
4. A niche store offers better help
A lot of things can go wrong in online selling. The product may not work, the shipment can take a while, the customer may not know how to set up the product, and so much more.
As a niche store owner, you are accessible and you can provide immediate answers to your consumer. With giant stores, the customer gets passed on from one department to another. The customer service groups are busy, and the customer may have to wait more than 48 hours just to get his issue resolved.
And worse, the customer may not get a reasonable answer at all. Since most sellers in Amazon and AliExpress are manufacturers, they are not experts per se on their respective industries, or it is likely that they do not have a customer support department.
5. A niche store does not look ordinary
All stores in Amazon and AliExpress almost look the same. The product pages, the photos—it is like as if they are all made from cookie-cutter templates.
Your niche store has a wow factor that these two giant stores cannot offer. Yours is much more personalized, branded, and a lot more pleasant.
If you try to build a dropshipping store from the 14-day free trial of Shopify, you will realize that the possibilities of designing your store are endless. How you present your store creates this feeling of wanting to belong—customers want to be a part of your store because the design, theme, and content all resonate with them.
With a niche store, you are in a position to create your brand and make people identify with it—make people love your brand, connect with it, and become ambassadors for your niche store.
Summary: Why would a customer buy from your niche store
Dropshipping is not dumb at all.
No niche store can ever compete with the sales and traffic volume of Amazon or AliExpress. A niche store is called such because it is what it is—a niche.
As a niche store owner, you are building a community of like-minded people—people who have the same interests. If you want to shine as the go-to person for your niche, you need to see the weaknesses of both Amazon and AliExpress as far as customer experience and personalization are concerned.
Understand you customer base, find out what they need, and then do what you can to meet their expectations. An online niche store is no different from a physical niche store—I would rather buy my fish and aquarium supplies from a niche store than in Walmart.
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