Creating an actual brand scares a lot of people off because it sounds intimidating. Most people have a built-in limited belief system which prevents them from achieving goals that are relatively easy if they actually put in the work.
Branded dropshipping is not hard and you don’t need to be a marketing expert to create a brand.
In this article, I’ll guide you through the need-to-know information so you can decide whether it’s worthwhile for you. And spoiler alert, branded dropshipping is definitely worth it.
In my opinion, creating a brand is essential if you plan to turn dropshipping into an extremely profitable and long-term business. Dropshipping is becoming competitive and branding is what can set you apart from the competition.
What is Branded Dropshipping?
Branded dropshipping is a sub-section of eCommerce in which merchants sell unbranded products from a third-party supplier without stocking any inventory. They then private label the products and create an online store themed around the product to create their brand.
This can be a little confusing for beginners. Branded dropshipping is different from dropshipping other brand’s products.
Although you can dropship other brand’s products and make a lot of money doing so, this is not what is meant you hear the term branded dropshipping. It generally refers to sourcing unbranded products and relabeling them as your own.
For more info on selling other brand’s products, I suggest you read my article on selling branded products on Shopify.
Branded Dropshipping vs Dropshipping
Branded dropshipping and regular dropshipping is the same business model. You advertise and sell products from your supplier without actually stocking any of those products. Once a sale is made, you then purchase the product from the supplier who then ships the product directly to your customer.
With regular dropshipping, you can dropship anything including branded and unbranded products. With branded dropshipping you need to purchase unbranded products and create your own brand out of those products.
The most common way this is done is by purchasing products from AliExpress which is the most popular platform for dropshipping. Most of the products on AliExpress are mass produced cheaply making them a great option for branding.
With branded dropshipping, it’s best to create a one product or a niche Shopify store based around specific products. This is by far the most effective strategy as it allows you to brand your store towards a specific market of buyers.
Having a specific market allows you to create a store that caters to that audience and it makes them feel as though the store is created for them in mind. The entire shopping experience is enhanced and increases the perceived value of your products allowing you to charge a premium price.
You will find regular unbranded dropshipping stores are often general stores selling random products from multiple categories. They usually deal with current trends and once that trend ends they’ll be searching for the next trend. A general store is difficult to brand because of the fact that you don’t have a specific audience instead your audience is everyone.
There is nothing wrong with these stores and they can be very profitable, however, you will face a lot of competition and won’t be able to charge premium prices.
Is Branded Dropshipping Legal?
Now let’s say you’ve found a product you believe has real potential to make you a lot of money. Can you just print your logo on it, give it a name and say it’s your product? It seems like something a child would do with a toy they don’t want to share.
Private labeling products and creating a brand around the products is legal, as long as the other party agrees to it. You can not private label products which are already copyright or trademark.
By far the most popular way of doing branded dropshipping is by sourcing products from China. The suppliers and manufacturers in China allow and recommend you private label your products. If it makes them more money, they want you to do it.
They will actually work with you to help customize specific products for you to make them unique and stand out. They will also print your logo on the products. It’s best to work with a dropshipping agent who can communicate this to the manufacturer for you.
There are several other things you need to consider to do branded dropshipping legally. The products you sell must align with the safety standards of the country you’re dropshipping to. It may be legal to purchase these products from China but it may not be legal to sell them in the US. Check out this article for more info.
You are not exempt from safety standards and the fact that you are private labeling these products on increases your liability. Don’t let these laws deter you as most products are perfectly safe but always do your due diligence before assuming they are safe.
You can check out United States Consumer Product and Safety Commission here.
How Does Branded Dropshipping Work?
It may seem complicated to create a brand but when you break it all done it’s not difficult. The goal is to sell a product or a niche that has a hungry and specific audience of buyers. Once you know who your market is you can create a store that is tailored towards that specific market.
I’ll run you through the main steps involved:
- Decide on a product or niche to sell that has a passionate audience.
- Learn how your audience thinks and communicates so you know how to relate with them.
- Create a catchy and memorable name for your store based around your products.
- Create a logo.
- Create a branded Shopify store.
- Create social media accounts based around your products.
- Source quality products from reliable suppliers.
- Private label your products with logos and unique customizations
- Create an amazing customer experience.
This is a basic rundown of what is involved in creating a brand. For a more detailed breakdown of how to implement each step, check out my article How to Brand your Dropshipping Store .
Best Branded Dropshipping Products
Just about any product can be branded and dropshipped as long as the product is unbranded. There are however some products that are better suited to private labeling and dropshipping.
The first thing to take into consideration is brand loyalty. There are certain products that are best to avoid as consumers have a positive attachment towards them. Think of TVs, headphones, fridges, video game consoles and mobile phones.
Convincing consumers to purchase unknown brands within these niches will be a hard sell. They know and trust the brands who sell these products and will most likely continue their loyalty towards these brands.
The next important thing is to source high-quality and safe products. You need to work with reliable and reputable manufacturers. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a dropshipping agent who can take care of communication and quality control.
Before you start selling a product, always make sure you order a sample. Don’t just take the word of your supplier or your agent. You need to test that the product works how you describe and even more important you need to make sure the product is safe.
It may be worth you investing in product liability insurance if this is something you are concerned about.
Never assume a product will be profitable. Don’t purchase products in bulk and have them private-labeled unless you have been making consistent sales over at least a 2 week period with the product. It’s a large initial investment and a big gamble, so be to validate the potential of the product before proceeding.
There are a few other things to be cautious about creating a brand around if you’re sourcing products from China:
- Electronics have a reputation of being inferior so be sure to order a sample before private labeling.
- Baby products can be very profitable and great to build a brand around. Just be very careful as there are many safety regulations surrounding baby and child products.
- Avoiding anything large or heavy as the shipping prices will be far to high.
- I’d avoid branding clothing especially from China for many reasons. There are so many clothing brands as it is, the sizes are so random, the clothes aren’t great, lots of refunds and people won’t wait a month for a piece of clothing.
- Stay away from supplements and health related products from China. It’s far to risky as you don’t know exactly what’s in them, how they’re made and if they will even make it through customs.
- Don’t try and brand everyday generic items you can find at your local retail store.
Is Branding Worth it?
There’s really only one reason why you want to brand your store. Because it makes you more money, far more money. The biggest brands in the world charge ridiculously high prices with massive profit margins and people pay it. Why? Because they play on the consumer’s psychology.
Brands portray a desirable lifestyle and play on the customer’s aspirations. They project how the product will improve their lives and alleviate their problems. This is why lifestyle images and videos work so great.
People visualize themselves using the product, they visualize their friends seeing them use the products and in their minds, they feel like their lives will be more complete with this product. It’s far less about the practical use of a product and more about the feeling they get from the product.
A simple product can make someone feel worthy, inclusive, powerful, special, cool, validated, accepted and even loved. This is why products go viral and everyone buys them all at once, people don’t want to feel excluded. It improves their social status and makes them feel good about themselves.
Why you Should Brand your Store?
Standard dropshipping from AliExpress is extremely competitive and extremely flawed which is why dropshippers have gotten creative. Branding allows dropshippers to stand out from the crowd and not look like every other store.
With so many people dropshipping these days, you can’t do the same as them and expect to be successful. You need to gain advantages over your competition and great branding is that advantage. Take the time to create a store that feels as though it is purposely built for your customer.
The benefit and the problem with dropshipping are that it’s easy. You need no experience, little money and you can create a profitable Shopify store full of products from AliExpress in a day. This is why dropshipping has grown in popularity and why branding has become essential to building a long-term sustainable business.
You can’t underestimate the importance of branding. This smallest thing can make a huge difference so it’s worth taking the time to get your branding right as this will pay off in the end.
I hope you can tell from this article, creating a brand around your store is important. There’s a reason why all the successful dropshippers over the last couple of years have moved to branded dropshipping. They realize it’s the best way to create a long-term and profitable dropshipping business.
Acquiring customers to your store via paid ads is only increasing in cost making it more difficult to make a decent profit. Branding now only allows you to charge a higher price for your products, it also creates a loyal and returning customer base. Repeat purchases are great as you have essentially only paid to acquire that customer once.
Instead of being overly eager to create your first dropshipping store, I suggest you learn all you can about branding first. It’ll be worth it!
For some examples of how other Stores have branded their stores, I suggest you read my article The Best Branded Store Examples!
It will give you some great ideas and let you know is possible if you put in more work initially.