08Dec
By: Nicole Martins Ferreira December 08, 2016

With Oberlo, you have access to millions of products. It can be a bit frustrating to find that your competitors are selling and have access to the exact same products as you. However, there is a clear cut way to stand out when you’re selling the same products as everyone else. The secret to destroying your competition is to master creativity.

You might have to put in a tiny bit more work to give yourself the competitive edge but it’s easy to do and definitely worthwhile. In this article, I’ll share how to stand out when selling the same products as everyone else.

1. Product Images

The most important part of a product page, aside from the buy button, is the product image. People always want to see what they’re buying. You could write the best product description in the world, but if there’s no picture, odds are sales will be slim.

With AliExpress, everyone imports the same product images. However, a little trick I like to do, which is a bit more work, is Photoshop the AliExpress image into a different design. You can purchase mock-ups from ThemeForest.net, CreativeMarket.com or similar websites. For example, if you’re selling tablets, you might buy a desk mock-up and Photoshop the tablet onto the image. If you’re selling dinnerware, you might buy a stylized mock-up with elegant flowers. If you’re selling art, you might buy wall backgrounds and Photoshop the picture onto different wall styles or colors so that people can better envision it for their home.

Before:

edit-your-product-imagesAfter:

edit-your-product-images-with-mock-ups

If mock-ups don’t work well for your niche, you can use a stock photo to create a unique background for your image or play with different background colors to give it that extra pop.
Once you’ve taken your images to the next level, you’ll want to put your branding somewhere on the picture so to help prevent copying. You can keep it subtle by having your logo watermarked on the bottom corner. Plus, you’ll be able to search your image in Google to see who else has stolen your design since you’ll actually own it

2. Product Videos

Most Oberlo stores don’t take advantage of video on their stores. While AliExpress doesn’t usually supply videos that doesn’t mean they can’t be created.

In the beginning, you could create product videos by showing a slideshow of the product images you’ve imported while you talk about the benefits of each product to the viewer. Some people would rather listen to audio than read the product description.

As your business grows, you can email former customers and ask them to do a video review for social proof. You can provide them with a special discount code with their name (i.e. AMANDAJONES) which also incentives future purchases as well.

According to Kissmetrics, website visitors are 64-85% more likely to buy your product after watching a video on the product page. You’ll be providing customers with more value which will result in a higher conversion rate. You’ll want to add videos to your most popular product pages as it’ll be even easier to convert.

Use this Gareth Brommell post as an example. Instead of ‘Happy Birthday’ you may want to have your logo in that same spot. When creating your video, you’ll want to have a voiceover describing the product and you may want to change the speed of images unless you have several variants.

3. Blog

Another easy way to stand out is by creating regular blog content. It’s possible to generate sales for small blogs from day one. The second blog post I ever wrote for my store landed us two sales through retargeting the blog alone, and it was one of the cheapest ads I’d ever run. Two sales may not seem like a lot, but we weren’t even indexed yet and didn’t have an audience. Imagine the possibilities when you’ve been producing content for over a year.

When it comes to content you’ll want to write 5-7 blog posts a week if you’re managing the site on your own. If you have a team, you can follow Neil Patel’s blogging advice and post unique content 3 times a day, every day, to get 1,000,000 visitors a month over time. Having fresh content multiple times a week gets people returning to your site more than once. It also creates more avenues to be found. It also allows browsers to feel like they can trust you. This is a long-term play. It’s a lot of work but it pays off—literally.

Divide your content into two categories: search and clickbait. By creating both types of content you’ll grow organically. The search content would include your SEO plays so that you can rank on Google. The clickbait content is to help you drive traffic today. You might want to alternate between the two types of content.

start-your-store-blog

Can’t people just copy your unique content? Of course. But then Google penalizes them for duplicate content. And since you were the content creator you’ll look more authoritative. Plus, even black haters who spin content don’t get very far over the long term.

Most people don’t have the endurance to write content over a long period of time so it slowly falls off their radar making their website look like it isn’t active anymore giving you an advantage.

4. Offer free worldwide shipping

Nobody wants to pay for shipping. According to David Bell, a Wharton marketing professor, people would rather have free shipping (valued at $6.99) than a higher product discount (valued at $10).

With ePacket delivery, the cost of shipping averages only a couple of dollars while also delivering products typically within 30 days while offering door to door tracking. Absorbing shipping costs will help lower abandoned cart rates.

offer-free-worldwide-shippingSome stores choose to offer free shipping under certain conditions. For example, ‘Free Shipping On All Orders Over $25.’ Ultimately, free shipping increases conversions better than adding these conditions. While conditions may help increase average order value it might prevent some customers from even buying.

According to TechCrunch, almost half of all online retailers offer free shipping, which makes your store more attractive to a potential customer if you offer it.

5. Provide epic customer support

The most underrated way to differentiate your brand from another is by providing better customer support. Most businesses offer great support before the sale is made. However, how you treat your customers when they’re unhappy with their product, after receiving it, can make a world of difference. Even if you sell the same products as someone else, if you provide better support, they’ll likely buy from you again in the future instead of your competitor.

When it comes to providing epic customer support consider the following:

  • Be friendly: During the holidays you can mail your customers a holiday card thanking them for their purchase. If your business donates a percentage to charity you can let them know that their purchase helped you raise a certain amount of money for the charity. You can also give them their own VIP discount code for future purchases. If possible, make sure the note is handwritten and personalized so that they know it wasn’t just a generic card you sent to everyone.
  • Be respectful: Sometimes when customers are unhappy, they can write some angry emails. However, under no condition should you ever respond to them in the same way. Your job is to turn the situation around. By staying calm, respectful and positive, you can help brighten your customer’s day while resolving the issue.
  • Give them what they want: If your customer asks for a refund on a product, provide it, no questions asked. Too many companies try too hard to hold on to customers that aren’t meant to be. When it comes to retention, it’s about providing a customer with reasons to stay before they want to leave. It’s not about forcing them to stay once they’ve made their mind up. Sometimes customers want refunds for reasons that have nothing to do with your product or company so don’t take it personally when they ask for one.
  • Go above and beyond: Your customers should be put on a pedestal, they’re giving you their most prized possessions: time and money. They give you their time when following you on social media and they give you their money when buying your product. Treat them the way you would a best friend. Create content they’ll love. Respond to comments on social media, blog posts and email and get to know them. Every now and then send a few customers a free gift to say thanks.

Here are 10 customer service stories you can use as inspiration for the type of customer support to provide your customers.

6. Have exclusive products

The secret to stand out when selling the same products as everyone else is providing a great product selection by having a mix of both dropshipped goods and exclusive products. Even the biggest retailers like Walmart have a mix of the two. The cost of creating a store of exclusively unique products is high and the margins are low. The risk of selling only dropshipped goods is that you might miss out on a competitive advantage.

have-exclusive-products

Your exclusive products don’t have to be physical products that require shipping. You can create printables, ebooks, or courses. For example, if you sell women’s apparel you could create an ebook on how to create a fashionable look. If you sell home decor items, you could sell printable art pieces for the house. If you sell dog products you can create a dog training course that people can download.

By having a mix of AliExpress products and your own unique products you become more of a powerhouse. With AliExpress you can sell products at affordable prices. With your unique products, you draw in people with something unique. It allows you to become a one stop shop for everything in your niche.

7. Add personality

To stand out when selling the same products as everyone else, you’ll need to add some personality to the products you’re selling. The copy you write can bring your products to life or at least bring a smile to a customer’s face. Don’t be afraid to be playful with your copy. Your customers will appreciate it. Oberlo imports all of the necessary product information your customers need but you need to take it to the next level and bring those words to life.With the Tipsy Elves example below, you see playful copywriting. The copy also gives recommendations on how to dress the item to create an ‘anything but ordinary’ look.

add-personality-with-descriptions

Outside of the product description, copy still plays an important role. Your graphics, About Us page and blog posts can also be witty. With your About Us page, you can add personality by showcasing different pictures of yourself that are related to your niche. For example, if you run a cat product store, your About Us page can have a picture of you surrounded by cats would be a fun way to show your personality. If your store sells drones, you can have videos of you playing with one of your products. If you sell maternity or baby products, you can have a picture of yourself with your baby.

With your blog posts, you can add personality by putting funny GIFs or graphics. With your banner images, you can add your personality with your color selections, copy and images.

How you showcase your personality depends on the way you want your brand to be viewed. Keep in mind that people don’t typically fall in love with brands, they fall in love with people. People love Apple because of Steve Jobs. People love Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat because they are able to connect and stay up to date with friends and family from all over the world with ease. When presenting your brand, it’s important to show your human side.

8. Get more reviews

An easy way to stand out when selling the same products as everyone else is to have more reviews than your competitors. The more reviews your store has the more likely your customers will buy from you since you’ll look more popular. This will also help increase your conversion rate on your store as customers will be able to see customers who bought from your store using your product via images or videos.

get-more-reviews

To get more reviews you can contact customers to leave a review. Personally email each customer to leave a review on the product page. You can have some questions that they should answer in order to have a well rounded review.

Questions you can ask are:

  • Would you recommend this product to a friend? If so, why?
  • What made you buy this product?
  • What product benefits do you love about your purchase?
  • What would make this product better?
  • Have you taken any pictures of you wearing or using the product that you’d like to share?
  • Do you have anything else you’d like to add?

Offer them an incentive for leaving the review such as a discount or a small gift. Send them the direct link of where to leave a review based on their purchased products. If they choose not to leave a review don’t give up on getting reviews altogether. Over time, if you continue to ask for reviews about 2-4 weeks after each customer has received their products you’ll find that you’ll gain more reviews than your competitors.

9. Focus on the experience

In order to stand out when selling the same products as everyone else, every day you should be asking yourself ‘What can I do today to take my store to the next level to create an epic experience for my customers?’ If you do this each day, you’ll find that your store will constantly get better. When it comes to finding the best role model to aspire to Disney easily takes one of the top spots.

On their Disney Movie Rewards website, they offer rewards as a thank you for purchasing their movies. However, you can also earn points and have access to freebies even without purchases. On your birthday, you get points. If you fill out a survey, you get points. With your points, you can download printables, get figurines, movies and even a tour of Walt Disney Studios. While your store might not be able to provide all of the same rewards you can offer free instant download products and a small free gift for customers who earn points from purchasing your products.

offer-small-free-gifts

When it comes to your online experience, you should create an experience that stands out. If you look at the DisneyStore.com website, you’ll find that their copy and images tell a story. They allow you to envision yourself with the product which helps make you, or in this case your children, want their products.

offer-free-gifts

Even when it comes to header categories, Disney has literally thought out every possible category that their customers would want to shop. They have an impressive selection of product categories. You can browse products based on your favorite Disney movies. You can sort through product categories such as clothes, ornaments, luggage. You can also sort based on your age group such as girls, boys, baby and adults. If you saw something at a Disney park and forgot to buy it you can buy it online in their Disney Parks section. When creating categories for your website, you should think about all of the different ways your customers would shop. For example, if you sell apparel you might also allow customers to sort by color and size so that people can better find exactly what they want.

disney-store

10. Update your site daily

Many entrepreneurs lose interest in their ecommerce stores after a few months. Many suffer from shiny object syndrome and will move onto another niche that keeps them interested. If you really want to stand out when selling the same products as everyone else, you should commit to your store for a long-term period.

If you add new products and content multiple times a week for over a year, you’ll be ranking high in the search engines. To add, you’ll also give customers a reason to keep coming back to your store as you’ll always have fresh content for them to browse.

upadate-your-ecommerce-store-daily

Adding fresh content on your blog and social media also let’s people know that you’re still running your store. If it seems inactive people may choose to browse elsewhere as they may think they might not get their product if they order. This gives you an advantage over the competition who may not be as active online.


In your experience, how have you tried to stand out while dropshipping AliExpress products? Tell us your story!

  • Thanks for this article. I will certainly use some of the tips.

  • Nicole

    Thanks for the feedback! Good luck with your store!

  • Ebd ElKhalek

    Great Article, For the Product Images, I am thinking 5 images ought to be enough for every product, as to not overwhelm customer with the images. I am also wondering if the images should be or shouldn’t be included in the description of the product. One Question I got is, what do you put in your physical location since it’s a dropship, is it better to completely leave it out

  • Nicole

    Hey! Thanks for the feedback. Images shouldn’t be in the product description. However, on my store, I also allow customers to add photo reviews so people can see a natural picture of what the product looks like. Thus, allowing your customers to see a wider variety of images. When it comes to your physical location, I usually recommend signing up for a mailbox service like a PO Box or a company that can accept packages for you (so that you don’t have to put your personal address).

  • Ebd ElKhalek

    Adding Photos Review seems like a good idea, Yes I was thinking of getting PO Box as well, Companies that accept packages even better, Although I will need to find one. Thank You

  • Nicole

    Also, some companies (like coworking spaces) offer mail forwarding as well. So if your package is sent to a certain address it gets sent to your home. Check to see if UPS offers it too. It’ll save you the hassle of going there often if you get a lot of packages.

  • Naveen Verghese

    Awesome tips. I have been running my store for few months using Oberlo. I have had not many sales but just 3 in total. The last one being yesterday ?. I am stoked.
    I can definitely use the tips from this article. I will start using on of it today.

    Thanks a lot.

    Cheers

    N Paul

  • Nicole

    Hey Naveen, thanks for the feedback. Marketing can be the toughest part of running an online store. How are you marketing your products? Are you doing influencer marketing, SEO, FB ads?

  • Martin James

    Photo reviews…a stroke of genius!

  • Ultamodan

    Awesome article, you obviously know your stuff – thanks for sharing

  • photocrawf

    Hi Nicole. thanks for an entertaining and helpful article. But a question: I’m not clear on the purpose of having a PO Box or a company to accept packages. From whom are these packages coming from? What part of the supply or return process is this aimed toward? I clearly missed something. Thanks!

  • MARIBEL MANJARRES

    Hi Nicole great article am new in these and I love it since the first day, Its my first time in this kind of business , can you explain me what is a Blog Post please, is it something I write in my fan page daily with out paying publicity?

  • good article..thank you