How to Build a Brand for Your Dropshipping Store Dropshippers can benefit greatly from branding their online stores. Find out how you can stand out from your competitors through this guide.

By Steve Tan

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Among the various business models, dropshipping is one of the few with very low barriers to entry. This makes it an attractive route for many entrepreneurs. However, because of its popularity and accessibility, you should expect to face fierce competition in this industry.

Standing out from your rivals is one of the biggest challenges in ecommerce, especially in dropshipping where hundreds to thousands of vendors offer the same products.

How can you stand out? The key is to build a strong brand that consumers will remember and trust. Here are six actionable steps to help you kickstart your brand.

1. Conduct deep-dive market research

Thoroughly researching your market allows you to understand your ideal customers and spot specific gaps or opportunities you could focus on. Does your target market have needs that other brands haven't successfully addressed yet? Are there any underserved niche markets that could prove to be profitable?

In-depth market research will give you insights on how to position your brand and your products effectively. Plus, you'll be better informed about the best sales and traffic channels you can use, ongoing or emerging trends, content types that appeal to your ideal customers and many more. Once you have these details, you can come up with data-backed decisions that should benefit your brand both in the short and long term.

2. Define your values and brand promise.

Upholding values is one of the things that set successful brands apart from the crowd. And if you also want to stand out and create meaningful impact, you'll need to clarify the core values you'd like your business to be known for. For example, ecommerce stores selling baby products can align themselves with parenting values, while stores selling car accessories can advocate for road safety.

With your brand values nailed down, coupled with insights about your target market, it should be easier for you to craft a brand promise. Your brand promise is what your customers can expect from you, so be sure it's something they'd want to keep coming back for. And of course, you should be able to fulfill it through your products, customer service and other aspects of your business.

Related: 6 Steps to Building a Successful Online Drop Shipping Business

3. Design your brand's visual elements.

Strong brands connect with target customers at the emotional level, and your chosen visual elements play an enormous role in conveying the emotions and moods associated with your brand.

You can use your logo, color palette and typography as opportunities to visually communicate with your target customers, evoke emotions and make your business easily recognizable. An established visual brand identity system can make any online store look powerful and reputable. So, do create one and make sure that all your store's design and other creative assets align.

If possible, partner with your suppliers or a third-party service provider to extend your brand identity to your dropship products and their packaging. Your customer should ideally see your brand identity at all points of their customer journey, including the moment they receive and review your products.

4. Create some product differentiation.

Offering something better and unique is an obvious way to establish product differentiation. However, in the context of dropshipping, this is a little bit more complicated than it sounds.

Most dropshippers never see their own products face to face. Plus, dropship suppliers often sell their products to multiple retailers — resulting in a vast number of ecommerce stores showcasing the same items with similar names, descriptions, features and quality.

But the good news is that you don't have to be stuck here. Below are a few ways you can create differentiation for your dropshipping store:

  • Have your product photos professionally edited.

  • Order sample products and use them to do your own product shoot.

  • Create new and unique product names.

  • Write original and compelling product descriptions.

  • Connect your products to your brand values. Express this connection through your product descriptions, social media posts or ads.

  • Customize your product packaging.

You can also explore private labeling if you have the resources. You can look for suppliers who can tweak their products exclusively for your brand or at least customize their product labels and packaging. This way, you can offer something that looks unique without having to spend on product development.

Related: When Should You Switch to Private Labeling?

5. Set your brand voice.

Before you write your website copy, product descriptions or any other content pieces for your business, you should first determine what brand voice to use.

Your voice should be relatable and appealing to your target audience. Otherwise, you'd lose their interest even before you get a chance to tell them about your store or your products. For example, if your business advocates road safety, your choice of words should reflect a tone that's dependable and trustworthy.

Your initial market research should help you find the most appropriate brand voice. It could also help if you consider these guide questions:

  • How do I want my customers to feel when they engage with my brand?

  • What tone suits my brand promise?

  • What kind of language will have the greatest impact?

  • What do my competitors sound like? How can I stand out from them?

6. Align your product choice, services and marketing with your brand.

Once you've defined the brand image, values and voice that you want for your dropshipping store, the next challenge is to align everything and make sure they're on-brand.

For example, if you're going to add new items to your product line, you must first make sure that the items suit your business. You wouldn't want to exert efforts into creating a brand, only to taint it with random items that have nothing to do with your brand promise.

Your services, such as your customer support and the like, should also align with how you present your company to the public. For example, if you say that your business values efficiency, then your team should be efficient in handling customers' support requests. Ignoring any dissonance between what you claim to be and what you really are like will backfire eventually — especially now that anyone can easily confront or ridicule you on social media.

As for your marketing efforts, you should make sure that the materials you use — on your website, other sales channels or social media — have a consistent look and feel. Not only that, but your messaging should also remain true to your brand.

By building a strong brand, you can be more memorable, appealing and trustworthy to your ideal customers. It'll be easier to entice more people to buy from your dropshipping store, and your customers themselves could influence their peers to also support your brand. These will ultimately impact your bottom line, so don't wait long and start building your brand as soon as possible.

Related: 4 Actionable Tips To Start Your eCommerce Journey via Dropshipping

Steve Tan

CEO of LeapVista

A serial entrepreneur with over 14 years of ecommerce experience, Steve Tan has founded several startups. Tan is also the CEO of LeapVista, an education company that offers transformative mentoring and world-class ecommerce education.

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