Dropshipping businesses are some of today’s most popular startups.
Experts estimate that the value of the dropshipping industry will reach $500 billion by 2027.
Many who want to start a dropshipping business know the business model in its most standard form: finding generic products and selling them online. But there’s another form of dropshipping called branded dropshipping.
The question is: what is branded dropshipping, and how do you do it?
I can help you.
I wrote this article to answer all your questions about branded dropshipping.
Table of Contents
Before we look at branded dropshipping’s meaning, let me define dropshipping.
Dropshipping is where an online store sells products and partners with a dropshipping supplier to make and ship those products directly to customers.
Dropshipping store owners don’t have an inventory. They can have suppliers that send products straight to customers.
Meanwhile, branded dropshipping is a specific type of dropshipping.
This type of ecommerce business lets you create branded products and dropship them to customers. It’s different from traditional dropshipping, where you might sell products from a brand that doesn’t belong to you.
To start a branded dropshipping store, look for a supplier offering white-labeled products. Ask them to print, create, and ship products for you.
For example, you can start an apparel store selling original shirt designs, have dropshipping suppliers print the shirt, then ship them directly to customers.
Branded dropshipping follows the typical dropshipping business model except for one significant factor: the dropshipped products’ brand.
When you dropship branded products, people see your unique identity, including your brand logo, brand values, product packaging, and more.
An online business with a unique brand name is more involved in developing its products.
Generic dropshipping products likely come from established brands.
When creating a brand, you start from scratch. You conduct market research, develop product designs, think of a brand name, and create branded packaging.
Branded dropshipping is perfectly legal.
However, you must follow specific rules to operate without issues.
Here are some rules that a branded dropshipping store should follow.
- Don’t infringe on copyrights.
- Don’t sell forbidden products, like tobacco, alcohol, and weapons.
- Follow the online business laws and regulations in your country.
It would also help to avoid branded dropshipping ideas that aren’t technically illegal but might be in a gray area.
Here are some examples.
- Messaging or content defaming others
- Offensive content or branding
- Messages or anything promoting crime and illegal activity
Copyright infringement is a common violation among online stores. Read eBay’s Verified Rights Owner Program for more information on copyright infringement if you want to sell your branded dropshipping products on the platform.
Major marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have strict rules against trademark violations to protect sellers.
Even with these restrictions, there are droves of branded products for online retailers to sell. It’s not hard to start branded dropshipping and still play by the rules.
Despite the heavy initial workload, many dropshippers are taking this route for various reasons.
Here are compelling benefits to dropshipping branded products.
Selling products from other brands might be more convenient, but hundreds or thousands of other stores likely offer the same things. One way to attract potential customers is to create a unique brand name and sell your own branded products.
You can personalize your products. You dictate the designs, packaging, special selling features, and more. These characteristics make it easier for your brand name to stand out.
People might buy brands because they have a following, but they stay loyal to brands because of product quality and a sense of community. Your branded dropshipping store can quickly build both and generate customer loyalty.
You have better control over product quality if you make a unique brand and sell your own products. Quality control is a challenge with existing brands since it’s the manufacturers responsible for it.
These advantages help cement a brand identity and create brand loyalty amongst potential customers.
It might take more time to build brand recognition.
Work hard on establishing your branded store, and you could have a business with loyal, long-term customers.
You have less control when selling existing brands’ products on your online store.
If your supplier raises the prices, you must either pay or look for another supplier.
Your online store could also suffer if the brand receives negative publicity.
A unique brand saves you from these headaches because you have control.
You can manage people’s perceptions of your brand.
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of having an online store with a unique brand.
Ecommerce stores selling their own branded products have more pricing control. If you sell an existing product available elsewhere, you must keep your price competitive.
If one store sells iPhones for $1,500 while another sells them for $2,000, buyers naturally gravitate toward the cheaper option. That’s because competition depends heavily on price when selling an existing (and popular) product.
With your own branded dropshipping store, you offer something no one provides, letting you set your own price.
If you dropship products from major brands, you can’t dictate creative ideas to those brands. You have to sell their items as is.
On the other hand, branded dropshipping gives you creative control over your product designs, campaigns, and messaging.
This control is an advantage, especially if you’re an artist. If not, partner with or hire one to help you develop brand packaging, products, and visuals.
It also helps to have creative control if you’re particular about brand values.
If you feel products in your niche don’t reflect your mission and values, you can create your own dropshipping brand.
Reputation management is crucial if you want a trustworthy brand.
Having your own branded product gives your reputation full autonomy. You’re free to create the narrative you want your brand to portray.
Reputation autonomy also protects you from bad publicity that big brands sometimes have to handle.
For example, H&M has been under scrutiny because people view its fast fashion business model as bad for the environment.
You’d be under the same criticism if you were dropshipping H&M products.
Most big brands survive these nightmares because they employ PR experts. However, negative customer perception can cause anxiety for sellers who don’t have the budget for PR people.
Building your branded dropshipping business isn’t a walk in the park. It will take time and effort.
Taking a branded dropshipping approach to your online store can be challenging, so you’ll have to stick with it if you want to succeed.
No one will know about your products at the start of your branded dropshipping business.
It will take time to reach your target audience since your brand name doesn’t have the reputation of an established brand like Nike.
You’ll need to work hard to build awareness for your ecommerce store.
Fast-track brand awareness by using paid ads and tapping into influencer marketing strategies.
These efforts will cost time, energy, and resources, but they can help people to recognize your brand sooner.
Sourcing generic products to sell takes less effort. A branded dropshipping business involves selling customized products, complicating the sourcing process.
Sourcing products means conducting research, experimenting with designs, and testing.
You’ll need capital to get your product right.
You might get your money back by charging high prices for your unique products. However, you’ll have to consider whether or not your high prices will turn customers off and lead them to buy elsewhere.
Is branded dropshipping profitable?
No one can guarantee income on a business venture.
However, starting a branded dropshipping store has advantages, so there’s a greater chance of business success.
Creating your own brand identity gives you more freedom when setting product prices.
You can increase product prices and improve profit margins. Try different price points and see which range offers a high net profit without turning off customers.
What does it take to start dropshipping branded products?
Follow this step-by-step guide to effectively build a branded dropshipping shop.
Determine your niche before you start selling.
Find an underserved niche with solid market demand.
Finding your niche won’t be easy, so you must do your homework.
Check other branded dropshipping stores, and look at their best-selling products.
Ask yourself what products you want to sell. Think about the personality you want your brand to have and what products you can attach to that brand.
Try not to be too trend-driven, as trends can change over time.
It also helps if you have specific values, so look for a worthy cause you can get behind. Build a brand with a message focusing on equality, rights, empowerment, and other similar social causes.
You can also create products focusing on a specific cultural reference, music genre, or popular community.
Your brand identity is crucial. What does your brand name stand for? What story do you want to tell?
Target a specific group rather than all customers.
Your target audience will be your loyal customers once you launch your dropshipping brand. Unless you have a clear message that resonates with a specific audience, you won’t be able to get your brand off the ground.
Create an identity that clearly defines your brand appearance and message to target customers.
Developing a branding style guide will help you set parameters for your brand identity, overall look, theme, voice, personality, and more.
Create buyer personas for your target customers. HubSpot’s Make My Persona tool can help you define your audience.
84% of dropshippers cite finding suppliers as one of their biggest obstacles.
Finding a reliable dropshipping supplier should be your priority when starting your dropshipping store.
When creating your branded dropshipping venture, I suggest you find private-label suppliers who can supply you with private-label products. Dropshipping suppliers can easily add a custom design to these products.
Here are reliable private-label dropshipping suppliers that can help you create and sell private-label products.
Apliiq is a private label supplier that allows you to print and deliver custom shirts, hoodies, jackets, accessories, and more without keeping any apparel inventory.
Work with Apliiq if you want to start an apparel or fashion brand.
This private-label fashion supplier also provides additional services, like custom packaging, warehousing, and more. It also has an app you can integrate seamlessly with a Shopify store.
Blanka is a private-label dropshipping supplier for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs who want to create a makeup line.
This supplier makes customized and locally manufactured beauty products that will not disappoint dropshipping stores and their customers.
Aspiring brand owners who want to sell branded lipstick, eye makeup, skincare products, and more should try Blanka.
This supplier also creates vegan products for those who want to make a brand that supports a specific cause.
Dripshipper is your best branded dropshipping supplier if you want to get into the coffee business. They help you create quality coffee brands you can sell as your own.
This supplier is the perfect solution for coffee bloggers, cafe owners, and cuppers who want to earn extra dollars from their passion for coffee.
Dripshipper lets you create custom product packaging to set your brand apart.
The supplier’s reliable dropshipping service ensures your US customers get their beans within five days.
Printful is another print-on-demand service for people who want to sell shirts, hoodies, and other fashion apparel.
With Printful, you can design your items and sell them through a Shopify store within minutes.
Find a supplier with no minimum order quantity, so you can ask dropshippers to ship products regardless of how many items a customer orders.
I also recommend making a dropshipping agreement contract with your suppliers for legal protection throughout your working relationship.
Your sales channel is the platform where you’ll sell products. It could be a marketplace or an online store.
Here are some of the most popular selling channels:
You should buy a domain name and connect it to your store if you sell products via a shop builder. A unique domain name gives you a branded online address that people can visit.
Set up payment methods so you can easily collect payments from your customers. Provide as many payment options as you can. The primary selection of payment channels should include the following:
- Credit and debit card
- Bank Transfer
- Coupons or Codes
Automate your brand dropshipping model.
Look for your ideal dropshipping automation software to automate specific tasks and free up your time.
Automation is great for customers because it ensures speed and accuracy. It also means reduced human error and bottlenecks.
If you want seamless communication between your online store and supplier service, consider using Zapier. You can also use Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign to automate thank-you emails and other email marketing campaigns.
You’ll need to add products to let customers know what your store offers.
Here are some tasks you’ll need to complete.
- Upload high-quality product photos highlighting your products’ best features. You can also include images of your custom packaging.
- Write product descriptions enticing people to buy your product. Your product descriptions should include size, weight, materials, and other necessary details.
- Include shipping details and terms.
You should promote your branded store and products.
When promoting your store, you should build brand awareness and convince people to check out your products.
Here are effective marketing tactics you can try.
- Create social media pages and post content showcasing your products.
- Start a blog and write content to drive organic traffic to your store.
- Partner with influencers who can increase awareness for your brand.
- Run paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Google, and more.
- Start an email newsletter.
- Run a sale or promo and promote it on all your channels.
- Create boards on Pinterest and add links to your shop.
- Remarket to existing customers by upselling other products.
- Create an abandoned cart sequence to improve store conversions.
I hope my guide helped you decide whether or not starting a dropshipping business and selling your branded products online is profitable.
27% of online retailers today use dropshipping as a fulfillment method, telling us that more people believe in the benefits of dropshipping.
Don’t be afraid to try dropshipping if you have an excellent idea for a branded product.