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When and How to Customise Your Product and Packaging

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

New dropshippers may simply find a product online and list it for sale. Their "product strategy" is basically to try to find an easily saleable product.

More experienced dropshippers may try to brand their stores so customers can better recognise them for certain types of product or associate some standard of service with them.

However, what happens when merely branding your online store no longer gets you the differentiation you require? Or when your brand becomes something that others have copied online? For example, some of our larger clients have become quite successful in their domain and found themselves the victim of copycat sellers. Copycat sellers may try to copy your brand and use your brand or hashtags for themselves.

While difficult to deal with, imitation is nonetheless the highest form of flattery. These situations are a positive sign in the stage of growth of your dropshipping business. The downside is that if they are not dealt with, such competition could very rapidly erode away your existing business.

When to customise

Basically, customisation is possible when you have confidence in regular order volume for a product since customisation tends to involve minimum quantities. Customisation is highly advised when you find yourself fighting with competing online stores all doing the same. Such a situation would more likely than not lead to competition by cutting prices only.

How to customise

Once you have decided that you want to have stronger differentiation from the competition, there are a few different approaches below to strengthen your brand presence in your packages and products.

First, create and print branded inserts to put into your packages. These are simpler and lower cost to do but remind your customer about your shop when they receive the package. These inserts may also include promo codes for use at your online shop to encourage repeat customers. Other content suitable for inserts include QR codes that lead either to your store or to "secret" offers for repeat customers. For a more memorable insert, also consider alternative materials besides paper. These materials could be a stiff card, a cloth or towel, a leatherette card, or even a t-shirt.

Second, use custom packaging for your otherwise standard product. These customised packaging may either replace the original packaging from the factory or be wrapped around the original packaging. Unlike an insert which might be missed or ignored, a customer definitely has to see and touch the packaging when opening the package. These reinforce your products' brand identity and help link it to a good experience with the product. Sometimes, "Custom packaging" may also simply be removal or replacement of some existing packaging. Some factories package items in boxes with their own labels or have extensive Chinese text on the packages. Depending on the positioning of your product, you may not want these on the packages.

Finally, the product itself can be customised. Customising a product sounds scary but infact it can be as simple or as complex as needed.

For example, basic product customisation may simply be to imprint your logo on the product. Somewhat more complicated may be to offer your product in sizes not available elsewhere. This may or may not be possible depending on the type of product and the availability of templates, moulds, or other equipment for the factory to provide non-standard sizes (e.g. in-between sizes).

More complicated customisations tend to change the design elements, features, or functions of the product. These types of customisations are only suitable for dropshippers who have capabilities in product design. Such customisations are rare and probably already one-step towards contract manufacturing.

The downside of having customisation is that typically, quite high Minimum Order Quantities are required in order to do customisation. Dropshippers who go this route should thus have confidence that their products are highly saleable. They may also consider warehousing and storage services with their dropshipping agent to hold their inventory as it sells.

At Xianchao, we specialise in serving mid-sized dropshippers and solving their problems for them. As such, we are familiar with how to support clients in executing all of the above customisation strategies. We regularly help clients put brand inserts into their packages, arrange for custom packaging, as well as source and negotiate for factories that can meet our clients' volume and product requirements. We have also worked with alternative packaging vendors if the original factory making the product is not able to provide alternative packaging to our clients' satisfaction.

Connect and grow your business with us by clicking "Get Started" and filling out a simple form.

Please note that in most cases, we ask that clients we work with have at least 5 daily orders. If you have some items that fall below this threshold, do check our out recent post on "Aliexpress Plus One" to see how you can continue to experiment on new products while getting great reliability and service for your larger volume products!

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