Welcome back, Empire Builders! Today, we’ll be talking about the current fourth quarter (Q4) peak holiday shopping season. It’s the most important time of year because it can represent 60%-70% of annual sales. In a recent Q&A-style Dropshipping Council meeting on the subject, some heavy hitters in the ecommerce space shared a lot of extremely valuable advice, so I’ve decided to share it with you. I’m really excited, so let’s jump right into the most useful advice we had for you on the topic of managing your Q4 dropshipping the right way!
How Do You Do Q4-Specific Product Research? What Niches Do You Focus On?
What makes a good gift – toys, jewelry, etc. – is going to be, more or less, the same every year. The specific products change, but the kinds of products mostly stay the same. Kid-related products always perform well. Adult-driven hobby niches like fishing or painting are great. People often gift supplies for a loved one’s hobby for the holidays. According to my data, the pandemic is causing a rise in people doing solitary hobbies.
How Much Time Do You Spend Testing Old Winners vs. New Trends in Q4 Dropshipping?
We work with both. We often prefer unsaturated products to raise the odds of ending up with the biggest market share. Common items always do well, too, but more competition can mean less profit. Also, instead of focusing on new customers, optimize the leads you already have with email marketing. If you don’t use your list, it’s like throwing away free money.
What Strategies Do You Use to Survive Increasing Q4 CPMs?
Use all your lists and user data to drive sales. It can generate more money than cold traffic campaigns. Theme your ads to the holiday or sale event, like Black Friday, to generate excitement. With so many people selling the same products, it’s how you market them that counts.
Constantly trying to lower ad cost causes inconsistency. Instead, increase what you can afford by ensuring AOV is 2.5x product value. Subscriptions are great, too, because they allow for automatic recurring purchases without additional ad spend. Focus on lifetime value, as well. A customer that costs $60 to get might be worth $500 over six months.
Do You Focus More on Pre-Purchase or Post-Purchase Upsell to Increase Average Order Volume (AOV)?
The first yes is the hardest to get; it’s all uphill from there. So post-purchase upsells are generally easier. Right after a purchase is when the customer trusts you the most, so it’s the perfect time to upsell. With tech products, suggesting they upgrade to the latest version at checkout works well.
What’s Your Go-To Q4 Dropshipping Ad Scaling Strategy?
There’s nothing better than manual bidding to scale quickly. Extreme variation works well on Facebook, so we use four pieces of creative per ad, minimum. Once a product tests well, multiplying the types of creative gives Facebook plenty of options for the ad. Once you have 500-1,000 purchases, targeting everyone 25+ in the US or in the top 5 countries age 21-65, for example, can be very profitable.
How Much Do You Focus on Advertising Outside Facebook?
Use the platforms used by your target customers. Keep your audience in mind and meet them where they are. While Facebook, Google, and YouTube work for pretty much any audience and niche, Facebook is best for scalability.
Do You Run Active Lead Generation Email Campaigns?
There’s more than one way to do it. Email marketing campaigns that focus on generating excitement and offering deals are great for Q4 dropshipping. You can also get subscribers to recruit three people each for a chance to win store credit or run a paid ad campaign to get people to opt into Black Friday sale emails. Remember, email marketing is very successful, but you need a solid offer. You need to be unique and enticing. Employing urgency and scarcity are very important and really work.
How Much Do You Focus on Messenger, Text, and Web Push Marketing?
SMS can be successful for upsells and increasing customer lifetime value. Push, SMS, and Messenger help with abandonment recovery. Also, Messenger works best for cold traffic.
What Back-End Logistics Issues Do You Pay Attention To?
Have your products in mind as early as possible, double-check with your suppliers, update agents on what you’ll be doing to get everyone on the same page, and talk to a fulfillment center. Even if you don’t use one yet, have one lined up in case you need them. Get everything organized well in advance. Some of us plan our whole year around Black Friday and Cyber Monday due to exceptionally high sales volumes. Logistics and customer service are the hardest part, so it’s important to think far ahead and have extra inventory ready.
You don’t want to ruin someone’s Christmas, so have a cutoff date when you stop selling to make sure you can deliver it before the holiday. If you don’t do this, expect returns and bad reviews. Build a team now, even if you think you won’t need one. Start making sure your processes are optimized, such as by having good email response templates ready. Q4 is always a high-volume time. But due to COVID-19, this one is going to be even more intense.
How Should You Start Planning Q4 Dropshipping?
Find a specific problem to solve rather than a product to sell. Also, stand out by offering extras like PDF guides. Ask yourself, why should they buy from me over Amazon? If you research your niche well, know the terms, and have a deeper understanding of the niche or the customers’ needs than the competition, you’ll be trusted more.
What Are You Doing Differently or Improving This Year?
We definitely need to do better with logistics. We recommend that you don’t overreach. Set a goal and once you hit it, stop. Deliver what you promise on time to avoid unsatisfied customers.
To get the rest of the insights we discussed, watch the full discussion on YouTube. To learn even more, sign up for my masterclass where I’ll teach you how I made a full-time income online with a 5-page funnel — without touching a product, building a site, or investing in ads. I’ll even throw in the $100k funnel template FREE just for showing up! Get ready to build your empire.