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Is dropshipping still profitable?
Here is the thing, this is something that everybody knows about, yet something we really need to talk about – its this elephant in the room that is constantly there, getting bigger with no signs of slowing down. Yes, that’s Amazon.
So how exactly can you and I compete with a big corporation like Amazon? That’s the big question that needs to be answered. The biggest barrier you’re going to face is shipping times and prices.
Here’s the thing, Amazon is becoming the AliExpress of same day shipping. So how exactly do you combat this, how exactly do you go out there and make money, stand out and still become profitable in this day and age, when it comes to dropshipping?
The very first thing that comes to mind is that you need a combat this with off setting the price and lowering your price when it comes to Amazon.
If you are a non-branded store, meaning that your store doesn’t revolve around one product or a particular brand, then you’re going to need to undercut generic products on Amazon by at least a dollar. Why? Because people value their money more than anything else. So when it comes down to it, you want to go ahead and play off of that.
If something is selling for $35 on Amazon and you’re getting it for, say, 24.50$ – you can sell it for $34 in your store and people will cross-reference it with Amazon and see that you’re actually cheaper and psychologically they’ll purchase from you.
This is of course, unless they need that item really fast, then they’re going to get it from Amazon. So one thing that you can do immediately is lower your price by under a dollar, undercutting amazon, but a lot of times it might be hard to actually undercut Amazon. So you’re going to actually have to really dive deep into the supplier chain and find a product that meets your margin and your criteria as well.
Use a long-term strategy
Nobody sets themselves up correctly in this stage of dropshipping for a long-term play. This is something that we’ve been really big advocate here at SaleSource and we even go as far as saying that if you’re currently still trying to go after one-off sales, you’re fighting an uphill battle that necessarily isn’t going to ever end up profitable for you. You won’t ever win this battle because of Amazon and other ecommerce giants.
Amazon is this looming giant over all of us that’s waiting for your next move so he can combat you.
The sad truth is that a lot of dropshippers barely break even, because of the fact that they are focusing on one off sales and do not upsell to their existing customers.
Let’s say for example that you have a moderately successful store with a 15-20 % profit margin, if your monthly revenue is $200.000, then you’ll be able to keep around $30.000.There are couple of ways that you can dramatically increase your profits, without that much extra effort:
Firstly, you need to be using stripe – that’s huge. Without doing so, you would be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Secondly, you need to have a proper schedule or proper format to reach your customers that you’ve already acquired. So, if you are able to make a profit from the initial sale, within 7 to 14 days later, you’ll be able to go out there again and make even more money by selling to those same exact customers. The best thing, is that all you have to subtract is the product cost at that point, because you already paid for the advertisement, so it’s a no-brainer, not to mention that results will become obvious almost immediately, within the first month of doing so.
A good app that I would suggest using is SMS Bump
But one that I would really suggest for follow-up is Mail Funnels.
With mail funnels you have the ability to do one-click cart abandonment setup. You have the ability to have a post-sale sequence set up, so your customers get emails after they purchase,
for however many days you want. There is a lot of stuff that you can do.
You definitely want to set yourself up correctly when it comes down to a longer term structure and the person who’s willing to spend the most and who can spend the most on acquiring a customer will win the long-term game of e-commerce. That’s how it works. That’s what Jeff Bezos knows as well and that’s how he scaled Amazon to great lengths.
Over-relying on Facebook
Relying so heavily on Facebook, unfortunately isn’t the best idea – everybody puts all their eggs in one basket, when there are other platforms, such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram.
Interestingly, a lot of people don’t also realize is that Bing actually has 33 % purchase rate than Google, more buyers on average compared to Google.
Bing users are more of an older crowd, so they tend to purchase more, even though the traffic isn’t as big, in regards to volume, as it is on Google – Bing has higher buyer traffic. So you have Bing you can use, you know, Google ads still you can use Pinterest you want to start diversifying your traffic sources. Diversifying your traffic sources is very important.
Use different advertising mediums
Everybody knows about advertising on Facebook.
There are other unorthodox methods that some of our clients have been trying. For example, we have clients doing upwards of a million dollars per months running Google campaigns
Pinterest is another great way to run ads that no one else is doing. Pinterest is a platform for discovering new things, meaning that practically of the searches on pinterest are unbranded. This goes to show that Pinterest users are open to new product ideas and it’s a great place to run ads as a dropshipper.
If you want to advertise online, you probably didn’t have Snapchat in mind. The choice of social network is heavily dependant on the audience that you want to target. There is no point to limit your ads to the more traditional platforms like Facebook or Google if the vast majority of your audience uses Snapchat.
Reddit acquired 8 billion page views from over 235 million unique monthly visitors. Reddit has thousands upon thousands of targeted communities that are organised around every conceivable topic. It is the most engaged, the biggest and most influential platform on the web – the self-proclaimed Front Page Of The Internet, so it’s certainly worth exploring.
What I would recommend is harnessing and focusing in on one particular traffic source that you want to learn and master and once you’re done, you can then move to another one. But if you’re constantly hopping around different platforms trying to figure out which one works best, you’re never going to get the best results because let’s face it: You don’t have hundreds and thousands of dollars to burn through to test. So Focus your energy and time on one traffic source and really harness in on learning it and then move on from there.
Dropshipping is done correctly you can make a huge profit. However, if you’re doing what everybody else is doing and just throwing together some random store, running very generic ads, very bland targeting – you’re going to get lost in a vast sea of competition and your ad cost will drown you in a lot of debt.
You should always take a look at cross-referencing Amazon: What’s selling, what the price point is, see if you can undercut or see if you can do something a little better.You also want make sure that you’re diversifying your traffic sources. This is huge and not a lot of people are doing this.
Lastly, not many stores have a long-term proper structure in place, that’s why most dropshipping stores go out of business within first 6-8 months. You want to make sure you’re setting yourself up with a proper structure before have the ability to spend more money than everybody else does to acquire a customer, so you can make more money in the long term. That’s the name of the game in 2020.
Tenali Ramakrishna, or Tenali Raman as he is more popularly known is Birbal's equivalent in South India. A court jester and a scholar exuding great wisdom, Tenali Raman was known as one of the greatest courtiers in King Krishnadevaraya's court.
The Vijayanagar Empire ruled a large part of South India between 1336 and 1646. In the 16th century, the kingdom rose to prominence under the eminent leadership of King Krishnadevaraya. His continuous victories against his enemies ensured a successful and peaceful reign for his subjects. As a patron of art and literature, many crafts and cultural assets thrived in the empire.
Krishnadevaraya's beloved courtier, Tenali Raman is the finest example of the splendour of the Vijayanagar empire. He was born in Tenali, a town in Andhra Pradesh. He lived here until he lost his father, after which his mother brought him to Vijayanagar. He was discovered for his excellent wit and wisdom, and appointed in the court. He was one of the king's ashtadiggajas (collective name for the eight poets and scholars).
A statue of Tenali Ramakrishna near a Municipal Office in Andhra Pradesh Image source: wikimedia commons
Tenali Raman as a scholar, published great texts of wisdom, which have now become artefacts of the Kingdom of Vijayanagara. But his fame does not lie in these achievements. He is known for the mischievous jester that mythical folklore portrays him to be. Through stories, many writers have used jokes to impart wisdom and morals to many generations of people. The stories of Tenali Raman are almost legendary in the Southern peninsula.
Textbooks have been written with his moral stories in mind, and these days, many self-help book are also incorporating his wisdom. His most popular stories are, 'Mother Tongue', 'Cursed Face', 'Saluting the Donkeys' and many more. Through these stories, Tenali Raman, in some way, brought about social justice. Perhaps this is why he is most beloved by many people even today.
Keywords: Tenali Raman, Vijayanagar empire, Krishnadevaraya, Jester, Wisdom
It must be noted that different religions and societies in Southeast Asia have alternative narratives of Ramayana, one of the greatest epic.
Here are some of the versions of Ramayana!
Dasaratha Jakarta: The Buddhist Version
Interestingly, this version of Ramayana does not mention Ravana at all and in fact, there’s no mention of Sita’s abduction, too. In this version, Dasaratha is the king of Benaras and not Ayodhya. Also, Rama and Sita leaves kingdom and go to the Himalayas and not forests. Then, after twelve years, Rama and Sita return back to Benaras and get married.
Paumachariya: The Jaina Version
In this version, Lakshamana is the killer of Ravana and not Rama. Here, Rama is an ardent follower of Jainism, and so he cannot be the killer of Ravana. Also, this version states an army of warrior and not monkeys, as stated in Valmiki’s Ramayana. Another interesting feature of this version is that Ramayana is not shown as a villain, rather a magnanimous king and follower of Jainism.
Gond Ramayani: The Gond Version
Gond is an adivasi clan belonging from Madhya Pradesh in India. Interestingly, in this version, the story begins from where Valmiki’s Ramayana ended; when Sita is rescued from captivity. Also, Bhima, one of the Pandavas from the epic of Mahabharata, is mentioned in this version. Unlike Valmiki’s Ramayana, Rama is not the protagonist in this version.
Ramakien: The Thai Version
This is considered as Thailand's national epic, and is still taught in some schools in the country. In this version, Ravana is shown as a learned scholar and a noble king in this version. Also, Ravana’s pursuit for Sita is depicted as true love. There are a lot of similarities between this version of Ramayana and Valmiki’s version, but this version lays a lot of emphasis on Hanuman.
When a baby is born in an Indian household-they invite hijra to shower the newborn with their blessings for their blessings confer fertility, prosperity, and long life on the child. But when that child grows up we teach them to avert their eyes when a group of hijras passes by, we pass on the behaviour of treating hijras as lesser humans to our children. Whenever a child raises a question related to gender identity or sexuality they are shushed down. We're taught to believe that anything "deviant" and outside of traditional cis-heteronormativity is something to be ashamed of. This mentality raises anxious, scared queer adults who're ashamed of their own identity, and adults who bully people for "queer behaviour".
Hijras are a community of people who include eunuchs, intersex, and transgender people. They worship the Hindu goddess of chastity and fertility, Bahuchara Mata. Most hijras, but not all, choose to undergo a castration ceremony known as "nirvana" in which they remove their male genitalia as an offering to their goddess. The whole community is vibrant with hundreds of people with hundreds of ways of expression, the true identity of a hijra is complex and unique to each individual. In India, hijras prefer to refer to themselves as Kinner/Kinnar as it means the mythological beings who excel at singing and dancing.
Hijras worship the Hindu goddess of chastity and fertility, Bahuchara Mata.homegrown.co.in
The hijra community works systematically, the community separates itself from the outside world and teaches lessons to the young ones in secret. Each community has a guru and the other hijras are their disciples or chela. The "hijra ways of life" are taught to the disciples in a secluded environment where they leave their families and live with other hijras in the community. More often than not hijras are thought of as nothing different from transgender and often referred to as transgender; however, scientifically these two terms denote a different class of people. Hijras are a part of the whole community of people with various identities and of spiritual and cultural values meanwhile, transgender merely refers to those people whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned to them at birth, they are a part of the community and do not represent the whole community.
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Historically and culturally the community has existed in the Indian subcontinent as long as the civilization has existed. There are mentions of hijra in The Mahabharata, a holy book of Hindus. Shikhandi who was neither male nor female is a mythological legend. In another version of Mahabharata Arjuna, one of the Pandavas was cursed to be the third gender by Urvashi, when he refused to be sexually involved with her. In a story by Padma Purana, it is seen that Arjuna transforms into a woman to take part in Krishna's mystical dance which only women can take part in. The Hijra figures are prominent in Indian Mughal History as well, referred to as Khwaja Siras and known for their loyalty to the ruler, they worked as the sexless watchdogs of the Mughal harems. They held important positions in court and various facets of administration during Mughal-era India, from the 16th to 19th century. The Hijra community is a testament to the sexual diversity that is integral yet often forgotten in Indian culture.
If the whole hijra community was looked upon with enamor and respect in our history, what happened that when we come across the community we look at them with contempt and are filled with a mixture of negative, fear, laughter, and odd emotions. It's owing to the fact that under British Raj, the Criminal tribes Act 1871 hijras were criminalized and the law was made to eradicate the whole community. However, these acts were abolished by the Indian government after independence, and by 2014, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh all had officially recognized third gender people as citizens deserving of equal rights where the third gender means individuals categorizing themselves as neither male nor female. Even though the progress is slow but in 2015 Madhu Kinnar became the first hijra mayor in India was elected in the city of Raigarh.
ALSO READ: India's first Residential Transgender
Although the hijra community was revered by society and is invited to births and weddings for religious and spiritual ceremonies, they still become victims of abuse and discrimination. Violence and hate crimes against the community have become common. They are deprived of education, job opportunities, seating in restaurants, etc. leading them to live in poor conditions barely surviving. They often have to resort to begging and prostitution to earn a daily living. The government has tried to address this issue by introducing bills for the protection of the hijra community, with prison terms and other punishments for those offending them, but there is little to no less effect on the social stigma against the community.
In India, the hijra community comes under the umbrella term LGBTQ+ and we notice that they lack voice and representation when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. We need to understand that when we fight for LGBTQ+ rights we fight for the whole community, we fight for hijras who have been victims of violence, hate crimes, and disrespect from none other than the people of our society. And although hijras are a part of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, they have an independent subculture of their own. It is worth every effort to know about them, to study about them, to befriend them, and to smile at them for they are every bit of human as we are and they have nothing but blessings in their heart.