Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Beyond Affiliate Marketing

We've all read tons about affiliate marketing where (mostly) a vendor's digital products are marketed by third parties as a means of earning revenue on an amount per sale basis. The most common scenario is one where products available from Clickbank are promoted via Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing. However, there is another entirely different opportunity for those wanting to progress beyond affiliate marketing or, at least, add yet another marketing string to their bow--drop ship marketing (DSM).

Unlike most affiliate marketing programs, DSM is concerned with marketing (and selling!) real, tangible products. In a DSM scenario, you take orders on behalf of a supplier who then despatches the products directly to your customer. You pay the supplier for each order, so your profit is totally dependent on the difference between your sale price and the price you pay to the drop ship supplier, less any additional costs (such as PayPal fees, eBay fees, etc.).

How you sell the products is entirely up to you. For example, many of the products you see for sale on eBay are, in fact, drop shipped items. In fact, if you see the same item being sold from multiple sellers, all with exactly the same images and descriptions, the chances are they are, in fact, all selling on behalf of the same drop shipper!

So, who are these drop shippers and how do you find them?

Like most things, just search for "drop shipping" and similar phrases on Google and you're sure to find a bunch of potential suppliers. Alternatively, add a type of product to the search phrase, such as "drop ship watches," and you should find some more specific suppliers.

In the U.K., the best known and most successful drop shipper is ATS Distribution, who supply many eBay UK sellers. As a word of warning, I would recommend avoiding The Drop-Ship Store (Sysfix). They give the impression that they actually supply the products you order when, in fact, they are merely reselling products from ATS and other U.K. drop shippers so you are much better off going to their suppliers!

Finding a good drop ship supplier and coupling that with your own online store, eBay, Froogle, etc. can be an excellent source of revenue, particularly around Christmas time - so what's stopping you?!

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