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The Pros & Cons of Using Worldwide Brands for Dropshipping
Worldwide Brands: is it really worth your $300? I forked over the cash -- read my experiences as a paid member of Worldwide Brands, and determine if it's really worthwhile for the kind of business you might be thinking about starting.
Worldwide Brands is a certifier of qualified dropshipping and wholesale companies. This review reveals how the service is at a premium membership level.
For starters: If you're reading this, I'm assuming that you're either a current or aspiring at-home entrepreneur who is looking to do any of the following things:
- Transition away from affiliate marketing toward a business system that pays more
- Start a dropshipping business, selling products that you never have to see
- Start an Amazon or eBay "Powerseller" business, where you sell wholesale products and keep the difference between the markup and wholesale price
- Use an established service that will save you from wasting your time, weeding out the professional dropshipping suppliers from scammy overseas ones
What Is Worldwide Brands?
In short, Worldwide Brands is a pre-qualifier of legitimate companies that offer dropshipping and wholesale programs. They offer a paid membership service where business owners (that's you) can access their database of these certified programs, so that you can have the peace of mind knowing that the choice you make is going to be with a supplier that isn't going to cheat or scam you in any way.
How Does Worldwide Brands Expand Its List?
Dropshipping and wholesale suppliers are personally contacted by Worldwide Brands and go through a rigorous audit. If Worldwide Brands concludes that the company is legitimate and reliable enough to deserve their stamp of approval and acceptance of their terms of service, then that company will be 'qualified' and added to the database.
More About The Company
Worldwide Brands has a notable presence at major industry trade shows, getting much of their leads through networking and relationship building. The network of dropshippers and wholesalers that they amass can be searched by product category by their paid members. The company continues to operate under a one-time-only membership fee of $300, and the service can be used as much as desired for the life of the membership.
Who Is This Service For?
To ensure Worldwide Brands provides the kind of service you're looking for, be mindful of who they actually cater to in relation to the type of business you're looking to start.
Who It's For
Anyone looking to start a business in either:
- Dropshipping (a business model where items are stored, pulled and shipped by a third party who receives a daily sales ledger from you, handles fulfillment and charges a dropship fee for each item sold) or
- Wholesale (a business model where you purchase items in bulk, store them in your home or office, pull and individually ship them to each customer, and you keep 100% of the retail profits).
Who It Isn't For
Affiliate marketers or any sales or referral-based business model where there is no relationship or communication between a seller and a product source. If you're looking to join a service like this, it should mean that you're looking to do something that is *not* affiliate marketing, for a change.
Using Worldwide Brands' Members Only Interface
In the paid member area, you'll be presented with a dashboard that allows you to research dozens of broad product categories. By typing in a keyword (such as "ovens" under "Home Appliances", an AJAX-powered search suggestion menu updates itself while you type, giving you suggested keywords (such as "gas ovens," etc.).
The search results page will give you a link that displays the number of suppliers who carry those products, ranked by "Supplier type," which includes drop ship wholesale, light bulk whole sale, instant import buys, and several others (you'll want to research these options, although most people choose drop ship whole sale).
A product analysis for each niche will tell you like it is: is it too competitive to bother with, or worthy of going after?
Each product category you choose on Worldwide Brands has its own real-time marketing data, stemming from actual market research. In other words, data that includes competition, search volume, profitability indexes are more are instantly available for each product category and keyword. This alleviates a great deal of manual research that will have to be done before choosing a product to sell.
Worldwide Brands also provides updated information about retail and suggested re-sale pricing for all products. These tools are by no means 'revolutionary' to hard core internet marketers, but helpful to those who know nothing about keyword research. The following metrics are available to members:
- Demand: While it's nowhere near as good as a real research tool like Wordtracker, this section gives you an up-to-the-minute search volume that lets you know how many people search for a given keyword term each day.
- Competition: This is no mind blowing tool by any means, but it does give you a rough estimate of how many other shops on all search engines are selling a product you're considering to sell.
- Advertising: This page pulls in paid ads currently running on the internet, to show how competitors are advertising the products you're looking at. It's an invaluable way to get ideas on creating your own advertising slogans and messages, as well as spying on what your competitors are doing without having to open up multiple browsers and test keyword searches.
- Auction Pricing: This section brings up a query box with the product keyword you chose, showing how much it's being sold on auction sites like eBay.
- Retail Pricing: Similarly to the aforementioned "Auction Pricing" option, this shows how much products of your chosen keyword are selling for at a flat price. It is a direct reflection of how your dropshipping competitors are pricing their items. You'll want to check this on a regular basis!
Find a supplier by searching for the product you want to sell, and compare their offerings
When delving further and choosing a supplier, Worldwide Brands presents you with all of their contact information, and a pre-filled form at the bottom of the page which can be instantly sent out if you are interested in their business model and products for your own online store.
Never make a hasty decisions - whichever supplier you choose will be your product source for the continuation of your business! With that being said, you can simply add a supplier to your "favorites" list for comparison purposes. World Wide Brands states that they research and add up to 100 more suppliers per month to the total list in their network.
The Worldwide Brands Forum
One of the main reasons to consider purchasing a membership to Worldwide Brands is for access to their members-only forum. This busy forum, hidden to the public, is frequented by two categories of people: newbie entrepreneurs ready to get started, and full-time earners that are well experienced in dropshipping who devote their time to helping newbies.
One thing's for sure, this is a difficult and confusing business path to take. You *will* need advice from others. There's no other legitimate forum out there with credible at-home business owners who have advice based on real dropshipping or wholesale experience.
If you have a question or complaint about the service, this is the place to post either. Worldwide Brands representatives visit the forum and respond to these posts.
If you don't have a support forum where your questions can be answered at the drop of a hat, you'll be in for a very difficult, frustrating and potentially grave situation as a dropshipping or wholesale business owner. Being a premium member is worthy for the simple fact that you'll be able to access this forum.
Dealing With Support
One aspect of Worldwide Brands' culture is their availability to spend time with you on the phone.
It is perhaps the only service I've come across where the CEO himself will actually chat with you for an extended time about advice and tips as to what you can do to better yourself as a retailer in the dropshipping realm.
The company's expediency is equally good through support tickets and the members' forum. Customer service in this regard is something you're going to need, often, and this company
really makes their availability a priority.
Thinking Of Joining?
Don't Get Caught in the "Rut"
Motivate yourself once you pay for membership
For most of us, $300 is a LOT of money. If you're planning on throwing that kind of cash down for a service like this, even though it's only a one-time payment, you'll want to get your gears in motion so that you can make that payment become an investment.
Many of those who are just getting their feet wet in dropshipping tend to obsessively research the field without ever taking that first step toward building a website and making that first sale, and that's something you will really want to do as soon as physically possible. For many people -- notably those who have never built a shopping cart-powered website, or don't have a clue about search engine optimization -- there is an overwhelming amount of knowledge that has to be gained on top of understanding dropshipping itself.
Let these be your motivating factors:
- If you join Worldwide Brands, don't waste time. Go directly to the membership forum and spend a couple days reading posts and searching for answers to questions that you already have.
- Make a list of the questions you have, and post them in the forum. You'll get answers, and you might even get a private message from a dropshipping veteran who is willing to help you offline. You'll want this!
- Research the product you want to sell, not only within Worldwide Brands' database, but in Google & Bing results. Make sure there's a realistic possibility of being competitive with whomever is currently ranking.
- Get started on your website, and choose a supplier using Worldwide Brands' user guide. Get your website up as soon as possible so that it can start ranking. Never stop building and adding to it. Let your goal be to make one sale in the next 30 days!
Not For the Lazy!
If you're not willing to make a full-time effort out of it, don't even bother getting into dropshipping, or even more so, wholesale. It's a business where you wear many hats: executive, accountant, inventory manager, marketer and customer service representative. If you're looking for a "set it and forget it" style business, this is not for you.
However, if you're sick of affiliate marketing and its lousy payoffs, and are willing to put in a valiant effort toward a true eCommerce business that will yield far greater returns, then dropshipping or wholesale is the next frontier.
If you're unemployed with no foreseeable job coming your way and believe this is the time for you to try being your own boss, and you want to turn your grief and frustration into positive energy to fuel a successful at-home business, then this is most certainly worth a try.
Whatever you do, don't spend your $300 on Worldwide Brands and never take that first step. This is a path that requires learning, dedication and plenty of trial and error.
My Closing Opinions
Choosing Dropshipping vs. Wholesale
The critical decision you'll have to make from the start
It's one of the most asked questions in the business: should you attempt to get into dropshipping or wholesale first? While there are many opinions out there, here's mine from all of the research I've done. Dropshipping is simply better than wholesale for beginners. Why? It involves a $0 budget on your part in regard to products, and someone else packages and ships them for you.
If you're working solo (like me), there's no way that you can wear all of the "hats" involved with running and updating a website, doing your own accounting, promoting your business every day, doing in-person networking events and ordering, storing, pulling inventory and shipping on top of all that. It's simply too much for one human being.
Here's one more monkey wrench in the whole field of wholesale. Only those who buy in massive quantities can pull in the real profit margins. Everyone else is suffering, because they're buying low quantities at high prices, and have to deal with intense competitors who are price gouging the market and being impossible to compete with. The thing is, they can afford to do it, because they buy more volume than you and make a bigger profit margin, as well. This scenario is at least more livable with dropshipping, where you're not buying hundreds of units and storing them at home, not knowing how long it will take to at least break even.
Take my word for it - start with dropshipping, and see what your product options are on Worldwide Brands' list. If things really pick up down the line, think about evolving into wholesale; but only if you do your research on inventory storage, packaging and shipping. Also, you'll want to have enough bank to afford the bigger wholesale volumes so that you're actually making significant money, and beginners certainly do not have that...well, unless they have venture capitalists lending them six figures.
About the Overall Selection of Products
When what you want to sell isn't on the list
One of the few disappointments I've had with Worldwide Brands is that I had a preconceived business idea for a new ecommerce store that I wanted to create, with a niche product in mind. However, that niche product isn't being sold by any of the suppliers in the Worldwide Brands database - and there's where a major problem occurs.
Here's an example: hypothetically speaking, let's say there's a case where you want to sell disposable razors. You search the 'grooming supplies' section and see that all of the current available dropshippers there only sell electric razors. Now what?
This isn't particularly Worldwide Brands' fault, but it is a disappointment I've encountered more than once. World Wide Brands does encourage its users to raise their voices when a supplier for a certain product doesn't exist, so that they can go out and find a supplier for it. However, this won't happen right away.
My advice is to simply abandon ideas that have permanent roadblocks, and look toward the next best (or better) idea instead. Never stop moving!
Suppliers Who Never Answer You
Dealing with poor businesspeople
Nothing on earth is more frustrating when you're looking to start a new dropshipping business, and the supplier you're interested in never bothers to respond to your request. If you have any experience with affiliate programs like Commission Junction, you'll already know what this feels like. Expect this to happen on Worldwide Brands -- I can nearly guarantee it will, at some point.
I'm not exactly sure if this happens because your request to join a program is being sent to an old or outdated email address, or the supplier simply never checks their email. Either way, you should more than likely bank on calling a supplier on the phone instead of waiting to see if they'll ever respond to your online form on their Worldwide Brands profile page.
My Opinion of Worldwide Brands
I've done a lot, and I mean, a LOT of research on finding good dropship companies and wholesellers...more than likely what you are also going through right now. The truth is that is a very tiresome, frustrating and sometimes hopeless process. The most logical path to take is to find a company that already has their own certified collection of suppliers, and Worldwide Brands is the only company that does just that.
I first came across World Wide Brands after reading through several blogs and dropship review sites. Some of them put the company down because of its $300 fee. However, it kind of let me know that those bloggers were either newbies in the home business world, or were looking for an easy way out by doing everything for free.
The golden rule is that you can't make money without spending money first. $300 doesn't take long to break even, anyway (not to mention, you can claim the entire amount as a business expense!). It all comes down to getting your website up and not wasting your own time. Also, I'd rather spend money to get access to an elite supplier list, rather than go it alone and take my chances with a seedy supplier on the other end of the planet.
More Things You'll Need to Purchase Separately
In order to start a dropshipping/wholesale business, you'll also need a web hosting service, a domain name and a good eCommerce theme to power your site - it's part of starting up an online business.
Doing Your Own Legwork
Remember, Worldwide Brands simply gives you an initial education, a forum and a giant database of suppliers. However, it's up to you to make the right decisions on which niche to enter, which products to sell, and ultimately, which dropship company to use.
Nobody will ever tell you who the best, most worthwhile dropshippers are in the Worldwide Brands database, because its their greatest business secret, and it involved a lot of work to find. It's a secret you will keep, as well. Finding them, however, is the challenging part that involves research and trial, and that's the nature of the business. World Wide Brands will give you a solid list of candidates to choose from, and that's the best initial step you can ask for.
Read through the free dropshipping eBooks available from Worldwide Brands: they'll give you a better idea of the pros and cons of being a dropshipping or wholesale business owner, and will give insight as to what is provided to paid members of the program.
- "Starting your Internet Business Right" by Chris Malta
Look past "get rich quick" schemes and use common sense as a platform for your online business.
- "Understanding the Internet for Home Business" by Chris Malta
This is a true beginner's guide for those who have never administered a website or a server before. It's written in real lay-person language, easy for all to understand.
- "How to find Real Products You Can Sell Online" by Chris Malta
This eBook explains product sourcing in detail, and all of the types of dropshipping and wholesale options available to you. Know their differences before you select one!
To see what the actual service looks like, play around with the Worldwide Brands membership preview for the sake of this review. It will give you a feel for the interface. You'll be able to give the product search options a try, but supplier contact info will remain hidden to non-members.