Sales and charity have long had a close relationship. With the explosion of e-commerce in the past decade, this trend has exploded, with the technology continually improving. At the forefront of this digital philanthropy is everyone's favorite e-commerce platform: Amazon.com.
Today we'll be taking a look at the various means you can employ to support good causes, while simultaneously improving your brand recognition and customer acquisition through the use of your Amazon Wishlist in particular.
In the past, people donated to a local charity by buying stuff and then trucking it over to the local Goodwill. In the present, however, online is the way to go. This is reflected in a recent study that indicates a 14 percent increase of online charitable donations for 2013.
According to the study, online donation programs raised $325 million for 53 nonprofits for a total of 5.5 million gifts, and that the average donation was $68.
It doesn't take a lot of imagination to realize that this is a potentially huge market for online sellers who know how to get into the online donation structure. One way to accomplish this is for those interested to start paying close attention to the Amazon Wishlists of charitable or nonprofit organizations.
Gift giving is often made difficult when you're not sure a person needs or wants, so the Wishlist is a boon for both the gifter and giftee. Gift registries are a form of wishlist, so buying gifts on Amazon, for example, is easy as pie.
This is an easy way to benefit your favorite charity or nonprofit when you're hesitant to give cash donations. Knowing what the organization needs through a wish list takes the guesswork out of the donation, ensuring that it's not a wasted effort.
This is also the information that an online seller will be most interested in. Let's start our conversation by examining the ins and outs of the Amazon Wishlist.
The biggest selling point for Amazon is the sheer number of people who go to the website. According to TechnologyReview.com, Amazon garnered about $75 billion in worldwide revenues in 2013, outpacing its nearest 12 retail competitors combined.
The beauty of the Amazon Wishlist for online sellers with their own stores is that customers can add a product from any website to their wishlist. According to Ian McAllister, the AmazonSmile program general manager, Wishlists serve to “bookmark” products on a website that a customer is interested in so they can easily get back to it when they're ready to buy. The Amazon wishlist compiles these bookmarks in one place, which increases the likelihood that the customer will revisit the seller's online store.
Customers can also share their Amazon Wishlists with family and friends, thereby significantly increasing the number of first-time visitors to an off-site online store, giving them the chance to “discover” it. For online sellers who sell on Amazon itself, sharing the Wishlist also increases the likelihood of clicks for their products, which triggers other sales-generating tools such as “also bought” and other recommendations.
Perhaps most importantly, the Amazon Wishlist provides a wealth of information about what customers want to buy. This puts dropshippers in a unique position to benefit from consumer data.
Having no inventory means that dropshippers are flexible about product offerings, so they can list any item as long as there is a reliable wholesaler for it. Of course, to find out what a wishlist contains requires that it be made public, and most people keep their Wishlists private. This is where nonprofits come into the picture.
Amazon is particularly accommodating to nonprofits, making it easy for them to set up a Wishlist on their own websites, so people can simply click on a desired item, key in the quantity, and pay for it without breaking a sweat.
In the Nonprofit Technology Network study mentioned earlier, 16 percent more people visited websites of nonprofits in 2013 compared to the previous year, and social networks have grown in popularity by 46% as a way to disseminate information about fundraising and donations.
In one case, an animal shelter used social media networks to ask for blankets and beds, and their supporters asked them to put the needed items in an Amazon Wishlist embedded on their website. Two days later, the packages arrived at the animal shelter.
These Wishlists are publicly available, so dropshippers can simply take that information to tailor-fit their product offerings for these nonprofit groups and their potential donors. Moreover, nonprofits often need multiples of a particular item, which means that more people will be buying the same item, which is another bonus for dropshippers.
The important thing is for dropshippers to make these products available, so they can make a decent profit as well as improve their ranking and exposure.
A good way to motivate nonprofits to choose a particular product for their Amazon Wishlist is to make it cost-effective, such as by giving a lower price than other competitors, offering bulk discounts, or adding freebies for purchases meant for nonprofit organizations.
While this may cut into already narrow profit margins, it is important to consider the value of cause marketing.
Most people like to feel good about themselves when they buy something. It could be the prospect of getting a desirable product, a huge discount, a chance to be environmentally friendly, or an opportunity to donate to the less fortunate.
Of these, the most feel-good scenario is that of giving to others, which is why cause marketing promotions such as the Hanes for Good program which donates socks to the homeless are so successful.
How often has a customer willingly paid a little more for a product from a company that promises to donate a certain percentage of the purchase price? They consider the added expense reasonable because it's for “a good cause.”
Companies understand this desire of consumers to spread goodwill and come up with programs that give them the opportunity to do so. Cause marketing promotions are geared towards extending that goodwill to the company that “gives back” to the community.
Fundraising is every bit as easy as retail selling; it requires preparation, persistence, and perspicacity. Every opportunity should be taken advantage of to reach the target, and one such opportunity that is gaining popularity is the Amazon wishlist.
Dropshippers are peculiarly suited to use the Amazon wishlist of nonprofit and charity organizations to generate sales and at the same time help them get what they need. It is a win-win scenario for all concerned.
What kinds of causes would you support with your dropshipping efforts? Share the wealth of information in the comment section.