Drop-Shipping Journal – Pt. I
Does Drop-Shipping Work?
The perennial question.
I’ve spoken in prior posts about my escapades in drop-shipping but I’ve never written in detail on the experience.
In truth, it’s still a work in progress, and in further honesty, I’m still something of a dabbler (honesty, now there’s a novel concept in discussing making money online).
But I’m a dabbler who’s documented his dabbling. So I thought you might care to read a retrospective, and come on the journey with me, catching up with me to present day. This way, when I release my $1,997(!) ecommerce course, no one can accuse me of not having any proof to back up my claims of entrepreneurial genius, and thus warranting that figure (limited copies and reduced from $4,997 for today only).
But that’s for the future. Right now those claims don’t amount to much, but they might be your experience, or maybe you even have words of wisdom for me – that are your own and not some Youtuber’s you watched five minutes before finding this blog post.
I don’t care much about protecting my super-secret niche, the excuse all these bullshit drop-shipping gurus hide behind – because they’re the only person on the planet out of several million online entrepreneurs to have ever thought of flogging that particular piece of Aliexpress and need to safeguard their unique product range and sales copy – and not because they don’t want you to check out traffic stats and their shitty site of half a dozen products, which they gave up on before deciding the money was in selling the advice, not taking it.
I’m pretty sure you’ll find my stuff for sale elsewhere, so I don’t think I’ve got a wholly unique store that needs ring fencing (on the Web where it’s supposed to be found) lest you steal all my ‘six figure winner’ products: if anyone copies me, I’ll take that as a form of flattery.
If there’s one thing there’s more than enough of online, it’s bullshit; you don’t need me adding. So I’ll do my best to honestly answer the question “does drop-shipping work” by way of experimentation. Six figure store or zero figure flop. Let’s see what happens.
So, without further ado, let’s launch this.
There’s no better introduction than taking a look-see for yourself. So here she is: Better Man Things.
Not a Shopify effort, that’s a custom built Woocommerce WordPress store by YT.
Current host is SiteRubix.
Everything you see on that site is the free plugin version. Abandoned cart, currency converter, subscription, Woocommerce, Paypal, Stripe, social media sharing – didn’t cost me a dime. Unlike Shopify for all those add-ons.
There’s some back end plugins that won’t be apparent but I use WP Fastest Cache to try and speed things up (free), and Imagify to compress images.
Imagify is the only paid plugin present, and I use it across all my sites so it wasn’t purchased just for this installation. It’s the Lite membership too, which is $4.99 a month.
The idea, the shop ethos, is to appeal to the younger guy; the frat-boy mentality. “Mentality” is the keyword here, as I don’t mean strict age demographic. Given the latest reports suggest most millennials don’t feel they’ve graduated to “adult” until into their thirties, you can see where I’m going with this in terms of target market.
None of the items are overly expensive and I’ve followed the stock drop-shipping guru advice of setting price based on analysis of existing competition i.e. Amazon stores selling the same or comparable items.
The issue of price and margins – even with 100% markup – on low cost items vs marketing costs, is something I’m pretty much making up on the fly. There are formulas out there, but there’s a lot argument and variation between them. Basically, I’m charging what I think I can get away with.
That sounds a bit mercenary, but let’s face it, that’s the ultimate basis of all costing, for all stores, online or physical.
The store is currently small, with thirty-three items at time of posting. Some are more filler items than products I’d actively advertise, and they’re included as much as to create the trust element of a genuine stocked store, as hoped for sales.
Jeremy Salem says you need about ten items to start, so you look legit, but that’s a little light looking I think.
The source supplier, of course, is the drop-shipper’s friend Aliexpress.
To try to alleviate delivery times, I use local dispatch where it’s available, but even then you can be looking at 5-15 days, plus processing time… so it’s slightly better than the regular Aliexpress time of 20-40, but still not great. Not 2 days Amazon delivery time, anyway. Shipping times are fully explained on a separate page and each product has a link included to that page.
The store’s audience is men and those looking for gifts for men. It’s general ethos is fun, with the concept of purchasing stuff to give you a “lift up” and thus a “better man.” And quite literally a lift up with products like elevator shoes and shoe inserts (more on that in part two).
This gives a wide range of items to sell, as just about everything can be spun to come under the banner of making you a “better man” if having some fun is the broad definition.
Applying the advice to speak to your one key fan (and their pain problems), I keep product descriptions quirky and hopefully humorous, whilst descriptive and aimed at solving these problems. I maybe went a little too far with that in some ads and subsequently reigned it back, which you’ll see later, but that’s my store’s general theme.
Good SEO practices are adhered to, and they’re observed in the labelling of titles H1-H3 and meta data of the products.
The store, as you see it, has been live since 8th March 2017.
So to the meat, and first Facebook campaign in part two.
Recommended further reading:
What You Need and Where to Get it. Dropshipping Suppliers and Products, eCommerce Payment Processing, eCommerce Software and Set up an Online Store All Covered.
by Christine Clayfield.