Making money online with dropshipping or print on demand business is never a get-rich-quick scheme, and many people have failed along the path toward success. But hard work paid off for those eager to learn and always try their best to their business. Our merchant is the living proof for it. So, in this article, we’ll share his inspiring story that he went from zero to a full-stack merchant in just 1 year.
Get out the meaningless job – Get in the lucrative business
Our merchant worked as an IT specialist for 3 years before he started joining the dropshipping market. However, that merchant couldn’t find any reason why he should continue doing that pointless nine-to-five job because it meant nothing to him.
Fortunately, he got a chance to meet a dropshipping fellow, who inspired him to enter the dropshipping market. But not long after he quit the current job and launched his own dropshipping business, he got stuck with troubles and failures. His life got saved again by another fellow, who then teamed up with him and started their joint business in June 2019.
Well, what have we learned from this strong man so far? The answer is that despite all these struggles and difficulties being a rookie, he learned from his failures and decided to change the way he ran his business.
Well, ads were burning money. How did he turn the fire into profits?
When we asked him how he ran his ad campaigns, he laughed and said: “Generally speaking, it is quite simple. You can find all things you need by Google searching, but to get winning ads, you need to conduct in-depth market research. There are two things that you should be mindful of: ideas and better customer understanding.
Ask yourself these following questions:
- What do target customers look like?
- Which is their age group?
- Which region are they located in?
Here is how he got the answers back then. There weren’t enough smart and automated tools to give an overview of the market. So, he visited others’ websites and tried to get the way those store owners did the selling business. Besides, he joined groups/forums of the dropshipping community to get the insights and discuss with other merchants in there.
He always tried to ensure that all the ad campaigns were set up sequentially. If one failed, another backed it right up. Also, his strategy was to increase the ads spending for well-performed ads and scale the other ones simultaneously.
His advice is don’t put all your eggs in one basket. He didn’t just bet in one winning ad campaign but managed to divide his resources into other scalable and potential ones. According to him, merchants should run an ads campaign only if they already do market research. If they have no idea about their products or customers, they will fail anyway.
Besides, he tried hard to help his team overcome obsessions with the “winning campaign,” they would otherwise focus too much on that winning campaign, and many other potential ones would get ignored.
Big holiday seasons: How to dig deep in those mines for more gold?
The answer always lies in the preparation.
He and his team often prepare for big holidays 1 – 1.5 months in advance.
“If you want things to go well in sales seasons, make sure that things go well right from the beginning. And, if everything rotates and goes in a certain circle, you can avoid events that things go out of control”, he shared.
However, on big holidays, he thought, merchants shouldn’t expect too much, because even on regular days, they are likely to get big orders and boost sales if they lead their business the right way.
Image 1: The first month he ran ads campaigns for the last Fathers’ Day
Remarketing campaigns – Get back what you lost
“I know how it feels when your ads campaign is burning a pile of money, but orders are nowhere to be found.”- said the merchant.
For example, a merchant sells a hoodie at $45 ($18,5 base cost). The expected profit is $20 (additional fees excluded). Let’s assume that ads spending per order is $20. Your business reaches the break-even point then, right? What if it is $30? – It is a loss.
To make the most of the ads spending, merchants need to use remarketing apart from running ads campaigns as usual. It allows them to follow potential customers who were about to purchase, but they didn’t.
Similar to the merchant’s opinion, remarketing is very important. One survey found that 75% of customers noticed that they were being retargeted, and most of them responded to remarketing ads/email/SMS. Another research shows that the average click-through rate for a Google search ad is 0.07%, while the average rate for retargeted ads is 10 times higher (0.7%). Not only that, but users who click through are also 70% more likely to convert and become customers.
“Those merchants who just start selling should have a retargeting system in hand, including SMS/email marketing, DPA, GDN, Adroll (or RoiHunter if using Shopify) to utilize traffic sources better.”
“My strategy back then was: I might lose money but understood all the essentials and metrics that I needed to run a successful ad campaign: Custom Audience, Lookalike Audience View content, Lookalike Audience Add to Cart and Lookalike Audience Purchase. Then I run CBO for my niche market based on that data. That was the very first time I knew what success felt like, even just a little achievement.”
ShopBase is his go-to solution, but why?
At last, you want to know his secret to hit $900K in just 2 months?
“If you’re like me, starting as a beginner, don’t rush yourself to all those complex knowledge about ads. First and foremost, choose a solid platform to scale your dropshipping business easily. I chose ShopBase, but why?”
“ShopBase provides you with Abandoned checkout SMS/Email, which allows users to customize the content and send it away to customers whenever they want,” the merchant explained.
Image 2: Klaviyo dashboard
Klaviyo is a growth marketing platform that helps sellers deliver more personalized experiences across owned marketing channels such as email, SMS, in-app notifications, and web.
“I use Klaviyo for many of my stores on ShopBase. It is a great email marketing solution which is supported to connect directly to ShopBase”, he continued. If it weren’t for the built-in email marketing, our team would have lost $20K.”
Image 3: SMS performance of the merchant
Similar to email marketing, SMS marketing worked super well with his dropshipping business too. He used SMS Bump when he was selling on Shopify, and his ROI got very high back then.
Also, merchants can set up effective upsell/cross-sell features right in those remarketing tools. For example, when a customer receives a retargeted email, right under it comes up “frequently bought together” product recommendations.
“Upsell and cross-sell features on ShopBase come with many benefits. My conversion rate has improved a lot”.
“ShopBase helps me in even the tiniest details. This platform allows merchants to customize and optimize everything at ease, along with powerful features. And the best bonus is that I don’t have to pay for anything. Meanwhile, Shopify costs me a fortune to integrate all the third-party apps.”
Image 4: Performance report – Join ShopRace 2019
Our merchant had started his business since last September when ShopRace 2019 just kicked off. With only 6 members managing everything back then, but with the help of ShopBase upsell and cross-sell features, his team almost got the reward for those merchants whose GMV reached $1B (His GMV was about $860K back then).
We want to know why all of a sudden, he stopped.
“It was the busiest time of the year. The transport companies were about to take their days off on holiday. The suppliers couldn’t receive orders. I was afraid we couldn’t support customers in time, and we wanted our payment gateway to work properly during this time to avoid the high dispute rate. So, we decided to stop joining ShopRace in the middle of December, but still, we got a lot of orders thanks to free traffic.” – he shared.
His final verdict
“Overall, if you are a newbie, or you know nothing about coding or design or technical setting, ShopBase is the best choice for you. This platform has a lot of things that can help you run and scale your own business fast. If you go for WooCommerce or BigCommerce, you will have to build a site from A to Z on your own. What about Shopify? Well, it often gets disrupted suddenly and costly also, which might turn out a burden for those merchants who run a business on a tight budget.
All features, from upsell/ cross-sell to abandonment recovery, are available with no extra fee charged on ShopBase. This platform also supports ad campaigns on Pinterest, which helps to diversify your traffic source.
If any of you want to try selling print-on-demand products, but you can’t find ideal fulfillment partners or struggle with payment pending or blocked accounts, try using PrintBase – an end-to-end solution for POD merchants. Nothing required to get started!.