For the longest time, Shopify has been targeting me with their adverts on Facebook, offering me a free 14-day trial to try their service.
I've also read numerous blogs and income reports about how profitable and awesome drop shipping is.
So I decided to give it a go. In this article, I'll give you a quick overview of my progress.
Picking a niche
The first step was to pick the right product.
I went on to AliExpress and spent an hour looking at various products with 5-star reviews. AliExpress allows you to buy items and send them to any address. It is one of the biggest sites that drop shippers use to source products.
In the end, I went with a GPS smartwatch for children that allowed parents to monitor their children when they are out of the house.
My reasoning for this was simple: when I go to run ads, it will be very easy for me to target my audience (parents with young children).
Building the website on Shopify
Building a website on Shopify is very easy.
I believe it took me no more than three hours to set up my website, and another few hours writing the copy and uploading my product.
I used a free theme for this test (there are only a few free themes), but on average they can cost well over $100.
I made my website logo on Canva and I hired a designer on Fiverr to take images of the watch and make them unique so I could use them for my own website and on Facebook ads.
Note: I sadly don't have the link to my website any longer because I decided not to renew my store as I didn't plan on carrying on.
Promoting my item on Facebook
I didn't want to join several forums to spam my product; nor did I want to invest too much time in creating content to rank on Google.
As this was just a test project, I wanted to get sales ASAP and Facebook, I believe, is the best place to achieve this.
I set up a page for my website and launched my first advert.
My audience were parents who have young children between the ages of 4 and 15 years old. Facebook is awesome for targeting as it allows you to target parents who have children.
I narrowed this down further to target people over the age of 30 who were using the latest smartphone (iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S7). I figured that targeting people under the age of 27 with children might not be useful as those people may not have the income to afford the watch.
Also, anyone who has the latest smartphone from Apple or Samsung has money to spend.
The price of my item on AliExpress retailed around $12, and I was selling it on my website for $25; a 100% mark up.
Here was the advert I was running:
I ran the advert for five days and spent a total of 2,634b ($60).
In that time I managed to sell one watch.
After five days, I was at a deficit of $47 after ad spend.
Quite honestly, I consider this to be a success given how little time I put into the website and marketing.
I know I ended up losing money, but for me, it wasn't about making a profit, it was about seeing if drop shipping is that easy.
What I learned from this experience
If you want to get into drop shipping the best piece of advice I can give you is to pick your audience first, not your product.
For example, when I was browsing AliExpress I had my mind set on baby items as I knew targeting parents is a breeze on Facebook. There are so many ad options I can pick that I knew I wouldn't have trouble getting my product in front of them.
If I picked clothes or artwork (items that are subjective), the audiences become much wider, and when it's time to run your ads, you will have a tough time converting.
The second thing I learned is that Shopify can get expensive very fast. After their 14-day free trial was over, it costs $25 per month to use their hosting service (cheapest package), and if you want custom email addresses, more features, and apps, your monthly running costs can quickly add up.
I think if you want to sell a single product, WordPress would be a better solution as it's cheaper. If I were to do this again, I would not use Shopify unless my goal was to sell dozens of products.
On the flipside, Shopify is so easy to set up, and anyone can do it, unlike WordPress which requires some fiddling.
Why don't you give drop shipping a go?
I enjoyed the entire process of building my Shopify store. It was fun, and I learned a lot about e-commerce, Facebook ads, and picking the right products.
AliExpress is a great place to get started. They have thousands of products, and they will ship to the customer's address on your behalf. When selecting a product to sell, make sure you don't sell fakes or items using trademarks as your Shopify and ad accounts may be banned.
Also, let the AliExpress seller know you're drop shipping their item, so they won't include the invoice of what you actually paid for the item.