Dropshipping is probably the easiest way to build an online business in 2018.
This is a quick and honest case study on how I built myself a short-lived dropshipping business (until Paypal and Facebook came after me and closed it because of an old copyright ad from June 2017 and a link to an escort site.. d’oh!).
Btw… the $58,000 number doesn’t include the 2 other stores which I also ran in the same period. The 2 other stores made $15,000 in sales, combined.
My obnoxiously simplified strategy in 3 steps:
- Start with $3,000
- Be a good spy – analyse competitors and find bet-selling products on Facebook, then copy them
- Test a lot of ads/audiences
In May 2017 I opened my first webshop with Shopify and was ready to begin an Aliexpress dropshipping adventure.
The plan was to hit $10,000/month in profit.
First domain I used was “wowbestdeals.com” and spent the first month on learning Shopify, researching Aliexpress for products and designing Facebook pages.
In June I began advertising on Facebook and changed the domain to “grandgears.com” and shortly after “jonasdeals.com”.
I began testing different products from Aliexpress which I found interesting and ran $5 PPE ads.
That produced no sales, EXCEPT around 10 “thuglife” glasses (with no profit).
I began researching other dropshippers stores and found their bestsellers.
One way I did it, was to look in the Facebook groups for dropshippers bragging about their huge sales numbers. Of course, I would like to see what they sell and how they sell it.
Ways to find winner products:
So after you have identified a seller who likes to brag on Facebook groups, you can do the following.:
- look at his/her Facebook profile. Look at the pages they likes – which looks like a dropshipping page? Look at them. Did the page recently promote a product with many likes and comments? If so, we found a winning product. Maybe not the braggers, but still a winning product. Write the link in your notes and take a screenshot. Next, to the winning products website and do a whois search, to see if the braggers name owns the domain. If so, bingo!
- look at his/her Instagram account. Search their name in Instagram or find it in some way. Look at the pictures. Are there any clues? Some images or text that might reveal something about a webstore/product/business?
- search the name in Google. Find any links you can and open them. Try searching “[the name] shopify”, “[the name] dropshipping [the name] aliexpress” or anything you find relevant. Any clues?
- reverse DNS the name. Reverse DNS is kind of the opposite of a WHOIS search. You type the full name, hit “search” and then you’ll see all the domains owned by that name. If the person have privatised the registration, then the domain will not show up in reverse DNS. But look for webshops. Any webshops? Open them. Open the stores Facebook page. Any clues on other webshops on the pages?
- YOU FOUND THE DOMAIN, BUT NOT THE WINNING PRODUCT. Try to add the “/collections/all?sort_by=best-selling” extension to the URL. For example www.store.com/collections/all?sort_by=best-selling. Then you’ll see the best-selling products first. Note: maybe the first product is not the NEW best-selling – go and look on the Facebook page to see what is the recent best-selling product. Note note: some stores have disabled this function, and I encourage you to do the same (do a Google search on how to do it, it’s fairly easy).
… and that’s how I found all the products that actually made sales in my stores.
For example my all time best seller:
I advertised the product on a Facebook page which I called “Optical tech”.
Got about 50 sales by targeting electricians worldwide in July, and in August I raised the budget and retargeted to a lookalike audience on “View Content”.
In September I have around 200-400 sales on this camera, so now Facebook had collected enough data to build a lookalike audience on all “PUR” (purchases). About a week later the sales skyrocketed to 100 sales a day in a short period of time and resulted in $32,000 in sales for September.
Besides that I also ran two other stores – www.skulledup.com which made over $4,000 in sales in 2 months, and www.migishi.com which made around $11,000 in sales in 2 month, primarily from the jacket in the picture (all done with the spying methods mentioned above).
Facebook pages I ran most ads from:
Total sales for jonasdeals.com from beginning to end:
Some eye candy from my Facebook ads manager:
The mistake I made was to not set the price on the camera high enough.
Around September 10 I raised the price $10 higher, from $29.99 til $39.99 and people still bought it. There were a little less sales, but the $10 still resulted in a much higher profit.
In October 2017 I made around $6,000 in sales on jonasdeals.com and migishi.com and the sales slowly died, since I didn’t research after more products.
I chose to continue with other business models since, in my experience, the profit from dropshipping from Aliexpress simply isn’t hight enough. Maybe it’s my impatience, maybe it’s a fact. I do want to get back into dropshipping and will if time and budget allows. But right now, I focus on developing web marketplaces, chatbots and sharpening my coding skills.