26-year-old Michael Klose from Australia, who has a deep understanding of digital marketing, is a dropshipping success story with Upinus. Before opening a dropshipping business, Mike was running affiliate e-commerce campaigns for Amazon and earning a comfortable salary. But, as that market became more competitive, Mike decided that he wanted to do something that was more profitable and firmly under his control.
In December, after talking with Tony Viet from Upinus through Facebook, I decided to give dropshipping a try. Why not? I had marketing and ecommerce experience, and that is a huge advantage when launching an online store
Dropshipping is a retail method in which you don't keep products in stock. Instead, you partner with a wholesale supplier that stocks its own inventory - you transfer customer orders and shipment details to them, and they ship the goods directly to the customer. The biggest benefit of dropshipping is you don't have to worry about fulfillment or inventory issues.
Also, most customers don't know you're dropshipping, since "private label shipping" lets you ship from the wholesaler with a return address and invoice customized to your e-commerce store.
Thanks to Upinus, picking Aliexpress products and putting them in a Shopify store has never been so easy. So he decided to start with that model. However, he didn’t know what to choose among thousands of products on AliExpress. It is huge, with cheap inventory, offering endless choices. But which choice should he make?
As a tiny e-commerce startup, he knew that he needed to find a niche market to focus on. Mike thought that he should pick a product that was not easy to find locally, and small enough to have low shipping costs. Moreover, he wanted to try products that were not updated often, so that he could minimize his efforts on inventory.
After sophisticated market research, he decided to sell hip-hop style hoodies and t-shirts. Not only was a wide range of models available on AliExpress, but these products could also help him make use of his Instagram experience.
Shopify makes having an online store so easy. After doing market research, he just went to Shopify, set up an account, picked a theme, and added some sales-boosting free apps. Mike noted, “I needed to start with something simple. In the beginning, my goal was mainly to find and test product ideas and marketing channels quickly. A perfect logo or a store interface can be designed later. Don’t waste your time on building something nobody wants.”
To drive traffic to his store, Mike focused on two main channels: Instagram and Facebook Ads. Mike notes that, “Hands down, Instagram and Facebook Ads have been the best in terms of ROI on every dollar spent.” On Instagram, Mike uploaded photos of style hoodies to his page. He followed anyone who he thought would follow him back.
Mike analyzed Instagram content and shared what was already popular, such as girls and boys in hoodies and cool t-shirts. He then retargeted the traffic he received from Instagram over to Facebook, pushing them to come back to his store and make a purchase. However, the profit margin from this strategy wasn’t high enough, so Mike had to find a new tactic to increase revenue from each customer.
People who love hip-hop style clothing have high brand loyalty, so Mike knew that they would be likely to repurchase from his store. As a result, Mike started to build his email list and offer rewards programs for a variety of customer activities, such as referring his store to a friend or sharing on Facebook. He also sent the customers coupons on their birthday.
For those of you who wonder what marketing channel might be right for your business, Mike suggests checking out Shopify’s guide, 50 Ways to Make Your First Sale, which he says is the beginner’s Holy Grail.
After 3 months, Mike has achieved over $30,000 in revenue with about 500 customers. Thanks to dropshipping automation tools like Upinus and an automated marketing system, he only spends about 30 minutes a day fulfilling orders. He plans to expand his business into more niche markets in the future to increase revenue.
In Mike’s case, a smart product idea and great marketing programs were the keys to his dropshipping success. In comparison with other methods of making money online, Mike feels that dropshipping is more profitable, less risky, and much easier to start.