What I wish I had known when I started an AliExpress dropshipping. It is amazing what you can learn from your mistakes. Although it takes time for this to happen, one day you will look back on your mistakes and see how you got here. The little lessons you pick up along the way will give you practical experience and help you to identify what works and what doesn’t. These are just a few of my lessons learned over the past six-years so you can get an early start.
Content marketing is essential
I wrote yoga quotes articles when I launched my first yoga store. I would tag the influencers in the article on Twitter. They would share the article with their followers. They’d share the article with their audience.
This section is not about that. After I had made my first few sales through these articles, my team stopped creating content for my blog. This was because we didn’t have any backup plan in place for when the store collapsed about a year later.
Content Marketing is one way to grow your business and keep it going for a long time. The thing I wish I had done more was to make the blog an affiliate site for the next product in my niche. Because 99 percent of the sales in our store were from one product, I was at great risk. However, I didn’t build a larger audience to promote that product long after it died.
To save money, don’t switch suppliers
Although the mandala blanket was a popular trend that died around the time my business went under, it wasn’t what ultimately killed my business. I noticed that the ad cost of our product was increasing and I wanted to cut costs. So I searched for a supplier that would sell the same product at a lower price. I didn’t look at reviews or see the ratings of the supplier. This decision was more painful than I could have imagined.
Let’s just say that the new supplier was not as good. This error cost me thousands of dollars. I was able to get a refund on the product cost and the supplier was removed immediately from the platform. The biggest loss was due to our Facebook advertising costs which were at an all time high. Facebook does not offer refunds if you choose the wrong dropshipping supplier.
When you read Oberlo’s article that states, “Read supplier reviews, review customer photos, check supplier ratings, and order product samples,” don’t think, “Yeah, yeah, I know” you should do it. Our Dropshipping Tips explains that the cost of not doing so could be more than the $11.99 product that you need.
Sell Globally Now
For most of their ads, most people target an American audience. They also expand internationally into the UK, Canada, and Australia when it comes down to “international”. The truth is that 191 countries are also available for you to sell to. Dropshipping is a great business model if you have ever wanted to “takeover the world”. It’s easier than ever to establish an international brand with ePacket delivery routes growing over the years.
This lesson was too late for me, unfortunately. We began to explore other countries only after we saw skyrocketing growth in a tiny country called Jersey. There were many sellers selling the exact same product as I. You can market to countries where no one else is selling if you begin marketing internationally early. Dropshippers have the best opportunities in most countries, despite the fact that there are fewer sellers than the big four.
Negative Products: Take your products’ weaknesses and show them positivity
When you receive a negative review about your products, you cannot help but think, “Oh, man, I chose low-quality products.” I would panic and then apologize profusely. I worried about what other people would think.
The truth is that I only needed to be honest about the product. One example of this was the fact that my beach blanket was sold with too little material. What did I do? I created a product page that included a bullet point that stated “thin material for easy fold and to feel the texture at the beach.” This way, I was able to set realistic expectations while also showing why the negative aspect was actually a good thing. This was a huge improvement on the complaints. Consider the positive aspects of a product.
All your failures are lessons to be learned
Try. Fail. Try. Fail. Try. Fail. Fail. Fail. Win. This is the key to success in making passive income. You’ll learn from your dropshipping mistakes and become a successful entrepreneur. You will learn from your mistakes and overcome them. Failure stories are always the beginning of the best success stories. Do not get distracted by how far you are from your goal. You don’t have to doubt your ability to reach your goal despite the difficult obstacles you face . You don’t have to fail many times, it doesn’t matter how many. All that matters is that your perseverance through failures will lead you to success.
Look at ads to find the best way to find winning products
Dropshipping success often depends on one product’s success. To make it big, you only need one product. It can take some effort to find the right product. From a Facebook ad, I found the best product in my ecommerce career. The post received a lot of likes, comments, friend-tagging and friends. The rest is history. I searched for the exact product on AliExpress.
You can be more aware of what is working well for other brands and gain an advantage over competitors. This can help you spot a trend before it becomes a major one. Don’t be afraid of looking through bestseller lists and browsing social media feeds. Importantly, act quickly. Act within two hours. You’ll be more successful if you act quickly to capitalize on this trend.
You can test everything
However, it is important to always test everything early. As we have already said, focus is key. If you choose Pinterest as your marketing channel, you can experiment with different photos and keywords.
Another example of experimentation is with product ideas. Instead of trying products from 20 niches, pick one niche and then pick products that fit the niche. You might test multiple countries with the same ad when you create Facebook ads.
When it comes to experimentation make sure you are doing deep rather than wide experiments.
Concentrate on the Niches that are Retention-Focused
Retention-focused niches are niches that you can own and market to for many years. Yoga, for example, is a great niche to retain your customers. It’s also a niche that people are likely to stay with for many years.
A niche that is acquisition-focused means you need to constantly acquire new customers as the customer leaves the niche. You can think of weddings, children’s clothing, and maternity.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be successful in acquisition niches. It just means that it requires more upfront work (creating blog posts multiple times per week) and more money (paid advertisements).
My only reason for suggesting retention-focused niches to dropshippers is because most dropshippers have 9-5 jobs and limited budgets. People in other industries have also said that building an email list is a pain and you are unable to sell anything to them in the next few years.
If you are building a long-term business, it is a good idea to choose something that has a large audience you can remarket to over the years.
You don’t need to be fancy
Dropshipping is becoming a less popular option because people go all-out. They download a lot of apps, buy the most expensive themes, and spend $1,000 on their first advertisement. They get frustrated when they don’t make any sales for a few weeks and start to panic about how much they spent. They blame everyone, except themselves. You don’t have to worry. I was guilty of this at the beginning.
It’s possible that your first store is a disaster. It’s perfectly normal. When I started out, I created an animated video for my first bridal shop. It was the worst animated video ever created. It was cheap, unprofessional, and completely off-brand. It was still a proud display that I showed to all my friends. The store made only $30. It was my first and only sale.
As you gain more experience, you will find that you are actually doing less. Dropshipping and print-on-demand apps are the only ones I use. Along with a bundle/upsell application. If I need a specific feature added to my website, I pay a Shopify specialist a one time fee. This allows me to not get bogged down in a monthly plan to cover something so small and yet so important.
Choose a paid or free marketing channel to focus on
You’re probably excited to try different things when you first start out. This plan will fail. Instead, you should focus on two channels: one for paid and one for free. Your two channels could be, for example, Facebook ads and Instagram or Google Shopping Ads, and Pinterest.
Because focus is a way to be a master, it is very effective. High advertising costs can also impact your margins. If you promote in your free channel every single day, you will eventually get sales without spending any advertising. Paid focus is primarily to make you more money in the short-term. If you are building for the long-term, however, you will want to keep your marketing expenses as low as you can.
Even after your store closes, you can still use your audience
I left my yoga shop empty-handed for many years after it closed. We did not post to social media and we didn’t send any product promotions to our huge email list. It was dead. This is actually exactly what we should have done.
We still have more than 50k Facebook fans and over 10,000 email subscribers. Even though it doesn’t have any products, our site still appears in search engines. It was a waste of an opportunity.
You don’t have to close your store if your best-seller isn’t selling. Instead, you can continue building your audience and trying new products. You will have the best chance of succeeding down the line if you continue to grow your audience. You can also remarket to the audience you already have, which will lower your marketing costs.
Everything can go wrong
While you can worry and fret about what might go wrong, it’s impossible to plan for what might happen. It is almost always the unexpected thing that you don’t know about.
When I first hired a social media freelancer, I saw so many positive reviews that it was obvious that he was a great builder of audiences. He seemed confident and didn’t need any training.
One of his first posts showed him fat-shaming yoga pants wearing people. My jaw dropped. We already had a large following, so I immediately deleted the post without second thoughts. He has never published content like this again.
It was his responsibility to establish the tone and guidelines for the brand.
You can still take immediate action to correct any problems that arise. It doesn’t have to be a disaster. Recognize the error and work to correct it.
Do not worry about what you don’t know or what might go wrong. You have the ability and determination to conquer any obstacle. While some lessons might be more difficult than others, they can help you to start a dropshipping company. It doesn’t matter if one advertisement fails or one supplier fails, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are on the wrong path. Sometimes, mistakes do happen. We can only learn from our mistakes.