How to Run a Dropshipping General Store and Advantages?

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What is a General Dropshipping Shop?

Dropshipping stores can be made up of many niches. General stores allow you to reach more people and are flexible. Although they may not be very profitable, general stores can provide stability and are more likely to sell something.

A general dropshipping shop, for example, may sell products from many industries. You can find clothing, electronics, home and garden, and computers. They will sell one item from each niche to their users.

The Pros

Dropshipping niches that are general in nature are preferable to niche-based dropshipping shops. Here are some of the benefits of general dropshipping sites.

Flexible to start

Dropshipping in general niches is possible because they’re flexible and don’t require you to be a specialist in one niche. A benefit to general niche dropshipping is the ability to compile a list of popular products from all niches, and then add them to your store for testing.

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shopify dropshipping store set up
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Reach More People

Dropshipping general niche products can be used in many industries. As a general niche dropshipping shop, you can optimize product listings to rank them higher in the SERPs. You will eventually be able to sell them to more people if you reach more people.

You can test multiple niches at once

A general dropshipping shop has another advantage: you can test multiple dropshipping product simultaneously. Simply add the products you wish to be covered and then promote them via Facebook or Google Shopping.

The Cons

It’s better to know everything about a business before starting it. Here are some disadvantages to general dropshipping websites.

Order Conversion Ratio Is Low

Dropshipping stores are visited mainly by people who just want to see the products. Niche-specific websites have a lower conversion rate because niche-specific visitors are more likely to be interested in buying. General dropshipping websites have a lower conversion rate because they attract visitors with and without buying intent.

High ratio of irrelevant traffic

Most of these visitors only want to see the prices of the products. This is why they are not consuming any bandwidth. These visitors also consume paid marketing budget. In a sense, these visitors are bad for dropship stores.

More competition

A general dropshipping website is more competitive than a niche-specific shop. It must market intelligently to be ahead of the rest.

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Chris Wane proves persistence pays off. He tried hundreds of products and failed five ecommerce stores before he found the right formula. He had to overcome self-doubt, negativity, and ridicule from his peers before he found a winning formula.

His dropshipping store Big Red Gadgets generated more than $537,457 in sales less than two years after he started it. Chris’s life has changed before his eyes. His profit margin was 20%, which brought his take-home to more than $100,000.

Dropshipping: What is it?

Three years ago, Chris Wane looked just like any 27-year old. He was living in his hometown just outside Manchester, UK and had a full-time job. He knew that the cubicle lifestyle wasn’t for him and decided to leave. He says, “I don’t see myself remaining in an office for the rest of my lifetime.” “I have always wanted to start my own business but I never knew how.”

Dropshipping was a way to get out of his financial rut and start a business.

Dropshipping: What does it mean?

Dropshipping allows entrepreneurs to set up an online shop and sell products, without the need to buy inventory upfront. Once you have made a sale, you must pay your supplier. The supplier then ships the products directly back to you. Oberlo is a marketplace that connects your store with thousands of suppliers and products.

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Back then Chris was living each month paycheck-to-paycheck, and the stress of having no savings and no wiggle room in his budget weighed heavily on his mind.

He believed that if he did it right, he would make $200 more per month. This would be enough to pay his bills and allow him to save money for travel.

However, there was a problem. He had no idea how to do it.

He says, “When it came Shopify designing stores and how to advertise them, I didn’t know what to do.”

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shopify dropshipping store set up

He joined Facebook Groups. And devouring dropshipping blogs. Watching hours and hours of YouTube videos.

Finally, he was ready for the start. The next step was to go through the trials and make many mistakes.

He started a niche shop after following the advice of other entrepreneurs that he had seen online. The first store sold snowboarding gear. He couldn’t sell any snowboard gear. Because it was trendy at the time, the next person sold beard oil. It didn’t work again. He finally tried to open a shop in a market he was more familiar, the fitness equipment. The store failed again.

Chris can see that he was naive about the business of running his businesses. He says, “It was naivety in my point of view about what I could accomplish, and it just did not work.”

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He was tired from failing repeatedly, but he wasn’t ready for defeat yet.

Finally, Cracking the Code

“I thought to myself, “Right, this will be my last attempt at this, it’s going to be my sixth.”

Instead of creating another niche store, he chose to go the opposite direction.

He says, “I decided to open a general store instead of trying to build a store, then failing, then building another one, and failing again, so let’s just just build one store that I can put any product in at first and see if it works.”

So Big Red Gadgets was created in August 2017.

He had a $300 budget to find a product that would be profitable and he began to study more to improve his knowledge.

Big Red Gadgets’ difference is how much time I have spent actually reading and researching. He says that he tries to understand Facebook ads because that’s where most traffic comes from.

After learning Facebook advertising, he started testing various products and running Facebook ads to gauge the reactions of his customers.

Chris was aware of the high stakes and knew that he wasn’t going to waste any money. He began slowly and spent $5 per day to run one ad for a product.

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He remained calm and waited for the results the next day.

“The second day it sold and my profit margin was 15%, so I had spent $10 on ads and earned $15. I had just made a fiver and remember running around the room thinking, “Oh my God, I’m going to be rich!” He laughs and says, “I made a fiver!”

After the initial sale, Chris noticed that his $300 advertising budget was rapidly drying up. He was becoming more concerned that he hadn’t yet found a product that was consistently selling.

It was a recommendation by a friend that changed his life.

“My best friend is very into cycling. He came to my home one day and was looking through AliExpress for some products. I told him that I was into cycling. Take a look at these products. Which one would you choose? He said that he liked cycling and that he would buy the pair of glasses.

This one was also nuclear when we speak of blow ups.

Chris’ Big Red Gadgets store made over $13,000 in six weeks thanks to his cycling glasses.

His store had a record revenue of over $500,000 by the time I spoke with him in April 2019.

Financial Freedom

Chris launched Big Red Gadgets almost two years ago, his last attempt to grow an online business.

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He has seen his life change in the years since. He still works full-time, but he has seen his life change. His financial freedom has made a significant difference in his life.

He was able to purchase a car and enjoy a long-awaited vacation in the United States. He spent three weeks driving from New York to Los Angeles.

He has also been able take care of small, often forgotten things in his daily life. He was able to make some repairs to his house and to decorate areas that were neglected for a while.

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shopify dropshipping store set up

He says, “It’s all about the little things.” “I like the fact that I don’t need to go to my bank account every single day to ensure I have enough money for this and that. It really does help to lose weight.

Chris’s winning product selection strategy

Chris’s first product, the cycling glasses, was not his only winner. He has also had success with Big Red Gadgets, selling accessories for snowboarding, jewelry, sunglasses and other home decor items. A snowboarding product earned $100,000 in three months.

His success is due in part to his smart Facebook advertising funnel (more later), and also to his keen eye on product selection.

Chris spent the last two years looking for and testing new products. He estimates that he has tested between 300-400 products.

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Chris looks for products that are:

  1. Help the customer solve a problem
  2. It can appeal to a wide, mainstream audience
  3. It has a WOW factor that will make you stop scrolling
  4. High order numbers (over 10,000)
  5. Are you not currently being promoted on social media?

He has tried to sell products that have low sales in the past, but it didn’t work out. He now sticks to popular products.

He then searches Facebook for any current advertising of the product after he has found a winner with high order count.

He will look for posts that promote the product with high engagement or those that look like they came from a large AliExpress dropshipping company.

He considers it a win if he cannot find any evidence that someone is having success with Facebook.

This exact strategy was what helped him find the lamp that generated $18,800 in sales within three weeks.

AliExpress had more than 10,000 orders for this lamp. He explains that he has never seen it run by any other dropshippers and has never seen an advertisement for it.

He’ll then do one last check, after assessing the product’s potential using order numbers and social media platforms.

To check for seasonality, he heads to Google Trends. He is looking for seasonal peaks and valleys in product popularity throughout the year. He prefers to find something that is very popular all year, or is about to reach its peak.

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Chris’ Facebook Advertising Strategy

Chris made many mistakes in his advertising, and it took months before he was able to understand the best strategy for Facebook advertising.

He says that a lot of his experience was gained through trial and error.

Step 1 – Audience Targeting

Although he initially followed the advice of others to target Facebook audiences based on different interests, he is skeptical about whether this is still the best method for targeting in 2019.

Facebook continues to improve its intelligence every day. Facebook has fed all of the data it collects from the many thousands of ads that are running on its platform back to itself. The advertising algorithms are extremely clever in finding the right people for your ad.

Chris no longer has to manually pick interests that align with his target audience. Instead, Chris leaves the majority of the work of finding the right audience to Facebook’s algorithms.

Chris’ decision to use broad targeting in his ads during product testing boils down to optimizing to one thing: CPM.

CPM (cost per thousand) is a term used to quantify the cost of getting your ad seen by 1,000 people. If you run ads to a narrower audience, such as lookalike audiences, you will be charged more for reaching 1,000 people than if your target audience is very large.

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Chris, for example, tried to run ads targeting a similar audience and found that Facebook charged him $15 per 1,000 people. His CPM would drop to $5 if he used broad targeting. This means that he could reach 3,000 people for $15

He says, “So, you get three-times as many people for the exact same price, and still only one sale in that,”

Step 2: Testing His Sales Pitch

Chris will then create three variations of his ads, with slightly different copy for each. This is a way to test different sales pitches as you never know what message will resonate.

He says, “I was quite surprised at what the ad I thought would do well has actually done the worst.”

Step 3 – Campaign Optimization

He then creates a Facebook Ads Manager campaign and selects the “engagement” optimization.

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shopify dropshipping store set up

Why would you use engagement-based ads? Are you not looking to make sales and not just get likes on Facebook?

Great question. It’s much cheaper.

Facebook charges less for optimized campaigns for engagement. This means that in the early product testing phase, while you are still trying to determine if your Facebook ads formula works, it’s better to spend less.

Chris states, “I don’t need to spend a lot on these ads. I can see which age ranges and demographics are performing well and which ads people like and click through the most.”

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Conversion Campaign

Chris runs tests to determine which sales pitches and audiences are most effective. He then creates a second campaign. He’ll optimize the campaign for conversions and copy over the ad creativity and audience demographics he used in his most successful campaign.

This campaign is designed to encourage customers to move down the sales funnel and convert them into paying customers.

Chris’ Facebook advertising strategy wraps it up:

  • Broadly target people, without any interest-based goals.
  • Run engagement-optimized ads in the beginning. They’re less expensive.
  • Multiple versions of your ad can be created with different copy.
  • Convert-optimized ads are created based on the winning ad copy. This allows you to reduce the demographics of your targeting to the countries and ages that perform best.

Chris’ Advice to Beginners

Chris has seen it all over the past two decades. He was only moments away from giving up and walking away. Now? He is now planning to make the business his financial escape plan.

Dropshipping is a difficult business to start. You will have to confront self doubt and skepticism from those around you.

Chris’ advice? Don’t listen.

He says, “When I first started I was laughed at. They told me it was just another ‘get wealthy quick’ scheme and that it wouldn’t work.” “If I had listened, I would still be in the same situation I was 18 months ago, struggling from month to month.” You can achieve anything in life if you put in the effort and then go after it.

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