Alex Shares his Dropshipping Experience in Russia
Each giant dropshipping tale has to start with something. When you make enough effort, then meager beginnings will transform into world-class businesses.
This is why we are still so pleased to share the input of the owners of medium-sized dropshipping companies in real life. They are a real example to all the beginners out there: it seems much simpler to appeal to them when these milestones appear very achievable!
So, today, we welcome Alex, Russia’s dropshipping businessman who is taking his tiny but confident steps on this exciting business path!
Hi, please introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m Alex from Moscow, Russia. I have a Ph.D. in IT, and since 2010, I have been working in the Internet Retail and Wholesale sector.
Have you had some prior background in eCommerce, or trading, or in the online sphere in general before you began dropshipping with AliExpress?
I’ve tried many times to get into the eBay business: in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2019. I wanted, but to no avail, to sell smartphone accessories. I just had a handful of sales from 2006 to 2008, and I had no sales at all in 2018-2019. This forum turned out to be worthless to me, with almost no opinions and no sales.
Also, I had an Amazon Sales Portal experience. It’s been so negative! I don’t recommend 0/10 to anybody.
Why and how, after all, did you pick the dropshipping business model?
It all started when I opened a small online retail store for Russian citizens in 2008. I played with various forms of online business at the time, and what I loved about dropshipping was that using ‘robots’ could be streamlined. I chose this style because it helps me work when I want and relax when I need it.
But there were no ready-made tools to simplify the everyday routine at the time, so I had to invent something on my own. I built a solution on my own, and it took a lot of coding on my end. Yeah, it helped me get the first sale since opening the shop in a week, but I spent so much of my own time and resources achieving this sale!
How did you learn about AliDropship solutions?
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I searched for helpful WooCommerce plugins online, so I decided to create an online shop on the WooCommerce website. I found AliDropship Woo that way.
It looked good, so I downloaded it and discovered it was the thing I was searching for. It is not flawless and requires upgrades, but it can be used “as is” without any updates, and it’s okay. Of course, it’s way better than my solution, which was made ten years ago, but I had to do a lot of coding myself because I couldn’t rely on anybody.
I use nearly all the software provided by AliDropship now, all for PHP 7.0.0.
How many shops do you now have? How are they performing?
I have nine shops, and four of them are focused on AliDropship. On average, every day, I have 3-20 orders. This is a survey from one of my stores on sales.
It’s not much, so it’s not very high in the brand itself.
And here’s the traffic for this year’s first two months.
I didn’t have to do any extra analysis to pick a niche for my shops. Since 2010, I’ve been working in the same place, so now I know it from the inside out.
What is your product and pricing strategy?
To find the right stuff, I don’t need to go all over AliExpress. Alternatively, I focus only on multiple stores of one exclusive Chinese supplier. He’s a frequent companion of mine, so I sell his items.
I concentrate on high-quality goods and only introduce to my shop the best ones. I’m not selling rubbish. Based on the store concept and my customers’ options, I set slightly different merchandise prices for each of my stores.
How do you research your target audience and promote your stores?
I actively track Google Analytics data to understand my customers and make my deals more vital to them, and I also use Facebook Pixel.
Interestingly, natural search results for Google are the most powerful marketing channel for me – SEO rules!. After some months, i don’t even spend anything on ads, and I can spend up to $200 on audit for some months.
I was even trying to put my advertisements using Facebook and Vkontakte (a related Russian social network), but I had to give up on them. They gave little gain.
How do you manage your stores daily?
Every day, I spend 1 to 20 hours managing my company. I work hard to make my stores perform even better and always try to find something new.
Translations, filling out the email requests, and wholesale order estimates are the most time-consuming duties.
Also, I have to deal quite a lot with ‘strange’ or unfair clients. I mostly want to give them a refund to fix our problems happily, but I occasionally have to block their addresses.
Have you registered your dropshipping business officially in Russia?
Yes, I have licensed it as a limited liability corporation, so I am legally a firm’s completely legal owner.
It is enough to declare a sole proprietorship under local laws if you wish to operate such a corporation.
How has your life changed?
As for now, I’m working on my own, living on my own. I believe this is a significant change! I encouraged some friends and relatives of mine to try to replicate my steps. Though, not all of them understand the concept of it: someone goes envious and someone says to stop wasting my time and go to work at a factory.
What are your plans?
I want my company to expand significantly. I plan to change my market focus first: I would like to do less retail and more wholesale. And I’m also preparing to avoid concentrating solely on the Russian audience. Ideally, I would like to take my companies around the world and make international trade.
What would you tell our followers, those who already run their shops, and those who have not yet begun their business?
Just try this. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all and regretting it.
We admire the honest feedback from Alex, and we are grateful that he showed us what it means to run a dropshipping service in Russia! He proves by his example that everything is possible for a dreamer, and we hope you will follow in his footsteps someday, too.