Why I opened and closed my Shopify drop shipping store after a month
Earlier this year, I opened my first Shopify dropshipping store.
"Drop shipping is a supply chain management method in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock but instead transfers the customer orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer, another retailer, or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer. As in retail business, the majority of retailers make their profit on the difference between the wholesale and retail price, but some retailers earn an agreed percentage of the sales in commission, paid by the wholesaler to the retailer." via Wikipedia
I enrolled in an online course to learn about more the dropshipping business. My main motivation was to have another source of income and a creative outlet. I also like learning new things and skills. It was exciting to open an online store and choosing Shopify as my e-commerce platform was easy. There are also other options. Please check out this article by Zapier: The 20 Best eCommerce Platforms to Start an Online Store
I chose Shopify because it has a lot of helpful tips and their customer support. I have reached out to their customer support a lot of times and my experience has been good always.
How did I get started with my shop?
I have always been fascinated and intrigued with how small business owners run their online shops. I think it takes a lot of courage, dedication, resourcefulness, and optimism to have an online shop because of the competition. You have to constantly do market research in order to keep up with the trends.
My inspiration is the owner of bead and reel.
"Bead & Reel is a sustainable community founded by Sica Schmitz in 2014 to connect companies and shoppers as we create a more mindful world together. Started as a retail boutique, it has expanded to include the popular blog, ethical affiliate network, and sustainability services from consulting to personal styling. Bead & Reel is PETA Vegan Approved, a member of Fair Trade LA, and the winner of the 2017 Sustainable Business Council award." via bead and reel
I do not think she is still a small business owner anymore which is awesome! 😀
She has also a blog section and writes about her advocacies and so much more. I love her shop and have bought some stuff too. I like that she has products in her shop that are from different parts of the world. She only selects the ones that are in line with her brand's ethics. I think that it is fun to collaborate with different brands and you get to meet other people too.
I want to have an online shop like that too but I don't have the financial capacity to gather a lot of inventories and hire people to help me.
When I encountered drop shipping, I knew that it was the perfect business model for my idea. 🎯 I don't need to buy and keep the products!
I have read a lot of articles about drop shipping, Shopify, manufacturers, and so on.
I even sent a message to the owner of Bead and Reel and asked for recommendations if she knows a company that does drop shopping. She suggested ”Modalyst”. It is a product sourcing and dropshipping automation for online retailers.
The most popular one is Oberlo. It allows a retailer to easily import dropshipped products from AliExpress directly into their ecommerce store and ship them directly to their customers – in only a few clicks.
I also checked out this company and it is massive. There are so many products to choose from. It was overwhelming. I tried it but I didn't like the products.
I also tried Spocket.
It is also similar to Modalyst and Oberlo. It didn't work well. When I was trying it, most of the products are from Etsy sellers. They have orange buttons and the ones that are being offered by Spocket have purple buttons. I do not think that the Etsy sellers are aware that their products have been featured in Spocket. If I wanted to import one of the products from the Etsy sellers, I would have to send a message to the Etsy seller and ask if we could collaborate in a drop shipping partnership. Well, I thought it was easy to do this. I opened an account on Etsy and sent messages to sellers whom I would like to partner up with. Unfortunately, this strategy did not go well. Etsy banned me and could not access my account. When I sent an e-mail to the customer support of Etsy, their response was "Conversations were designed to handle transaction arrangements. Sending unsolicited messages to other members may be considered spam. While we know this was probably not your intention, many members may interpret your message this way."
Then, I replied that I have completely understood their policy. I got a reply and given a warning.
"Please understand this is your final warning to comply with our policies. Any further reports of unsolicited messages sent from your account after February 6 will result in permanent suspension of your account. You’ll also be prevented from creating additional Etsy accounts in the future."
I did not reach out to any Etsy seller anymore. This happened last February . I am not sure if this is still how Spocket operates.
I decided to go with Modalyst. They have a monthly fee. It is $45/month and that's expensive. I still tried because it was part of growing a business, taking a risk.
Here are the screenshots that show how to connect Modalyst to a Shopify store.
If you have chosen a product that you want to put in your shop, just import it, and it'll be in your e-commerce store immediately.
I was impressed by the quality of products in Modalyst. The best thing about this company is that they have profiles of the wholesalers whom you can send an e-mail and ask questions. They have online stores too and the URL is available through Modalyst.
During this time, I also joined some Facebook groups for drop shipping store owners. I met a manufacturer of Moroccan leather goods from Casablanca, Morocco. Her products look fashionable and of good quality. I decided to collaborate with her and put some of her bags and wallets in my shop. We could not agree on the item cost of her products even though I told her that I wanted to focus on her products and not use Modalyst anymore.
After some research, I felt like that the price of my products are high and not competitive in the market. Also, I didn't know how to use Facebook ads very well and I didn't have enough budget. I closed my shop after a month. You might be wondering why I gave up easily. I felt that I had to find another platform that is more sustainable for my budget. The other owners of drop shipping stores spend a lot on Facebook ads to attract their target audience. One month is not a sufficient timeframe in determining whether to quit or not in doing something but actually, I did not quit. I was thinking that there must be another platform wherein there are a lot of visitors already and I found it! It is Etsy! I will talk more about my Etsy shop in another blog post. Please click this link if you would like to check it out already.
It was a lot of work opening a Shopify store. Prior to this, I didn't know how things online stores work but I was very eager to try and learn. I do not regret doing all of this work because I learned how to work on a Shopify store, connect it with apps, sales channels, and so on. I know that it takes a lot of time to have a successful business. I am still in that journey with my Virtual Assistant business but I have not given up. I keep moving forward and believe that there is always a positive thing in every experience. Through this, I am handling two Shopify accounts of my client right now. 😀When my client asked me an advice about online shops, I immediately suggested to transfer her Squarespace sites to Shopify and she did! I know that I am capable of working on her online stores. That's why I had the courage to suggest it. The things that I learned have been valuable and it made me more competitive as a Virtual Assistant. This is how I learn a new skill! Just doing it! You will never really learn until you try and do things.