Shopify Dropshipping Guide – Branding & Advertising Tips To Create a Successful Store
This guide will show you how to make a good Shopify store within a week’s time. Most Shopify stores fail, but this guide should give you the tools you need to succeed.
Since drop shipping products aren’t custom made, having a distinct Store Brand and a good marketing strategy are the things that will help your business make a profit.
Things this guide will not cover and should be researched based on your own region
- Setting up your business license
- Handling sales tax
Setting Your Business Plan & Shopify Store Brand
If you are planning to drop ship on Shopify using aliexpress there are a couple of things you’ll need to consider before committing to selling certain products.
Do not pick whatever looks, cool, hot, profitable because you will more than likely lose money without doing your research first. Most People when they start selling for the first time, think to stock these items in their stores, so you’ll need to specialize.
The best niches require a passionate follower to invest both time and money into it (like hiking), and gives their life a notable edge/perspective.
Traditional Dropshipping versus 3rd party sourcing
In traditional drop shipping, you go directly to the manufacturer to work out deals with them to sell their products at a reduced rate. In some cases, this is legally necessary when it comes to licensed merchandise.
In other cases, you can source non-trademarked merchandise from marketplaces such as:
- alibaba (similar to Aliexpress but for larger orders)
Dropshipping Delivery Options
When you are drop shipping from far away destinations, such as warehouses and manufacturing companies in Asia while using alibaba/aliexpress, you will find that the shipping times for the products can average from 2 weeks or more.
E-packet is the most affordable delivery option that most overseas distributors use to ship products and one that ranges from about $1-$3 per package but can take 2-3 weeks to arrive. On aliexpress, there are some vendors who have stock in the USA or have a faster shipping option for higher pricing. This is something that you will need to consider based on the price point that you sell your products for.
The Difference Between A General Store & Niche Shopify Store?
General stores have a lot of non-related products in them. usually, people judge us by the company we keep and the products are no exception.
You’re less likely to buy a beer shirt if it’s next to a baby rattle on the same page.
General stores are as good as poison to an inexperienced Shopify seller.
If you don’t know your way around online advertising, or social media outreach, you need to stay far away from these stores. They will only make you pay a lot of money (to Facebook and other platforms) for a hard lesson and dwindling profits.
General stores also require more trust from the buyer for them to click sale, leaving you to have to overinvest in your theme, lower prices and so forth.
There’s only one method of using a general store that I’ve seen work:
Why general stores can be good: If you already have several successful niche stores (Pro), and you use a general store purely as a test bed for products/ad testing.
How the pros use a general store (from Kingpinning):
- Step 1: Create a Facebook fan page, get the pixel setup and add sync between your Shopify and the facebook so that people can buy directly on Facebook from that page.
- Step 2: Create niche fan pages to test out different categories of products. Ex: “StrictlyDucks” fan page for duck related products to test.
- Step 3: While the page is growing in followers, create a category for your general store: yourstore.com/collections/ducks and use that as the link that “Strictly Ducks“ fans use to see only duck products.
- Step 4: Keep creating pages as needed, and if a collection really takes off in sales, export the products/collection to a niche store and change out the link on the fan page.
If you are new, I would STRONGLY advise selling a specific type of related products to one niche. (your wallet/purse will thank you)
Finding your Shopify Store Product Niche
Your chosen niche must have sellable items that can’t be commonly bought.
Question: Why would you buy toilet paper from a Shopify store, when you can get it from Amazon, or your local grocery store/pharmacy/gas station?
Usually, you wouldn’t… but what if I sold you toilet paper that had $100 Bills printed on them? some of you would still pass, but a small majority of you who are into quirky products and gifts like that would be interested.
That is exactly the kind of niche audience you are trying to create a store for. The people who are in your niche and their behaviors are more important than the potential profit/markup a product could bring.
Questions to Test Your Product Niche
- Are _________ broke?
- Is _________ an expensive/time consuming hobby?
- Are _________ price conscious/cheap? (check Amazon for reviews on similar products to see if price is brought up a lot)
- Do _________ have supporters? Family, etc who would be proud to let others know what they do?
- Have _________ people bought this sort of merchandise in the past? (more on how to test this in the advertising section)
The Community Building Test
- Is being a _________ something to be proud of / people would want to share with the world? ( ex: Firefighter Squad instead of being in addicts anonymous)
- Is/Are ____________ Content hard to find on the web?
- Are the ____________ community chatty enough? (1:2 Like to share ratio)
- Are there enough related niches to gather content from? (example equestrian riding = horses, saddles, leather goods, Derby, etc)
How To Tell If Your Dropshipping Product Is Worth Selling
- Is this product too risky? (Ex: electronics that break, things that can cause bodily harm that you don’t want to deal with or things that get a lot of refunds like shoes and clothing for sizing issues).
- On Oberlo it has had a solid amount of sales this month > 50
- On Aliexpress the Reviews for the item are nearly all positive 4.8 Stars+ and there are thousands of buyers and hundreds of reviews. Also, read the reviews and check the customer photos to double check the quality.
- Does the product deliver via Epacket, and in how many days? (12-20 is the standard).
- Does the seller have excellent ratings? (diamond sellers and up/ 97% or more ratings).
- Checking Watchcount.com to see how many times it has sold on eBay from Asia. If you are seeing 400+ sales on the exact product you are onto something.
Facebook Ad Competitor Check
This determines how well your competitors have sold your product and gives you insights on the type of likes it can bring.
Just type in 2-3 words that best describe your item in the Facebook search. Then click on the photos/view all section for the like counts. If you are seeing likes that are hitting 100+, that’s an indicator, but what you really want to see are Shares and comments.
Check out one of the comments for the photos. If the comments look like people are happy with the product and want to buy, then you may have a good product to test.
- Bonus #1: Use this method to spy on your competitor’s pages, and find their other successful drop shipping products that match your niche.
- Bonus #2: When on the fan page of a competitor, just go to the “Photos” tab, you can find most of their ads/popular products if they aren’t using unpublished/dark posts.
- Bonus #3: We will use the actual people in the comments to create a targeting profile via Benmalol’s method / The Sherlock Method.
Building Your Ecommerce Store Brand
Get a good theme. If you have money to invest go to either the Shopify paid theme section or better yet go to Envato themes for a Shopify theme that millions of others do not have.
The Key to success with Shopify apart from getting visitors to your store, and having great product descriptions is having a site that looks like it was made for the audience that you are bringing in with advertising and word of mouth.
The more custom tailored a site looks, the chances are the more successful it has become. It’s just easier to sell when the user hasn’t seen this template 100 thousand times before.
Storemods is a service that helps you make custom changes to your Shopify store to make it unique and useful.
A good looking paid theme will take care of the mailing list/newsletter setup, take care of the pop-in modules and have bonus features like a wishlist or a promotional banner.
If you decide to go the free theme route, you will need to get these added via free Shopify apps:
Plugins change all the time, but basically, you need to plugins that can do the following:
- Privy (Popup App)
- Mailchimp addon to add buyers to your mailing list
- Zotabox – Promotional Announcements Banner
- Aftership (So customers can track their shipments)
- Oberlo (for dropshipping from aliexpress)
- Free Persistent cart app (so that if a user leaves the site and comes back their cart is still full)
- A product review app like Shopify’s app.
These are the basics and should all be included in your store that are free to use. Once you start getting more sales, you will be able to afford plugins that give you more functionality:
An upsell auto-mailer service like soundest, takes care of everything ($10)
Advertising Your Shopify Store & Product Catalog
Influencer Marketing for social media
If you have a bike accessories store, you would sponsor a post on popular Biking Instagram accounts with a link to the promotional product.
You can go about finding influencers naturally through just messaging them through their social media platform, but there are also popular marketplace sites, that let you buy sponsored posts while brokering the transaction for you.
The upside to Influencer marketing is that you don’t have to build a large following to get great sales on a product. The downside is that the marketing only works in short bursts, and to make it a successful strategy, it has to be used often and paired with other marketing methods.
The best system is to use this while building up your own channel so that you can eventually not need to buy attention to your products and brand.
The fan page model (from kingpinning)
Essentially you will want to create a fan page around an existing passionate niche. Your goal is to make a page that you would want to spend 20-30 minutes reading and viewing if you were a fan/passionate follower of your niche.
There’s no exact science to it, but there is a simple method to grow the community
- Source really viral content from popular related websites and other social media accounts (that are not original – i.e memes, and good feeling posts that have been widely spread)
- Ask the audience engaging questions such as “which Corgi Halloween suit did you prefer (1|2|3|4)?” or double tap to see the corgi do a backflip.
- Encouraging/cute posts
- Community User submitted photos / contests
- Every 8-14+ posts, post a product to the page that they are sure to like and ask them to share with a friend.
- Customer photos of products that you’ve sold and they loved.
- In the about section have something like “Like us if you think _______ are awesome/amazing” + 1 sentence about what you sell.
Social Media Tools:
- IFTTT – To Cross-post Instagram posts to Facebook
- LATER – To Schedule pre-made Instagram posts
- REGRANN – To Repost Instagram photos + shoutout
- JARVIS – To schedule Facebook fan page posts.People to watch on youtube for education
- Bing Ads PPC Tutorial – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae8IvLxVbWY
- Ben Malol – Teaches you about targeting ads for custom audiences
- Kingpinning – Teaches you how to build real Facebook fan pages/communities and flex that into profitable Shopify stores
Take Time to Learn the Facebook Ad Terminology DPA, WC, ATC, Purchase and basic paid advertising terminology.
When users are finally responding your ads, make sure to invite them to your page by clicking on the invite button for all of them. If you search in certain Facebook ad groups, you can find of way of doing this in bulk easier.
We made a Spreadsheet, to help you determine what your target CPC should be when buying digital advertising from any platform:
You can download this as an Excel/CSV file and If you have a Google account you can create a copy for your own google docs account.
With that, you should be well on your way to running a successful Shopify store. Do you have any tips for a new Shopify store owner that we didn’t mention? We would love to hear them! Leave them in the comments section below.