All righty then, as you know I order my drop shipping business on October the 31st and I just received my site. A few things I am not too happy about and a few things I learned along the way, that I did not consider when opening a dropshipping business. I am going to try and not make this too long of a post, and I will break it down into pieces.
Ordering my dropshipping site was easy enough. I went through AliDropship and order the exact copy of a site. I purchased the Installation package. You can read more about the options available through AliDropship on my post called Drop Shipping – Research. I received an email within 24 hours letting me know that they are starting on my site. In the email, it also asked if there happened to be a domain name I had in mind. Of course, I replied that I am not the expert and that was the reason I paid extra for them to provide three ideas for a domain as the package stated – I did not say it in those exact words, I was much kinder. Anyhow, what they come up with was not that good in my opinion, the names were idealdealmarket.com, getgoodsshop.com, and onlybestsales.com. I am no expert but they did not sound or look appealing. So, after a bit of thinking and talking with my family, we came up with something. Now, the name we came up with might not be all that good, but we all agreed on it and I was able to come up with a cheesy but catchy slogan – like I said I am no expert.
I also purchased their marketing package which I am terribly sorry to say that I was not impressed with the marketing materials. The information in the ebooks they provided I was able to locate online, but I am going to follow their marketing guide step-by-step because they state that for the site to match the revenue they indicate it does, I need to follow their plan – I have absolutely no problem with that and I will.
If you purchased the Installation plan, as I did, there are a few things you need to prepared in advance to get your site up and running. (1) you need an email, now you will have a dedicated email for your site, but to get the setup you need an email – sounds funny, but it is necessary. You can use your personal email to set it all up, but I personally like to separate my things, plus emails are free. All I did was create both a Yahoo and Gmail account with the business name. I mean you probably really do not need a Yahoo email, but I like Yahoo, not sure why, but I do. You could do it with only a Gmail account and to be honest it might be easier. – why do you need a Gmail account it will be needed for setting up Google Analytics and other reporting options. (2) The other thing you will need is a credit card payment option set up and provide the developer with the credentials to add to your dropshipping site. I chose PayPal and Stripe simply because Pay Pal is well known and Stripe because WordPress recommends it and I happen to have one already set up for my blog. Now, for PayPal, you must upgrade to a business account, and for Stripe, you can actually set up multiple accounts which you can use for multiple sites, for example, one account name for my blog (name) and one account for my new dropshipping business (name), it was fairly easy. Remember you do need to connect your bank account information and provide a Social Security Number, so be prepared. One thing to note is that both PayPal and Stripe do not require a business entity to be established you can set it up simply with your name. (3) this might not be needed, but I recommend setting up a mailing address, like a PO Box. Now I happen to have a local Mail Exchange store and the address looks like I have a suite, so it looks professional, but I recommend something if you don’t want to receive customers at your door, just kidding.
Now, navigating through the dashboard which happens to be WordPress is a little daunting only because the menu looks different than what you normally see for a blog-only sites. Accessing the right menu link is crucial because you can mess up your store if you click or update the wrong areas. I clicked the wrong menu and my store had several items listed as $0.00 for about 1 hour and I freaked out, but I was able to fix it (I was able to quickly find the right menu to reset the pricing) – disaster avoided. Now the installation package talks about creating a site logo for the customer, well I thought they would come up with a specific logo for my site, but that was not the case, they simply updated the exact copy site logo and changed the name. I was not impressed by that, but I guess if I am buying an exact copy of a “successful store” that would be the case. I am honestly thinking of updating the logo in the future. What else, oh yes like I said about making sure you click on the right menus, to make any updates to the site you need to go to a specific location in the WordPress menu, not the Pages menu but the menu is called “Customize”. They provide a How to manage my Premium Store and informaiton about Sellvia in PDF but it really does not offer much on how to make edits to pages, banners, etc. Like I said I was very disappointed on the Marketing package.
Of course, as you know once your site is complete it does not magically appear in the Google or Bing searches. It takes a while for the indexing to occur and find your store. If you want to share your store you need to provide a direct link in the meantime. Shipping is a big issue, which I used Sellvia, only because of the current shipping issues that are happening. Sellvia is US based and the delivery is still within 1-3 days, as for outside suppliers like AliExpress, they are in the 60 day delivery time, so for the extra cost of $39.99 a month it is worth the cost to get started – I believe the first month is free. I am hoping that the shipping issues will eventually correct themselves and I can capture more products from AliExpress.
The most important thing I learned does far is product management. If you use Sellvia, you can automatically update product details, such as pricing, availability, and product variance, let me explain. I did not think about this, but products can go out of stock, pricing can change, and product variants can change as well. So, to make sure the products you have in your store are still available you need to update the product information; with Sellvia it is a click of a button, but with AliExpress you have to do it manually, as far as I know now unless there is a plugin for it, but for now I have to manually update each product. Now you still have to remove the item from your site, but Sellvia will identify what products are not longer available. If you have hundreds of products with AliExpress that could be time-consuming and dangerous for sales. If a customer orders a product from my site and I try to order it from AliExpress and it is no longer available, guess what I have to do – explain to the customer, potentially refund their money, and maybe lose a customer for life. I am still looking into this issue with Product updates for AliExpress, but for now, my site does indicate the number in stock of a product, so if the number turns red, the stock goes low, I need to keep an eye on it every day, more than likely every couple of hours or less to make sure once it says “out of stock or gets to a low amount” I need to remove it from my site – I will come back to this if I can come up with a better solution.
The next thing I order was a Social Media package, which is simply them setting my three social media platforms and then connecting them to my site, at which point I will be able to advertise my products on each platform – of course for a nominal fee. Once I get that setup, I will share my experience on how I did it and how it is going. One last thing, now that the site was delivered to me, customer support is slow in responding to my questions – it sounds like many other companies out there, once they get your money, and deliver, the additional support they promise, is all BS – I guess.
I think I caught everything for now, if I remember something I will share it in another post. In the meantime, as always thank you for stopping by and I leave you with this thought, “Yes it is scary to start something new and things will fail along the way, but keep your head up, your mind clear, and push through – success is around the corner and remember you are not alone.”