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Sanj Modha

Sanj Modha

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Hi @Sanj Modha excellent thread I've read every word. Thank you for your contribution. I look forward to being able to give back some day.

I am working on product bundling similar to mancrates.com for a niche market that is not being served at all but I wanted to test the market and build an email subscriber list before diving into sourcing/fulfillment.

To keep this short, my plan is to build a shopify page along with social meda pages. Run FB ads, contests(give away around 10 pre-production boxes, drive traffic to my shopify landing page to build a subscriber list. When I am comfortable with my numbers I will start the sourcing/fulfillment and gets things underway.

With this plan, I will be driving traffic to a shopify with no stock. Will this turn people off? Is there a better way to gain confidence in this type of market?

Thanks!
I don't think so. People are happy to pre-order as long as you are transparent with the model, shipping times, what they can expect etc. Just be honest and it's how Kickstarter works - you are funding an idea.

We take orders even though items are out of stock. Sure, the conversion rate will drop but our product descriptions will reflect the new shipping times. I also think it adds more social proof since seeing items 'out of stock' is always a good sign to me when I'm buying.

BTW - nice website :)
 

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GoGetter24

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@Sanj Modha

Inspiring thread, thankyou for it.
Could you talk a bit about how you went about choosing market niches / detecting market gaps to inform which products you would pursue selling? Cheers
 

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I don't bother with CPCs because I really don't care about them. I'm happy to spend $10/click if it makes me $20. It's a simple money in vs money out system.

I don't rely on FB ads as much now but they are still converting well. I'm spending about a $1000/day on that and moving towards Adwords too.
Nice work man. Facebook's pixel and metrics are from another planet. I have 2 Shopify stores (had 3). 1 trademarked brand and the other a skin care brand I am building. I build email list by conducting giveaways of products I used to sell via Retail Arbitrage so I know they have huge brand loyalty and the products are similar to what I am selling. That's something new I am doing but I was blown away by getting an email list of 3000 in 3 weeks and over 1k Fan page followers with just one giveaway.

Although I have the Shopify stores I prefer to drive the traffic to my Amazon listings just because they can field the customer service calls, handle shipping and returns and the customer there are there to buy.

Your post made me think about eventually driving a percentage of the traffic to my Shopify store in the future. Thanks for the post. Is Shopify your only sales channel?
 
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Sanj Modha

Sanj Modha

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@Sanj Modha

Inspiring thread, thankyou for it.
Could you talk a bit about how you went about choosing market niches / detecting market gaps to inform which products you would pursue selling? Cheers
I look for 2 things in any niche:

1 - A passionate audience who love to buy things.
2 - They are used to spending A LOT of money.

So think about it. What niches meets the above criteria? Here's 2 to get your beak wet:

1 - Bikers.
2 - Dog owners.
 
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Sanj Modha

Sanj Modha

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Nice work man. Facebook's pixel and metrics are from another planet. I have 2 Shopify stores (had 3). 1 trademarked brand and the other a skin care brand I am building. I build email list by conducting giveaways of products I used to sell via Retail Arbitrage so I know they have huge brand loyalty and the products are similar to what I am selling. That's something new I am doing but I was blown away by getting an email list of 3000 in 3 weeks and over 1k Fan page followers with just one giveaway.

Although I have the Shopify stores I prefer to drive the traffic to my Amazon listings just because they can field the customer service calls, handle shipping and returns and the customer there are there to buy.

Your post made me think about eventually driving a percentage of the traffic to my Shopify store in the future. Thanks for the post. Is Shopify your only sales channel?
There are lots of options. Since I wrote this post - I've learnt Instagram and Adwords. Now, I'm no Adwords pro (I use it for retargeting and bidding on competitor keywords mostly), and Insta is pretty easy for more me since it's built off the FB platform. I didn't have to learn much to master it.

But...think outside the box too. Look into Instagram influencers, YouTube influencers and a massively untapped market - selling at wholesale.
 

GoGetter24

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I look for 2 things in any niche:

1 - A passionate audience who love to buy things.
2 - They are used to spending A LOT of money.

So think about it. What niches meets the above criteria? Here's 2 to get your beak wet:

1 - Bikers.
2 - Dog owners.
Jewelry & handbags. Golf.

But then what process do you follow to check the supply side? What's your competition threshold before you say "there's no supply gap"?
 

Yussef

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There are lots of options. Since I wrote this post - I've learnt Instagram and Adwords. Now, I'm no Adwords pro (I use it for retargeting and bidding on competitor keywords mostly), and Insta is pretty easy for more me since it's built off the FB platform. I didn't have to learn much to master it.

But...think outside the box too. Look into Instagram influencers, YouTube influencers and a massively untapped market - selling at wholesale.

Funny you should say that because I am testing that with a giveaway that ended today. I reached out to an influencer with 275k subs and paid for a promo post that got good results. Also I am dabbling with crowdfire a little to build an audience, but certainly not necessary. Thanks for the time and feedback man. I wish you massive success.
 
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drumworx

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Thank you for your time and knowledge with this thread.

I was wondering if you were concerned with the fact that your business is dependent on Shopify (or other similar e commerce sites), and if you had thought about moving your products to your own site? I could see why this would be negative as you miss the usual Shopify traffic, but the pro would be you would control the business more. Have you given any thought into this? Asking as a guy who is still trying to determine his 'market need' to fix.
Hi there

It's a valid point and one I have considered as well. I mean, Shopify helps you sell on your own site, FB, Google Shopping, heck even in person with their mobile POS.

So for me the obvious answer is that it could or would violate control.

My due diligence in getting into bed with Shopify for the short and medium term benefits has meant that I've needed to now consider new distribution objectives medium-long term to spread the load: launching Amazon (in multiple markets), build & strengthen my offline distribution (growing numerical number of stores stocking & selling) as well as have a full understanding of what the implications would be and so generate a contingency if Defcon 5 struck and I needed to shift all my Shopify operations into BigCommerce or Magento at the drop of a hat. As you can see, these things create more opportunities than they hinder anyway so no harm in taking a proactive planning look through it all.

Cheers
Janlo
 
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Sanj Modha

Sanj Modha

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Hi there

It's a valid point and one I have considered as well. I mean, Shopify helps you sell on your own site, FB, Google Shopping, heck even in person with their mobile POS.

So for me the obvious answer is that it could or would violate control.

My due diligence in getting into bed with Shopify for the short and medium term benefits has meant that I've needed to now consider new distribution objectives medium-long term to spread the load: launching Amazon (in multiple markets), build & strengthen my offline distribution (growing numerical number of stores stocking & selling) as well as have a full understanding of what the implications would be and so generate a contingency if Defcon 5 struck and I needed to shift all my Shopify operations into BigCommerce or Magento at the drop of a hat. As you can see, these things create more opportunities than they hinder anyway so no harm in taking a proactive planning look through it all.

Cheers
Janlo
Shopify is pretty easy and cost effective to get started on. I'd certainly use that first before moving onto Magento which can cost you a lot more in development. It's not easy to use either.
 

ShinyCarlos

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So much value here, thanks for sharing it @Sanj Modha!
I'm strugling with my stores but learning every day new strats, tips etc..
Good news is, I can now working full time on this and hope to take off someday.
As you said, mindset, strategy and focus.
Can't wait for results.

Thanks again man.
 
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Sanj Modha

Sanj Modha

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Do you send your paid traffic to a landing page...

Or do you direct link straight to your store or product page?
I send traffic to my Shopify stores. If it's a hit - I'll create a product funnel and increase my AOV and conversion rates.
 
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Sanj Modha

Sanj Modha

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@Sanj Modha , do you sell to US or Singapore customers?
I'd say it's mostly US - about 90%. The rest is Canada, UK, Australia and NZ. Shipping from the US is the biggest barrier otherwise I'd sell to more countries.
 

Diogo Santos

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I look for 2 things in any niche:

1 - A passionate audience who love to buy things.
2 - They are used to spending A LOT of money.

So think about it. What niches meets the above criteria? Here's 2 to get your beak wet:

1 - Bikers.
2 - Dog owners.
First of all, I want to say thank you for creating this thread, it's been some time but you still answered questions asked and provided some really good info! that's awesome.

Now here's my question..

I totally agree with what you said here.

But let's say you target dog owners, what products would you sell to them? I mean dog collars, toys, bowls, etc.. you can easily find in a SuperMarket and buy it really cheap how would you differentiate yourself on this market?
 
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Sanj Modha

Sanj Modha

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First of all, I want to say thank you for creating this thread, it's been some time but you still answered questions asked and provided some really good info! that's awesome.

Now here's my question..

I totally agree with what you said here.

But let's say you target dog owners, what products would you sell to them? I mean dog collars, toys, bowls, etc.. you can easily find in a SuperMarket and buy it really cheap how would you differentiate yourself on this market?
Don't reinvent the wheel here - take the 'Apple' route. What can you sell that already exists and make it better?

Here's something we do - we sell dog collars since we know its a multi-million dollar industry but we do it with a twist: I found artists to hand paint them!

Now they're 100% limited edition (we only sell 100 units in each design) and we can double the price because its hand painted.
 

gunhol

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Hi @Sanj Modha , thank you so much for great insight!
With todays market and with a limited budget, would you start off with Shopify/Dropshipping or Amazon?
 

Surf16

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@Sanj Modha

I have read this forum twice. Thank you for adding great value.

Some questions for you:

1. Do you think you would use the same strategy in 2020 as you did in 2016?
  • Find the audience first and build the business around them?
  • Focus on FB ads and Adwords?
2. Do you still direct traffic mostly to your Shopify store or Amazon page?

3. Do you utilize FB Marketplace for your products?

4. Are you still selling the 4 products that do the best?

Again, thanks for all the helpful responses.
 

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Sanj Modha

Sanj Modha

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Hi @Sanj Modha , thank you so much for great insight!
With todays market and with a limited budget, would you start off with Shopify/Dropshipping or Amazon?
I started off Aliexpress dropshipping but now I don't do it UNLESS the supplier is local and they can ship within 3-5 days with a tracking ID.

We now have a warehouse with inventory so most of it is taken care of but I will say this - dropshipping items make great upsells and there's zero risk.
 
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Sanj Modha

Sanj Modha

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@Sanj Modha

I have read this forum twice. Thank you for adding great value.

Some questions for you:

1. Do you think you would use the same strategy in 2020 as you did in 2016?
  • Find the audience first and build the business around them?
  • Focus on FB ads and Adwords?
2. Do you still direct traffic mostly to your Shopify store or Amazon page?

3. Do you utilize FB Marketplace for your products?

4. Are you still selling the 4 products that do the best?

Again, thanks for all the helpful responses.
1 - Yes, pretty much. Something things have changed because FB rolls out new features but our advertising principles are universal. We run the same strategies on FB, Insta, Google, Pinterest and now Snapchat.

2 - Shopify only. Amazon FBA isn't a business. Its an income.

3 - For warm/retargeting campaigns only. I let FB optimize warm traffic on autoplacements but for cold campaigns we only use mobile placements.

4 - We still sell a ton of dog collars but we have more accessories now like dog jackets, dog leashes etc. Find whatever's trending in your niche, brand it then sell, sell, sell!
 

MitchC

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I started off Aliexpress dropshipping but now I don't do it UNLESS the supplier is local and they can ship within 3-5 days with a tracking ID.

We now have a warehouse with inventory so most of it is taken care of but I will say this - dropshipping items make great upsells and there's zero risk.
How are you doing your up sells?

Something like ezras checkout funnel?(forget the name), email marketing, or before the checkout?
 

pumpking

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Hey Sanj,

Thanks so much for sharing all of your information here, and congratulations on your success! I have some follow up questions of my own:
  • Back in 2016 this was the $500k thread, how does it look today 4 years on? Would your previous self understand what you’re doing in business today?
  • You mentioned a big part of your process is market identification, making sure your audience exists and is hungry for your offering, and then checking out the competition. Do I understand correctly that your process depends on finding low competition (either with product offerings or advertising) or offering a lower price? (Or am I overthinking it? Seems too straightforward!)
  • You mentioned using a general store to offer your line of products in the 20-30 range when you started out, to see what would work and then going hard on a select few when they took off. Did the general offerings have a theme, (part of the same category or niche) or how random is that store?
  • For your brand and packaging, are you able to influence or dictate that your products should be shipped with your logo, in your boxes, etc? If not do you worry about that part?
  • How important is SEO to your business, back in 2016 and today?
  • How has your lifestyle changed? :)
Thanks again
 

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