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EXECUTION [MEGA THREAD] How To Build A Successful E-commerce Brand During A Global Pandemic. Step By Step Guide...

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Isaac Oh

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Hey Sanj, thanks for the awesome thread, really appreciate you doing this.
I'm wondering, what's the reason for installing these pixels early on? So they build data in case we eventually use these advertising platforms or is there something else?
That's probably the reason why. Just get all the foundations laid out while you're at it so you don't have to worry about it later on
 

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Sanj Modha

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I would like to bundle three products together. All three of them are made by different manufacturers, with one of them being the main offer and the other two are supplementary and pretty simple to manufacture.
I would also like to list one of the supplementary products by itself.


As I am not using a 3PL service, how should I simplify the whole process?
Should I ask the manufacturer of the main product, to receive and package all the products himself in a single box?

Or package and ship them separately into the Amazon warehouse?

Finally, could a freight forwarder in China, collect, bundle some my products and ship them afterwards?

Fulfil the main product (the one with the highest profit margins) from a 3PL or your house and dropship the lower-priced/margin stuff. We do it and it works extremely well.

Make sure its NOT dropshipped from China. Find local suppliers.
 

Sanj Modha

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Hey Sanj, thanks for the awesome thread, really appreciate you doing this.
I'm wondering, what's the reason for installing these pixels early on? So they build data in case we eventually use these advertising platforms or is there something else?

Yes, you can build custom audiences on each platform and this is like finding gold later.
 

Sanj Modha

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Question @Sanj Modha

I actually plan on running several stores right now but what's the deal with PayPal? Do we need just 1 business account or do you create one for every brand/store? I believe they say on their terms you can only have 1 personal and 1 business unless the company is an LLC and therefore a separate entity. But obviously I am not going to set up each new brand as an LLC straight away.

If you do use only 1 business account, won't customers get a little freaked when they see a random name on the invoice/bank statement opposed to the actual name of the store?

Thanks.

We've always created a separate Stripe/PayPal account for each store. The invoice name MUST match the store name to maintain trust and credibility.

Also, its less risk - do you really want all your income to go into one Stripe/PayPal? I certainly don't.
 

Sanj Modha

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Any products/niches, you would absolutely avoid even though its selling well with a good margin?

This is how I identify any potential niche:

1 - Is it evergreen? Do people buy stuff 365 days/year?
2 - Do people spend a lot of money in this niche?
3 - Are other people selling volume in this niche?
4 - Can you source the same or similar products?

Based on this list, you can launch a business for dog owners, bikers, preppers/survivalists, fishing enthusiasts etc BUT pick an industry you know extremely well. I wouldn't launch a biker store because I'm not a biker and I don't own a motorbike. I don't know anything about them.
 

Vadim26

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This is how I identify any potential niche:

1 - Is it evergreen? Do people buy stuff 365 days/year?
2 - Do people spend a lot of money in this niche?
3 - Are other people selling volume in this niche?
4 - Can you source the same or similar products?

Based on this list, you can launch a business for dog owners, bikers, preppers/survivalists, fishing enthusiasts etc BUT pick an industry you know extremely well. I wouldn't launch a biker store because I'm not a biker and I don't own a bike.

Do you improve the products you sell in any way or add value? Or do you sell existing products and brand it?
 

Sanj Modha

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Do you improve the products you sell in any way or add value? Or do you sell existing products and brand it?

Both. In this thread, I will show you how to brand your business so shitty dropshipping sites can't compete.

But...a lot of businesses don't add value. For example, how many stores offer bundles, twin packs, family packs etc?

Also, you can take most physical products and customize it like adding a name or a message. Most people won't do this and that's your USP/edge.
 

Vadim26

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Both. In this thread, I will show you how to brand your business so shitty dropshipping sites can't compete.

But...a lot of businesses don't add value. For example, how many stores offer bundles, twin packs, family packs etc?

Also, you can take most physical products and customize it like adding a name or a message. Most people won't do this and that's your USP/edge.

In my book - bundling, branding or adding custom messaging in the package isn’t really a value add on.

I am talking about actually improving the product (physical properties, durability, more features etc)...

but clearly your approach, which is less hands-on, works for you. I am interested to see more.

Following the thread.
 
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Knicks

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Fulfil the main product (the one with the highest profit margins) from a 3PL or your house and dropship the lower-priced/margin stuff. We do it and it works extremely well.

Make sure its NOT dropshipped from China. Find local suppliers.

Hey Sanj,

This is an interesting approach.

Do your dropship suppliers offer branding options or do you sell other brands products that complement your main product?

It seems like you lay your focus more on the branding side of your shop and not the (improved) product itself. How many items would you need to launch the site properly?

Do you feel a single product brand could be also launched like this?

Thanks for doing this. Your thread is really inspirational.
 

Visionary96

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We've always created a separate Stripe/PayPal account for each store. The invoice name MUST match the store name to maintain trust and credibility.

Also, its less risk - do you really want all your income to go into one Stripe/PayPal? I certainly don't.

Do you use the same bank account and name for each store? Just wouldn't want PayPal shutting my a$$ down for going against their terms or something.
 

Sanj Modha

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Do you use the same bank account and name for each store? Just wouldn't want PayPal shutting my a$$ down for going against their terms or something.

Yeah, the money goes into one bank account and our businesses are legit so there's nothing to worry about for us.

If you're dropshipping without tracking IDs - you are at risk of losing both your Stripe/Paypal. Don't rely on the ePacktet tracking IDs to save you either.

On the next video, I'll show you how you can find dropshippers in your country. If you do it right, its very lucrative.
 

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Sanj Modha

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In my book - bundling, branding or adding custom messaging in the package isn’t really a value add on.

I am talking about actually improving the product (physical properties, durability, more features etc)...

but clearly your approach, which is less hands-on, works for you. I am interested to see more.

Following the thread.

It might not be to value to you but it will be to your customers.

Saving $10 on every order is tangible - that's an extra $10 they can spend in Starbucks which during a global recession is added value.

As for physical products, if you think you can make it better, faster, cheaper etc - do it. But...remember this is going down a "commodities" route. What happens when the next guy does it better, faster and cheaper than you do?

That's why I really think people need to focus on branding and offering more value vs lowering prices.
 

molesza

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Following this thread with great interest! I have been looking into ecommerce for a while after running a successful ebay store in the UK. Living in South Africa now. Looked at aliexpress dropshipping at first but am not comfortable with that being a legitimate business. Keep the content coming and thank you!
 

Jiersk

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Hey Sanj,

I'll be following along with much interest. Just wanted to leave a quick message to say that your thread has played a part in me getting back on the grind. So, thanks for that.

I hope I'll be able to contribute more to the thread in the future

Good luck with the store.
 

Kid

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Thanks Sanj for video.
How do Ebay sellers react when you order few times to different addresses?
 

triodine

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Thanks Sanj for video.
How do Ebay sellers react when you order few times to different addresses?

I assume they wouldn't care since there making money. Also, for all they know you could be ordering to different addresses for a multitude of different reasons.
 

Sanj Modha

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Thanks Sanj for video.
How do Ebay sellers react when you order few times to different addresses?

Its never been a problem for us and its not like we're fulfilling 1000s of orders through eBay.

eBay should ONLY be used as a proof of concept. Once you have proven the business, think about ordering wholesale and using 3PL/your home to handle the sales volume.
 

Sanj Modha

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Update #3 - the site is launched!

Our new pandemic proof dog store is now live with FB and IG ads running. We had to take a shortcut and launch with images only since the photographer has been delayed with shooting the videos (his city is still on a lockdown).

We're also waiting for more creatives for the smaller dog breeds (images & videos). We should have this content by the end of the week.

TO RECAP...

✅ We found a niche

✅ We sourced a dog product

✅ We found a supplier. We're using 3PL but you can start with a local dropshipper in the country you sell to

✅ We found a photographer/videographer on Upwork to take our professional product shots

✅ You can find 'how to' videos for all of the above in this thread.

The next video will dive into FB/IG ads: how to target users, segment demographics, find killer interests that most people overlook, and my favourite - how to target 'passion'.

Will keep you updated on the ads progress over the next few days.
 

Roli

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Update #3 - the site is launched!

Our new pandemic proof dog store is now live with FB and IG ads running. We had to take a shortcut and launch with images only since the photographer has been delayed with shooting the videos (his city is still on a lockdown).

We're also waiting for more creatives for the smaller dog breeds (images & videos). We should have this content by the end of the week.

TO RECAP...

✅ We found a niche

✅ We sourced a dog product

✅ We found a supplier. We're using 3PL but you can start with a local dropshipper in the country you sell to

✅ We found a photographer/videographer on Upwork to take our professional product shots

✅ You can find 'how to' videos for all of the above in this thread.

The next video will dive into FB/IG ads: how to target users, segment demographics, find killer interests that most people overlook, and my favourite - how to target 'passion'.

Will keep you updated on the ads progress over the next few days.

Hi Sanj, thanks for this thread. I have skimmed it and will look into more detail later.

I was wondering what your total budget for this was at the beginning? I saw that you said your ad budget was about $2000, what about product and any other sundries?
 

Sanj Modha

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Hi Sanj, thanks for this thread. I have skimmed it and will look into more detail later.

I was wondering what your total budget for this was at the beginning? I saw that you said your ad budget was about $2000, what about product and any other sundries?

$2000 is the ad budget until we see positive ROI at which point I'll scale it. Total spend for this store from designing the theme, photography to holding inventory is about $10,000 (mostly inventory in the warehouse).

That's not how much you need to get started if you go lean and dropship from a local supplier which is what I recommend you do if this is your first e-commerce business.
 

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Sanj Modha

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Update #4 - The ads went live then FB paused the account. LOL

Gotta love Paypal - we couldn't pay for the ads whilst Paypal is being verified so FB disabled the account. Anyway, the ads are back up and running now.

Pro tip: if you get ANY Paypal issues - call them! Don't rely on email to fix this. A phone call shows them you're serious (not sure if every country has phone support). I spoke to a rep and he fixed it on the spot.

Not much movement with FB/IG yet - its a new account so it will take a few days to warm up but we have plenty of landing page views (great for retargeting) and some add to carts, initiate checkouts etc.

Next steps: scale more ads when our video creatives are ready. This is a physical product so we really need video to sell it. Getting an update from the videographer today or tomorrow.
 
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Chibbs

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@Sanj Modha

This is a very good thread to help someone like me who is interested in e-commerce. A couple of questions from your experience working with creatives to obtain product photos and videos:

1. Do you use models for the lifestyle shots and product videos?

2. If so, how do you handle getting models for the creatvies who shoot the lifestyle shots and videos? Is this something that you rely on the creatives to provide?

3. How much does using a model and/or requesting lifestyle photos increase the cost? I imagine lightbox photos would be much cheaper since it is likely a permanent setup in what is likely the photographer's own home/studio.
 

Sanj Modha

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@Sanj Modha

This is a very good thread to help someone like me who is interested in e-commerce. A couple of questions from your experience working with creatives to obtain product photos and videos:

1. Do you use models for the lifestyle shots and product videos?

2. If so, how do you handle getting models for the creatvies who shoot the lifestyle shots and videos? Is this something that you rely on the creatives to provide?

3. How much does using a model and/or requesting lifestyle photos increase the cost? I imagine lightbox photos would be much cheaper since it is likely a permanent setup in what is likely the photographer's own home/studio.

1 - Yes, since this a dog product we are using two different breeds in the photos and videos.

2 - Watch the video on how to find a freelancer to do this for you on Upwork.

3 - Photos are cheaper than videos for sure. You need to shop around and find the best deal because every country is different. We're selling the US which is more expensive for photos/videos but the US is our number #1 since the product is currently in a warehouse.
 

Sanj Modha

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Update #5 - Got our first sale from the ads!

33505

I still love that first sale :D

Next step: scale the campaigns when we get our video content because this is a product that needs video. All our competitors use video only.

We're only spending $10/day until the videos are done (not sure what's taking so long). The point is to keep the ads ticking along so we can get enough traffic to build custom audiences in FB/IG (more on this on the next video).
 

Sanj Modha

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Update #6 - Steady sales but nothing to get excited about yet...

Revenue = $464.00
Ad spend = $906.66
ROAS = 0.51

Most people would freak out with a 0.51 BUT they're not looking at the bigger picture:

1 - We only launched the campaigns on 06/16. It's still very early days on a fresh FB account. With more data (page views, add to carts, purchases etc), FB will get smarter and our CPA will go down with the ROAS going up.

2 - We're building a customer database which we can sell to later (think long-term).

3 - I haven't added any upsells yet. Upsells will increase the average order value which increases the ROAS.

4 - We haven't launched the Google/YouTube ads (much higher ROAS). That's the traffic source after we get 3 or more ROAS with FB/IG and consistent sales.

5 - We have some potentially scalable ad sets (see screenshot). Il'l scale them later this week if they keep on converting.

6 - We're still only optimized for top of funnel (TOF). This means optimizing for cold audiences using page views and view content. With a few more purchases, we'll move to middle of funnel (MOF) optimization with the goal being purchase optimization.

Next update will be a video inside FB to show how you can set up ads. This one's a lot of fun and I'll be sharing some of my best hints/tips.

33701
 

Sanj Modha

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Update #7 - ROAS is starting to pick up now...

Recap: we launched the FB/IG ads on June 16th

Spend: $1,113.88
Revenue: $783.00
ROAS: 0.70 (+0.19) from yesterday

Next steps:

1 - Add an upsell item using local dropshippers (shipped from the US). If you do this right, it's very profitable.

2 - Move the checkout over to Checkout-X. It's 10 x better vs Shopify's native checkout.

3 - Switch new campaigns over from ABO to CBO. I'll cover this in the FB ads video tutorial.

I project profitability in the next 7-10 days maybe 2 weeks which is still pretty good for a new store on a new ad account. As you can see from the screenshot below - we have some very high/promising ROAS adsets to scale. Let's see what happens over the next few days.

If you've followed this thread, you will know that FB needs data before it can optimize campaigns and start generating better ROAS, lower CPA etc.

33721
 
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fridge

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Interesting thread. I have a question, I've found a product on Aliexpress that I'd like to buy and re-sell. I read your thread a few times but I couldn't find this out.. How did you figure out who the manufacturer from China was to contact them directly and skipping the middle man?
 

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