Building my online store
There are several options to build a dropshipping store but the fastest and simplest for fast start up would probably be Shopify and so chose to build your e-commerce business on this platform. The very intuitive backend and ability to set up the complete store in just minutes (including design) will amazes you.
Anyway, as you will have to come up with a store name before signing up for Shopify, so it is time to think about a proper name at this point in time.
Note: Due to privacy laws and respect of my customers I’m not able to share the exact name, website url or social media accounts of the actual business I built for this case study project. However, the process I’m about to show you is 100% identical with the way I built the business for this case study business. The only thing which is different is the business name.
Many people tend to waste quite some time thinking about a name. For this course, you should not really care. You just want to get at-it as fast as possible. So the easiest way for me to come up with a solid name is to use a name generator which suggests unique names.
After about 2-4 minutes, a name you will like will appear.
Vana. Sounds very clean.
To make sure a good domain is available, take a quick look at Checkdomain. Note: As you know, you want to start the whole business with a limited budget. So you don’t purchase any domain in the beginning. You just want to know if it’s available once you made your first money so you could invest it into a custom domain.
Vana.com was already taken so I had to come up with a new idea.
Vana-cases.com was available and I could move on to sign up for Shopify.
In terms of Shopify I only did three things at that time:
That’s it. The rest of the store building would come later. For now, it’s only about product research.
Dropshipping Product Research #1: Oberlo Verified Suppliers
Starting my research on Oberlo, I definitely wanted to take advantage of the suppliers who are verified by Oberlo. This means I can almost be 100% sure that there will be no issues with that supplier. A big advantage compared to a usual supplier from AliExpress.
I searched for the term “phone cases” and filtered the products by “Verified Suppliers” and “ePacket”. 657,703 products appeared. Many of them looked amazing and I’d have loved to sell those, but I didn’t have the feeling that any of those products match with the interests of my audience this time. If, for instance, my audience would have been a male/outdoor audience, I’m pretty sure I would have added tons of products from the list.
Anyway, no luck for me this time.
Dropshipping Product Research #2: Spocket
Next step on my product research journey was Spocket. They have tons of great products you hardly find anywhere else. So it was very obvious to me to take a look if they have products which match my audiences interests.
After searching for “phone cases” on Spocket, I was stunned by how many wooden phone cases there are available. Almost all products were wooden based.
I didn’t have the feeling that these wooden phone cases are products my target audience would be interested in.
Dropshipping Product Research #3: AliExpress
It was time to check out the most popular product sourcing platform; AliExpress.
To be 100% honest, I’m not a very big fan of AliExpress. Personally, I prefer to work with verified suppliers by Oberlo, or local suppliers.
As business is not about personal preferences but rational decisions, I had to check out AliExpress. Many great suppliers do a fantastic research job figuring out what kind of products have an actual demand. This helps a dropshipper like me tremendously.
I simply looked up the term “phone cases” and hit enter. A few milliseconds later many great products appeared. In fact, many products looked very similar to the product from the early stage competitor research (remember? The “Sweden” one).
I took a look at the first two pages of AliExpress and filled up my Oberlo import list using the Google Chrome extension. I had a good feeling that I could sell at least a few of my products as they matched with the “interests” of my target audience.
But to get at least some kind of real-life product validation, I sent about 20 product images (I took them from AliExpress) to the girl I was dating (now girlfriend) and asked her to tell me her favorite 6 case designs. I didn’t tell her why I needed her help. Otherwise, she wouldn’t think about her personal preferences and more about what could sell. But I really wanted her personal opinion from a customer perspective.
Luckily she sent some back and didn’t respond with something like “They’re all crap!”
This gave me a small confidence boost and I moved on to the next step.Note: Before moving on in this case study, please have in mind that I always recommend doing test orders. The only reason I didn’t do this for this case study was my own challenge to make it without any money. However, when I start a new business which should last long I always purchase different products and check the quality myself. I want to make sure I don’t sell bad products. Again, I highly recommend checking the quality of your products.