After multiple failing dropshipping stores and months of research, testing lots of different products with lots of different ads, and losing $2,000 on Facebook ads, I finally hit my 1k/day goal with a Shopify store! Let me tell you my dropshipping success story.
Story by Maria Jones , our loyal sixads customer.
At first, I naively assumed that creating a default Shopify dropshipping store and testing my jewelry products only with Facebook ads will be enough. But then I faced the harsh reality of high advertising costs and zero profit. Together with a combination of Pinterest research, a well-designed store, and conversion optimization, I now bring in $1k/day.
So how did I get here? I will tell you my story step-by-step and help you learn how to become a successful dropshipper.
Step #1: I created my first (un)successful dropshipping store
Last year, I decided to launch my jewelry dropshipping store. Everything looked promising! But truth be told, I failed quite hard at the beginning. REAL hard. This is how it went:
- I found the jewelry at AliExpress Dropshipping Center that looked nice. I mean, it was the rings and hairpins I’d totally buy for myself! So, I created what I thought would be a successful dropshipping store with a default theme (I didn’t want to be bothered with the design too much at that time, I just really wanted to get started ASAP).
- Then, I imported the items that I wanted to sell. Hairpins, rings, bracelets… those cute minimalist necklace pendants that always look so sleek… you name it!
- And, of course, I started running ads only on Facebook. Big mistake.
Step #2: I used Facebook ads to find winning products
I didn’t know which products will sell best on my store so I ran ads for all of them on Facebook. I read a few online articles on how to run ads on Facebook as I didn’t have any previous experience. Based on the information I found, I created 10 ad sets for each type of jewelry from my Pinterest boards (more on this later). I was playing around with different messaging, different types of ad formats, different images - you name it! It was consuming all my time and money. I’d spend hours on creating the ads, hours on tweaking them after a few days, and spend at least a few hundred dollars on each ad set.
I targeted broad and different interests for each ad set.
After a few weeks, I learned that photo ads on Facebook work best for testing which jewelry products would sell best. As a result, I got some traffic to my rings’ category page, also some on earrings’ category page too, but the problem was that people were not buying enough and when I deducted the ad spend from the revenue, the profit was bellow zero!
After weeks of testing all my products on Facebook, I couldn’t break even AND I still didn’t know which products would be worth selling on my store.
I’d spend hundreds of dollars per week for just a few sales. I was getting frustrated.
After losing almost $2,000 with no profit, trying to become a dropshipping millionaire, I had serious thoughts to quit. However, everyone was raving about how Facebook is a good sales channel, so I decided not to give up just yet. I said to myself, “One last try, after all, my dream is that juicy salary dropshipping stores can give you.”
Two months later, with lots of hustle, I finally reached my 1k/day goal. Here‘s how to make money dropshipping.
Step #3: I decided to try advertising on other channels too
After weeks of trying with Facebook ads, I finally admitted to myself that investing all my advertising dollars in only one channel is a bad idea and it is not the way to go if you want to build a successful dropshipping business.
Most gurus on Youtube and Facebook groups are saying that Facebook ads are the way forward, and, most of the time, the only way forward. However, after two months of trying to make it with Facebook ads, I thought that it was time to think to myself if I want a business that made millions.
So, I decided to do in-depth research on other advertising opportunities. Having read multiple articles about multi-channel sales and Shopify, I found one thing many of them had in common - they talked about ads on different channels and Shopify apps. So, I decided to try and run ads on different channels (Facebook, Google, and Instagram) as well as try out a Shopify app for that.
This is how I started using sixads. I have to be honest, at first, I was skeptical about this app.
But it proved to be worth it.
At first, I was using sixads to see which products will bring the most sales from which channels and now I use it to scale the ads that drive the most sales. With the app, it’s easy to set up all ads on all platforms through a single screen in just a few clicks (time-saving when trying to find winning products). And you know which products sell best on which channels (super useful when trying to decide which ads to scale) with a quick look to the analytics panel.
Testing my jewelry products with a Shopify App:
- My tactic with sixads was to look at which products would attract more attention on which channels, so I ran ads on all my products again, but this time, on three different channels.
- I used small ad budgets to test which products will sell and looked at the CTR (click-through rate) of each ad on each channel. I made some sales during this stage, so those products and ads were also clear winners.
- Then, I waited till my products had 1000 impressions on their ads and killed the ads that showed lower than 1.5% CTR because they were not the winners for sure. I also stopped selling those products and looked for new ones instead.
- And the ads that managed to get 3-10% CTR on at least one of the three channels turned out to be worth investing in more.
- Guess what? I found out that some of the products sold better on Instagram and Google than Facebook.
I found myself on a really good path, with an answer to how to succeed in dropshipping. And then I got another genius idea!
Step #4: I researched dropshipping trends with Pinterest
Like many Shopify dropshippers with success stories, I tried to figure out what will be trending in the upcoming year. And being trendy is especially relevant in my niche - jewelry.
sixads was working like magic for me in the product testing stage AND in scaling the ads stage (more on this later). But I wanted even more. Faster! Better! I realized that I also need to do proper research on the products themselves. Until now, I was basing my product decisions on what I THOUGHT would work well. But the reality is…
You need to find what people want instead of trying to guess what they want.
So I started using Pinterest to do research.
I was spending hours scrolling through Pinterest, looking at what kind of jewelry ladies pin the most.
Why this channel?
Even though Pinterest is categorized as social media, it works more like Google. You type your keywords and get the highest-ranking results with pictures. So, just like the mighty Google, Pinterest is a pretty good platform to understand with what products you can have Shopify dropshipping success.
In my case, I tried to answer the question - what kind of jewelry products for women will be trending in 2022.
Step #5: I organized Pinterest boards for jewelry dropshipping with Shopify
Here’s how I carried out my research on Pinterest:
- I created many different boards for the most searched types of jewelry, such as hairpins, rings, bracelets, earrings, watches.
- Then, I grouped those boards according to different styles - boho, fancy, and minimalist.
- I made notes to myself which boards represent the most searches.
- I made notes to myself which boards represent the most searches on Pinterest (I went to their ads maker and used the keywords data there). Also, I got a free trial on SEMrush to check the keyword search volume on Google for the jewelry I was interested in dropshipping.
- Finally, I went to AliExpress and Amazon to find the lookalike products from my Pinterest boards and make approximate calculations from which types of jewelry I could earn the most. As for the calculations, I used Google Sheets for that.
It was a lot of work.
I spent all my evenings after work for about two months to do this research properly. I missed teambuilding at my 9-5 job - not that I care about laser tag though - but I was getting drained. I also skipped at least three nights out with my besties and got way behind my favorite TV shows.
But I did all this background work because I wanted to do a better job at finding winning products and actually be successful at dropshipping. I didn’t want to randomly dropship the first beautiful hairpins that I saw on AliExpress - I wanted to be successful in planning my products and have a success story for my e-commerce business.
Step #6: I used a Shopify app to scale my ads
At this point:
- I had done a proper Pinterest research on my jewelry products.
- I was using a Shopify app to test those researched products on different advertising channels.
Now it was the time to scale my business!
Scaling winner ads and products:
- My next step after product testing was scaling the ads that worked. Thanks to sixads, I could easily identify which products drove the most sales on which channels. So, all I had to do is compare the sales of the same product on different channels and scale the budget on the channel that sold the most.
- Instead of selling to cold audiences, as I did on Facebook, sixads optimizes your ads to find audiences that are interested in your products - people who actually want to buy what you sell. It means you get much more targeted traffic to your store. All you have to do is scale the budget for those ads that get you the best traffic!
- So, I identified which ads performed best on which channels and doubled the budget for them. I also started running remarketing campaigns which allowed me to advertise to people who already viewed my products but didn’t buy them.
- For my best-selling products, I started with a $50 daily budget for three days on Facebook, as this was the channel those products attracted the best traffic from. I pushed my products through sixads FB ads and managed to get my first positive profit!!! It was a massive step up for me as it finally worked.
- One other thing I want to say here is that not all the “winners” from the first stage turned out to be actually winners. After I scaled the budget on ads that performed well and calculated the ad spend and sales ratio, I saw that some products were not worth selling after all.
However, then I realized my other huge problem. My website’s conversion rate was extremely low (0.3%).
Step #7: Improving conversion rate on my Shopify store
Since I got my first profitable sales, I was super motivated to work on my website’s conversion rate. I started analyzing other professional Shopify dropshipping stores and their design so I could improve my own. I used a list of Shopify stores provided by Oberlo.
During my research, I understood that my store was awful, and it was a miracle that I got some sales.
- My store looked spammy and scammy.
- It had lots of pop-ups and very questionable trust badges.
- Product descriptions were horrible because I put 0 work into them - I imported them from AliExpress. And you know what that looks like.
I just had to do something about it. I mean, I was finally driving quality traffic to my store but I left people disappointed because my store didn’t live up to the promise of the ads I was running.
Here’s what I did to improve my Shopify dropshipping store:
The first thing I realized was that almost all stores use a default debut theme, and it’s hard to stand out from the crowd this way.
- I purchased a paid theme.
- I customized it, chose good looking and easy to read fonts.
- I also wrote clear and interesting jewelry descriptions that appealed to the needs of my target audience.
- I used the Loox app to get some social proof on my products. I imported some photos from AliExpress made by happy customers.
- I also made my product photos with a beautiful, blurred background.
- I removed fishy looking trust badges and pop-ups from my store.
After all those changes, my store finally looked professional and trustworthy.
Here’s my proud achievement! As a result, the outcome was stunning. I increased my sixads budget and finally reached my 1k/day goal! The conversion rate increased from 0.3% to 1.9%! So, can you make money dropshipping? Sure thing!
Here’s my proud achievement and the focal point of my dropshipping success story!
Shopify Dropshipping Success Story Summed-up
The moral of my story - Shopify dropshipping business is a hustle. It’s a trial and error thing. But you can learn a couple of things from my experience and get to your first 1k/day faster.
Here are the key things that can help you run a successful dropshipping store:
- Don’t rely only on Facebook advertising alone. Play around with it a little to get an idea of how it works, but don’t invest in Facebook ads too much, especially if you have limited resources. Try and test other advertising channels, such as Instagram and Google.
- Find an app on Shopify that allows you to test multiple products at the same time, find winners, and scale sales. sixads saved me time which then I was able to dedicate to finding trending products on Pinterest.
- Use Pinterest or another platform that suits your niche to understand what’s trending. Don’t rely on what YOU think.
- Most importantly, invest in your dropshipping store - make sure it looks professional, has good UX, and has a strong brand presence. What’s the point in making all the efforts to drive quality traffic to your store if it doesn’t convert?
I hope this has been helpful. Remember, I’ve started my Shopify dropshipping business from scratch. If I did it, you can do it, too!