It’s no secret that we’ve recently become digital nomads. Digital nomads are people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. This required us to give up our e-commerce businesses that required us to be in one particular location.
Back home we’d often spend our days sourcing stock, replying to customers, wrapping orders and listing items. However, if we wanted to continue with e-commerce businesses whilst travelling then we’d need to look at outsourcing our efforts.
I’d heard a lot about drop shipping, but if I’m honest it was all negative. Often based from ads playing before Youtube videos or whilst scrolling down my Facebook feed. I’d dismissed it as a way in which we could REALLY earn money.
However, Sam’s post got me thinking… Was it really possible to create an outsourcing business with little start up costs that could be managed from ANYWHERE in the world?
With a 30 day free trial to really ‘get to grips’ with Shopify I decided it was a no loose situation. So, I went ahead and set up my store… I decided to give it one month to find out whether selling items on Shopify was really going to be something that could make us money. Documenting our experience as we go, here’s our experience of one month selling merchandise on Shopify.
In my case I was going to be selling merchandise for well… US. Myself and Helen were going to be the brand. We were going to use drop shipping and Shopify as an outlet to supply our followers with products.
However, if you’re not looking to sell merchandise based on something already established then you’re going to need to look at creating a brand. This goes for whether you look to print on demand or simply dropship products from Alibaba etc.
Once you’ve designed a brand then you’re going to want to find somewhere to host you’re products. The most popular and easy to use application is Shopify.
The entire process of signing up right through to designing my store took the best part of an hour. It’s a drag-and-drop kind of process which means you require little to none technical, design or programming knowledge.
I purchased a private domain for $14 (this meant I could have www.tmmvlogs.com instead of www.tmmvlogs.shopify.com) and signed up for the cheapest subscription package at $29 per month, with an additional cost of 2.2% + £0.20 per transaction.
Now, we’re going to be looking more specifically at printing on demand. Print on demand (POD) is a printing technology and business process in which book copies (or other documents) do not print until the company receives an order, allowing prints of singular or small quantities.
Both companies we’re well suited to our international audience and had glowing reviews. We chose both due to the different products available from each service allowing us to have a more extensive product catalogue.
Both of the companies applications could be installed and linked up to our Shopify store in a matter of minutes.
Personally, we couldn’t have found this much easier. We’d already had a logo designed so it was simply a case of transferring the logo onto different products and resizing accordingly using the third party applications (Inkthredable & kite).
Once I’d decided on the products, it was time to select the pricing. As we we’re selling these products to our friends, I was pretty tight on the margin and went for between 30% – 50%.
This is probably where things went wrong for us. While 50% sounds like a rather large markup considering you’ve no stock to hold or ‘real work to do’ however, it doesn’t include the links of selling fees that can quickly eat into your profits.
Once I’d selected the products, and the pricing I was all set to import the products into my store. From here I’m able to upgrade direct to the standard Shopify plan and my store is live. Allowing us to start selling merchandise on Shopify.
Prior to the store going live we completed a test order. We wanted to ensure the shipping, quality etc. was up to standard. Once the products arrived we were ready to go live.
As we had an established audience we promoted the store on our Youtube channel and social media. In the space of 30 days we had 7 orders – with more than 50% coming within the first 48 hours.
The total profit from the 7 orders was £30.91 and unfortunatly this wasn’t enough to cover the one off cost of the domain name (for the year) and the monthly subscription of Shopify which was set at £34.05 (based on the current exchange rate)
While on this occasion of selling merchandise on Shopify we didn’t make any money, we did gain a vast amount of confidence in setting up an e-commerce store, dropshipping and printing on demand services. This certainly isn’t something I’m going to rule out taking part in again at some point in the future.