Build Ecomerce Store 2017
How Build Ecomerce Store 2017
If you missed How to build an ecomerce store part 1 then click HERE .
In this part of the Ecomerce Store we’ll get our store set up and ready to go, and do some initial testing to boot!
What You’ll Need
Your research notes from Choosing Your Produce.
Do NOT be tempted to skip the research step unless you have some money you urgently want to lose! Researching your market is a good half the battle in eCommerce.
Other than that, you should be good to go!
Prep Your Cooking Space: Basic store setup
Step 1: Signups
Sign up for your new Shopify store! You’ll want to use this link rather than the regular Shopify signup, as it’ll give you 30 days free, not just the usual 14.
You also need to sign up for:
- Google Analytics (if you don’t have an Analytics account already)
- Mailchimp or another mailing list provider of your choice. Mailchimp does the job and it has a generous free plan.
- And in the very unlikely situation that you don’t have an account already, Facebook. Create a page for your store on Facebook, too.
Enable two-factor authentication on your Shopify store (from the main page). You really want this added security.
Step 2: Names, Logos and Themes
Choose a name for your store. Don’t overthink it! Then grab a domain for that name, and point it to your new Shopify store. You can buy a domain straight through Shopify, and there’s no real reason not to.
Set up a new theme for your store too. “Supply” or “Minimal” will do fine – both were recommended by Sapven when I talked to him, who has done 6 figures of business of stores with those free themes!
You don’t need to customise the theme much – but it may be worth adding a logo. I’d recommend using the AI logo generator Logojoy for this part. You can get a basic logo for $20 – a solid investment to make your store look trustworthy.
If you go with a coloured logo, you may also want to make some basic changes to your shop’s colour schemes to match it. Use Adobe Kuler to generate a tasteful colour scheme to match your logo.
Do fill out the basic info on the front page of your store, too. This is a great opportunity to practise your copywriting skills: assume some customers WILL click to the front of your store, so look at who your customers are and take the opportunity to reassure them that you’re serving exactly them.
If you’ve got a carousel, you can either fill it with attractive images from Pixabay or similar, or just get rid of it.
Add a link to your FB page in your footer. Again, trustworthiness. You could even sign up for an Instagram for your store if you like – you can just put out pics of the products you’re selling initially. Not vital, but worth considering.
Finally, set yourself up an email address for your store. If you bought the domain from Shopify, set up email forwarding through their domain controls to whatever email is convenient for you. It’s also a very good idea to grab a phone number from Google Voice or similar.
Step 3: Pixels
Go to “Online Store” in the Shopify menu, then “Preferences”.
Add your Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics tracking code.
- will walk you through adding a Facebook pixel.
- This page shows you how to set up Google Analytics with Shopify.
That’s all you really need to do for now: you don’t need to set up custom events, mess with Liquid code, or anything else you used to have to do to use Facebook pixels in the past with Shopify.
Whilst you’re here, add your Meta Description and Homepage Title. Again, get your copywriting skills going here: as time goes on SEO may become a significant part of your shop’s sales.
Finally, pick a Plan for your store from this section. Just choose Basic Shopify for now.
Lay Out The Meat: Addons For Your Store
Now you’ll add some, well, addons to your store. Some of these are vital, some of them very helpful: we recommend adding them all.
We’ll add all these apps through the Shopify App Store: click “Apps” at the bottom left of the Shopify menu, then click “Visit Shopify App Store”.
- Oberlo: Search for this by name, then add it to your Store. We’ll use this in a moment to find the products you’re going to use. Install their Chrome extension too while you’re at it. Finally, in their Settings page, add your credit card for orders, and select “ePacket” as the default shipping option.
- Aftership: search by name, install, and go through their signup process. Add “China Post” and “China EMS” to the frequently used couriers list.
- Abandonment Protector Plus: there are a lot of cart abandonment plugins, but this is the one that was recommended by experts I interviewed. Sign up and sign up for their basic plan.
- Mailchimp: you’re looking for “Mailchimp For Shopify”. Install, connect to your account, and create a list for your store.
You may want a scarcity plugin later, but we’re not adding it yet.
OK, we’re all done here! Time to ADD SOME PRODUCTS!
TENDERISE! Add Your Chosen Products
Dive into Oberlo and start looking up products. You should already have a pretty good idea of what you can offer: now it’s time to drill down and fine-tune.
Step 1: Find Products
Start searching. You’re looking for:
- Products that offer ePacket delivery. Choose the country you’re thinking of targeting, and tell the Oberlo search to display shipping to that country. It’ll show the cheapest shipping option, which is usually ePacket.
- A range of products from cheap to less cheap. Ideally you want some cheap products – a few dollars – and some more expensive products, up to about $30 – $40 cost from AliExpress. See “Pricing”, below.
- Nothing that you eat or that can explode – specifically, lithium batteries are a bad plan. Check that anything electronic is compatible with regulations where you’re selling it.
- Ideally, products that people will order repeatedly. Drone blades would be the classic example: drone enthusiasts are always crashing their drones, so they’ll keep buying them. (Am drone enthusiast, can confirm.)
- Items with plenty of orders and good reviews. Have a read of the reviews too to see if they’re trustworthy.
In an ideal world, you would order each of the products you intend to sell before you sell them. That’s a great idea if you’re patient: it’s not vital, but it’ll cut down on headaches later on, and you can do a lot of sale generation and trust generation if you have the products to hand. We’ll go over that in the later Ecomerce Store part on advanced sales techniques. In the meantime, choose for yourself if you want to see what you’re selling before you sell it.
Once you find products you want to add, hit “add to import list”.
Step 2: Fine-Tune Products
Now, go to “Import List”, and start going through the products.
You’ll want to check each section in turn: Product, Description, Variants, and Images.
Under Product, change the name to something intelligible – most AliExpress names are designed with search engines not people in mind. Assign a Collection, a Type, and some relevant Tags. Don’t create too many Types or Collections, and stick a few products on the Homepage collection.
Under Description, crack open your copy of “Cashvertising” and get copywriting! Most AliExpress products have either very little copy or very bad copy: rewrite from scratch with the information they give you. This is where your research can really come in handy: make sure to address pain points your readership has mentioned, ease concerns they have with products like this, etc. Do talk about your customer service too – even a simple “if you’ve got any questions, don’t be afraid to contact us on Facebook!” will help sales.
Under Variant, we’ll price our products. See Step 3: Pricing.
Under Images, for now, just remove any images that don’t seem relevant or that look crap. I found an image of a dollset in a bunch of drone cables, for example! We’ll polish our images more later.
Step 3: Pricing
Now we talk about the tricky bit: pricing.
There are no set rules for how you price your products, but here are some guidelines:
- In general, more is better. Don’t underestimate the fact that higher prices mean you need to sell less items to hit a fixed profit – which means lower support costs. Also, higher prices mean you have more leverage in terms of customer acquisition costs: if you’re making $10 profit on an item you can keep running a lot of Facebook ads that wouldn’t make sense if you’re only making $1 profit.
- You don’t need to be cheapest, but you do need to be competitive. Check on Amazon to see how much the products you’re selling, or equivalent, cost there. A lot of customers won’t check AliExpress but they will check Amazon. Don’t be afraid to be a bit more expensive than the cheapest items – that’s where your copywriting pays the bills – but don’t be completely out of the ballpark.
- You can directly compare the prices of similar stores using Nicheminer.co . Check three to five and see what price points are working for them.
- Don’t assume the cost of the item is your only cost. Advertising, shipping and customer support are also costs. You need to have a decent margin to build all these in.
- Don’t be afraid of ridiculous markups. Some items just sell for a lot more than they cost to make. If it looks like you could apply a 1000% markup to the product, do it.
- Psychological Tricks chose short prices, choose prices just below rather than just above any round number (10, 20, 30, etc), try to avoid going above $99.
If in doubt, a 50% – 150% markup is reasonable. But as mentioned, do check if you can plausibly do more!
Less than that markup is unlikely to be very sustainable with paid traffic.
Set your prices for all products. If you like, also set “Compared At” prices a bit higher – these will be struck through in your store, implying they’re a great deal.
Step 4: Import!
Now hit “Push All Products To Store”!
They’ll turn up in your Shopify store magically.
Check the store to make sure everything looks right, prices are set correctly, your front page looks good to go, and so on.
Check the meta description for each product – that’s the description which will show up in Google. Chances are you’ll have to completely rewrite it – DO take the time to do that. It’s a powerful sales tool.
Step 5 (Optional but HIGHLY recommended): Punch Up Images
Most product images on AliExpress are a bit crap. They’re whitebox product images, sure, but often the focus is off, the contrast is low, and the colours don’t pop.
To fix this, for at least the featured image on each product, here’s a quick guide.
- Left-click on the store image to get the full-size version, then right-click on the image and choose “Copy Image”.
- Paste it into Photoshop.
- Check the Levels of the image. It’ll almost certainly have a fully-white background, but the rest of the image may be clustered at the bottom or in the middle. Adjust the levels until the image is using most of the available brightness range: blacks are fully black, and lighter colours are close to white. This will make the image “pop” substantially more.
- Try running a fairly aggressive Unsharp Mask on the image. A lot of AliExpress images will be a bit soft. Undo if it looks awful, of course!
- In the Vibrance tab, try increasing both Vibrance and Saturation. You can be pretty aggressive here – just stop if it starts looking terrible!
Now, save the image, and in the Shopify -> Products menu, click on the individual product, then click “Add Images” to add your improved image. Remove the original.
Leave To Rest: Get Feedback On Your Store
Finally, there’s one more thing you should definitely do with your newly-minted dropshipping store, and that’s get some feedback.
Having some real people who aren’t you look over the store will help you spot bad copy, avoid errors, and figure out if there are critical things you need to improve before you go live.
I can’t emphasise this enough: time and again we’ve seen that people who start follow-along campaigns progress faster than people who don’t. DOO EET!
Secondly, and for the brave: it’s worth seeking feedback on your store from your customers, before you start spending money on ads.
Reddit is cynical, critical and unduly harsh, but it’s also a good place to get feedback. You’ll probably want to start a new Reddit account for your store for this! Then post on a subreddit for the hobby / interest you’re targeting, explaining that you’re starting a new store to serve people who do thing (ideally with some explanation of why, like “I’ve been doing thing since I was 15″ or “I saw that my friend who was into thing had a really hard time getting product“), and ask for feedback on the store, both products and descriptions.
You will get flamed, almost certainly – put on flame-retardant suit before entering. However, you may also get some very useful feedback. As a rule, ignore any feedback that isn’t immediately actionable: “I couldn’t tell if the fishing line was suitable for carp fishing” is specific feedback you can build into your copy, whilst “Lol noob go back to WarriorForum” is not useful, so downvote and ignore.
Also, do remember that Reddit users are likely to be more technical than average, so it’s not necessarily a disaster if you get some “I could buy that cheaper on AliExpress” comments. Don’t engage with those.
Facebook Groups are another great place to post. Ask the moderator if they mind you posting to get feedback first, and stress that you’re not trying to sell. Again, you may get flamed, but you may also get some very useful advice and suggestions. I’d be slightly more concerned if everyone on a Facebook Group knows they can buy your products from AliExpress, as the usual level of discourse on FB is less technical. Again, though, in general you’re looking for customer concerns or objections you can immediately address.
Done all that? Great stuff.
It’s time for Part 3, in which the rubber meets the road as you fire up the Facebook ads. Coming soon…
Ecomerce store tutorial index: