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Intro/Outro: 00:00 Welcome to the Winning with Shopify podcast. The podcast that will teach you to take your Shopify store and turn it into an automated sales machine with the latest marketing e-mail sales and social media advice strategies and tips from experts. Without the fluff your host Caroline Balinska the founder of justaskparker.com. The only small marketing task agency for Shopify owners with over 10 years experience in marketing manufacturing design and e-commerce. She shares her knowledge and interviews the experts to help you in your journey to success. Now here's your host Caroline Balinska.

Caroline: 00:41 Hi everyone! Just click the link and head over to winningwithshopify.com/summit and sign up for the free summit. It is everything to do with influencer marketing all aspects of it from every single different angle you can imagine. There are over 18 guest speakers all talking about different aspects including affiliate marketing and influencers and platforms that can be used different social media and everything in between. Legal as well. So everything is covered. Don't miss it. It is free to sign up now. It is at winningwithshopify.com/summit.

Caroline: 01:23 Hi everyone! Welcome back to the podcast. It's Caroline Balinska and today I have a great guest that I've been wanting to get on for quite some time.

Caroline: 01:30 He does a lot of stuff with Shopify and is a serial entrepreneur so we definitely love those guests on the show.

Caroline: 01:38 I've got Anton Kraly on the call and he has got over 10 years experience building online businesses including dropship lifestyle and e-commerce lifestyle. I am sure that all my listeners have heard of Anton before because he's definitely been around for quite a long time giving us a lot of advice about dropshipping. He's been voted the best e-commerce course by Shopify 2018 and he's empowered more than 10000 students in 25 countries to find freedom through entrepreneurship. So let's welcome Anton because we can't wait to get started to ask some questions. Anton, Hi welcome to the show.

Anton: 02:15 Hi thank you so much for having me on.

Caroline: 02:16 Wonderful great to have you here. How about you tell us a little bit more about yourself something that I haven't told everyone yet.

Anton: 02:21 Sure yeah. So e-commerce has been a passion of mine kind of the thing that I'm more excited about more than anything that I sell or anything that I teach just the process of building stores got started with my first one back in 2007 after I read the book The Four Hour Work Week.

Anton: 02:37 Give me a little brief intro on the fact that people could build Yahoo stores at the time for 29 bucks a month. Introduce me to Google Ad Words and basically I thought you know what. Let me let me give this e-commerce thing a go. And within a few weeks it already had changed my life and since then it's just been pedal to the metal bringing as much as I can growing as much as I can and always try to improve.

Caroline: 02:57 Fantastic so how many stalls do you have and fill own at the moment.

Anton: 03:01 We have four of our own right now.

Caroline: 03:02 Fantastic. That's great. That's a lot of work that you're putting in there and then helping other people so now I can just imagine how much work you put in are probably getting much sleep but you're going on a nice little trip.

Anton: 03:13 In my, yeah, I have a great team so that helps too. Don't do it all myself and honestly 4 is not much at all compared to the early days when I was building probably three to five new ones every month.

Anton: 03:23 But yeah we have about 15 people on our team and it makes the whole process a lot easier. Yeah like you mentioned we're we're all taking a little break next week flying out to Bali for our fifth annual retreat for our company.

Caroline: 03:35 Fantastic but that's retreat do you take staff on or people come along to your courses.

Anton: 03:41 Yes so it's both so it's pretty cool what we do is we make it available the option to go for people that are part of our online programs but then the whole team get kind of get it as like a perk of being part of the company you know find out where we're going obviously get the hotel and it's not a traditional conference where you sit in a room for eight hours a day. We basically do four hours in the morning where I'm teaching something new or someone else is teaching something new in the afternoons are excursions you know going out this year we're doing like white water rafting we're obviously going to the monkey forest, coffee plantations or things like that. So it's a good workcation.

Caroline: 04:13 Fantastic. So the thing is because Shopify has voted you the best e-commerce course in 2018 I can imagine that everything that you're gonna tell us today is going to help a lot of people that are listening and I can tell you that the people that I work with myself in Just Ask Parker or all people that I work with personally a lot of people have these ideal image of dropshipping and they really think dropshipping is Hey I just set up a Website and all this money is going to start rolling in. So let's talk about dropshipping a bit more and first let's talk about your opinion on that of what people sort of imagine dropshipping to be and what it actually is.

Anton: 04:56 Yes so anybody that's been in e-commerce long enough probably remembers what it really means and what it really is and it's just simply a method of order fulfillments.

Anton: 05:04 So a way that you get products to your customers without having to warehouse them without having to you know rent a fulfillment centre with dropshipping you're basically selling other people's stuff. So you collect to sell on your website as a retailer and then another person or a company fulfills that order. So that being said again very broad term there's a lot of different business models that can kind of meet that criteria. Some people think that dropshipping means buying something on Amazon and selling for more money on eBay. Some people think it means using Aliexpress.com and shipping products direct from China to your customers all around the world. Some people do what I do which is work with established brands that look for retailers like us to sell their products. And the truth is all three of those businesses are dropshipping. Again it's just a very high level term. That's a way to fulfill orders that come through your website. So we do it again is working with the actual brands.

Caroline: 05:58 Fantastic. So you talk a lot about high ticket dropshipping I know a lot of people are out there trying to sell one and two items that you're going for that more high ticket end. Can you tell us what you mean by that.

Anton: 06:09 Sure. So I'm into high tech hit everything we do in business. For me that means average order value of a thousand dollars or more.

Anton: 06:16 And the reason that we focus on products and honestly in my other businesses services that in that price range is because when I was first getting my start back in 2007 that first store I built I was actually selling cookies.

Anton: 06:29 So I was selling cookies from a bakery in Brooklyn New York and shipping them all over the country. And I was selling these products for 10 15 20 dollars. And you know it was good. I was making money but my profit per order was like maybe five bucks maybe ten bucks. That was a big order. And then I just thought one day like if I could do this why can't I sell products that cost at that time I was thinking a few hundred bucks. So I tried that and it worked. And then it kind of worked my way up and up and up and I found about a thousand dollars I'm in that range to be the sweet spot for where I can afford to spend a good amount of money on traffic to acquire customers. So I'm a huge fan of paid traffic.

Anton: 07:03 I can have a team in place that can assist me to make sure our customers are happy to make sure that being responded to make sure that ship on time to make sure our marketing efforts are the best of the best and it's just very hard to be able to run a business like that profitably. When you're making a few bucks per order just comes really down to how many customers you have to serve and if you're making 3 dollars an order and you want to make any type of real income you just need thousands and thousands and thousands of customers coming through your business every day or every week. And you know as everybody that runs e-commerce stores knows you're going to have customer inquiries you're going to have stuff lost in transit we're going to have returns we're going to have questions and the support team for an operation like that is never anything that I want to have a part of. That's just not what we want out of our businesses.

Caroline: 07:49 Okay, so it's sounding very interesting and I'm sure that a lot of people will be asking what sort of products he's talking about when he took on high ticket over a thousand dollars.

Anton: 07:59 So right now you know we're recording this podcast I'm at a stand up desk. So that's something that would fit into that range. We've done things like commercial restaurant equipment you could do things like surfboards that's an example I give chandeliers.

Anton: 08:12 There's just basically anything that surprises one criteria we look for. Another one is something that's where customers have no brand loyalty.

Anton: 08:19 So I'm at my desk right now so I'm just going to give examples from here stand up desk. When I bought this I didn't care what company name it I just knew I wanted to stand up. So that's a good example of a product. I also have my macbook pro here that's an expensive product but I would never try to sell it or dropship it because when people want a computer they know they want a Mac. I'm not going to get approved to sell for Apple and even if I did I'm not going to compete with them and Best Buy and all the other monsters in the world. I also have here in my office a TV mount like a big mount on the wall. Again when I bought that I didn't care what company it came from. So that would meet the criteria. I have some art hanging on the wall again. I bought it because I wanted a Big Mac.

Anton: 08:58 That was a nice frame. It's expensive. Not a thousand bucks but you know probably a few hundred. Didn't care who it came from. So things like that things are expensive but people don't have a go to brand in their head already just like like I'm going to get this.

Caroline: 09:12 OK that's great.

Caroline: 09:13 That's a really good way of looking at it saying something that's high ticket but also not something that people will be looking at the actual brand loyalty. So if you're going after things like Gucci because I know a lot of people listening think they go for that. Glad my yeah people it's like he said the Macbook. You don't you know that's a glamorous side of it. I wouldn't say that I'm selling Gucci and selling Mac but you're saying don't think that sort of terms think on the terms of what people are actually going to where you get more success.

Anton: 09:44 Exactly. Because companies like Gucci and companies like Apple. I mean they you know they have companies that are spending hundreds of millions of dollars marketing their stuff.

Anton: 09:52 They're spending it themselves and it's no it's not reasonable at all to think that you know anybody as a startup will say Shopify store owner is going to.

Anton: 10:00 First of all get approved and then somehow make even the smallest dent in that market. So yeah you want something where someone's going to go online. And again let's say someone's listening to this and they're like oh you know what I actually want to stand up. I've been thinking about looking into them and then they go on Google and they type in stand up desk then that's kind of where you want to start catching people and not in someone's looking for you know Mac like we talked about earlier actually office call but you don't want someone that's on Google looking MacBook Air 2018 and guess you're not going to be affording that key word or getting the sales on your own site for it.

Caroline: 10:30 Yeah fantastic. So tell me a little bit about and I know that you talk about not selling on Amazon but what about competition and selling on Amazon. Or do you recommend not selling on Amazon at all. And what are your competitors in that market.

Anton: 10:46 So with that type of brands that we work for and I'll just keep using that that stand because example if I wanted to sell these and I went on Google and let's just say I could find.

Anton: 10:54 I don't know 20 different companies in the United States because that's where I'm based manufacturer of these things. Chances are if I reached out to all of those 20 companies those stand up desk friends and I said Hey I'm Anton from Antons standup desks and I want to sell your stuff. When they sent me the paperwork to get approved to sell their products I would say 18 out of those 20 there be a policy that said you can't sell these on eBay or on Amazon. So that's not like even in It's really a non issue. Even if and it's you are not allowed to.

Anton: 11:23 And the reason is is because most of these companies they want basically retailers again like us that are going to add extra value to their company so that are going to bring in traffic from different sources that are going to run different types of ads that are going to you know just somehow get customers to buy from different channels. So that's not an issue. And then as far as competition on other stores selling for the same brands yes we may have that as a general rule of thumb. We try to sell products where there's less than 10 different brands advertising them on Google product listing ads on Google shopping because that's our highest converting source of traffic. And the way that we check that is just more on doing our research. Pull up Google.com click on shopping search for specific products in the industry that we want to go into and then see how many stores are selling it.

Caroline: 12:09 Great advice to anyone listening.

Caroline: 12:11 I think that's a little gem piece of advice that you've just given Anton saying to go after items that there's less than 10 selling on Google shopping. So I think that you know people who are listening to that needs to stand up and take notice because what I do know is a lot of the time is that a lot of these people think I'm just gonna start dropshipping they start looking at the list of items that they can drop ship and they go Oh look that's had 10000 sales I'm going to use that one in my store. Well it wasn't about the exact opposite thing of going don't go off to how many they've already sold. Go after what's actually out there on the market.

Anton: 12:46 Right. And like so one huge opportunity for people to went in that really want to do this I'll just take an example like let's say outdoor furniture someone's listening to this. They say they're looking around their house they see they have a new outdoor furniture set and they're thinking you know what I should build a Shopify store and I should dropship that.

Anton: 13:01 Now if you just go online and search for something as generic as outdoor furniture you're probably going to find I don't know 150 different online retailers that are selling this stuff. So you might think like oh there's too much competition. How am I ever going to be able to compete. But for us where we're looking at competition really is the product level. So let's say you have 100 different brands that make different outdoor furniture pieces. And every year those hundred brands release a new spring collection which is probably true it's probably more than that but that means every single year when spring rolls around. If you are selling in that industry you have the opportunity to get those products first on your website. You have the opportunity to make those product pages on your website the best you have the opportunity to get sales before anybody else. And to position yourself as the company that's going to basically have that market for the next year. So even in the most competitive industries when your drop shipping with other people's products with real brands and you're actually going after brand name traffic and product name traffic and skew number traffic there is massive opportunity really every day. New products come on the market

Caroline: 14:08 OK say oh let's say garden furnitures as an example or the stand up desk. And then you that see you do your research we find out that it's already selling on eBay it's selling on Wal-Mart it's selling on Amazon.

Caroline: 14:22 How do you then position yourself differently from those platforms if you sign the same product.

Anton: 14:29 So the first thing that I would do is if I was researching again we'll go to the standup desk example. I would go on Google. I would look up you know stand up desks as a consumer would I would go to Google shopping and I would just pull up all the websites I could find so all the online retailers.

Anton: 14:44 And then from there. Kind of a second step in my research is to see if the other stores that are selling them are online only or if they have warehouses or if they have showrooms. So from there I'm identify I'm basically closing out all the ones that have showrooms that have physical presences and then I'm looking now at a smaller segment of stores that are online only that sell Stand-Up that's now from there. And this sounds like a lot of work and it's because it is like research is probably the biggest thing that I do. But from there I'm looking for all of the brands that are being sold on those online only retailers and let's say I extracts 20 different brand names now that's really where my competition search starts and out of those 20 maybe there are three of them that are on Amazon that are being sold for you know maps are minimum advertised price and maybe there's you know two of them that are being sold for MSRP and there should be none of them on eBay.

Anton: 15:37 Most suppliers will never let you sell on eBay. And then after that I look at the ones that are being advertised on Google and then I see what price points they are being advertised at. And I always look for suppliers that do enforce the minimum advertised price and if I find that if I see that they actually enforce their policy is that the pricing is never going to break below that then that's know enough of a signal for me to reach out to those companies myself to get approved and to start competing to get the sales for those products.

Caroline: 16:06 Fantastic. That is fantastic advice. So, I think already in just a couple of minutes he had given away so many pieces of information that I'm sure that a lot of people have tried to pay a lot of money to get the sort of information from other people but that's what I love about you Anton is that you definitely have all these knowledge in you.

Caroline: 16:24 It's lovely and shared with everyone. Thank you. I want to ask you about those items do you do anything with the descriptions and the images. Because this is an area that I get really hung up about is that people sort of leave everything the same from a wholesaler. So what do you recommend when it comes to the descriptions of the images on these products.

Anton: 16:46 Definitely so once you know we got to that point where we decided it's worth our time to get approved and sell for a specific brand we don't just take their generic CSV file with product names and images and you know a few sentences and upload that.

Anton: 17:01 What we do is try to identify what's your say we got approved for you know supplier ABC and supplier ABC has a catalogue of 50 different SKUs before we even start uploading them. We're going to do research again just like going to Google and trying to find out of supplier. ABC has 50 products. What are the top five or 10 because 80/20 rule. You know it's so true with all of our stores but most of the money is going to be made from a handful of products. So once we determine what those products are for that supplier those are the ones that we are going to scour the internet. We're going to ask the suppliers we're going to look for trade show images anything we could find to get the biggest collection of the best quality photos from every single angle of those products.

Anton: 17:43 So that's one big thing we do because again we're selling expensive stuff. If it was a stand up desk and someone wants to our website and we had one low resolution photo they're not going to buy that. So whose one is get the biggest collection of images there is for this thing put them on our site. We even go as far as asking the suppliers like if they have any if they can literally go with a you know iPhone and send us more photos from there. We definitely put a lot of work into the descriptions just making sure like if anything is left out and we just think of this from a consumer point of view like they're on our website. You know what else might they need to know before they buy. So we make sure we add that all in.

Anton: 18:19 Another thing that we do that definitely helps is whenever we can we try to include kinda like like a bonus gift or something extra. So if I was selling let's just say fifteen hundred dollars stand up desk where I knew my potential profit margin was like let's just say six hundred dollars on every sale. Maybe I do that. OK what can I give this customer that's going to make them choose me and maybe that would be like a floor mat to stand on so your feet don't get tired right. So then we do that we add those extra things and like from us we're going to include this in your order from there. It really is just about making sure that when people ask us questions if it's not answered on the page we add it and just continue to optimize. But you know a lot of our stores have thousands and thousands of SKUs. We definitely don't do that for every for all of them. But what we're doing again is trying to identify what the best products are and put in their time into optimizing those because they can.

Caroline: 19:09 OK so when you talk about giving away that extra something extra.

Caroline: 19:14 I do know taking the website when you are talking about niches on one of your blog posts and you talk about choosing a niche based on the fact that there's other products you can upsell to. So in that case if you were giving away some extra product it would be nice to give away something that had to repurchase not just use standup mat because you're talking about the desk but in other cases it would be good to give away a different product because then they come back and buy it again. Effectively yeah.

Anton: 19:43 And then for that for the first sale like the things that we usually give away are honestly what we try to find there are things that we can get for the best price that have the biggest perceived value.

Anton: 19:53 So let's just say that standup desk example if I sold that maybe I would say okay you get this free mat to know put on the floor in front of it and then maybe the upsell for that would be a monitor arm or you know I don't know a mouse pad or something like that but try to include something that has maybe a 20 dollar cost to us where the perceived value is like 100 bucks. And no one else is offering it. So the person that's comparison shopping which we know they are if they're going to buy from us they definitely know of at least one other store selling the same thing. We want to give them every reason possible to choose us over them.

Caroline: 20:26 Great advice and I also notice that you speak about on your website choosing niche when it comes to Facebook groups. Can you give us a bit more information about that.

Anton: 20:35 Sure. So we build very very product specific stores so again if I was going to sell standup desks that's all I would sell I'd have a standup desk store.

Anton: 20:44 And what we try to do is basically build stores not just around products but around communities that might be interested in it. It makes it a lot and we I should say we don't do this with every store. This is it's something I'm doing now with a new brand on building. It's something that takes a lot more time but it's something that has a much bigger payoff over time. So I see this two ways like some of the stores we build are just simple direct response Google shopping to the site buy. That's it. That's the process. The other stores that is kind of what you're talking about with the Facebook groups these are the stores where people are going to be passionate maybe not about the actual products that they can add to the cart on our website. But about the you know the the hobby or the. So I'll give you an example if you were selling scuba gear. Maybe you have your Shopify store on scuba gear. But on your blog you're posting travel videos of the best places you've ever went diving. You're posting reviews of different places you've visited. You have a Facebook group where people aren't talking about your products but they're talking about scuba diving trips they have coming up asking questions about it. So again that's not in every store type of thing but it's something we do when possible.

Caroline: 21:54 OK. So I put another question based on that. Do you believe you a believer in choosing to set up a business based on what you're passionate about or just to make money out of it.

Anton: 22:05 Well it just so I don't want like just to just to make money sounds I don't know kind of like slimy and to tell you the products we sell we're not passionate about the different product types. I build stores in hundreds of different industries over the years and it's never been like oh this this is my favorite thing. Like if it was I'd probably have I don't know one store. I don't have that many hobbies besides business.

Anton: 22:25 So the passion part for me is building a store that delivers the customer something better than anybody else can. Playing the game of setting up the site getting traffic giving people again what they ordered. Getting them to come back. Getting them to leave reviews getting them to tell their friends about it. That's the part that I really enjoy and I think anybody that's going to be successful in the long term they need to be passionate about the business side more than anything coz that's that's what makes the business run.

Caroline: 22:53 No I love that because I find that a lot of the time especially in dropshipping and I think I'm sure you've been in this for a long time.

Caroline: 23:00 I think you've really seen this huge change of what dropshipping people coming in dropshipping how they actually perceived dropshipping businesses to pay. And I find a lot of those people are not passionate about business they're just passion and that's why I asked you in that sort of way. A lot of people coming into it just going I just want to make a lot of money and I don't care about anything else. And I've had to a lot of the times and I'm sure you've done the same thing based on what you've just said had to tell people OK stop thinking about making all these money. Think about what you're doing to help people. How are you actually going to go through that process. What are you doing to make their lives better and have you make your business and not just sit back and wait for the money to roll in.

Anton: 23:42 Yeah I tell people all the time like it is it is a joke like unfortunately this isn't Shopify doing it directly. There's a lot of affiliates of Shopify that are marketing it as you know you can make millions of dollars by again dropshipping from China.

Anton: 23:54 Not that there's anything wrong with products from China but they're basically like these 15 year old kids that are showing you like oh just so all this stuff in your accounts going to you know you're going to make all this money and it's a joke because those stores are now branded as you know earner's stores because the goal is not build a business. The goal really is for a lot of these people like let's see how many sales I can get in a week and hopefully you know whatever but rental Lamborghini and it's like the problem with that not only the goal but you have no chance like I can't even imagine how many of these people must of lost merchant accounts must muster the massive debt from chargebacks and refunds if they ever want to continue in business they just have to try to always be building a new store probably under someone else's name. So it's just it's not business it's it's a joke and I do think it's dying down though compared to where we were last year with people you know kind of pumping it up and trying to get into that model. I think a lot of them have either burned all their bridges or consumers have just caught on that there's a lot of stands out there so they're trying to avoid them as much as possible.

Caroline: 24:50 No one's letting them hide Lamborghinis anymore. That's what the problem is about. Yeah definitely. I got to that point I'm sure you did that it was just like oh my god stop listening to these people they're not telling the truth. No not at all not at all. So you spoke a bit about building communities. What do you think about influencers. I've got my summit coming up in the next couple days. And so I'm very passionate about influence of marketing but of course I'm one of those people I don't believe in that everything works to absolutely everyone.

Anton: 25:21 So what do you think about influencer marketing with the types of products that you suggest people to sell.

Anton: 25:28 Yes so it's funny. So the way that most people I think least for me I don't know when people say influencer marketing now. Like what pops into my head is you know Instagram models and I know it's a lot more than that but we basically have been using Influencer Marketing one way or another kind of forever.

Anton: 25:43 I realized early on with some of my my stores that there were a lot of different blogs out there at the time when in 2008 2009 when blogging was like everything and I realized there were a lot of them that pretty much had my target market going to them. And back then I just started to form relationships and sometimes would write articles for them as guest hosts sometimes would pay for banners in their sidebar.

Anton: 26:06 Sometimes we just have affiliate relationships. And again I started back then and we still do that to this day. So I believe anytime that your audience is clearly defined enough and that they're actually active in other places already it definitely makes sense to form a relationship again whether it's a paper post model or just goodwill model or affiliate relationship there is a lot of a lot of money and opportunity to be made there.

Caroline: 26:30 Fantastic I completely agree. I've actually got on their summit a little intro video talking about how influencer marketing while the social media influencer of marketing is new.

Caroline: 26:41 But you know we talk about influences back 30 years ago. Michael Jackson what he wore and wanted to wear what he was wearing and you know influencers have always been around. We've just slightly changed. Like you said it went into just blogging and now it's going to Instagram models but there's definitely lots of different aspects to influence marketing definitely fantastic. And I've got to I've to have all these questions that keep coming up as you're talking because I love what you're saying is so interesting and it's definitely very very helpful for everyone out there. I want to know what you think about audiences you mentioned and understand your audience. How do you go about getting people to understand their audience. Because I get really cranky with people because so many people go if I'm going to sell a standup desk and I'm just gonna sell it to everyone my audience is everyone from 18 to 65.

Anton: 27:30 So the way that I typically start the process again. It helps because we do sell specific types of products on our stores.

Anton: 27:38 I don't know how you would ever do this if you were an Amazon not just targeting online consumers but if you do have a specific type of product that appeals to a specific group of people and you want to find out who they are. For me that process basically starts by going on Facebook and using audience insights. So free tool and business.facebook.com in their business manager and I'll just start by entering what I know so you know okay if I want to target people in United States I'll type in the United States and then under interests let's say I wanted to build a store that sold I don't know smoke or grills big barbecue grills. I would go to interests. I would type in home grilling grilling all the key words like that and what audience insights is going to do is basically show me to the right of where I'm entering this information.

Anton: 28:23 It's going to show me who those people are on Facebook. So it might say you know there's 70 percent of them are male and most of them fall in the age range of 24 to 35 and maybe I'll show me that their average education level is you know more than most people on Facebook is high school diploma and most of them live in Colorado. So making this all up. But if that's what I saw there I would then go to a worksheet I have where we enter our customer avatar information and I would say OK my person's name is going to be John and he's from Colorado and he's 34 and he finished high school never went to college. And then it'll even tell me how many if they're likely to have children will say he has two children. And what's cool. Using that same tool and Facebook I'll go to Page Likes and then it will show me what this person right.

Anton: 29:10 This avatar that it pulls for me actually likes. So what companies does he follow what websites does he go to. And I'll just take all that information and I'll add it to my my worksheet and then by the time I finish it I'll have a very good understanding of who this person is that's coming to my website. Now obviously vary off that. But if it would be a lot different than me just saying you know my like I'm selling grills I think my customer is a 65 year old woman. No. Now I know you know most likely who it is and then everything that I create can be targeted to that.

Caroline: 29:42 Fantastic great advice.

Caroline: 29:44 I'm not surprised that you say what you're saying because that's the angle that I come at it from that I think that you know you run a course teaching people these and I'm sure you've seen it millions of times find out people going up but it's not that important. I can skip over that part that everyone listening needs to understand that's probably what you spoke about before Anton's your research is what you take the most time doing and it's the most important part because if you don't have that research part and then the rest of it it's never going to work for you.

Anton: 30:14 Right. And if you get that part wrong if you just don't do it then all the time that you put into writing your perfect about us page or redoing your product descriptions or whatever it is crafting an email marketing campaign for your follow up.

Anton: 30:27 If it's just generic and you don't put that time into customizing it's who your person is then you're just leaving money on the table and then you know maybe a year later you look back and think like man my business really isn't taking off. What a waste of time and it's like well you didn't do the work upfront. Do the research and everything else in your business will improve now.

Caroline: 30:44 Great advice. And what about website tips.

Caroline: 30:46 A lot of people when they're starting out they set up Web sites some of them very beautiful some of them not so wonderful looking. How does someone go from starting up to getting sales because there's a whole area there in between of no reviews. The website does look legitimate. What is the process that you get people to walk through. Just briefly so we understand it.

Anton: 31:09 Well I mean first of all you know I'm not a fan of those like these gorgeous themes with all these things moving around and you know graphics everywhere.

Anton: 31:17 Like I like simple guys simple fast or simple convert's so it doesn't have to be the best thing ever but it does have to look professional and it should be professional from day one. So if you're not confident with it by the time you're about to start paying for traffic and my advice would be you know take another day. Doesn't have to be perfect but should be trustworthy from a book like a site you could trust from there. A lot of what we do is really again we try to keep things as simple as possible. Reviews are like that's so important and I stress this all the time like when you get your first sale get a review and just keep it going. What we'll do before we have any of them. We're just getting into new industry. Let's say again I got approved for supplier ABC for standup desks.

Anton: 31:58 I would say I would tell them I was talking my sales are up and I would say you know reviews really help with our conversion rates. Do you have any reviews. Did anyone ever say anything about these products that we can use on our website and they want us to get sales. So a lot of the time if they have those assets they'll just give them to us. So yeah you can use these reviews for these products or for our brands. From there one of the easiest wins again this comes from the research part of it is do your research see who the top two or three websites that are already selling your thing are. Pull them up in different tabs. I put three windows next to each other. I look at their product pages. I look at my product page and I think what is there that's not on my website or what's not on their website that I could add to mine. That's going to get someone to choose me over them. So again it might be that bonus gift. It might be that we just talk about the shipping time on the products page when they don't make it clear how fast our customers can get the item. It might be that we have our return policy clearly stated or we have live chat or whatever it is but we're really looking into our competition to make sure that we are better than them. So again people are going to find them it's just part of the business.

Caroline: 33:03 Yeah fantastic. Great advice. I really liked that.

Caroline: 33:06 I like what you say about putting up the three tabs next to each other and looking over at them quite clearly that's something I've never told anyone to do it in that way because I say to people look at your competitor look what they're doing and you're not doing at and very obvious but I like how simplified you make and it actually pull them up and look at them next to each other and you can visually see it straight away. Great advice. And you just mentioned and talking about shipping time. Let's talk a little bit about shipping times because I know we dropped shipping sometimes it can take longer than the normal amazon prime delivery. So I know some people are actually saying to me. I'm just going to remove any words about shipping altogether. So no one knows anything about this. But yeah we both laugh coz we're like terrible. Can you explain that in a little bit right.

Anton: 33:56 Well yeah because for most people like you said people are you know that's the way it is or used to Amazon now. And what is it like 100 million households in the states have Amazon Prime so they're used to two days.

Anton: 34:06 So if you don't miss it and you don't tell people what you're shipping time is then they're probably going to assume maybe maybe they'll assume awake and that's like being you know that's hopeful they'll probably going to assume they're going to have within a few days or tomorrow and then they're going to e-mail you and like I mentioned earlier you know you're going to your customer service is just going to be a nightmare.

Anton: 34:25 So what we do is we actually have a custom widget that's on all of our Shopify stores that shows estimated delivery date. So instead of just saying you know normally ships in two or three days we'll have estimated date of arrival between November 5th and 7th and that's on the supplier and based on how long we know our suppliers states to ship and it's really not that long because again what we do is work with domestic suppliers so our products that we sell in the states are already in the States. So suppliers typically if you place an order before noon we'll ship it same day if not next day. So it's not you know maybe maybe five to seven days like long time for deliveries for our stuff.

Anton: 35:06 Okay fantastic. So what do you think based on what you just said about most fuel suppliers there in the U.S. What do you think about selling worldwide compared to selling just in the U.S..

Anton: 35:16 Yeah a lot of the stuff that we sell since it is more expensive just by nature a lot of it is big a lot of it is heavy and shipping prices.

Anton: 35:23 It's just it doesn't make sense to even try. It would basically be the same price of a lot of products we sell to ship them to other countries. So we do sell to Canada. But then you know with dropship lifestyle for example 30 percent of our member base is actually from Australia and they do business in Australia. So same model same everything but they work with suppliers there so I believe that you know you could do this anywhere but shipping from country to country typically just is not cost effective.

Caroline: 35:51 Great advice. I tell people to try to concentrate on their own country first. In that way of you know when a client that's doing coffee out of the UK and it's their own brand. I say stick to that at the moment don't worry about the other countries at the moment to stick to that because once you start thinking about other countries all the shipping trauma comes into it as well.

Anton: 36:09 Yeah yeah and that's so true with anything people that are a lot of times just getting started and finding some success they want to do everything at once.

Anton: 36:16 For me what I deal with a lot when I'm talking to my students is you know we preach Google ads because that by far has just been our best traffic source again for a decade now and then people will be like OK I'm doing you know 20000 a month in sales I'm going to try to get into Facebook now for direct response and it's like you're only at like 20000 great accomplishment but you don't realize that there's you know another 100 or 200000 a month waiting for you there. Like you keep going with what's working until you're totally sure that it's tapped out then start adding in these other elements to your business or else everything is just going to be small.

Caroline: 36:46 Yeah great advice. Everyone wants to jump the gun and go too far ahead and yet sometimes it's about baby steps and you get them you get more success in the long run.

Caroline: 36:56 Yes. So you mentioned Google ads that was going to be my next question to you. Tell us about traffic. How to get traffic and where to find it. So you are saying Google ads. Can you tell us a bit more about that.

Anton: 37:07 Right. So we definitely focus on other channels as well. But again Google ads has always been the most reliable. Sure because Google is where people go to search for everything and our favorite type of ad on Google.

Anton: 37:20 The one that we always start with are just traditional Google product listing ads. We are shop and Google Shopping. The reason they are so effective is because when people see them they're seeing the image of your product they're seeing the price they're seeing the store name it might even say free shipping on it. So by the time they click that. Like that's a very very qualified person. And that's opposed to regular search text ads on Google where it might say you know stand up desks for sale. One thousand dollars click here. Instead the product listing ads that really is a person that knows what they want and when they click it it's a very qualified click. So if you get your targeting set up right there you could do very well.

Caroline: 37:58 I said What do you think about reviews when it comes to the Google Shopping ads.

Anton: 38:04 I think again like the more reviews the better it definitely makes sense to make that a priority. I don't think it's a deal breaker because we've got plenty of sales on products where we have no reviews. But you should definitely have a really good post purchase automation sequence in place on your store so every time you get a sale you're asking for reviews in a number of different ways and you're asking multiple times. And as a starting point again I would recommend asking your suppliers if they could provide you with any that they have on file but you definitely want to be actively seeking and soliciting reviews.

Caroline: 38:36 And what do you think about image reviews like reviews that you ask someone to include a photo do you match with that we do.

Anton: 38:43 So it depends on the product type. But for most of our stores the first thing that we actually ask for the first reviews I hope is for them to send in a photo with their products from there we also do ask for a text review and then on some of our stores. We also ask for a little video review.

Caroline: 38:59 Okay fantastic. And so Google being your number one source of traffic. Okay.

Caroline: 39:06 I had a question actually before I asked the next one. This is just one of those random questions that people are still wondering about sometimes. Do you run anything on being or other cell phones.

Anton: 39:18 Yeah. You know it's crazy it's 25 percent of search traffic in the States right now.

Anton: 39:22 So it doesn't make up that portion of our sales but basically everything we do on Google we just transfer over to Bing as well and it's a yeah it's profitable and has a still there.

Caroline: 39:33 I can't believe that after all these years. You mentioned about Google ads and running ads on Google what would be. Someone comes along and they want to start shipping business well maybe they have started something and they're listening to you and they realize hang on a second I need to change my whole model. What would be the amount of money you'd expect them to meet to spend on Google ads to get started.

Anton: 39:55 Yeah. So I'll tell you what we do even like. So obviously once once things are profitable we just continue scaling until they're not. And for me that means I'm willing to spend up to 10 percent of my product price.

Anton: 40:06 So if I'm on a thousand dollar item I'm willing to spend up on up to 100 dollars to get that sale and if I could do that nonstop all day I'll do that. But at first when we've launched any new store we typically start about 30 dollars a day. And the reason we do that is because typically on average with a new campaign you're going to see a cost per click about a dollar and ask for your you're using negative keywords and before you're building different like Labor campaigns. So that will get us you know 30 clicks a day. It'll get us probably you know 500 impressions a day somewhere around there. And from there we scale up. So what's what's 30 bucks a day times and maybe a thousand dollars a month to start.

Caroline: 40:44 Okay fantastic. So you have given a lot of amazing advice in such a short amount of time I'm completely completely blown away with what you've told us all and it's all for free so thank you so much.

Anton: 40:58 What is some final advice that you would give people if they wanted to start up a dropshipping business.

Anton: 41:03 Sure. So yeah don't ever get something we didn't talk about much but don't ever go online and Google something like dropship suppliers or dropship products and then go sign up with one of these directories that charges like a monthly or yearly fee.

Anton: 41:17 They are nothing more than middlemen. They have no pricing controls on their products and it's really a race to the bottom in terms of pricing so don't do that. If you want to do it finds quality products from quality brands reach out to those brands directly and become an authorized retailer to sell better stuff. In my opinion that's the only way to dropship profitably.

Caroline: 41:34 So you mean like Aliexpress is that what you mean by that.

Anton: 41:37 Aliexpress is a little bit different because you know you're selling just direct from different manufacturers. I'm talking about websites like Doba Salihu worldwide brands. Definitely not a fan of any of them. I've signed up for all of them just to see what they're all about.

Anton: 41:51 And basically they give you access is let's say OK now you could sell a million products we have in our catalog and then those products are basically things that are marked up already that are often cheaper on eBay or Amazon. So not the way you want to do your supplier research.

Caroline: 42:06 And do you find that the products on there are never the same products as you end up working with the same companies.

Anton: 42:12 So I've honestly never even tried to sell them. I just signed up. I got so many questions about them from different people of different lifestyles so let me see what it's all about.

Anton: 42:21 I do think that you would have access to the actual products. But the problem is again like the way they make money is by charging you money as a subscription and then by marking up the products that they form relationships to sell. So let's just say they did have a category for standup desks. Maybe they're going to charge you sixty seven dollars a month to have access to their products which you should never pay to get approved by anybody. And then from there maybe they're going to say OK your wholesale cost of this desk is 800 dollars. But in reality what you should do is contact that company directly get approved with them. There is no monthly fee. And your actual price is probably 400 bucks. So those companies that call themselves dropshippers or dropship directories they make their money by marking things up as a middleman and by charging subscription fees. And again I don't think it's possible to make money with companies like that at all.

Caroline: 43:11 I think you know you definitely have got a lot of insight into this industry so we take your advice seriously.

Caroline: 43:17 After all of that I know have so much that you can share and we probably haven't even scratched the surface at the moment. You do have a course that you offer that you go through all of this information and more.

Anton: 43:29 Yes. Yep dropship lifestyle.

Caroline: 43:32 Can you tell us a little bit about that.

Anton: 43:34 Sure. Yeah so that's there that's the the course that you know basically shares literally everything that we do. Myself and my team whenever we build a new store.

Anton: 43:42 So going through the process step by step of how we pick products how we do market research how we build websites on Shopify how we optimize them what kind of apps we use how we automate them how we optimize our websites for conversions. And then of course how we get traffic. So Google ads is number one but we do put a lot of time into again you know call it influencer or marketing or referral marketing. That's a big part of what we do and what I share as well of course being a search engine optimization and yeah everything that we do to keep people come into our store and coming back. So a lot of remarketing. And then finally talk about automation and a lot of the tools and again apps that we use to take as much of the human interaction part of the business out of it so that you could focus on big picture stuff and not need massive teams if you only want one or two stores

Caroline: 44:34 Love it. So Anton people find that course

Anton: 44:37 dropshiplifestyle.com

Caroline: 44:39 Fantastic so everyone is listening. I think that if you're serious about dropshipping.

Intro/Outro: 44:43 Thanks for listening to the winning with shopify podcast. Join the facebook group facebook.com/groups/winningwithshopify and get our show notes at justaskparker.com forward slash podcast. Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast so you never miss an episode and as a listener, get 20 percent off, at JustAskParker.com by using the code "podcast". do that we add those extra things and like from us we're going to include this in your order from there. It really is just about making sure that when people ask us questions if it's not answered on the page we add it and just continue to optimize. But you know a lot of our stores have thousands and thousands of SKUs. We definitely don't do that for every for all of them. But what we're doing again is trying to identify what the best products are and put in their time into optimizing those because they can. 


Caroline [19:09] OK so when you talk about giving away that extra something extra.

Caroline [19:14] I do know taking the website when you are talking about niches on one of your blog posts and you talk about choosing a niche based on the fact that there's other products you can upsell to. So in that case if you were giving away some extra product it would be nice to give away something that had to repurchase not just use standup mat because you're talking about the desk but in other cases it would be good to give away a different product because then they come back and buy it again. Effectively yeah.

Antony [19:43] And then for that for the first sale like the things that we usually give away are honestly what we try to find there are things that we can get for the best price that have the biggest perceived value.

Antony [19:53] So let's just say that standup desk example if I sold that maybe I would say okay you get this free mat to know put on the floor in front of it and then maybe the upsell for that would be a monitor arm or you know I don't know a mouse pad or something like that but try to include something that has maybe a 20 dollar cost to us where the perceived value is like 100 bucks. And no one else is offering it. So the person that's comparison shopping which we know they are if they're going to buy from us they definitely know of at least one other store selling the same thing. We want to give them every reason possible to choose us over them.

Caroline [20:26] Great advice and I also notice that you speak about on your website choosing niche when it comes to Facebook groups. Can you give us a bit more information about that.

Antony [20:35] Sure. So we build very very product specific stores so again if I was going to sell standup desks that's all I would sell I'd have a standup desk store.

Antony [20:44] And what we try to do is basically build stores not just around products but around communities that might be interested in it. It makes it a lot and we I should say we don't do this with every store. This is it's something I'm doing now with a new brand on building. It's something that takes a lot more time but it's something that has a much bigger payoff over time. So I see this two ways like some of the stores we build are just simple direct response Google shopping to the site buy. That's it. That's the process. The other stores that is kind of what you're talking about with the Facebook groups these are the stores where people are going to be passionate maybe not about the actual products that they can add to the cart on our website. But about the you know the the hobby or the. So I'll give you an example if you were selling scuba gear. Maybe you have your Shopify store on scuba gear. But on your blog you're posting travel videos of the best places you've ever went diving. You're posting reviews of different places you've visited. You have a Facebook group where people aren't talking about your products but they're talking about scuba diving trips they have coming up asking questions about it. So again that's not in every store type of thing but it's something we do when possible.

Caroline [21:54] OK. So I put another question based on that. Do you believe you a believer in choosing to set up a business based on what you're passionate about or just to make money out of it.

Antony [22:05] Well it just so I don't want like just to just to make money sounds I don't know kind of like slimy and to tell you the products we sell we're not passionate about the different product types. I build stores in hundreds of different industries over the years and it's never been like oh this this is my favorite thing. Like if it was I'd probably have I don't know one store. I don't have that many hobbies besides business.

Antony [22:25] So the passion part for me is building a store that delivers the customer something better than anybody else can. Playing the game of setting up the site getting traffic giving people again what they ordered. Getting them to come back. Getting them to leave reviews getting them to tell their friends about it. That's the part that I really enjoy and I think anybody that's going to be successful in the long term they need to be passionate about the business side more than anything coz that's that's what makes the business run.

Caroline [22:53] No I love that because I find that a lot of the time especially in dropshipping and I think I'm sure you've been in this for a long time.

Caroline [23:00] I think you've really seen this huge change of what dropshipping people coming in dropshipping how they actually perceived dropshipping businesses to pay. And I find a lot of those people are not passionate about business they're just passion and that's why I asked you in that sort of way. A lot of people coming into it just going I just want to make a lot of money and I don't care about anything else. And I've had to a lot of the times and I'm sure you've done the same thing based on what you've just said had to tell people OK stop thinking about making all these money. Think about what you're doing to help people. How are you actually going to go through that process. What are you doing to make their lives better and have you make your business and not just sit back and wait for the money to roll in.

Antony [23:42] Yeah I tell people all the time like it is it is a joke like unfortunately this isn't Shopify doing it directly. There's a lot of affiliates of Shopify that are marketing it as you know you can make millions of dollars by again dropshipping from China.

Antony [23:54] Not that there's anything wrong with products from China but they're basically like these 15 year old kids that are showing you like oh just so all this stuff in your accounts going to you know you're going to make all this money and it's a joke because those stores are now branded as you know earner's stores because the goal is not build a business. The goal really is for a lot of these people like let's see how many sales I can get in a week and hopefully you know whatever but rental Lamborghini and it's like the problem with that not only the goal but you have no chance like I can't even imagine how many of these people must of lost merchant accounts must muster the massive debt from chargebacks and refunds if they ever want to continue in business they just have to try to always be building a new store probably under someone else's name. So it's just it's not business it's it's a joke and I do think it's dying down though compared to where we were last year with people you know kind of pumping it up and trying to get into that model. I think a lot of them have either burned all their bridges or consumers have just caught on that there's a lot of stands out there so they're trying to avoid them as much as possible.

Caroline [24:50] No one's letting them hide Lamborghinis anymore. That's what the problem is about. Yeah definitely. I got to that point I'm sure you did that it was just like oh my god stop listening to these people they're not telling the truth. No not at all not at all. So you spoke a bit about building communities. What do you think about influencers. I've got my summit coming up in the next couple days. And so I'm very passionate about influence of marketing but of course I'm one of those people I don't believe in that everything works to absolutely everyone.

Antony [25:21] So what do you think about influencer marketing with the types of products that you suggest people to sell.

Antony [25:28] Yes so it's funny. So the way that most people I think least for me I don't know when people say influencer marketing now. Like what pops into my head is you know Instagram models and I know it's a lot more than that but we basically have been using Influencer Marketing one way or another kind of forever.

Antony [25:43] I realized early on with some of my my stores that there were a lot of different blogs out there at the time when in 2008 2009 when blogging was like everything and I realized there were a lot of them that pretty much had my target market going to them. And back then I just started to form relationships and sometimes would write articles for them as guest hosts sometimes would pay for banners in their sidebar.

Antony [26:06] Sometimes we just have affiliate relationships. And again I started back then and we still do that to this day. So I believe anytime that your audience is clearly defined enough and that they're actually active in other places already it definitely makes sense to form a relationship again whether it's a paper post model or just goodwill model or affiliate relationship there is a lot of a lot of money and opportunity to be made there.

Caroline [26:30] Fantastic I completely agree. I've actually got on their summit a little intro video talking about how influencer marketing while the social media influencer of marketing is new.

Caroline [26:41] But you know we talk about influences back 30 years ago. Michael Jackson what he wore and wanted to wear what he was wearing and you know influencers have always been around. We've just slightly changed. Like you said it went into just blogging and now it's going to Instagram models but there's definitely lots of different aspects to influence marketing definitely fantastic. And I've got to I've to have all these questions that keep coming up as you're talking because I love what you're saying is so interesting and it's definitely very very helpful for everyone out there. I want to know what you think about audiences you mentioned and understand your audience. How do you go about getting people to understand their audience. Because I get really cranky with people because so many people go if I'm going to sell a standup desk and I'm just gonna sell it to everyone my audience is everyone from 18 to 65.

Antony [27:30] So the way that I typically start the process again. It helps because we do sell specific types of products on our stores.

Antony [27:38] I don't know how you would ever do this if you were an Amazon not just targeting online consumers but if you do have a specific type of product that appeals to a specific group of people and you want to find out who they are. For me that process basically starts by going on Facebook and using audience insights. So free tool and business.facebook.com in their business manager and I'll just start by entering what I know so you know okay if I want to target people in United States I'll type in the United States and then under interests let's say I wanted to build a store that sold I don't know smoke or grills big barbecue grills. I would go to interests. I would type in home grilling grilling all the key words like that and what audience insights is going to do is basically show me to the right of where I'm entering this information.

Antony [28:23] It's going to show me who those people are on Facebook. So it might say you know there's 70 percent of them are male and most of them fall in the age range of 24 to 35 and maybe I'll show me that their average education level is you know more than most people on Facebook is high school diploma and most of them live in Colorado. So making this all up. But if that's what I saw there I would then go to a worksheet I have where we enter our customer avatar information and I would say OK my person's name is going to be John and he's from Colorado and he's 34 and he finished high school never went to college. And then it'll even tell me how many if they're likely to have children will say he has two children. And what's cool. Using that same tool and Facebook I'll go to Page Likes and then it will show me what this person right.

Antony [29:10] This avatar that it pulls for me actually likes. So what companies does he follow what websites does he go to. And I'll just take all that information and I'll add it to my my worksheet and then by the time I finish it I'll have a very good understanding of who this person is that's coming to my website. Now obviously vary off that. But if it would be a lot different than me just saying you know my like I'm selling grills I think my customer is a 65 year old woman. No. Now I know you know most likely who it is and then everything that I create can be targeted to that.

Caroline [29:42] Fantastic great advice.

Caroline [29:44] I'm not surprised that you say what you're saying because that's the angle that I come at it from that I think that you know you run a course teaching people these and I'm sure you've seen it millions of times find out people going up but it's not that important. I can skip over that part that everyone listening needs to understand that's probably what you spoke about before Anton's your research is what you take the most time doing and it's the most important part because if you don't have that research part and then the rest of it it's never going to work for you.

Antony [30:14] Right. And if you get that part wrong if you just don't do it then all the time that you put into writing your perfect about us page or redoing your product descriptions or whatever it is crafting an email marketing campaign for your follow up.

Antony [30:27] If it's just generic and you don't put that time into customizing it's who your person is then you're just leaving money on the table and then you know maybe a year later you look back and think like man my business really isn't taking off. What a waste of time and it's like well you didn't do the work upfront. Do the research and everything else in your business will improve now.

Caroline [30:44] Great advice. And what about website tips.

Caroline [30:46] A lot of people when they're starting out they set up Web sites some of them very beautiful some of them not so wonderful looking. How does someone go from starting up to getting sales because there's a whole area there in between of no reviews. The website does look legitimate. What is the process that you get people to walk through. Just briefly so we understand it.

Antony [31:09] Well I mean first of all you know I'm not a fan of those like these gorgeous themes with all these things moving around and you know graphics everywhere.

Antony [31:17] Like I like simple guys simple fast or simple convert's so it doesn't have to be the best thing ever but it does have to look professional and it should be professional from day one. So if you're not confident with it by the time you're about to start paying for traffic and my advice would be you know take another day. Doesn't have to be perfect but should be trustworthy from a book like a site you could trust from there. A lot of what we do is really again we try to keep things as simple as possible. Reviews are like that's so important and I stress this all the time like when you get your first sale get a review and just keep it going. What we'll do before we have any of them. We're just getting into new industry. Let's say again I got approved for supplier ABC for standup desks.

Antony [31:58] I would say I would tell them I was talking my sales are up and I would say you know reviews really help with our conversion rates. Do you have any reviews. Did anyone ever say anything about these products that we can use on our website and they want us to get sales. So a lot of the time if they have those assets they'll just give them to us. So yeah you can use these reviews for these products or for our brands. From there one of the easiest wins again this comes from the research part of it is do your research see who the top two or three websites that are already selling your thing are. Pull them up in different tabs. I put three windows next to each other. I look at their product pages. I look at my product page and I think what is there that's not on my website or what's not on their website that I could add to mine. That's going to get someone to choose me over them. So again it might be that bonus gift. It might be that we just talk about the shipping time on the products page when they don't make it clear how fast our customers can get the item. It might be that we have our return policy clearly stated or we have live chat or whatever it is but we're really looking into our competition to make sure that we are better than them. So again people are going to find them it's just part of the business.

Caroline [33:03] Yeah fantastic. Great advice. I really liked that.

Caroline [33:06] I like what you say about putting up the three tabs next to each other and looking over at them quite clearly that's something I've never told anyone to do it in that way because I say to people look at your competitor look what they're doing and you're not doing at and very obvious but I like how simplified you make and it actually pull them up and look at them next to each other and you can visually see it straight away. Great advice. And you just mentioned and talking about shipping time. Let's talk a little bit about shipping times because I know we dropped shipping sometimes it can take longer than the normal amazon prime delivery. So I know some people are actually saying to me. I'm just going to remove any words about shipping altogether. So no one knows anything about this. But yeah we both laugh coz we're like terrible. Can you explain that in a little bit right.

Antony [33:56] Well yeah because for most people like you said people are you know that's the way it is or used to Amazon now. And what is it like 100 million households in the states have Amazon Prime so they're used to two days.

Antony [34:06] So if you don't miss it and you don't tell people what you're shipping time is then they're probably going to assume maybe maybe they'll assume awake and that's like being you know that's hopeful they'll probably going to assume they're going to have within a few days or tomorrow and then they're going to e-mail you and like I mentioned earlier you know you're going to your customer service is just going to be a nightmare.

Antony [34:25] So what we do is we actually have a custom widget that's on all of our Shopify stores that shows estimated delivery date. So instead of just saying you know normally ships in two or three days we'll have estimated date of arrival between November 5th and 7th and that's on the supplier and based on how long we know our suppliers states to ship and it's really not that long because again what we do is work with domestic suppliers so our products that we sell in the states are already in the States. So suppliers typically if you place an order before noon we'll ship it same day if not next day. So it's not you know maybe maybe five to seven days like long time for deliveries for our stuff.

Antony [35:06] Okay fantastic. So what do you think based on what you just said about most fuel suppliers there in the U.S. What do you think about selling worldwide compared to selling just in the U.S..

Antony [35:16] Yeah a lot of the stuff that we sell since it is more expensive just by nature a lot of it is big a lot of it is heavy and shipping prices.

Antony [35:23] It's just it doesn't make sense to even try. It would basically be the same price of a lot of products we sell to ship them to other countries. So we do sell to Canada. But then you know with dropship lifestyle for example 30 percent of our member base is actually from Australia and they do business in Australia. So same model same everything but they work with suppliers there so I believe that you know you could do this anywhere but shipping from country to country typically just is not cost effective.

Caroline [35:51] Great advice. I tell people to try to concentrate on their own country first. In that way of you know when a client that's doing coffee out of the UK and it's their own brand. I say stick to that at the moment don't worry about the other countries at the moment to stick to that because once you start thinking about other countries all the shipping trauma comes into it as well.

Antony [36:09] Yeah yeah and that's so true with anything people that are a lot of times just getting started and finding some success they want to do everything at once.

Antony [36:16] For me what I deal with a lot when I'm talking to my students is you know we preach Google ads because that by far has just been our best traffic source again for a decade now and then people will be like OK I'm doing you know 20000 a month in sales I'm going to try to get into Facebook now for direct response and it's like you're only at like 20000 great accomplishment but you don't realize that there's you know another 100 or 200000 a month waiting for you there. Like you keep going with what's working until you're totally sure that it's tapped out then start adding in these other elements to your business or else everything is just going to be small.

Caroline [36:46] Yeah great advice. Everyone wants to jump the gun and go too far ahead and yet sometimes it's about baby steps and you get them you get more success in the long run.

Caroline [36:56] Yes. So you mentioned Google ads that was going to be my next question to you. Tell us about traffic. How to get traffic and where to find it. So you are saying Google ads. Can you tell us a bit more about that.

Antony [37:07] Right. So we definitely focus on other channels as well. But again Google ads has always been the most reliable. Sure because Google is where people go to search for everything and our favorite type of ad on Google.

Antony [37:20] The one that we always start with are just traditional Google product listing ads. We are shop and Google Shopping. The reason they are so effective is because when people see them they're seeing the image of your product they're seeing the price they're seeing the store name it might even say free shipping on it. So by the time they click that. Like that's a very very qualified person. And that's opposed to regular search text ads on Google where it might say you know stand up desks for sale. One thousand dollars click here. Instead the product listing ads that really is a person that knows what they want and when they click it it's a very qualified click. So if you get your targeting set up right there you could do very well.

Caroline [37:58] I said What do you think about reviews when it comes to the Google Shopping ads.

Antony [38:04] I think again like the more reviews the better it definitely makes sense to make that a priority. I don't think it's a deal breaker because we've got plenty of sales on products where we have no reviews. But you should definitely have a really good post purchase automation sequence in place on your store so every time you get a sale you're asking for reviews in a number of different ways and you're asking multiple times. And as a starting point again I would recommend asking your suppliers if they could provide you with any that they have on file but you definitely want to be actively seeking and soliciting reviews.

Carolyn [38:36] And what do you think about image reviews like reviews that you ask someone to include a photo do you match with that we do.

Antony [38:43] So it depends on the product type. But for most of our stores the first thing that we actually ask for the first reviews I hope is for them to send in a photo with their products from there we also do ask for a text review and then on some of our stores. We also ask for a little video review.

Caroline [38:59] Okay fantastic. And so Google being your number one source of traffic. Okay.

Caroline [39:06] I had a question actually before I asked the next one. This is just one of those random questions that people are still wondering about sometimes. Do you run anything on being or other cell phones.

Antony [39:18] Yeah. You know it's crazy it's 25 percent of search traffic in the States right now.

Antony [39:22] So it doesn't make up that portion of our sales but basically everything we do on Google we just transfer over to Bing as well and it's a yeah it's profitable and has a still there.

Caroline [39:33] I can't believe that after all these years. You mentioned about Google ads and running ads on Google what would be. Someone comes along and they want to start shipping business well maybe they have started something and they're listening to you and they realize hang on a second I need to change my whole model. What would be the amount of money you'd expect them to meet to spend on Google ads to get started.

Antony [39:55] Yeah. So I'll tell you what we do even like. So obviously once once things are profitable we just continue scaling until they're not. And for me that means I'm willing to spend up to 10 percent of my product price.

Antony [40:06] So if I'm on a thousand dollar item I'm willing to spend up on up to 100 dollars to get that sale and if I could do that nonstop all day I'll do that. But at first when we've launched any new store we typically start about 30 dollars a day. And the reason we do that is because typically on average with a new campaign you're going to see a cost per click about a dollar and ask for your you're using negative keywords and before you're building different like Labor campaigns. So that will get us you know 30 clicks a day. It'll get us probably you know 500 impressions a day somewhere around there. And from there we scale up. So what's what's 30 bucks a day times and maybe a thousand dollars a month to start.

Caroline [40:44] Okay fantastic. So you have given a lot of amazing advice in such a short amount of time I'm completely completely blown away with what you've told us all and it's all for free so thank you so much.

Antony [40:58] What is some final advice that you would give people if they wanted to start up a dropshipping business.

Antony [41:03] Sure. So yeah don't ever get something we didn't talk about much but don't ever go online and Google something like dropship suppliers or dropship products and then go sign up with one of these directories that charges like a monthly or yearly fee.

Antony [41:17] They are nothing more than middlemen. They have no pricing controls on their products and it's really a race to the bottom in terms of pricing so don't do that. If you want to do it finds quality products from quality brands reach out to those brands directly and become an authorized retailer to sell better stuff. In my opinion that's the only way to dropship profitably.

Caroline [41:34] So you mean like Aliexpress is that what you mean by that.

Antony [41:37] Aliexpress is a little bit different because you know you're selling just direct from different manufacturers. I'm talking about websites like Doba Salihu worldwide brands. Definitely not a fan of any of them. I've signed up for all of them just to see what they're all about.

Antony [41:51] And basically they give you access is let's say OK now you could sell a million products we have in our catalog and then those products are basically things that are marked up already that are often cheaper on eBay or Amazon. So not the way you want to do your supplier research.

Caroline [42:06] And do you find that the products on there are never the same products as you end up working with the same companies.

Antony [42:12] So I've honestly never even tried to sell them. I just signed up. I got so many questions about them from different people of different lifestyles so let me see what it's all about.

Antony [42:21] I do think that you would have access to the actual products. But the problem is again like the way they make money is by charging you money as a subscription and then by marking up the products that they form relationships to sell. So let's just say they did have a category for standup desks. Maybe they're going to charge you sixty seven dollars a month to have access to their products which you should never pay to get approved by anybody. And then from there maybe they're going to say OK your wholesale cost of this desk is 800 dollars. But in reality what you should do is contact that company directly get approved with them. There is no monthly fee. And your actual price is probably 400 bucks. So those companies that call themselves dropshippers or dropship directories they make their money by marking things up as a middleman and by charging subscription fees. And again I don't think it's possible to make money with companies like that at all.

Caroline [43:11] I think you know you definitely have got a lot of insight into this industry so we take your advice seriously.

Caroline [43:17] After all of that I know have so much that you can share and we probably haven't even scratched the surface at the moment. You do have a course that you offer that you go through all of this information and more.

Antony [43:29] Yes. Yep dropship lifestyle.

Caroline [43:32] Can you tell us a little bit about that.

Antony [43:34] Sure. Yeah so that's there that's the the course that you know basically shares literally everything that we do. Myself and my team whenever we build a new store.

Antony [43:42] So going through the process step by step of how we pick products how we do market research how we build websites on Shopify how we optimize them what kind of apps we use how we automate them how we optimize our websites for conversions. And then of course how we get traffic. So Google ads is number one but we do put a lot of time into again you know call it influencer or marketing or referral marketing. That's a big part of what we do and what I share as well of course being a search engine optimization and yeah everything that we do to keep people come into our store and coming back. So a lot of remarketing. And then finally talk about automation and a lot of the tools and again apps that we use to take as much of the human interaction part of the business out of it so that you could focus on big picture stuff and not need massive teams if you only want one or two stores

Caroline [44:34] Love it. So Anton people find that course

Antony [44:37] dropshiplifestyle.com

Caroline [44:39] Fantastic so everyone is listening. I think that if you're serious about dropshipping.

Intro/Outro [44:43] Thanks for listening to the winning with shopify podcast. Join the facebook group facebook.com/groups/winningwithshopify and get our show notes at justaskparker.com forward slash podcast. Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast so you never miss an episode and as a listener, get 20 percent off, at JustAskParker.com by using the code "podcast".