Resource Guide to Selling Physical Products (eCommerce)
Traditionally speaking, most people probably wouldn’t include eCommerce in a list of passive income ideas.
But hear me out.
When you use a dropshipping model for running your online store, the management piece becomes extremely passive. Because of that, I include this as a potential passive income stream for you, but only if you are using the dropship model. Running a handmade store, or one where you have to buy inventory and ship items yourself or from your own warehouse, are time-intensive. Those are legitimate business ideas, but they wouldn’t fall under the umbrella of passive income.
There are two options within the dropshipping model:
#1 —> Print on Demand dropshipping. This is where you create custom graphics and designs to go on products, and they are printed one at a time and sent directly to your customer. You are creating a custom, unique line of products. This is what I have done with my line of apparel, which are my best-selling products in my own online shop here. My personal recommended print-on-demand partner (based in the USA) is Printed Mint.
#2 —> Traditional dropshipping. This is where you are sourcing products from manufacturers (products can be made in Asia, USA, EU, etc) and you are selling them in your shop. When an order comes trough, you put the order in with your manufacturing partner and they send the product to the customer. The difference here is that there is nothing proprietary or custom about the products, but you are curating a line of products within your niche. I sell some items this way, like what you can see in this section of my shop. You can source items through Oberlo, AliExpress, Spocket, and more.
Having used quite a few different selling platforms myself, I recommend Shopify. They are the most comprehensive, user-friendly, and known as the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to ecommerce. Their dashboard makes it incredibly easy to watch your data. The plugins offered are numerous and varied. And the templates are so great, you can get your shop up and running within a day or two without coding headache.
Once a shop on Shopify is set up, like anything, you will need to drive traffic to it. This can be done through social media, Pinterest, email marketing, influencer marketing, and paid advertising.
The second recommendation is Etsy (only for doing print-on-demand dropshipping, where your line is unique in some way). The advantage to Etsy is that there is built-in traffic on the platform. You’ll need to use Etsy SEO, have great imagery, and well-written listings to make sure your shop can stand out in the Etsy marketplace. The downside to Etsy is that you are always competing with the others on the platform, it isn’t really “yours”, and it doesn’t really make sense to drive paid advertising to it. They also make it very difficult to build your email list.
I have personally used a dropship ecommerce store to boost my revenue with my home decor and lifestyle blog, The Sweetest Digs.
The key to a successful ecommerce shop is to develop a shop within a really defined niche, drive traffic (using Pinterest, social media, ads, email marketing, influencer marketing), watch the data (what is selling, your conversion rates, abandoned carts, etc) and then tweak and refine over time. Like anything, it’s a bit of a game. You won’t know what your best-sellers are going to be, so you put a lot out there and watch the numbers, and then follow them.
Currently in my own shop, I have been finding that my apparel items that relate to essential oils have been my biggest sellers (the riches are in the niches, remember?!). So, I am creating more, similar products to the ones that have been selling. I’m bringing in a few other essential oil accessories. I am scaling up my ads to essential oil audiences, as these products are resonating with them.
The online shop is now my main focus for The Sweetest Digs. I have personally moved away from working with brands (not at all passive, and I never really enjoyed it!), and am focused on just scaling shop sales. I do have display ads and affiliate revenue for The Sweetest Digs as well, but the shop is where the biggest opportunity is. I watch my data and conversion rates, and am scaling up using paid advertising.
Here is a snapshot of my Shopify sales for the first 25 days of 2019. You can see that I have some things to work on:
Returning customers (I plan to improve this with bi-weekly shop newsletters and returning customer coupons)
My conversion rate is just over 1%. This is low. I would like it to be in the 2-5% range. I plan on tweaking my listings, improving the checkout experience, etc to get this up. It’s always a game - you just have to test, test, test, and see what works.
Average order value is $41. I offer free shipping to all orders $50 and over, so obviously this isn’t well-advertised enough because otherwise my average order would be higher. This is something I will be working on!
I will also be working on improving my paid ads on FB and instagram, and intensifying my Pinterest strategy.
More ‘How To’ Information:
The “how to” behind creating, launching, and promoting a dropship-based online shop is all included within my Launch Your Shop program. There are over 50 video lessons, partner recommendations, and so much more within that course. We won’t be covering all of that nitty-gritty how-to information in here, as it’s extremely comprehensive!
If you’d like to watch the free masterclass where I talk about the overall framework for launching an online shop, you can register here (and more information about the Launch Your Shop course is pitched at the end).
What do you think? Are you considering adding ecommerce to your business strategy? Drop into the Facebook Group and let us know! :)