Today I would like to share a story with you: the protagonist sells mobile phone cases, and his sales reached US$4558.03 in 9 weeks! The Oberlo platform plays a crucial step in this process. Next, I will use Oberlo and this story as a case to help you master the entire Shopify store process (including a series of processes from product selection, store opening, ordering, marketing, etc.).
I think this process will be a great inspiration for us. In addition, please pay attention to the details of each step in the operation (such as pictures, and descriptions, and see how the other party writes). At the same time, I want to use this article to make everyone confident and convinced that there are opportunities to make money (there is no way, society is very bad, but we still have to fight). The following is a first-person account of the author’s process of selling mobile phone cases:
Step 1: Find the Product You Want to Sell
To be honest, I didn’t look for a niche at first but directly looked for a product.
But it must be clear that focusing on the niche at the beginning, especially if you are already familiar with the niche, will make it relatively easier to get started when selecting the right niche products.
If you understand your customers’ needs, it will be easy to find such products. After finding their pain points and expectations, you can naturally find such product opportunities easily.
This model is like finding a problem – solving the problem is a very natural logic.
My approach is to start looking for products directly. Products are solutions. There are solutions first, and then we look for problems that can be solved.
Starting with a product, like I did, can be challenging. Instead of looking at a set of customers and offering up a solution for their problem, you start with a solution and try to find the problem that it fits with.
This is indeed difficult, but not impossible.
I have read a lot of articles about trending product ideas before, and I have also done some research, and I know that some products are much better than others.
I have also communicated with some dropshipping sellers and found that there are still many opportunities in dropshipping. Using the Oberlo plugin, you can find some products for sale.
Next, I started to apply these product selection ideas to Oberlo and conduct cross-comparisons.
At first, I noticed a few interesting products: dad hats and enamel pins, but a friend had done this kind of business before, but he made the same thing; Bluetooth speakers are actually good too, but I still wanted to make them affordable and easy to transport The product.
It takes time to find products, especially if you don’t have a set of psychological rules to limit products, it will be even more difficult. It is simply like finding a needle in a haystack. Products are probably the most important thing to a business.
Of course, you can also change your product later, but if you don’t have confidence in your product, you won’t go all out, and a car with insufficient power won’t be able to drive for long.
In order to find the product that best meets my expectations, I listed the conditions that the product should meet (conditions for product selection):
- It must be a product available on Oberlo because I want to do dropshipping
- It must be possible to use E-mail as a transmission tool;
- The price should be affordable, preferably less than $5 including shipping.
- There must be a continuous upward trend on Google Trends, and there must be a certain search volume on the Keyword Planner.
If you want to remove shipping calculated at checkout, our guide may help you!
I have done some basic research before, but I still haven’t determined the final product, but with the product selection ideas in mind, I still plan to check the performance of this product through other channels:
The first tool used is Trendosaur, the link is as follows:
What is This Tool Used for?
Trendosaur is a trending product analysis tool that can pull data from some platforms such as Wanelo, and then you can see what hot-selling products are on these platforms, and it also provides supplier links. Comparing Trendosaur’s data with my previous research on trending products, I found some similarities: phone cases.
Yes, phone cases are very popular, very popular. But you can’t rush into the general mobile phone case market. The narrower the niche, the better.
When I saw the phone case, I actually didn’t have any special ideas in mind, so I searched on Pinterest, Reddit and Alibaba, but I still didn’t know what I wanted to sell.
Insert a short story here.
During the time I was planning to do dropshipping, my partner and I moved into a new house. In order to buy new furniture, I visited countless furniture stores over the weekend. This process seems to have nothing to do with my dropshipping, but here comes the point…
After visiting countless furniture stores, I discovered that some home decorations have become popular recently. What are the most popular ones? Marble, such as marble coffee tables, and marble cutting boards. Wherever you look, marble is everywhere.
But how do I realize the marble idea?
Well, selling marble products. What kind of marble products specifically? Still can’t think of it~~~
A few days later, I was sitting on the couch and saw that many of my colleagues’ laptop sleeves had marble patterns. Suddenly I had a lightbulb moment! By the way, I sell marble pattern phone cases!
You see, inspiration is a wonderful thing. As far as my experience is concerned, inspiration comes from life, so you must pay attention to the details in life. Also, go out for a walk more often, inspiration will pop out unexpectedly.
Then I went to Google Keyword Planner to verify the search volume again. Well, I have to say, the data is pretty good. Next, I logged into Pinterest and searched for a marble phone case, and WOW. The interaction rate was quite high.
The product determination process is relatively time-consuming, but you have to think about it, this is the basic part. If the foundation is not solid, how can you expect to build a tall building?
Using Oberlo for Dropshipping
Oberlo is a Shopify plugin with millions of products to choose from. It can also help you process orders. After receiving the order, Oberlo will automatically send each customer’s delivery details directly to the manufacturer, and then the manufacturer will ship directly to the customer. This way, the order fulfillment process becomes simple.
Oberlo has another advantage, it has its own Chrome extension that can help narrow down manufacturers:
If the Oberlo extension does not pop up directly, you can also directly search for Oberlo in the search box in the upper left corner.
For example, when you search for products on AliExpress, this extension will help you select which company provides e-mail shipping. This is very important because E-mail is very fast and can usually be delivered to customers in a few days. Like other small package transportation, some may take 2 or 3 months to be delivered.
Not every manufacturer will provide e-mail shipping, so pay special attention here.
Step 2: Choose High-Quality Manufacturers
There are many mobile phone case suppliers, so what I have to do is choose the best. What I value most are two points:
First, seller rating;
Second, how long the seller has been in business?
The reviews received by the seller must be positive overall, and the praise rate must be at least 97%. I generally do not choose sellers who have been in business for less than a year. I am doing dropshipping, and of course, I hope to minimize the risk.
After finding a qualified manufacturer, I immediately placed an order for samples and bought back all the products I wanted to sell in the future.
Get the Store Name and Logo
It usually took a few weeks for the samples to arrive, so I started using that time to create the store.
First, think of a store name. I want my brand name to be fun, playful, and positive. You can’t think of specifying it out of thin air. You can use some tools, such as Business Name Generator.
I sell mobile phone cases. After entering the case and clicking generate names, many results will appear. I started filtering them one by one until I selected the best name.
Finally, I settled on a name: Crush Case. To me, this name is perfect, not only is it catchy, but it also rhymes with the initials. After confirming it, I immediately bought the domain name.
In order to find inspiration, I browsed some of my favorite designs on Dribbble.
There was a pink design that appealed to me, so I grabbed the color code and looked in Pixlr to see what I would do:
I made a few visual images using this pink color on Pixlr. Alas, it’s terrible. It looks weird and unnatural. I really have no design talent.
I had no choice but to ask my designer friends for help. In the end, my friend made the logo using the pink color code in a few minutes, and I liked it very much.
Step 3: Start the Store
I signed up for Shopify and started a 14-day free trial.
At this time, I began to think about a question: Can I create a store that only has the most basic e-commerce conditions but can still do well? How can I still achieve success while simplifying the store to the greatest extent?
I actually followed this idea when selecting products before. What I wanted to choose was a very special product. I won’t sell ordinary mobile phone cases that are on the street. What I want to sell is unique marble pattern mobile phone cases!
Then, there is the issue of store design. The default theme used by every Shopify store at the beginning is Debut. I decided to continue using this theme. It looks very clean and has many customization options. Best of all, this theme is free!
Next, start setting up the store and start importing products using Oberlo.
My philosophy is: Product is King
Therefore, I have not added other content such as the About page for the time being. I just want to see how to simplify the store structure. But some content is essential for running a store, such as:
The product page is the most important part of any online store. Without a product page, where would you sell your products?
First, your product images need to be attractive.
As far as I’m concerned, the pictures provided by my supplier are pretty good. I use 2 pictures on my product page to give customers a very clean feeling.
The next step is to write a product description
The description should be persuasive and clearly convey your product concept and product value to customers. So how to write it? Let’s take a look at my copywriting first, and then I’ll explain why I write it this way:
Keep your phone safe and looking great with Autumn, our latest premium black marble phone case, The Hard cover snaps on quickly and easily. Dark and deep marble print.
Available for Popular iPhone, Plus, Pro, and Pro Max.
Due to overwhelming demand, some orders may experience delays
- Trendy Black Marble Finish
- Rugged Design
- Keeps Your Phone Safe and Cozy
- Free Shipping to the US
- Guaranteed Safe + Secure Checkout
- 100% Money-Back Guarantee
- Not Sold in stores, Limited Quantity Available
The detailed description begins with an imperative sentence to express a strong tone, emphasizing the safety performance of the mobile phone case, and then explains that the style of the mobile phone case is a tall marble pattern.
These two points are to explain to customers why it is worth buying: first, it can protect the mobile phone, and second, the pattern is high-end. Then add another value to the phone case: ease of use. Comes with a brief description of the pattern color.
Next, list the phone models this case is suitable for. This step is to explain the product clearly and prevent customers from placing orders by mistake.
After reading the above content, the customer may have almost made a decision. However, in order to ensure that customers are convinced enough, we must continue to provide some valuable information and continue to supplement what benefits customers can get from it.
In the Details section, use a few short phrases to summarize the advantages of this product to further emphasize the key points and deepen the customer’s impression.
Under Details, a Shipping section has been added. This is partly to reassure customers of their worries and doubts and make them feel safe about shopping in my store.
There are countless plug-ins in the Shopify app store, which should be used according to the actual situation of your store. Some people seem to be plug-in addicts and think that the more plug-ins the better. In fact, there are many plug-ins with overlapping functions. Too many plug-ins will only slow down the website speed and affect the customer experience.
My principle is very simple, I only want the most basic plug-ins that can make the store run normally.
The first one to bear the brunt is of course Oberlo, otherwise, how can I do dropshipping? With Oberlo, you can import products into your store in a few clicks.
What is Oblero, and what is dropshipping, if you are not familiar with this, you can read here:
How to accumulate customers? Collect their email addresses, of course.
Once you have a certain number of contacts on your mailing list, you can contact customers directly to promote new products, advertising and promotions and other activities to them. Privy has the following functions: pop-up windows, lucky wheel, sending discount codes, etc.
Hextom Announcement Bar
Hextom Announcement Bar can create custom discount information that appears at the top of the page. When you slide the mouse down, the discount information will always appear, constantly reminding customers to click on the discount information.
Fomo will add some small pop-up windows to the website. The content in the pop-up window is who just bought this product, which is social proof. This can increase the credibility of the product and improve the conversion rate. Fomo will display recent orders, product reviews and other information, creating a feeling that the store is busy and popular.
2-3 weeks later, I received the sample and the e-mail package for logistics. I’m so excited. After waiting for two or three weeks, I can finally see what the samples look like. It feels like opening a treasure box!
I have to say that the quality of the sample is really, really good, unexpectedly good, but it’s not enough for me to like it alone, so I showed the phone case to my colleagues and friends, and they all praised the product. It’s really Very good. My future customers should also like these products, so I can start selling them officially!
One thing to note is that because we do dropshipping, suppliers ship directly to customers.
How can you be sure that the supplier won’t leave their own sales information in the package?
My approach is to send notes to suppliers in Oberlo’s Custom Note. It turns out that suppliers will read the information in the Custom Note. Like this time, the package I received did not have any sales information.
Get My First Business
Now that the basic setup of the store is complete and the samples have been obtained, I have to find a way to sell them!
The first method that comes to mind is to do Facebook ads. Although I have done Facebook advertising before, this is my first time doing e-commerce advertising. Creating Facebook ads is easy and there are many targeting options.
First, I need to create a fan page for Crush Case, and upload the store avatar and cover image. The cover image is found on Unsplash, and then write a short introduction to Crush Case.
As I said before, I want to keep my business as simple as possible and don’t want to get hung up on every detail, otherwise, it would be a waste of time and energy. I want to make sure that there is a market for my product and that people will buy it, and then I will consider other details.
Before doing Facebook ads, I decided to start doing promotions first. The Hextom Announcement Bar is used here. Because the wholesale price of my products is relatively low, there is more room for discounts in promotions.
I set the discount at 40% off, and the remaining time of the discount is updated every 24 hours. The product price is set to 14.99, and then it is calculated that if there is a 40% discount, the comparison price should be 24.9 or above.
After setting up the promotional information, start placing the first set of Facebook ads. I’ve looked at some Facebook ads that are doing well, and they seem to be formatted a little differently. These advertising posts are generally unpaid posts that focus on listing a few product values rather than telling long stories and then creating advertising promotion posts.
Since their ad format seemed to be effective, of course, I had to give it a try.
I have set up 3 Ads:
- 1 white Ad,
- 1 black Ad,
- 1 is an advertisement for all 4 colors of phone cases.
For this 4-color ad, I used Instagram’s Collage to stitch together 4 images.
When I’m ready, I start posting content on my fan page in the format mentioned above and then create ads. The pictures used in each post are of high quality, and the advantages of the product are listed one by one in the title, as follows:
- New Marble Phone Cases.
- Now with Sizes for New iPhones!
- Grab Yours with 40% OFF+FREE Shipping Today In Crushcase!
- Share and Tag a Friend Who Needs This!
After publishing the post, go to Facebook Ads Manager to start creating an ad promotion post.
The goal of all my ads is “engagement”. Below I will tell you why choosing the “engagement” goal is better.
First, you’ll want to give Facebook Pixel some time to track visitors on your website. It takes time for Facebook to collect as much data about its ideal audience as possible through trial and error.
Once you set your ad to “engage,” Facebook will use the initial targeting information to find people who have responded positively to your content. In the process of continuously collecting people who are most likely to interact, Facebook can also more effectively present your ads to the right audience.
Once Facebook has had enough time to refine its engagement targeting goals, you’re ready to move the goal to “Add to Cart” and cycle through this process until you finally optimize for shopping.
In this process, Facebook will eventually find customers who are suitable for your business, but you have to invest more time and energy to improve efficiency.
After setting up your goals, start customizing your targeting information. Because I start directly from the product, not the niche, I may have to guess some things based on experience when positioning.
I had noticed before that some giant retailers such as Urban Outfitters were selling marbled iPhone cases, so I guessed that I could first target fans of these existing companies or other brands in the same industry, and also follow some beauty products on Youtube. Bloggers, their audience might want my product too.
My ads will only appear in the Facebook News Feed, not anywhere else such as Instagram or the sidebar. I sell iPhone cases, so it is best for my ads to only appear on the mobile phone, and only on some qualified IOS devices.
Okay, let’s start setting a budget. The daily budget is $20 to promote “existing posts”. Start running ads.
The ads started running. Although it has just been running for a short time, I still check the advertising performance frequently. Looking at the data, it’s good. It’s very good to participate in the interaction. I received some comments and interactions within an hour after the ad ran, which shows that there is really a market for my product.
Then I used Google Analytics to check the performance of the ads, turned to the real-time views, and found that someone was checking out. Oh my God, I only ran the ad for 2 hours, and I got my first customer so easily? So am I an e-commerce genius? I’m so excited, I feel like my heart is going to jump out of my chest.
The payment was not successful!!! The cooked duck actually flew into the mouth! It’s totally unreasonable!
The same situation happened several more times over the next few days. The product was added to the shopping cart, and the customer also filled in personal information, and then~~~and then~~~no news again. This is simply too tortured.
A few days later, I started to deal with some detailed settings on the website, and then I discovered the problem: I didn’t complete the settings at all in the Shipping settings!!!
At this moment, it is really a river of sadness!
I actually made such a stupid mistake. Because of their own mistakes, customers were unable to choose the shipping method during the final checkout. Although they may have wanted to buy my products, they were unable to complete the payment in the end.
The more I reflect on it, the more I want to beat myself up! You see, I have put so much effort into running ads, leading customers to my website, letting them choose the products they are really interested in, and then leading them to a dead end! Because of my mistake, in the end, 20 shopping carts were abandoned.
What to do? Hurry up and find a way to save it!
A 20% off coupon was sent to every user who abandoned the shopping cart, and he apologized in the email saying that it was his mistake that delayed their purchase, and he hoped that the coupon could make up for his mistake.
I originally had a glimmer of hope, but this method didn’t work. However, in this case, you still have to try. As the saying goes: Hard work may not necessarily lead to success, but if you don’t work hard, you will definitely not succeed.
The customer has actually expressed their intention to buy my product, but they encountered problems during payment and then left. What I want to do is make them change their mind.
Here, I strongly recommend that you set up a recovery email. If you encounter a similar situation, you can send a recovery email to the customer based on the specific situation.
A few days later, I received the first order, and a few hours later, the second order. Although I am still deeply blaming myself for my previous mistakes, I am very happy, at least now the store is back on track. Finally, my store opened an order and used Oberlo to fulfill the order, so easy.
Use Oberlo to Fulfill Orders
Now, the orders are starting to stabilize, and I am becoming more and more familiar with Oberlo’s operation mode. Thanks to Oberlo for making everything so easy.
Using Oberlo gives you peace of mind. Once you place an order, Oberlo will automatically send the order to your supplier, and the supplier will handle packaging and delivery. But before fulfilling your first order, you need to make sure that all Oberlo settings are set up.
Facebook ads are still sending steady traffic to my store, and I want to make full use of this traffic to expand my email list.
I set up a pop-up window for those customers who were interested in exiting the website, and the pop-up window offered a 15% discount in exchange for the visitor’s email address. In fact, if I think about it from my perspective, as a visitor, if I want to go to other websites, I will not care about the discount information you provide.
But you can’t generalize, I can’t speak for everyone, and this kind of pop-up window setting has proved to be very effective, and it can quickly grow your mailing list.
When I accumulated 40 email contacts, I thought it was time to try email marketing. After all, my store has just started. Although I have orders, it would be best if I could get feedback from potential customers.
The title of my email is very straightforward: Here’s $4. The content is just plain text information without adding any charts or pictures. Then I add a call-to-action button at the bottom of the email content.
Although I was full of expectations, the effect was not as good as expected. My email open rate is 42.1%.
21.1% of them clicked on my website, but no one redeemed the discount code. The results were disappointing, but I didn’t want to wallow in this disappointment, so I continued to place my Facebook ads.
Tweak and Optimize Facebook Ads
Although Facebook has brought me a lot of orders and the conversion rate is also very good, I still want to find other opportunities to see if I can generate more orders.
I took a look at the advertising report. Among the three ads, the one with the best performance was the one featuring four mobile phone cases. I turned off the other two ads, leaving only the best-performing ad, and concentrated on promoting it.
I created another campaign, this time with the “Add to Cart” goal, and I wanted to direct Facebook to track people who were interested in making a purchase.
I took a look at the advertising performance and it was pretty good. I really wanted to increase the budget, but I was afraid that big changes would affect the current performance, so I increased the budget by $5 per day and increased it every few days. A little, but stop increasing the budget as soon as there are signs of poor performance.
I previously targeted IOS devices, but this time I think I can be more specific and specifically target iPhone 6S users, and specifically mention 6S in the advertising copy.
Next is the picture…
In fact, the pictures provided by the supplier are not bad, but they have no special features. My photography skills are not good, and I don’t want to trouble my friends.
So I chose to search online, first going to Unsplash to see if there were any attractive pictures. In fact, it is relatively simple. After finding the picture on Unsplash, put the 4 white background mobile phone case pictures and the Unsplash picture together in Photoshop. As for how to Photoshop them, it’s up to you. But the pictures I produced are still pretty good.
Did some things that didn’t last, and I’ve said before that I wanted to find other opportunities to generate more orders.
The first thing I tried was Reddit because many people had recommended it, so I thought the effect wouldn’t be too bad. On ShutUpAndTakeMyMoney, I posted a product and a few hours later had dozens of hits, but the post was deleted and the account was disabled.
That’s how business is, there are minefields everywhere. The key is to adjust your mentality immediately and find out the reason after stepping on the minefield. After the post was deleted, I carefully read the subreddit’s rules, which clearly prohibited the promotion of dropshipping.
Now you know how important it is to familiarize yourself with the rules in advance. Later I found some subreddits dedicated to sharing deals, but after releasing the product, it had no effect.
This is the end of my journey with Reddit.
Besides Reddit, there are other ways to try. Next is the Facebook group, because there are many groups specifically for deals and promotions.
Just do it! Search for deals, sales, discounts, and iPhones on Facebook. As long as it is a relevant group with more than 1,000 members, I will join it. After entering the group, post the store link and discount code in the group.
This method will not incur any fees, can increase discounts, and will not affect profit margins. A few orders were indeed generated in the group, but it was not a long-term solution. But it’s still worth a try, and be careful to provide something valuable to attract members’ attention.
Create an Influencer Program
Reddit failed, and the Facebook group was somewhat effective, but not sustainable. So we still have to find other methods.
This time I’m going to try an affiliate program, an affiliate program with Reds. I plan to provide a 15% off discount code to the influencer. As long as the customer uses that discount code to buy my product, I will give the influencer a reward of 5 US dollars for each order generated.
I first noticed ToThe9s, they are fashionable Youtubers. There are more than 500,000 subscribers. They are so famous, so there must be a lot of people looking for cooperation with them. I don’t have any advantages, so they probably won’t be able to see the messages I send.
So, I started looking for Youtubers with less than 2,000 subscribers. Although it can’t compare with 500,000, 2,000 subscribers is actually quite a lot.
How to find it? Start with ToThe9s to find related channels, and then find related channels of related channels. In the end, I found 40 influencers and sent them emails to express my desire to cooperate.
A few days later, I started to receive replies from some Youtubers saying they were very interested. Most influencers want to get the phone case from me in advance to see how the quality is, which is completely understandable. Although the shipping time was a bit long, I still sent the phone case as they requested.
Establishing such an affiliate program is easy and costs nothing. You just need to spend some time researching in the early stage to see which influencers are most likely to cooperate with you and actually bring results in the end.
In addition to the above, I also made the following efforts to increase sales.
I used a tool called Quik. This tool can create short videos, integrate different photos into one video, and select background music.
After creating the short video, add subtitles, display discount information and free shipping information, and you’re done!
The video was created in less than 5 minutes! I posted the video on Crush Case’s Facebook fan page and then created an ad around the video.
Looking at Google Analytics, I saw that I was generating a lot of traffic from Facebook ads, 6,000 visits in a few weeks, but my order volume was clearly not that high, so what should I do to re-engage people who had been to my site but hadn’t? Visitors who buy something.
So I set up a remarketing ad with a daily budget of $20. Placement selection: Make sure your ads only appear in the right column. Advertising goals, ensure that customers only pay when they click, and don’t waste money on impressions. I want customers to actually click on my website and view my products.
I also used Dynamic Product Ads, which are remarketing ads that show people products that match their interests and remind users of products they have seen before but not purchased.
More Email Marketing Campaigns
As I said before, I use the Privy plugin, and the Privy pop-up window has collected more than 700 email subscribers for me. I decided to continue email marketing with different offers and discounts, hoping it would be effective.
I started sending emails, continuing to use my previous style, with more casual content. The effect this time was much better than the previous one, with 5 real orders generated. It’s not a huge success, but it’s better than nothing, and at least it proves that my mailing list is being used.
The whole process of opening a Shopify store was an unforgettable experience for me, but looking back and thinking about it carefully, there are indeed some things that can be done better.
First, if I had been focusing on Instagram marketing, maybe the advertising costs would have been lower and the product might have sold better. If I asked some influencers to post pictures of themselves wearing marbled phone cases, maybe it would generate more sales. If only I spent more time building my Instagram audience!
Secondly, there is no clear explanation of shipping, which leads to high customer expectations. Through the trial order, I knew that using E-Packet took a long time, but I did not make this clear on the product page, which ultimately led to some customers complaining that the shipping time was too long.
As I said, what I have always advocated is to simplify the store, so I only have this mobile phone case in four colors.
I think it would be good to use a product to test the market response in the first few weeks of opening the store, but I am too idealistic. In the long run, just one product will not make the business last long and will not generate more orders. Customers will not trust you Store expectations will also be greatly reduced. If there were more style options, I’m sure there would be more sales.
People are very strange. Only when we look back on the past can we see what we did not do well enough. When we did it at the time, we seemed to be in the middle of the game and could not see the situation clearly. However, I am still very satisfied with the results my store has achieved.
In the end, I made $4558.03 in 9 weeks. This is my first store and I am very happy to have such results.
This story is long, but it is indeed a practical experience.
From product selection, store opening, ordering, and marketing, all the way up to leveling up and fighting monsters, in addition to the sales figures on the books, no matter whether the numbers look good or not, your ultimate goal is to learn methods and experience from them, and ultimately learn various things.
If your first store fails, remember, this is normal and the only thing you have to do is learn from the experience and then open a second one.