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Shopify is an all-in-one ecommerce platform that allows you to create your own online store. It provides you with several themes that can be customized to meet individual users’ branding requirements.
One of the key selling point of Shopify is that users without technical or design experience can create beautiful online websites.
As stated on their website, Shopify powers ambitious entrepreneurs all over the world with more than 600,000 stores, 1,000,000+ active users and $72B+ sold on Shopify.
I can tell from my own experience that it is one of the most user friendly ecommerce platform out there.
This section is not a fully-fledged tutorial on Shopify. There are many great free videos on Youtube doing a fantastic job in teaching how to use Shopify. You can also find free training materials on Shopify at https://www.shopify.com/academy
I will share with you how most entrepreneurs use Shopify to earn an income online.
The widely business model used is called Dropshipping although some use Shopify to sell their own line of products or services.
People will also mention print-on-demand as a separate business model, although I see it as a form of dropshipping as well. For argument sake, I will briefly explain dropshipping, print-on-demand and selling your own products or services.
I have noticed that most entrepreneurs involved with dropshipping use Aliexpress for selling physical goods.
Dropshipping in a nutshell is when you play the middle man between the supplier and the customer. You buy a product at a certain price and resell it with a margin to cover your costs and profits.
You don’t invest in inventory or whatsoever. You only buy the product when you have an order on your store. The supplier sends it to your customer without you seeing it or touching it. This is inventory arbitrage. Your risk is almost nil.
This is not a new concept. Many fortune 100 companies such as Amazon, Walmart use a similar business model.
The most popular suppliers for droshipping with Shopify are:
With print-on-demand you put up a design on a product through a printing partner. Generally t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs and so forth. The products are unique and customized based on your design. The dropshipping principle still applies here.
When someone orders the product on your store, the printing partner gets it, prints the said product and ships directly to your customer without you seeing it or touching it.
There is a bit of time and money to be invested in design research and you may have to pay a monthly fee to some partners.
The most popular Print-on-demand partners are:
Teelaunch (I have used)
Printful (the one I am currently using)
Shopify facilitates the selling of your own brand of products or services.
You can create and develop your brand from scratch and take it to the world!
Some good branded stores on Shopify are:
But you will have to pick a plan later for you to unlock Shopify’s potential.
They have several plans to accommodate a wide range of entrepreneurs with their most popular ones being basic shopify, shopify and advanced shopify.
They do have a starter plan called Shopify lite as well as an enterprise-grade solution (shopifyplus) for high volume merchants.
Based on my experience here is an indication of budget you will need to get started:
-Shopify Online Store: $29 USD per month after the 14 day free trial
-Oberlo Application (if using Aliexpress): $29.90 USD per month if selling more than 50 items per month. Free otherwise.
-Domain Name: $14 USD per year for a domain name registration
-Professional Email address: $5 USD per month
-Marketing budget (Facebook or other): $500 minimum, I recommend $1,000 USD per month if marketing on Facebook.
Once you start generating more revenues, you can re-invest some of your profits into your business. Additional shopify applications would be required to increase your store’s conversion and profitability.
Before jumping headfirst into building a Shopify Store, I highly recommend you immerse yourself with some of the free training materials on the subject. You have Youtube Videos, Facebook Groups and even Shopify own free materials.
More importantly I would advise against buying a Shopify Course right away without you doing some due diligence.
I have a list of recommended resources at the end of this article to get you going in your learning journey.
There are two schools of thought out there about what type of store to build when dropshipping: some strongly believe in starting a niche store while other recommend a more generic store (or superstore).
Each type of store has its pros and cons.
There is more opportunity with generic stores. You are not confined to a specific niche. You can test different products from various niches. This gives you an edge to quickly adapt and scale easily.
One major downside is the lower conversion rates (not always though).
Example of General Shopify Store
You build your store around one particular theme or niche market. All the products on your store would be in that market. With niche stores, you have higher conversion rates. One major downside is that it can fizzle out easily if it’s a trend.
One variation of the niche store is the single product store. You build you store around one single product. All your marketing effort will be driving traffic to this single product.
Example of Shopify Niche Store
Example of one product store
They sell only 1 product: the snoreless device.
Finding the right niche is a crucial step in any successful online venture. It’s no different with Shopify and dropshipping with Aliexpress.
If you happen to believe that Dropshipping is dead then think again. People are making a killing everyday using this business model with Shopify. Do a simple search on YouTube and will see successful dropshippers showing you the back end of their shops with live proof of earnings.
Back to the topic at hand, there are two schools of thought on what niche to get into for an online business: follow the trend or start with an evergreen market.
I would say try both and see what works for you. From my own experience evergreen niches seem to be the best markets to start with because of their steadiness. It’s not a fad that will eventually pass.
David Vranicar at Oberlo, the leading marketplace in dropshipped products found on Aliexpress.com, wrote a blog post on the same topic. He used data from Oberlo to highlight some of the most popular niches, in the most popular categories, over the longest period of time.
His analysis covered 2016, 2017 and part of 2018. He concluded that the categories that get the most sales year after year are:
Women’s Clothing & Accessories
Home & Garden
Within those popular categories, the niches that had the most orders were:
- Necklaces & Pendants
- Bracelets & Bangles
- Home Decor
- Kitchen, Dining & Bar
- Home Textile
These are categories and niches straight from Aliexpress.com the go to marketplace for dropshippers.
Aliexpress has a dropshipping center to help dropshippers sell more of their products.
It shows hot dropshipping items, trusted suppliers and some insights on products (also know as product analysis).
You can find out more at the following link https://home.aliexpress.com/dropshipper/ds_center.htm
One premise in business you might be familiar with is to sell what is already selling. Why re-invent the wheel? If the previous niches have been proven to work why not start there and expand once you have learned the ins and outs of online business with Shopify. It’s the path of less resistance.
You could take additional steps in validating your niche idea – where required.
For that, use google trends, plug in your niche idea and analyze the trend.
Here is an example with the rings niche idea.
Head over to https://trends.google.com/trends/ Type in the term “rings”. Pick “worldwide”, past 12 months, shopping category.