“The Journey Doesn’t End”: How A Passion For Entrepreneurship Is Growing Into A Solid Business
What do people do when they want to launch an online business, but don’t know where to begin? Commonly, they start looking for a turnkey ecommerce website with all the necessary systems and settings in place. Today, we’re talking to Faraz, a new owner of such a website. He agreed to share this life-changing experience with newcomers to ecommerce all over the globe!
Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.
Hi, please, introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m Faraz Syed from Mumbai, India! I’ve got a Bachelor’s of Engineering in Information Technology and now work as a SAP Consultant, combining it with running an online business from home.
I’m a tech enthusiast and an avid gamer, always on the lookout for the latest updates in all things tech. I have a driven passion for entrepreneurship and I value the process more than the position. I also love exercising to keep my mind and body fit.
With your education and interests, you probably have a solid background in ecommerce, do you?
No, actually, I had no knowledge or experience in ecommerce/trade before. Once, I had sold some of my unwanted stuff online, and that’s it. The very idea of being able to reach an unknown person and selling to them was new to me and very exciting.
Apart from this, I had no experience in ecommerce whatsoever. I have had a rising interest in dropshipping since 2019, though…
The very fact that you do not have to maintain and stock up inventory beforehand is a huge plus point of dropshipping. It lets you get started with minimal investment in terms of time and money.
Also, being able to target customers overseas or anywhere in the world where there is a demand, for that matter, makes it one of the most lucrative online businesses out there.
So, how did you begin exploring this online business opportunity?
As I mentioned, I first got curious about dropshipping in 2019, but wasn’t fully convinced until mid-2020. Before starting dropshipping, I had an uneasy time choosing the right platform. I read all about both Shopify and AliDropship to learn about their pros and cons, watched several YouTube videos reviews and then finally came to the conclusion that Alidropship would best serve the purpose for me. I decided to go for it after I read about Alidropship’s ready-to-go premium dropshipping stores with no monthly subscription fees.
That’s how I got a Premium dropshipping store, which is basically a turnkey ecommerce website. I also bought an installation package to have most of the work already done by the moment I start, and that’s how the story began!
The store runs on AliDropship’s hosting, and I also got a number of extra solutions like the Beginner’s set, Bulk Discounts add-on and Countdown Timer to get more impulse purchases from the visitors and craft my store to near perfection.
Working on your turnkey ecommerce website so carefully, did you achieve your first sale quickly?
Yes, quite! I had my first sale on the very first day of launching Facebook ads and I firmly believed that I was going in the right direction.
It was like a bolt of excitement and happiness! I remember working late at night on the marketing setup and waking up to the most pleasant surprise: my first sale.
It was an absolutely amazing feeling. All of the hardwork and dedication put in by me and the team at Alidropship had finally got me to the result I was aiming for.
What helped me apart from the awesome product pages that I had got ready-made with my Premium dropshipping store was the Marketing package which had the right creatives as well the target audience settings (Facebook interests and demographics).
Getting the first sale only strengthened my determination to get more persistent sales. I became more focused towards my next goal.
How is your store performing now?
The store has been performing well in terms of conversion rate.
What’s your niche and product strategy?
The turnkey ecommerce website I’ve got was a copy of the Gaming store. For me, it was an overlap between my personal interests and the growing market demands, the gaming niche. Also, because of the current pandemic, people have been inclined to sit at home and game more. Plus the launch of big gaming consoles this year also made me think about getting into this niche as soon as possible to reap the benefits.
On another positive note, with a familiar niche, it was pretty obvious for me who my target audience would be. I got great help from the Marketing guide which was part of the Alidropship’s turnkey ecommerce website offer. It gave me the exact interests and demographics of the right people to target! Of course, having my own understanding of the gamers’ community is also great.
The products themselves, as well as the suppliers, were hand-picked by the team at Alidropship. I must say the products are excellent and the suppliers have been equally co-operative. Currently, I don’t even have to add any more products, but I would like to add new items depending on the market needs in the future.
The prices have already been set by the pre-defined rules that have come with the Premium store. Ideally, they should have a markup at least 2.5 times the product price considering the cost of goods and services.
How do you promote your store?
I have been promoting my store on almost all social media channels. To explore various options, I have even tried marketing on Twitter and Microsoft Bing Ads. I found little success with them and eventually had to move away from them.
Thanks to experimenting, I figured out that Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads work best for me. They account for almost 90% of the sales.
Facebook and Instagram were the platforms which have helped me get my first milestone achievement – my first sale – and I invest in advertising on them mostly. As I said, I got a Marketing package that contains already made and tested Facebook ad materials with the right audience settings, and I rely on these precious insights heavily. Though I need to say, Facebook is a great marketing tool, however you have to be very careful of not violating the ad policies which can get you banned from advertising. I would advise to read through their ads policies before beginning to advertise on Facebook.
Another strategy I tried on Facebook was Influencer Marketing. For that, I tied up with a Facebook streamer who agreed to promote my product in exchange for freebies. Plus, to make my social media accounts look busy, I’m using Social Rabbit plugin to save time on the pages running.
Also, as an addition to social media promotion, I post regularly on relevant threads concerning my product on discussion sites like Quora and Reddit. I work on SEO, run an on-site blog, and every now and then, I get some organic sales 🙂 Finally, I’ve got the Lead Magnet set up on my site to collect visitors’ mailing details and run email marketing, too.
What can you say about managing this dropshipping store daily?
It hardly takes me around an hour of effort daily, sometimes 2 hours when I have to work on marketing. I can easily juggle it with my current day job and responsibilities.
All of the Alidropship solutions have helped immensely in some way or the other to cut down my management time – and to get me more sales. Social Rabbit plugin has helped me gain a lot of followers on social media, especially Instagram. The Abandoned Cart plugin has helped me recover abandoned carts. The Urgency Add-on has helped to reduce carts abandonment by increasing the checkout rate. The Bulk Discounts has helped me increase my AOV (Average Order Value). And of course, the main Alidropship plugin has made managing and fulfilling orders as easy as a breeze. And I would be missing out on a key factor if I don’t mention it – the efficient and quick support from the Alidropship Support team has made managing the store an enjoyable experience.
That’s why I have enough time to invest in marketing. It’s definitely the most time consuming yet the most crucial aspect of an online business. The more effort you put into designing ads, the better the results turn out to be. A good marketing campaign is an investment that gives a lot in return. At a certain point, you get a hang of it and then you start creating new ads that drive more sales in less time.
What are the biggest business challenges for you? How are you dealing with them?
For me, it has been logistics. Due to the current pandemic situation all over the world, there have been instances when the product delivery gets delayed. And you cannot do much about it other than have patience and keep delivering the same message across to the customer. It is therefore ideal if the supplier has a warehouse in the country of sale for faster shipping times when you’re scaling up your business.
For this particular challenge related to delayed logistics, it’s best to send a direct message to the customer and inform them beforehand of any unexpected delays. For me, it was taken care of through a dedicated page on my premium store. There, I clearly talk about the current challenges in delivery due to the pandemic and set the tone with the customer. This way, I allow them to be ready in case of any unforeseen events. But even after that, it is likely that the customer may demand a quicker delivery… It’s best to be as polite with them as possible and communicate the same to the customer, maybe throw in a discount coupon to brighten up their mood 🙂
To summarize, if you know that you’re doing it right, always remain calm and composed. Deliver the same message directly to the customer and try to compensate for the problem with coupons and free gifts.
Do you have any memorable customer stories?
You can always run into some buyers who apparently start wondering about their package from the very next day they place their order. Such a thing happened to me, too. One of the customers started complaining about the slow delivery of their order even though it had been just 3 days since they placed their order. I always maintained an air of calm and politeness with them assuring them that their product will be delivered soon. But, even that didn’t help! Eventually they raised it to a refund claim with PayPal, the payment provider I was using. Finally, the product got delivered in time and the claim was settled in my favor.
There also was a funny story with my Facebook ads. Under one of my Facebook posts, a brother-sister duo had a kind of a funny heated discussion. They were arguing over who would buy the product as a gift for the other. It was funny to read, plus it was also increasing the engagement rate of my ad – and thereby, its relevance. So after a while, when the argument was getting nowhere, I decided to step up as the Facebook Page admin. I commented and pointed out that the 50% off sale would last only today. Moments after that I got a PayPal notification from the elder sister who made the purchase… instant happiness, right there ! 🙂
Did you register your business officially? What are the requirements in your country?
Yes, I did, as this will also help me with taxes spent on Facebook and Google ads. Here in India, you need to have a proper Identification document like the Passport, PAN or Aadhar Card, as it’s called here. Any citizen can apply for a business registration, it’s a fairly simple process and can be done online.
How has your life changed? What are your plans for the future?
This business has made me self-reliant. My friends and family are happy and see this promising turnkey ecommerce website as a great achievement. That means a lot to me.
Although I am on my path and yet not there, I do feel great to have a side hustle which can generate me a passive income. It feels awesome to be a business owner knowing that you can drive it to success and it is in your hands completely. I feel a sense of satisfaction. The journey doesn’t end 🙂
I plan to further create a series of stores belonging to different niches that can all work at the same and generate streams of income. I plan to tap into one-product stores of my winning products and scale them to their maximum potential.
What can you advise our readers – those who already run their stores and those who didn’t start the business yet?
For those who’re already running their stores, you know what it takes to take it off the ground. Being customer-centric is the essence of ecommerce. You can probably take a hit with shipping and better quality of products than going with cheaper alternatives, because in the end it’s the customer who has put in that trust in you to send them their product. Also, keep scoping the markets for new hot products that can sell, ride the trend wave for maximum profits and then decide which ones to continue with further.
For those who have not yet started with dropshipping, I would like to state an old Chinese proverb…The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago, the second best time is “right now”! If you have raised your hand for entrepreneurship, fear is no more an option…Take the leap of faith and start on your journey as soon as possible. No one has all the knowledge to begin with, it’s more about the journey than the destination, enjoy it! Dropshipping allows you to be a business owner with minimal initial investments. Start today!
That’s a powerful message! So, what’s the outcome? By getting a turnkey ecommerce website, Faraz saved countless hours on his business setup and performance testing… and got straight to promotional experiments that are already bringing rewards! With a wide range of Premium stores to copy and put into operation right away, everyone can do the same – and start their ecommerce journeys with ease, too.