Dropshipping – 1st attempt fail

After 2.5 month past, I decide to pause my store, My Quali Stuffs and re-strategise the way to go.

There are couples aspect that make me consider to pause:

  1. I get very low traffic
  2. I get opinion from friends that, the items I have in the store is fun, but won’t buy because of lack of confident
  3. The items are not unique, and price not competitive

But honestly those facts are just make me consider until I try experience placing a real order for a bag, to replace my own bag, and the experience is worse:

  1. I ordered a bag from AliExpress
  2. The order being processed after 3 days
  3. It takes another few days to wait for starting the shipment
  4. And it requires estimation of 20 days for delivery
  5. And ultimately …. I waited for a month and the items still not being received

This experience make me not confident enough to keep such business model. Hopefully my store does not gain enough attention and there are no order from anyone, so I am not suffer from any delivery issue or customer complaint. And I think it is not really a good start to just run drop-shipping without having a stable supplier to support your business.

Therefore, it is still not the end day of My Quali Stuff, I am just aim to tackle on the lesson I learnt: I need a stable supplier, so I am now trying to approach some physical store who does not have online store for their online business, I am trying to compensate what they miss and try leveraging my store as their online store, to holds their product online so as to attract more of their potential customers.

I hope I can come up some update soon : )

My Quali Stuffs – My own Shopify store – Be my client’s perspective to look at E-Commerce

My Quali Stuffs: https://myqualistuffs.com/

More about Shopify: http://bit.ly/2IdJ98N

People who know me would likely know I am a big fan of e-commerce, along with my career and the time before reaching my 34th, I have dedicated myself to e-commerce related role, acquiring as much web knowledge as possible and help my clients setup various e-commerce business.

And I come to a moment, thinking of how to learn from my clients’ success stories and work out my own version, so, My Quali Stuffs arises.

My Quali Stuffs, a drop-shipping based online business, powered by Shopify. I know Drop-shipping would be the simplest step to run an online business when I having no connection with any suppliers, which is different from all of my clients that they have some wonderful suppliers or they are themselves the suppliers of the items they sell. And I look forward with such self-experiencing e-business, I can put myself in a much closer position and look at e-business from client’s perspective, tackling the online marketing with real exercise, putting my real money on a real investment and see how it goes.

No one can tell it would be an easy job, my advantage would likely be skipping the cost for an IT guys / developer, or familiar with various tools / marketing channel with lack of real hand-on experience.

I would love to share more update and maybe some day you may see the success of my story, or the fall of my business and I have to work harder for my original business.

 

Gift with love – Hong Kong new Gift for baby / kids option

新網站登場,協助兩位女站長設立她們原在Facebook平台的生意轉戰到網店層面。她們的網店售賣澳洲入口的純天然嬰兒產品。包巾、安睡公仔,和暖色系和簡單的卡通造型是他們商品的風格。可作為朋友同事祝賀新生嬰兒的禮物選擇。

網站: https://giftwithlove.com.hk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/giftwithlovehk/
IG: https://www.instagram.com/giftwithlove_hk/

協助開店/尋找有意合作伙伴

若果你經已以 Facebook 專頁經營網上商店業務,有商品圖片、簡單商品說明/SKU,但未有正式網站來管理下單、發貨;對 Shopify 有興趣,想了解應用此平台作為你的落單管理/POS系統的話,歡迎來信查詢,小弟正尋找有意合作之平台/網店,我提供技術建議,協助你透過 Shopify 來優化你的網店業務。

若有意了解更多,不彷留言或 PM 接洽。

Video playlist which help you understand more how to run a E-Commerce business

I often amazed by Shopify as it often offers various kind of documentation and support material to empower store owners / eCommerce merchants to know their business better and how to run their online store more effectively. Recently I receive a note from Shopify that there is a video series which is developed by Ezra Firestone of Smart Marketer, he shares his success business use-case and I find it does bring out some points that I lack of language power to illustrate, here you go:

 


Gain your domain control from Shopify / OpenSRS

You need a domain name for your website / online store. Like my site, gordon-chan.net is the domain. You have your domain share to people so they know how to reach your site.

For people who new from website / online store setup. When they register Shopify for their store, they could also purchase a domain through Shopify so as to get rid of having the store domain as xxxxx.myshopify.com .

Shopify sell a .com domain with USD $13/year, and they help you integrate the domain with the store seamlessly. It seems handy, and yet, you can actually have other choice.

Buying a domain from GoDaddy or some other domain service provider is very easy, and often offer you much more discount if you register for few-year package. Let say GoDaddy sell a .com domain $8 + $120 = $128 for 2 year ($8 for the first year). Of course, GoDaddy is famous with its poor / non-user-friendly interface. Yet it is the cheapest domain seller I ever see. Some other clients use Domain Discount 24 , again, the feature is detail but the interface is quite traditional.

So, having shared alternative option for domain purchase from cost perspective, any other reasons for not using Shopify domain? Answer this, you need to aware Shopify is actually working with OpenSRS, which is the real domain service provider. When you signup a domain through Shopify, you don’t receive any information about the domain management. Like any login information for domain panel. It is indeed when you need to get your domain integrate with GSuite / verify your domain ownership using domain CNAME records etc. You can get your domain panel information with a very simple and feature-less interface only if you call / live-chat with Shopify Support, which sounds weird to me.

Apart from that, domain renew fee is bundled with Shopify invoice, You cannot purchase the domain for X years, or add any additional protection to the domain.

So, I often recommend my clients, either buy domain from GoDaddy and seek for Shopify Expert help on the configuration (link up the domain with the Shopify store) or contact Shopify support to obtain the domain login information as soon as they can, in order to gain back the control of the domain.

References:

Shopify: Buy a domain: https://help.shopify.com/manual/domains/buying-domains/buying-a-domain

Shopify: Managing domains: https://help.shopify.com/manual/domains/managing-domains

GoDaddy: https://hk.godaddy.com/

 

Tips for Shopify Store setup

Here are some tips I would share with people who wanna setup a Shopify Store for their online business.

Seek for a Shopify Expert for help

Not attempt to but fine if you do treat me as sale-person for my own freelance business, just, there are quite fundamental benefit for finding help from Shopify Expert. Apart from the potential cost for consultation, you will definite save costs that you may not necessary need to pay for.

Some clients come to me for Shopify store setup, but they often already start paying Shopify for some time and they fail to get the store work in the way they like so seek for Shopify Expert. In fact, Shopify Experts are authorised to setup “Development store” which is Shopify Store that with majority features but no trial period limitation.

In general, Shopify Experts know how to assist you to technically achieve something you want, and what is technical infeasible before it comes to solid request. People who start paying Shopify while not knowing Shopify limitation will result in a waste of time and money. At worst, they are not satisfied with what Shopify provides and cannot utilise this platform for their business.

Cost for hiring a Shopify Expert can be minimal. Free of charge is not the way we go for, but Shopify Expert like me treat meeting potential clients as friend-making.

Cost for a Shopify Store Setup

There are few area you need to spend money for store setup or running a store in long run.

  1. Consultant fee for hiring Shopify Expert
    • Some Shopify Expert are fine to share with you the detail about Shopify, some other may impose a consultation fee. No matter what, look for multiple Shopify Experts and compare their service pricing models.
  2. Shopify Store Monthly / Yearly subscription fee
    • No doubt you need to pay Shopify for the service, but this cost cans be deferred. Apart from Paid Store, with feature depends on the subscription fee, there is another type of Store: “Development Store” which can be setup by Shopify Experts, having no 14-days trial limitation, but with few restrictions:
      • Cannot install Shopify App which incur fee
      • Cannot perform real payment transaction
      • Cannot link up with your domain (which mean need to stick with *.myshopify.com
  3. Shopify App subscription fee
    • Shopify App provides you features that not supported by Shopify out-of-the-box. Example: Some store wanna customer upload their logo / image as tailor-made T-Shirt. Shopify does not support this, but some app like Product Customizer can provide this capability; Shopify cannot do multilingal, it support translation but only single language can be shown. You can use Langify to achieve this feature.
    • Shopify App can be:
      • Free
      • One-time subscription
      • Monthly subscription
      • On-demand subscription (charge per usage, like some image optimisation)
    • Transaction fee
      • Whenever you receive an order and perform the transaction (captures the amount that customer pay), Shopify will have transaction fee. Additionally, the payment gateway service, like Paypal / BrainTree / Stripe / PayDollar, they will also have transaction fee.
  4. Shopify Expert development fee
    • This is different from the consultant fee. This cost is for the Shopify Expert help you develop the E-Store in the way you wish to. From theme styling to functional integration. The cost and the included services can be quite different among different type of Shopify Experts.

Start from simple, plan for longterm maintenance, evolute gradually as progressive enhancement

Shopify provides you the fundamental function for you to run a E-Commerce business. You need not worry about most technical concern. But it does have several factor that lack of flexibility or feasibility. Say:

  • It allows:
    • You can manage Product / Collection / Page / Blog setup with its decent admin panel
    • You can manage theme / possible to customise / switch from one to another them
    • You can integrate with well known online payment gateway
    • no effort on having your site’s media asset like images / files be delivered with the well-known Content Delivery Network (a.k.a CDN) to fasten the site loading
    • Fundamental reporting allow you know how many sale / discounted amount / return amount reports
  • It is weak or no support on some factors:
    • You cannot change url pattern (if you very keen on SEO), you cannot imagine to have multilingual site with different context path like {domain}/en/… for English, {domain}/tc for Traditional Chinese
    • You may have low grade on some online SEO report saying there are many inline CSS/JS for which are Shopify needed scripting that you cannot remove
    • You cannot change your checkout flow (unless joining the Shopify Plus! plan)
    • You cannot expect your site can run very well in China region as Shopify is a foreign country where their servers located beyond China boundary.

(To be continue)

Mamedio Swimwear

This should be the most sexy project I get involved. A Brazil brand swimwear Shopify store is just launched:

Mamedio International

It has various style for both Bikini and One Piece. And the site owner pays much effort on showing you how good fit their products are with modal wearing their products and having attractive shot from different perspectives:

Mamedio International Lookbook

The story of Mamedio is just begins, apart from assisting the store for initial launch (both Internation and Brasil site), I am going to strength the site by further enhancing the SEO aspect, and facilitate the site owner to manage their stores easier.

Shopify plans pricing change and comparsion

Shopify changes their pricing on 1 Jun 2016. The plans’ name are changed accordingly: Basic Shopify, Shopify and Advanced Shopify. It still has 14 days trial, and of course, the most economic and clever way is to contact a Shopify Expert to work with you for a longer trial period for the store development.

From previous experience, most of my client would just need the Basic Shopify plan, as they only put items in store without need for detail report or gift card support. If clients need specific feature that only available in particular Shopify plan, before suggesting them to select the plan with that specific feature, I would show them the different of the potential cost among different plans.

I have the sheet below which I wrote for a client who original  have the Unlimited Shopify Plan (Advanced Plan) and consider how would it be different for his store if he downgrade his plan.

In the sheet, I have 3 tables:

  1. $299 Plan and $79 Plan the change in total running cost
  2. $29 Plan and $79 Plan the change in total running cost
  3. $179Plan and $79 Plan the change in total running cost

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 上午7.50.52

In each table, I show the plan cost, the gross transaction, the corresponding transaction fee (using third party payment like PayPal / PayDollar) and the total store running cost. You can see if your store has around HKD$350000 or USD $44872 gross transaction. Use $299 plan would be more economic.

So if you are running very simple Shopify store with $29/mo, if your monthly transaction is more then HKD$30000 or USD$3846, using $79 would be more economic.

For my client, he is currently using the old Unlimited $179 Plan, Shopify does not change this monthly price unless he changes the plan; When I help review, his plan will only be economic to him if his business cans produce $157000 gross sale per month. Yet, his business is still require some time to reach this sale level, and he needs not the advanced report feature, I recommend him to downgrade the plan so as to save the cost.

For my client, he is delighted to see this information and suggested arrangement for him; For me, my monthly commission is actually reduced by almost half. However, I believe this is definitely good for my client so as to help them running their business in lower cost. The lower the cost for their business, the higher the chance of success of their Shopify business.

 

Getting Laravel (5.2) works with Heroku for Shopify Embedded App Development

Inspired by REVENUE AFTER 3 YEARS IN THE SHOPIFY APP STORE, I start exploring the world of Shopify App Development using my favorite PHP Framework: Laravel and hosts it on Heroku. I don’t have solid idea what App I am going to code, the work that I am going to share is how I finally get Laravel basically work inside Shopify as Embed app and get it running on Heroku.

I assume you have basic understanding what is Heroku / Laravel / Shopify Embedded App (EASDK).

Continue reading Getting Laravel (5.2) works with Heroku for Shopify Embedded App Development