The Story of 20 Days.
What I learned by launching the shop and switching on the ads.
Before I get started, no, your insanity is not causing this page to be random colors - it’s me. The pleasure of making your own things is the freedom that comes with it - it still doesn’t make it right, but hey, I’ll own it.
Grossing $1k in 20 days
After a long pause, I finally took the shopify store out of development mode and made it live.
My goal was to see how quick it would take to start generating sales. Turns out, it can move pretty fast.
Let’s start with what I did, then we’ll look at the results and finally, what we’ve learned.
What I Did
1. Launched Shopify Site
As the site was already built on Shopify, launching it was as simple as selecting the basic plan. It was set in development since I purchased the business at the beginning of this year.
2. Started Paid Ads
Using the marketing tab in Shopify, I created the following paid ads.
Single campaign for the Yahoo! network (goes across verizon properties, including Fox affiliate sites.)
Single campaign for Facebook, both for facebook and instagram.
Single campaign on Google Adwords.
Each campaign had various ads featuring photos of the products. The budget was capped at $50 per day.
3. Launched Etsy Site
Seems to be a perfect marketplace for handcrafted copperware.
That said, it’s a saturated space. Thankfully, most merchants don’t believe in quality photos so that’s an edge. Also focusing on free shipping with the same business day turnaround is a differentiator.
4. Started Ambassador Program
I want to start building content, capturing word of mouth, and building the community across socials. I installed an app called “Dovetale: Influencer Marketing” from the shopify app store. You can view it here.
5. Installed Judge.me for Product Reviews
Installed from the shopfiy app store. It’s got great reviews (ah the irony!) and was recommended to me in a couple of eCommerce forums. I also looked at YotPo, and still, have that in my backup list.
Link to Judge.me
Link to YotPo
6. Started Boosting New Posts on Instagram
The social following was 227 followers (on Instagram), not too bad and engagement was pretty decent. I wanted to grow this to increase credibility, sell on instagram shop, and to attract more potential customers.
First, the good news.
With a spend of $190 and some random posts and stories, instagram is now at 4,406 followers.
I got more steps in on the apple watch due to trips to the local post office.
Spent $568.44 on ads, generating $881.44 in sales. (It gets much worse in the next section as I break out the inventory and shipping costs).
Generated 2950 online store sessions
Returning customer rate 11.76%
Average order value $48.97
Spent $0 on ads, generated $62.67 revenue (5 orders)
96 site visits, all direct searches within Etsy
Two 5-star reviews!
The not so good news
Because shipping was free for all orders, shipping was a big cost factor at $375 for the month. With ad spend, that’s a negative net.
We gained 0 ambassadors.
No reviews on the shopify purchases yet.
I’m now out of stock on most items and need to invest in new inventory.
Granted, you don’t just switch a store on, and a business you have. It takes time, persistence, and an obsession with great customer service. I did come out of this 20-day exercise with a bunch of learns, here they are.
Oops. This one is embarrassing, given my career history. However, don’t put first-class postage on flat rate priority mail boxes… they get returned! I hang my head on this one.
Returns. Most inquiries for the site chat were for clarity on the return policy. I had a returns policy page, with a page header that stated: “Free Shipping & Free Returns”. All the blog posts and endless repeats of returns being a priority for customers is true apparently.
Free Shipping. I had a blanket free shipping policy, and I’m using USPS priority flat rate packaging to send out orders. This is not a smart way of making a profit, however, I’m in the growing customer reviews and word of mouth phase, so I consider it to be an acquisition cost. But yikes, spending $8.30 to ship a $7 purchase hurts the soul.
Social Growth. I’m sure you’ve already heard this a million times, however, instagram reels are by far the most effective way to reach a larger audience without spending $$. A huge part of the incredible gain of 4k followers in a month can be attributed to reels.
I’m missing out by not doing the same thing on TikTok.
Mobile traffic account for 88% of total sessions. Shopify Pay was used for 70% of the purchases, followed by 20% manual credit card entry and even 2 purchases made with Apple Pay. This is for shopify, I don’t have the detailed payment stats for Etsy.
Phew, that was a post. If you made it to here, well done. I’m now at a crossroads. How much do I spend on inventory? It takes about 5 weeks to make, and who knows how long to get here from Mexico, I know I’ve missed Holiday Season at this point.
I’m going to focus on the changes and objectives I have for the next month in the next update.
What am I missing? What would you like to know? Is any of this actually helpful? Should I start doing Youtube vlogs with weekly updates?
Comments, please :)
Until next time.