The next few blog posts (at least) will be about a new Shopify store I am working on with some friends and how we took sales from £0 – £100k in the first 8 weeks.
This blog post and subsequent others will be about the processes involved behind starting, running, and scaling this store up to a high level.
A few notes about the store
- I am not the owner of this store.
- I’m not responsible for the idea behind it.
- I didn’t put up any capital to start it.
- I am effectively an employee, and am fine with that.
- At start there were 4 of us in a team working to get everything done.
What kind of Shopify store is it?
- It’s not a drop-shipping store (thank god)
- It’s not a P.O.D store
- The niche is household goods/gadgets/things to make your home life ‘easier’
- We are based in the UK, and are shipping to the UK only.
- I guess you could call it a fulfilment store?
Or another term idk… I’m just happy it’s not drop-shipping. I’ve been doing this in one form or another since 2014 and am kind of over it.
Whatever you want to call it – with this store we are handling everything ourselves ‘in-house’.
- Sourcing product from shipping agents, AliBaba, and others in China.
- Testing samples of said product to see if they measure up.
- Importing product in bulk – orders of 5k/10k/25k units at once.
- Running Facebook Ads (and other networks)
- Fulfilling, packing and shipping out all orders
- Customer support
- and more! but I’ll get to that….
No more drop-shipping
So no more drop shipping which almost felt weird to me at first.
I’ve been doing it for so long and was so used to ordering items one at a time as orders came in, either via Ali Express or a print on demand app.
All change now and I’m happy for it. These guys I’m working with do not mess around!
Two people in the team already run a successful 7 figure jewellery (fulfilment) store, so had a lot of infrastructure already in place.
They had warehouse space we could use, along with a great fulfilment/labelling system that had been tried and tested over the previous 18 months.
The idea for the store had been thought of and discussed for a few months leading up to start.
The guys already knew and had been using a Chinese shipping agent with the mysterious name of Tommy Tan. (no joke)
Plus, we already had a guaranteed winning product we knew was good to start with 🙂
FYI : Our winner costs just £9.99 + shipping to the customer.
A friend of one of the team was selling it via a one-product store and easily clearing 300 units a day.
Tommy sent over a few samples and we placed our first bulk order for 1000 units.
Also made a few smaller orders of different products in the same niche that we had seen going viral.
While we were waiting on those to arrive, we all got busy and built out the store.
- Using a premium theme
- Only has products we hold in our warehouse, and can ship ourselves.
- Design, layout, and content population of store.
- Facebook pixel integration.
- Only 4-5 products were live at start
- Added and configured apps we needed/liked :
- OrderlyEmails – Email Templates
- Synctrack – Sync Tracking Info
- Candy Rack — All‑in‑One Upsell
- Klaviyo Email Marketing & SMS
- Loox Product Reviews & Photos
- Bundler – Product Bundles
- SMSBump – SMS Marketing
- Dcart – Discount in Cart
- Facebook Sales Channel
- TikTok Sales Channel
- Ultimate Sales Boost
- Configured basic Klaviyo flows
- abandon cart sequence
- ‘welcome series’ (when subscriber joins mailing list on store)
- Facebook page – branding, setup, added some content
- Instagram page – branding, setup, added content
- Gmail – setup with multiple aliases, mailboxes and rules.
- YouTube – set up channel + branding
- Facebook – set up business manager, pixel, payments
- Tik Tok – opened account to look at the ad network later
- YouTube – intend to look at YouTube ads further down the line
For more detailed setup info and breakdown – you can read part 2 of this series here.
Seeing as we were only going to be pushing one product at first, more effort was made with its product page than with the main store ‘front’ at first.
We straight ripped off a video ad for the winning product from Facebook, re-uploaded it, then pulled the trigger.
Promo started, along with the first few sales, on April 12th, 2022.
Our product took off pretty much straight away.
In just a few days we had scaled up to £3-400 a day, then £400-500.
Right at this point we ran into one of what would be many problems as we scaled up.
When you open a new Facebook business manager, your maximum daily ad spend is limited to £250 a day.
My friends had £5k a day ready to go in adspend, but we were tapped out at spending just £250 🙁
Building trust with Facebook takes time.
Once a certain number of payments are successful they slowly increase your daily spend limit.
This was us struggling thru the rest of April, wanting to scale but being held back by lack of daily spend.
After many payments to Facebook ads, plus persistent phone calls and emails to support from our end, they finally increased spend to £1k a day.
This happened in early May, and you can see us scale right up once that happens :
Boom! May was a good month. May felt nice. We pushed hard and scaled our winner higher and higher.
Facebook ads setup as we did this was not complicated.
When we hit 100 sales things seemed to speed up (more optimised)
Once a campaign with good ROAS optimised itself, we would duplicate it with a higher budget.
After some time we made an age adjustment to 40+ for better cost per click.
We found a working ad early on and kept making duplicate campaigns.
We also have a retargeting ad going for the product that really kicks in once you crank spend up.
ROAS was great so we kept scaling up, but then ran into another 2 problems :
- Adspend was again limited to £1k a day. We wanted more!
- Paypal was being difficult with holding onto money. We were earning it but couldn’t access it.
Understand that once you crank everything up – at this point we were fast approaching £5k a day sales with a £9.99 product – the amounts of money going round and round get bigger and bigger.
In fact, everything gets bigger – and fast.
- Daily adspend
- Processing orders.
- Packing and shipping product.
- Padded envelopes, printer labels, ink… (office supplies)
- Refunds / Exchanges
- Support emails
- Social media moderation
- Shopify payments
- Paypal money going in/out
- Certain Shopify apps get more expensive the more users you have
- Shopify store costs increase the more sales you do
- Klaviyo costs increase the bigger your lists
I realised very early on doing this that there’s no way one person could run a store like this.
We were all wired in and working hard, organising a ton of stuff together on the back end.
But it took 4 of us getting stuck into it.
All systems were working mostly fine, a few bugs needed ironing out here and there but our setup worked well for what we were doing at this level.
What was interesting is that I assumed we would just scale up, and up, and keep going.
Instead, the higher we went and the more income we made, the more we’d hit a problem here and there.
It felt like stumbling blocks. One more thing to get thru. We solved all of them in time.
After hassling Facebook again and again on live chat and phone calls, they increased our daily spend limit to £5k. Happy days!
Paypal needed more evidence of tracking numbers for customers, and I guess some time.
You can’t open a new Paypal account, as we did, then start blasting thousands of pounds in and out of it immediately.
That makes Paypal a bit edgy. Just like with Facebook ads you have to go slow at first and establish trust.
In the end they reduced hold time on funds to about a week, which is much shorter than it was earlier.
As we moved into June, things continued to go great.
8 weeks from start we easily passed £100k in sales :
The corresponding YouTube to this blog post can be found here.
I put all the YouTubes about this store in a playlist. Click here to watch it.
See you in part 2!