To achieve my goal of earning $50,000 by July 31st, I needed to find some products to sell.
Every individuals path towards e-commerce is different. While some people might decide to start their stores from scratch, I decided to go down the route of purchasing a store within a growing niche, and picking attractive products within the niche.
Purchasing an already existing store
Benefits of a running store
Because I already had store data on what the best-selling products were from the previous 12 months, I had a good head start. I decided to play it safe and start with products that had worked in the past.
My simple strategy was:
Sell more of what was selling
Increase the AOV
Test new products in the same window
Picking products to sell
Product #1. The best-selling product was a hoodie (with a non-trademarked design) shipped from China. This hoodie was a proven winner as it had sold multiple units in the past so I decided not to mess with the product. My mission was to adjust the offer and make it more attractive for customers.
Here’s what I did:
Replicate the design
Put new designs on Printful (Why Printful?)
Fulfill from USA & Europe so that product reaches customers faster and customer satisfaction increases.
Product #2. The second best-seller was another item I couldn’t find any USA suppliers for. Perhaps I could still sell this, but negotiate faster shipping rates with my China-based suppliers? Definitely on the list.
Product #3. This was a jewellry item which I happened to purchase stock of. I know everyone sings from the “don’t touch the product” hymnbook, and it is understandable why they do. Getting involved with fulfilling orders takes valuable time away from focusing on automation as the goal. Part of me wants to start with things that don’t scale and this is something I have to reason myself out of. So this is a tricky choice because I’ll be screwed if I happen to run out of product. However, the margins on this make the risk worthwile. This is a really brandable product which I purchase for $3 and can sell for $30! It is for this reason alone that I’m going to throw out the rulebook.
Product #4. New product, new design for the winter. This is also a POD item, which I intend on testing in a carousel ad with the best sellers.
Product #5. Another new product design for the winter, intended for use as a test.
Product #6. Custom-made product that I made in my foolish days, and now just need to shift stock. To be fair, the product did get quite a lot of traction when it first launched, and gained a lot from the “you won’t get this anywhere else” narrative. Definitely testing with the rest of the crew.
Profit margin calculation
Before listing, I calculated the profit on each item and aimed for a minimum of $20 profit margin on each item. The reason I aimed for $20 was to allow enough margin for my Facebook ads as well as my production and shipping costs.
With POD, this is particularly tricky because the cost prices displayed often lack the shipping costs (possibly because shipping costs are based on weight). Unfortunately, this might mean an extra $7 slapped on your margins at the last minute.
I know it’s basic math, but this is for my own reference. Here’s the quick formula I used to calculate my profit:
Selling Price – (Product cost + Shipping Cost + One-time setup fee for POD products + Advertising CPC) = Profit.