It’s 2018. And all I’m hearing anyone talk about is dropshipping. Dropshipping. Dropshipping!
Maybe it’s just the crowd that I hand out with, but everyone seems to be jumping on the dropshipping craze right now.
I thought I’d confirm my suspicions with a quick check on Google Trends:
Dropshipping is nothing new. For the uninitiated, the concept is simple. Sell a product and have the manufacturer or distributor send it straight to your customer so that you never have to handle or purchase inventory.
It’s the perfect business model. Super low budget required to get started, no need for warehouse space, no cash outlay to purchase inventory, and no staff required to handle fulfillment. Just setup an ecommerce website, run some ads to find customers, make the sale, take the cash, place an order with the supplier and get them to post to your customer.
It wasn’t always simple though. And that was a good thing. There was a barrier to entry. It was hard work to find suppliers who were willing to work with a dropship business model.
Most wholesalers want to ship bulk orders to their retail partners, they don’t want to send individual items. It’s too much work and they don’t have their systems setup for small quantity orders.
And this kept the number of people running dropship businesses pretty low. There wasn’t much competition. It was cheap to advertise online and the market wasn’t even close to being saturated.
Then along came AliExpress. An online warehouse where you can purchase almost anything direct from China at wholesale prices with cheap or even free worldwide shipping. A dropshippers dream!
Except that now, everyone is doing it… or at least trying. It’s dead easy to setup a Shopify store, fill it with products that have been trending for the last few months, and fulfil the orders from AliExpress. The challenge now is the competition. The market is saturated. Everyone is copying everyone else. If one person discovers a new winning product, it’s going to be duplicated on thousands of stores within a matter of days.
It’s going to get harder and harder to dropship using the “Shopify + AliExpress” model as competition increases.
So getting back to the point of the post…
Shopify Vs. Clickfunnels
A vast majority of dropshippers are using Shopify. It’s cheap, it’s reliable and it’s really easy to setup. Usually you’ll create a “general store” with a range of products across a variety of niches. Hundreds of people are teaching you how to do this everywhere from free instructional videos on Youtube, to courses that cost thousands of dollars.
Personally, I‘m not a fan of the “general store” model. The reason being that you’re always going to be chasing the next hot product and trying to get your slice of the pie before everyone else catches up. It’s unsustainable and pretty risky if you’re trying to build a real business to replace your income from a 9 to 5 job.
I’m not saying don’t do a “general store”. I think they’re a great idea as a test bed. Use them for experimentation. Test new products. See what works and what fails. Over time, you’ll start to see patterns.
And these patterns will help you carve a niche. You want to build a sustainable business, and that will be much easier to achieve by focusing on a niche. You might find that you’re great at selling kitchen appliances, or fishing gear, or motorcycle accessories. Who knows. But once you find what works, a real business can be built by scaling with related products.
When it comes working a niche, it can be done using a store build with Shopify, or using a sales funnel with software such as Clickfunnels. Or you can do both. Let me try to explain the two approaches.
A Niche Store with Shopify
The idea of a “niche store” built on Shopify is super simple. Create a store, and load it up with products in a specific niche. Let’s stick with motorcycle accessories. You could have a huge range of products such as glove, boots, jackets, seats, tyres, exhaust systems… And they can come from a range of suppliers. You can dropship from AliExpress but you can also use local suppliers. Often more expensive ideas are better sourced locally. You might even find local manufacturers you can work with, supporting the local economy.
Just like the “general store” you’re probably going to drive customers to some reasonably viral product with Facebook ads, but now, they’ve got a range of related products. The real money is going to be made in selling multiple products, as well as repeat business through retargeting and email marketing. It’s much cheaper to sell to an existing customer than it is to find a new one.
Or a Niche ecommerce Sales Funnel with Clickfunnels
The next level of dropshipping is pushing a buyer through a sales funnel using software like Clickfunnels.
Once again, you’re going to take your low cost viral product and promote it using Facebook Ads.
But this time you’re going to direct them to the first page of a sales funnel website. Idea of a sale funnel to restrict what a customer can do once they’re on the site. There’s only two choices. Purchase or leave. There’s nothing else to click on. There’s no other distractions.
I’d like to give you an example: www.dotcomsecrets.com (click for a look at how this site is structured) This funnel is for a book. They use a “free + shipping” model for the first product. There’s nothing for you to do on this page other than to buy the book. There’s no links to other products, and no links to blogs posts or other sites. Once you’ve pulled out your credit card to pay for the shipping, then you’re in the funnel and the upsell begins. You’re going to be offered an audio version of the book, training courses and software. The book is just bait, the money is made in the subsequent offers.
Going back to our motorcycle accessories, let say you find a pair of cold weather gloves that are a fantastic seller in your Shopify general store. You can then build out a sales funnel using Clickfunnels to push the buyer towards related products. Maybe insulated boots, leather jackets, neck warmers, padded seats… Start with the low cost viral product, then work your way up in price. Not everyone will buy the other products, but some certainly will and that is where the big bucks are made.
Of course, you’ve got their contact details now so you can market to them forever and keep sending them offers to purchase from a niche Shopify store, or even from affiliate partners such as Amazon or Ebay. You could over time sell more accessories, insurance, adventure travel packages, grand prix tickets, or maybe even a whole new motorbike, all from a relationship that started with a pair of gloves.
So in closing, there’s no straight answer. Shopify isn’t better than Clickfunnels. Clickfunnels isn’t better than Shopify.
They both have their purpose and they’re both amazing software products in their own right. Start out with Shopify, get the hang of the concepts of dropshipping, but quickly find your niche and carve out a real business with both a specific store and sales funnels. Clickfunnels is without a doubt the tool of choice to build robust product funnels that will extract the most profit from your customers by up-selling higher priced locally sourced products. Build a business that is a saleable asset, not just another worthless general Shopify store slinging cheap rubbish from AliExpress.