In terms of dropshipping, France is the perfect place to launch a webstore and start your own e-commerce business. This is what you can learn from this inspiring success story of Yan who managed to earn moderate yet promising profit in the very first month of his store operation. Let’s learn from his experience!
Disclaimer: all the success stories published in our blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.Before you started dropshipping with AliExpress, did you have any previous experience in ecommerce, or in trade, or in online sphere generally?
Hi, please introduce yourself 🙂
Hello, my name is Yan, and I’m a medical student in France 🙂
This is me and my first suture 😉
I first got into the “make money online” business as a way to pay for my medical studies.
I started a medical/study blog sharing my ideas on how to study medicine around 2013. But blogging, writing articles, SEO, keyword research, etc. are tough concepts to master and I didn’t have enough time to develop the blog.
I also created an anatomy course to go with the blog but I was making less than $100 per month. It took me more than 6 months to develop the course. Also I was spending most of my free time helping my students.
So I stopped everything after a few months to focus on my studies.
But the itch was still there.
I retried a few times to launch the site but the enthusiasm wasn’t there. It took me a lot of time to see some results from google.
I was pretty discouraged and stopped everything in 2016.
Why and how did you choose the dropshipping business model, after all? How did you learn about AliDropship solutions?
My dropshipping journey began when I first stumbled on Yaros’ journey on a forum on the 16th of November 2017 (forgot which forum). I was amazed at his results and stayed up all night reading the thread.
I understood the concept and thought that I could give it a try. I had nothing to lose.
I was excited and my first goal was just to make my “first sale”.
It took me some time to get used to the business and some time to learn how to set up the plugin and my site properly, but the AliDropship Codex was a great help. Plus, I had a lot of help from Ekaterina and Victoria.
I owe a lot to Jamal Jubran and Alessandro Po for their precious help, and to other members of the AliDropship Forum.
I bought the plugin only because I already had a hosting with hostgator and I wanted to test the plugin myself.
How many stores do you have now? What is their performance?
I have only 1 store.
It took me 2 weeks to set everything up on the store. I had to wait for Black Friday to shift my hosting to siteground and I was still working on the site till the end of November. I started promotion on the 2nd of December.
I set a goal of making my first sale at the start of this journey by the end of 2017.
2 months ago I only had a vague understanding of dropshipping.
Last month at the start of December I had $0 in sales.
At the end of Dec, I made $442.55 in revenue from 29 sales. I had 3403 visitors the site during the month of December
After paying for the orders and Stripe/PayPal fees, I made a profit of $68.68.
I’m not counting hosting, domain fees and price of AliDropship plugin in it.
Not groundbreaking by any means, but I’m lucky to have profited from my first month online in dropshipping.
My goal for January is to make $1000 in revenue.
I have already made $1358.41 from the 1st Dec 2017 to 21st Jan 2018.
I bought another license for the Alidropship Plugin but my time is very limited.
I will try to develop another store in March.
How did you choose the niche?
I just picked a niche based on Yaros’ initial experience. I picked a niche in which I was passionate.
I wanted to get the store up and running as soon as possible.
My niche is very, very competitive with some competitors spending around $100 in shoutouts.
I made a list of all competitors in my niche and to date, there are 47 stores in this niche, all competing for the same limited influencers.
How did you choose products and suppliers for your store? Do you have any strategy of adding new products from time to time? How do you set the prices?
Initially, I just picked the bestsellers from my niche on AliExpress. I added 100 products before starting promotion.
Now I’ve gotten better at product selection.
The first promotion I tried was placed on my Facebook page. I was trying to sell a $0.99 keychain from AliExpress for 9.99. I made 0 sales from that first promotion.
I decided to take my time and search for a high value product. When I got one, I did a free shipping offer for that product and bingo, I made $80 in total for my first Instagram shoutout.
Also, you have to check the prices of your competitors and set your prices lower than they had.
I have modified the standard prices formula so that the prices of products on my site are always lower than the ones of competitors.
I have noticed that my competitors always focus on product quantity but I have deliberately decided to focus on product quality at a low price.
So I have only around 100 products on the site but I’m constantly updating the products, removing useless ones and setting the best prices for my customers.
Do you remember the first sale made from your store? How soon did it happen? What have you done to achieve it?
I made my first sale on my first Instagram promotion!
I actually made 8 sales on my first promo.
I could not believe my eyes that this strategy actually worked.
It took me 2 weeks to get this sale.
How do you promote your stores? How did you understand who’s your target audience? Which channels are the most efficient for you? Did you have to give up some channels? On average, how much does it cost you to promote your stores? (per month)
I used only instagram shoutouts for the month of December. This is a very good strategy but the number of good influencers is very limited. And there are too many competitors doing shoutouts everyday.
There are many days where I had no shoutouts, thus “0 sale”. And I was testing every Instagram influencer I could get my hands on, and most of them had fake followers. I wasted a bit of money on them.
I spent $92.20 on IG shoutouts ($88) and FB ads ($4,20) during the month of December.
In January, I spent money on FB and IG ads for the first week. I had no knowledge and made only 1 sale.
I got smarter on IG shoutouts though and hit my first $100 in sales for my first shoutout.
again > $100 for my second shoutout.
and even $200 for my third shoutout.
4 orders came from repeat clients for this shoutout.
Now I hit $100 per day for most of my shoutouts. I pay on average $10 for each shoutout and I work exclusively with a few selected influencers.
I started FB ads on the 20th of January after having spent the last 2 weeks learning everything I could about it. I made around $60 from a $5/day ad.
I’m also working hard developing relationships with my previous clients and staying on top of my client relationship game.
How much time does it take you every day to manage your stores? Which task(s) demand more time than others? What are the most difficult challenges? How do you deal with them?
It takes me around 30 mins to 1 hour to manage the store. Someday I don’t touch it. Someday I spend 2 hours on it. On average, I spend around 10-20 hours per week on the store.
The most time consuming tasks for me are product research and customer service.
The most difficult challenges were learning everything about the AliDropship plugin and driving targeted traffic to my site.
Yaros made the most awesome plugin! After having spent countless hours on it, I now know it like the back of my hand. The plugin does everything and is a huge time saver.
But there are some very useful tricks which are not described in the Codex, for example:
- How to use product description from one AliExpress supplier and the products from another AliExpress supplier on the same product page.
- How to use reviews from one supplier for the same product from another supplier which is cheaper but has no reviews.
I made many mistakes along the way, but thanks to them,I learnt a lot, too:
- Diving head first into a passion of mine instead of analyzing the niche and competition.
- Importing 100 of products without verifying supplier details.
- Not using SSL on my domain.
- Using a shared hosting on hostgator.
- No Logo on site
- Watermarks on all my product pictures.
- Aliexpress account getting frozen
- Plugin not working at some point (due to adblock on Chrome)
- Wasting too much money on shoutouts
- Doing the same thing as my competitors
- Playing around on FB ads and losing money
- Using bad ads for shoutouts
- Having my FB fan page banned twice by FB for spamming
- Not starting promo for my IG page till the last week of December etc etc…
But my Biggest Mistake of ALL: Using Test key on stripe!
Luckily, I managed to correct most of the mistakes, and I am still working on some.
How do you deal with difficult customers (if you have any)? Do you have any funny/sad stories?
I have refunded only 1 product (because the buyer mistakenly bought the same product twice).
I got scammed by an IG influencer and almost lost $10. Luckily, I only pay for goods and services via PayPal, so I was refunded.
One client created a dispute on PayPal after a purchase because he thought I was a scammer. But I managed to provide PayPal the order number and tracking number. I always provide a tracking number for each product even if I pay more to get the tracking order. He got the product alright after 2 weeks.
I got another client who put only his first name on the purchase details. I forgot to check his details and the product were sent to his address with only his first name. I managed to track him down on IG and told him to track the product as soon as it arrived in his country.
Did you register your business officially? What are the legal requirements in your country (if you know them)?
I did not register my business in France. But I’m registered as an “auto-entrepreneur” or “solo business”. You need a business identification number to use Stripe.
I use both PayPal business account and Stripe for my site.
How has your life changed? What do your friends and family think about your business?
My life has completely changed. I made more in my first 45 days dropshipping than in 2 years of blogging.
I only told a few friends and my gf at first. They were pretty sceptical. Now they don’t laugh at me so much when I show them the numbers. ^^
Plus, I managed to make some online friends. It’s also good to develop other skills like marketing online besides my medical skills.
Plus, it is a healthy escape for me after a hard day of work at the hospital. Now, instead of wasting my time playing videos or partying, I just work on my store. 🙂
I love to wake up or get back from work to see how many sales were made while I was sleeping or working.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m only a part-time dropshipper. I’ll continue working on my one store and develop another one in February-March.
If I start to make more than I can handle, I’ll look to hire a VA or just sell the site.
Until then, I’ll continue on my Ali dropshipping journey!
What can you advise our readers – those who already run their stores and those who didn’t start the business yet?
3 months ago I only had a vague understanding of dropshipping.
I’m not the most well placed to advise you about dropshipping. I’m still learning myself.
I made many mistakes along the way but 1 and a half month later, I managed to cross the $1000 in revenue.
If I can do it, then so can you.
I learnt everything from YouTube, the success stories of other dropshippers, from the AliDropship forum, online forums and FB groups.
Listen to advice from other successful dropshippers like Jamal, Yaros, Katie etc. You can contact me on the AliDropship forum. I reply to every message I get.
Be careful of scammers selling you courses. You can get everything for free online.
Work smart. Take the time to know your market. Vet the influencer well before booking her/him for a shoutout.
Learn FB marketing well before your first FB/IG ads.
The next important thing is the product! Choose it well!
And most important of all, Never Ever EVER Give Up. Your next success is just around the corner!👊