Interview Ecom $140,000 sales in 9 Months

Discussion in 'News , Articles and Interviews' started by Sascha, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. Sascha

    Sascha Active Member Staff Member

    - Tell us a bit about your person and where you are from

    Hi, my name is Marco, I’m 22 years old and live in Germany. Currently I’m finishing my bachelors degree in international business and I’m having my final internship in London from February to June. I’m working in E-Commerce for almost 3 years now.

    - What was your reason to enter IM and what did you do before IM?

    I entered IM way before starting with E-Commerce, especially affiliate marketing and CPA. Then, back in 2014 I started becoming an eBay seller because I had some interesting products to sell and my listings where somewhat decent back then. In 2015 I opened my first Shopify store which became an immediate huge success overtime.

    - Give us a short introduction of your project (Niche, Revenue, Profit)

    The store I’m talking about (over the last 1.5 years I had multiple ones and I also sell on Amazon) sold electronic devices and reached around $140,000 in sales after refunds and replacements etc. Profit margin is somewhat between 25-35% of that.

    - Which skills did you bring into the project?

    I started off with my knowledge in marketing and branding, since my whole store was branded from the beginning on. Even though the product itself wasn’t, my whole store was built in a coherent way and the perceived value of the product increased drastically because of that. I had no prior experience in hosting a custom online shop or anything but in the end it turned out great. However, from my current point of view I could have definitely avoided some problems if I knew about them earlier (never even watched more than a handful YouTube videos about the topic).

    - What were the thoughest problems you encountered at the beginning?

    The toughest problem was to manage everything at this point. It was a time where I had a ton of exams and semi-finals for like 2-3 months, after that my first internship started. So it was like the worst time to start an online store, especially because there was way more work involved than in an average AliExpress store where you just fulfill orders and it stops there. I had almost daily calls with customers or interests, numerous emails per day, affiliates that I had to recruit and pay, optimizing the store while doing all the necessary stuff that needs to be done anyway. It was cool but also really exhausting. In January/February 2016 then I decided to run this project with a friend of mine, we registered a 50/50 company (formerly I had my own of course) and now use it for other (E-Commerce) projects as well.

    - Was there a point where you wanted to give up? If so, what kept you going?

    We were always seeking the best quality possible for our products, mainly because of our high price and the perceived value of our overall brand. Not only did we test ALL the products we sold in advance, but at some point we even got them analyzed by an external electrician.

    The reason is that if your business grows and it gets some kind of awareness, every mistake that you make counts double. When we had some problems with our product quality because one supplier turned out to be worse than we thought, we went through a period of regular complaints and bad publicity. We tried our best to regain our customer’s trust (which we did) but it was a hard time: suddenly we had even higher criteria for our products to pass and it seemed that many suppliers couldn’t meet our standards. During this time we ordered quite a lot of sample and tested a lot of suppliers, at the same time getting complaints here and there. Ultimately everything worked out and we were back on track again, but it was a pretty tough time. What kept us going was the realization that these kind of situations appear in every business and they basically make the difference between a successful long-term business and just a “short try”.

    - At which point did you think "This really works" and how did you keep improving from there?

    Actually I saw sales immediately. The product was good but also very competitive, so nothing where you could say “oh he had a hit, that’s why it succeeded”. Since I sold in Germany and later on Austria/Switzerland only, I had somewhat of an advantage because the product was not that popular yet as in other countries. I think that the key was my branding and positioning. My products were placed in the high-end segment. From my current perspective I’m confident that if I would have charged half the price and being an “average” distributor I would have made less sales than with the premium branding.

    - How did you scale up and which problems did you encounter?

    I found out that dropshipping from China is barely scalable. If you really build a brand and everything grows, this model is not applicable anymore. I mean I was approached by companies (small and big ones) to buy my products, for example as promotional gifts. I was approached by two television channels who wanted to make an interview about it. Customers and influencers willing to promote it contacted me on a daily basis and at some point the Chinese dropshipping model is not doable anymore. It just causes too much trouble, especially if you sell high priced items. So we moved on to a stock model quite fast and just used dropshipping in emergency situations.

    - Since you are successfull now, is there still daily problems you need to solve. If yes can you give examples of what they are?

    Of course there are daily problems, but actually no significant ones in my opinion. By now I saw almost everything: from website owners who copied our shop completely so that we had to fine them to a company who caused some trouble because they thought their registered trademark was a little similar to ours. But I wouldn’t say that there are any particular problems that I struggle with, we are mainly seeking for opportunities and need to make sure that we act very quickly when we identify one.

    - How does your future look like? Where will you go? What will you do?

    I will definitely stay in E-Commerce. I’m not a big fan of changing the industry I work in every 2 months just because something else sounds slightly more promising. In my opinion you can only achieve great results in something you do for a longer amount of time. This is also my message to people who start out and didn’t see sales yet: don’t act like “E-Commerce doesn’t work” and you need to try something else. If you just opened a Shopify store and drove like a few hundreds of visitors to it selling some standard AliExpress products you barely tried it. Give it some time, focus on your strategy and test, test, test. I also had several shops that failed, but when one project succeeds it outweighs them significantly so its no problem at all.

    In the future I will focus on branding even more. My partner and me have a lot of projects that are just in the beginning.

    If you want to learn more about Marco and his business we have 2 Links for you:

    http://www.theecomproject.com
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChp_LFhlvLzfNY87njGy-Ww

    If you have questions for Marco, visit his site, comment in his videos or post in this thread.
     
    JohnDoe, Steven Cutting and rpkrocks like this.
  2. Steven Cutting

    Steven Cutting New Member

    Great interview Sascha and well done Marco!