What Questions Should I Ask a Drop Shipper Before I Partner With Them?

partner-with-a-drop-shipper

The partnership you establish with a drop shipper is one of the most important business relationships that you will ever forge.  Unlike a normal partnership with a wholesaler or supplier, a drop shipper takes the lead of the entire customer fulfillment process.  It is therefore absolutely critical that you make sure the drop shipper is a reputable company and that they’re able to work closely with you to make sure your customers are completely happy.

These are the questions you need to ask before you sign an agreement.

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The Beginner’s Guide to a Lifestyle Business (Part 1): Introduction

guide-to-lifestyle-design

There is a clear distinction between an Internet Technology Entrepreneur and a Lifestyle Entrepreneur.  While the goal of an Internet Technology Entrepreneur is to innovate by disrupting or changing an industry, the goal of the Lifestyle Entrepreneur is to maximize profitability while minimizing hours worked.  I have a unique position in that I’ve experienced both in the past 3 and a half years living here in Silicon Valley: while neither is better than the other, I believe that a business-minded entrepreneur clearly has a better chance to succeed in one over the other.

3 and a half years ago, my team and I moved to Silicon Valley with the goal of building a game-changing company, a company that would disrupt an industry and become as big as Facebook one day.  We built RewardMe, a digital loyalty platform for restaurants and retailers and raised $1,000,000 from Angel investors.

We built a product, had paying customers, and acquired users, but after two and a half years, the company ran out of cash.  In June 2012, I decided to leave RewardMe to pursue lifestyle design.  Inspired by Tim Ferris, my goal was to achieve $10,000 per month while working less than 10 hours per week.

I achieved my goal earlier this year.

I learned that lifestyle design is not about traveling or learning new languages, it’s about positioning yourself to do what you really love to do.  For me, it was the ability to pursue projects without the worry of my financial situation.  This 10-part guide is the first step to understanding how you too can build a profitable and sustainable lifestyle business.

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Drop-Shipping Interview: Greg from Coin Supply Planet

coin-supply-planet

So far we’ve interviewed Anthony from Kitchen Cabinet Kings who built a drop-shipping business from his expertise in the kitchen cabinet vertical.  We also interviewed Brian from Emazing Lights who built an ecommerce empire from his passion in the EDM (electric dance music) vertical.  Today’s interview is different because Greg doesn’t have an expertise in the coin supply industry, nor does he have a passion for it; instead, he found a market opportunity, conducted the right research, and focused on execution to build a profitable drop-shipping business.

Greg Laptevsky is the Founder of Coin Supply Planet, a drop-shipping business focused on the coin-collecting vertical that has existed for a year and a half and is projected to generate several hundred of thousands of dollars in revenue this year.  In addition, the business takes about 10-15 hours a week to operate, positioning him nicely for long-term, lifestyle design success.

So don’t worry if you’re not passionate about a specific industry or if you’re not an expert; and while we’re at it, don’t fret if you’re not a developer or designer that can build websites.  Greg is not a designer, is not a developer, is not passionate about the coin-collecting industry, nor did he have an expertise in the industry when he started; and yet, he’s built a profitable drop-shipping business that is quickly becoming the market leader.  This interview is about how he has overcome all those obstacles and built a successful business.

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Infograph: The 80/20 Guide to Finding the Perfect Ecommerce Platform

infograph-perfect-ecommerce-platform

The vast majority of ecommerce platform reviews have it wrong: they start with the platform in mind instead of the entrepreneur in mind.  At Ecommerce Rules, we put the entrepreneur first.

We’ve analyzed the 9 types of entrepreneurs and recommended the perfect ecommerce platform for each one – lets get started.

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Ecommerce Interview: Brian Lim from Emazing Lights

interview-brian-lim-emazing-lights

I’m so very excited to show you guys this interview.  Brian Lim is a good friend from UCLA who is part of my business fraternity: Delta Sigma Pi.  Brian has always been ambitious and entrepreneurial: in college, we knew him as the guy who drove a Lexus GS 350 that he paid with his own money.  So it was no surprise to anyone when he landed a prestigious job at Deloitte Consulting.

Brian is currently the Founder of Emazing Lights, the largest and globally recognized company in the EDM (Electric Dance Music) scene that has pioneered gloving and helped push the EDM world mainstream.

I love this interview because it’s a great example of how someone can successfully make the leap from the corporate world to the entrepreneurial world.  But more importantly, Brian never had to live off of savings and eat ramen noodles to make his startup dream a reality (like many of us); instead, he built his company to profitability while working a corporate 9-5 job, and only made the leap once his company was able to pay him a full-time salary.

This interview provides a strong and important contrast to the interview we did last week with Anthony from Kitchen Cabinet Kings.  While Anthony was an expert in the kitchen cabinets vertical because he worked in the industry for 6 years before building his own company, Brian is deeply passionate about the EDM scene.  It’s an example of how someone who is not an expert can completely dominate an industry because he’s passionate about it.

Furthermore, while Anthony has steadily built his company throughout the past 3 years through hard work and steady growth, Brian jumped into a market opportunity at just the right time and has seen explosive growth.  It shows the massive potential of jumping into a hot market at just the right time with the right execution and work ethic.

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Drop-Shipping Interview: Anthony Saladino from Kitchen Cabinet Kings

Anthony from Kitchen Cabinet Kings

I had the opportunity to sit down with Anthony Saladino from Kitchen Cabinet Kings and speak to him about his million dollar drop-shipping business.  In this interview, Anthony talks about why he chose the kitchen cabinets vertical, how he built his site, how he found his drop-shipping partners, and how he drives traffic to his website.

I love this interview because Anthony went from a 9-5 job to now running his own business.  The best part is that because he has chosen to drop-ship, he keeps his costs and overhead very low, doesn’t need to hold inventory, and stays true to the lean-startup philosophy.

Anthony didn’t necessarily do anything special, he didn’t jump into a market opportunity at just the right time, and he’s not a genius engineer; instead, Anthony succeeded because of his hard work ethic, perseverance, and discipline to stick to what he knows and what he’s good at — something that you and I can really relate to.

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Killer Social Media Strategies for Your Ecommerce Store

Killer social media strategies for ecommerce

It’s an inescapable fact that if you have an online store you need to be killing it on social media. Over 50% of Facebook and Twitter users in the US say they are more likely to buy or recommend from a brand that they already follow on one or both of the big social sites, according to a study by Chadwick Martin Bailey.

And with Facebook accounting for one out of every five pageviews on the Internet (Experian) you will be left out in the cold like a long-haired labrador at a pet allergy sufferer’s convention if you aren’t popping up regularly in your customer’s newsfeeds.

Now I know that within your own circles, you’re the social media king. You once got 64 likes and 30 retweets for that photo of your cat you Instagrammed. I get it.

But creating great results via social media on a consistent basis, and converting kudos to cold hard cash, is another matter entirely.  In this must-read article for every ecommerce store owner, I’m going to share my best social media strategies for doing just that. Continue reading Killer Social Media Strategies for Your Ecommerce Store

The 10 Best ECommerce WordPress Themes

Best Ecommerce WordPress Theme

You’ve heard of WordPress; your friends use it to chronicle their trips abroad in a travel blog or maybe you have a personal blog that’s hosted by WordPress. But did you know that a WordPress website could be used to build up your online store as well? In the past couple of years, WordPress has moved from a blogging platform to a top CMS or content management system for ecommerce sites. Not only is it easy and accessible for companies just starting out, but with the right theme, it’s a surefire way to increase visibility and traffic to your store.

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3 Steps to the Ultimate Customer Experience for Your Ecommerce Store

ultimate customer experience

Let’s cut to the chase here. The American Economy has been through quite a bit since 2006.

The “Great Recession.”

The “Jobless Recovery.”

Has the stock market been doing pretty well since 2009? Yes. Could there possibly be a bubble there? You bet. There is no arguing the fact that the world economy and American economy have failed to thrive as of late, yet here is a fact that would make you think otherwise. In 2013, American retailers are projected to gross a staggering $220-Billion! Through negative, stagnant, and frustratingly-slow economic growth, ecommerce has grown like a weed in the economical flowerbed! Let’s see if we can figure out how this came to be, what we might learn from that analysis, and then give you 3 actionable steps you can take today!

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To Open Source, or Not to Open Source, That is the Question

to open source or not to open source

When developing any website, be it a simple blog, an interactive fan page for a band you follow, or an online store – one must at some point decide whether to develop the site utilizing a content management system (CMS) or develop a site from scratch using an open source platform.

Your decision will greatly affect the speed at which you launch, the design of your site, and the features available to your site.  I’m not an engineer and I don’t plan to build a huge engineering team to manage my online stores, so I always use pre-existing, template based platforms such as Shopify to launch my store quickly and get to profitability fast.  Although I stay away from open source platforms, that are many pros to using them as well.

We’ll explore both below, and answer the question, “To Open Source, or Not to Open Source?”

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