What Shopify Gurus Don’t Tell You
Lies, Half Truths, and Straight Up Bullshit. The world of Shopify Gurus and You Tube. This post has been a long time coming.
If you’re reading this, you know what we’re talking about. The Shopify tutorials on You Tube. The ones with some dude in in the thumbnail holding up a stack of cash. The ones with big dollar promises.. “Zero to $2500 in one week with a new Shopify store” or “$350 on our first day by dropshipping on Shopify”.
Plenty of these videos are loaded with BS and hype. We’re going to address some of this nonsense, and lay out some of the challenges we have faced building ecommerce stores.
This post is not to meant to bash Shopify. They run a popular, user friendly platform, that has a huge upside. There are some flaws in their model, however that conversation is for another day. Bottom line, we’re more concerned with misinformation being pumped out by guru and expert types on You Tube.
Also, not everyone giving Shopify advice is full of shit. Some give great info and have good intentions. Others are complete bullshit artists, who will say anything to get likes, subs, sales, etc. We want to educate people seeking legitimate information on how to build an e-commerce store.
Building a quality eCommerce store is difficult. Driving traffic to a website, especially a new site, is difficult. Getting someone to make a purchase on a website they have never heard of before, is difficult. The whole damn thing is difficult. It’s doable, but difficult. You are going to have to put in the work.
Dropshipping commodities from China is not a lucrative business. It can be done, though extremely competitive. Profit margins are slim, and fast shipping isn’t happening.
Take a look at product options from popular drop ship Shopify partners such as Oberlo and Ali Express. You’re basically competing against Amazon, Target, Walmart, and a zillion other websites and retail shops. Good luck.
Oh and about that shipping thing from China, it is out of your control. You are at the mercy of a number of factors, specifically the product being shipped from overseas. Arrival time can be two weeks, three weeks, a month..
Think about that from the customer’s standpoint. Even if you explain it somewhere on your website, this can make for a bad shopping experience. Hopefully you have a phone number on your website, so the customer can contact you before they start leaving negative reviews online.
Also, it is in your best interest to determine a strategy if you are using multiple drop shippers. Customer orders two products, one is being sent from within the United States, the other China.
The one from the US could reach them in a few days, the one from China might take a month. Does the customer understand this? They have a way to reach you? What are you supposed to do? Dunno. Not usually a topic the Shopify gurus get into.
Print on demand t shirts, socks, hats, polos, etc, are a cool idea. Printful, Printify, Print Aura, and others have excellent resources and tools to integrate into an online shop. With that said, please do understand the arena you are entering. If you are selling these items, you are now in the clothing business.
No matter how cool the logo, how unique your design is, how dedicated you are, you are jumping into a shark infested, red ocean of competition. Same goes for canvas prints, posters, coffee cups, and any other like products. You are up against major competitors.
Just because you can have your Shopify store up and running in a few hours, doesn’t mean you should. There are things on the back end of the site that take time. Not to mention the site will look like shit if you don’t put in the effort. If it looks unprofessional, people will turn away.
Things to Consider, Questions to Ask.
Do you understand your responsibilities when it comes to charging taxes on products? How about paying taxes on what you sell? One thing Uncle Sam doesn’t like, is not getting paid.
Understand copyright issues? Logos, wording, phrases might be protected. Protect yourself legally or you might pay dearly down the road.
How about data collection? Do you understand GDPR? As the site’s owner what is required from you? Does your Shopify instructor know?
Fraud is real. Someone uses a stolen credit card on your site. You pay your drop shipper to send out the product, Shopify or Stripe hits you with a charge back. Guess who just lost money.. You.
These Shopify gurus love to talk up Facebook ads. Just throw a few bucks at it and you’re on your way. Successful digital ad campaigns are much tougher and costly than explained. If you think you are going to get significant sales by spending $5 a day, you are in for a rude awakening.
Think about this.. Major corporations spend tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars per year on digital ads. How far do you think single digit dollar per day ad budgets will go?
If you are just learning the ins and outs of digital advertising, by all means, spend only a few bucks a day. Learn the process, understand the data, work through mistakes. Just don’t fall for this thought, that simply running Facebook ads equal automatic sales, because it doesn’t.
Don’t think you can do it on organic traffic alone. You will have to pay the Facebooks, Instagrams, Twitters, Googles, and Snapchats of the world to get a significant number of people to see your content.
The days of organic growth among the big players are long gone. The platform has all the power and there isn’t much you can do about it. If you are trying to make money on their network, they want a cut of it. You can try and game the system or work the algorithm but you’ll always be chasing rabbits.
Shopify, You Tube, and Bullshit.
A common tactic among the Shopify gurus is to show sales on their dashboard. These sales and numbers can be entered manually by the administrator. Post up a bunch of sales that never actually happened, do the vid, never have to prove these are real sales. Some refer to it as marketing, we call it a lie.
Sales and profits are two different things. So when guru says zero to a $1000 in sales, let’s say the sales are real. How much did you have to pay the drop ship company you are working with? $700, $800, $900? You’re not profiting a grand. This is basic, but easy to overlook, especially if you are learning the ropes.
Federal Trade Commission
As pointed out in a previous article, some of these guys are leaving themselves liable to a number of legal issues.
Oh so many are not following FTC guidelines. There is nothing wrong with affiliates, partners, commissions, etc. as much of the internet works this way. However, the individual is required to declare any financial relationships that exist between them and what they are promoting. Our disclosure is noted in the first paragraph. Simple.
Example: Shopify gurus telling the viewer to “click the link in description to get started” and they are receiving compensation for traffic or sales, it is on them to make note of the partnership. Rarely does this happen. And yes Shopify does have an affiliate option.
Some of these guys are playing a dangerous game by not following guidelines. The FTC typically has bigger issues to worry about, yet they are still in violation. It could cost them at a future point. Play it smart and be straight up about partnerships and affiliates.
If someone provides quality information or helps solve a problem, plenty of people will gladly click affiliate links. An easy way to thank the instructor with no cost to the viewer.
Oh and a lot of these guys are selling courses. That’s where they are making real money. Not by dropshipping coffee mugs from China, but by selling you a course. There very well may be great info in these courses. Don’t know. Just understand the incentive behind a lot of these videos.
So let’s stop here.
Since this a rant to some degree, it may have come across negative. We do not want to discourage people from starting an eCommerce store. The purpose is to counter the endless promises of sunshine and rainbows, as long as you purchase this, that, and the third.
It’s work, it’s a grind, and it takes time. You might get lucky and catch some early sales, however you will need real substance if you’re looking for long term success.
It’s cliche to say, but applies here: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Thank you for reading!
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