Dear E-Commerce Entrepreneurs
I’d like to think my fellow e-commerce business owners start by following their passion which allows them to create works that people want to buy. But there’s a special group of internet entrepreneurs who, maybe just to me, feel like they are in it just for the money. After my mom bought something from one of these stores I feel as though I have a duty to highlight these stores, because I believe they give those who are in the e-commerce (looking at you, Shopify) space a bad name.
I am talking about dropshippers or Alibaba/Aliexpress internet entrepreneurs who find niches, passions, and then exploit them for personal gains. If you don’t know what AliExpress or dropshipping is, you’re not alone. Allow me to explain by telling the story of my mom’s new watch.
Imagine browsing through Facebook and seeing a really neat watch on your newsfeed. You read the copy, maybe click the link. I mean FREE shipping.
Once you click the link, you are brought to the following page:
“$8.95 from $39.99?! What a deal!” is what you would say. And yes, it is a deal looking at it from face value. Now when my mom bought this, she showed off her sweet new watch bracelet I thought it was a good deal…right up until I played with it and realized it was a poorly made piece of junk. As someone who is a beginner in the e-commerce space I knew this came from AliExpress. I did a quick search and found the following results.
271 results and some awesome prices on AliExpress, per usual. When I first saw these results and prices I immediately thought I was in the wrong business. But then I showed them to my mom, and it broke my heart. She felt taken advantage of and had a look of shame. What a wonderful shopping experience. This dropshipper/AliExpress store ruined my mom’s day.
If you don’t know how dropshipping and AliExpress works (and my story did a terrible job at explaining it) read this article here: The Definitive Guide to Dropshipping with AliExpress. Companies like Oberlo are making it extremely easy to get into this space, so more and more e-commerce stores are opening with the promise of easy money. If you do decide to get into this, read the following please.
GIVE A SHIT
Easy money and no inventory or shipping. I know this is the drop shipping game, and not all players in the game are bad. However, it seems clear to me that operators like the above are giving you all a bad name. If you look through comments on Facebook Pages of drop shipping/AliExpress e-commerce stores you’ll find some upset customers. This snapshot was taken from the page where my mom shopped.
Let’s assume one of these upset customers sees one of your Facebook ads, you think they’ll remember the time they bought something from these people? The bad players in the game got into the space with the only intention of making easy money, and because of it are hurting your game. Don’t believe me? This comment, to me, means people are starting to notice.
They were started yesterday. They were sold a promise of easy money and threw together a store real quick, used some stock images, and ran some ads.
So don’t just get into the space to make easy money. Think about your customers and being a good business owner first, then worry about money. Those success stories might be real, but I guarantee you they didn’t get there from ruining people’s days with shitty practices and not responding. Care about what you’re doing. It isn’t hard to stand out by just giving a shit.
Don’t hurt moms. Create something yourself and don’t go chasing dreams of easy money. I know there’s awesome dropshippers out there that care about what they are doing, but the others are ruining it for everyone else. And quite frankly the gig will be over sooner or later, more and more people are realizing you’re selling stuff from AliExpress.
A NOTE TO MOM (AND CONSUMERS)
Find a neat product via Facebook ad? Do your homework — check AliExpress or google the product description. Don’t just consume, be a smart consumer. You can just buy direct from the manufacturer for a lot less.