How We Made $842K+ in eCommerce with No Product, No Shopify, and No Experience

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I want to thank you for taking the time to read this. This is a rather long, but comprehensive post. It will take you a good 20-30 minutes to get through it entirely. This is not for the faint of heart. If you have internet ADD, click away immediately. You can't handle reading this.

THE SUMMARY:

  • Made $842K+ in about 1 year
  • No previous eCommerce experience
  • No plans to sell the product we ended up selling
  • Never actually warehoused the product
  • Did it off of Shopify and ClickFunnels
  • Built on WooCommerce
  • Never ran an eCommerce store before

WHAT I REVEAL: 

  • How I built the store
  • Every plugin used
  • The marketing platform
  • The strategies

Let's dive right in. So I first started my journey on Shopify as most drop shippers do. I had no clue what I was doing and was blindly following advice from some Facebook groups and courses. I chose a niche, started marketing and really didn't get anywhere.

The niche I was in was skull merchandise.

From there, I really didn't see much success. Some break even days over all and lots of days with crappy stats and losses. I never knew what a winning ad can look like and really didn't know how to market anything. This is right around when I met my business partner, Dr. Bo.

He was already running a successful Shopify store and had achieved over 100k loyal followers in a pretty targeted niche. His niche was not huge, but had a very loyal fan base.

Due to the sensitive nature, I won't reveal the niche, but I'll let you folks guess based on the other content on this site. If you're smart, we don't hide it. We invite competition. Anyway, his store was doing alright and we were doing decent volume the first couple months of working together. That is until I actually looked at the numbers.

In ecommerce, it's hard to know if you're truly doing well or you're just “doing well”. Revenue is revenue, but profit speaks a different language.

LESSON 1 – LOOK AT YOUR NUMBERS CAREFULLY 

I took a deep dive and looked at the numbers using a pivot table that had order exports vs marketing fees next to it. I built it from scratch to connect Facebook and Shopify along with the cost of each product dynamically. It was a pain, but worth it. I can share it if you need me to. Just mention it in the comments.

I realized that we were just barely making it with about $50-$150/day in profit.

Yes, we were profitable, but then we also had issues with vendors that wasn't making it easy. At this point, we were already in a private relationship with an eBay seller. This was off of AliExpress so we have made our merchandise relatively exclusive to our market.

It wasn't easy to obtain, especially because we were selling the merchandise out of the UK to US. The price of goods and everything was just fine.

The issue was the vendor was super unreliable. Couple that with Shopify Plus and spending over $1k/month just to maintain the store. We were doing decent volume, upwards of $30-40k/month in revenue, but we were getting eaten alive by the other fees and expenses. Our expenses:

  • Shopify Plus
  • Various Apps
  • Fulfillment employees
  • Customer Service employees
  • Helpscout
  • Merchant Fees (PayPal and Stripe)
  • US Taxes

What was left for us was nearly nothing. So all in all it kind of sucked.

In that spreadsheet I added the remaining expenses to audit the business. I realized that we weren't really making much. In fact what was left over, especially after splitting with the partnership was around $10-$25/day. Basically nothing to be excited about.

So I guess the title should be closer to how we made over $900K with eCommerce, but I don't count our Shopify store, It's just not in my mind. I don't consider it a success. 

LESSON 2 – MANAGE YOUR VENDORS 

Couple that with the vendors making our lives hell by not delivering on time and not delivering the right products.

We weren't really in control of our business. We tried to contact them, but they didn't have Skype, phone or even an email.

We were stuck using the eBay messaging platform and at the mercy of the vendor's response. And…it sucked. This business model we realized quickly sucked.

Though we were selling some AliExpress merch in addition, we didn't have a way to sync it all up.

LESSON 3 – SHOPIFY SUCKS

So I heard about apps that can help with various things like cross sells and post purchase upsells and landing pages. So we realized if we wanted landing pages, we needed ClickFunnels or Zipify Pages (which sucked at the time, sorry Ezra).

If we wanted upsell flows we needed Ezra's 1 Click Upsell plugin or another one that cost over $300/month.

Again, more expenses. Every new feature we wanted to test with our products made it more and more expensive.

Yes, we were still profitable, and yes we can afford it, but god damn, I got sick of all these sharks taking my money. One after the other.

This was just getting ridiculous and painful. I realized Shopify Plus with all our apps was well over $1k/month.

It doesn't seem like much, but when you are trying to save everything and minimize overhead of a traditional brick and mortar retailer, you get the same overhead in other ways with Shopify.

Plus the themes sucked and any minor change we wanted we needed to pay for dev time. Again, more expenses.

Dev time is not cheap, especially with the Liquid framework.

And, the final straw was there was minimal control over the Facebook Pixel and what events fired when. This was a huge pain in the ass because our metrics wouldn't be accurate on Facebook as they would be on WooCommerce.

So I was sick of this shit. ClickFunnels didn't have a cohesive database that could manage customers orders. And if a customer ordered from Shopify & ClickFunnels there was no way to track, except with Zapier.

Yet another monthly expense. You see where this is going. I got so fed up with all this. So, being a WordPress native I decided to make the switch.

Well, then what do we do? In order to test more ideas, and still sell the same low-marign products, I had to go to WordPress. All we wanted to do was have a checkbox to include an add-on and put the product on an LP where we can control all the elements, including the buttons and checkout page.

Come in WordPress.

So I made the jump. I migrated everything: products, orders, customers, all parts of the database and mapped it according to the WordPress schema.

It wasn't painless, but with the help of some plugins, I was able to get it all over. Some minor adjustments by my fulfillment team and boom we are back in business.

Once we made the switch, it was like a breath of fresh air.

I finally had full control over everything. From every page, layouts, orders, notes, customers, comments, everything. I mean I can add everything I wanted to. Even more than Shopify. The only thing that it lacked was the robust reporting that Shopify offered. More on this later…

The problem wasn't solved then, but it is now. Even better than Shopify.

So let's see.

I have everything Shopify has, a better theme, faster load times, more control, cheaper dev time all for the cost of monthly hosting. This was around $150/month. Literally that's it. Again, I have licenses to all the plugins already, so it wasn't much more expensive.

Plus a lot of the plugins are publicly licensed. I only share this resource with clients, however.

I recommend supporting developers at all available opportunities, but if you need to make things work before you can afford it, do it and juts make sure to hit them back later.

Anyway, I was able to accomplish my goal. I had landing pages, ecommerce, unlimited upsells and downsells (post purchase), and full blown email automation (more than Klaviyo or other providers) for a little over $500/month with everything included.

Not bad, if you ask me. Compared to the over $1k/month we were spending on Shopify, this was amazing.

I was able to significantly reduce our overhead, while still maintaining the same features as Shopify, but only managing them internally. One of the issues we had with Shopify was that there are so many developers for each app and you are completely relying on them to fix bugs.

For example the 1 click Upsell app sometimes just didn't work.

I knew it because I recorded customers go through it. The developers knew about the problem, but they would just say they are “working on it”. Since I couldn't access the app, I couldn't' fix it myself and I was completely at their mercy to fix these stupid things.

I would spend hours chatting with devs diagnosing and fixing problems with apps. Something I'm sure you can relate to. A lot of the Shopify apps work most of the time, but they are still riddled with crap code and often times slow your store down.

The more apps, the slower. With WordPress, I can selectively load plugins per page and only show what I need when I need. Plus, again, I can hire a developer for $10-$20/hr to fix basically anything. I was back in full control, the way I like it.

Oh and the best part is, WooCommerce calculates cost right in the reports, and I no longer needed the cost pivot tables. It's really designed for drop shipping. Everything was neatly thought through.

LESSON 4 – RESEARCH YOUR PRODUCTS

On to the next chapter. Now that we settled in to our new store, we were noticing revenue slipping. Not because of the infrastructure, but because the product was just dying. This is a typical game with drop shipping. We oversold the product and it was on its way out.

Because this type of business that we ran was a churn and burn, non nurture model, we just ran out of customers to sell this very niche product to. And there is no recurring model here, so we ran out of ways to upsell and cross sell them.

So we tried a couple new products and thats when the niche scared the shit out of me.

We got a cease and desist letter from a massive corporation stating we violated some copyright agreement of a doll that we were drop shipping.

I had no idea that this product was copyrighted (not patented). So here comes a legal battle. To be clear, there is a difference between a copyright and a patent. A work of art can be copyrighted. A patent describes a process or invention that is unique to the marketplace. Here's the caveat, you can also copyright products, but you need to be clever about it. And this company was clever.

The copyright was original work of a sculpture…oddly enough. Well, who knew that you can copyright a doll as a sculpture.

I sought a lawyer in Colorado and he helped us resolve the dispute by not fulfilling any more of the product and removing all instances of the product from the store. This was enough of this niche.

I got scared shitless because we were looking into a multi-million dollar dispute with this gigantic company.

This is the equivalent of selling fake Nikes. But we didn't know, honestly we had no idea this doll had a copyright.

It spooked us enough to stop selling in the niche and to seek alternatives to drop ship. Lesson learned, check the USPTO and Copyright databases before drop shipping anything. You will be surprised how many products you can't legally sell. If you do sell them, you risk lawsuits, patent infringements, and in some cases, even criminal charges.

Armed with this new knowledge, we focused on generic, unbranded, non-copyrightable, private label style products.

We decided to test a variety of products outside of the Niche and the traditional drop ship model. We stated to drop ship off of Amazon. With Amazon we had anything we wanted. We can sell literally anything to anyone.

Since AliExpress is riddled with copyrighted, trademarked and patented goods, we had to get off that platform.

And yes, a lot of the “gurus” sell merch that would be illegal to sell in the US. We could have easily scaled our product to 8 figures, but we couldn't because we got a C&D letter.

Indeed, if we were overseas like some people, we could ignore those and press forward. What can those companies do anyway? In fact, a lot of the people I was working with at the time who scaled to insane numbers (think high 5 figure/day in revenue and traffic) were selling illegal, counterfeit goods.

Nonetheless, we decided to play by the rules and select a product that would work. Sure, we were limited.

But it really didn't matter because we literally had a sea of options to chose from. So we started testing. We were getting distracted testing different products and we weren't getting whole lot of traction.

Then one day we found our winner. We had a basic PPE campaign that was pushing like 10x ROAS and 10% CTR Alls with 5-6% CTR Link on a $5/day budget. We saw these metrics and just thought “yes, this is it”. Then we opened the floodgates. Implemented retargeting and used our PPE model to scale the crap out of this.

We quickly got it to 5 figure then 6 figures/month. This was the hey-day. We were doing great volume and not on Shopify. We were using landing pages, upsell/downsell flows and everything under the sun to make money on this product.

And we did. At our peak, we were doing about $1500/day in profit. I have the numbers to prove it. This was wayyyyy better than $150/day in profit. So you know you got a winner when you got a winner. It is obvious. The market tensions disappears and the statistics all improve all at once.

The CPMs drop, the CTRs spike (both link and engagement) and you quickly see sales popping up. It's like it becomes unstoppable and viral.

We used Amazon, though, to research the products that we would sell with the main product. Since Amazon is a data machine, we quickly found what customers buy with this product and were able to offer the same thing in our upsell and downsell flow.

These items we warehoused and private labeled because our future vendor didn't stock them. This allowed us to sell the upsells at nearly pure margin and really gave us the bump we needed to see some massive revenue increase.

LESSON 5 – FIND A LOCAL VENDOR

We got a little spooked because Amazon took notice of our success too and quickly started to shut down our drop shipping accounts one by one.

We needed a vendor badly. So I contacted every single vendor on Amazon, eBay and anything I can find on the web. Each one had their own issues and volume problems. Either price wasn't right, or they couldn't handle the volume.

Honestly, this was a difficult process, however, we finally contacted a big company. We first contacted their general line and explained our situation. They told us that they are no longer accepting drop shippers. So we kept trying. I did some Google searching and found the number of their main sales rep and just dialed him. At first he was very reluctant to speak with me.  That is, until I showed him the numbers. He nearly choked over the phone.

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The sales representative quickly called the owner and mentioned this to him. He said we were doing more volume than Overstock.com. Clearly, we were doing something right.

And in about a week, we got a contract and the agreement to work together. This was a huge relief because we were at least 600 orders behind and started to receive a massive volume of complaints and claims.

They accepted our drop shipping proposal, even though “they weren't accepting new drop shippers” at the time.

All it took was showing the right person the right numbers and all the sudden their minds changed. The price was right and the shipping time rivaled Amazon's FBA.

It was like 2-3 days after we submitted the orders, the customer would receive the product at their doorstep.

This was good for us as it really made us look good compared to all the other AliExpress drop shippers out there.

We were able to out compete with customer service, fulfillment time and the quality was the best in the industry. Win Win Win. They even gave us their bulk discount price.

From there we started scaling trying all sorts of strategies.

We tried automatic bid on low, medium high budget, targeting VC, ATC, IC and eventually Purchases.

Built all sorts of audiences, from interests, to lists, to LLAs and they were literally all successful. We couldn't stop the train from roaring.

The sales kept pouring in and it seemed like no matter what we tried, they just kept coming. So we decided to switch to a $1000/day budget Facebook manual bidding campaign.

And even that turned out to be a success. We were able to scale to over 6 figures a month with this strategy.

Of course, the manual bids were tedious to keep up with, but you can feel the ads when you adjusted the bid. Suddenly traffic and sales just dumped in. At this point our pixel was completely optimized and our account knew exactly who the customer was.

It was exciting and scary. We went from nothing to doing big numbers, not as big as some of the big dogs out there, but we were doing this without any guidance, mentors or even product.

Of course as the holiday season pressed on, we still did close to 6 figures, but the volume slowly started to taper off. This was because the product was riding a trend wave. So we decided to shut off the manual bids and try a new strategy. As we were losing thousands per day at this point.

So we decided to pivot to our article marketing strategy.

This immediately propped up our sales and one of our articles even went viral for a short time. We were the top 5 on BuzzSumo in our category. Again, we couldn't even stop the sales if we wanted to, at this point it was getting organic traffic from all the shares on Facebook.

Finally towards the end of this whole process started to dwindle down.

But still, we were riding a trend wave of the product. Around this time I started to see this product sold in Wal-Mart, Cosco, Bed Bath and Beyond and nearly everywhere I looked in nearly every store. It was really clear that this product was fully saturated.

We were able to ride the wave, but it seemed like everybody who wanted one of these already had one.

A similar situation GoPro experienced, though on a much smaller scale.

Trend or not, we learned a ton about structure, business, customer service, fulfillment, complaints, claim handling, business management, ecommerce web infrastructure and nearly everything that goes into a successful store.

Our store had generated serious money and we were able to both pay ourselves and save a bunch of money and even invest a bit.

LESSON 6 – TRAIN YOUR TEAM

Our customer service team and fulfillment team are my back bone. It required massive training in the beginning so they can hold up to American Customer Service standards. They needed to know how to treat customers, respond to emails and message appropriately.

In order to start this, we integrated HelpScout as our main inbound email system. After much research and digging, We also found a nice inbound/outbound virtual SMS/Phone platform that allowed us to text and call customers from the computer.

It's called JustCall.

This was a huge shift, because now, unlike most drop shippers, we have a phone number where customers can reach us.

This was massively important to help with customer trust and satisfaction.

We needed a consistent structure and reference manual for them to follow.

So what we did was create a customer service and fulfillment manual for each department so each type of employee can follow the rules of the company and reference it when they get stuck with common customer service issues.

In fact, we  were even able to get them to handle all our claims and higher level issues with the merchant accounts.

Of course, trust is a factor, but it wasn't hard to establish trust when you treat them with kindness and humility, like any person should.

And of course pay them on time. We also had a random bonus/incentive model that we would randomly reward them for doing good.

If they accomplished certain goals that only we knew about, they would receive a bonus. Something like $10 or $20 would be sufficient. In their countries this goes a long way.

LESSON 7 – AUTOMATION

Automation is the next big thing on the internet. People are scared that they will lose their job to automation. Fortunately, this is the type of automation that will only boost sales in your business. This part was insanely confusing for WooCommerce.

Now, I will admit WooCommerce SUCKS with third party integration. So I really had to be creative here on how I handled this part. Klavyio wasn't what I wanted. InfusionSoft was too expensive. Customer IO was not my cup of tea.

Active Campaign is one of the best integrations for WordPress and Thrive, but not so much with WooCommerce. So I had to figure out how to create this integration. Again, after considerable digging, I found AutomateWoo and combined that with Active Campaign to create the perfect customer automation system.

I was able to automate ANYTHING about the customer lifecycle with these two.

If they opted in to receive a coupon, they can go to the coupon automation. If they purchased, they can go to the post-purchase automation. If they're VIP, they will go to the VIP sequence. If they're non VIP, they will go to the non-VIP sequence. And the best part is, this was all handled on the same platform and the unique customer data was all ported over to Active Campaign.

So not only did I have the power of splitting and segmenting based on actual customer activity, I can also nurture and convert users into customers hence moving them to a new automation. All on the same platform.

Now that is a game changer for me. I was able to build any kind of sequence imaginable based on user activity on the site. Even if the user has a fraud order, or I wanted to automate some of the customer service flows, like fraud or fulfilled, I can accomplish this all here. And even send SMS, though we didn't dive into this too much.

It took a bit of figuring to figure this out, but once I nailed it, it worked perfectly and gave us the necessary boost in revenue that we needed to tick our margins up.

The fortunate part is that it did boost our income significantly, the unfortunate part was that we didn't have a solution until after our big months.

Oh well, we still were able to figure this out.

LESSON 8 – HAVE A PLAN B

Now, I have this opportunity to share all this with you. Since we started this whole journey, we knew it wouldn't last. We weren't trying to become the biggest drop shippers or the eCommerce gurus, we were just trying to learn the business.

We wanted to learn it and then share it with people who can benefit from a case study like this. I knew this wouldn't be the way I would make my riches, but I knew I would be able to help a ton of people with my new knowledge base.

With that, I want to reveal everything form this story. Well, almost everything. I won't reveal the product, but maybe in the comments if you ask nicely. I will reveal the list of plugins we used to make this work and why they are installed.

THE LIST OF PLUGINS

Throughout this journey, I have had TONS of people ask me what plugins I'm using and why.

I told them I would eventually reveal this case study and tell them how I did this.

The how is explained above. We started like any other drop shipper and pivoted to a more stable marketplace than AliExpress.

I want to mention, I've tested nearly every single plugin out there for eCommerce.

This is what I deduce to be the best combination for success for a straight ecommerce store. You can literally do anything you want with this combination.

Think about this as ClickFunnels meets Shopify meets InfusionSoft, but way cheaper. Anyway, here are the plugins we used.

I know this list seems long, but it really didn't affect load times too much.

You need to be careful not to overdo the plugins as too many will cause conflicts. Most of these do play nice together and have minimal conflict/load time on the site. Especially when managed correctly.

Most of these plugins were in fact purchased after I tested them using some trusted sites that offer them for Free. Only my clients will get the resources for that, however. But you can Google around and look if you want.

  • Address Validation & Google Address Auto Complete Plugin for WooCommerce (Basic) – this plugin validates the shipping address before submitting. Super important to limit the number of dead addresses we receive through our orders. Customers have to submit a real, deliverable address to our store before they can even check out.
  • AfterShip – WooCommerce Tracking – Sends automatic tracking information to the customer via SMS and Email.
  • Akismet Anti-Spam – standard WordPress anti-spam plugin
  • AutomateWoo – The thing that ties your store to your Active Campaign. This is massively important to setup so you can communicate your orders and customers to your Active Campaign account
  • AutomateWoo – Referrals Add-on – This allows us to basically get free emails from customers and in return they receive a gift card when their referrals make a purchase. Sort of a mini-affiliate program.
  • BackupBuddy – backs up your DB and files on a schedule
  • Duplicate Post – duplicates the post/page/content
  • Gravity Forms – Used for any contact forms on the site that aren't opt-in pops
  • Gravity Forms ActiveCampaign Add-On – connects GF to Active Campaign (affiliate link)
  • Heartbeat Control – controls the number of heartbeats WordPress makes lowering server resources and speeds up site.
  • Hide My WP – prevents hackers from messing with you. Just makes it more difficult for people to look up your code.
  • Metorik Helper – More on this later
  • Nextend Google Connect – Theme plugin (used for social login)
  • Nextend Social Login – Theme plugin (used for social login)
  • PixelYourSite Pro – Allows for full control of how and when the Facebook Pixel Fires
  • PixelYourSite Super Pack – Some added features like multiple Facebook Pixels on one store
  • Plugin Organizer – Control load order and organization of plugins
  • Pretty Links – Allows to make short URLs like bit.ly but locally on your store
  • Product Catalog Feed Pro by PixelYourSite – WooCommerce Products Feed for Facebook Product Catalog. You can create XML feeds for Facebook Dynamic Product Ads.
  • Sassy Social Share – Slickest, Simplest and Optimized Share buttons. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, WhatsApp and over 100 more.
  • Smush – Reduce image file sizes, improve performance and boost your SEO using the free free WPMU DEV WordPress Smush API.
  • Thrive Architect – Allows us to build any kind of landing page we want with full drag/drop capability, just like ClickFunnels, without the monthly fee.
  • Thrive Leads – Allows for all sorts of lead capture, from pops, to ribbons, etc.
  • Thrive Optimize – Full A/B split testing solution for all your pages
  • Thrive Ovation – Make testimonials look pretty like certain review plugins on Shopify
  • Thrive Quiz Builder – Full quiz solution just like bucket.io
  • Thrive Ultimatum – Allows for scarcity events with countdown timers and lockout pages. Really works too.
  • User Role Editor Pro – Change/add/delete WordPress user roles and capabilities.
  • Webcraftic Clearfy – WordPress optimization plugin – Disables unused WordPress features, improves performance and increases SEO rankings, using Clearfy, which makes WordPress very easy.
  • WooCommerce – An eCommerce toolkit that helps you sell anything. Beautifully.
  • WooCommerce 1 Click Upsells & Downsells – The Plugin that allowed us to generate an extra $144,555.68 in revenue that was nearly pure margin
  • WooCommerce 1 Click Upsells & Downsells PixelYourSite Integration – Helps with pixel firing on the above plugin
  • WooCommerce Advanced Free Shipping – Allows for free shipping on certain products
  • WooCommerce Checkout Field Editor – Allows us to control the checkout fields and order of checkout fields
  • WooCommerce Cost of Goods – Allows us to input the cost of goods on the products we sell so it shows up in the reports
  • WooCommerce Customer/Order CSV Export – Allows us to export customers and orders
  • WooCommerce Free Gift Coupons – Allows us to give items aways as free gifts
  • WooCommerce Google Analytics Pro – GA Enhanced ecommerce integration
  • WooCommerce Handsome Checkout Pages – Beautiful checkout pages like you see with ClickFunnels
  • WooCommerce Help Scout – Integration with Helpscout
  • WooCommerce Order Status Change Notifier – Notifies customers via email the order status change
  • WooCommerce Order Status Manager – Create and manage custom order statuses
  • WooCommerce Product Add-ons – Add a checkbox to a product for an order bump
  • WooCommerce Product Bundles – Allows you to purchase a set of products together, but show as separate on the invoice.
  • WooCommerce Product Reviews Pro – Clean, reviews, not as snappy, but it's fine. Similar to Amazon reviews.
  • WooCommerce Sequential Order Numbers Pro – Forces orders to be sequential instead of random per the ID in the database
  • WooCommerce Smart Checkout – The best mobile checkout option, not really supported, but works for what we need
  • WooCommerce Smart Coupons – Lets customers buy gift certificates, store credits or coupons easily. They can use purchased credits themselves or gift to someone else.
  • WooCommerce Subscriptions – Subscription based payments
  • WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping – Full control over shipping and what items get charged what shipping amount
  • WooCommerce URL Coupons – Allows for one click apply coupons based on a URL that a customer clicks. Auto-applies to their cart, no code needed
  • WooImporter – Imports from AliExpress and Ebay (affiliate link)
  • WordFence Security – “Secures” your WordPress site
  • WP All Import – WooCommerce Add-On Pro – Imports csvs into the WooCommerce database for bulk updating
  • WP All Import Pro – Imports csvs into the database for bulk updating
  • WP Fastest Cache – Speeds up the site
  • WP Fastest Cache Premium – Really speeds up the site
  • WP SES – Forces all WordPress native emails to be sent through Amazon SES (guaranteed inbox rate)
  • WP Staging – Allows for quick testing environments
  • WP User Avatar – Control over the image that appears next to users and reviews
  • YITH WooCommerce Anti-Fraud Premium – Manages fraud for customers. You can then setup custom statuses and sequences asking the customer to confirm their information with you if fraud is detected.
  • Yoast SEO Premium – SEO plugin
  • Yoast SEO: WooCommerce – SEO for WooCommerce plugin

THE LIST OF SOFTWARE

This is the comprehensive list of software that we used to make this a successful business. We used and tested A TON of different solutions. These were the ones we settled on. Most of them are free options.

  • Active Campaign – Full email automation and sequencing, including abandoned cart, post purchase, pre purchase and campaign blasts. Every sequence imaginable.
  • Metorik – Beautiful Shopify-style reporting
  • HelpScout – Simple customer service dashboard, with support with multiple stores and multiple email addresses
  • AfterShip – Automatically notify customers of order statuses once the tracking number is submitted to the database (fulfillment team handles this)
  • Liquid Web – Hosting
  • Google Drive – Sharing files with teams
  • Wrike – Project Management
  • Skype Communication
  • JustCall – Inbound phone and text message platform
  • Glip – (Deprecated after they deleted our account) – was an awesome task management / communication all in one platform. Think Slack + Project management.

Now now now, this is finally revealed, the full case study. I know people are going to have a field day arguing about Shopify and WordPress.

I've been on both. With Shopify, you still can't escape the email automation, customer service, task management platforms. You will still need those.

At the end of the day, WooCommerce is the cheaper, superior alternative that allows you FULL control. We tried both and I will never go back, especially now that I know I can build whatever I want in hours on WordPress compared to weeks on Shopify.

However, WordPress can be very distracting with all the bells and whistles.

That's why you gotta focus on what brings you money, not so much playing with all the nice features, and trust me there are tons.

And yes, the links above are mostly affiliate links. I'm not doing this for free.

We are also accepting new clients. We do not take every client on. You will need to schedule a strategy session with me if you want to be considered to be a client. First, you will have to select your time and then fill out the application. If we decide to choose you, we will be in touch.

To apply to become a client, click here.

Everything in this post is 100% truth and evidence of what we've been up to for the past 1.5 years.

I'm sure there will be debate, comments and questions. Drop them below. Can't wait to hear your feedback. Thanks for reading!


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  • Thanks for sharing this post with us. Im a wp user for about 10 years and i have some woo stores doing not good and this case study hepled me where to focus. But, have you tried to test wordpress on litespeed or openlitespeed instead of apache&ngix? It will speed up your site 10x more and lower your hosting costs.

    • Hey Damian, thanks for sharing this. No I haven’t tested on Litespeed, but this is piquing my interest. I will def test this and let you know how it performs. Currently, all my servers are on Apache&Ngix and I have been able to outperform Shopify speeds on many occasions. Nonetheless, it’s worth a test. Do you have an example site?

    • Try wordpress.com service. The jetpack cdn will do all the things for u. And after testing, I found this one is the best. You could test with https://tools.pingdom.com/. I can achieve loading time average 1.x seconds from anywhere in the world.

      • Thank you for the feedback! I’m not a huge fan of Jetpack b/c it’s so invasive, but I’ll take a look at it again!

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