Profitable Ecom Entrepreneurs, where am I going wrong?

by onlyforwardthinking. Posted on Sep 12, 2020    0    5


I feel like I'm close to breaking through but I need some help. Appreciate those reading and any replies.

I want to build a successful and profitable e-commerce brand. Something is holding me back. Where am I going wrong?

I have 15+ years experience in brand and design, 3+ years experience in copywriting and half a life time of experience in business. I run a brand and design consultancy with a history of successful clients; building attractive brands, writing sales copy and building funnels is what I do for a living.

I’m no stranger to dropshipping, having built 3 ecom stores in the past (2 niche, 1 general). I had some success with a low-ticket beauty product that I sold through my general store. Tried to aggressively scale, didn’t work, product had $3-4 profit margins, moved on.

I started a new store just recently and put all my eggs into one basket. The store sold shade sails: a great problem solving product that allows people to enjoy shade without much setup time, cost or construction.

It was a newly listed product I found on ecom hunt that had a good amount of engagement. Never used product-finder tools much, but I thought I’d jump on this product before more dropshippers started selling it.

I went full steam ahead as it was July (a great time to sell products like this), it had high search volume, was trending upward and the limited competition had poor product pages. I worked tirelessly optimising the branding, messaging, user experience, sales copy and building a high-converting product page.

Used (Facebook) conversion purchase ads to drive traffic to the new store. CTR for my ad campaigns was good (started off at 5-6% before averaging 3.5-4%). Video creative was good, copy was good and the interest appeared to be there.

The product tanked. I spent $600+ on ads making roughly $180 back in sales. I also tried Google Ads (SKAGS not Shopping) and received 1 sale ($37 AOV) for $200+ spent.

My conclusion: it wasn’t a great product. People needed to measure their patio first before making a buying decision. They spent a good amount of time on the product page reading the FAQs and reviews but wouldn’t purchase, as if there were more things to consider away from the product-page.

I’ve now built a general store so I can validate products first before building a niche store around them.

I researched a niche and found a good product which sold a few units but again, was too low-ticket/had a low profit margin leaving no room to work with.

Pushed on and found a product with similar promise as the shade sails and decided to use Google Shopping to drive initial traffic instead. Traffic was painfully slow — I’d receive a few impressions and only when I raised the bid did I start receiving more. Over a 2 week period, I received 7k impressions, 25 clicks for $55 (Avg CPC: $2.23). Product sells for $99. There were a few ATCs, even some ICs, but no sales (I analysed the funnel, checkout worked fine). I then stopped the campaign.

Other poorly-put together stores are selling the same product and using Google Shopping too. My competitors are also using retargeting ads on Facebook that started a few months ago. The interest is there but my success with the product isn’t.

Traffic has/is a big bottleneck for me. Perhaps I’m not spending enough/waiting long enough for meaningful data and results. The thing is, I want that traffic so I can give my pixel/ad platform more data. I’m just not sure how to get a good quantity of traffic, from either Facebook or Google, without compromising the quality (and if it’s even possible to acquire the traffic I want in a week or so).

Is it my products? Traffic? Help appreciated!


betilfan 1

Without more details, it's difficult to be sure, but this sounds like more of an issue with ad campaigns than the product itself. $600 is not a test IMO. I would advise you to dig deeper into to learning the ins and outs of advertising and take a real shot for at least a few months. For example, just because people are clicking on ads doesn't mean they are the right people, and it also doesn't mean they want your product. It means the ad was interesting. But, if the ad is interesting to someone who has no interest in buying then you have just spent money to entertain someone who has no intention on repaying the favor.


Perhaps you're right. My question, is if $600 isn't enough for a test, what is? If you have a case study testing a product of your own I'd be more than happy to hear it!

betilfan 1

Unfortunately, I'm unable to share case studies from our business. However, the info you need is pretty easy to find. I recommend reading all this free material that FB puts out. Google's documentation is not very good but there are plenty of free resources out there that can point you in the right direction. There is a complexity to advertising that makes it difficult for early adopters to understand exactly where the problems are. You have to have an understanding of how to filter your audience down to the most likely buyers. You need creative that first captures there attention long enough to make them stop, then holds their attention while you educate them on your product, and ultimately convinces them to complete your call to action. When they check your home page the same messaging should be present. Then retargeting strategies come in to play, how many times to you show an ad before you give up or adjust strategies depends on your product and audience. And ALL this requires testing in each area for an appropriate time period. There's a lot to it, but it's not rocket science. You just have to learn several key things to ensure you're getting the most bang for your buck.

ElMonkeh 1

What’s your Facebook strategy when retargeting? What’s the old adage? “A person has to see your product 9 times before they even consider to purchase”. I’m on the same boat with my product, avg cpc was over a dollar but then I implemented a strategy to warm the audience first and avg cpc dropped to around 33 cents. It pretty much consisted of them watching the video then targeting those that watched the video with another cta then retargetting with an offer. If you ever want to bounce ideas back and forth you can reach out.


Retargeting was simple: carousel ad of the products with short copy and a discount code. Is your campaign profitable yet?