- Avg. revenue /month$1,618
- Avg. sessions /month1,003
- Avg. profit /month$456
Why this business was started
I set out to launch a retail site that stood for something and created real value for a community. I was frustrated with seeing so many dropship sites selling cheap products with long shipping times online that added no value.
We're still so young but discovered early on that we've starting something meaningful, created a trustworthy brand for parents.
All of our supplier partners are based in the US & Canada (with enforced MAP) which further supports this brand trust.
The reason of selling this business
Currently fundraising for a new fitness app that I have to focus on full time.
What's involved in running this business
As of August 1, 2020, I’m currently finishing a few key projects which will get this business to a transferable point including:
- Automate/outsource customer experience, including customer support, order fulfillment, and inventory management. As of August 1, we’ve fully onboarded and trained a customer experience agency for the past moth and they are officially transitioning to own chat/email support, order fulfillment and inventory management.
- Automate/outsource digital marketing. As of August 1, we’ve got Google Ads, Facebook Ads (including DPA retargeting and prospecting), Email Marketing, SEO/Content Writing and Social Media Marketing fully automated as well. Currently operating at a 3,000+% ROAS advertising campaigns.
Workload is around 30 minutes to a few hours per week with all of our advertising and keyword research outsourced at this time. I'd recommend sync ups with these consultants once a month to review performance and push for optimizations.
1) Customer Inquiries: 1-2 hour/week.
You forward email orders to suppliers and occasionally communicate with the customer if a product is out of stock. Very straightforward.
2) Marketing / Advertising: 1 hour/month.
This is all automated but I'd block off 15-30 minutes a month with the Google/Facebook consultant and the email consultant to review performance and seek out opportunities.
We also have a dedicated Google Voice customer support phone line (with a "619" area code for San Diego, where we started the business) and dedicated support email, [REDACTED]
Common customer questions:
- "Do you offer free local pick in San Diego?" Response: No, we ship out of various supplier warehouses, please provide your address for a shipping quote.
- "Is it possible to ship a CBC soft surfboard 7” to Canada (‘Montreal, Qc)?" Since CBC is a supplier, here I would again I would email the supplier to get a shipping quote.
- "I was hoping to put in a request to receive my order before X day." Here I would process the order, suppliers typically ship the board very quickly within 24-48 hours and provide us a tracking number which you can enter into the Shopify order to notify the customer.
Order fulfillment process:
- Send supplier our order email template (see below), filling in the SKU and shipping details with customer phone number.
- Supplier replies to our email with total charged and a tracking code
- Add the tracking number to Shopify order so the customer can track themselves and not reach out to support asking for help.
We will supply an Excel doc to our buyer with the supplier names, emails and direct phone numbers (for urgent questions) for all SKUs in case that wasn't clear.
We will also supply new order email templates if you need it. One thing to note is since our suppliers are all based in the US & Canada, there are no English communication issues commonly found in working with dropship suppliers.
As with any sale I want to be as transparent as possible and include all current challenges:
- Supplier is out of inventory.
- Sometimes our supplier replies to the order email that they’re out of stock and offer some alternatives. I have to then reply to the customer if they want an alternative product. So far not a single customer has asked for a refund, they just pick a different board or product. If it's significantly more money I send them a draft order to pay the difference and fulfil the order once completed. My recommendation is to hire an affordable VA to manage this and ask suppliers for inventory and update in Shopify say once per month. Super low overhead, maybe a few hours per month to pay a VA $5-10/hour to manage this for you and really scale the business / order quantity.
- Facebook Ads
- I didn't know Facebook advertsing, thought I did so wasted money advertising there when I first launched. I recommend sticking to a professional here :). We have a profitable retargeting campaign on Facebook right now and haven't launched any other ads but this is actually an opportunity.
Assets included in the purchase:
Custom domain, logo, and all visual assets (includes recent product video sent in by a videographer/customer)
Social media account ownership (5k+ Instagram, 440 Facebook as of 2/10/20)- IG @californiagoodwaveco, FB www.facebook.com/GoodWave.co
Newly optimized Klaviyo email marketing segments and all email flows designed with copy.
Profitable Facebook retargeting campaign (dynamically targets customers who view products and/or abandon carts & checkouts without purchasing without entering an email) recently contracted by a Facebook Ads consultant.
Profitable Google Ads Shopping campaign with positive ROI.
Introduction to all suppliers and consultants/freelancers.
Customized theme with feature to accept liability terms and conditions before completing order. Happy to turn this off as well if desired.
Customer email list.
Traffic and Performance
- Avg. revenue /month$1,618Verified
- Avg. sessions /month1,003Verified
- Avg. profit /month$456
- Profit Margin20%
- Avg. sales /month25
- Shopify plan
- Klaviyo (email marketing)
- Google & Facebook Ads
- Wyoming Registered Agent ($25/year)
Physical inventoryNot Included
Logo and branding assetsHowever the buyer prefers, via Google Drive if no preference.
Personal support after saleVideo meeting to discussing any outstanding questions or concerns, then walk through the order fulfillment process, frequently asked customer questions, email marketing segments (recently hired a consultant to clean these up), active Facebook and Google Ads campaigns with suggestions for improvements, and personal introductions to our approved consultants and suppliers. Within the first 180 days post-sale, we're available as needed on a contract basis for any longer term work.
Product photosHowever the buyer prefers, via Google Drive if no preference.
SuppliersWill provide personal introduction to all suppliers and background on their products. All suppliers are based in the US or Canada and enforce MAP.
How to grow this business
Few high impact opportunities -
The largest opportunity is to develop a Google shopping and search ad strategy to target buying ready customers, those that are already searching for water sport products. We recently hired a Google consultant to target customers in the US and have already seen results with cost per acquisition anywhere from $20-30 and profit margin around $100-200 per board so this can scale depending on your upfront capital for an ad budget.
I would also consider expanding the niche to boogie boards, wetsuits, snorkel, diving, etc. Anything to make this business in high demand year-round. Boogie/body boards would introduce a low price point to the site ($39 or so) which would drive traffic and customers and increase retargeting possibilities to higher ticket items like paddle boards and surfboards.
Also, inflatable paddle boards is a massively growing niche, high ticket (average $550 price), low shipping costs (due to the board deflating to the size of a backpack), and there's not a lot of brand loyalty to manufacturers yet as the category is still quite young. With profit margins around 40-45%, and expanding the addressable customer base to anyone near lakes, rivers, etc. this is an opportunity.
Facebook & Instagram Ads is an opportunity to target parents living near lakes and rivers, national parks, etc. and interested in outdoors brands North Face, Patagonia, etc. with children ages 3-18. We're only advertising a retargeting campaign for a few dollars a day right now for anyone who views products or abandons their cart.
Instagram - I have over organic 5,000 followers with such infrequent posting - it's just not something I have time to manage as a solo founder. I would higher someone to manage this daily, create a conversation in the water sports industry and particularly for parents raising their kids near water. We do not pay for followers.
Content creation - I would absolutely hire a freelance writer or VA to write 1-2 articles per week with popular keywords and create valuable content for families looking for water sports products.
Introduce payment plans - I'd consider introducing a Shopify app/plugin for payment plans. Never looked into this but with high ticket items it's a high impact opportunity. I've heard good things about Sezzle (https://sezzle.com/).
International expansion - last but not least I would 100% find some suppliers or distributors internationally. We've barely scratched the surface in the US. There is a massive soft top surfboard market in Australia, for example, with many of the industry's products being manufactured nearby in SE Asia.
UPDATE AUGUST 1, 2020 - We are currently finishing a few projects which will get this business to a transferable point including:
Automate/outsource customer experience, including customer support, order fulfillment, and inventory management. As of August 1, we’ve fully onboarded and trained a customer experience agency for the past moth and they are officially transitioning to own chat/email support, order fulfillment and inventory management.
Automate/outsource digital marketing. As of August 1, we’ve got Google Ads, Facebook Ads (including DPA retargeting and prospecting), Email Marketing, SEO/Content Writing and Social Media Marketing fully automated as well. Currently operating at a 3,000+% ROAS advertising campaigns.
Skills to have
We have highly recommended freelancers already in place for all advertising so you do not need to invest in new resources. We also have built out an email marketing strategy on Klaviyo so this key segments such as new signups, product viewers, cart abandoners, checkout abandoners and purchasers are already set up for you. This is intended to be turnkey for a buyer.
I only recommend experience with Shopify to know your way around the platform. If this is your first Shopify business it will take a little bit of time to learn to the dashboard, orders, reports, etc. but it is not a technical platform nor do you need any technical resources. We’ve already customized the Brooklyn template to include accepting a terms and condition page before purchase and various other aesthetic improvements. Any other customizations desired feel free to ask maybe we can work out a discounted contract for custom work as part of our transition.
Our features for a secure experience
- Verified revenue and traffic
- Secure messaging platform
- Escrow payment system
- Dedicated migration team
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