Welcome to the 4th episode of My Grand Venture Heroes.
For this occasion we had the amazing opportunity to meet Samuel Peiffer, German influencer and expert in dropshipping and e-commerce.
Here below you find both the video and the written interview.
Samuel we would like you to tell more about your story. What brought you to become who you are today?
When I first started e-commerce I was in a critical situation. I wanted to find my way and start my own business. I dropped out of college and I started to look for online ways to make money. I just had around 4.000 euros or so saved up and I tried to start the business in the next six months, but I failed every time, again and again.
This helped me learn that you can’t succeed by trying out every business opportunity so I focused on dropshipping and I got really good at it.
I started earning my living with it, making good money. And at a certain point I decided that I wanted to share my whole story, my experiences and what I learned on my Youtube channel and I build up a huge German base of people who wanted to do the same thing.
What kind of traffic sources you like using or you like to combine when you work?
Weill, it depends what you want to do.
When I started I only used Facebook ads to promote my Shopify store where I sold cheap products – below 20 dollars – plus free shipping and everything.
It worked back then in 2015 but now I kinda feel you have to switch to higher pricing offers and you have to do better offers.
Today I keep using Facebook ads but I also use YouTube ads and use videos to sponsor products by showing them used in real life.
And Youtube is also cheaper to advertise on.
If I want to do branding, instead, I prefer to use YouTube Influencers. They don’t need to have 10M followers or subscribers, I only want the content to be good.
So you would say that YouTube influencers are better than Instagram influencers from a conversion point of view?
Yeah, way better. You know why?
Because when you pay them or you give them the product for free, the content stays forever on YouTube.
That’s incredible, because when you work with Instagram influencers you get a quick cash boost and then you have to pay them again for new content, because the other it’s gone.
How you do select these influencers?
What I do is I look for influencers that internationally have at least 5.000 subscribers and an active community. Then I look how many views their current ten videos are getting and then I ask them if they want to do something in exchange for a free product or so.
Most of them say yes to the free product, so is not a big investment, and sometimes I also promote giveaways, giving them two products, one for them and one for their audience to win.
Europe is a fragmented market when it comes to credit card penetration. We know that very well and that’s why we support COD. But what happens in the German market?
As you might know ad costs are rising to the roof right now because everybody is advertising on Facebook and everywhere else, so you get lower conversion rates in Europe than in the US. Yet, Europe is also a very strong continent and buying power.
This is the general situation of e-commerce in Europe, I would say.
Now, for the payment, what I can say is that not everybody in Germany has a credit card. They pay with a normal bank account like SEPA or SOFOR. These are the main payment types and they are quite easy to integrate with Shopify but if you use Clickfunnel or similar tools it get complex and sometimes you even need to hire a developer. You can use Paypal, that’s one option, but you have to use SEPA and the SOFORT, so it’s a closed circle. Or yes, COD could be a game-changing payment methods for the German market too.
Europe is also difficult because every country has its own tax system. For example is 19% taxes in Germany, 21% in Netherlands, etc. Every country has a different percentage and you have to contact the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) of the individual country to get a Tax ID number. So as you can see it can get complex, but I have to say if you get in the international market of US, Canada, New Zealand and T1 countries you can get cheaper conversions in Europe. Much cheaper.
I have people told me that they had sales for 3 euro in their stores for a 40 euro product back. You just run ads straight to an order form and that’s it.
We are in Q4, the shopping season, so could you tell our readers what are your AOV improvement techniques?
Sure. What I like to do is something like a bogo, buy one get one free or buy three and get three extra. I call them quality upsells. So I go over quantity or I do like a special offer where they get bonuses whenever they buy.
For example I was selling a mummy backpack like a diaper backpack with a baby bottle and some diapers and free shipping. So like a really good offer.
And the diaper bag also had a sort of hook that allowed you to hang it on your stroller.
The best part is that it cost me $20 and I sold it for $120.
What kind of budget is needed to start an e-commerce business? Do you have any good advice on how to wisely spend it when you’re starting your online business?
First of all, If you want to start a business you need to find someone who knows everything bout the business and that an guide you.
Don’t make the mistake of watching YouTube videos and then start your business. Because e-commerce is a real business.
I always tell my people to find somebody who’s really good at dropshipping, pay him and learn from him so they don’t make the same mistakes.
If you want to start in dropshipping, completely on your own, you will waste so much money – and I wasted so much money – on basically things that could have been avoided.
So in terms of budget you will need at least €500 to test some products let’s say 10 to 15 products. Then you need to invest €1.500 in coaching programs so you get going fast and don’t make mistakes. So € 2.000 would be good and it’s around $ 2.300 or $2.500.
And this is a good starting point for you.
You also need to keep in mind the costs of founding a business like legal operations. So I would say that $3.000 should be the best to be completely safe.
Remember to invest on yourself and on your education, because even if it seems that you are going to save money not doing it, in the long run you will lose more money due to mistakes, etc.
We know that you just published the E-com Black Book. Can you give us an overview or sum up the magical 5 steps that you describes in your e-book?
The E-com Black Book has 5 steps that will help you build an e-commerce brand, so you can start completely with free traffic, you don’t have to use like ads if you don’t want to and that’s what I’m recommending if you are starting out: go straight for a brand.
Here the 5 phases:
- Discover your power niche. It means that you find the niche where there is high demand but low competition, and the potential for your business to make money.
- How to find influencers or to become one. I am talking about YouTube influencer, because as I told you I think that they are better.
- How to create a brand. Here I include tips for products, pictures, logos and everything. This means the story too, because it’s what sells the most. Take for example the story of Dave Asprey. He sells the bulletproof coffee, a coffee with butter and coconut oil. It’s a keto product but he’s calling it bulletproof diet and there is a story behind it. What he says is that he was in Himalaya and he was freezing and they gave him this tea or coffee where they put yak milk or yak butter and he felt so good afterwards that he decided it to sell it.
- Develop your traffic strategy for the long term, what you do when you get some sales and you want to scale.
- How to make an irresistible offer in e-commerce.
And because I like e-commerce, I’m giving away this book for free. I cover the book and you pay the shipping.
Reaching success is not only about mastering technicalities but also about having good habits. Would you share with our uDroppers one habit that you have and that makes a difference on your entrepreneurial life?
You are totally right the routine is important.
My habit is to go straight to my desk, open up the computer and see what sales are coming from the night as soon as I wake up. And only then I go take my coffee, etc.
I go straight to work because I love it. I never skip these one or two hours in the morning. No my morning routine is doing my most important work and then I do other stuff like jogging, going to gym, shower and that stuff. So basically doing the most important thing first after I wake up.
And when you have like calls or so don’t do them in the morning; I learned that when you things in the morning, you continue. If you do them in the evening or before bed, you lose your consistency and you don’t get results.
Now let’s talk about forecasting. In 2018 people thought that branding and CBD would have been a trend for 2019. What kind of trends do you believe are going to take place in 2020 for e-commerce?
2019 was the year of brand like you said, but next year I think it’s shifting to personal branding, meaning that clients are buying from you because it’s you as a person that promotes the products that you are selling.
Think about Peter McKinnon. He got really big, building up his following and then he started making e-commerce products with other brands. He has this camera backpack he’s selling for $600 right now. He has a camera filters and everything and he’s starting out doing operation with big brands.
So yes, the way to go in 2020 is building up a great presence and start doing personal branding.
Want to know more about Samuel? Check out his blog here.
The interview didn’t end like this! In fact our Brand Relations Manager, Robin, involved Samuel in the usual uDroppy’s Game that this time was… Name the Store!
Wanna know how did Samuel do?
Watch our video!