What's up everybody, Anton Kraly here from dropshiplifestyle.com. If you're not familiar with me or my company, we help people build highly profitable, semi-automated online stores by dropshipping high ticket products from domestic suppliers.
With that being said, in today's episode, what we're going to be talking about is how to bring a dead dropshipping store back to life. The reason this is what we're talking about today is because on Monday I released an episode that was called, Top Eight Reasons New Dropshippers Fail.
One of the reasons I gave, I think it was actually the last one number eight was that people, sometimes, especially if they're new, get into this fixed mindset in their business, once they start seeing results and they simply stop growing. They feel like they've reached it. They've accomplished what they wanted. When that happens, time passes, traffic and sales will eventually start to dwindle, and if you let it go long enough, then eventually you might be left with a dead dropshipping store.
Another reason why you might be wanting to revive a dead store would be if you see one for sale and you see that the store for sale had success in the past, but currently, it's trending downwards, maybe even dead, and you see it available at a bargain price.
Now, what I will say about that is while there are deals to be had, and while people definitely make money by buying distressed assets, including dropshipping stores, fixing them up, and then flipping them, or just keeping them in their asset portfolio. Just know, I don't think that's the best route to go for most people.
My advice is typically, even if you're brand new, follow a system, like what we teach at Drop Ship Lifestyle, build your store from the ground up, put in that sweat equity basically, and then you'll have an asset worth just as much as one for sale that might be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Typically that's what I recommend, but maybe you already bought one. Maybe you see something that you just think is an amazing deal, you want to buy it anyway. Then this episode could help you as well.
With that being said, I think it's important to talk about why stores can actually die. Like I mentioned, it might just be that you or the previous owner just didn't put in the work and then sales died off. That's a way that it's saveable.
There are some scenarios though where it's not worth saving. Don't even try to revive it. One of them it might be that you, or the previous owner, did something shady in the past and got the stores domain name blacklisted from Google, and or Facebook, or any other big channels that you might want to use to drive traffic.
If that's the case, it's really not worth it. Don't try to rebuild, just pivot, do something different. Even sell the same products, but rebuild a brand. Do it the right way. Do it without doing anything shady that would get you banned on those platforms.
Another reason that a store, in my opinion, wouldn't be worth saving is if you or the previous owner just offered really terrible customer service and that led to basically tons of negative reviews plastered all over the internet that all of your future potential leads we'll see. That will simply lead to you not having conversions.
If one of those two things happened again, it's probably not worth saving that store, but for the purpose of this episode, let's just assume that neither of those things happened, traffic and sales simply dropped off over time due to nothing else, but neglect. Now it's time to bring that store back to life.
What am I about to take you through is very similar to what a company would do that acquires distressed assets, but remember, even if the distressed asset has been yours since inception, since day one, this applies to you as the existing owner as well.
The first step in reviving a dead store is to document your baseline. The reason this is so important is because if you want to grow, you need to know where you currently are at. What do I mean by documenting a baseline?
I mean, by going back for the past three months of the business history, just the trailing three months, what just happened. What you want to look at is how much traffic is coming into your store, where is that traffic coming from, and what traffic, if any, is leading to sales?
Now, when I say document this, I literally mean like create a document where you're writing this all out. You could do this in Google Slides if you want to turn it into a presentation for yourself and your team if you have one. You can do it in a notepad. It doesn't really matter. The point is you want to document your baseline from the past three months. Again, the trailing 12 weeks in your business.
Again, in terms of traffic, how much is coming in? Where is it coming from? What is leading to sales? What is happening right now day to day in your dead dropshipping store or in the other owners dead dropshipping store if you want to acquire that asset? By the way, get this data before you buy if you're going to buy someone's store.
Now once you have this data, it's documented, it's time to move on to step two, which is to document your peak. Now, what I want you to do here is take a look at the best three months of the business, whenever that was. That might have been six to nine months ago, that might've been 18 months ago. It doesn't matter, but what you want to do is document the best three months for that business.
What you want to do in this section is look at how much traffic was coming in then? Again, where did that traffic come from? And what led to sales when the business was doing as best as it ever was? Was it specifically from Google ads? Was it Facebook ads? Was it email marketing? Was it referrals? Was it affiliate marketing? Whatever led to those best three months, again, not just picking the three best months over the business history, but the best three month window. The reason we want to look at that is because it shows more consistency.
Everyone might have a week in their business or a month in their business where they get some big press mention or where they launch a new ad campaign and for some reason you're blessed by Google or Facebook and you have three days of insanity, but that's not what we're looking for. We're looking for consistency over a three-month period when the business did the best. We want to document again, what worked then in terms of traffic, where it was coming from how much traffic it led to you and which led to sales.
Once you document that peak three month window, the next thing that you want to do for step three is identify what I call the fall off. Now the beauty of this is that we have so much data, and you have so much data, or the previous business owner has so much data because every tool that we use tracks everything for us.
Whether this be in Google Analytics, Google ads, Facebook ads, Microsoft ads, Shopify Analytics, inside of Klaviyo for email marketing. The data from what happened previously is there for you to dive into for you to inspect.
What you want to do is go into all of those platforms, whichever ones you currently use or the business owner that owned the business before you uses, and you want to basically set the date range for data that you want to look at for the lifespan of the business.
If the store launched in 2017, the graphs you want to look at are starting on the start date of the business up until current day. It makes it glaringly obvious when things change because you might see something, for example, inside of Google ads, where it's showing you when the business started, there was almost no traffic being sent from Google ads. Then you'll see where it ticks up and that's probably when a new ad campaign was launched or budgets were changed.
Then again, it should be glaringly obvious when things even either start to fall off or when there's just a hard decline, like a steep line down. The reason these steep lines happen, by the way, those are the ones you're looking for the fall off. They're typically not because somebody just went in and changed the budget. A lot of times they're caused by error.
This might be a system error where one of your ads gets flagged. This might be an error where you accidentally clicked some button that said, "Auto apply budget changes," or something like that and it threw all your ads out of black. Then maybe you never even thought or remembered that you made that change. You just might've noticed that, "Hey, my sales aren't that great this month," and next month, "My sales are still down." And four months later, "What's been going on in the business isn't doing as well." Maybe it's because you clicked one auto apply change button again, four months ago.
What you want to look at when you're looking at these expanded views of your business is where the drop off occurred. You want to dive as deep as possible here when you're doing this quantitative research. For example, in Google ads, you want to see which campaign led to the fall off. Inside of that campaign. You want to look at the ad set level. Was there a specific ad set that led to the fall off.
You want to go then to the ad level. Was there a specific ad that led to the fall off? One quick tip I can give you here in Google ads that I use probably every day, there's a button that says see history when you're looking at your campaigns or ad sets or ads. And it'll show you on specific dates, what changes were made, and you can revert those changes right through there, but at the very least, you can see exactly what changed on a day.
If you're looking at this expanded view of, let's just say Google ads, and you see that in July, your traffic dropped off and it brought in half as many clicks. Well, you can go to your history and it'll show you on July 4th the budget for this campaign was changed to this, or these three new ads were added, or these two ads were turned off, but it gives you literally a pinpoint view of what happened that led to that fall off.
Another thing, do the same thing inside of Facebook ads and they also have a history tool that'll show you on specific dates, what you changed or what was automatically changed. Again, this will help you identify the fall off.
Now important to note, in this step in step three here, what we're not doing is making changes. We're not trying to reset things. We're not trying to bring anything back. We're simply looking at when the fall off occurred and we're identifying what caused it, and we're documenting it in addition to what we documented in steps one and two.
Now, also I would recommend you do this inside of Klayvio or whatever system you use for email marketing or the previous owner uses. Look at what flow might've led to less sales or less people going through it. All of this you want to be documented.
Same thing, organic traffic. Go into Google Search Console, look at what pages might have dropped off, or when your impression started going down, or when your clicks started going down. Document that in your main document here that's basically keeping track of everything that's happened in the businesses lifespan.
Now, the next thing you want to do, this is similar to the last one, but possibly even more important. In step three, we were looking at that quantitative data, the actual numbers. In step four, what we're doing is identifying the fall off, but we're doing it with qualitative data. I'll just put qualitative.
What I mean here is you're not just looking inside your ad accounts anymore, but this is when you actually have to think back and think what happened in my personal life or in my business life, when this fall off started? You might find something glaringly obvious. Maybe it was that you had a business partner and you guys stopped seeing eye to eye around this time.
Maybe it's that you took a three month trip to Thailand and you put a lot less time into your business. Maybe it's that you were in a new relationship or in a bad relationship. Whatever it may be, these are things that, and I know this from experience doing this stuff over a decade, you're not thinking about day-to-day how they're impacting your business, but when you look back and you identify the fall off see if you can pinpoint that to a specific point of your life.
If there's another owner, simply ask them, "Well, I see the data I see this is what happened in Google, and Facebook, and Klaviyo, and with organic traffic. But was there anything happening in your personal life," or if you have a business partner in their life around this time that also may have led to this.
This is going to be really important as we move in to step five because like, I hope you're seeing here so far, what we've done in steps one through four is gathering information. That's all, this is about. Again, we're gathering information and we're not making any changes. We're simply trying to basically if you go to the doctor, we're talking about reviving someone or reviving a business. If you go to the doctor before they just say, "Okay, here's some medicine or here's what you should do," they're going to go through your history. They're going to give you a checkup to try to find what was wrong.
That's exactly what we do here in steps one to four. You're trying to identify where the problems are so that they can be fixed. That leads us in to the final step, which is step five. This one is, plan your comeback.
Now we're not doing some grand reopening where we're going to try to post all over social like, "Hey, we're back in business," because most likely the people that even followed you when your store was still active don't care anymore. Sure you could do that if you want, but that's not what's going to lead to a store coming back to life.
What you're going to do in step five for planning your comeback is you're going to look at what you previously did. Again, things you already documented, things that worked best during that three month peak, and you're going to try to identify what can be replicated.
If you do see that your fall off occurred when ads, or ad sets, or campaigns were turned off. Part of your comeback can be simply, surprise, surprise, turning them back on.
Maybe you noticed that during the fall off period, you changed your ad account structure. Maybe you used to have one alpha campaign, one beta campaign, and by the way, if that's above your head at this point, don't worry. I teach it all in detail in the dropship blueprint like everything else we do. I'll post the link about that program if you're interested in, but maybe that's what you'll notice. That you changed up your account structures and that's when the fall off started. Guess what? Maybe you can go back to your old account structure during that three month peak.
Let's just say that your campaigns never went off. You didn't turn them off. You didn't change your campaign structure, but over time your campaigns performed worse, and worse, and worse, and worse. Well then what you'll want to do when planning your comeback is rebuild your ad campaigns from the ground up, and basically let them relearn.
If you're not familiar with what that means, whenever you launch a new Google campaign or a Facebook campaign, it goes into a learning phase where Google or Facebook is gathering data about how it converts basically figuring out how much money you have to spend to get sales. If it's something that's died slowly over time, rebuild it from the ground up and let it relearn.
Now, another thing you should do when planning your comeback, and again, this should all be in your document, is look at any errors you might have that would cause things not to work as well.
Maybe this is in Google Merchant Center. Maybe this is in Google Search Console affecting your organic traffic and obviously fix those errors sooner rather than later.
Maybe you notice when you're looking through your previous data, that your best three month window you did two different promotions via email and ads to your existing audiences. Guess what? Put a promotion on the calendar for every month over the next year.
Another thing that I think a lot of people will struggle with is thinking that, "Okay, Anton, I'm going to do this and then my store used to do, let's just say, $50,000 a month 12 months ago. Now it's doing 10,000 a month. I'm going to do what you just said and it's going to be back at 50K in a week." Maybe it will, most likely it will not.
My advice is when you are getting into this rebuilding phase, set biweekly or monthly goals and monitor them closely. What you want to do is bring your store back to life slowly and controlled. Again, think of somebody that's really sick. They don't just stand up one day and be like, "I'm perfect." It's kind of a process. Set these milestones, set these goals, monitor them closely, and what you're acting on to revive your store is everything that we've just covered that you've documented.
Another thing that is really important is to fix whatever let the store die the first time. That's why I said earlier the fourth thing that I went through here, the qualitative reason that the store fell off and died. If you do everything else, reset all the quantitative stuff, get your ads all back, get everything to where it was. That's great. The store can make money again, but it'll die again unless you fix that other reason. That qualitative reason. The thing that let it die the first time.
Maybe that was laziness. It happens to everybody. Maybe it was greed. Maybe it was a failed business partnership. Whatever it was just make sure you fix that before you rebuild or else you'll just rebuild and die again and we don't want to die twice.
Guys that's it for this episode. I hope it was valuable. If it was definitely let me know by giving a like if you're watching on YouTube or leaving a review if you're over on Apple Podcasts. I should also mention that this specific episode is speaking and is trying to help people that had success, but let that success slip away.
If that's not you yet, maybe you're still struggling to be profitable to begin with, check out a video I did, I think almost three years ago now called How to Save a Failed Drop Ship Store and I'll link that up in the description. Again, that should help everybody that hasn't seen success yet.
Also, like I mentioned, if you are brand new and you want to know how we build highly profitable, semi-automated stores, be sure to check out a free training I'm hosting. It's two hours long. We go deep over at dropshipwebinar.com.
As a bonus, when you go over there, let me show you this. You're going to get a free copy of this, which is my 237 Profitable Products Report for 2021. Link in the description for that as well. Again, dropshipwebinar.com.
That's it for this one, guys. I appreciate you. Hope you got value and I will be back on Thursday with a brand new episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast. See you everybody.