From warehouse worker to CEO: Matteo Sargenti on how to become a successful dropshipper
Is dropshipping dead? Not according to Matteo Sargenti who has managed to create a full-blown successful business from scratch thanks to this supply chain method, investing minimal initial capital.
The road to success is paved with good intentions, but Matteo shows us how resilience and tenacity can guide you to excellent outcomes. This is why here at Yakkyofy we’ve asked him to share his story of how to become a successful dropshipper with our users.
What is dropshipping according to Matteo Sargenti?
Dropshipping is a business model.
I often see it described online as a revolutionary idea, but it’s not; it’s simply a Business Model. A Business Model that has been around for some years and that enables you to not invest in a physical warehouse, helping you avoid one of the biggest risks faced by traditional businesses: surplus and unsold stock. I recently wrote a Guide to Dropshipping in Italy on the topic that you can find on my blog.
What did you do before you started dropshipping?
I went straight to work after high school; initially as a warehouse worker and later I was hired by a company making Smartphone covers, before finally becoming an IT technician. By the time I was 23/4, having worked all these different jobs, I didn’t feel fulfilled; I wanted to be my own boss, create my own business and focus all my energies on that.
What made you think about becoming a dropshipper?
I recall it was around 2016 and I was working for a business that made Smartphone covers…Most of their orders came online! Via the eShop!
From this moment on, I started to think about how I too could use the web to start up my own business and, after a few sleepless nights spent on YouTube looking for a winning idea, I came across an American YouTuber relating his adventures with “Dropshipping”- I couldn’t just sit back and watch! A handful of days later my first Shopify store was already live!
Be truthful, were you immediately successful?
At first, I didn’t know about tools like Facebook’s Business Manager, sales funnel settings etc.… Without a solid understanding of these key tools, it’s practically impossible to “be successful”- what I did at the start was watch a lot of YouTube videos and copy them step-by-step. These were mostly Facebook Ads videos.
The campaigns didn’t always work, but I tried to identify what went wrong each time to figure out how to improve the next advertising campaign. I think “getting your hands dirty” is one of the few truly effective ways of learning things like this.
After some time, learning and failure, the results started rolling in.
Which are the most common newbie-dropshipper mistakes?
In my 1-on-1 consultations, 99% of the time I’m dealing with these two mistakes:
the first is thinking that to dropship it’s mandatory that you use Aliexpress as a supplier! So wrong! I see people going crazy trying to find cost-effective and reliable shipping on Aliexpress. But Aliexpress is not the only option available! You can use a B2B supplier like Yakkyofy to help you reduce product cost, especially if bulk buying. They also provide more control over product quality and offer rapid, reliable shipping. How? Pick up the phone and call or contact them over Chat on Facebook as they are Italian.
The second concerns finding winning products. There’s no magic formula to find the right product although there certainly are some software systems that can help with this. The only real way to find out if a product really is a winner is to test it. A word of warning: my advice is to avoid products that contain liquids or electronic elements. You might end up struggling with even longer shipping times and high volumes of refund requests.
I don’t believe in “saturated” products, but I do think there is always a new niche to re-propose products that were sold en masse in the last few months/years.
Last year I scaled a store with a product that practically everyone said was “saturated”!
What was your first successful product or campaign?
Given the increasing interest in buying ladies’ (plus size) clothing online, especially in the USA, I’ve decided to sell products in this niche.
I’d rather not reveal the product as the store is currently active and continues to sell.
Over the last few years, I’ve had some successes and a lot of personal satisfaction, but let’s say that last year (2020) especially, my numbers went up significantly.
We invested around 150.000$ in one advertising account in 2020 (from March 2020 precisely), achieving an almost 3-point ROAS. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone, we invested around 35.000$ securing excellent results both in terms of revenue and ROAS.
Once you’d opened your first dropshipping store, how did you transform it into a full-time business?
Once the USA store opened, I needed other people to help manage the volume of daily orders, so I slowly started to build my “team” composed of 2 ladies on customer service and one on logistics and fulfillment. At this point, there’s always something to do! Whether it’s finding new products to test, developing new creative, managing advertising campaigns, returns, refunds, managing the team etc and so it became a full time business!
Speaking of numbers, this is the store we scaled last year between April and December. The objective? To reach 1 million in revenues and scale other products!
What advice would you give to young people taking their first steps in dropshipping today?
The first, and I think also the most important piece of advice is: ensure you have enough budget. You can’t expect to open a business on 100€.
Don’t expect to spend less than 1000-2000 € on advertising. Below these amounts, you might be unable to clearly understand if yours is a winning product or not! You don’t need to be a pro at Facebook Ads to get results, but the more you know the less likely you are to make a loss.
The second piece of advice is concerning Customer Support. When you start receiving a lot of orders and they go up daily, so will your email requests for the support!
At first, you will be answering them yourself (as rapidly as possible) and trying to understand what the most common issues are and how to solve them, later you can try out a virtual assistant. Try looking up “Customer Care Dropshipping” on Upwork, you’ll find loads.
Remember that if your clients are not satisfied with your service and leave negative feedback on your Facebook page it could get permanently banned!
What are your plans for the future, if you can tell us about them?
I will keep selling products in dropshipping, but I am also starting a new brand in Italy.
If you abandon Aliexpress as your supplier, you’ll soon see there are other opportunities on the market, and with partners like Yakkyofy, you can easily buy products branded with your own logo.
All you need to do is send a photo of a product and your logo and you’ll get an all-inclusive quote within just a few days.
You can choose to send these branded products directly from China in Dropshipping or get them sent to you wholesale in Italy.
They manage everything: documents, excise duty, and customs.
Given that this business can be managed from anywhere, my final objective is to put my computer in my backpack and set off for the rest of Europe: a yearlong tour of all the major capitals awaits me, like a real digital nomad! Perhaps I’ll even find a new base to settle in!