Took some time but we did it-our first store

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Finally, we have developed our first AliExpress dropshipping store https://two-stupid-cats.myshopify.com/

As you can see it is a shopify platform based store. Our next store will be a woocommerce one. The intention is to try different things as much as possible.

We do get that cat market is saturated but it is something we are really passionate about so we decided(my wife decided haha) to give it a try.

We are going to start promoting the site soon; however we are new at this and the process is going to be slow and i guess somewhat painfull.

It would be great if you could review my site, give some recommendations, ideas, share your experience or anything you think would be useful!
#itmy #itour #sam #store #time
  • Profile picture of the author Splatterfox
    Originally Posted by Jurisa Puratic View Post

    Finally, we have developed our first AliExpress dropshipping store https://two-stupid-cats.myshopify.com/

    As you can see it is a shopify platform based store. Our next store will be a woocommerce one. The intention is to try different things as much as possible.

    We do get that cat market is saturated but it is something we are really passionate about so we decided(my wife decided haha) to give it a try.

    We are going to start promoting the site soon; however we are new at this and the process is going to be slow and i guess somewhat painfull.

    It would be great if you could review my site, give some recommendations, ideas, share your experience or anything you think would be useful!
    Congratulations on your first store!

    Regarding feedback: well, as you basically said already, this is a typical cat store, I saw practically the same thing dozens of times before. However, the fact that you (or your wife) do this partly because you are huge fans makes the thing better. My advice is to put some content around the store, maybe write a cat related blog or give helpful advice about cats. Also, adding additional product descriptions is a must, most of your products lack them at all.

    Finally, you definetly need a custom domain. There may be people who don't care, but its a nogo if you want to own a professional store and there will be definetly people turned off by this fact.

    All in all: so far there is nothing special about it. Now it becomes interesting how much effort you put in marketing and possible further ideas to improve the store.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
      Thanks for all the advices Splatterfox. We will go through them one by one and try to make our store better. Still struggling with all the SEO stuff and well lets be honest with everything but it is very interesting and there are a ton of things to do and explore. Gonna take it a one step at a time and enjoy the experience.

      Thanks again for the great review!
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  • Profile picture of the author BalloonGuy
    i agree with Splatterfox and i am not an expert but i am an expert international businessman and i too have been studying and reading for a few years to learn everything i can. After my studies i too am going to do exactly the same as you. Did you know with Shopify you can add on another software, Oberlo. It will take ALL info from the Aliexpress and download exactly to your site.. i mean everything.. photos too. make your listing Pro-like. There is a free version for startups. And i think for your site. you should start a photo upload for your favorite cat photo..of a Facebook for cats, idea. And used some paid advertising on Facebook to draw the cat lovers in.. offer something free to bait them and capture their email. get the cat lovers bookmarking your site.
    good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
      Thank you for you advice BalloonGuy, really appreciate it. Regarding Oberlo, we do have it and it was of huge help importing all the products into our store.

      Gonna try also facebook ads, google ads and so on.
      Basically gonna try them all and observe the results.

      Photo upload is another great idea. The only problem is we still do not have so many likes on our page...it is gonna take some time to build up.

      Great suggestions, thanks man!
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  • Profile picture of the author Shay S
    You do have some counterfeits there like Tigger! So just be careful...

    Nice store overall!
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  • Profile picture of the author DWaters
    Being a cat lover myself I do indeed like your site. I noticed a typo right away however. There is a space missing here - " Cat Ladies,Real.... "


    My other thought is simply that you may want to consider obtaining some cat inventory and selling on Amazon via FBA as you will have so much more buyer traffic that way.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
      Thanks DWaters appreciate it. We are polishing the site as we speak. There is still allot of work to do like description for all the items, SEO and so on. Also we are trying to get 2checkout because currently accepting only paypall. So far this is the hardest part. Also trying to post 3 times a day on the social networks. As soon as i get some time on my hands gonna start my own blog+reddit.
      After that i guess next step is payed ads.
      Still getting only 50 people per day visiting the store. Need to get those numbers up.
      Can you explain the benefits on selling on ebay or amazon. I cannot compete with the prices over there and it really feels like a waste of time. Or am i missing something critical over here?

      Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author DWaters
    The main benefit of selling on Amazon is simple. That is where buyers go to buy stuff! Approximately 45% of all people who are looking to make a purchase go there first. The site has a tremendous level of customer confidence and loyalty. Selling on their Fulfillment By Amazon model (FBA) also has many other benefits such as Amazon taking care of all customer service and satisfaction issues. Essentially FBA is you sending a portion of your inventory to one of the Amazon warehouses, your product listing goes live on their site, if an order gets placed they ship the product to the customer. There is more to it then that of course but that is the basic set up.

    If you are able to obtain your physical products at the proper pricing (think "buy at wholesale") then this may make a lot of sense. Remember that generating traffic is not a problem because Amazon already has HUGE amounts of buyer traffic. Having your inventory where those buyers can find it only makes sense IMO. I always suggest people start small and learn the business and scale up to more products and more inventory as they go.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
      Thank you for the explanation, sounds good with the inventory being shipped by Amazon. Would love to do that but i think we need to start making sales from our store before purchasing inventory. Earn some money, expand slowly. Wanna know which items will be sold more than others. At least thats my reasoning, maybe i am wrong.
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      • Profile picture of the author TrafficFlow
        As a cat lover I liked the design of the store including the photos. I think you left out the S in "recommend" Also it seems like you could have more inventory as I only noticed about one page of items unless I missed a Load More button.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
          Originally Posted by TrafficFlow View Post

          As a cat lover I liked the design of the store including the photos. I think you left out the S in "recommend" Also it seems like you could have more inventory as I only noticed about one page of items unless I missed a Load More button.
          I corrected the S, thanks. Regarding the inventory...there are around 450 items in the store so maybe you missed something.
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      • Profile picture of the author DWaters
        Originally Posted by Jurisa Puratic View Post

        Thank you for the explanation, sounds good with the inventory being shipped by Amazon. Would love to do that but i think we need to start making sales from our store before purchasing inventory. Earn some money, expand slowly. Wanna know which items will be sold more than others. At least thats my reasoning, maybe i am wrong.
        There is a very useful tool that I use at camelcamelcamel.com You use the Amazon product number and you can look at the sales history of a specific item. Lots of useful detail so you never guess how an item will sell. If you are adding a new product to Amazon, one that is not already in their catalog, you could simply look at a similar item they already sell.

        Since you are right now looking to drop ship items from your store to the customer than I believe there is another process to consider. This is not something i have done but I do believe it is being done by others. You list the item on Amazon but not as FBA but rather as aMerchant Fulfilled item. When the customer places the order on Amazon you simply notify your dropshpper of the order and they ship. It has to be done in a timely manner of course but it is the way to sell on Amazon without having to physically take possession of the inventory. You just process the order and have it shipped.
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        • Profile picture of the author Splatterfox
          Originally Posted by DWaters View Post

          There is a very useful tool that I use at camelcamelcamel.com You use the Amazon product number and you can look at the sales history of a specific item. Lots of useful detail so you never guess how an item will sell. If you are adding a new product to Amazon, one that is not already in their catalog, you could simply look at a similar item they already sell.

          Since you are right now looking to drop ship items from your store to the customer than I believe there is another process to consider. This is not something i have done but I do believe it is being done by others. You list the item on Amazon but not as FBA but rather as aMerchant Fulfilled item. When the customer places the order on Amazon you simply notify your dropshpper of the order and they ship. It has to be done in a timely manner of course but it is the way to sell on Amazon without having to physically take possession of the inventory. You just process the order and have it shipped.
          Thats true, but I wouldn't dropship to Amazon from AliExpress suppliers. I'd definetly stay within your country because Amazon can be really harsh when it comes to customer satisfaction. PayPal can be painful if something goes wrong for the customer, but good luck with Amazon - they will delete your account faster than any payment provider out there if you underperform.
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  • Profile picture of the author automathings
    I would create some kind of incentive for people to sign up for your mailing list. That's going to be your most valuable asset in the long run.

    The other thing that I've seen with these Aliexpress dropshipping sites is that you need to be really clear that shipping is going to take 12-20 days. Most people expect their product within a few days and you're going to get a lot of chargebacks (and your payment account revoked) if expectations aren't met.

    Is there a reason why you're only accepting PayPal?

    I'd also hack out the Powered By Shopify at bottom. You can do that in the theme.liquid file.

    Remove the goods carrying trademarked images - trafficking in counterfeit goods won't just get you sued, there also can be criminal penalties.

    Like others have said though, most of these AliExpress people are just resellers themselves. If you can track down the real manufacturer on Alibaba after you know what sells, import the items and store them using Amazon FBA (assuming that the category is still open) you could significantly increase your margins.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
    Posts are being deleted. Dunno why...

    It is a pain with pay pal and other payment gateways. Did not expect that. So far this has been the hardest part regarding technical stuff.

    Visits are very low also. We are getting around 30 a day. In 5 days we will start a blog so maybe that will push the numbers. Still doing item descriptions, 300 to go...
    Social networks are slowly growing so i hope this will help also...
    It is a slow process.
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    • Profile picture of the author Splatterfox
      Originally Posted by Jurisa Puratic View Post

      Posts are being deleted. Dunno why...

      It is a pain with pay pal and other payment gateways. Did not expect that. So far this has been the hardest part regarding technical stuff.

      Visits are very low also. We are getting around 30 a day. In 5 days we will start a blog so maybe that will push the numbers. Still doing item descriptions, 300 to go...
      Social networks are slowly growing so i hope this will help also...
      It is a slow process.
      Definetly true. Payment companies simply hate dropshipping, especially if you do it straight from China. That's why I would try to find a PayPal alternative as soon as possible. Once they limit your account (temporarily or permanently) your business will be stuck. Plus, there are a lot of people who would rather pay with creditcard without PP. Stripe and Shopify Payments are good processors here.

      Regarding traffic: yes, if your marketing budget is low, its a very very slow process. It is hard to achieve "viral" content. However, if you guys stay persistent and don't switch your business in 2 weeks because of a lack of sales, you can definetly build something here at some point in time.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
        Originally Posted by Splatterfox View Post

        Definetly true. Payment companies simply hate dropshipping, especially if you do it straight from China. That's why I would try to find a PayPal alternative as soon as possible. Once they limit your account (temporarily or permanently) your business will be stuck. Plus, there are a lot of people who would rather pay with creditcard without PP. Stripe and Shopify Payments are good processors here.

        Regarding traffic: yes, if your marketing budget is low, its a very very slow process. It is hard to achieve "viral" content. However, if you guys stay persistent and don't switch your business in 2 weeks because of a lack of sales, you can definetly build something here at some point in time.
        They truly hate dropshipping...we have been rejected by a few. They are all polite and stuff but as soon as you mention dropshipping they reject you. Hopefully it will all be ok with 2checkout. Stripe is unavailable in my country.

        We are planning to give google advertising a try but firstly we want to explore all other options. Still feels kinda too soon to start that.
        Focusing on social networks and building a community at the moment.
        We will definitely not give up or switch. Every begining is hard but we will get there!
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        • Profile picture of the author Splatterfox
          Originally Posted by Jurisa Puratic View Post

          They truly hate dropshipping...we have been rejected by a few. They are all polite and stuff but as soon as you mention dropshipping they reject you. Hopefully it will all be ok with 2checkout. Stripe is unavailable in my country.

          We are planning to give google advertising a try but firstly we want to explore all other options. Still feels kinda too soon to start that.
          Focusing on social networks and building a community at the moment.
          We will definitely not give up or switch. Every begining is hard but we will get there!
          2Checkout is really bad, they require a signed agreement off (all) your dropshippers (besides a lot of minor stuff like confirmed address data, scope of business etc.)

          Possibly there is a workaround for that agreement thing, but when they told me about this I stopped my application process.
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          • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
            Originally Posted by Splatterfox View Post

            2Checkout is really bad, they require a signed agreement off (all) your dropshippers (besides a lot of minor stuff like confirmed address data, scope of business etc.)

            Possibly there is a workaround for that agreement thing, but when they told me about this I stopped my application process.
            You are partially correct. They do require a signed document, but not from all your dropshippers. I talked to a guy who managed to finish the process and he said he sent them 3 random agreements. They checked if the item in the agreement were in the store and if the dropshippers had the items also. Lastly they ask for your aliexpress profile screenshot.

            Will try with this option. As you are aware it is impossible to get agreements from all the suppliers. Half of this guys dont have or wanna give you their e-mail.
            Hope it works because if not we are going to have only pay pal...which is a big risk.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
    Just a small update...we made our first sale! ))
    It took us 13 days but we did it.
    Thank you all for your suggestions and support, keep`em coming!
    We are going to continue to work hard and try to improve!
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  • Profile picture of the author fearlesspioneer
    I'm not familiar with the cat niche. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the niche you choose is still too broad. Cat accessories, right? I think you should focus on a even smaller niche. But it's useless to say this now, you've already built the store. Then you need to research the niche really carefully and find out a low competition sub-niche in it. That is the "low hanging fruit" which is the best place for you to start your marketing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
      Originally Posted by fearlesspioneer View Post

      I'm not familiar with the cat niche. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the niche you choose is still too broad. Cat accessories, right? I think you should focus on a even smaller niche. But it's useless to say this now, you've already built the store. Then you need to research the niche really carefully and find out a low competition sub-niche in it. That is the "low hanging fruit" which is the best place for you to start your marketing.
      This is something to consider. We want to test things as they are now. Seems kinda pointless to backtrack so early without any real results. Got 3 sales from when we opened our store(17 days).
      This is ok for a new store i guess. Right now we are waiting for the final mail from 2checkout. Yesterday we launched our first newsletter. Today we are going to start with the blog. Hopefully in a week we are going to start making youtube videos.
      Anyhow, thank you for your suggestions, keep`em coming.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
    We got our 2checkout account approved today. I can confirm that you do not need the agreement document with the entire inventory of your store.
    We had 7 items in the agreement and that worked fine.
    So there...
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  • Profile picture of the author Shay S
    Well done Jurisa, you grew a lot in such little time I wish you much success to come!
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  • Profile picture of the author Nicholas Cross
    Hello! I really like your store. I think it is a great way to learn and grow not only as a couple, but as internet savvy marketers as well. I decided to post in here because, well, tell us...

    How is it going thus far?

    Is there anything you'd like to tell someone that is learning to do drop-shipping themselves? As I am currently in the process of creating and playing with shopify.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
      Originally Posted by Nicholas Cross View Post

      Hello! I really like your store. I think it is a great way to learn and grow not only as a couple, but as internet savvy marketers as well. I decided to post in here because, well, tell us...

      How is it going thus far?

      Is there anything you'd like to tell someone that is learning to do drop-shipping themselves? As I am currently in the process of creating and playing with shopify.
      Hi Nicholas, thank you for your kind words. Well it`s not easy giving advice as i am really new and have no experience, but here are some observations....

      SEO- i really made a big mistake at start and imported 450 items into our store. If i could do it again i would start with 50 items max. Why? Simply because it is allot easier to do seo for 50 items than for 450. To put it bluntly i have no SEO. This is an issue i will start to address next week and i estimate it will take me approx 30 days to get the job done.
      SOCIAL MEDIA- we are active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram posting every two hours. Started also making YouTube videos. Social media has been the main source of traffic. Facebook in particular. But i must admit it is frustrating to have 3000 followers on instagram and getting approx 1-2 visits per day.
      BLOG-writing it twice a week i really dont see any benefit form it. Maybe i am missing something. Also reposting it on tumblr and WordPress.
      NEWSLETTER-doing it once a week, have 25 subscribers. People tell me this is really important in the long run.
      ADWORDS- here is another lesson that i had to learn the hard way. Did no research, have no experience and i did not know what i was doing which resulted in a 3 day campaign with 0 sales. Ok i spent only 40$ . Will give it another try after the Chinese new year.
      FACEBOOK ADS-same thing as adwords, the difference is i managed to get a sale from it and 15 page likes.

      I know it is a slow process but sometimes you just want to speed things up. My main objective is to drive more people in the store. I get approx 40 people per day.
      So far got 8 sales with a net profit of approx 100$. Store is open 40 days.
      Would love any suggestions on how to drive more traffic into the store.
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  • Profile picture of the author carltonman
    Hi Jurisa,

    Your store looks good The third picture of two cats is really beautiful
    I agree with others that it is a good thing that you two are passionate about cats. But you should definitely buy your own domain. You can get a domain and DNS hosting for as low as 10$. And it gives a lot more credibility to your store.

    Remember, do what you are good and passionate about and success will come.

    Wish you luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
      Originally Posted by carltonman View Post

      Hi Jurisa,

      Your store looks good The third picture of two cats is really beautiful
      I agree with others that it is a good thing that you two are passionate about cats. But you should definitely buy your own domain. You can get a domain and DNS hosting for as low as 10$. And it gives a lot more credibility to your store.

      Remember, do what you are good and passionate about and success will come.

      Wish you luck!
      Hi carltonman, my wife thanks you as she is responsible for the banners haha

      Regarding the domain...we already did that, the address looks like this now.. https://twostupidcats.com/

      Cheers!
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  • Profile picture of the author onlineworker11
    Con gratulations on having your first store
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    • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
      Originally Posted by onlineworker11 View Post

      Con gratulations on having your first store
      Thanks, appreciate it!
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  • Profile picture of the author John Garuti III
    What plugins are you using?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
      Originally Posted by John Garuti III View Post

      What plugins are you using?
      It`a shopify store and the addons are:


      AddThis Sharing Tool, BEST Currency Converter, Consistent Cart, Facebook Chat by Beeketing, HelpCenter, MailChimp, McAfee SECURE, Oberlo, Privy, Product Reviews,Quick View by Secomapp,Sales Pop, SEO Image Optimizer, WhatShare.

      Some are very good others are ok. Good thing is except Oberlo, they are all free.
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      • Profile picture of the author uilee
        I really love your store. Very well organized and easy on your eyes. May I ask how many visitors you're getting a day and where the majority of your visitors are from? Wish I can have my own store one day...
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        • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
          Originally Posted by uilee View Post

          I really love your store. Very well organized and easy on your eyes. May I ask how many visitors you're getting a day and where the majority of your visitors are from? Wish I can have my own store one day...
          Thank you for your kind words. I get around 40 visitors and most are coming from social media. The most we had is 200 visitors but i posted allot of content on reddit that day.

          Sales are coming in but its a slow process. We did not do payed ads up until now but will start in about 5 days.

          It`s so easy to open a store, no joke. The real struggle begins after that.

          Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author David Jones42
    Congratulations on having your first store. All the best for future
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    • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
      Originally Posted by David Jones42 View Post

      Congratulations on having your first store. All the best for future
      Thank you, we are launching our second store in 3 days!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
    Do you guys have experience with shoutouts?

    I tried 3 shoutouts and did not get good results. Spent about 30$ per ad, i even made

    videos. The account were in the range of 150k-330k. Made a single sale.

    Would love any comment to see what your experience has been with this kind of advertising.

    Gonna switch to google next....
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    • Profile picture of the author Splatterfox
      Originally Posted by Jurisa Puratic View Post

      Do you guys have experience with shoutouts?

      I tried 3 shoutouts and did not get good results. Spent about 30$ per ad, i even made

      videos. The account were in the range of 150k-330k. Made a single sale.

      Would love any comment to see what your experience has been with this kind of advertising.

      Gonna switch to google next....
      For shoutouts you should look for people with an ENGAGING audience, not just accounts with lots of followers. With a follower range of 150-330k I honestly doubt that this engagement was given (else your ad was most likely showing up for like 1-2 hours only, right?). Normally, the smaller the account the higher the engagement rate. I personally like accounts from ~20-100k because they are cheaper and have more likes, comments per subscriber than bigger accounts.

      Then, the account has to be very related to your product of course.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jurisa Puratic
        Originally Posted by Splatterfox View Post

        For shoutouts you should look for people with an ENGAGING audience, not just accounts with lots of followers. With a follower range of 150-330k I honestly doubt that this engagement was given (else your ad was most likely showing up for like 1-2 hours only, right?). Normally, the smaller the account the higher the engagement rate. I personally like accounts from ~20-100k because they are cheaper and have more likes, comments per subscriber than bigger accounts.

        Then, the account has to be very related to your product of course.
        That is just it, i found accounts with very engaging audiences.
        My ads were up 12-24 hrs. I sell cat apparel and the account were about cats.
        Here are the mentioned accounts:
        @catsofworld
        @catsofday
        @catsfrend

        I didn`t expect miracles but 1 sale...cmon!
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  • Profile picture of the author scronch
    Great job, I like your store! We're working on our first eCommerce business as well, so I feel your pain.

    We have four dogs and my kids still have one cat, sadly another older cat passed on a couple of years ago--anyway, I'm not the cat person in the house, but I still found your prices to be really reasonable, almost low for some of the items that seemed like specialties. Or maybe, as you say, the cat world is so full... still, I think reasonable prices can only help to build your customer list. Word of mouth, so they say...

    Best of luck!
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