Hello! Who are you, and what business did you start?
Hey there! My name is Moshe Lugasi, and I am the founder of Importify, a popular e-commerce App, which works with the top three eCommerce platforms Shopify, Wix, and Woocommerce.
Importify allows sellers to import the best-selling products easily and automate the entire dropshipping process, all with a few clicks.
It is exciting for me to be able to help online storefronts manage their business with Importify. I was able to solve a crucial and essential problem for my online store. So in a way, I was my very first customer!
I launched my company back in mid-December of 2016, where we only made a total of $179.00 the very first month. The following year, 2017, we made a total of $128,000, and now we are grossing $60,000 a month.
What's your backstory, and how did you come up with the idea?
In 2016, I was working as a part-time sales manager in the video game industry. During that time, I was intrigued by entrepreneurship and wanted to find a way to build my own business. So in my spare time, I began exploring ideas for creating passive income online. First, I started with affiliate marketing, but after a few months, I switched gears and started selling products online.
I started a t-shirt business using Teespring.com, and I quickly realized this could be something that can scale well for me if done right. However, I was limited to selling only tees, so I switched it up by creating an online store on Shopify, which allowed me to sell additional products and accessories tailored to my shirt line.
I started making arrangements with different suppliers on AliExpress. Probably the easiest way to find good suppliers on Aliexpress is to use the seller feedback and review option. You can also search for a keyword that is relevant to what you're looking for and look through the products listed. However, it took me an average of 20-30 minutes for each product added which was time-consuming and made things take too long.
I spent too much time adding products and sending those orders over to the vendors to dropship. Then it hit me! There had to be a better way to avoid this tedious process of adding products and fulfilling orders manually. That is where our idea for Importify was born.
Not everyone will become a successful entrepreneur right away; Failure usually occurs because people give up before achieving their desired outcome.
To start, I outsourced a developer to write an app for Shopify that would automate this process. My goal was to import the product listing, including variants of different product types and sizes in addition to images, descriptions, and titles. The first iteration only took three months which turned out to be well worth it!
I was hesitant to publish my app because I knew it would give me an advantage over the competition as a store owner. But a good friend of mine told me, "you would be crazy not to publish this app. It is a golden idea and has great potential." So I took his advice and haven't looked back since - It's one of the best decisions I ever made!
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
I have learned the importance of MVP. Steer clear of trying to be perfect, the perfection we'll prolong your lunch. Remember, you can improve over time, and with this mindset, you will launch sooner and get faster results.
At this time, I had already invested 10k in the main code alone, and to go ahead with my plan, I would need another 10k. And to put things into perspective, back then, my salary was roughly $3000/m. I had no savings, no partners, or investors. To acquire the funds for this endeavor, I had to work extra hours to make it work.
Coming up with the brand
- The name - The app's primary feature is to import items, and the first platform on which we built it was Shopify, so we combined both and named it Importify.
- The domain - Importify.com domain was not available back then, so we got Importify.net instead, two years later, importify.com was open for bidding, and we ended up paying $2500 to get it.
- The Design - We hired a graphic designer on Upwork to create the logo and the remainder of the website design.
I researched my competitors, installed their apps, and checked their app features to figure out how to create the most incredible user experience possible in my application.
I made some last changes and started to prepare the app for publishing in the Shopify app market.
It was a significant step, and at this point, I could not wait to get this out there!
From my experience, after publishing a total of five applications on the marketplaces, I have learned the importance of MVP (Minimum viable product), steer clear of trying to be perfect, the perfection we'll prolong your lunch. Remember, you can improve over time, and with this mindset, you will launch sooner and get faster results.
I published the app as quickly as possible with just a basic design and the central core functionality. The app was not perfect, but it was a good start.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I remember it like yesterday when I received that email from Shopify, "Importify has been published in the Shopify App Store." What a moment in time that was for me. When we launched, we were one of the first companies to offer an app with this level of functionality.
We began to get traffic from the Shopify marketplace, and on the first day, we had merchants who upgraded their account from Trial to a Paid Plan, which I knew was an excellent app in the perfect situation for the right audience.
We started getting feedback from Shopify store owners and a lot of requests for new features. As a result, we decided to construct a roadmap and begin working on improvements based on customer suggestions. We started working on a promotional video and enhancing the onboarding user experience while developing new features. We noticed many identical inquiries daily, so creating our knowledge based on them was the ideal moment. But we still couldn't expand our team because we didn't have enough presence in the app market, and we had to start paying for marketing.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We have focused intensely on the organic optimization of our websites. We employed SEO optimization for both on-page and off-page, which was needed to achieve top rankings in
Google. We primarily paid attention to Google because we noticed that the other search engines followed suit whenever we ranked in Google.
In this process, we found that backlinks enabled us to get more of our content indexed by search engines; A good strategy for building backlinks is to create an information-rich blog and work with other blogs in the same industry.
Another initiative that has been a success for us was creating a free dropshipping guide that provides an extensive walk-through of the process. This guide has been a great source to integrate with our social media marketing campaigns because it gives users an incentive to interact with us.
Here's a high-level rundown of how to get more exposure to organic traffic from the AP Marketplace in Shopify.
● Optimize your Shopify App Store listing just like you would with your website for the search engines.
● Explain in detail how your app solves your users' needs.
● Use the detailed description to explain to merchants how your app will make their business better.
● Add your main key benefits.
● Keyword research.
● Always use high-quality images.
● Add explainer screenshots to the listing and mobile screenshots.
● Promotional video (Max 1 minute).
● Add links to your website, FAQs, Help center, Contact us page so users can quickly access the information they need.
● Clear pricing plan.
Build up your customer reviews
I learned that every customer you have has their own unique needs, whatever they might be. Be patient with them and always try to see things from their perspective, even when dealing with problems or complaints. The most aggravating client will become your greatest asset.
When we initially launched Importify, we had a lot of feedback from clients, some of which were negative. The greatest method to manage these reviews is to respond promptly, be patient, attempt to comprehend the problem, and see if you can solve it. in the end, we discovered that this was the most effective way to receive 5-star evaluations
Focus on customer support
Be there when they need you, and don't forget to ask for a review after helping them. Customer satisfaction is one of the essential things in your business.
Optimize your customer support to respond faster with canned (pre-written) responses for common issues that will help you answer your tickets quickly. Optimize your customer support to respond faster by proactively offering help.
Build knowledge base and encourage self-support (organic traffic). This is key when working with customer support—this will cut down on the number of tickets you receive. Create a referral program, share the love with your existing customers, and also get them to help you spread the word!
Promote inside your app and push notifications. Pushing notifications has proven to be one of the best ways to re-engage inactive users.
Leverage social media marketing
Join the Shopify Facebook groups and read through the group feeds regularly to look for relevant questions associated with your app, participate in these discussions by answering them, and suggest your app as a solution when it's time.
The same can be done on other social media such as Reddit, Quora, and forums/communities like Shopify's community website.
Build an effective email sequence. You could use services such as MailChimp, HubSpot, Getresponse, AWeber, or any other email marketing service to accomplish this. The key is automation! A good way to set up an effective email sequence is to have a welcome email sent right after someone signs up, then 3-5 emails sent out over the next few days. These should have the goal of engaging prospects, educating them about your product, and ultimately converting them.
When we first began, we didn't utilize paid advertising; however, I would strongly advise setting up the Facebook pixel on Shopify's partner dashboard (product listing) and starting with retargeting Facebook advertisements.
Businesses are more substantial when they work together, so look for apps that you can connect with and contact the owners to see if there's a way you could collaborate.
How are you doing today, and what does the future look like?
Right now, We're focusing on providing value to our existing customers before expanding our customer base.
You can't do everything in your business; learn to delegate and outsource what you can. This saved me from a lot of stress and headache.
We've established a solid brand in the eCommerce industry that is recognized, and we've been increasing at a rapid pace since day one. We have more than 7,500 paying clients and over $60,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
- Shopify offers our app to every new customer who registers an account with them.
- Investopedia has recognized us as "One of the Best Dropshipping Companies for 2021."
- Thebalancesmb has chosen us as the "Best overall Dropshipping Company for 2021."
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
It took us a while to build our blog, in retrospect, we should have started years ago.
We discovered that providing updates on what we're doing and keeping in touch with our clients using the blog is much easier.
Don't bother with cheap hosting. It only causes you more problems in the long run. Choose one that is scalable, easy to manage, low on downtimes, and has 24-hour customer support. We started with a mid-range company and moved to Cloudways. (best decision we ever made!)
You can't do everything in your business; learn to delegate and outsource what you can. This saved me from a lot of stress and headache.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Here's a shortlist of applications I use in my business daily:
- The platforms we use: Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce
- Design: Canva
- Mail Autoresponder - Mailchimp
- Text expander - Canned response
- Trello - Collaborate with your team & manage your projects
- Hubstaff - Track and monitor your team productivity
- Ahref & Similarweb - SEO Market research
- Support Hero - Knowledge base
- Wistia - Video hosting
- Cloudways - Server hosting
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I would have to say the number one book that comes to mind is, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - by Stephen R. Covey.
This book is all about how to live a more productive life. The author discusses seven practices that successful individuals seem to have in common. He emphasizes the significance of being proactive and beginning with ourselves by complimenting others favorably and genuinely.
It also emphasizes the need for "proactivity," or acting while still enthusiastic, rather than waiting until something inspires you. It has many other self-improvement suggestions, including concentrating on our strengths and putting first things first every day. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to be more effective at achieving their goals.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
"To be honest, when I first started my business, I got discouraged. It was so difficult!"
I devoted hours researching ways to make money online. I tried everything from affiliate marketing to paid advertising and failed over and over again.
Not everyone will become a successful entrepreneur right away; Failure usually occurs because people give up before achieving their desired outcome. If you are struggling with your business, keep trying because the solution is there. It might take some time and effort, but if you are persistent, I can assure you that your business will be successful in time with proper planning and strategy.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Currently, we have 2 open positions:
Senior Backend Developer
5+ years of experience in PHP, good experience in HTML, CSS, JS, jQuery, Webhooks, experience with MySQL, Rest API, experience with WP plugins/Shopify apps development/Chrome extensions.
Senior Frontend Developer
Send us an email at [email protected]
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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