Travis Shofner Member Since August 2012

"Doba’s customer service people are very helpful when I need their assistance. I also like how you inform us about new suppliers, any special deals with suppliers and their products, and so on. This is a similar approach to how I treat my customers (with care and respect). Ultimately, that’s what I believe makes a difference in my business's growth."

Tell us about yourself and your online business?

I am 35 years old. I currently live in Georgia, but have lived most of my life in Minnesota. We plan on making a move back home sometime in the next year. I earned a bachelor's degree in business management and a minor in advertising and accounting. Before that I spent 10 years working in management at a large chain convenience store.

Why did you choose to leave a successful career in convenience store management?

The hours were consuming too much of my life, so I ventured out into online retailing. I’d already been selling on eBay on the side, so the transition wasn’t as difficult as might have been for someone completely new to running their own online business that uses drop shipping as a fulfillment tactic.

How did you get started with Doba?

I did a bunch of research online, spending nearly a month looking over several options available to me for drop shipping the items I sell instead of inventorying and shipping them myself. I was hooked after signing up for the free Doba trial membership. Right now I’m on a yearly subscription plan and I can’t say enough about it.

How exactly does Doba help grow your online retail business?

Doba’s customer service people are very helpful when I need their assistance. I also like how you inform us about new suppliers, any special deals with suppliers and their products, and so on. This is a similar approach to how I treat my customers (with care and respect). Ultimately, that’s what I believe makes a difference in my business's growth.

Do you experience product-sourcing challenges?

I don't have any challenges when it comes to product sourcing. Using Doba has solved for that! My main problem right now is being competitive with everyone else. Obviously, I can’t be the most competitive on price, so I need to think outside the box to gain sales, and I do that by providing buyers with as much information as I can. I also make a point of answering questions as quickly as possible, and provide people with a level of customer service that is above and beyond their own expectations. Some of my repeat customers buy from me because they know I am honest and helpful. They will gladly pay the few extra dollars to ensure that they are going to get what they want.

Where do you currently sell (your own website, eBay, Amazon, etc.)?

I currently sell on eBay. I have my own website in the works, but it’s still a ways from completion.

What is your eBay store?

I sell my products on http://stores.ebay.com/Tuuvs-Hidden-Treasures

On average, what is your profit margin in selling products that are drop shipped from the Doba catalog?

It depends on the wholesale price of the item. For lower-priced items, it’s probably around 10 percent, with higher-end items ranging from 15 to 40 percent. Average it all out I am currently running a 20 to 25 percent profit margin. And since I started using Doba, my sales have increased by an average of 230 percent each month.

Do you have a particular product niche that you sell?

I don't. I know some sellers who specialize in only a certain category. My store currently is a selection of several different classes of items so there is almost always going to be something for everyone. That way I can attract all types of buyers, not just a certain group looking for a certain item. My product selection is growing, and I’m slowly branching out into new categories.

What have you done to make your business stand out, and what in particular would you say contributes to the growth of your business?

I really haven't done a whole lot to make my eBay store stand out. I utilize social media the best I can. A lot of my growth has been from existing customers who tell others about their visit to my store. So really, word of mouth has been the most effective method so far. Once I get my own store website up and running, I will be much more aggressive in making my business stand out through branded design and the latest thinking in website navigation and conversion.

What about your business keeps you up at night?

I worry sometimes about items not being shipped correctly or the return of items, but I have had only one issue with a wrong product being sent, so really, my worries are nothing to be worried about.

What percentage of your product SKUs are drop shipped?

About 75 percent. The other 25 percent are items that are shipped to me that I sell, or items that are sent to me for international sales that I have to fulfill myself.

Before you started using Doba, what were you hoping to accomplish?

My goal was to make a living off being an online retailer. Of course it’s a struggle at first, but I am now just beginning to see the light. For the month of June 2013, I’m looking to give myself a monthly paycheck of nearly $2,000. Not getting rich by any means, but I’m about at the point where I can make a living, month to month, doing this full-time and not have to worry about paying bills and such. And it can only get better each month. I’m getting to the point where I potentially need to find someone to help me out, because this is slowly becoming a full-time seven day a week job. I’m trying to convince my wife to help, but she already has a full-time job. When I get to the point where I make enough money so she doesn't have to work, I think she might change her mind.