It doesn’t hurt that Travis Shofner spent a decade as a manager within a big-name convenience store chain. That experience helped hone his skills in merchandising, customer service, and making a profit; all of which came in handy when he decided to embrace a new career in online retail.
How’s he doing so far? Let’s allow Travis to tell his own story:
Doba: Tell us about yourself and your online business?
Travis: 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.
Doba: Why did you choose to leave a successful career in convenience store management?
Travis: 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.
- Wisdom comes from experience: Travis has years of experience managing inventory.
- Travis’ due diligence (heavy online product research) resulted in him becoming informed and comfortable about the products he sells and the partner he chooses to work with for drop-ship fulfillment.
- He keeps himself informed and up to date about suppliers, fulfillment percentages, ship times, processing times and RMA percentages. This way, he never misses out on an opportunity to provide the best customer service possible.
- Travis started out slowly and cautiously – selling products for other people on eBay and taking a percentage from their products' sales. Then he began picking up inexpensive items from garage sales and flea markets and marketing and selling them himself.
- He handpicks items based on the supplier, not a particular product niche or even similar items. Note: This is easier said than done. Travis’ prior experience working in retail was based on the mass-market approach and therefore taught him how to be successful with the approach. New online retailers may want to avoid this approach at first. Starting out by selling in a particular niche or by selling only those products you have supreme knowledge about is what we advise. Once you’re successful in a niche, it’s a lot easier to do what Travis does, especially if this is your first foray in online retailing.
- Travis kills his clients with kindness, providing great customer service, quickly getting back to them with the answers to their questions and being real with them at all times.