E-Commerce: A Modern-Day Gold Rush


Anthony Ryder, Reporting Journalist

One year ago, businessman and youtuber Dave Ramsey was answering calls on his talk show when he came across a sixteen year old who was making fifty thousand dollars per month. Dave Ramsey, popular for his financial advice, was baffled that he was talking to a teenager who had such a successful business record. So how exactly did this teen make that much money?

The teen was making money through E-Commerce, which is the buying and selling of products online. More specifically, the teen was using Shopify, a dropshipping website.* Dropshipping is a business in which the owner of a website sells products that they do not own. The products are sourced from a third party and are shipped to the customer. An order is completed in four steps: first the order is made by the customer, then the order goes straight to the supplier, the supplier gets the order ready, and finally the supplier ships the order to the customer. The teen from earlier was the owner of this type of website, and he sold his products to customers with help from another supplier.

This may seem as though the supplier is doing all the work, but the owner of the site is managing the advertising and design of the online store. Without the store owner, the supplier would not be able to sell their products efficiently, so there is a mutually beneficial partnership between the owner and supplier. Specifically, the advertising capabilities of the store owner are what the suppliers can benefit from.

If you have any experience in advertising, you know how challenging it can be: the owner has to make their own ads or pay an outside source for this service, and the owner must then pay or find a social media platform to promote their advertisement. In the beginning, the ads can be a hit or miss, and the owner has to experiment with the ads and find which platform gives them the most revenue.

Over time, if the ads are shown daily, the potential customers will get tired of the ad. You may be able to relate to this anytime you get tired of watching the same YouTube ad or TV commercial over and over again. Learning how to maximize your profit through ads can be a puzzle, and an expensive one at that. In the beginning, as you are learning and experimenting with ads, you are investing lots of money to see what works. In addition, many newcomers don’t make their first order until days later, which can be discouraging as they see no profit.

*An important note is that you are legally unable to make a dropshipping site until you are eighteen or older. However, in some circumstances, individuals under eighteen can have their parents start an account for them to manage.