Ecommerce Lessons to learn from Soulja Boy (Seriously)

David Linder

David Linder

MSc in Marketing from the University of Salford. Facebook Certified Planning Professional Facebook Certified Buying Professional
3 min read

Ok, incase you missed it; the American rapper DeAndre “Soulja Boy” Way has recently made headlines concerning his questionable brand of gaming consoles, namely the SouljaGame Handheld, SouljaGame Fuze, and Retro SouljaBoy Mini Handheld.

What Soulja Boy was doing is something that many of us dropshippers already do. Take a generic Chinese product from Aliexpress, and ‘rebrand it’ and sell at a mark up.

For example the Soujlawatch is developed by Anbernic, according to the SouljaWatch site. Anbernic sells its products almost exclusively through AliExpress. In fact, both versions of the SouljaGame are available to purchase on AliExpress right now, albeit under different names.

So far so good right? 

Nah, Soujlaboy is now being sued.

Now I could go into the specifics of why Soulja Boy broke several copyright laws, but I’m not going to, because the writing was on the wall.  The Soujlagame for example came pre-loaded with tons Nintendo games, yet the Souljagame was not licensed by Nintendo. Which leads to the obvious conclusion; don’t sell other peoples sh*t without a license. Whether it be a game, a graphic, a design, a song or otherwise. You probably didn’t need an article to tell you this, it’s common sense.

So what can we actually learn from Souljaboy? 

During the short time on the market, Soujlaboy sold approximately 5 millions units!!! 5 million! At $149.99 each. Sure, it wasn’t a level playing field, Soujlaboy got tons of free exposure from news outlets. However, most of the news was negative, and stated how the Souljagame was just a rebrand of cheap Chinese consoles already available online. So here are the main takeaways;

1. Trust outways all 

Soujlaboy received a ton of negative press, for selling Chinese consoles under this own name. Yet still sold 5 million units. Why? People know, like and trust Souljaboy. Even with the facts staring them in the face, consumors would rather pay double price from Souljaboy rather than from unknown aliexpress, ebay or amazon sellers.

If your customers know, like and trust you. The competition is irrelevant, people will always buy from you.

What are you doing right now to get people to know, like and trust you?
Check out the article “30 ways to build the ‘know like and trust’ factor that build an online audience” 

2. Rebranding works. It just works. 

Part of the reason this was so successful is because Souljaboy was selling the ‘Souljagame’. Would he have been so successful selling the Xian Yan Game Zone 1 console? Probably not.

Even once consumers knew than the Souljagames are just Chinese brand console, people still wanted the Souljagame. Mostly just for the cool factor, to tell their friends they have the Souljagame.

The same reason people buy rolexes, with arguably, timex work just as well. People know that timex works just as well, but times just doesn’t have that ‘cool factor’ that makes rolex so desirable.

What are you doing today to increase the ‘cool factor’ of your brand?
Check out the article “What makes a business ‘cool'”


3. Life is unfair

Branding and trust aside, the main reason why Souljaboy was so successful (not taking his lawsuits into account) with his ecommerce if the fact he is already famous!!! Would he have been so successful is no one had heard of him before? Well, possibly. but it sure would have been a lot harder for him, and not merely as profitable.

This is important for us dropshipping to always bear in mind. It is not a level playing field outhere. Kyle Jenners makeup line was not so successful because of the high quality of her makeup, it was the fact she was already famous, combined with smart marketing of course!

When doing dropshipping product research, you need to consider, is this product doing well because it is a winning product, or is it doing well being a celebrity is promoting it? Bare this in mind with all aspects of the product research journey. Is this product trending on google because its a trending product, or is it being Ed Sheeran just promoted it?

Thanks for reading



David Linder

David Linder

MSc in Marketing from the University of Salford. Facebook Certified Planning Professional Facebook Certified Buying Professional

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