If you’re planning to create, host & sell online courses or related education material on your WordPress website, this article has got you covered.
To enable this, there are a bunch of LMS plugins available for WordPress, some are paid & some are free – depending on the features & requirements.
All the plugins mentioned in this article do have a free version as well as paid. A free plugin can suffice your needs if you’re a small business or an individual creator.
This article is based on Public reviews of the product as well as my personal experience as I’ve installed each plugin & tested it out. Rest assured & keep reading, the content is not biased & note that the plugin listing order is not based on rankings/score.
1. LMS by LifterLMS (Freemium)
It’s an online Course, membership & learning management system plugin for WordPress built by LifterLMS.
This is a fantastic plugin with awesome features & is user-friendly for beginners. The plugin is incorporated with many options that you would need to create & sell online courses in few simple steps.
LifterLMS is super-friendly for course creation! Most of your plans & thoughts can be achieved with this solid tool by merely customizing to your own taste.
Customer Support: Customer support is great & they take your issues very seriously. The team knows that feedback is the backbone of any business & that’s what they are focusing & leveraging on. They are knowledgable, active & very helpful. Their community (Facebook group, forum) & responsive customer service is all that you need for any advice and help.
LifterLMS has no additional requirements other than those required to run WordPress. WordPress system requirements can be found at https://wordpress.org/about/requirements/
Recommended Minimum Requirements
WordPress version 5.6
MySQL 5.6 or greater or MariaDB 10.1 or greater
Nginx or Apache with mod_rewrite module
LifterLMS Freemium Features:
Separate courses for users using course difficulty tags/filter (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
Content restriction & prerequisite options available for users who attempt to access course content directly without enrolling & to set a prerequisite course or course track before enrolling
Set Enrollment Period: set registration start and end dates for your courses
Course Time Period: Set start and end dates for this course. Content can only be viewed and completed within the selected range.
Course Capacity: Limit the number of users that can enroll in this course.
Student management options also available
Engagement options to trigger events based on students’ behavior. For example, trigger an engagement count when a student completes the quizzes
You can also sell memberships
LifterLMS Plans & Pricing
The core plugin with minimal features is available for free, and to extend functionalities, below are the plans & pricing of LifterLMS
Freemium for Non-Profits: It’s free if you are not accepting any payments for the courses.
Resources for starters: The team keeps on publishing valuable resources & detailed (video) instructions to help you through the entire journey – from website layout, setup of your first online course & even helping with custom websites if requested,
Super Customizable LMS: The customizable features offered by Lifter LMS are commendable & you can make it suit your requirements.
It seems like the ThimPress team has made this product a killer piece. Why I am saying this? Have a look at their reviews & date patterns in different reviews. The five-star reviews are recent & they haven’t got any bad reviews from the past few years. That’s a good sign. What do you think?
Plenty of features (listed above already)
The courses are easy to navigate and use by students.
LifterLMS comes with some already built pages (or say templates) that you’d need & if you are a bit familiar with CSS, you can apply your own styles.
Helpful documentation for developers
Even though the plugin is compatible with most of the themes, you still need to check if it is working for you or not. The good thing is that you don’t need to start from scratch & spend time checking this – there is already some demos import course content available that you can use.
You need to upgrade to a premium plan if you want to sell your courses & accept payments. This is a good thing for small businesses as setting up everything takes time & you don’t want to pay 60 bucks or more during this phase when your website is not even online yet. When everything is done, you can easily switch to the paid add-ons or bundles.
Conclusion: The plugin is awesome and backed with small but important features – some of them as we discussed above. The customization is also user-friendly & beginners can also use this tool. Head over to the plugins section, install it, import some content & check if the plugin works well with your theme or not.
It is a highly recommended tool by many, and many can’t be wrong 🙂
2. LearnPress – WordPress LMS Plugin (Free)
LearnPress is a free LMS plugin that comes with power-packed premium LMS-like features. Backed with a good technical team & community support, LearnPress has seen signifant growth in the past few years & is competing with many old players in the market.
Customer Support: LearnPress is built by ThimPress & they offer pretty good support to their users. If you might experience any bugs or errors, you can simply report them to the team. The team answers your queries very comprehensively & they will soon start working on the fix. In many cases, the team respond to your & even fix your issues within 48 hours – which is pretty commendable when you are using the tool for free
System Requirements: Compatible with basic WordPress installation
Since the customer support is great, the team keeps on updating the plugin – which ensures safety, performance, bug fixes & more.
Good customization features available for techies – the plugin is developer-focused & if you have coding skills or you are a small team with a tech guy – you can customize it than other LMS plugins!
There are cases when this plugin broke the website theme & layout (especially when used with the WooCommerce plugin), so it’s important that you take a backup of your website to restore if something goes wrong.
While LearnPress offers comprehensive features, but you might still need some additional plugins for few more features. To ensure safety & speed, the LearnPress team should work on extending the features.
Some fatal errors have been reported by users, but there are many who love this tool too.
Conclusion: The plugin might be free with comprehensive features, but it is still half-backed with important features. If you’re a beginner with no or very few technical skills, this tool might be not the best for you. However, nothing is super perfect & you can give it a try to test it out yourself. Maybe the support offered by the team will soon make this plugin the best.
3. Tutor LMS – eLearning and online course solution
TutorLMS is one of latest LMS plugins with rich features to cater modern course building requirements. Like LearnPress, TutorLMS is also new in the market & has retained many consumers worldwide
Customer Support: Customer support is okay – not too good not too bad. Despite being the setup is beginner-friendly, the support team can help you get everything up in case you get stuck.
PHP – 7.0 (or later)
Database – MariaDB – 10.1 or later / MySQL – 5.7 or later
WordPress 5.5 or higher
Browser – Chrome, Firefox, Safari
Internet Explorer is not supported
Server Modules – mod_rewrite, cURL, fsockopen
TutorLMS Features (free version):
Create & Manage course
Limit the number of maximum students
Set course duration & additional details
Set difficulty level
Set course announcements (if any)
TutorLMS Paid Add-Ons & Features (not limited to):
BuddyPress integration: so that students & instructors can discuss the course and exchange knowledge within a community
Gradebook: to display student progress from assignment and quiz
Content Drip: You can set some conditions so that students can unlock lessons by schedule or when progress meets some specific conditions.
Paid Membership Pro: It allows you to sell memberships for students to access all of your courses.
Restrict Content Pro: To set restrictions on content, or say, prerequisites
Tutor Assignments: It helps you assign tasks to students seamlessly.
Tutor Certificate: It allows you to assign downloadable certificates after course completion.
Tutor Course Attachment: To add unlimited files to any tutor course
Tutor Course Preview: It gives access to some of the content before enrollment so that students can see what course they are going to buy
Tutor Email: for Email automation & management
Tutor Multiinstructors: Set & assign multiple instructors for a course
Tutor Prerequisites: To set a specific course as mandatory before you can enroll in a new one
Tutor Report: To allow students & instructors to check course progress & display course performance
Tutor Zoom Integration
Google Classroom Integration
TutorLMS Plans & Pricing:
Beginner-friendly with the intuitive user interface.
A dedicated & detailed dashboard for both students & instructor
Tutor LMS is Multi-instructor based: An individual instructor can run a solo course selling website or an educational institute can use to collaborate, multiple instructors, & run an institutional type LMS.
Frontend Course Builder: This is an awesome feature that allows registered instructors to create their course from the frontend itself, they don’t need to get into the backend of a website. (this is a premium feature though)
Quiz Builder: You can create interactive quizzes of more than 10 types
Documentation & resources: Excellent documentation & tutorials (how-to guides) that a beginner can easily grasp
Captcha integration to avoid spam
Tutor LMS can be integrated with a mobile app using RestAPI
Yes, we offer a flat 30% discount for non-profit organizations
The free version lack some of the important features
No priority support for free plan users
Free templates are available but not highly customizable
No free trial: they should provide a 15 or 30-day free trial so that users can make an informed decision
Recommended themes to use with Tutor LMS plugin:
Compatible Plugins (each plugin is tested with Tutor LMS plugin):
Cart2WP / ThriveCart
WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips
Funnel Builder by CartFlows
GamiPress – Tutor LMS integration
Oxygen Tutor LMS
Elementor Website Builder
Conclusion: If you are a beginner & looking for a free LMS to use – go ahead, but if you’re a business – you need to make sure that the product would suffice your needs before purchasing the plan. Their refund policy also seems good & that’s a good sign.
Conclusion: Which LMS is best for me?
The plugins mentioned above are currently the most popular ones to enable a seamless learning management system on your WordPress website.
However, each plugin is built by a different organization & may not cater to the needs of everyone – there’s no one-size-fits-all.
Also, some of the LMS plugin working well for others might not work well with your theme & hence compatibility can be an issue.
And so to choose the best one for yourself, it’s important to download, install & check with your theme before purchasing. Don’t forget to add demo content & do rigid testing if you are a small business because any unnoticable issue might disrupt your sales as well as brand trust.
Finding the right supplier(s) for your dropshipping business is crucial for success, yet many fail to build a solid foundation at this part.
Suppliers in drop shipping means wholesalers (not manufacturers) & a supplier can make or break your business.
Another difference to know is that you can work with suppliers individually or use platforms like AliExpress (where suppliers & products are listed & categorized)
Since legitimate suppliers are quite poor at marketing, they are often hard to find.
This article lists down some popular & effective methods to you help you find the right supplier for your next dropshipping store.
What to Look for in a Supplier?
Before you start the hunt, you need to understand some traits of a good supplier – so that you know what to consider before finalizing one to work with.
Just because a supplier is willing to collaborate with you, doesn’t mean it’s trustworthy. There are a lot of suppliers if you go on searching extensively.
This is definitely the foremost thing to consider. Dropshipping is a real business & suppliers are the backbone of it. One should always work with suppliers who meet some business standards in terms of communication & operations.
Reviews are another primary thing to look at. Platforms like AliExpress allows users to add product reviews – these product reviews can help you get a hint on the products quality as well as suppliers image.
Make sure to go through the product/supplier reviews if available & see the pain points listed by other consumers or drop shippers for that supplier/product. You can also use Google to further inspect the suppliers’ image.
If you feel like the supplier is not good after reading reviews, don’t work with them.
Product Prices & Shipping Costs
Different suppliers may have different prices for the same product – the product quality may vary though. And so is the importance of researching the wholesale prices on the internet – so you know if the supplier you’re working with is actually offering you fair prices.
Shipping cost is another thing to consider & it varies from suppliers to suppliers – depending on the country you are targeting & if the supplier has a local warehouse within that country.
Customer Support Quality
Almost every supplier may provide a customer care number or email to reach them, but some of the suppliers have pathetic services. They don’t even know how to communicate. So it’s better to work with suppliers who can help efficiently help you with the queries you & your consumers may have.
If your supplier has a local warehouse within the target country you’re selling to – you would get leverage on shipping costs & time. This is definitely a plus.
Return/Refund Process & Damage/Defect Policy
This one is important, once you start pouring in some sales, things can go messy. One common thing that needs to be taken care are the returns or refunds, or damage/defect policy in business terms.
Ask your supplier about the terms & conditions when any damage to the product occurs or if any return is required due to a defective product. Either you or your supplier gonna bear the handling charges for replacing shipments.
Integration Possibilities for Product Importing & Orders Syncing
Do you want to leverage automation? In order to seamlessly import products to your store & sync orders with the supplier, many dropshipping product/supplier sourcing platforms like Spocket & Oberlo can be integrated within Shopify & BigCommerce – so the work can be automated & the supplier is notified as soon as the sale appears.
However, in many cases (especially when working with individual suppliers), you would need to manually forward each order. You should be aware of whether your supplier offers integration or any similar support – so you don’t have to do manual work.
Products Quality (verify by ordering samples)
This is the best takeaway tip that almost every dropshipping blog is sharing out there. It’s important that you verify the quality of the products by ordering samples from different suppliers, before launching into the market.
Bad quality products can do enourmous damage to your dropshipping business – increased returns, negative reviews & most importantly.
On the top of that – you lose many potential consumers (repeated sales) & you’ve already spent money to acquire them.
Many businesses across the globe calculate the CLV (Consumer Lifetime Value) & compare it with acquisition costs. Basically, a customer lifetime value means how much a consumer has spent on your business on average. On the other hand, acquisition costs are the money spent on acquiring each consumer.
It’s clear that if the acquisition costs are greater than the lifetime value of a consumer, you’re undoubtedly in loss.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to verify each product on your own by ordering samples, before you sell them to your customers.
How to Find Suppliers for Dropshipping?
Since most of the dropship suppliers do not focus on marketing, they are hard to find – sometimes very hard.
You can collaborate with a dropshipping supplier individually or use third-party marketplaces/platforms like AliExpress where a wide range of dropshipping products (categories) & suppliers are listed.
Some of these platforms are free to use, however, some might require a monthly fee to start with. Depending on your budget, you can opt for any method. Unquestionably, going with a free route would require more work as compared to using paid platforms.
It is recommended to finalize more than one supplier rather than solely depending on one – this will be your backup option when something goes wrong or the supplier does not meet your requirements.
Below are some ways you can find suppliers for your dropship business:
Method #1 Play Around with Google Search
A deep search on Google will help you find out a variety of suppliers as per your niche or products. What you have to do is search for suppliers using various keywords as per your needs.
You just have to be a little smart here & use some phrases that suppliers might use on their website – for dropshipping registration or inquiry.
In most cases, the phrase “become a dealer drop shipping” or “become a dealer dropship” works really well – because most of the dropshipping suppliers’ website has a page for retailers to contact them & this page has keywords like become a supplier, become a reseller,etc.
As we see, the above phrase is quite generic & hence suitable for entrepreneurs who are targeting to launch a general store.
However, to narrow down the searches for niche-specific or single-product stores, you can tweak the phrase & include location & product keywords.
For example, Become a dealer dropship/dropshipping [Category Keywords] + [Products Keywords] + [Location Keywords]
Become a dealer dropship + home decor (niche category) + us (location keyword)
Explore these results & use google to your advantage.
Remember that not all dropship suppliers are focused in marketing (SEO) & so don’t forget to check search results from 9th, 10th or even 50th page.
Another cool & hassle-free method to find tons of dropshipping suppliers & products is to use free & paid dropshipping supplier directories & dropshipping product sourcing platforms – like AliExpress.
For beginners, it is recommended to opt for free platforms otherwise you would end up with $29-$50 additional bill on your monthly expenses, recurring each month.
1. Inventory Source
Inventory Source allows you to connect with over 300+ wholesale suppliers listed on their platform. It is basically a dropship automation software – product syncing, orders management, etc., – that integrates these suppliers to your online store or marketplaces like Amazon.
Although inventory source is a premium service, the best thing is that you only have to pay if you use their automation software or other features.
This means, browsing through a bunch of available suppliers is free & you can pick names from there & research them further on your own by visiting them via Google.
One thing I like about Inventory Source is that they have advanced filters to help you find the right supplier yu are
Plans & Pricing: You can browse through the dropshipping supplier’s directory for free, but the integration (products importing & orders sync) feature is paid.
AliExpress is the most popular platform to find millions of products for dropshipping from over 40+ niches. The majority of suppliers registered with AliExpress are from China. It also has manufactures registered from Australia, the US & other countries.
But since most of the products manufactured in China are of low quality, many of the dropship entrepreneurs are now ditching AliExpress & using alternatives like Spocket.
However, you can still find some good suppliers at AliExpress but the research needs to be done very thoroughly.
Plans & Pricing: Free to use.
Oberlo is a dropshipping automation platform that allows you to import products from AliExpress to your store. Once you sign up with Oberlo, you can browse through popular & trending products from AliExpress within the Oberlo web app & you can import them to your store in one click.
Plans & Pricing: Oberlo now has an amazing free plan that allows you to import up to 500 products to your store. This plan used to be paid a few weeks ago so this is definitely the right time to unleash the power of Oberlo.
4. CJ Dropshipping
CJ Dropshipping is another great platform that has millions of products to source for dropshipping.
The best thing about CJ dropshipping is that the platform allows you to select warehouse location from where the product will be delivered – helping you offer an optimal delivery time to your customers, as per the location you are targeting.
Plans & Pricing: Most of the features with CJ Dropshipping is free to use & a premium plan if also available.
Another great platform to find quality products for dropshipping is Spocket. Spocket has more than thousands of quality products for dropshipping – ready to be delivered in a fraction of days.
The reason behind the success of Spocket is that they have manufacturers from the US, EU, & Australia that offer quality products – unlike AliExpress, wherein most of the products are of cheap quality.
With that being said, Spocket not only gives you advantage over product quality but also over shipping times, which if definitely a cruical factor for success.
Plans & Pricing: The free plan offers nothing & just lures you to get signups. The basic plan starts with $24/month & allows you to import only 25 products. Furthermore, the $49/month plan allows you to import up to 250 products. Definitely not worth it if you are a complete newbie
Method #3 Browse Through Trade Shows & Expos
Another way to find dropshipping suppliers for your store is by visiting trade shows & expo websites to browse through the list of active exhibitors participating or have participated.
This method is used by a few & is effective in the long run.
However, one must keep in mind that these exhibitors are manufacturer/wholesale suppliers, not dropship suppliers – meaning that most of them will not be interested in working with you.
But if you outreach them, represent yourself & tell them about your plans, there are chances that you’ll convince them in collaborating with you.
Finding a supplier this way means more profitability & good business relationships – but the work is tedious I must say.
Final Step: Establish Yourself & Contact Suppliers/Manufacturers
Contacting manufacturers directly is one more option & efficient in terms of business relationships & profit margins – but finding a manufacturer & convincing them to work with you is tedious.
Now that you’ve seen a few methods to find suppliers, you can start searching & shortlisting some. While searching for suppliers, you will definitely come across manufacturers.
Not all manufactures would be aware of dropshipping & hence you must reach out to them directly & ask if they are open to collaboration.
You can introduce yourself as a small business founder & let them know how passionate you are to make your business up and running.
Contacting manufacturers directly rather than suppliers is a path to way more profitability – you get the products at wholesale prices if you manage to convince manufacturer.
While reaching out, pitch your plans & help them understand how you can bring value & sales to their business – if they are unaware of dropshipping.
If the manufacture seems to be not interested, you can ask them if they can share the list of wholesale distributors they are working with – which you can further contact to see if they allow dropshipping.
The Bottom Line – Summing Up
Suppliers are the backbone of the dropshipping business & you cannot succeed without good ones. Since you don’t hold any product inventory, your dropship business is solely dependent on suppliers you’re working with.
I hope this article helped you understand some ways to find legitimate & quality suppliers for your dropshipping plans. Just keep in mind that genuine suppliers:
Do not ask for monthly fees until there are services that justifies the price
Do not sell to the general market – they are a wholesale business & wholesale business is B2B not B2C
Do not ask for an additional commission on each sale
In most cases, do not ask for minimum order quantity
With that being said, make sure that you invest a good amount of time in finding a reliable supplier for your store. All the best & thanks for reading 🙂
To get a chunk of this $$$, you don’t need to be a pro online marketer or tech-savvy person.
If you’re willing to learn internet marketing & eCommerce is something that excites you – just go with the flow – things will begin to happen & you will learn a lot from failures as well as success. (the learning opportunities are tremendous if you get into drop shipping)
You just heard of dropshipping from somewhere & exploring how to get started
or maybe, you’re just another random person figuring what dropshipping is?
Worry not! This article has got you covered!
I would say it an A-Z guide to dropshipping & probably the most comprehensive article I’ve written on this topic.
No Bluff, only real information that you need as a beginner.
Disclaimer: This article is fully loaded with concise information to aware of things you should know as a drop shipper. If you’ve already done your homework at this part & think you don’t require this information, you can skip & move to the main section – “How to Start Your Dropshipping Store”
Let’s understand firtst what is dropshipping, why you should do dropshiping & what are the types of dropshipping that you need to know before getting started.
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method wherein the seller (dropshipper) doesn’t need to acquire any inventory to sell products – the manufacturer or supplier manages the inventory, packaging plus delivery part.
This means, as a drop shipper, you need to focus on getting sales whilst the supplier takes care of getting the product delivered to consumers.
A typical dropshipping journey goes as :
Finalizing upon a niche & product(s) to sell
Finding a supplier for that niche/product to work with
Setup an online store
Analyze competition & setup a selling price for your products (supplier base price + your commission)
Start marketing of your dropshipping business & send traffic to it
When a sale happens, the order & base product price is forwarded to your supplier who then delivers the product to the consumer while you keep the commission in your pocket as profit.
Interesting, isn’t it?
Before we get deeper into the topic of how to start dropshipping, let’s understand the various types of dropshipping you could think of.
Types of Dropshipping
Dropshipping is an eCommerce business model & there could be many approaches to get into dropshipping.
Below are some popular dropshipping approaches that you should be aware of & their pros & cons to help you choose which type might interest you the most:
1. Print on Demand
Print on demand is selling products with your own custom designs printed on them. POD products can vary from T-Shirts, Mugs, Cushion Cover to any other everyday product that can be sold with a print on it.
This business model has been quite popular in the past & many companies have already built a brand around it – The Souled Store & Bewakoof are just to name a few/
How Print-On-Demand works?
You create your own designs & embed them virtually on the products you want to sell (can be done easily with the POD supplier(s) app like Printify, Printful) – to get the product images that you would for marketing.
Then you list the products on your dropshipping store & start sending traffic to it – when an order is placed, the supplier (will be notified) would print the design & ship it to your customers, all done on a pre-order basis.
One good benefit with Print On Demand dropshipping is that you own your original work (copyright) & so you can think of building a brand around it.
Talking about the business branding options, various POD companies like Printful, Printify allows you to add your own custom brand tags on products, examples shown below:
Products you can sell using prints on demand dropshipping:
Notebooks / Diary
& many more…
Benefits of Print on Demand:
Quick product creation turnaround time
Short delivery time – local suppliers available
You can create exclusive Products (exclusive designs)
Lot of merchandise options to choose from
Easy to create a brand
Set margins as per your choice, if your artwork is unique & designs are worth it
Same-day or next day shipping available
A few cons to consider with POD
Competition is high & it can be hard to stand out
Since POD companies handle all the selling part for you, they capture buyers’ information so they can remarket them
Require somewhat good design skills
Leading Print On Demand Services for Dropshippers
2. General Store Dropshipping
General store dropshipping refers to selling various products around broad categories (multi-niche) in one store.
Such stores are generally non-niche-focused & allows dropshippers to test almost any product in the market – you can choose from multiple industries.
You can channel all your efforts into focusing & selling one product only
Easy to get a domain name that suits your product
You will be considered as an authoritative source of that product
You would build a brand if you can sustain & become profitable enough to scale
All operations are done effectively – you focus on finding supplier(s) for single product & hence you could find a reliable one, you can do AB testing on ads effectively
You don’t have to polish too many marketing content, but, whatever you polish, make sure it’s shiny enough to convince a customer to buy
Some cons to consider while dropshipping single product only;
You’ll have to work hard enough to
Whatever you do , one error can break consumer trust
Your entire experiement can shut down & everything ne
You won’t get returning customer & repeated sales, since more often a customer would need the product only once
5. Branded or White Labelled Dropshipping
Branded dropshipping is when you source a product from a supplier/manufacturer & sell it under your brand name – to appear as if you are the owner of that product.
There are two ways to do branded dropshipping:
White Labelling – While label dropshipping is when suppliers/manufacturer allow dropshippers to add their dropship brand name to the products, by paying some extra fees
Private Labelling – Private labelling is when manufacturers create exclusive products for drop shippers only when required. These products are exclusively manufactured for you & so not every other drop shipper can sell the same product under their brand name
Both types of branded dropshipping come with its own setbacks, but surely gives you an competitive edge to make big numbers & sustain for long.
6. High Ticket Dropshipping
Most of the beginners think of dropshipping as a typical dropshipping store selling products ranging from $20 – $100.
But with lower ticket products come lower profit margins, and so many drop shippers try their hands on high-ticket drop shipping – products ranging from $200 & above.
Keep in mind that expensive products are hard to sell & your store must be exclusive & optimized enough to convince customers to buy.
Also, you would need to invest decent amount in advertising to reach the rich.
So conversions can be quite tough as compared to other dropshipping types explained above, but, the profit margins are huge enough to manage all your expenses if you do it right & manage to get some sales in the first week.
Pros of High-Ticket Dropshipping
Few sales a month are enough to cover up marketing expenses
Good conversion rates if the traffic you send is relevant
Customers will more likely to leave reviews if your product is good
You will receive fewer customer complaint tickets as compared to other dropshipping types
Cons of High-Ticket Dropshipping
Building a brand is a must
You cannot survive if you offer poor customer services
Need more than average digital marketing skills
How Do I Start Dropshipping?
Starting a dropshipping store is easy, but doing it right is viable to success. Otherwise, your profits won’t cover up the operation & marketing costs & you won’t sustain.
Since dropshipping is a real eCommerce business & not a get-quick rich scheme, so it’s important to treat this business just like any other successful one.
Right from the beginning of your journey – finding a product or niche, to creating a marketing plan – organic + marketing: you need the right approach to succeed.
Many times, things can get wrong if you’ve not carefully considered the action plan at every step.
To avoid any problems that might cause death to your dropshipping store & dreams, let’s understand a typical step-by-step approach to do dropshipping the right way.
Those reading this article via laptop can follow along with me on step 6 where I’ve showed how to create your dropshippping store with Shopify.
Let’s get started
1. Explore The Market & Tools
Let’s recall the benefits that comes with dropshipping:
You don’t have to purchase any inventory
You don’t have to pack the products
You don’t have to manage to ship, returns.
You don’t have to manage transportation & other expenses involved with managing & processing inventory
But, on the other hand, dropshipping is just like any other eCommerce business – most of the operations & marketing strategies are the same.
And so, a good dropshipping strategy revolves around:
Building a brand
Providing outstanding customer service
Selling quality products
Marketing the store & products
Testing various paid marketing channels to see what works best
& many more countless tasks I can list here, that both dropshipping store & typical ecommerce business does.
You see, the work is almost same?
And so it is important to get yourself familiar with some tools that would help you throughout your dropshipping journey.
As a beginner to start with, below are some of the popular tools you must be aware of:
Google Trends is a powerful & free tool by Google that allows users (mostly marketers) to analyze the trend or popularity growth of any keyword (topic, niche, product, or anything)
As a drop shipper, you can use this tool to determine the popularity & demand of product/niche, market potential & many other things.
Many times, there are some products that have good search volume but their trend gets fade over time, by doing a quick search on Google Trend allows you to spot any decline (downward trend) in the interest of people in the product.
Google Free Keywords Planner
Google Keywords Planners is a popular & free keywords research tool, primarily for advertisers to determine search volumes & plan out keywords for their ad campaigns.
Keywords are basically what users type into search engines to find what they are looking for.
This tool comes really handy to discover new keyword ideas & determine search volume of those keywords.
As a dropshipper, you can use Google Keywords Planner to –
Determine the product(s) or niche potential
Discover new keyword ideas based on geographical location, language & more
Figure out what keywords users might use to discover products & store like yours – and distribute them on your store accordingly
Find primary & secondary keywords that you would use in Product Titles (Name), description, image alt, etc.,
figure out keywords for your advertisement campaigns
& many more..
To use the free Google Keywords Planner, you need to create an account & add billing details (a valid credit or debit card)
In order to make the most out of Google Keywords Planner, I recommend you reading some more blogs on how to use Keywords Planner, or you may roam around inside the tool to test it out on yourself.
Facebook Ads Library
Facebook Ads Library is a platform where you can search for advertisements across Facebook, Instagram & other facebook products.
As a dropshipper, make it your habit to search & check for competitors’ Facebook page in the Facebook Ad Library. If any ads are running
The best thing I like about this tool is that you can the duration from which the ads are being run,
If certain ads are running from a very long time, it indicates that the product is performing well .
Another great way to explore trending & popular products is by exploring Facebook videos. You can type in product keywords to check if any page is already promoting it.
If you find any video, do analyze the engagement score (how many people are liking or commenting) & read some comments – to see if people are asking for a link to buy the product.
You should also syndicate product videos on Facebook.
Facebook pixel is a piece of code that you embed into your website code. It is basically an event code that triggers & collects data when a user visits your website via Facebook & Instagram (paid or organic sources).
When more & more conversions happen on your store, Facebook pixel analyzes the specific type/set of audience that is converting well – which you can then use to optimize your ads & make data informed decisions/.
AliExpress is one of the most popular eCommerce products sourcing portal used by many dropshippers around the globe.
AliExpress has registered manufacturers from China that are well aware of dropshipping model, and so the suppliers are dropshipping friendly.
It used to be the #1 dropshipping products sourcing platform, but due to cheaper quality products & high shipping times, many dropshippers are switching to alternatives.
I recommend using AliExpress because there are many product ideas you can get from there & also the product information tells us how many times the product has been ordered – this helps you determine the product potential.
Spocket is an alternative to AliExpress & it comes with a premium plan
Unlike AliExpress, which has manufacturers from China, Spocket stands out by onboarding suppliers based in Europe & America.
This makes Spocket maintain the quality of the products on their platform & eliminate the biggest obstacle that comes with AliExpress – longer shipping time.
At Spocket, you can find supplier delivering products in 2-5 days – good for improving conversions.
Thieve & Oberlo
Thieve & Oberlo are basically a place where best selling & trending products from AliExpress are shown.
It makes it easy for drop shippers to keep an eye on trending & popular products, and not wasting time on AliExpress trying to find good products from a huge pool.
2. Choose Your Niche
The first step to building your store is to determine the product/niche idea for your dropshipping plans.
Wondering what can be the best & profitable niche to start with?
Well, there’s not a specific answer to this. One niche that may work for you doesn’t necessarily work for me too.
Also, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind while selecting a niche for your store, like:
Profitability: Not to mention, this is the basic thing to look at. After you shortlist a product, do some research on the retail pricing at which other drop shippers are selling this product
Repeated Demands: Products that are disposable are always in need. You can leverage this opportunity to get repeated customers if your product is good & you offer outstanding service.
Give priority to Products with Minimum Advertised Price: There are some manufacturer(s) that tag their products with a minimum advertised price tag – this is a ceiling amount above which no drop shipper can sell the product. This certainly help drop shippers maintain a profitable price in the market.
Product Potential: It’s important to know the selling potential of your product.
At first, you can start with exploring various categories & product(s) available in the market – scan the world wide web for product ideas.
Keep on shortlisting products that might interest you & you feel like they are good to start with.
Spend some time exploring AliExpress – It is one of the most popular product sourcing platforms for dropshippers, but, you may find it hard to get a good supplier here; And if you manage to get some – their long shipping time will kick them off from your list.
So it is recommended to find local suppliers in the country itself where you are selling, or if your supplier is based outside the country, consider their shipping time before approving them on your list.
Below are some alternatives to AliExpress for dropshipping:
Amazon Best Seller
These marketplaces are good for dropshipping beginners to discover various products across multiple niches. Most of the platforms allow you to search & browse for products based on multiple filters like best selling, trending, etc.
Do list all the products (& niches) that you feel good to start with – and then check their market potential based on your own research that should not be limited to only:
Checking the average number of orders (sales) on that product from the product data available; Number of orders
Keywords Research: to check the average search volume for any product/niche
Analyzing the market trends in Google Trends
Checking customer reviews for that product, if available
Competitor Spying – Conduct an internet scan to find out some competitors – and then spy on their store & Facebook campaigns (via FB Ads Library as explained above) they are running.
3. Determine & Write Down Your Goals
Unquestionably, goal setting is one of the important skillset you must acquire -be it for your dropshipping store or personal growth.
Talking specifically for Self-funded drop shippers – they are often accountable to themselves only. So is the importance of goal setting so you can reaffirm them & question yourself – like how well you are performing, what are the plans to execute & what shold be completed by end of day, week & month.
Right now, you are wondering how to start a dropshipping store, so your initial goals should look like:
Setup a draft dropsipping store by end of day, following the tutorial explained below on how to setup your store setup by step
Shortlist at least top 5 niches according to you & do further research on which one to choose
Find products & define categories for your store catalogue
Get the product importing work done
& countless other tasks like Influencer outreaching, creating content, ad copies………!
Having some defined goals would surely help you execute all your tasks smoothly & in a more effective manner, just like businesses do it – setting goals, creating strategies to meet the goals, creating weekly & monthly plans to execute these strategies & so on!
4. Figure Out Your Budget
Dropshipping is a business model & every business needs some capital to start with & the more, the better.
If you’re hoping to build a 5-6 figure business with $100 in the next three-four months after seeing some dropshipping gurus sharing their success stores, then you might get disappointed over time.
As a beginner, investing at least $500 in your bank account would be the right budget to start your dropshipping journey with.
Why? Below are some situations you can imagine:
What if one of your Facebook ad copies starts performing well? Would you be able to quickly reinvest the money, hoping to scale in the next coming days, keeping in mind that you can’t touch the ad budget allocated for other marketing channels?
If you get a product that has good selling potential, you’ll always remain unaware of this winning product if you have less budget to test it out on different audience types.
Last but not the least, would you reinvest ever again in dropshipping when you get discouraged just because you didn’t do it right? Many young entrepreneurs think dropshipping is dead just because they are not willing to learn & treat dropshipping as a serious business.
It is possible to start with $100 & become profitable, but quite unrealistic & require pretty good expertise in almost everything – from optimizing the store to scaling the ads.
5. Setup Your Online Store With Shopify
Now that you’ve seen some steps to executing your dropshipping plans, It’s time to setup your online draft store with dummy content, so that you can have a look & feel of your very first eCommerce store.
If you follow me through this article & setup a dummy store, you can quickly jump to further tasks like importing products & optimizing them.
When it comes to building eCommerce stores, Shopify is a great eCommerce platform to rely upon – especially if you are just starting out.
Shopify comes with an easy to use interface to help you build a professionals, beautiful & feature packed ecommerce store.
There’s much more you can do with Shopify like orders & inventory management, traffic analysis, invoice generation, etc.
Below are some steps you can follow along with me to get familiar with some important Shopify settings & set up an intitial version of your dropshipping store by end of this day.
Keep the store name dummy when asked for – we can change this later. (You will have better ideas for your store after you finalize the products & niche)
For instance, I am keeping my dummy store name to “Com Appetite“;
Follow along with me!
Step 2: Tweaking The Default Shopify Configuration & Set Up Basics
In this step, we will tweak some default Shopify settings & set up some basic things like collections, pages etc.
Set Up Collections
Collections in Shopify are groups or categories of your products. Customers can browse products based on the groups or collections you’re created in your store.
You would also use these collections as featured categories on the homepage.
Some example collection types you can create:
Best Under $100
Clothing for Men, Women & Kids
Our Best Seller
& anything that might suit your store.
To create collections in Shopify, click on Products->Collections from the left navigation menu inside of Shopify dashboard. You will find an option to create collection at this screen.
Set Up Basic Pages
The next thing we can do is to set up some basic pages for our Store.
As for now, you can create a contact us page that would have a form allowing users to submit their message & contact you.
To add a new page to your Shopify store, go to “Online Store -> Pages” from the left navigation menu & click on “Add new“
Setting Up Important Pages
There are a few important legal pages that you would need to create for your dropshipping store.
Head over to settings from the left navigation bar & go to Legal & see the steps shown in below images
Set Up Preferences
If you go to Online Store->Preferences from the left navigation menu, you will see a lot of important but basic settings for your dropshipping store.
There are some things you can do right away like installing Google Analytics & Facebook pixels code if you have accounts registered.
Set Up Payments
It’s easy to setup payments with Shopify if you have merchant bank accounts (like PayPal & Stripe) ready. You can also integrate Shopify’s own payment gateway but it is limited to certain countries only.
TO setup payments, go to Setting in the left navigation & click on “Payments“. Next screens will take you further to setting you the payment gateway so that you can start accepting payments.
Step 3: Add Some Apps To Your New Dropshipping Store
To seamlessly import products & sync order details with your supplier, you would need to install a product sourcing app (to import products to your store & sync order details with the supplier) depending on your supplier.
Since most of us will be either using AliExpress, Spocket, or Oberlo (Oberlo also has products from AliExperss, but it comes with additional features) – because these are dropshipping beginners friendly.
To get familiar with the process & add some dummy products to design your store, you can start with installing Oberlo.
Once you would install Oberlo, you can browse their marketplace & one click import products from there.
To start with, add three to four dummy products. These dummy products would help you test the look & feel of your store.
Step 4: Design Your Store
With Shopify free themes, you can get professional designs for your store.
Currently there are 9 free templates on Shopify & many paid themes if you wish to explore them too.
TO add a theme to your store, go to online store -> themes from the left navigation. Once you activate a theme, click on customize and it will take you to the theme editor dashboard from where you can easily edit the homepage elements & other aspects of your website design.
7. Optimise Your Store & Set Up A Marketing Plan
Now that you’ve seen how to create a dropshipping store with Shopify in less than 1 hour, it’s time to go through some marketing strategies that you must be aware of.
Creating an effective marketing strategy relies on both organic & paid methods – the more you devote efforts to marketing, the better you understand your audience – eventually, more profitability.
But, to make the most out of your marketing efforts, your store should be optimized for the best user experience & you should put every necessary efforts to improve your store.
Below are some things to keep in mind before you go ahead:
Your product must be of good quality
Fast & free shipping can improve your conversions
Customer support is important, make sure you understand your product & provide good customer service
Your store should be optimized for the best user experience – good website speed, designs, navigation, content, product appearance
Encourage product reviews & testimonials that you could further use in advertising
Incorporate brand storytelling
There are many more areas you should look at when you are dropshipping, you can also give this article a read – https://sureshbhatt.net/drop-shipping-tips/
Optimize Your Store for Search Engines
It’s always best to prepare yourself for some organic growth. Below are some basic SEO things you have to keep in mind:
Make keyword research your habit & list out primary & secondary keywords for your products & other pages/content
Optimize your store for speed
choose a light theme
Avoid using large images
limit the number of apps you use
Alt tag your images: The alt tag is an alternative text added to images, to help search engines understand what the image is – and is used as an accessibility feature to convert image content in speech form to serve people with disabilities.
A product page is the main landing page, carrying a lot of potential to trigger buying decisions in visitors mind, so it is important to invest some time in optimizing the product pages.
Below are some product optimization tips you can takeaway:
Add one primary keyword in the title (or a maximum of 2 if looks relevant & good to the user)
Products’ media quality must be high (don’t forget to compress & reduce size)
Add some positive product reviews to products
Clearly indicate the cost breakdown (if additional charges such as shipping, packing applicable)
Add some trust factors like customer testimonial screenshots, safe & secure checkout (or other secure banking tags)
Organic Marketing Channels
There can be many organic marketing channels you can leverage, below are some common platforms that have worked well for drop-shippers in the past
Social Media – the basics: Facebook Page, Instagram Business Account, Twitter etc
Video Marketing (like product explanation videos)
Facebook Videos – Facebook videos are a great way to promote your product as well as to discover new & trending product ideas
Tik Tok Videos – Tik Tik is another platform with huge reach potential
Instagram Reels / IGTV
Contests & Giveaways
Pinterest Marketing – Pinterest can work really really well for some niches, like home decor, artwork etc.
Paid Marketing Plan
Below are some paid marketing channles you should definitely give a try to test your new dropshipping store & products:
Facebook Ads – It gives you ultimate opportunities to target relevant audiences. Facebook ads are love to almost every drop shipper out there
Instagram Ads – Being a product of Facebook, Instagram ads works really well for eCommerce
Influencer Marketing – This could be one of the most effective marketing channels driving lots of sales if you choose the right influencer. Remember that not all influencers rush after money, some would be willing to collaborate with you at fairly cheaper prices.
Google Shopping Ads
Google Adwords – Pay Per Click advertising
Final Words – Take actions & adopt a test & growth mindset
Learning something new takes time & it’s common for beginners to get overwhelmed with a lot of information out there about dropshipping.
While there can be no pre-defined strategy to get you success, what’s important is taking action.
If you’ve followed along with me through this article, you should have a draft dropshipping store up on Shopify & you are equipped with basic information & fundamentals to help you move further with your dropshipping plans.
In majority of the cases, a dropshipping venture becomes profitable after experiencing failuers with multiple products – so it’s important to test even after your first product or first set of products go fail.
Did I miss anything to add that you might be lookin for? Let me know in the comments below.