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Beginners Zone Dropshipping

WooCommerce Dropshipping: An Easy Guide to Setup Your First Online Store

Looking to set up & start your first dropshipping eCommerce store using WooCommerce by WordPress? I’ve created this article to help you start your dropshipping business quickly – by setting up an online store using WooCommerce.

This article will help you:

Understand: What You Need to Know About Dropshipping on WooCommerce, How WooCommrece Works & When You Should Consider WooCommerce over Shopify & Other platforms? And When you should not use WooCommerce?

Create: Follow Step by Step Process to set up your Online Store using WooCommerce by WordPress

Earn: Setup Payments Gateway & Start Earning

In this article, I am not going through every different method of creating your online store using WooCommerce because possibilities are endless – there are many different themes to use, plugins to choose & ways to build; Instead, I’d stick to the easiest way to quickly get your store up & running.

Dropshipping on WooCommerce by WordPress: What You Need to Know

I assume you understand the dropshipping fundamentals already, but to keep this article informative for all users landing here, this section quickly explains a few basic things around WooCommerce, dropshipping & various aspects in setting up your dropshipping business using WooCommerce.

Dropshipping is a business model wherein you can list & sell products via your online store, without having to manufacture, hold or own the product inventory – you bring sales, accept orders & forward details to the supplier (who then deliver for you to the customer), whilst keeping the commission/profit in your pocket.

How to Get Started with Dropshipping?

  • Discover & finalise a niche you want to work in
  • Build your online store
  • Find dropshipping suppliers/products marketplace & integrate your store with it – and add or Import products to your store from these marketplaces
  • Setup Payments Gateway
  • Start Selling

How this goes? Follow the article.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce, as you might know, is a plugin on WordPress that adds eCommerce functionalities to your WordPress Website.

WooCommerce is an extremely powerful plugin that helps you build basic to advanced eCommerce stores – depending on your technical expertise & requirements.

According to the latest report “Market share of leading e-commerce software platforms and technologies worldwide as of April 2021” by Statista – WooCommerce is the second most globally used software for building online stores, holding a global market share of 23%. (See image below)

WooCommerce is the second most globally used software for building online stores, holding a market share of 23%.

Data doesn’t lie. If you’re curious to know more, below are some reasons to consider WooCommerce over other platforms:

Why Use WooCommerce?

There are many reasons to use WooCommerce for building your next dropshipping store, including:

  • You own WooCommerce: WooCommerce (WordPress) being a self hoted website, is your property, unlike other all-in-one store building platforms like Shopify. That means, with WooCommerce, you are not bound to the change in terms/usage of services – that might affect your business.
  • WooCommerce is Free to use: When building stores using WooCommerce, you just need to pay for the domain name & hosting. WooCommerce is also free like WordPress. Keep in mind that you would need to pay for add-ons, depending on your additional requirements.
  • WooCommrece is Open-Source & Popular: Using a popular & open source technology not only means it is free to use, but also means you can customize it to the fullest (you can scale it with your business growth) & there will always be plenty of community support when you get stuck somewhere.
  • WooCommerce is Easy to Install & Use: Once you go through a basic tutorial on How WordPress & WooCommerce works, you’d be able to manage & work with WooCommerce easily.
  • WooCommerce is reliable, reputed & has good customer plus community support.
  • Development for WooCommerce is active: WooCommerce is trusted by many small, mid to big sized businesses across the Globe & hence, WordPress market offerings for WooCommerce has many free & premium products (like themes, add-ons, etc) to help you embrace the power of this plugin
  • Search Engine Optimization friendly: You can optimize your store as per your SEO requirements.

When You Should not Use WooCommerce?

  • If you’re looking for one-stop solution: WooCommerce definitely is powerful enough to achieve what you want with your online store, but is not a done-for-you tool; that means, to setup the store & many other features, you’d need to rely on additional plugins.
  • If you don’t (or don’t want to) know how to use WordPress

Why WooCommerce is a good solution for Dropshipping?

WooCommerce is definitely good for dropshipping because of many reasons including:

  • Since your WooCommerce store is a self hosted website, you can try different experiements with a single hosting plan, unlike Shopify – that allows you to use it for one domain only
  • With WooCommerce, you get more room to optimize, design & customize product pages
  • There are plenty of plugins available to use for free with WordPress, to add additional features to your dropshipping store
  • WooCommerce is more scalable when your business grows – especially to the point where you can hire WooCommerce (WordPress) developer to do the store customization work for you.

What do you need to get started with Dropshipping using WooCommerce?

  • Domain name + Hosting
  • Business Account or Payments Gateway Account – on Paypal, Stripe, etc

WooCommerce Dropshipping: Step by Step Process to Setup Your Online Dropshipping Store

You can easily dropship with WooCommerce – setting up an eCommerce store using WooCommerce is easy & doesn’t require technical expertise or so.

Step #1: Finalize a Dropshipping Business Name & Purchase Domain + Hosting

Just like we set up a normal website, the basic thing to do is to purchase a hosting space & domain name for your dropshipping business website.

Domain Name or Website URL: Your dropshipping business website. www.examplestore.com

Hosting: A storage space to store website data so that it can be accessed on the internet.

WooCommerce is Free to use but doesn’t offer a space to host the website. I’d recommend you get a hosting & domain name for your dropshipping business from a reliable hosting partner service.


Actionable Steps:


Remember: 
* When you are into eCommerce, especially planning to drive sales from paid traffic, it is advisable to avoid "shared hosting" & invest in "dedicated hosting" because shared hosting plans doesn't offer good website loading time - because your website in shared hosting plan is hosted on a server shared by other websites.

* Do not settle on hosting plans that allows you to use only one domain in the hosting. Make sure that your hosting plan can be used for more than 3 websites - so you could use it for launching different websites if required. 

*Purchase domain name & hosting from the same company - so you don't need to mess up with technical stuff like changing Domain Name Servers. 

Step #2: Install & Setup WordPress

Once you’ve purchased a domain name & hosting, you’d be able to set up a WordPress website on that domain name.

To set up WordPress, all you need to do is login into the hosting Control Panel (known as cPanel in short). Login credentials are generally provided by your hosting provider inside a welcome email

Two common ways to get into the cPanel:

  • Putting /cpanel at the end of your primary domain & you’ll be redirected to the login page. Example – www.yourwebsite.com/cpanel (login credentials are generally provided by hosting provider in a welcome email; search for “cpanel” in your inbox)
  • You can also get into the Cpanel from hosting providers website by logging with the account using which you purchased hosting – there you’ll find an option to get into the cPanel.

Still confused? Just contact your hosting provider & ask them how to set up a WordPress website & they’ll be happy to guide you & help.

Managed to log into the hosting cPanel? Follow further steps below:

#1 Locate or Search for “WordPress” or “WordPress Manager by Softaculous” inside of cPanel

Setting up WordPress on your website is very easy. Almost every hosting provider has one click and is easy to install “WordPress installer” on their platform.

When logged into the cPanel, you’d be easily able to locate the WordPress Installer named “WordPress Manager by Softaculous” from the cPanel home screen

You can also search for “WordPress” in the search box & locate it.

Depending on the Hosting Provider, there may be different types of WordPress installers. However, the process remains similar & easy. You’d be easily able to recognize how to install.

#2 Begin Installing WordPress using the WordPress installer

Once you’re into the WordPress installer, locate the option to begin the installation.

Before installation, you’d be asked to fill in basic details about the Website you wish to set up, you can

  • Select the dropshipping business domain – where you want to install WordPress
  • Choose the WordPress version (keep it to latest, recommended)
  • Fill in Site Name & Description (You can easily change this later)
  • Fill in admin username, email & password (that you wish to use to login to the WordPress dashboard)
  • Choose basic Plugins to install if it asks (Enable Loginizer plugin)
  • Select a temporary theme as for now

Fill in the details, click Install & you’re good to go.

Upon successful installation, you’d be able to log in to the website’s WordPress dashboard by putting /wp-admin at the end of the website URL. Example – www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin

Sometimes it takes a longer time than usual to properly propagate the installation & you might not be able to access the WordPress dashboard of the website immediately. If that’s the case, wait for some time or call your hosting provider.


Actionable Steps:

  • Login to your hosting control panel, known as cpanel. To access control panel:
    • Sign in to your account on hosting partner website & get into cpanel from there
    • Or, put “/cpanel” at the end of your primary domain (www.yourwebsite.com/cpanel). Login credentials can be found in your Welcome Email from the hosting provider at the time you purchased hosting
    • Or, ask your hosting provider to help you get access to cPanel
  • Locate or search for “WordPress” & click on WordPress installer you see. In most cases, it is “WordPress Manager by Softaculous”
  • Proceed with installation Wizard
    • Select the Domain on which you want to install WordPress
    • Choose weather your domain has http or https
    • Keep the installation version number to latest
    • Fill in your Site Name & Description (can be easily changed later)
    • Fill in admin account details with which you would like to login to your WordPress website
    • Choose your Language
    • Enable “Limit Login Attempts (Loginizer)” plugin, if it asks.
    • Select any theme as for now, we’ll change this later
    • Click on Install & wait
  • Once installed successfully, login to your website using the URL www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin (with credentials you’ve put while installation)

Step #3: Install WooCommerce Plugin to WordPress

Now that you’ve WordPress installed on your Website, it’s time to make this basic website an eCommerce store – using the powerful “WooCommerce” plugin.

Login to the WordPress dashboard & go to Plugins > Add New from the left sidebar menu. Search & Install the “WooCommerce” plugin


Actionable Steps:

  • Login to your WordPress website. www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin
  • Go to Dashboard > Plugins > Add New > Search “WooCommerce”
  • Install the “WooCommerce” plugin & Activate
  • Complete the setup wizard when prompted

Step #4: Choose an eCommerce Theme, Import Demo Website & Tweak Content

The next thing to do is to decide on what theme you’ll use for your dropshipping store. While the product pages are pretty similar in many themes, your initial focus should be on designing the Homepage.

To build your eCommerce store homepage, there are two ways to go:

  • Setup & design homepage using page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, etc
  • Install theme that offers free starter website templates (demo content) & tweak an already built-for-you eCommerce store

To save time & be more efficient as a beginner, it is recommended to stick to themes that offer “free demo content”. With demo content or starter templates/websites, it’s easy to begin working on the website content.

One powerful & free theme that offers good demo content is the “Astra”. You can also try finding other free WooCommerce websites on the Internet that offers free demo content.

If looking to build a very professional-looking store by investing some amount, you can try outsourcing the work to a WooCommerce website developer/designer or purchase a premium theme from Themeforest.

Note: 
* If you're facing error while importing demo content to the website, read the theme documentation & server requirements for importing demo content & ask your hosting provider to reconfigure the server for you

* By importing demo content, you'd automatically get the menus, widgets & other things set up.

To demo import demo content to your WooCommerce store, follow the theme guidelines on importing content.

Once you are done with importing content, you’d be able to see your demo eCommerce website with dummy products & texts for your reference.

Moving forward, you’d need to tweak the website content & various other things as per your business requirements.


Actionable Steps:

  • Login to your WordPress website
  • Install Theme:
    • Go to Dashboard > Change your theme completely
    • Or, Go to Dashboard > Appearance > Themes > Add New > Search & Install “Astra”
    • Activate Theme
    • If prompted with a Setup Wizard, fill in & complete the required details & continue
  • Import Demo Content / Starter Website: (step vary for different theme, this tutorial is for Astra)
    • Go to Dashboard > Appearance > Astra Options
    • Find “Starter Templates” section & select the option “Install Importer Plugin” – Install & Activate this plugin
  • Finish Setup Wizard:
    • Select your preferred page builder (Elementor is recommended)
    • Search for themes. Use filter to find “Free” themes (if looking for free themes only) & search “Ecommerce”
    • Browse through theme collections & choose a theme you’d like to import
    • Select if you want to import complete site or a few selected pages
    • Finish the Wizard: Check the boxes to Import everything (customizer settings, widgets, required plugins, content)
    • Click on next & wait for website to get imported

Step #5: Select a Dropshipping Marketplace, Find Suppliers & Import Products to Your Store

In order to start selling, you need to find suppliers & add or import dropshipping products to the store. This can be done in two ways:

  • Method 1: Add Products Manually: You can manually add each product to your WooCommerce dropshipping store.
  • Method 2: Integrate Your Store with Dropshipping Supplier/Product-Sourcing Marketplace: You can connect your store to popular dropshipping marketplaces & one-click import products from there

If you are shortlisting your dropshipping products & suppliers from various marketplaces, then you’d be required to add products to your store manually.

However, this method is quite old-fashioned because it is very tedious to add each product manually if you’re selling various products around various categories.

Nowadays, popular dropshipping supplier/product marketplaces like AliExpress, CJDropshipping, Spocket, etc, offer product importing tools that help you import products directly & easily from these marketplaces to your WooCommerce store.

Some of the marketplaces that offer integration with WooCommerce are:

  • CJDropshipping: A marketplace where you can find dropshipping fulfillment products & suppliers. CJDropshipping has suppliers & manufacturers from China, and also has various warehouses around the globe for faster shipping to countries like the USA & UK. CJDropshipping is free to use.
  • Spocket: Spocket is another marketplace where you can find quality products by the US & EU suppliers. Spocket thrives on quality of their products & if you want to avoid manufacturers/shipping from China, you can try Spocket.

All you need to do is sign up for any of the dropshipping suppliers/product marketplaces you want to work with, & connect your WooCommerce store with them.

Once your store is integrated with such marketplace, you can browse through the marketplace & import products to your store.


Actionable Steps:

  • If you plan to add products manually:
    • Go to WordPress Dashboard > Products > Add New
    • Explore various options & create a product
  • If you want to integrate your store to supplier or product sourcing marketplace
    • Sign up for a dropshipping marketplace like Spocket that integrates with WooCommerce. Here is a list of popular US dropshipping suppliers.
    • Go through their tutorial / documentation on how to integrate the marketplace

Recommended Read: Here’s How to Find & Choose the Best Dropshipping Suppliers in 2021

Step #5: Setup Payments Gateway & Start Selling

Another mandatory step is to set up a payment gateway on your WooCommerce store – which is an easy process.

To set up a payments gateway, you’d need to consider what merchant you’ll use for accepting payments – depending on your business requirements & country availability.

Since you are using WordPress, you can find tons of payment gateway provider plugins to use – including the popular ones like Paypal & Stripe.

Sign up to Paypal or Stripe & get started with filling in details that the payment gateway plugin would ask. Don’t worry about the process – you’d find documentation on your payment partner website easily on how to set up a payment gateway – on WooCommerce.

WooCommerce also has its own payments plugin but is available to only a few countries. Check availability here.

Once you are done with setting up the payments gateway, you can proceed with further optimizing your dropshipping WooCommerce store.

When everything is done, start running ads to get traffic & generate sales.


Actionable Steps:

  • Discover Payment Gateways & plugins: Depending on your requirements, eligibility & country availablity. You can start with Paypal or Stripe
  • Search for plugins in the marketplace. You can find a list of popular payment gateway plugins here.
  • Install & Activate the required plugin. Go to WordPress dashboard > Plugins > Add new
  • Read the plugin documentation on how to set up the plugin to accept payments

Some Frequently Asked Questions About WooCommerce Dropshipping

How does WooCommerce integrate with dropshipping?

Since WooCommerce is a plugin & works with WordPress, there are many other WordPress plugins that support various dropshipping operations. Depending on your requirements, you can integrate various features using plugins

Is WordPress good for Dropshipping?

Yes, WordPress is pretty good for dropshipping or any other type of website (website building) requirements.

Why Should I Use WooCommerce

There are plenty of reasons to choose WooCommerce, including:

Does WooCommerce Integrate with Aliexpress

Yes, there are many plugins to integrate your WooCommerce store with AliExpress

Which is better for dropshipping WordPress or Shopify?

WordPress is still a powerful website-building tool – be it for dropshipping or anything else. However, Shopify is much easier to use than WordPress

Which platform is more scalable, WooCommerce or Shopify?

WooCommerce – being an open-source platform, there are many small to big-sized businesses that trust WooCommerce.

Does WooCommerce take a percentage of Sales?

No

How much does a WooCommerce dropshipping standard cost?

An initial budget of $500 is required to make dropshipping work.

Categories
Beginners Zone Dropshipping

How to Start a Dropshipping Store: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Dropshipping is something that excites mostly the individuals who know a bit about digital marketing or the eCommerce industry.

And also people who are not into digital marketing often hear about drop shipping while exploring various ways to make money online.

It is the beauty of dropshipping that it allows anyone to get into it & explore an eCommerce segment that’s expected to reach USD 557.9 billion by 2025.

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)

Below is a graph on the growing popularity of dropshipping across the world in the past 5 years according to Google Trends:

Google Trends analysis of the term dropshipping to show its popularity

Now, I assume you are probably here because:

  • You want to start your own business
  • You want to earn money online
  • You want to start an eCommerce business
  • 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:

  • Cushions
  • Mobile Covers
  • Mugs
  • Backpacks
  • Notebooks / Diary
  • T-Shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Masks

& 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
  • Lower Costs
  • 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

  • Printify
  • Printful
  • TeeSpring

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.

Check this store, InspireUplift for example:

an example of general store dropshipping type

These stores aren’t limited & focused on/to selling products from one niche only & specific set of audiences.

When a visitor lands at such stores, chances are they might find something to buy as they browse the store & pools of products available.

Many popular dropshippers recommends this path as beginner friendly, however, you need to be aware of the pros & cons that comes with general store dropshipping:

Pros of general store dropshipping:

  • Flexibility to sell any products
  • More discoverability & more reach
  • Easy to setup

Cons of general store dropshipping:

  • It would be a challenge to offer good customer service
  • Hard to build brand
  • One bad product can hurt overall sales & repeated purchases

3. Niche Store Dropshipping

Unlike general dropshipping stores, which can sell almost any product on their store, niche dropshipping stores are focused on selling products around a specific niche(s) only.

In other terms, these stores have a defined niche & cater to specific set of audience & interests.

Take this store Modern Urban Jungle, for example, it sells various products (decor, homewares, and gifts) that might interest a plant lover.

an example of niche store dropshipping type

Pros of niche store dropshipping:

  • Less competition
  • Easy to get SEO benefits over time
  • Buyers are more likely to convert if interested – your niche expertise will help your store stand out
  • Many other advantages when it comes to brand & community building

Niche store dropshipping cons:

  • Less flexibility over product – you can’t experiment with every other trending product
  • Hard to scale
  • Solid plans are needed to make your store stand out

4. Single Product Dropshipping

You can also start dropshipping by focusing & selling one product only, instead of multiples; The entire store is dedicated to selling one product only.

Take this store PillowPup for example:

an example of single product dropshipping type

Single product dropshipping pros:

  • Time & Cost-effective
  • 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.

high ticket product dropshipping example

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

  • High-profit margins
  • Few sales a month are enough to cover up marketing expenses
  • Good conversion rates if the traffic you send is relevant
  • Less competition
  • 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
  • Store Optimization
  • UpSelling

& 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

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 .

Facebook Videos

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 Pixels

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

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

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
  • Spocket
  • Oberlo
  • SaleHoo

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
  • Product optimization

& 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.

Step 1: Register Your Account With Shopify

Head over to Shopify & create your account.

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“;

register your account with shopify to build your dropshipping store

Follow along with me!

step two for registering with shopify

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:

  • On Sale
  • Best Under $100
  • Clothing for Men, Women & Kids
  • Popular
  • Trending
  • 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.

create collections in Shopify - these are categories of products that you would sell on your dropshipping store

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

  • image showing how to add pages to your shopify store
  • image showing how to create a page & add content to it

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

  • image showing how to add legal pages
  • you can choose a template to create important pages of your dropshipping store
  • edit necessary information on pages

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 search engine preview inside preferences
  • set up Google analytics inside preferences - to track visitors on your store
  • set up social media preview inside preferences

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.

set up payments to start accpeting payment for your orders

Step 3: Add Some Apps To Your New Dropshipping Store

  • add apps to your shopify store
  • explore shopify apps

Install Product Sourcing App (Your Dropshipping Suplier)

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.

  • oberlo dropshipping app
  • edit product details when you import product from Oberlo

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.

  • add themes to your Shopify store
  • customize your homepage elements & other theme settings from the theme editor

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
    • Compress images
    • 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.
  • Optimize your website navigation for search engines
    • Every page should be reachable in 3-4 clicks: include links in the footer, header navigation, widgets, etc on every page.
    • Categories & subcategories should be in proper order – following a hierarchy
  • Use clear, short & readable URLs
  • Optimize product pages (explained below)
  • Increase the number of backlinks & social shares

There can be many optmizations tips you can follow.

Here’s a detailed guide by Ahrefs on Ecommerce SEO. Also, give this blog a read – Shopify SEO by Moz

Optimize Your Product Pages

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)
  • Optimize description
  • 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
    • YouTuve
  • Content Marketing
    • Blog Publishing
    • Forums Answering
  • Contests & Giveaways
  • Pinterest Marketing – Pinterest can work really really well for some niches, like home decor, artwork etc.
  • Email Marketing

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.

All the best!