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)
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.
- Create & register your account with Hostgator to view exclusive offers & discounts on hosting plans.
- Check for domain name availablility & select any of the dedicated hosting service plans.
- Pay service fees & get started
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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
Yes, WordPress is pretty good for dropshipping or any other type of website (website building) requirements.
There are plenty of reasons to choose WooCommerce, including:
Yes, there are many plugins to integrate your WooCommerce store with AliExpress
WordPress is still a powerful website-building tool – be it for dropshipping or anything else. However, Shopify is much easier to use than WordPress
WooCommerce – being an open-source platform, there are many small to big-sized businesses that trust WooCommerce.
An initial budget of $500 is required to make dropshipping work.