Starting a dropshipping business is a fantastic way to launch and break into the ecommerce industry.
It takes away all the trouble of manufacturing products, handling and managing inventory, shipping, and all the extra stuff that comes with order fulfilment.
Dropshipping allows you to focus on finding customers and growing your business. You don’t need to worry about keeping products in the warehouse or tracking inventory.
You only have to get orders and let the suppliers handle the rest.
Most of the popular ecommerce platforms offer dropshipping capabilities, but in today’s post, I’m focusing on Shopify dropshipping.
If you’re new to e-commerce and learning how to start dropshipping on Shopify, you must understand the business model and what dropshipping is.
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an ecommerce business model where online retailers do not stock products or handle shipping. Instead, retailers partner with third-party product distributors to fulfil orders and ship the products to the customer.
In a dropshipping business type, when you receive orders online from your customers, you contact the vendor of the products; the product’s vendor or distributor or suppliers are responsible for packaging, shipping, and delivering the product to the customer.
How much you price your products is up to you. Suppliers only take orders from you and deliver them to customers.
Dropshipping is an excellent way to enter the eCommerce industry with a minimal budget or test the conversion rate for new products. So you don’t have to invest heavily in a product you’re not sure of its market demand.
If you’re familiar with affiliate marketing, dropshipping is not much different.
Both business models work on being a middleman between the customer and the product owner or suppliers. The main difference is that you don’t take part in pricing the product or taking customer orders in affiliate marketing.
Even as good as it is, dropshipping has pros and cons, which I get into in this post.
But first, let’s walk through setting up your Shopify dropshipping store together.
Create Your Shopify Dropshipping Store
Before setting up your dropshipping websites, you need to perform market analysis to find profitable products for Shopify dropshipping to sell.
The ecommerce industry is highly competitive.
The global ecommerce retail market is estimated to reach $6.3 trillion in 2023, with over 24 million online shops.
How do you stand out and make more money than the competitors?
Define your Target Market
Knowing your target audience is one of the first steps to ensure you’re on the right path to a successful dropshipping business.
And this is not just about defining buyers’ persona but narrowing down your target market. You must zero in on your audience to turn a profit quickly.
You need to research products that are not widely available to every merchant or retailer but appeal to a market segment.
Let’s assume most retailers are selling general weight loss products, which is a very competitive market.
You can research weight loss products for those over 40 or weight loss products without exercise.
Now, your products are more targeted at a section of the weight loss audience. Those who want to lose weight but find exercise stressful are likelier to buy your product than people looking for general weight loss products.
By doing this, you are reducing the level of competition for your target market and increasing your chances of success.
But, you can not think all these in your head or rely on brainstorming. You need a reliable and trustworthy data source to make the best estimated guess of the market trend and value.
This is where keyword research comes in. So, move to read the next section of this post.
Research For Products
To start a dropshipping business on Shopify, Keyword research is the best strategy to find lucrative dropshipping niches to validate product ideas.
You can use any of these tools to find trending products in specific countries and gather additional information to help pick winning dropshipping products.
Most keyword tools let you research and analyze search terms for search volume, market value, cost per click, popular locations, competitors’ websites, marketing strategies, search intent, keyword difficulty, etc.
You can also get more insight into your keyword data, like search term variations, question type keywords, broad matches, and more. This information lets you discover other similar phrases people are typing into search engines to find your products.
Assuming you pick Semrush, here is a comprehensive keyword research tutorial to help you master choosing the right product keywords.
But if you’re on a budget, Rank Tracker from SEO Powersuite is the best alternative to many expensive SEO keyword tools. The free plan allows unlimited keyword research and analysis.
And you can download it now to start using it immediately. No credit card or commitment is required.
Find Dropshipping Products Supplier
There are several ways to find product suppliers for dropshipping, like searching online, product supplier or distributor directories, direct contact with manufacturers, and attending trade shows and product events.
These are good ways to discover and find wholesalers or product manufacturers for your intended dropshipping business.
But finding wholesalers or manufacturers yourself may not yield good results, as product manufacturers or wholesalers don’t always engage consumers directly. They don’t actively engage in marketing or promotion, making them not easily found online.
Additionally, the processes can be time-consuming and stressful. Use the Shopify dropshipping app to automate finding product dealers to save time and resources.
There are many advantages to using the Shopify dropshipping recommendations app:
- Automate the checkout process.
- Research high-in-demand products from the EU, US, Canada, Asia, and more regions.
- Integrates with popular marketplaces like Aliexpress and Alibaba.
- Automatically import products and order fulfilments.
- Access to multiple suppliers and chat directly with them.
- Integrates with other ecommerce platforms like eBay, Woocommerce, BigCommerce, etc.
- Create branding invoicing.
- Automatically send customers’ order information to product dealers for shipping.
- Access to 24/7 customer support.
- Seamless imports products from other Shopify recommendation dropshipping apps.
- Ability to search for products on any website using the image search functionality.
- And lots more.
The good news about Shopify dropshipping apps is that there are plenty of them to choose from. There are apps for all types of businesses, from print-on-demand suppliers to stock products.
Here are some of the most popular on the platform:
- DSers – AliExpress Dropshipping – DSers is one popular Shopify dropshipping vendor app that allows merchants to source products directly from AliExpress. The app has features that let you source and compare products from different AliExpress product vendors. Merchants can also import, search and edit product data like descriptions before importing to the Shopify store.
- Spocket – US & EU Dropshipping – Spocket dropshipping app also allows you to import products directly from Aliexpress and Alibaba. It integrates with popular dropship apps like Oberlo, CJdrops, Shopee, DSers, etc. It gives you access to a range of US and EU wholesalers.
- Trendsi – Fashion Dropshipping – Trendsi is a fashion dropshipping supplier app that sources qualified US brands with higher profit margins and packs and ships the product directly to your customers, all with your branded store invoicing. As your business grows, Trendsi allows custom packaging and private labelling of shipping products.
- Ali Orders Aliexpress Dropship – This app lets you push 100s of Aliexpress products to your Shopify dropship store in one click. Use it to find best-selling niche products, source products by price, variants, size, etc., and push them to your store with one click.
- Printify – Print on Demand – If you sell custom products like clothing, mugs, accessories, or any product that requires custom labelling, Printify is one of the best print-on-demand dropshipping apps. From creative design to packaging to delivering products to customers, Printfy handles every task on the way. Plus, it gives you access to a wide range of sellers.
Many of these apps offer free access to limited features and require subscribing to paid plans to unlock full access to premium features. Check the Shopify apps store for more dropship apps and information about individual app developers.
Setup Your Dropshipping Store
Now that you’ve set up all your ecommerce dropshipping technical requirements, it’s time to start building your store.
While many ecommerce store builders are suitable for dropshipping, Shopify remains the most popular and user-friendly platform. Shopify makes it easy for merchants of different sizes and technical knowledge to build a dropshipping store effortlessly.
I published a guide on creating a Shopify store you should read. It takes you through all the steps required to create a functioning Shopify store suitable for all ecommerce purposes.
But for the sake of this guide, let’s walk through the step-by-step Shopify Dropshipping tutorial on creating a storefront.
Sign Up For Shopify Account.
The first step in creating a Shopify dropshipping store is to sign up for an account if you haven’t done so. It’s free to sign up for a Shopify store account; anyone can create a free store with Shopify.
The best part is that you don’t have to start subscribing to a paid plan. Shopify has a 3-day free trial plus a 90-day extension for one dollar monthly. That’s a total of 93 days of using Shopify for $3.
Use this link to start your free trial now.
The signup process is straightforward; you’re up and running within a minute.
However, if you require help deciding which plan fits your unique store need, here is an in-depth look at the Shopify plan and pricing, including payment processing fees and Shopify payment gateways for dropshipping.
Add a Custom Domain Name
Next, get a custom domain name after completing the signup, and your account is ready.
When you sign up for a store account, Shopify asks you to enter your store name. This name is automatically used as your store subdomain name address.
Your store URL address will look like this https://yourstorename.myshopify.com
This is unprofessional and likely to hurt branding and SEO. The best logical thing is to buy a domain name and connect it to your Shopify store.
You can buy a custom domain name through your Shopify store, making completing the process from your admin backend easier. Or you can check other domain name registrars like NameCheap for cheaper options and possible discount deals.
Follow this step-by-step instruction to buy a domain name from your Shopify store account.
Create Your Shopify Store Logo
Branding is an essential component of a successful dropshipping business. It helps you stand out and allow customers to identify with your business image anywhere online.
A well-designed logo helps customers remember your store, elevates its image, brings more atheistic design to the storefront, and helps its reputation.
Think about your store message, name, and how you want others to perceive your business reputation before picking a logo.
While you can easily create a website logo today, hiring a professional designer can substantially affect quality and design. A professional designer can create a website logo more aligned with your core message and expectations and help significantly with branding.
Fiverr is an excellent place to find low-cost and affordable designers you can hire to create your Shopify store logo.
Below are some excellent Fiverr gigs you can give a try.
Design Your Store
It’s time to get dirty and bring your storefront live online.
This is not as difficult as you might think. In fact, with Shopify themes, anyone, regardless of technical knowledge, can design an ecommerce store with less effort.
Shopify has an extensive collection of pre-made themes, allowing you to create a functional ecommerce website within minutes. You don’t need to touch any line of code or play around with writing HTML or CSS language.
With Shopify’s readymade themes, building a storefront that accepts payment on checkout pages is more effortless.
Select from its free theme options if you’re on a budget, and only go for a premium theme when your business can pay the bills.
Here are some of the best Shopify dropshipping themes. Check for more on this page.
One piece of advice you must take here is that don’t spend too much time on website design; there is always more time to change things in the future.
The most important thing is to have a website with a modern look and functional features like the checkout page and product and collection pages. Get your store ready for customers as soon as possible.
Add or Import Products
Once your store design is ready, importing products from your dropshipping suppliers is the next big thing.
If you have followed through on the section where I talked about Shopify dropshipping apps, adding products to your store won’t be a problem.
You can import products directly from distributors to your Shopify store, along with product descriptions, images, price lists, and other details. Then, you can edit them to fit your store details.
Here are some of the small details you should keep in mind when calculating your product prices and profit margins:
- Cost of shipping.
- Product cost from the distributors.
- Taxes (if applicable)
- Payment processing fees.
Also, think of the additional cost of running your business that you must equip from selling your product.
For example, you might need to purchase apps, run advertisements, outsource complex tasks like optimizing Shopify SEO for dropshipping stores, or even content if you decide to create a blog for your store.
These are optional, but keeping the whole picture in mind is good.
Add Payments Method
Shopify dropshipping business isn’t complete without means of collecting payment on your store and talking about Shopify payment gateways for dropshipping.
As the drop shipper, you must process payment on your store to pay your suppliers when customers place orders. So, having a Shopify payment gateway for dropshipping that allows seamless transactions is significant in an ecommerce business.
Shopify has a variety of payment gateways for merchants to make a choice. You can use Shopify Payments, eliminating transaction fees in an eligible country.
Or you can use third-party payment providers where you pay a credit card fee and a payment processing fee of 0.30 cents per transaction. Whether you sell in local currency or globally, Shopify has partnered with hundreds of payment solution providers in most countries.
You have Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Flutterwave, 2Checkout, Payoneer, PayStack, CoinBase, etc. PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.NET, and lots more are accepted payment gateways for your Shopify store.
There are more than a hundred payment processing gateways to choose from.
While these payment solutions are available on Shopify, check their terms and conditions before adding them to your store. Some of these payment processors are not available in some countries.
And might get you banned from using their service if you go against their terms of service, like Stripe, which considers businesses like dropshipping financially risky. Therefore, it does not support dropshipping business in some countries.
Test Your Store Checkout
After choosing your store payments option and picking the right one, test your checkout page and the payment processors to ensure everything works smoothly.
Don’t assume you got it right without confirmation. Things often break without notice and, sometimes, without explaining why it is happening.
Explore your dropshipping store like a customer, click around, and access product pages, test add-to-cart buttons, images, price calculators, currency converters, etc.
This exercise is essential because you don’t want to drive traffic to your store only to discover that your checkout page is not accessible or usable. Or worse, customers can’t add items to their cart due to an error on your website.
So, ensure you test your website thoroughly before launching.
Promote Your Store
A significant benefit of starting a dropshipping business is giving you time to focus on marketing instead of managing store inventory, packaging, and shipping.
There are several ways or mediums to promote your store; you have to research and focus on the ones that yield the highest ROI.
Marketing channels are not the same for getting people to buy. This is why you must test many marketing channels available to you to determine which one your ideal audience spends most of the time on.
Based on experience, ecommerce businesses must utilize these three channels.
- Social Media (Both free and paid marketing)
- SEO – Search engine optimization
- Email marketing.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is an indispensable tool for small business owners and one of the best marketing channels for promoting dropshipping e-commerce stores.
There is more to do on social media, even if you don’t have a big advertising budget to run paid ads.
You can search competitors’ business pages, learn about their best marketing strategies for dropshipping stores, followers, and content types, and join the discussions.
Also, being part of relevant groups can be advantageous to promoting your business and learning about your target audience’s pain points, interests, spending power, etc. You can do all of these freely without spending on advertising.
Consider paid marketing on social media if you want to reach more people with your message, increase brand awareness, get more sales, and build a steady flow of customers.
Social media advertising allows you to target your ads to users based on several conditions, like audience location, interests, online behavior, accounts they follow, company positions, expertise, etc.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with over 2 billion monthly active users; you should be on the platform promoting your products. You should follow the Jon Loomer website to upskill your Facebook advertising skills.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization.
With search engines driving more than 53% of all internet traffic and 1,000%+ more traffic to publisher websites than social media, little wonder why you should focus more on optimizing your Shopify store SEO.
It is not new that search engines are the most significant driver of all website traffic.
Many online shoppers begin their buying experience with a search engine, and from there, they visit other web pages. Your website must be on search engines like Google if you want to increase your chances of getting found by potential customers.
Shopify is an excellent platform for improving the SEO of your dropshipping store.
Shopify is SEO-friendly and provides a free SSL certificate, which builds trust and security for your user. And it ensures their sensitive information like payment details is secured.
Also, adding meta tags like titles and descriptions and modifying the URL structure is possible in the Shopify store. XML sitemaps are generated automatically and submitted to search engines like Google and Bing.
Shopify has a more straightforward step to create 301 redirects for pages that no longer exist in your store. Additionally, many SEO Shopify apps help you simplify things and give better guidance and automation.
Here are a few SEO apps you can try:
- Yoast SEO Shopify apps
- Avada SEO and Image Optimizer.
- Tiny: SEO Speed Image Optimizer
- SEOmatic – AI SEO Optimizer
- AI Bulk Description Wizard
You will find many other Shopify SEO apps by clicking through this link.
Most of these apps limit access to their app’s features. You must upgrade to the Pro plan to unlock advanced functions and features.
Despite being the oldest online activity, email remains the second marketing channel with the highest ROI, right behind the organic search engines.
The return on email marketing investment is around $36 to $42 for every $1 spent. That’s a crazy return on investment.
But email marketing is not all that easy to do if you’re not strategic about it. You need to engage in email marketing best practices and use a reliable platform for your dropshipping business.
Customers will fail to complete transactions halfway; you need a reliable transactional email marketing platform to automate abandoned cart email recovery.
Letting people subscribe to your list can be one of the best dropshipping tactics to increase sales.
When customers join your newsletter, you can send them product announcements, discount offers, new product arrivals, price changes, etc. Email marketing also helps to create long-term personal relationships with your customers.
Several email marketing platform allows you to create a free account and use the platform before upgrading to a premium account.
Sign up for a free 30-day Getresponse email marketing platform trial to get started with email marketing.
Pros and Cons of Dropshipping
‘As I said earlier, dropshipping is not all that rosy initially; it comes with challenges and greater benefits. ‘As I said earlier, dropshipping is not all that rosy initially; it comes with challenges and greater benefits.
If you work on improving your business long enough and enjoy the process instead of worrying about instant gratification, it could be a serious business that puts life-changing income in your pocket.
I don’t want to sell you into going dropshipping with a positive mindset alone; instead, you must have a clear knowledge of the dropshipping landscape. So, here are the pros and cons of dropshipping.
- Require minimal upfront investment or startup capital.
- You don’t worry about keeping inventory.
- Sell your products to reach the global market.
- Work from anywhere and at any time.
- No renting or spending on a warehouse.
- Eliminate the risk of financial loss due to unsold products in stock.
- Access to work with multiple suppliers.
- Dropshipping is too competitive.
- You have little to no control over product quality.
- Minimal profit margin in the beginning.
- Building a brand is difficult.
- Dealing with customer complaints can be a nightmare.
How Good is Shopify for Dropshipping?
Shopify is a good and reliable dropshipping platform with beginner-friendly features and tools. It has many community members helping you navigate the process and journey. The platform is easy to use and scalable and offers various payment options, shipping carriers, themes, apps, and flexible pricing plans.
Is Dropshipping Profitable on Shopify?
Shopify dropshipping can be profitable and replace your full-time job. However, it requires concrete efforts, research, investments, and the ability to research trending products with high demand.
How to Start Dropshipping for Beginners?
Here are the step-by-step guide beginners can use to start a Shopify dropshipping store:
Research the market.
Pick a product to sell.
Design your store
Create a store logo that represents your brand identity.
Add product to your store
Market the product.
Is it Possible to Start Dropshipping for Free on Shopify?
Yes, it’s possible to test dropshipping with a free trial Shopify account. But there are limitations to what you can and can not do on the platform.
For example, you won’t be able to use Shopify’s built-in payment features. Also, your store remains password protected, or the checkout function is disabled at this time. You must choose a paid plan to remove the password restrictions and activate the checkout functionality.
During your free trial period, your payment options won’t be charged until the trial time expires and you decide to continue using the platform.
Dropshipping is a reliable and sustainable ecommerce business model. If you approach it with strategy and well-thought plans and executions, it could become a full-time revenue channel.
Apart from Shopify dropshipping, there are other ecommerce platforms where you can run a successful dropship business, like woocommerce, Weebly, Square Online, BigCommerce, etc.
But if you’re looking for a guide on how to start a dropshipping store on Shopify, precisely, follow the advice and tips in this post.