In my role of constantly improvising the eCommerce business landscape, it becomes imperative to review each and every aspect of online businesses, and dropshipping is no exception. And it wasn’t too long before I realized how many of those online stores needed to work on their Shopify dropshipping business. This Shopify dropshipping tutorial will help you address those challenges.
Coming to think of it, one of the biggest challenges of an eCommerce business is maintenance of sufficient inventory. When you are starting off, you usually start off small, and you don’t have the money to pay for inventory. Inventory problem can be a real deterrent to eCommerce success, if a company does not have the right resources to keep up with the demand of their customers. It may result in unhappy customers and long wait times. It may even lead to your customers’ leaving your site for your competitor’s. eCommerce dropshipping is a business model via which these issues are taken care of. And it is not a surprise that many entrepreneurs now explore dropshipping opportunities and consider starting an online store with drop shipping.
The process to building a successful dropshipping store isn’t complicated. All you need is a store that is well-designed and functional. A Shopify dropshipping store offers all the key ingredients to start and run a successful dropshipping business that your customers will love. And this Shopify Dropshipping guide will give you exactly what you need to start a Shopify eCommerce dropshipping store.
What is Dropshipping?
In layman’s terms, dropshipping is a retail method where the seller is not required to handle the products physically or fulfill the shipment to the customers. The single most mention-worthy difference between dropshipping and the standard retail model is that, in dropshipping, the seller doesn’t stock their own inventory. Instead, the merchant purchases inventory as needed from a third party – usually a dropshipping wholesaler or manufacturer – in order to fulfill orders.
Who can Dropship?
Here are some ways in which one can start their own dropshipping business –
Market Research Lovers: A lot of times, instead of investing on creating your own product, it’s a good idea to see if a similar product sourced from another manufacturer works or not. This is a reasonably good way to find out how the target audience reacts to certain products. It is also a great way to expand into new lines and explore new markets for your business.
eCommerce Enthusiasts Who Want to Earn Some Extra Bucks: Sometimes, the idea is not to create an empire, but to earn some extra money on the sides. Take Kelan Kline for instance; Kelan started selling goods at 14 on Amazon and eBay when his parents asked him to get a job. After pretty much selling everything in his home, he started dropshipping products from other dropshipping wholesalers and manufacturers. He has managed to sell $70,000 worth of goods in the last 8 years.
Bootstrapping eCommerce Entrepreneurs: With the help of the Shopify dropshipping app, thrifty entrepreneurs can now get into the business without a considerable financial investment.
Online Merchants Who Aim To Expand Their Businesses: When Steve Conine and Niraj Shah started Wayfair.Com in 2002, they started it on a “shoestring budget” as they like to put it. From a small website, they grew their business to sell over 7 million products across 7,000 suppliers. In 2013, they were named one of the largest dropshipping e-commerce stores in the world making a whopping $900 million in annual revenue.
In this Shopify Dropshipping Tutorial, we will discuss:
- How a Shopify Dropshipping app can help you start a successful dropshipping business
- How and where to identify Shopify dropshipping suppliers
- What the elements of Shopify dropshipping success are
- Where you can find Shopify Dropshipping Products
Starting an online store with drop shipping – Finding the Right Products for your Shopify Dropshipping Business.
When you decide to sell online, you need to start thinking niche. Very specifically, your product needs to meet one/all of the below pre-requisites:
- Should address a need/ solve a pain
- Allows a customer to indulge
- Has high demand and medium-low competition
- Can be a completely new or unique product
- Is unparalleled in quality
In other words, customers should fall in love with the product as soon as they set their eyes on it. That’s how powerful your product should be. Hence, it is important to determine what to sell on Shopify.
Identifying a Niche
When you target a specific niche with your Shopify dropshipping products, you could actually be giving your Shopify eCommerce store a huge boost in terms of growth and revenue. Google Trends can give you an idea on some niche that people might be searching for online. You are more likely to have less competition if you’re running a niche Shopify dropshipping store, as you’ll be targeting a smaller audience. Your marketing costs will also be comparatively lower – especially if you’re thinking of using Facebook advertising or Google Adwords. It’ll also become easier to rank higher on search engines when you are running a niche eCommerce dropshipping store.
Begin with Google Search
Google Search can turn out to be a good way to identify Shopify dropshipping products. These searches will give you an idea on how these products are being sold by other online retailers. Google search is also a great way to get a good overview of the market for the product.
It is important to remember that keywords are not only used for SEO. Keyword is the backbone of any marketing, whether it is running Ads on Google or doing marketing on the Social Media platforms. You need to research your keywords for your Shopify Dropshipping products to learn the demand and competition, and you also need to find appropriate keywords for your website content through keyword research. You need to put your keywords in product descriptions, title, URL and in meta tags. If you don’t research and implement keywords on your dropshipping Shopify store, then there won’t be much of a difference between your website and that of a street seller. Google Keyword Planner is a great tool to uncover a niche with keywords.
Why is Keyword Research so important?
Every time someone looks up something on a search engine, the latter must decide which results to display from thousands of websites. The search engine algorithms determine the best and most relevant matches for every single query by analyzing millions of websites. Hence, it’s so important to choose your keywords carefully, so that the search engines can match and pull up your site to display in the search results page. If you’re selling vintage Volkswagen accessories, then your main keywords shall be “Volkswagen”, “vintage”, “vintage automobiles” and “vintage car accessories”.
Starting an online store with drop shipping – Finding and Managing the best Dropshipping Suppliers.
Once you have identified your product, the next step is to find the best dropshipping suppliers. How do you go about that?
Ali Express is a huge marketplace where you can find nearly every product you can think of. It has some great advantages for Shopify dropshippers:
- You can easily search for an item on Aliexpress and see if one of their suppliers have it.
- You are able to purchase items at their wholesale prices and make them dropshipped directly to your clients.
- Shopify dropshipping Aliexpress is quite easy as the process is pretty much like buying an item for your own over AliExpress.
But keep in mind that this is a popular site, and hence a lot of people may be already selling the product you have chosen for yourself.
You can also dropship on Amazon after creating an Amazon Seller account and being approved as a dropshipper. As the biggest eCommerce marketplace, Amazon stocks and sells a wide variety of products, many of which are actually sold by third-party merchants via Amazon’s website. Amazon can facilitate the sale of your products. So, Amazon is a great place to find suppliers who sell the same products you wish to dropship.
Etsy has more than 1,600,000 sellers providing more than 8,000,000 unique handmade products. Etsy provides a huge range of exclusive items, the demand for some of which are quite high. If you choose a product from Etsy, which you would like to dropship, you can find the supplier from the platform, and take it from there.
There are quite a few online dropshipping directories online, like the World Wide Brands. Their directory is legitimate and offers access to a searchable database of thousands of pre-screened drop shipping companies and suppliers. Salehoo, Doba, Megagoods and Wholesale Central are two other online directories where you can look for your Shopify Dropshipping Supplier. Contacting the Manufacturer
If you know which product you want to sell, you would also know who the manufacturer is. The manufacturer should be able to refer you to authorized distributors, if they are not themselves willing to become your Shopify Dropshipping Supplier.
Googling the Dropshipping Suppliers
I cannot end the list without mentioning the elephant in the room. Any good Shopify Dropshipping Supplier with a proper SEO-d site and who has done their marketing right is bound to show on the 1st page of the Google SERP. And if they don’t show up there, take the pains to go to the 2nd, 3rd or sometimes even the 4th page to look for these suppliers. Try searching by “[Product] + dropshipper.” But remember to put each of these suppliers through a strict vetting process before deciding on one.
Once you have the product and the supplier in place, it’s time to set up your dropshipping Shopify store.
Building a Shopify Dropshipping Store from Scratch
Step 1 – Sign up For Shopify
Building a Shopify eCommerce store can be daunting to many, but in reality it isn’t. It all starts with signing up for Shopify.
Visit Shopify and start the 14-day trial. Click the “Start your free trial” tab and fill out the information. You need to enter your email id, set a password and give a name to your store and hit Enter.
Shopify will then ask you the following questions, the answer of which you need to choose from the drop-down. Click on “Next”.
Fill in your address in the following page, and hit “Enter My Store”.
Shopify then takes you to the Admin Page which is also your Shopify Dashboard.
It is through your Shopify Admin Page/Dashboard that you will be able to run your entire dropshipping Shopify business. Through this Admin page, you’ll be able to
- Build your website (and preview what your customers see)
- Accept payments from customers
- Manage shipping options
- Adjust and apply discounts
Step 2 – Choosing and Uploading a Shopify Theme
Your theme is going to be the layout of your Shopify Dropshipping store. Through the theme you can customise your Shopify dropshipping business site, rearrange layouts, choose your fonts and colours and much more.
On the left-side of your Shopify dashboard, you will find “Online Store” under “Sales Channels”. When you click that, from the drop-down menu, select “Themes”.
By default, Shopify gives you a theme called, “Debut”. If you want to use that as your Shopify dropshipping theme, that’s fine. However, if you want to choose another one, when you’re in the theme section of your Shopify dashboard, you can scroll down and look at the free themes or the Shopify Theme store.
Remember that your Shopify dropshipping theme will not be visible to the public till it is published.
Once you are in the Shopify theme store, you’ll find that Shopify has several great looking themes for you to choose from. Shopify offers both free and premium (paid) themes. Paid themes cost on about $150.00. You can look up themes on the Shopify store by price, most popular, and even by industry.
Once you have found the perfect theme for your Shopify dropshipping store, select “Install Theme”.
Designing your Shopify Dropshipping Store
The design of your Shopify dropshipping store is of utmost importance when it comes to attracting to your customers and offering them a good shopping experience. Your store design will reflect how you want to present your brand.
An aesthetically pleasing home page and an equally aligned product page is crucial for dropshipping success. It’s through these two pages, that you are giving your customer their first impression. Customers sometimes don’t mind paying a little bit more for your products, if they find your online store design appealing and easy to navigate.
Step 3 – Registering a Domain Name
The next step is to buy a domain for your Shopify dropshipping business. Some choose not to buy a domain till later. In that case, your URL will look like this: “YourStore.myshopify.com.” Although the store will be functional, the URL, as you can see, will not look professional. A legitimate business has its own web domain, and that is what builds trust in the hearts and minds of your– customers and suppliers.
To buy a domain, you need to go to “Domains” under “Online Stores” on the left hand side of the Shopify Dashboard. You will have two options there:
- Either buy a new domain through Shopify ($14 a year) or,
- Connect an existing domain from a third-party domain name registrar.
I would recommend that you buy a domain for $14 a year through Shopify, if you’re building your own dropshipping Shopify store. You can also go to companies like GoDaddy, for a reliable domain.
Step 4 – Adding Shopify Dropshipping Products
From your Shopify admin, go to Products.
From the Products page, click “Add product”.
Enter a title for your product, along with additional details.
Similarly, you can click on “Collections” from beneath the “Products” on the left hand side, and create your Product Collections.
Which Shopify Dropshipping Apps to use for your Shopify Dropshipping Store?
As an eCommerce owner, your constant endeavour should be to expand the functionality of your online dropshipping store. There can be a variety of ways in which you can choose to do this – from wanting to add customer testimonials, to build/ improve your email marketing campaigns , publish your products to Facebook or Instagram , or get in-depth analytics on your store’s performance. This is where the Shopify Dropshipping apps come in handy.
While there are many apps that you could use in your store to improve your dropshipping opportunities, I have hand-picked a few here to make it easier for you.
Oberlo – Oberlo is an app that was specifically designed for the Shopify platform to help Dropshipping Shopify entrepreneurs easily to upload their products directly to their Shopify store from the AliExpress website or the Oberlo marketplace. With the help of the Oberlo Shopify dropshipping app, you have access to an entire library of products to choose from at various prices. The products range from electronics, accessories, apparel to toys and more. And you can dropship them directly to your customers.
Perzonalization – Our Perzonalization Shopify app can truly help you get some real sales. it reads the clickstream behaviour of your customers and recommends products on site in real time. It also sends automated emails to your customers based on their behavior on your site. All you need to do is to install the app then you’ll sit back and relax. The emails are powered by AI and are as good as having a one-to-one conversation with your customers. You can also compose personalized promotional emails manually through this app. The app also takes care of cart abandonment issues by triggering emails and pursuing customers to finish the purchases. What you will love most about our Perzonalization app is, it offers a 14-day free trial and only charges 4% IiF there is a sale; which means that you don’t pay if you don’t sell.
SEO Image Optimizer ‑ SEO – This app speeds up your website and increases organic traffic to your website. This is a one-click installtion and once it is installed, you don’t need to worry about SEO again. SEO Image Optimizer will improve your rank in the Google Search Results. Countdown Cart by Beeketing – This app creates urgency in sales, drives customer actions and convinces them to buy before the product goes out of stock. The app also provides a stock countdown and displays the limited availability of your products, when relevant. By creating a scarcity and by creating a sense of urgency, the perceived value of your products increases. By providing a social proof of how many people are using your product, this app helps to attract customers to your website. All in all, it’s one handy app for your Shopify Dropshipping store.
Shopify Facebook Store – When you add the Facebook online sales channel to your Shopify dropshipping Store, it allows you to showcase and sell products directly on your Facebook Page. Additionally, customers can share their favourite products in their network and you can reach more customers and drive more traffic to your store. This will give your overall Shopify dropshipping marketing a huge boost. With the Shopify and the Facebook channel, you can:
- add a Facebook Shop to your Facebook Page
- directly manage the products on your Facebook Shop
- Arrange the order of the collections on your Facebook Shop
- Enable customers check out on Facebook
- Fulfill orders placed on Facebook
- Track Facebook sales using your Analytics pages
Other online sales channel like the Instagram can also be added to your Shopify store to showcase your products.
Shippo – Shippo is a cheap and easy shipping app that instantly gets you discounted rates with major service providers like DHL and USPS and compares rates for up to 50+ carriers. It saves you time by pre-filling and saving package information for faster printing, and has no hidden costs.
Some Shopify Dropshipping Store Examples
The following Shopify dropshipping ideas about online stores should give you a cue about how you want your Shopify store to look.
Ugmonk originally started as a side project for its founder, Jeff Sheldon. Today, the company ships more than tens of thousands of products across 60 countries worldwide. Products range from everyday clothing to workspace related products and many more unique prints and designs.
One dropshipping site that has proved that you don’t need a very expensive and complicated online store design. Their website has just the right elements, is minimalist, and yet has massive amount of targeted traffic to convert their visitors. They sell general and trending products.
With over 7 thousand Facebook likes, alphabuying.com is another general shopify dropshipping store that sells products from different niches. Magic Cosmetic Pouch and other trending gadgets are some of their best-selling products
Soaesthetic was started with a very small marketing budget, and just as a means to provide some additional income to its founder, Justin Wong. Justin only depended on social media platforms like Instagram to get his first few sales.
On the face of it, dropshipping may not seem a perfect way to build a successful online business to many. And I do not disagree that the model may have some definite disadvantages; but then, which model doesn’t? This Shopify Dropshipping step by step guide I have given here will let you overcome a lot of those complexities, if at all you come across any. This Shopify dropshipping tutorial not only tells you how to address the most common challenges that you might come across as a Shopify dropshipper, but also allows you to run and sustain a successful Shopify dropshipping business like a PRO.
So, are you all set to become the next Shopify dropshipping Millionaire?