Your Ultimate Guide to Drop-Shipping
Your Ultimate Guide to Drop-shipping
1. What Is A Drop-shipping Business
The concept of Dropshipping business is instead of buying stock and then selling it to customers, you sell the products to customers first and then get the supplier to ship the products directly to the customer.
So, dropshipping means you never need to have any inventory, but rather just send out single orders for your supplier to be fulfilled.
Here is an example of what is dropshipping business model:
• Customer makes an order in your dropshipping store
• You signal an order for your dropshipping supplier
• Your dropshipping supplier send the precise products for your customer
All this makes dropshipping business very attractive because you do not need any initial capital for the stock.
The dropshipping supplier takes away all the hassle with inventory housing, management, shipping and so on.
All that you need to do is work on driving traffic to your dropshipping store and making sales.
2. Is Dropshipping Profitable In 2019?
Starting a Dropshipping business can get a little competitive because of its low entry-level, thus a lot of stores have fairly low profit margins of 15%-50%.
However, this is not always the case and really greatly depends on what dropshipping niche you are in and what dropshipping products you are selling.
In some cases, the margins can be 100% if for example you are dropshipping jewelry or watches.
It does of course depend of the product pricing as well, if you are selling a very cheap product you can have margins that are few hundred percent of the product actual price.
For example, if you are selling a bracelet that costs $2 from manufacturer, you can easily sell it for at least $10.
Once you start gaining some traction to your store, dropshipping can be very profitable.
There are many cases of people making 6 or 7 figures in just a few months.
3. Must I Begin A Dropshipping Business
Dropshipping business requires hardly any investment and today there is no need to handle manufacturing and handling the products, as a result it is significantly simpler to begin than every other e-commerce business.
Therefore, dropshipping is a perfect business for someone who is just starting their online business.
You do not need to invest a lot of money, so it is very low risk.
It can also suit someone who already has an e-commerce store but wants to test out more products without buying a huge stock.
Dropshipping allows to see if products are well converting without making that investment and then of course you can actually purchase the stock if you are happy with the results.
In general, if you want to concentrate on marketing, driving traffic, conversion optimization and all of those fun things leaving everything else out of it, then dropshipping business is for you.
Related: ‘Online Marketing Course Zero to $31 Million‘
4. How To Find A Dropshipping Niche
A dropshipping niche is a certain segment of a market..
For example, yoga is a niche. And certain product categories in a niche could be called sub-niches.
In this case, it would be yoga pants, yoga matts, yoga tops and so on… The more specific dropshipping niche you have the better.
The more passionate people are about your chosen niche the easier it is going to be for you to sell them products.
Here are a few great ways to find a niche:
Google keyword planner can be a great way to see search volume of the dropshipping niches you are interested in and also their difficulty.
It can also be a great tool to see some related keywords to in order to get ideas of related niches or sub-niches of what you are interested in.
Google trends is another essential tool for finding your dropshipping niche. It is one that you should always make sure to use.
This tool shows you if the niche you are considering is growing its interest upwards or downwards.
You almost always want to choose niches that show signs of gaining popularity.
Keep in mind though that some niches might not have enough volume to show up on Google trends, but it does not mean they are gaining popularity.
• Product Review Sites
A good source to see what if trending right now is checking product review sites such as:
These are just a few examples but there are plenty of these websites out there
• Check Social Media
Sounds pretty simple, but you would be surprised how much you can get from this.
Have a look how many social media accounts there are in a certain niche, how many followers they have and most importantly, what is the engagement like.
You can also check Facebook ads, Pinterest and other social media platforms to get a good feeling on what niches are doing well right now.
5. Best Products To Dropship
Finding good products might be one of the most important parts of a dropshipping business.
Here are a few things you should consider when choosing what products you will dropship:
• Low Shipping Costs
If the items you find at your supplier are very expensive to ship it will be a big disadvantage for your dropshipping business.
You want to find low cost shipping items, so you can just incorporate those costs into the product pricing and be able to offer free shipping on your dropshipping store.
• Product Not Available Locally
Find something that a customer cannot just go and by in a nearby supermarket, because then they will not purchase from your store.
Having something that people expect to be shipped from far away is also forgiving if your suppliers takes a long time to deliver products.
• Great Profit Margins
Yes, it can be very easy to sell something that is worth $10, but to make a huge amount of money with $10 products will require vast amount of sales.
Instead, try to find some higher price tag products. It will be easier to sell 100 products for $200 than 2000 products for $10.
• Impulsive Buying
Another very typical best dropshipping product trait is people just wanting to buy products on the spot.
With dropshipping business especially, you do not want people to go ‘think about it’ or check other stores. You want them to take action right that moment.
• Products That Go Together
If possible it is great to find products that can be easily cross-sold. In other words, products that go hand in hand.
For example, if you are selling yoga matts then you might want to be selling yoga matt cleaning spray as well.
Related: ‘Woocommerce vs Shopify Dropshipping‘
6. How To Find Dropshipping Products
Finding dropshipping products be a challenging task but it is one of the most essential things when you think how to start a dropshipping store.
Here are some of the few ways you can do it:
• E-Commerce Marketplaces
• Websites Sorting Best Products
This is pretty simple you want to go where products are being sold and you want to see what sells well and what is customer feedback.
• Social Media For Dropshipping Products
This is a little more complex way of finding good dropshipping products, but I would advise everyone to do this.
Looking at social media will just give you a good understand of what products people are dropshipping already, what gets a lot of engagement and what doe not.
Instagram is of course really great for this, but you can also check Facebook and Pinterest.
• Dropshipping Product Research Tool
Luckily, there are tools now that make finding dropshipping products process much easier.
These tools go through thousands of products and sort out the best products that are trending right now.
They analyze trends, ads people have been running, engagement and so on, so basically they do quit a bit of work for you.
• Dropshipping Competitors Store
This might sound pretty weird but this can give you a great understanding of what products work in a certain niche and what do not.
Do not just copy bestsellers of your dropshipping competitors, but rather see what type of products they are currently promoting the most.
Once you figure that out see if you can find similar but better products or what you can sell on top of those products.
7. Best Dropshipping Platforms
The simple reason for that is that these platforms have the most plugins/apps for dropshipping and also they are arguably the best e-commerce platforms.
Creating a store with Shopify is fairly easy and and you can start with a 14 day free trial.
After that you will be paying $29/month plus some transactional fees depending on what payment provider you use for you dropshipping business.
If you want to start a Woocommerce dropshipping store, you need to use WordPress on which you host your website and then you can install Woocommerce plugin for free to sell products. You can contact us if you need help with setting up your wordpress website.
It might sound a little complicated but believe me it is easier than you think.
Woocommerce itself is free to use, but you will need WordPress hosting. You can use BlueHost to start which is as low as just few dollars per month.
So, what is the best dropshipping platform… It really depends on what exactly you are looking for.
Some people find Shopify interface a little easier to use, but at the same time pretty much all Shopify apps come with monthly fees.
This means that whenever you need to use any apps for your dropshipping business you will have to pay each month and that can add up.
For Woocommerce dropshipping on the other hand, you usually have one-time payments. That means more upfront investment, but no monthly fees.
In general, Woocommerce drop-shipping business is much cheaper to run in the long term, but of course it is not all about the costs.
8. Best Theme For Dropshipping Business
For both Shopify and Woocommerce you can use free themes, but I included this because I believe investing into a good theme is one of the most important decision for your dropshipping business.
A good dropshipping theme can not only increase your conversions, but it can save up a lot of time and even money.
Best Theme For Shopify Dropshipping
Best theme for Shopify dropshipping right now to my opinion is the Booster theme.
This theme comes with a bunch of necessary Shopify apps already within the theme, which means you only pay one-time fee instead of paying monthly fees for all the separate apps.
All the monthly fees can really add up to a lot of money, and you might end up paying same amount of money each month as you would for the Booster theme once.
Best Theme For Woocommerce Dropshipping
The Best theme for Woocommerce Dropshipping right now is the Divi Theme.
This is an incredible theme that allows you to edit everything on front-end with basically a drag and drop method making it really simple to use.
It is also able to be customized. making the whole work flow much easier and it comes with some amazing features.
Besides that it comes with some amazing plugins that alone can cost as much as the theme itself.
As I said it is not necessary to buy a theme. You can just use a free theme, but personally I have done both and I would never use a free theme again.
A free theme is just not worth all of the time I would spent trying to customize it and in case of Shopify it can even save up money.
So, take this into consideration as it can make starting dropshipping business much easier.
9. Finding Dropshipping Suppliers
Finding dropshipping suppliers is very important as they fulfill your orders. Meaning that if they make a mistake, you have made a mistake as well.
Thus, it is important to find dropshipping suppliers who are trustworthy and will handle your orders on time.
Dropshipping With Aliexpress
Aliexpress is probably the most common way how people start dropshipping business.
It is so because you have millions of products to choose from and there are apps out there that let you import products and fulfill orders very easily.
All of these plugins are absolutely amazing and running an Aliexpress dropshipping business without them would be just a waste of time. There is also a Drop shipping Vender list available HERE with a lot of resources to help you on your Drop-shipping domination journey.
These plugins show you what products have ePacket(fast shipping), allow you to import products from Aliexpress to your dropshipping store with 1 click and allow you to automatically fulfill orders.
These are just some main features that are an absolute time saver. There are more valuable features that these tools have.
For Shopify, Oberlo comes with a monthly fee depending on how many orders you have, but up to first 50 orders it is free to use.
For Woocommerce, you can use Alidropship which is a one-time fee or if you are really low on money then you can use Ezusy which same as Oberlo is free to start with and later on asks for a monthly fee based on the amount of orders.
Dropshipping Suppliers USA
You can find somewhat higher quality products for your dropshipping business and cut down on shipping times.
Spocket works both with Shopify and Woocommerce and it also has a free plan to start with up to 25 unique products and unlimited orders!
That is amazing if you are starting out with a smaller store. And if you want to upgrade later it will be $49/month for up to 250 unique products and still unlimited orders.
Dropshipping Supplier Directory
The methods I mention above make it very easy to find products and manage the supplier side of your dropshipping business.
But in case if you want to find more unique suppliers you can check Salehoo.
Technically, you can just google for suppliers in your dropshipping niche, but that can be very time consuming and the top results are often the least desirable.
Salehoo has a ton of suppliers already listed for you and makes the whole process very simple.
You just choose what suppliers you want to work with and then you can contact them for specific products and rates.
You just have to pay one-time fee and you will be able to access Salehoo supplier directory for 1 year or you can also buy a life-time access.
10. Print On Demand Dropshipping Business
What Is Print On Demand Dropshipping Business
A lot of people differentiate dropshipping vs print on demand, but actually print on demand technically is dropshipping as well.
That is why I think you cannot cover a how to start dropshipping business question without including print on demand.
Same as dropshipping business with print on demand the products are shipped straight from supplier to the customer, the only difference is you upload your own designs on products.
There are different print on demand companies out there that have a catalog of products. You simply choose a product and apply your design on it and they do the rest.
This is why I wanted to include this here because instead of importing products from Aliexpress, you can dropship products from print on demand companies.
They both do pretty much exactly same thing, but they differ in the product range and pricing, so I tend to use both of them.
Same as doing other type of dropshipping business this is made very simple for you. Both of these platforms have apps/plugins you can install on your dropshipping store.
They make it very easy to upload the designs and with just couple of clicks you have products up on your dropshipping store and they work with both Shopify and Woocommerce.
Same goes with fulfilling the orders. Once someone makes a purchase the order goes directly to them and you do not need to do anything.
Here are some types of print on demand products you can expect:
• Shoes/Flip Flops/Socks
• Tote Bags/Laptop Sleeves/Backpacks
• Phone Cases/Canvas/Posters
Benefits Of Print On Demand Dropshipping Business
There are quit a few benefits of print on demand dropshipping business starting with the main one which is having unique products.
If you are sourcing your products from Aliexpress you are selling exact same products as other sellers, which makes competition higher.
But with print on demand you are making your own unique products which get rid of this problem and also gives you a better chance of building an actual brand.
On the other hand, you will not have as much choice when it comes to choosing the types of products you are selling.
Also, the margins with print on demand dropshipping business are limited, while typical dropshipping margins can really be all over the place.
For example, if you are selling a t-shirt most likely you will be charging somewhere around $25-$30 range, perhaps up to $50. But going higher would be really problematic.
All that said, I still love print on demand because of the ability to create unique products. If you have good ideas you can create a perfect product for your targeted customer.
11. Dropshipping Marketing Strategy
What I see as the main obstacle for most of the people on how to start dropshipping business, is that they do not know how to do marketing and drive traffic to their stores.
Most of the how to start dropshipping business guides out there do not even talk about this part, but I think this is the most important part because zero traffic means zero sales.
You can have the best products, best theme out there, you can optimize like crazy for conversions, but if you do not manage do drive traffic to your dropshipping store none of that matters.
There are actually a lot of different ways how you can drive traffic to your dropshipping business, but they differ a lot on the results and costs.
A lot of people mainly focus on running ads, but I would really suggest you to think outside the box and do something that not everyone does and is not so saturated.
You can check out Online Marketing classroom if you want to learn more.
• Running Ads For Dropshipping Business
Running ads whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Google or any other place is a very common way to drive traffic to a dropshipping business.
It is a great way if you want to be able to scale things fast, but of course for that you need to have a really well converting ad.
This traffic method does require quit a bit of time to learn and you need to run a lot of tests with different ad targeting and different ads themselves.
It can be very rewarding, but at the same time a lot of people lose big amounts of money really quick, so be careful.
• Pinterest For Dropshipping Business
Pinterest is another very little used way to drive traffic to your dropshipping business. A lot of people try to use Pinterest but they do not understand it and give up.
There are people out there that drive millions of visits to their stores just by using Pinterest.
Personally, Pinterest is one of my favorite ways to drive traffic to a store and if you do it right you can automate a lot of this.
The people who are on Pinterest have very high purchase intend and they have shown on average to spend way more money than people on any other platform.
Similar to Instagram automation, you can have very little money investment into Pinterest strategy and you can see great results.
• Affiliate Marketing For Dropshipping
What can be a better way to get traffic to your dropshipping store than let other people get traffic to your store instead of you.
What you do is get affiliates to sign up for your program and give them a percentage of all the sales made by the customers they brought in.
• Influencer Marketing For Dropshipping Business
Influencer marketing is a little bit more time consuming method but it can lead to really amazing results.
You basically just pay a person or a company with a big following to promote your dropshipping products.
It is very popular do to influencer marketing on Instagram, but you can also do it with blogs, Youtube channels and really any platform where people have a following.
Checkout Shoutcart, it is a platform that has a ton of influencers in one place and makes it very easy to choose what fits you the best.
It is a huge time saver because you do not need to go manually through Instagram to find these influencers and it even shows some of their statistics for you to make a better decision.
• SEO For Dropshipping Business
Search Engine Optimization is an absolutely amazing way to drive traffic to your dropshipping business, but it also can require a lot of time.
If you manage to rank on Google for a certain keyword, then you have just free traffic coming into your dropshipping store.
The problem is ranking for certain keywords can be nearly impossible or it can take a few months.
Do not be completely discouraged though, because while it is hard to rank for certain words, you can always try to rank for long-tail keywords which is much easier.
It is not going to bring in as much traffic, but if you do it right you can have consistant free traffic coming to your dropshipping business.
These are just as few main methods how you can drive traffic to your dropshipping business. There are a lot more ways you can drive traffic.
12. Virtual Assistant For Dropshipping Business
As your dropshipping business grows you will start getting a lot of orders and a lot of customer super which can really drain your time.
These are pretty simple tasks and they can be easily outsourced, so that you can focus on what really grows your dropshipping store.
What is the point of doing these tasks yourself if you can find someone to do them for as little as $2.5 per hour. If you value your time more than $2.5 per hour then start outsourcing.
My favorite place to find Virtual Assistants for dropshipping business is OnlineJobs.Ph.
It is only Filipino VA’s, which is great because they are hard-workers and also speak good English. Plus, you can find a virtual assistant for as cheap as $400 per month!
I would go as far as say if you want to scale fast, you need to learn how to delegate tasks.
You do have to learn some basic things first yourself as that will make it easier for you to delegate things, but I would really start hiring virtual assistants fast if I want to grow my business quick.
Here are a few examples of the tasks that you can easily outsource:
• Graphic design for your store or social media
• Social media management
• Customer Support
• Order Fulfillment
• Copywriting and SEO
These are just a few tasks, but you can really outsource pretty much any aspect of your dropshipping business and concentrate on creating growth strategies.
If you want a native English speaker virtual assistant or just want to try a different service you can check out Freelancer.
Going through these services rather than hiring a virtual assistant directly can be a good option because there is a 3rd party between you and the virtual assistant.
This means if something goes wrong and there are some disputes you can turn to the Freelancer or FreeUp to ask them to help with the situation.
13. Dropshipping Pros And Cons
When it comes to the question how to start dropshipping business, we cannot ignore that there are pros and cons to it.
Personally, I think dropshipping business pros are so great that they definitely outweigh the cons, but it is better to know what to expect.
• No Investment In Inventory
This must be the best thing about running a dropshipping business. Different from the typical e-commerce business, you do not have to invest money in inventory.
This means that the entry barrier to start dropshipping business is very low and even more importantly you are not taking a risk on getting stuck with unsold inventory.
• Infinite Products
On top of not needing to pay for inventory, starting a dropshipping business is great because you have millions of products to choose from.
In typical e-commerce business you would need to sell out inventory first to get new products and would also need to spend time on product development.
But with dropshipping business you can have new products up on your store in a matter of seconds and if they do not work you can get rid of them just as fast.
• No Need To Deal With Production & Shipping
This is another amazing point for starting a dropshipping business, because pretty much every person I talk with hates product production and shipping part.
These tasks are very repetitive and can be very time consuming, but with dropshipping you can skip them on focus on what really matters.
• Dropshipping Business Can Be Run From Anywhere
Personally, this is a big pro of dropshipping. As you have no inventory to take care of you can run your store from literally anywhere in the world as long as you have internet.
I myself have been traveling around the world for the bast few years living in different countries and I would not change that for anything.
• Low Starting Costs And Risk
As you cut out the inventory costs, production costs, shipping and handling and have it all done for you, all you really need is an e-commerce platform to open your dropshipping store.
This makes dropshipping business one of the lowest cost businesses to start.
On top of that learning how to start dropshipping business because much easier than learning all aspect of traditional e-commerce business.
Also, in case if you fail and do not manage to sell anything, you are not stuck with inventory, so there is no stress of failing.
• Harder To Create Brand
When you are starting a dropshipping business you are selling products that pretty much anyone has access to, thus your competition can be selling exact same products.
This does not mean that you cannot make a fortune, as there is competition anywhere, but creating a brand name for yourself is definitely harder.
• No Control Over Inventory
While I emphasized a lot on how great it is not to have inventory, at the same time it means that you cannot control what is happening with it.
So, if your supplier ships out something with a defect or they are late to ship out items, then you get the customer complaining to you.
Technically, you would need to deal with customer complains one way or another, but if you have your own inventory you can try to minimize these mistakes.
• Lower Margins
When you are getting products from a supplier for your dropshipping business you are not paying a manufacturer price.
Going straight to manufacturer and getting your products made is definity going to make them cheaper and hence you will have higher margins,
You just have to decide for yourself if higher margins are worth to actually invest a lot of money and hold inventory.
14. Dropshipping Mistakes
When it comes to starting a dropshipping business I see a lot of people making same mistakes that have a huge impact on their stores.
• Dropshipping Trademarked Products
This is the most important mistake as it can lead to being sued and you would be surprised how many people I see doing this.
It might seem very lucrative to be selling Game Of Thrones merchandise because of show having a cult following, but never do this.
As much as it might seem a good idea try to avoid dropshipping anything that can be trademarked, whether it is a TV show, movies, Sports team, other products brand and so on…
• Do Not Lie About Your Shipping Times
A lot of people are afraid that if they put longer shipping time no one is going to buy their products anymore.
Actually, that is not really the case, the sales do not drop off that much and it is much better to do that than get a bunch of customer complains.
Customer complains and even worse, customers require refunds can lead to your payment processor shutting down your account.
You can see a whole article I wrote on ‘How To Deal With Long Shipping Times When Dropshipping With Aliexpress’.
• Choosing Wrong Suppliers
Too often I see people just choosing first supplier they come across without actually investigating how good they are.
If you choose a bad supplier you will get a lot of customer complains for items not being delivered on time or coming with a defect.
You want to avoid that as much as possible because it can be very harmful for your dropshipping business.
A lot of places provide ratings for different suppliers and you can also see their reviews, so make sure to use those sources.
I hope this answers the question how to start dropshipping business. It is really not that complicated and requires very little investment.
Even if you are considering starting a traditional e-commerce store, I would suggest to try out dropshipping business first.
Just the opportunity to have as many products as you want and have the ability to run different tests and learn what works will benefit you so much.