If you are an entrepreneur, or an Instagram / TikTok influencer who has burning passion to start an e-commerce website/ brand but doesn’t have the resources to manage manufacturing, supply chains, and fulfillment, then dropshipping is the ultimate solution for you.
According to Wikipedia, “dropshipping is a supply chain management method in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock but instead transfers its customer’s orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer.”
Q- WHAT IS THE WORK OF A DROPSHIPPER?
As a dropshipper, you just have to display product images on your website and promote it to your audience. When a product sells, you send shipment details and pay the supplier for that order. You don’t even have to touch the product as storage and fulfillment is managed by the supplier.
Q- HOW A DROPSHIPPER MAKES MONEY?
When you are listing products on the website, you add the desired profit margin in total product costs. After you get a sale, you pay product costs to the supplier and keeps the profit yourselves.
Q- HOW MUCH MONEY DO I NEED TO START AN ONLINE STORE?
ZERO Bucks. You don’t have to pay anything to start an online store. Just start a 14-day free trial ( without adding credit card details) and get your store ready in an hour. Then start selling.
Q- DO I NEED CODING EXPERIENCE?
No, you don’t need any coding experience or prior knowledge for setting an online store.
Q- WHAT ARE THE BEST PLATFORMS FOR STARTING DROPSHIPPING?
Shopify, Shopify, and Shopify!
There is a lot of buzz on the Internet whether WordPress with WooCommerce plugin is best or Shopify. But Shopify is best with more than One Million Businesses running on it, powering top world brands like Tesla, Red Bull, Gym Shark, Kylie Cosmetics, and KKW Beauty.
SHOPIFY, BUT WHY!
Shopify is the best platform to choose for creating an e-commerce website as well as for dropshipping. It has
- Oberlo, a dropshipping app exclusively for Shopify websites. It allows one-click product import to your store from Ali Express.
- Easy to use.
- Excellent customer care support.
- Excellent security.
Unlike WordPress, chances of getting a Shopify store hacked are negligible.
Here is the graph showing the most hacked platforms and Shopify is nowhere.
How To Start Dropshipping
For starting an AliExpress dropshipping store, we will use two tools – Shopify and Oberlo.
Shopify will power our site and by using Oberlo, we will drag and drop products from AliExpress in one click. To get maximum of this interactive guide, sit back, grab some coffee and start following step by step. At the end of the guide, you will have your store ready too.
Step 1: Sign Up For The FREE Shopify 14-Day Trial
Sign up for a Shopify account. Your 14-day trial will start automatically. You don’t have to enter credit card details for availing trial. After the trial period is over, Shopify costs $29/month. And you can easily pay it after generating some sales within the trial period.
- Go to Shopify and click the Start free trial button on the homepage.
2. Enter your email, a password, and your store name on the next page. Store name can be your name, your pet name, your favorite name or something unique. It depends on you. It should be two to three words only.
3. Fill this survey.
4. Add your details. (No credit card details needed)
Your brand new store is open now. Now, you can access your dashboard.
STEP 2: UNDERSTAND THE SHOPIFY ADMIN PANEL
Now, you can plug and play with the Shopify dashboard. Here’s what the main area of the Shopify dashboard looks like.
On the left are several clickable tabs. Here is the little explanation for each of them:
Home: This place provides a general overview of what’s happening with your Shopify store.
Order: The place to see recent orders, track and manage them.
Products: Here, you can add and manage your items, create product collections, set up gift cards, and more.
Customers: When a customer places an order, you’ll find their details and purchase history here.
Analytics: This place shows analytics of your Shopify store so you can compare it with the previous month, check your store growth, etc.
Apps: Apps are third-party extensions that extend the functionality of your store.
Online-store: The place to change your store’s layout, create blog posts, and manage checkout settings, personal info, shipping, taxes, and more.
In addition to these tabs, you can click on the “Settings” tab at the bottom left corner to find more options.
STEP 3: INSTALL THE FREE SHOPIFY THEME ‘MINIMAL’
The theme improves website user experience. Some themes are created by Shopify and they are free. As we are just starting, we will pick one of them. If you want a more stylish theme, visit the Shopify theme store or ThemeForest and purchase any theme. But, I don’t recommend it for the time being.
Don’t spend too much time looking for the best theme. You can change it later. “Minimal” is the best free theme available. To add it,
- Click Online Store → Themes → Explore Free Themes
2. Select the theme “Minimal” from the drop-down list, and choose the ‘Modern’ variant. Then click “Add to theme library”
STEP 4: INSTALL THE OBERLO SHOPIFY APP
Oberlo is an exclusive app available on Shopify and it will make your store semi-automated aka order fulfiller.
In your dashboard, click Apps, then click the Visit Shopify App Store button on the next page. Type in ‘Oberlo’ in the search bar. Once you’ve found and clicked on it, click the Add app button.
Then scroll down and click the Install App button.
STEP 5: INSTALL THE OBERLO CHROME EXTENSION
To import products from AliExpress, you need the Oberlo Chrome extension too. Download the Oberlo Chrome extension from this link. Next to Oberlo, click the Add to Chrome button, then click Add extension when the pop-up box appears.
If you don’t have a chrome browser, click on this link to download Chrome.
STEP 6: ADD ALIEXPRESS PRODUCTS TO YOUR STORE WITH OBERLO
BEST PRODUCTS FOR DROPSHIPPING
Before you choose any products for dropshipping, consider yourself. Are you just starting without an audience(followers) or you have an audience to sell products.
If you are starting, then you can choose any product for dropshipping.
But, if you have an audience already, its best to choose niche relevant products so you can get more sales at the start. Later on, you can add more products.
The best product categories for dropshipping are Jewelry, Lifestyle, Beauty, Pet Grooming, and Tech Accessories.Now, we will share the best products to dropship:
1. CUSTOM NAME NECKLACES
It does not matter whether you are a boy or a girl, everyone loves personalized jewelry. And being an Influencer you can sell it to most of your followers as everyone fits in.You can get it for 6-9$ on AliExpress and easily sell it for 20-30$.
2. MAGNETIC CHARGING CABLE
Some people have an iPhone whereas others love Android. Now, you can charge every phone with a single charging cable because of magnetic cables. These are selling like hotcakes nowadays.
Its retail price(including shipping) on AliExpress is 2$ and you can easily sell them for 8-15$.
3. CAT-EYE SUNGLASSES
2019 was the year of cat-eye sunglasses. Every model on Instagram posts photos in these sunglasses. Now people are buying it desperately. It costs 3-5$ on AliExpress and you can sell it for 20-30$.
4. SHAPEWEAR & STYLISH LEGGINGS
Leggings demand is on the rise nowadays. You can sell them for 3-4X of the original price.
5. DESHEDDING GLOVES
Pet lovers always want a solution for collecting pet hairs before they are shed. Luckily, there is a solution available now. Deshedding gloves are a lifesaver for them.
Product price(including delivery) is 4-5$ but you can easily sell it for 20-25$ but you have to sell like you are selling a solution for the annoying problem not as a gloves pair.
If you want to get more trending product ideas, use sellthetrend or Dropship-spy. Dropship Spy also adds five new trending products daily.
STEP 6: ADDING PRODUCTS
Before starting this step, open the Shopify store in one tab, and AliExpress in the second tab.
For the time being, I am typing ‘custom name necklace’ in the search bar. You can type the name of any product you want to add to your store into the search bar. Don’t forget to sort your search by clicking Orders to ensure you’re only looking for the top-selling items.
Not every seller ships products to all countries, so we will filter top-selling products shipped to our desired location. To do this, click on the Oberlo extension icon in the top right corner and set the shipping option to ‘ePacket’ and country to your desired country.
Note: ePacket arrives early and it has a tracking number so your customers can track their orders too.
After finding the desired item to sell, hover your mouse over it and you will see the Oberlo icon on the right side of the product. Click it and it will be imported to your store. Do this for all the products you want to import. Ideally, you should import 20-25 products.
After importing your last item, click the Open import list or check your import list by this link.
Now, select images you want to keep of a product and deselect others. Repeat this step for every product. Then select all and import to store.
STEP 7: ADD PRODUCT COLLECTIONS
Categories are called ‘Collections’ in Shopify. Categorizing products in different categories facilitates customers in finding and ordering products. The store looks organized too.
As you have imported products you definitely know which category they fall into. If not, spend a few minutes and write three categories you’d like to add to your store.
- Go back on your Shopify dashboard, click Products, and under the sub-menu click Collections.
2. Click Create collections. And type category name in the Title box. In my case, I am selling necklaces, so I write “Necklaces.” Then select collection type, as we assign category ourselves, so we will choose the Manual option. Do this for all other categories.
STEP 8: EDIT YOUR PRODUCT PAGES
Now, we will edit long product titles and descriptions. And replace it with short, catchy titles and beautiful, concise, SEO optimized description.
- To do so, go to your Shopify dashboard, click products and choose any product page you want to edit.
2. Now delete existing titles, spammy description and create your own or modify it.
3. Now scroll down and delete variants you don’t want to sell. After doing so, scroll down and click save changes.
4. As you have deleted unnecessary variants in the last step, now edit variants you want to keep. Click edit on the right side of the variant and set a price at which you want to sell. Then save changes.
Tip: Don’t forget to remove the photos of the variations you are no longer selling.
Step 9: Add FREE Trust Badges To Your Store
Why I should bother to add Trust Badges?
Trust Badges add payment badges to your store so that it converts more sales.
- On your Shopify dashboard, click Apps, then click the Visit Shopify app store.
2. Type in “free trust badge” in the search bar and click on the app.
3. Then click on it, and add the app button then Click the install app button.
4. After Installing, activate badge and click Save.
STEP 10: ADD FREE SHIPPING
Have you ever purchased anything only due to Free shipping?
I guess you are thinking about how much crap I bought just due to Free shipping.
Now, you should apply this to your store to get more orders.
All you have to do is add shipping price in the actual product price and offer Free shipping on every single order.
Many people abandon cart due to shipping costs but you can convert them with this strategy.
- On your Shopify dashboard, click Settings, and then on the next page, click the Shipping
2. Click Manage rates.
3. Click three dots on the right side and delete Domestic as well as Rest of the world zones.
4. Now click on add rates
5. Now click create shipping zones. Add name Free Shipping to this zone and add countries you want to ship. Then click Done.
6. Click Add Rates and add Free Shipping. Then click Done. Don’t forget to click save changes in the bottom right corner so that all changes are saved.
STEP 11: SET UP CURRENCY & UNITS
- Click Settings, and on the next page, click General.
2. Then Next to Standard and Formats set the unit system to the Imperial system and set your Default weight unit set to pounds (lb) instead of kilograms (kg). Then set the currency to ‘United States Dollars’ or your country’s currency.
STEP 12: SET UP PAYPAL AND SHOPIFY PAYMENTS
- On the settings page, click Payment providers
2. Click Activate Paypal Express Checkout and sign in with your PayPal account.
3. Then it will take you to the Paypal website. After logging in, click I give permission.
Your store is ready to accept payments now.
Step 13: Create An About Page
About page is a page that reflects your brands’ story. So take the time and write it. A good about page shows what is your mission, what you sell and how its better than your competitors. You can get an about page template from here.
- Click Online store > Pages, then click Add Page.
2. Type ‘About Us’ in the title and write the description. Then click Save.
Step 14: Add A Contact Us Page
Adding a contact us page is very easy. Just go under Pages, click Add page. Then under Title, type in ‘Contact Us.’ Then under the Template box, select ‘page.contact’ in the drop-down menu. And as always, finish off by clicking Save.
Step 15: Add Menus To Your Store
Now, we will set a Header and Footer by adding menus in them. First, let’s start with the header.
- Click Online store > Navigation, then click Main Menu.
2. Then next to Catalog, click Edit and change the name from ‘Catalog’ to ‘Products,’ then click Apply changes.
3. Next, click Add menu item and type in the name of one of your categories. Then click under Link, select the relevant collection under the list (mine is Necklace, Earrings, etc.), then finish off by clicking Add.
4. Drag and drop the category under Products so it is indented below.
Repeat this step to create the rest of your categories, an About Us page, and a Contact Us page.
Step 16: Add Branding To Your Store
Branding is crucial nowadays. It makes your store appealing to customers and increase their trust.
The first thing in branding is selecting a custom brand color. It can be blue (like Facebook’s color) or any color which resonates with your products.
After selecting one or two colors, create a logo for your brand. You can hire a logo maker from Fiverr for 5$. Upload logo by following steps mentioned below:
- On your dashboard, click Online store. Then on the Theme page, click Customize
2. Click Header present on the left side of the page.
3. Under Logo, click Select image and upload the image of your logo.
Under Custom Logo Width, change the size of your logo to 250px, then untick the ‘Show announcement’ box.
4. Next, scroll down to Colors, and under Buttons, select or move the palette to the brand color you have chosen. Then click on social media, and attach your social media handles.
A favicon is a mini icon you see on tabs in a browser like the one you’re on right now.
5. Favicon size should be 32 x 32 pixels. Just upload your logo on Favicon.io and it will create it for Free. To upload it, Click Online store > Customize. Under Theme Settings, click Favicon and upload your favicon image. Finish off by clicking Save.
Step 17: Create Your Store Design And Homepage
- Go back to Sections and click Slideshow, then under Content, upload the image you want to be featured in your slide show. (Tip: You can find good slideshow images by quick google search.)
2. Scroll down under the content section and change Heading and Subheading. Then Save changes.
Do this for all slides and delete extra slides you don’t need.
3. To showcase our products on the homepage, click on Section. After this, click Featured collection > Under the Heading box, type in the name of the first product collection that you want to showcase.
4. Then click the Change button, select your product category from the list, and finish off by clicking the Select button. This will now change the URL link to your product collection page.
Repeat this process two more times, adding other product categories you have created.
Step 18: Choose A Domain Name
Always use a ‘.com’ domain name because it is universal, easy to remember and brandable.
- To add a Domain name, click Online store → Domains → Click Buy New Domain.
2. Type in the domain name you want to use. If your name is available, cheers and buy it now. If it has already been taken, choose a different one. But if it’s available, proceed by clicking the Buy button. You can read this guide 11 tips for choosing the best domain name.
3. If you don’t want to be automatically billed for your domain name every year, untick the Auto-renew this domain every year box.
STEP 19: SEND YOUR STORE LIVE!
This is the last step. Shopify enables password for new stores so that no one can access their store until it’s ready to be live.
- As we have finished developing our store, we can go live by clicking the Online store, then clicking Disable password.
2. When you click Disable password, Shopify will ask you to pick a plan, choose Basic Shopify.
3. After picking a plan, then untick the ‘Enable password’ box. Then finish off by clicking Save for the last time.
BOOM! Your brand new store is officially live — congrats!
For more helpful resources, read the Shopify blog.
Good luck with this awesome journey.