If you’re looking to break into the exciting world of online selling — or grow your established e-commerce business in creative new ways — a Shopify dropshipping store could be your golden ticket.
Many e-commerce platforms, including industry giant Shopify, support dropshipping. Doing business this way gives you unrivaled flexibility since you don’t have to spend time or money building inventory for your dropshipping business. You’re free to focus all your efforts on marketing. With seamless online processes (and no products to keep track of), dropshipping lets you run your retail business from anywhere with internet access.
A Shopify dropshipping business is a smart way to bring in income, whether you’re an aspiring full-time entrepreneur or just in search of a side hustle. This guide to Shopify dropshipping tells you all you need to know to start your e-commerce business.
What is Shopify Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a retail model that allows sellers to accept customer orders without having the product stock on hand. Instead, the e-commerce store outsources the manufacturing, storing, and shipping of items to third-party companies.
While Shopify isn’t the only big-name e-commerce platform you can use for the dropshipping business model, it is one of the best. A Shopify account gives you access to everything you’ll need to get started: a product sourcing guide, a free webinar that teaches you how to launch an online storefront, step-by-step instructions for starting a business, and a library of resources to help you grow the retail site you founded.
Getting Started Dropshipping on Shopify
One of dropshipping’s many perks is that it isn’t hard to do. Your business can be up and running on this leading e-commerce platform in a few simple steps.
Setting Up a Shopify Store
First, set up your Shopify store. Choose one of the platform’s free website design templates to design a site that stays true to your brand identity and feels cohesive with the products you sell. While your products are most important, your website’s appearance matters, too. If it doesn’t appeal to your target audience, they’re less likely to make a purchase.
The site design process can be fun, but remember not to get so caught up in layouts and color schemes that you forget two key tasks: adding products to your store and configuring payment and shipping settings. After all, even the most beautifully designed e-commerce website is no good if you can’t use it to buy goods.
Finding Profitable Products to Sell
When dropshipping on Shopify, it’s essential to choose your products thoughtfully, with an eye toward what’ll captivate your customer. But how?
Market research and trend analysis are two key strategies for scouting products for your dropshipping store. Market research uses consumer behavior and economic trends to determine how useful a product or service will be for its target audience. Trend analysis, which includes studying past and current market behavior and consumer patterns, is a part of market research you can’t skip if you want to offer what customers will love.
Finding and Choosing Reliable Suppliers
As a dropshipper, your next task is to find the right third-party sources to manufacture and ship the products you’ll sell. Before selecting a supplier, dig into the company’s background and reputation. Green flags to look for are:
- Look for unique and trendy store inventory: Unique, stylish, in-demand products can help you stand out and attract more customers in your target market.
- Assess product quality: Your supplier’s products should be made from high-quality fabric and be well-sewn.
- Ensure product reliability: With dropshipping, you will need to ensure that your product quality is consistent and that the on-shelf availability for hot-selling products is accurate.
- Check shipping costs and logistics: While you aren’t in charge of shipping, you’re still responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction. How quickly does the supplier ship? What’s their return policy?
- Look for positive reviews and reputation: Reviews offer insight into the experiences of other dropshippers.
- Evaluate profit margins: What is the dropshipping supplier charging you versus what you would sell the product for? Be on the lookout for monthly fees, too.
- Check for high-quality product descriptions and images: This will help you decide which products to use for your store’s inventory.
Managing Inventory and Order Fulfillment
After selecting a supplier, you’ll need to figure out how you and your third-party product manufacturer will handle inventory management and order fulfillment.
For efficiency and simplicity, look into an automated inventory management system. These tools let you manage product inventory in real-time and notify you when product stock is low.
Some automated inventory management systems, including Oracle NetSuite, Lightspeed Retail, and Shopify, can sync with your POS (point-of-sale) software and third-party channels, keeping all of the product information you need in one place.
Marketing and Promoting Your Store
As you’re working with your supplier to decide which products to sell on your site, you might be hoping to find items so good they could sell themselves. Remember, though, that regardless of how high-quality the products are or how much they appeal to your target audience, they won’t actually sell themselves. You’ll still need smart marketing strategies!
Begin your marketing journey for your Shopify dropshipping store by establishing a brand identity. Create or commission an easily recognizable logo, settle on a signature color scheme, and write a motto that aligns with your product’s purpose. Consumers will associate these things with you and your product, so be sure each of these elements is cohesive and use them consistently across platforms. Don’t forget to weave the pieces of your brand’s identity throughout your website design.
Once your site is built, turn to your digital marketing toolbox of SEO, social media, and email marketing strategies to drive traffic and start turning leads into sales.
Best Practices for Starting Your Own Dropshipping Business
This short list of best practices will help take your business to the next level:
- Optimize product listings and descriptions. Tailor vocabulary and tone of voice to your target customer, and write names and descriptions that are clear and concise.
- Provide excellent customer service. Remember that each interaction with you or customer service staff will shape a customer’s opinion of your business.
- Monitor and analyze store performance. Keep tabs on the data to spot trends, wins, and opportunities.
- Implement conversion rate optimization techniques. Prominent CTAs (calls-to-action) and limited-time offers, for example, can prompt site visitors to take action and buy.
FAQs About Shopify Dropshipping
What is the difference between dropshipping and traditional retail?
The biggest difference between dropshipping and traditional retail is that while traditional retailers stock their products in-house, dropshippers do not. They seek out third-party suppliers to handle storing and shipping products, keeping none of it on hand themselves.
How much money can I make with dropshipping?
How much you make depends on the product you offer, how much you’re selling it for, how well you’re marketing it, and how you treat customers. Dropshipping can be lucrative if you’re willing to devote time and effort to creating a solid business. Some dropshippers have built businesses with six-figure annual incomes!
Dropshipping isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, though. It’s a competitive industry, and it may take time for you to bring in that impressive profit. Start dropshipping today to build a successful business.
Can I run a dropshipping business while working a full-time job?
Absolutely! It’s a great side hustle. Many entrepreneurs balance a dropshipping business and a full-time job by automating marketing campaigns, devoting time on the weekends to work on their business, and outsourcing tasks when possible.
How do I handle customer returns and refunds?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to returns and refunds. But generally, some of the best things you can do are:
- Find out what your supplier’s return policy is. If there are restocking or shipping fees or a specific timeframe in which products can be returned, you’ll need to take those into account.
- Then, write out a clear customer return policy based on your supplier’s requirements. Include details like return instructions, return eligibility (which products can or cannot be returned), and solutions (refunds, exchanges, store credit), and specify how long the return frame window is.
Trendsi and Shopify: The Perfect Dropshipping Combination
Trendsi supplies name-brand women’s fashion products to dropshippers and their businesses for a one-stop supply chain solution. The platform integrates fully and effortlessly with Shopify, supercharging the way you market, sell, and earn. When you use Trendsi and Shopify together, you can sync Trendsi’s inventory to your storefront for shoppers to buy through your online store. Then, Trendsi ships those products directly to your customer, saving you time, energy, and money.
With Trendsi, there are no product minimums, no monthly fees, and more than 100,000 on-trend products to choose from. Explore Trendsi and discover how to grow your business today.