Many people want to start an online store but because of high initial start-up cost, very few people dive into this business. Starting an online store also requires hard work. You need to have good knowledge of things like shipping, marketing, fulfillment etc. But imagine if someone offers to pay your upfront inventory cost of thousands of items and manage to ship products to your customers. Then, it will be much easier to get started and you can run your business from anywhere in the world. You might be thinking how it can be possible if you don’t know about drop shipping.
In this guide, I will exactly explain what drop shipping is and how to start a drop shipping business. First of all, let me explain what is drop shipping?
What is Drop Shipping?
Drop shipping enables you to sell products without buying them first. It allows you to list products of drop shipping suppliers on your website and set your own price. When you receive an order, you pass the order to suppliers and they will ship the product directly to your customer. They will charge you actual price of the shipped item. So, your profit will be the difference between the price of the product on your website and the price of the product of drop shipping company.
Drop shipping business is the perfect business model because you don’t need to invest thousands in product’s inventory. You just need to focus on marketing and make sales. Moreover, you can set your own working hours and run this business from anywhere.
So, let’s get started!
How to Start a Drop Shipping Business in 7 Steps?
This guide covers all necessary steps that you need to start a successful drop shipping business.
1- Choose a Niche
First of all, you have to decide what you are going to sell. It is one of the most important steps to start a profitable drop shipping store. It is probably the hardest part of starting an online store. If this step is done properly, you have maximum chances of success.
You need to take some extra time and conduct research to find the perfect niche for your drop shipping store. Here are some things that you must consider while selecting a niche.
- Find a niche in which you have an interest and you are knowledgeable about those products. If you know more about the products, it will be easier for you to market them. You can also communicate with your customers very effectively.
- Try to find novelty products that are not available or hard to purchase locally.
- Search for high demand products. If a niche doesn’t have so many buyers then you won’t be able to make enough sales.
- Find products with high-profit margins. Ideally, the product cost must be around $100-$200, so that you can make a good profit for each sale.
- Products must be light and durable instead of heavy and fragile so that they can be shipped easily.
2- Find Suppliers for Drop Shipping Business
After selecting your niche, it’s time to find suppliers who can drop ship. There are many places to find drop shippers. You can search online for wholesalers or manufacturers and contact them if they drop ship. But it is very time consuming and hard to find reliable suppliers.
However, AliExpress makes this job very easy and you can easily find drop shippers. It is the most popular and convenient marketplace to start drop shipping business.
Why Use AliExpress for Drop Shipping?
There are several reasons to use AliExpress drop shipping.
- AliExpress is one of the largest marketplaces with a huge selection of products.
- It is very easy to find products on AliExpress and sell on your store. You don’t need to worry about inventory or shipping.
- Majority of AliExpress suppliers are overseas manufacturers and they offer very competitive prices. You can pay the wholesale price for the items and the suppliers ship them directly to your customers.
- Most of the AliExpress sellers provide nice product’s photos and detailed description as well, that you can use on your online store.
- Finally, you can start drop shipping business by using AliExpress platform right away without any upfront cost or fee.
The next step of this guide on how to start a drop shipping business is to start your online store.
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3- Setting Up your Online Store
Once you have chosen a niche and found suppliers, now it’s time to start your online store so that you can sell products. Creating an online store doesn’t require technical knowledge of web designing or coding because e-commerce platforms make this process very easy.
There are several e-commerce platforms to use. But I highly recommend Shopify, because it is easy to use and provide all-in-one e-commerce solution to run an online store. It also provides 14 days free trial, you can start drop shipping business right away without any cost.
Let’s Get Started!
Go to Shopify and sign up for a free trial.
Enter your email address and click on “Get Started” button.
Now enter your password, store name, and then click on “Create your store button”.
Now you will be asked to tell about yourself. It’s up to you whatever you put here. It is just a Shopify survey. Click on the “Next” button to continue.
On the next screen, enter your all information and click on “Enter my store” button.
Here you are inside the backend of Shopify, where you can control your online store.
The next thing is to choose a theme for your online store. A theme is basically layout of your store. In order to select a theme, Go to the Online Store>>Themes.
Here you have two options. You can either “Explore free themes” or “Visit Shopify theme store”, where you can find a huge variety of both free and paid themes sorted by specific niche.
4- Add products to Your Shopify Store
Once you have installed and customized the theme, it’s time to add products to your drop shipping store from AliExpress. In order to do this, you need to install an app Oberlo. This app connects AliExpress with Shopify. Oberlo basically streamlines the whole process of finding products, shipping products, buying products and everything in between when it comes to supply chain for your online store. In a nutshell, it makes the whole process extremely easy to run drop shipping business.
Go to the “Apps” into your Shopify dashboard and click on the Oberlo.
On the next screen click on the “Get” button and enter your store’s URL to “log in”.
Now click the “Install App” button.
Once Oberlo is installed in your store, you can easily find and import products from AliExpress. Here is a complete video tutorial to setup Oberlo and import products into your Shopify store.
5- Get a Custom Domain Name
At this point, your store URL will be something like yourstore.myshopify.com. As you see, it doesn’t look professional. It should be like yourstore.com so that it looks professional and represent your brand. Therefore, I suggest you get your own domain name.
To do this, go to Online store>>Domains and click the “Buy new domain” or “Connect existing domain” If you already have.
6- Remove the Storefront Password
Finally, remove the storefront password so that customers can visit your site and you can start making sales.
In order to unlock your store, Go to Online Store>>Preferences. Scroll down and “Pick a plan”.
Here, I suggest you choose the Basic Shopify plan. Enter your billing information and click the “confirm changes” button.
Now go back to the Online store>>Preferences. Uncheck the “Enable password page” and then click “Save” in order to go live.
Well, that’s it, you have created an online store with Shopify.
7- Make Your First Sale
This is the final and the most important part of this guide on how to start a drop shipping business. Now, you have your own drop shipping store with a lot of products. It’s time to promote your drop shipping business to grab customers so that you can make sales. There are several ways to promote an online store like search engine optimization, social media marketing, email marketing, paid advertising etc.
I highly recommend you to read 50 Ways to Make Your First Sale. In this guide, you will learn everything that you need to promote your online store and generate sales.
I hope you have learned how to start a drop shipping business from this article.
So, what’s next?
Your job is not finished yet. You have set up an online store and you have to run this. Remember, it takes time and effort to make any new business profitable. So, be patient and keep trying different marketing strategies unless you get better results.