How To Start Your Own
Successful Dropshipping Shopify Store (Ultimate Guide)
Nowadays there’s so much information and hype on building your own dropshipping store but most of it is not that reliable, that’s why I have decided to write a guide on how to start a profitable dropshipping Shopify store.
Hey, I am Adam and I am a full-time internet marketer!
I have done both affiliate marketing and dropshipping. I personally like affiliate marketing more because it’s much more passive however, dropshipping is also another great business model.
Why Do Dropshipping?
There is a reason why dropshipping is getting a lot of hype nowadays. It’s because it actually works.
A lot of gurus will suggest that you don’t need much initial investment while starting dropshipping but, they are wrong. If you want to do dropshipping the proper way and want to create a functioning long term e-commerce business, you definitely need some money to start.
Most of your money will go towards hosting a website, paid advertising, working with social media influencers, and testing new products.
Unlike affiliate marketing, dropshipping does require some form of initial money when starting out. Sure, you can start off with less but, you’re relying on your product to be the right one when starting out.
How To Start Dropshipping As a Beginner
If you’re a complete beginner to the dropshipping model, make sure you read and follow through the entire guidelines to learn everything about dropshipping.
5 Step Process I Use for Dropshipping
This is a simple 5 step process you can use to dropship.
- Finding Suppliers
- Researching & Finding Profitable Products
- Creating & Setting Up Your Dropshipping Store
- Adding Products
- Driving Traffic To Your Dropshipping Store
If you’re doing this for the first time, I recommend you start with Aliexpress. It has a TON of different products and a lot of people are dropshipping from there.
However, if you want to know one of the best suppliers and don’t want to deal with Aliexpress then check out Salehoo.
You can literally check out the Salehoo review I did here.
Researching and Finding Profitable Products
Now comes the part where you will need to start researching and finding profitable products.
The kind of products you find ultimately has a huge impact on the success of your business.
Before getting into detail, you need to decide whether you want to start a niche or a general store.
Niche Store Vs General Store
Which is the better choice?
When you’re starting off, I highly recommend you just start off with a general store.
The reason for starting a general store is because you can test a wide range of products and check which category works the best for you. You can introduce new categories without limiting your reach and engage in in-depth research.
Testing is the name of the game when dropshipping.
However, niche stores have way better conversion rates. As a beginner, stick to a generic store and gain knowledge about dropshipping before opening a niche store.
It is also a more affordable choice because you don’t have to spend money on multiple domains and advertising campaigns. Once you have set a strong foot, introduce a niche store as it is a better choice on a long-term basis as it helps you better profits and build a strong brand identity.
Picking A Domain
Things might get a little tricky if you aren’t sure the type of vibe you want to go with for your general dropshipping store. Before you pick a name, jot down the category of products, target audience, and aesthetic goal to come with a simple yet interesting brand name. It doesn’t have to be fancy but something that easily gains the trust of your store visitor.
If it doesn’t, don’t worry too much about it as long as it helps you stand out from the crowd.
When Picking A Product Keep in Mind, it doesn’t matter what you think will sell or is good. It matters what the buyers think.
You need to have the right product in front of the right audience to make a lot of money.
Here are 3 questions you want to ask your self when looking for in a product:
1. Are there passionate people willing to buy this?
You want to sell products which people are passionate about. Whether it’d be a passion for the actual product or a particular niche like hunting or fishing.
For example: Selling a giraffe phone case would have passionate people. Because there are people out there who love giraffes.
2. Is there a problem that this product solves?
You want to sell products which solve a problem for your customers.
For example: Selling a portable camping lantern would be a problem solver as it comes handy when you are out in the dark.
3. Are these products already selling?
You want to look if these products are already selling or not. If they are already selling, chances are they are already a good product and you will be able to sell it as well.
How To Find Products Which Already Selling?
There are several ways to find profitable products, however, here are few websites you can go on to view trending products, find different niches and see what’s popular:
- Spying on Other Dropshipping Stores
Discoverahobby is the perfect place to find products from different niches. There are a TON of different niches on here that you can pick from.
Wish.com is a great place to find products which are trending and selling. Just go over to wish.com and find products.
This is also another website like wish where you can find products which are trending and selling. You can view products which have a lot of saves and look into those products.
Watchcount is a website where you can find most watched eBay items. You simply just type in the keyword of a niche or your product and you find a lot of other products and much more information. You can also select the region of eBay.
Flippa is a website where you can find other dropshipping stores which have already succeeded or have gotten sales. You can mimic their niche/product because their stats are publically available.
How To Spy on other Dropshipping Stores
Spying other dropshipping store is actually much simpler to do than what most people think. So, the way you do this is essentially by going over to Aliexpress. After that, you want to find top selling products and scroll down and save most of the product images and then you google image search these.
And voila you will find stores (most likely dropshipping stores) listed.
Now, you want to check each one of them out and you can see if they are selling a lot if they have the sales pop up app or you can even put them into Similarweb (free tool) and it will tell you how much traffic they are getting and which platform are they running advertisements from.
Spying on facebook:
With Facebook, you can just type in something related to your niche. For example, “Quartz Watch” and try to find different pages and posts and keep scrolling. You can also type in things like “hurry only” to find other dropshippers using scarcity on their Facebook ad campaign.
After that, you just put their store on Similarweb. You can also check their bitly link stats if they use bit.ly. All you have to do is copy their bit.ly link and add a “+” to the end of it.
For example: https://bit.ly/2ZgCZvC+
This will give you a competitive edge over everyone who doesn’t know how to do this.
Products To Not Pick For Your Store
You don’t want to pick products which are:
- Super Generic Products
- Low-Profit Items
Copyrighted Products: You definitely don’t want to sell products which are copyrighted. For example, you don’t want to sell fake Rolex or Gucci bags because this could get you into a lot of trouble. There are people out there who got sued and lost a lot of money because they sold products which are copyrighted.
Super Generic Products: People don’t visit Google or Facebook to purchase a simple barbecue sprayer or tongs because they are easily available at their nearest convenience store. They won’t be going on Facebook and be like “Hey, I want to buy some tongs today”. You need to give the users a reason to your store, which means you need products that are unique but can be used on a regular basis.
Low-Profit Items: There’s no problem in selling low-profit items but you won’t make enough money. You will have to sell a lot of them to make ANY significant amount of money. I don’t recommend selling any products where you only make $10 to $15 in profits per piece. The profits will be lower in the beginning and it will take time to break even. If there are too many people selling the same product, you can’t keep the price too high, so the profits won’t be as high. It should still cover the cost of advertising, hosting, and other expenses and still make that amount in profits.
Pricing your products is very important because you need to make back money from buying the product and cost to cover the ads.
A lot of people will tell you to do FREE Plus Shipping Method. But, I honestly don’t like that method because it only leaves you with $7 – $10 worth of profit.
Chances are if you have run ads before you already know something like this will be way harder to profit from unless it’s from Instagram influencers.
When pricing products you want to ask your self how much is this truly worth and how much can you potentially sell this for? And yes you can also test different prices and see which one gets the best results.
When you’re starting out with dropshipping you want to at least profit 25% of the product price that you charge. A good rule I’d say is profit at least $15 – $20 on the minimum and you can go up from there. It also depends on if the product is a high ticket product then the profits might be way higher.
Of course the better your store, targetting the more profit you get. Typically 30% – 40% profit of the profit price is considered really good.
Creating And Setting Up Your Store
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned dropshipper, I highly recommend anyone starting out to start out with Shopify as their platform for creating their eCommerce store.
It is one of the best platforms out there to quickly create a store and get it up and running within a matter of minutes.
Not only that, Shopify offers tons of apps, themes and customization options for you to start off with. Even one of the biggest stores out there kyliecosmetics.com uses Shopify!
1. You First Need To Sign Up To The Website And Get A Trial.
The first thing to do is to go to Shopify and hit “Get Started”.
One of the first requirements is to set up the name of your store, so make sure you didn’t leave this for last.
After that, the following questions are related to whether or not you already have a product for sale and your income. You can skip it if it’s not your case.
Next up, you’re tasked to give them an address for your business; this can be the address for your office or home. Shopify will show you the backend of your store after that.
The URL to this backend will go like this: the-name-of-your-store.myshopify.com/admin.
You should copy and paste this URL somewhere safe for quick access!
2. Then, You Can Start To Add Products To Your Store.
By now, you should be staring right at your dashboard in Shopify. That’s the place where you can design your stuff, adding products, changing the layout, setting up your domain, and some other stuff.
The easiest second step is to add your products; designing your Shopify store around already-existing items is easier than creating it from zero.
For doing so, my recommendation is Oberlo, for it makes the whole process much simpler.
How To Use Oberlo.
The first step is to click the tab named “Products”, right to the left of your dashboard.
Once you do that, your next click will be “Find products”, which is then followed by “Find products” in the window that shows up.
You’re then shown a screen informing you that Oberlo is about to install, so go ahead and hit the “Install app” button down and to the right.
After that’s been done, you should be looking at the Oberlo interface. You can search different products and suppliers here.
Enter the name of a product you have in mind on the search bar above and hit “Search”; this brings up a list with results.
Look around the listings and decide which items you like.
Hit “Select products” to visit the page of the item, which lets you see the details regarding shipping as well as the price. You can set its retail price before clicking “Add product”.
Back in Shopify, you can edit the description of the product. A good tip is to write it using a mixture between personality and the specifics of the products, like its height and width or something similar.
While you’re doing that, you can also add tags to your product. They work like labels for each item, and you can use them to categorise them easily. For example, a pair of denim pants can be tagged as “Colored” and “Vintage”.
Another possibility you get is to organise different items into a collection. This lets you group products to help your clients discover other items based on their category, style, and other features.
You should go ahead and create some to help your users find what they’re searching.
3. You Need To Choose The Theme For Your Store.
Don’t overlook the style of your store and how it feels. Visitors won’t hang around for long if the experience is boring and forget about orders.
You can see available Shopify themes by clicking “Online Store” to the left in your dashboard.
You can pick a free theme here, or you can visit the Theme Store by Shopify to see if your budget gets you a better one. Check out my article on the Best Shopify Themes To Improve Conversion!
Rest assured that you can customise all themes with a theme editor.
You can upload your custom logo if the theme has the option to include a header. For all other images for the homepage, feel free to use stock or custom photos; do what’s better for you.
Once finished, click “Save”.
4. Then You Can Start Creating The Pages Of Your Store.
Neither Shopify nor potential customers know what’s up with your store, so build pages to inform everyone about it.
For a “must have” list of pages, here are some:
- An “About” page.
- A Contact page.
- A page for shippings and returns.
- A page to know the status of your orders.
- And of course, Terms Of Service.
You can create pages by clicking the tab named “Pages” under “Online Store” at the dashboard. There, click “Add Page”.
Enter the title for the page and its content in the next screen. You can use your SEO skills here and create its meta description and title which will appear in search engines.
After that, click on “Save”. Rinse and repeat for the rest of your pages before going into navigation.
5. Set Up How Visitors Navigate Your Store.
Here’s where you must imagine how you want your customers to navigate your website.
For example, most stores online prefer their visitors to visit their “About Us” section and their collections of products first, so it’s easy to see these pages sit at the top of a homepage.
Take your time and ponder about which pages you prefer to show up at the top of your homepage and which are better for placing at the bottom. Use those guidelines as the foundation for your navigation.
To do that, hit “Navigation” to the left of your Shopify dashboard.
Then, chose the menu for header or footer. Hit “Add menu item”. Fit this item with a name and proceed to the field named “Link”, where you can choose from a list with collections, products, and pages that you’ve created.
Repeat until you fill your footer and header.
6. Then Do The Same With The Shopify Payments.
Being an online store, you should provide your customers with different payment methods so they can choose the option that fits them better. PayPal and credit cards are better for online shopping.
The good thing about Shopify is that it supports amazing payment features for you to get paid through the platform.
Click the “Settings” tab to the left of the dashboard and then “Payment Providers” to see the list of payment methods you can use.
You should see several options, so feel free to activate those better suited for you and your clients, and provide the details necessary to ensure that your money goes where it should.
7. Choose Your Domain And A Pricing Plan.
My recommendation is that you invest on a custom domain. It’s both good for your branding, and it’s easier to memorise than the default URL that Shopify gives you.
You can access these settings in the “Online Store” section to the left of your dashboard.
You can buy a new domain on the page aptly called “domains”. You can also connect a domain that already exists or transfers one to Shopify.
The first choice lets you buy a domain through Shopify, which costs $14 per year. If you already have a purchased domain somewhere else, you can use it as the address of your store by connecting it to Shopify.
Once you’re ready to get your website to join the market, you can release it by choosing a paid plan with Shopify and signing up.
Drive Traffic To Your Dropshipping Store
Now that you have set up your entire store and done your niche research, you are ready to move onto the next step, directing traffic to your Shopify store.
There are 2 different types of traffic you can get.
- Free Traffic
- Paid Traffic
I highly recommend that you drive paid traffic rather than relying on free traffic to truly start seeing good results and start making more money. It will give your store the much-needed kick and tap in your first few customers. However, you can by all means also use free traffic.
Paid traffic is essentially where you pay someone or some platform for them to send you people (traffic). Paid traffic is by far the easiest and best way to scale any sort of business. Mastering paid traffic is its own unique skill set, and if you don’t know how to advertise properly, you could potentially end up losing money.
The Key To Paid Traffic Is:
Getting the RIGHT people to the RIGHT product!
Test multiple products to find a range of winning products to host on your store. You can also check the category or products of other dropshipping websites that sell the most and conduct research accordingly. What works for your store might not work for someone else but that depends on the type of advertising and target audience you have in your mind.
What is a Winner Product?
If a particular product starts selling consistently from your ads at a decent profit then consider it a winner. This is why I recommend you start a general store so, you can continuously or repeatedly test products without buying new domains, creating new stores.
The 3 most beginner friendly advertising networks I recommend are Instagram, Facebook and Google.
Instagram Influencer Marketing
Instagram influencer marketing is where you take advantage of different Instagram pages that offer shoutouts. They either say go check out this guy or even put your link saying guys check them out, to help your store get more traffic and sales.
Instagram influencers are perfect if you have a low budget.
If you find the right Instagram page/influencer and you pay for a shoutout, you can potentially see INSANELY good results only minutes after they upload the ad.
How To Do Instagram Influencer Marketing?
You want to be careful who you decide to do influencer marketing with because nowadays there are a lot of people offering shoutouts which have fake followers and fake engagement. You want to be careful with this.
Here is a step by step way to find proper Instagram influencers:
STEP 1 Finding Influencers
Head over to the Instagram explore page and search for keywords related to your niche. You want to find pages which have more than 30-50k+ followers. That way, you generally expect to get sales after a shoutout if your ad was enticing, the product was good and they have the right audience.
STEP 2 Influencer Research
After you have found Influencers in your niche, you want to research/screen them before purchasing, here are a few things you can do:
- Copy and paste their Instagram username on Socialblade and take note of their follower activity. If it’s not all green and going up showing natural growth, they probably have fake followers.
- Check their videos, if they have videos, they will show how many people viewed the video. This is much harder to fake than likes.
- Check their comments on all of their posts. Are they getting a lot of engagement? If so, are these only super big pages? If that’s the case, it is best to avoid them because they are using engagement groups to boost their comment sections into making you think they get real comments and real people.
- Directly ask them for their engagement stats.
STEP 3 Reaching Out To Influencers
Now that you have checked to see if they get real engagement or not, you want to find whether or not they offer shoutouts. A lot of the times they will say “DM for inquiries” in their post. If they haven’t mentioned it, go ahead and send them a message to find out if they are interested in doing a collaboration. Most of the times they will agree for it and why wouldn’t they, because you will be paying for the promotional activity.
A few influencers might ask for a product first because they are highly concerned about the kind of brands they want to promote. If you can send your products, you are looking at a long-lasting and productive professional relationship. Always negotiate with the Instagram influencers to bring your price down.
STEP 4 Create an AD
Create an AD for your influencer to post. I recommend using Canva (Free) because they have templates for Instagram posts and stories.
Ideally, you want to send them the product to try on and then create an AD like this:
However, if you can’t send it then you can create something like this:
Facebook is one of the best advertising platforms as of right now.
The depth of targetting is just insane, you can target location, interests, hobbies, behaviours and much more.
With Facebook, I don’t think it’s super easy to use. Learn about Facebook ads before starting to invest in ads, so you know what to expect, the right time to launch a campaign, and choose your target audience.
It is still the best place to test advertising campaigns.
Facebook advertising is way too big of a topic to even cover in just a single guide. However, I will recommend a course near the bottom which is not only the best dropshipping course out there but, it teaches super advanced techniques for Facebook.
As Facebook ads keep getting popular, places like Google Adwords are getting less and less amount of advertising. This is good for you.
Because now google ads are much cheaper since a lot fewer people are using them thanks to Facebook.
Google ads are much simpler than Facebook and the traffic from Google is much more buyer oriented because their search intention a lot of the times is to actually buy.
Despite being much simpler than Facebook, Google Advertising is also another topic which is just TOO big and broad to cover in a single guide. You need a proper course to learn this properly so you don’t end up losing tons of money.
Free traffic isn’t the best for beginners because the reach is less and wastes a lot of time in trying new strategies. Couple it with paid advertisement to successful long-term use. I made an ultimate guide on how to start affiliate marketing you can check out.
Instagram Organic Traffic
Create your Instagram account and grow it to directly reach your target audience.
Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to grow your Instagram faster:
- Upload at least 10+ times a day if you’re truly serious about growing your Instagram
- Diversify your Instagram hashtags and try to find different hashtags from already popular posts in your niche.
- Use a FREE application like Gramblr to get FREE likes on your images. (Seriously this tip will get you MORE engagement!)
- You can use the follow and unfollow method but, you want to be careful. Don’t follow more than 100-200 Instagram accounts in a day. Follow the followers of people who have a lot of following and a lot fewer followers because a lot of the times these types of people will actually follow you back.
- Create great quality ads on your stories so, you get more people to buy for FREE.
- After reaching 10k+ followers, request people in your niche to give your store a shoutout.
- You can also comment on other peoples post and interact with their community to get more people to follow you.
Article Marketing (Google Search Traffic)
You can always do on-page SEO for your products and get traffic that way. You can also create blog posts about certain topics to get more traffic and more sales.
For example: The Top Best Cat Necklaces
You write an article on these long-tailed low competition keywords and try to rank on google to get FREE search intent traffic.
Facebook groups are one of the best places to engage with your audience and drive traffic to your store. Facebook groups provide a space to communicate about shared interests with others, and you can create a group for anything while you can’t directly advertise to Facebook groups. You can still use them to your advantage to start driving traffic.
Find relevant Facebook groups and start posting quality contents, engage with other members, and ask for feedback about your products or store.
Once you start building a relationship with other group members, they will organically become free traffic.
Also, once you’ve built a stronger reputation, message the group admin to see if you can share a unique discount code with the group. This is the perfect way to bring free quality traffic to your store.
Start Pinning on Pinterest
The last but probably the best source of free “super-targeted” traffic is Pinterest. In recent years, Pinterest has evolved from a community that likes to share content to a community that likes to shop. Did you know that 90 percent of Pinterest users said that it helps them decide what to buy?
To take advantage of this active market, all you have to do is create a Pinterest board and start pinning. Remember that your pins on Pinterest never expire and that your messages can always appear in searches.
I made a guide on how to make money with Pinterest where I teach how to make money from Pinterest using affiliate marketing however, you can apply the same concepts and grow your Pinterest and get traffic that way.
How To Get Visitors Back To Your Site After They Left!
There are going to be people who come to your store, add to cart and proceed to checkout and then they just leave. This might be because they were in a hurry before rethinking their buying decision.
You can take advantage of it by setting up the abandoned cart email feature on your Shopify store, where you can use email marketing to boost sales.
If you are doing paid ads which you should be for dropshipping, even getting back a couple more dollars is a big plus. And this sort of thing is percentage based meaning if you are getting thousands and thousands of sales then you will get A lot more sales from setting up an email responding sequence.
Every e-commerce store out there should get an abandoned cart email.
If someone leaves the cart without buying you can email market them reminding them about how they didn’t purchase. You can set this up automatic with the upgraded Shopify plan but, it’s well worth it.
You can also Facebook to remarket those people who abandoned your cart and maybe give them a better offer this time in a retargeting campaign that will cost you less and the customer will be more likely to purchase because it’s their second time seeing you.
Make sure your store has a pixel installed so you can build custom audiences with people to remarket.
Long Term Strategy For Dropshipping
Since dropshipping is a business, you want to treat it like a real business and when you do that you will start getting better and better results.
Dropshipping isn’t the kind of business that you want to continue forever. You want to think big and actually start buying inventory in bulk and selling. This way you can get WAY better prices to beat your competitors and you can also lower your shipping times. You want to eventually create a brand and not just some random store selling products. This way you have a long lasting brand and you keep growing your social following and your email list.
You can also start hiring VA’s to start doing a lot of the work for you, so you can concentrate on opening more dropshipping stores and grow your brand. If dropshipping works well for you, you can turn it into a full-time income source.
Start Taking Action
After reading this I hope you start taking action. However, if you are using any form of paid advertising I highly suggest you take a course so you don’t end up wasting your money.
I highly recommend eCom Elites. It is one of the best and most affordable dropshipping courses out there. They have gotten student results and the author Franklin Hatchett, who is a seven-figure earner, was actually was one of the first to make Shopify dropshipping on youtube popular.
Don’t skimp on something like this because this could potentially save you A TON of time and also save you a lot of advertising money. I have reviewed over 25+ different e-commerce/dropshipping courses on here and NONE of them is as good as eCom Elites. A lot of them cost five hundred to thousands of dollars and they offer generic information you can find on youtube.
What type of Results Are eCom Elites Students Getting?
Not all but, quite a few students are getting amazing results. I check Franklin’s youtube comments and facebook group and I always see people showing their results. Here are results some of his students provided:
EDIT: I am not allowed to show student results. All the student results must be shown on the offcial website only.
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