Are you new to dropshipping? Are you a so-called “dropshipping beginner”? Awesome! I got you covered with the most amazing guide you have ever read about dropshipping. I will explain everything to you from how dropshipping works, and why people do it, to what you need to know to start your own dropshipping store!
Dropshipping might sound like an easy way to earn money online (thanks “gurus”), but it’s still a real business that you’re starting! Please put your time and effort into creating something amazing. Don’t copy everyone as a dropshipping beginner. Most people start dropshipping to earn more money, and to get more freedom!
What Is Dropshipping and How Does This Business Model Work?
You’re probably a dropshipping beginner if you’re reading this.
Maybe you’re even wondering now what this whole dropshipping business model even means.
If so, then let’s start with learning how the dropshipping business model works:
How does the dropshipping business model work?
They say “a picture is worth a thousand words”, right?
Well, take a look at this easy to understand image from Shopify on how dropshipping works:
Or this great image from Oberlo:
And this is what Wikipedia has to say about dropshipping:
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, another retailer, or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer.
If you still don’t fully understand what the dropshipping business model means now, then don’t worry.
I will explain it really simple to you:
- You got an online store where you sell products, but you don’t have any of these products in your storage, or in your house.
- When someone places an order on your dropshipping store, then you place that same order directly with your dropshipping supplier. Don’t worry. There are a lot of apps out there that help you with automating this. For example, Oberlo, or these 15 Oberlo alternatives.
- Then your dropshipping supplier will handle the rest. Think about preparing the package and sending the order straight to your customer.
- Now your customer will receive the package straight from your dropshipping supplier, and you never touched the product in between!
The most common question people have now is, won’t my customer know that the package didn’t come from me?
For example, aren’t there any advertisements or recipes from the supplier in the package?
You just need to make sure that your supplier accepts dropshipping and blind dropshipping.
You can learn more about blind dropshipping by reading this article here.
But basically, you tell your supplier to not put anything extra in the package like advertisements and recipes.
This way, your customers will only receive the product and will have no idea that you’re dropshipping!
Why is it easy to start dropshipping?
A lot of people are starting with dropshipping because it’s so easy to open a dropshipping store and start selling that same day.
But why is it easy?
Well, for example, if you compare it to opening a normal “offline” retail store, then you’re looking at an investment that you need to make before opening the store. (Source)
With dropshipping, you only pay for products when someone places an order on your store!
And not only the investment in money is different.
For the time, it’s the same.
You can literally open a Shopify store in a few minutes, and have everything set up in maybe a few hours!
But don’t worry.
I won’t teach you to do the same as that.
It’s better to take your time when building your dropshipping store to be more unique than all the other dropshippers out there who do open their dropshipping store in a few hours!
If you’re interested in learning how to be more unique, then keep on reading. I will soon explain all the steps that you need to take to open your own dropshipping store!
So now you know how dropshipping works and why it’s easy to start, but what reasons do people have to start dropshipping? Let’s figure that out:
Why Do People Do Dropshipping?
Take a look at this great image from Oberlo to learn a lot already about why people do dropshipping:
Most people that are researching about dropshipping, and want to start/are running a dropshipping store do this for one or more of these reasons:
- Earning more money. If done right, then dropshipping could earn you a lot. Just take a look at these success stories.
- Being their own boss. Some people don’t like to work for a boss, so they search for other ways to earn an income.
- Location-independent work. A dropshipping store can be run from just about anywhere with an internet connection. As long as you can communicate with suppliers and customers easily, you can run and manage your business. This is also called being a Digital Nomad.
If you’re interested in reading more about the pros and cons of dropshipping, then I suggest reading this article here.
But is dropshipping still profitable today in 2021? Let’s find out:
Is Dropshipping Still Profitable in 2021?
Yes, dropshipping is still profitable in 2021.
This question came every year, and will probably come in 2021 and 2022 as well.
Yes, a lot of people are starting dropshipping stores now, but if you got the correct mindset (that you’re building a real business and not a “make quick money store”), then you have a head start already!
If you’re interested in learning more about why I think dropshipping is still profitable today in 2021, then I suggest reading the article I linked to below:
Can You Start Dropshipping Without Money in 2021?
No, you most likely need some money to start a dropshipping business, but knowing how to spend that money when you’re just beginning with dropshipping will definitely help you save money!
The costs will all depend on your experience and what kind of plan you’re going to follow.
Are you going to self-host your store, or are you going to use an ecommerce platform like Shopify? Don’t worry if you don’t know about that yet; I will explain it later in this article!
If you want to learn more about the costs of dropshipping, then I suggest reading my full guide that includes all the costs of starting a dropshipping store:
It will also include all the things you think cost money, but could be done for free!
Plus, I suggest reading this article here if you want to learn more about what to do with taxes when you have a dropshipping store.
Inspiration From Other Dropshipping Stores
Before we get started with the most important steps of opening your own dropshipping store, I suggest you take a look at some of my dropshipping example articles first.
These articles are perfect for dropshipping beginners:
- 5 Bad Dropshipping Store Examples & What They Can Improve
- 8 Awesome Dropshipping Product Description Examples
- 9 Awesome Dropshipping Facebook Ad Examples
- 14 Awesome Shopify Homepage Examples
- 16 Winning Dropshipping Product Examples
- 23 Awesome Shopify Dropshipping Store Examples
This way, you will hopefully have some inspiration for your own dropshipping store already!
But what do you need to understand to start dropshipping in 2021? Let’s find out:
Dropshipping for Beginners: What do you need to understand to start dropshipping in 2021?
Let’s begin with the part of this article where I will explain to you everything that you will need to understand to start dropshipping in 2021!
Just a quick warning, it’s a big article.
So please don’t get overwhelmed! You don’t need to learn it all today. I just wanted to put everything dropshipping beginners need to know inside one article.
You can always come back, later on, to see if you’re missing something!
To summarize, this is what you’re going to learn today (or maybe you will need to split it up in a few days of learning!):
- A platform to sell your products. Otherwise, nobody can purchase your products online.
- A niche, or maybe not, for your dropshipping store. You will need to choose what niche you want to start selling in (pets, house items, and so on), but don’t worry, you don’t need a niche as a beginner. More on that below!
- A product to sell. I guess this one speaks for itself. You will need to find products that you’re going to sell on your dropshipping store. I will explain to you how to find products that are likely to sell well!
- A dropshipping supplier that delivers that product straight to your customer. Without a dropshipping supplier, you can’t dropship! But where to find these dropshipping suppliers and how to pick the best one for your store?
- Learning how to be unique. This way, your dropshipping won’t look like all the other dropshipping stores out there. You want to be 1 out of 1000, and not 999 out of 1000, right?
- Registering your dropshipping store. You will need to figure out if it’s necessary to register your online store directly as a company in your country or if you can wait until, for example, you’re seeing profits.
- Learning how to advertise your products. This way, you will sell the products in your dropshipping store! You will learn how to advertise your dropshipping products for free and paid.
Are you still excited to learn how to start dropshipping today after reading all that?
If you’re still going 100% forward, then let’s begin with the first topic; learning where you can open your dropshipping store online so people can find it and buy your products!
How to get your dropshipping store online? What service can you use?
To get your dropshipping store online, you have two options.
You can go for an ecommerce platform like Shopify, or you can host your dropshipping store your self with WordPress/WooCommerce!
An ecommerce platform is more expensive, but it is easier to get started as a dropshipping beginner.
Hosting your store yourself, on the other hand, needs a bit more experience!
If you’re interested in learning what fits with you and your dropshipping store, then I suggest reading the article I linked to below:
How to pick a niche for your dropshipping store? And is a general store good as well?
This is a big subject as well.
Picking a niche for your dropshipping store.
But is it necessary for dropshipping beginners?
Both niche and general dropshipping stores have their upsides and downsides.
I suggest reading these articles below so you can make the best choice for your dropshipping store:
- General vs. Niche Dropshipping Store | What Is the Best Choice in 2021?
- Top 10 Dropshipping Niches to Avoid as a Beginner in 2021
- How to Find the Best Niche for Dropshipping? (7 Methods)
- How to Find out If a Dropshipping Niche Could Be Profitable in 2021?
Just keep one thing in mind if you’re going for a niche dropshipping store; don’t pick a niche that you’re not even a bit interested in. Otherwise, it will be really hard to stay motived during the first months where nothing is happening yet.
For example, don’t start a dog dropshipping store if you hate dogs…
How to find products for your dropshipping store that will sell?
This is the step that a lot of people are stuck on when starting their dropshipping store.
They keep asking themselves, “What should I sell?” or “How do I know if that product will sell or not?”.
If you recognize yourself in one, or both, of these questions, then don’t worry! I will help you!
Let’s begin with understanding that in the “dropshipping world”, people talk about “winning products”.
Winning products are products that your target audience loves and that sell like crazy.
These products will give you the confidence to keep going, and it’s unlikely you will give up on your dropshipping store after you’re seeing sales popping in.
More on that in What Is a Winning Dropshipping Product? (+ Examples) written by me! For example, here is a dropshipping product with the “Wow” factor:
Secondly, it’s important to know that some products are better to be avoided when dropshipping.
For example, products that could cause you (legal) troubles in the future or products that have a high return percentage.
So, what kind of ways are there to do product research for your dropshipping store?
Now you know the basics of product research! Let’s find out now how you can do product research.
The first way is to do it for free and manually.
And the second way is to use a service that automates most of the product research tasks. Most of these services are paid though, but there are some free ones available!
Let’s begin with learning how to do product research your self for free:
How to do product research yourself for free?
This step, doing product research your self, is what most people go for but is also the step that most people are stuck with.
I wrote a complete guide for you that you can read anytime you want.
It contains 15 awesome winning product research methods.
This way, you know exactly how to find products that could sell well!
Most of these product research methods are free to use. So, this is perfect if you’re on a budget, and you don’t have that much money yet to spend!
What if you want to use a dropshipping product research tool?
Doing product research your self is great (and free most of the time), but it takes a lot of time.
That’s where a product research tool could come in handy.
This tool helps you with finding the best products for your dropshipping store, the so-called “winning products”, as you learned above.
I suggest reading the articles I linked to below. These articles contain the best dropshipping product research tools in 2021!
Here is an example from one of the product research tools on the list; called Sell The Trend:
Do keep in mind that most of them are paid, but there are some free ones available.
So if your budget is tight, then I suggest you start with the free product research methods above, or you can use the free product research tools on these lists.
Another thing that you can do is to sign up for all the free trials of the paid product research tools on the list!
- AliExpress Product Discovery: 6 Amazing Tools That Help You
- The 17 Best Winning Dropshipping Product Research Tools
How to get a good dropshipping supplier that delivers the products straight to your customers?
Now that you’re doing product research, or maybe you have already found some great products to sell, it’s time to learn how to find dropshipping suppliers and how to pick the best one!
I will begin by explaining where dropshippers find their suppliers:
Where to find dropshipping suppliers?
You don’t have any inventory your self.
This means that you will need to find suppliers that have inventory and support dropshipping.
Most people that are just beginning with dropshipping use AliExpress for this.
AliExpress is, really simply said, the Amazon of China.
If you decide to go with AliExpress, then I suggest reading this complete guide here. It contains everything you need to know when you want to start with AliExpress dropshipping:
You will be fully prepared to start and grow your AliExpress dropshipping store in 2021 with this complete guide!
But don’t worry if you don’t want to get your products from AliExpress, then I suggest reading one (or multiple) of the articles below:
- 14 Best Free Dropshipping Suppliers (+ Niche Suppliers Included)
- 15 Alternatives to Dropshipping With AliExpress
- The 17 Best Free US Dropshipping Suppliers
How to pick the best dropshipping suppliers?
Now that you know where dropshippers find their suppliers, it’s time to learn how to pick the best dropshipping suppliers.
You might be asking, why?
Let me ask you this question, do you want the person who handles the production of your products and the shipment to your customers to be reliable or not?
Most people who start with dropshipping pick their suppliers based on price.
They go to the website that they get their products from (like AliExpress), sort by price, and pick the lowest one.
Because this will make you rich, right?
Wrong, all though this may work for you in the short-term. It will definitely haunt you in the long-term.
What if your supplier doesn’t respond to your messages asking where the package from your customer is? What if your supplier cannot keep up when you’re getting hundreds of orders each day?
I wrote down all my tips and steps to take to find the best dropshipping suppliers in this awesome article here.
Yes, it’s focussed on AliExpress, but if you don’t use AliExpress, then you can still use these steps to make sure you’re getting the best suppliers for your dropshipping store.
You can also check out this article here, which contains 13 great questions that you can ask dropshipping suppliers to find the best suppliers possible!
How to be unique with your dropshipping store?
A lot of people that are dropshipping are selling the same products with the same information they got from maybe even the same dropshipping suppliers.
Of course, you don’t have to be unique with the products you pick, but you can be unique in a lot of other things! For example:
- Having your own product images. Most dropshipping stores use the same product images everyone else is using to sell that product. Beat them by having unique product images. There are a lot of ways to do this, for example, by using the new Glorify app! (Click here to learn more about Glorify)
- Having your own product descriptions. Same as with your product image, most people just copy the descriptions that their suppliers provide. These won’t help you sell your product!
- Site design. Look more professional and more trustworthy than your competitors. You can click here to see the 10 best Shopify dropshipping themes in 2021. Also, don’t forget to create all your basic pages like a refund policy.
- Add a video to the product page. Another way to be unique is to add a video to your product page. Not all dropshipping stores do that! Just take a look at this article about why video marketing is important for dropshippers and the quote below:
Including videos in product listings is still a rare practice. But seeing as videos can rocket organic traffic up to 157%, adding product showcases is a no-brainer to get ahead of the competition.From A Better Lemonade Stand
If you’re interested in learning more tips on how to be unique, then I suggest reading the article I linked to below:
Also, I understand that this could take some time if you want to do it for all your products in your dropshipping store. Definitely when you’re just beginning with dropshipping, and you have no idea how everything works.
These products are going to be the first products that you’re going to start advertising with.
The rest of the products are there to make your store look alive and real!
If you want to learn more about this, then I suggest reading How Many Products Should You Have to Start Dropshipping? by me!
In that article, I will explain everything to you about this topic.
From why focusing on a few products is the best, and what to do with the rest of your products in the meantime (hint: you’re not going to leave them with the default information your supplier gave you!)
Also, if you want to learn more ways to beat your dropshipping competition, then I suggest reading 7 Tips to Beat the Competition of Your Dropshipping Store in 2021!
Registering your dropshipping store
This is another one to think about.
You will be opening a business, as I said before, you need to treat your dropshipping store like a real business, and not as a get rich quick store.
You will need to find out how much it costs to start a business in your country. For example, how much does it cost to register a new business?
Also, don’t forget to think about the extra costs of having a real business, like hiring a bookkeeper if you’re not that good at doing taxes yourself.
If you’re interested in learning more about this, then I suggest reading the article I linked to below:
How to advertise your dropshipping store for money and for free so you can sell your products?
To start this one off, I suggest you click here to learn how much you need to do paid advertising for your dropshipping store.
Now that you know that; let’s move on to what kind of different ways there are to advertise your products.
You got the free way, and the paid way.
Let’s start by learning how to get free traffic:
How to get free traffic to your dropshipping store?
First off, you can totally advertise the products from your dropshipping store (or your whole dropshipping store) for free.
Just remember that getting free traffic takes time and consistency before you see results!
I suggest you read the articles below if you want to learn more about getting free traffic to your dropshipping store:
- 8 Amazing Ways to Get Free Traffic to Your Dropshipping Store in 2021
- SEO for Dropshipping Stores: 7 Ways to Increase Your Organic Traffic
How to get paid traffic to your dropshipping store?
By paying money, duh!
Alright, no joking.
Secondly, there is paid advertising! This is definitely a big topic, and it might be overwhelming for a lot of dropshipping beginners.
I will link to a few great articles around this subject below in case you’re interested in learning more about paid advertising for your dropshipping store:
- 10 Ways That You Can Advertise Your Dropshipping Store
- Should You Use Google Ads for Your Dropshipping Store?
- Should You Use Facebook Ads for Your Dropshipping Store?
- Using Instagram Influencers for Ecommerce: The Pros & Cons
Where to Learn More About Dropshipping and Ecommerce in 2021?
Are you interested now in learning more about dropshipping?
But be careful.
There are a lot of “internet gurus” out there claiming you will be rich the next day (or very soon) if you purchase their course and follow them step-by-step.
Maybe you have met them before. They are mostly found on YouTube.
The only goal that these gurus have is to sell you something, like a course. And trust me a lot of people purchase these courses.
For example, a YouTube guru with a course has 100,000 subscribers.
Let’s say that 0,1% of these subscribers buy the course. That’s 100 people!
Now let’s say that the course is $500. That’s $50,000 in total. Oh yeah, 0,1% conversion rate is pretty bad.
That sales number could be times 10!
They make these people believe that they need their course in order to succeed with their dropshipping store.
No course? You can’t be rich!
I’m here to tell you that that’s absolutely not true.
You don’t need a paid dropshipping course!
Firstly, Here is more information about these “gurus”, and why they are selling courses.
Secondly, I can prove it to you that you don’t need one of these paid dropshipping courses.
I wrote two amazing articles with so many free resources to learn dropshipping for free in 2021:
And don’t forget all the articles I linked to in this article! These are all free to read articles.
And also, if you’re just starting with dropshipping in 2021, then I got even more awesome articles for you below:
Getting Started with Dropshipping in 2021
So, are you ready to get started with dropshipping? Or maybe you have already started, but you’re looking to get some inspiration?
If so, then I suggest reading my complete Shopify dropshipping guide.
It’s a huge article, but it contains everything that you need to know to create your own Shopify dropshipping store in 2021. It’s like a dropshipping course, but then for free!
Yes, even more than I covered here! This guide will go more in-depth in creating a dropshipping store on the Shopify ecommerce platform.
Reading this article will surely help you to get started and to stay motivated while beginning and continuing your dropshipping journey.
Just don’t forget that success takes time. Keep improving each and every day!
And here are some of my best articles:
- 23 Awesome Shopify Dropshipping Store Examples
- 18 Things to Know Before Starting a Dropshipping Store
- AliExpress Dropshipping Complete Guide for Beginners! (2021)
- The 25 Best Dropshipping Websites & Companies for Your Store
So there you have it! Everything you need to know if you’re a dropshipping beginner!
If, after reading this article, you’re still not sure if you can start with your dropshipping store or not, then check out this article, which contains seven great tips to help you start.
And if you’re interested in learning more things that you should know before starting a dropshipping business, then I suggest reading this article:
I hope you understand now why people choose to start a dropshipping store in 2021, and that starting a dropshipping store is still means that you’re starting a real business!
Please don’t believe these “gurus”, and put your time and effort into creating something amazing! Something that you can be proud of.
Plus, don’t forget that success doesn’t come overnight. Just keep pushing forward and keep learning from your mistakes!
If you got any tips for this article or if you have any questions regarding dropshipping, then let me know by commenting below or contacting me directly by pressing the “Contact Us” button at the top!
Are you excited now to start dropshipping? Let me know.
Good luck with your dropshipping journey!