Are you researching how to start a dropshipping store? Awesome! I created this checklist specially for people that want to start with a dropshipping store. The things that I’ll cover in this checklist are important to know before opening your store. This way, you will hopefully save money on your subscriptions. (like Shopify)
This article will cover all the things that you should know before opening your dropshipping store. However, if you’re interested in learning what to do after that, then I highly suggest you also read my 20 steps guide here on how to open a Shopify dropshipping store. (It’s almost 6000 words big!)
What Is Dropshipping and Why Do People Do It?
Let’s start by understanding what starting a dropshipping business means.
If you already understand it, then you can click here to scroll down to the first step on this starting a dropshipping store checklist!
If not, then 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!
To make it even more clear, here is an infographic of ours that does a great job of explaining the concept of dropshipping:
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.
Alright, but why are people interested in dropshipping? And why do people want to dropship?
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 learning more about dropshipping, then I suggest reading this article written by me:
Dropshipping Startup Checklist: Do These 10 Things Before Opening Your Dropshipping Store!
I hope the beginning was helpful for you in case you didn’t understand the dropshipping business model yet or if you didn’t know why people do dropshipping.
So, let’s begin with the checklist when you want to open your dropshipping store.
You can click here if you didn’t decide yet how you’re going to get your dropshipping store online.
You might be asking now, “But why? I can do these things later, right?”
Yes, you can.
But it’s great if you did most already before you open your dropshipping store.
This way, you will pay less!
See it like this. What if the preparation of your dropshipping store takes longer than, for example, your 14-day free Shopify trial?
Then that means that you will be paying Shopify for an extra month that you might not even fully use!
That’s why I personally think preparation is key to starting your dropshipping store correctly.
One last thing before we start, please don’t rush setting up your dropshipping store!
Most people that start with a dropshipping store rush through the setting up part of their dropshipping store because they want to start advertising the same day already.
Please put some time and effort into your dropshipping store. This will also make it easier for you to beat your dropshipping competition later on!
1. Brainstorm a name for your dropshipping store
I guess you can call this the most important step of this checklist, because what would a website or store be without a name?
Well, I guess you can call it efe7dde (yes, random haha).
But seriously, the brainstorming part of how you’re going to name your dropshipping store part is important before you open your store. You don’t want to change your store name suddenly, right?
If you need a bit of help with the brainstorming part, then I suggest to either read my article here or to watch this great video below:
2. Purchase a domain name, and get a logo
Next up on this dropshipping checklist is purchasing your domain name and getting a logo!
I put this after the name choosing step because you need a name to purchase a domain name haha!
Otherwise, you might purchase the domain name “YesThisIsADogStore.com”, but then you later decide that your store name “No This Is A Cat Store”, haha.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Ah well, either way; it doesn’t matter!
What’s important now is that this step will be you purchasing a domain name and getting a logo for your dropshipping store.
I recommended getting the logo already because this might take a few days before you, or the designer that you hired (or you’re one of these lucky people that got a designer as a friend) is finished.
If you’re interested in how to get a domain name and logo for your dropshipping store, then I suggest reading this article of mine!
3. You could write your standard pages and FAQ questions already
Everything that you can do in advance is great if you’re not sure if you can finish it in, for example, the 14-day free trial period of Shopify.
I suggest creating a Word or Google Docs document and writing everything there. This way, you can easily copy it to your dropshipping store once it’s up and running!
Let’s start by understanding what I mean with these “standard” pages.
But first, let me tell you something funny… The funny thing is that most dropshipping store owners don’t even bother creating even one of these pages.
Yes, some have a few, but I rarely see all of these pages on one dropshipping store. (and trust me; I saw a lot of dropshipping stores)
Please put some effort into making your store look like a real business (which it is!).
So what are these “standard” pages?
These are the pages on your dropshipping store that help your visitors trust your store more and make it easier for your visitors to know who you are or what your policies are.
Here are the pages that I mean:
- Return Policy. (Click here for a Return Policy template)
- Shipping Policy (Click here for a Shipping Policy template)
And these are the other pages that are important as well if you don’t want to come over as a scam store:
- Contact page
- About page
- Homepage (Click here to get inspiration from the homepages from other successful dropshipping stores)
You can write and think about most of these pages already! For example, you can write your about page already. If you want to learn more about these kinds of standard pages and how to add them to your store, then I suggest reading this article of mine.
That article will also include some optional pages that you can add. For example, a reviews page and a track your order page!
Just so you know, these things are not set in stone. So, if you think one day it’s better to change it, then you can! Just like you can change your product descriptions, advertisements, product images, and so on!
The only thing to keep in mind is to try to stay consistent. For example, if your first about page was about how you care so much about turtles and how you’re helping them with the profits of your store, then don’t suddenly change that to not helping any turtles anymore.
Maybe you will upset some customers that are only coming to your store to help the turtles!
The next thing that you can do is creating your FAQ questions and answers already
In case you’re not sure what this means, this is a page with Frequently Asked Questions that you can answer already.
This way, you will have less chance of people contacting you because they might have found their answer on this page already!
The great thing is that you can create it and then don’t think about it anymore.
Although you might come up with some extra questions and answers once and while; while getting more and more customer service questions from your customers.
If you’re interested in learning more about the FAQ page, like how to create one on your dropshipping store and what kind of questions you can include in them, then I suggest reading this article here!
4. Know how big your budget is and how much the true cost of starting a dropshipping business is
The next step on this checklist is understanding your budget and the cost of starting/running a dropshipping business.
You might be thinking now, “Why would I care about the cost of starting a dropshipping business?”, or “I’m not good with tracking money, so I don’t care about that…”
Well, I hope that’s not you.
But if it is, then please change that mindset. You need to keep track of your money.
It’s not good for you and your dropshipping store if you don’t know how much money you got available for your store (your budget).
And even worse, when you’re online and selling, that you don’t know how much money is coming in (sales) and going out (for example, advertisement costs).
Maybe one day you think that you’re bringing in profits each and every day, but that you’re actually losing money each day…
Alright, so here is what you will need to do for this step:
- Know how much money you have available now for your dropshipping store and know how much money you can spend each month. Knowing this; will make it so much easier to create a plan for your dropshipping store.
For example, if your budget is low, then it might be better to start with free traffic instead of going for paid advertising directly, and it might be better, in that case, to learn more about dropshipping, creating ads, and ecommerce in general before actually opening your dropshipping store!
- You will need to know how to price your dropshipping products correctly. This way, you will know what kind of profit margins you’re going to make with each sale. More on that on the next step in this checklist!
- And the last thing, decide which advertisement platform you’re going to use first. This way, you can make a rough estimate of how much you’re going to spend or if you’re not going to spend anything (free traffic). You could also start with free traffic, but more on that below!
If you want a bit more guidance on creating a budget plan for your dropshipping business, then I suggest reading this part of my other article here.
And also, if you’re interested in learning how much it costs to start/run a dropshipping business, then I suggest reading the articles I linked to below:
- Complete Guide: Can You Start Dropshipping Without Money?
- Dropshipping Taxes: Everything You Need to Know as Beginner
5. Learn how to price your dropshipping products correctly
This step follows the previous step really well!
It’s important to understand how you can price your dropshipping products before you open your dropshipping store.
Yes, you can always change your prices if you see that they are not working, but knowing some pricing strategies before opening your store and before advertising your first products; is not only great to increase the chance that people purchase from you, but also to help you create your budget plan!
This way, you will have a rough idea of how much money you will earn with each product you sell.
If you’re interested in learning more about these pricing strategies, then I suggest to read the article I linked to below:
6. Decide which advertisement platform you want to use first to advertise your products
The next step of this checklist is also one that fits well with step four.
It’s good to know which advertisement platform you’re going to use, but again, this is not written on stone!
You can always change the place that you advertise your products or dropshipping store, or you can advertise it on multiple platforms!
But if you’re a beginner, and you don’t have any experience with anything ecommerce related, then it’s best to stick with one platform at the beginning and learn that one really well before expending to other platforms.
Alright, to start, you need to decide if you’re going to focus on free traffic or paid traffic at the beginning of your dropshipping journey.
If you want to start with paid advertising, then having a budget of around $250-$2000 is great. (You can read here why; in an article made by Oberlo)
The budget depends on your skill levels, and it depends a bit on luck as well because if your first product is selling well, then you can pay the upcoming advertising costs with the profit that you got from selling that first product. You can read more about this here.
And secondly, if you want to start with free traffic, then keep in mind that, although free traffic is great, it will take time and dedication before you see anything happening.
I will link to some of my great articles around this subject below in case you’re interested in learning more about advertising your dropshipping store.
And to see which advertisement platforms are out there:
- SEO for Dropshipping Stores: 7 Ways to Increase Your Organic Traffic
- 8 Amazing Ways to Get Free Traffic to Your Dropshipping Store
- 10 Ways That You Can Advertise Your Dropshipping Store
- How To Quickly Test Products With Dropshipping (Save Money)
7. Think about which payment gateway(s) you’re going to use
This is another thing to think about before opening your dropshipping store.
Which payment gateway(s) are you going to use?
You’re in luck though, because we got a great article that covers the best payment gateways articles for you dropshipping. You can find it below:
That guide will help you with picking the right payment gateway for your dropshipping store.
Do keep in mind that most of these payment gateways have payment processing fees. (More information about these fees while dropshipping here)
I guess you already knew that, but I thought it was still worth mentioning!
8. Know which tools you’re going to use, or at least know which ones are available
The next thing on this dropshipping preparation checklist is knowing which tools are out there.
There are a lot of tools out there that make the life of business owners so much easier.
Think about Google Analytics, where you can easily see how many visitors you had each day, week, month, and so on.
Or think about a tool like Canva where you can easily create beautiful images for free!
Yes, you could look at these tools after you have set up your dropshipping store, but it doesn’t hurt to know about them before starting, right?
9. Know the disadvantages of dropshipping, so you know how to beat them
This one is important to know as well before opening your dropshipping store.
It’s knowing about the disadvantages of dropshipping.
Do you know why?
Because not a lot of people talk about them. Definitely these “gurus” on YouTube; they will only show you the great lifestyle that they got from their dropshipping store. (*ugh courses ugh*)
No, but seriously. It’s good to know the disadvantages of dropshipping as well before you decide to start with it!
Luckily for you, I created a whole list of the worst disadvantages that you will have when you’re dropshipping.
But that’s not all; I will also give you a solution with each of these disadvantages.
How awesome is that?
If that sounds super awesome, then you can read the article below:
10. Take some time to think about the future of your dropshipping store (branding)
I think, and that’s just me thinking that you probably want your store to be around for long.
Maybe that you can even sell it in the near future for a nice sum of money; sounds good, right?
Well, it does, but it probably won’t happen if you’re setting up a dropshipping store like anybody else.
This is where you will need to think about building a brand around your dropshipping store as well.
Just to note, this is future talk; I know, but it’s still great to look now how to brand an ecommerce store to see what you can learn today in order to have a higher chance that your brand will succeed later down the line!
For example, take a look at this great video from the co-founder of the 5TH Watches and the founder of some other ecommerce stores like SkinnyMe Tea:
If you’re interested in learning more about branding a dropshipping store, and why it’s important, then I suggest reading the articles I linked to below:
- Dropshipping Branding: What Is It & Why Should You Care?
- 7+ Amazing Tips to Brand your Dropshipping Store in 2021!
And I think this one will be interesting for you as well:
Do You Want to Learn More? Here Are My Recommendations!
Are you currently dropshipping? Or do you want to start dropshipping?
Awesome! I’ll link to the articles below that I recommend you read next.
This way, you will be fully prepared to take your dropshipping store to the next level in 2021!
I just want to say one thing; my blog doesn’t endorse any paid dropshipping courses. (I hate them, they are the reason I created this blog)
If you’re interested in learning why I think paid dropshipping courses are a waste of money, then you can click here.
Below you will find the articles that I suggest you read next:
- Dropshipping Basics: 7 Surprising Things to Know as Beginner
- 23 Most Successful Shopify Dropshipping Store Examples
- 18 Things to Know Before Starting a Dropshipping Store
- Shopify Dropshipping Complete Guide 2021: Create Your Store!
So, there you have it! Everything that you need to know when you’re in the startup phase of your dropshipping store.
I hope this checklist was helpful for you to get through your dropshipping beginner period faster!
And don’t forget that you can always come back to this checklist so you can see if you prepared everything correctly before launching your dropshipping store in 2021.
If you got any tips for this dropshipping checklist 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!
Also, let me know if you have already started with your dropshipping store, or if you’re still in the startup phase.
I wish you the best with everything that you’re going to do today and the rest of your life!