Dropshipping is a popular business model that has become increasingly popular over the years.
The UK, in particular, has seen increased interest due to the country’s high ecommerce spending, population, and GDP per capita.
But before you can go ahead with your dropshipping adventure, you need to know your options for ecommerce platforms, dropshipping suppliers, and more.
This blog post will explore all of those topics so that by the end of it, you’ll have enough information to make an informed decision on how best to proceed with your own dropshipping endeavors in the United Kingdom!
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a business model that involves selling products online without having them in stock. (Meaning: you don’t hold any inventory yourself)
Once a customer places an order from your dropshipping store, you will forward the order details to a dropshipping supplier, who will then ship the product(s) directly to your customer. Any money that is left over in this process is yours to keep!
With dropshipping, you can sell products on your own website or on an online marketplace, such as Amazon, eBay, or the Facebook Marketplace.
Dropshipping often involves buying cheap goods from Chinese suppliers and selling them for a higher price to an American or European audience, but it is also possible to dropship with local suppliers. For instance, suppliers that are located in the UK!
Should you do dropshipping in the United Kingdom?
A perfect country for dropshippers would have the following properties:
- Great logistics. To improve the shipping time and avoid delays.
- A high GDP per capita. So you can target an audience with a disposable income.
- A large population. To avoid running into scaling issues with your dropshipping store.
- A high social media penetration. To make sure you will be able to reach your audience using an online marketing method.
Dropshipping in such a “perfect country” would be a piece of cake, as you will have easy access to a target audience with a high budget.
In short, these criteria make a country’s ecommerce market flourish.
So, is the United Kingdom a good country for dropshipping?
Just take a look at our infographic below:
The United Kingdom is a country that comes very close to a “perfect dropshipping country.”
First of all, it features a highly developed ecommerce market and a GDP per capita of $40.3k.
However, the best thing is that the UK has an ecommerce spend per capita of $4,201, which is the highest in the whole world! This is great for UK ecommerce business owners, as all this money flows to them.
So, what else is great about the ecommerce market in the UK?
Well, it definitely isn’t saturated yet. In 2020, the UK’s ecommerce market was expected to grow by almost 11%.
In the end, we can conclude that you should do dropshipping in the UK! And if you would like to know more about the UK’s ecommerce market, I recommend reading this article.
And what about dropshipping from the United Kingdom?
If you live in the United Kingdom and would like to do dropshipping from the United Kingdom (with a local dropshipping supplier), that is 100% possible!
In this case, you will have two options.
You can target people in the UK and use your local dropshipping supplier to deliver products to your customers quickly.
However, if you have found a supplier that sells a unique product, you could also use that supplier to target people in Europe, for instance.
For many people, the first option will make the most sense. It gives the benefit of fast shipping times and decent shipping rates. Also, you won’t have to deal with customs.
Using a local UK dropshipping supplier to dropship products in other countries is also possible, but it is far less popular.
This is because you will quickly see your profit margins shrink as you will deal with much higher shipping rates (and longer shipping times)!
How do you start a dropshipping store in the UK?
Starting a successful dropshipping store is not as simple as it may sound.
Many factors come into play when it comes to building a profitable dropshipping store. Just think about things like a business plan, order processing system, and marketing strategy.
Many of you will have times when they will feel like it’s better to quit. However, remember that this is just part of the process. Try to evaluate and, if necessary, adjust your plan, and you will see that brighter times will come!
When starting a dropshipping store in the UK, one of the first things you may have to do is decide if you want to go with a niche store or a general store.
Prefer to go with a general store? Then you can take a look at how to start one here.
Regardless of your store type, here are the main steps you will have to take to start a dropshipping store in the UK:
- Find a product and supplier
- Create and set up your dropshipping store on an ecommerce platform
- Start doing online marketing to attract visitors
- Continuously optimize your store to become (more) profitable
While the overall process may be similar for a lot of countries, there are a couple of tips we can give you specifically for starting a dropshipping store in the UK. For instance, you should take a look at the list of the best dropshipping suppliers in the UK.
By following our tips, you will increase your chances of building a successful brand!
So, without further ado, let’s get started:
5 Tips for starting a dropshipping store in the UK in 2023
The following five tips will be for those thinking about starting a dropshipping store in the United Kingdom.
They will help you make some critical business decisions like what ecommerce platform to pick or what dropshipping supplier to choose.
Furthermore, they will help you prevent some of the common mistakes that people make, which will make your dropshipping adventure much smoother.
Tip: For a detailed step-by-step guide on starting your dropshipping store, look at our dropshipping checklist here!
Let’s begin with the first tip:
1. Try to use one of the best ecommerce platforms for businesses in the UK
This includes tasks like designing your product page, modifying your product description, managing your orders, and much more.
You will genuinely benefit from choosing a great ecommerce platform, as it will be a lot more straightforward to manage your dropshipping store.
A great ecommerce platform should offer the right features, be easy to use, and provide excellent customer support.
Let’s quickly cover them one by one to see which one will be the best for you:
Shopify is the best overall ecommerce platform for dropshippers in the UK.
This is true for seven main reasons, which are:
- It is really easy to start a Shopify store as a beginner
- It is affordable, and provides value and scalability
- It offers world-class customer support
- It has the speed and security you need
- It offers marketing tools and SEO
- It is mobile friendly
- And lastly, it provides resources and apps specifically for dropshipping stores!
Shopify’s goal is to make it easy and affordable for beginner entrepreneurs to enter the booming ecommerce trend, so you will want to give this one serious consideration.
The ecommerce platform offers an extensive range of handy features for dropshipping stores, among which are 70+ professional store themes, 100+ payment gateways, and an excellent product management system.
What’s more, Shopify has a world-class support team that will help you to their best abilities 24/7. It’s all in line with the vision of Tobias Lütke, Shopify’s CEO:
… We love real teams with real friendship forming. None of that is even about product, or market fit, or timing. It’s all about people. Treating everyone with dignity.”Tobias Lütke, CEO, Shopify (source)
Shopify’s pricing plans range from $29 to $299 per month and are displayed in the image below:
Do you see now why people in the UK choose Shopify as the ecommerce platform for their dropshipping store?
If so, sign up by clicking this link to get a free 3-day trial + pay $1/month for the first 3 months!
BigCommerce is another excellent all-around ecommerce platform for dropshipping businesses in the UK.
Some of BigCommerce’s features include being able to customize your customer’s checkout experience and a quick site speed thanks to the implementation of the Google Cloud Platform infrastructure, Google AMP, and the built-in Akamai Image Manager.
BigCommerce’s pricing plans are similar to Shopify’s and range from $29.95 to $299.95 per month:
However, just like Shopify, BigCommerce allows you to test the waters first by offering a free trial. So, if you are interested, get your free trial here!
Unfortunately, choosing between BigCommerce and Shopify may prove to be complicated.
In general, it can be said that BigCommerce offers better SEO performance, more built-in features, more support for product options and variants, and has just a single core product; its ecommerce platform.
Meanwhile, Shopify offers many third-party apps (although sometimes at a cost), is easier to use, and offers world-class support.
Tip: Ready to try out BigCommerce? Make sure to check out this article here to learn more about the BigCommerce trial — to pick the right one for your business.
Another excellent ecommerce platform option is WooCommerce.
This will definitely be the best choice for you if you want a platform that is the most flexible, customizable, and offers the best SEO performance.
But why is WooCommerce so flexible and customizable? You may ask.
It all has to do with how WooCommerce works.
WooCommerce is open-source software and a plug-in for WordPress, unlike the other two options.
Therefore, you will need to take care of the hosting part yourself to build a store with WooCommerce.
You will have complete ownership of your store and will be able to change anything and everything, including SEO-related properties, to optimize your search engine rankings.
To conclude, not only is WooCommerce very SEO-friendly right out of the box, but it also works on top of WordPress, which is already recognized as an excellent platform for SEO. (For example, you could start a blog next to your dropshipping store!)
The great thing is that WooCommerce is free to use due to its open-source nature. Unfortunately, web-hosting is not free and can cost anywhere from $20-$30 for a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or cheaper for a Shared Host:
If you are interested in using WooCommerce, simply click here to sign up!
Tip: Looking for even more excellent ecommerce platforms? Check out our list of the best ones here!
2. Use one of the best UK dropshipping suppliers
Once your platform is chosen, you will need to select a dropshipping supplier to ship the products to your customers.
That way, you may have to pay a bit more to buy the products, but they will be delivered to your customers much faster!
Let’s take a look at some of the best dropshipping companies in the United Kingdom:
They are based in London and specialize in building relationships with suppliers from the UK.
Something unique about Avasam is that they integrate with over 60(!) different ecommerce platforms and marketplaces, which is something we haven’t seen before after researching dozens of dropshipping suppliers.
However, that’s not their only pro. Avasam also has excellent customer service, a reasonable pricing model, and verified suppliers only!
New dropshipping stores can try out Avasam and all of its features for free!
Once you start getting orders, you will have to upgrade to the £19.99 per month + VAT Starter plan. This plan will cover you until you exceed 50 monthly orders.
Not all of Syncee’s suppliers will be from the UK, but there are still some great UK dropshipping suppliers to choose from.
For instance, here is an example of a UK dropshipping supplier we found on Syncee:
Syncee’s pros include a potentially free pricing plan, a feature that lets you chat directly with suppliers, a location filter for suppliers, and an auto-order feature!
In terms of pricing, Syncee will be free for you if your store has less than 25 published products. If that’s not the case, Syncee’s pricing plans range from $29 to $129 per month:
Click here to go to Syncee’s website!
CJdropshipping is an all-in-one solution that will help you to source and ship your dropshipping products. The platform offers access to warehouses in various regions of the world, including the UK.
Their UK warehouse currently stores almost 2,000 unique products; you can browse through all of them here without creating an account.
And if you can’t find the product you are looking for in the product catalog, CJdropshipping also offers a sourcing service. This means that their sourcing team will try to find the product for you and list it in the product catalog!
Note: To post a sourcing request, you will have to create an account on CJdropshipping first.
Advantages of using CJdropshipping are that there are no monthly subscription fees, and you can get access to automated order fulfillment with CJdropshipping’s Shopify app.
At the same time, an area that CJdropshipping could improve on is its customer service. Some people even say that they didn’t get any response to their emails.
If you are interested in trying out CJdropshipping, you can sign up here!
Actually, Clothes2order is a retailer in the first place, as they sell their products to businesses and individuals. However, they have also created a dropship API for people who would like to resell their products.
From their Google reviews, you can see that Clothes2order delivers high-quality prints and has great customer service. Also, they offer speedy shipping as the delivery time can be just 24 hours!
Clothes2order connects to your store using a dropship API. Using it, you can also get access to handy features like automatic order placements.
Last but not least, any business that wants to sell personalized clothing can sign up for the Clothes2order dropship API for free.
Tip: Are you interested in even more excellent UK dropshipping suppliers? If so, take a look at our complete list here!
3. Know that you must set up a company before you start dropshipping in the UK
Before you start a dropshipping business, you will need to have the right dropshipping mindset.
This means that you should know a couple of things before you start taking action.
One of those things is knowing that you are building a real business and not a “make quick money store.” In that way, dropshipping is like starting any other ecommerce store; it is a real business.
Your goal will be to sell as many products as possible to maximize your profits.
And so, once you have hit a certain revenue number, you will have to set up a company!
Setting up your company as a sole trader will be the best option for most people in the UK. This is because a business registered as a sole trader will be easiest to manage in terms of accounting.
You will need to register your company as a sole trader once you have earned more than £1,000 in a tax year.
Once you are registered as a sole trader, you will need to:
- keep records of your business’s revenue and costs
- send a Self Assessment tax return every year
- pay Income Tax on your profits and Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance
4. Offer your customers the most popular payment gateways in the UK
Another important tip that will increase your dropshipping store’s revenue is to offer your customers their preferred payment options.
Therefore, you should know which payment methods are the most popular in the UK before setting up your payment gateways.
Luckily, we have already done some research for you. Here are the results:
PayPal is the most popular payment option in the UK. In 2019, 49% of online shoppers were using PayPal as their payment method.
Credit and debit cards follow closely, with 37% of shoppers preferring this payment method to make online purchases in 2019.
Digital wallets such as Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay were less popular. All of them combined were preferred by 8% of the respondents.
If you struggle to choose the best payment gateway for your store, I recommend reading our article about the seven best payment gateways for dropshipping stores in 2023.
Bonus tip: Juni.co
As a bonus tip related to payments, we would like to tell you about Juni.
Juni (juni.co) is a fintech solution made for digital entrepreneurs operating in the UK, Europe, and Norway.
With Juni, you can connect your ad networks (Google Ads, FB Ads, etc.), payment gateways (PayPal, Stripe, etc.), and bank accounts in one place.
You will be able to track the ROI across all your business’s activities and improve cash flows!
If you’re running multiple Shopify stores, Juni makes creating this financial overview effortless with its Shopify integration.
Simply follow the steps below to activate it:
One of Juni’s most significant perks is that you can get up to 1% cash back on all eligible card spending. This may not seem much, but when scaling your business, it can really add up!
Other benefits include:
- Virtual cards. With Juni, you can generate as many virtual cards as you need in GBP, USD, and EUR.
- Get savings relevant to your business. For example, as Juni’s customer, you can get a 20% discount on the Loox Shopify app or a 15% discount on the BeProfit Shopify app.
So, what does all of this cost?
Turns out, not much!
Juni tried to eliminate as many fees as possible, as you can see on their pricing page.
As a result, you can sign up, get insights, create IBAN accounts, and generate all the virtual Juni cards you need for free!
The only thing that isn’t free on Juni’s pricing page is the account transfer FX fees, which can cost up to 0.25% of the transferred amount.
If all of this sounds interesting to you, you can find more info about Juni on their website here!
5. Know how much it costs to start a dropshipping business in the UK
Starting a dropshipping business in the UK is not something you do for free.
You will need to reserve a budget that you can invest in your dropshipping business.
One of the first things you will have to buy is your domain.
We recommend checking out Namecheap. It offers one of the lowest prices for domains. Besides, it provides free privacy protection, which will keep your name and information private.
Luckily, a domain is not that expensive. For less than $11 per year, you can have your own professional .com domain! (Which you can then use as a custom email address as well.)
Next up, you will need to pay for your ecommerce platform. Most people choose Shopify, which costs $29 per month for the basic plan after your free 3-day trial + pay $1/month for the first 3 months has ended.
You may also need to pay for some dropshipping apps that add some extra functionalities to your store. However, if you choose the right apps, they may very well all be free. Check out the best Shopify dropshipping apps for beginners here!
Then, you may need to pay for your dropshipping supplier. Some UK dropshipping suppliers (like CJdropshipping) are free, while others (like Syncee) can be paid in some cases and can cost you $29 per month.
Once you have started dropshipping, marketing could be one of your highest costs. Some people will need a marketing budget of $250 before they see any success, while others will need $1,000-$2,000, or even more.
Here is an overview of the costs that you may expect when starting a dropshipping business in the UK:
|Domain (Namecheap)||~ $11 per year|
|Ecommerce platform (Shopify)||$29 per month|
|Dropshipping apps (costs vary depending on you)||~ $10-$50 per month|
|Dropshipping supplier||~ $0-$29 per month|
|Marketing||~ $0-$2,000+ per month|
For a detailed discussion on what costs you may come across when dropshipping, take a look at this article!
Dropshipping in the United Kingdom FAQs
Hopefully, this article has helped you to get a headstart in your dropshipping adventure.
As you saw, there are many steps required to start a dropshipping business.
You may be excited to start your dropshipping store in the UK, but we understand that you might still have some questions.
Therefore, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about dropshipping in the UK:
Is dropshipping legal in the UK?
Yes, dropshipping is a legal business model in the UK. As a retailer, you aren’t obliged to have a product you sell in stock or in possession. (More info here)
Still, remember that you should register your dropshipping company in the UK and comply with all laws regarding consumers, online stores, and taxes. Getting a clear insight into these laws is best done by consulting with a professional.
How do you find dropshipping suppliers in the UK?
One of the first steps of starting a dropshipping business in the UK is finding a dropshipping supplier.
To do so, you would normally have to compare many different suppliers on criteria like pricing, features, and customer service.
Luckily, you won’t have to do that yourself anymore since we have published an article with the 15 best UK dropshipping suppliers in 2023. Check it out now to find the best supplier for your dropshipping store!
Also, for a complete step-by-step guide on starting a dropshipping business, check out our dropshipping checklist here!
Does dropshipping work in the UK?
Yes, dropshipping works and is profitable in the UK. The country offers great logistics, an English-speaking audience, a large population of 67.9 million, and the world’s highest ecommerce spend per capita of $4,201.
Due to these excellent market conditions, anyone can work on their own profitable dropshipping store in the UK!
Other countries to start a dropshipping business in
Not sure yet about starting your dropshipping business in the United Kingdom?
We’ve got you covered! Check out the lists below to learn more about starting a dropshipping business in a different country:
- How to Start a Dropshipping Business in Canada
- How to Start a Dropshipping Business in Europe
- How to Start a Dropshipping Business in Australia
- How to Start a Dropshipping Business in the United States
Plus, check out our guide here, which contains the best countries to target when dropshipping!
There you go! A complete beginner’s guide on dropshipping in the UK.
As we mentioned, the UK is an excellent market for dropshippers. It even has the world’s highest ecommerce spend per capita!
With an ecommerce platform like Shopify and a dropshipping supplier like Avasam, you will know that you are partnering with some incredible people that will do everything they can to help you succeed.
Just don’t forget about your competition! You can learn here how to beat your competitors while dropshipping.
If you still have any questions about dropshipping in the UK, don’t forget that you can always leave a comment below.
We wish you the best of luck with your dropshipping store!