Are you interested in starting dropshipping for free?

Awesome, but starting a dropshipping store still equals starting a real business that needs time and effort to grow!

The good thing is that you can start dropshipping for free.

Continue reading to learn how!

How to start dropshipping for free in 8 steps

Although you must invest money into your dropshipping store sooner or later, it is possible to get started without money!

Here are the eight steps on how to start dropshipping for free:

  1. Pick a free or low-cost ecommerce platform
  2. Decide between a general, niche, or one-product store
  3. Use free product research tools to find products
  4. Define your ideal target audience
  5. Find a free dropshipping supplier
  6. Design and brand your dropshipping store for free
  7. Set up your payment gateways
  8. Promote your store with free marketing methods
A women throwing money in the air

Tip: If you do have some money to invest in your store, we recommend checking out our 'How to Start Dropshipping in 2024: Your 7-Step Guide' article, which is more detailed and discusses our recommended (paid) tools and platforms.

1. Pick a free or low-cost ecommerce platform

Your ecommerce platform is the back end of your dropshipping store, so it's a great place to start!

Choosing a platform that is easy to use, has excellent features, and has good reviews will help you build a successful store!

The fact that you're looking for a completely free ecommerce platform makes this more challenging but not impossible.

We always recommend using Shopify for starting a dropshipping store. Although the platform comes with a 3-day free trial (which you can extend once as well), it costs $39 per month after it ends.

However, on the plus side, Shopify has some great free apps and free themes, so you may also save some money there!

Homepage of Shopify

Nevertheless, if you're looking for a completely free ecommerce platform, here are two great options:

Ecwid

Ecwid homepage

Ecwid is an ecommerce solution that you can use to start dropshipping for free.

It offers live support, an Ecwid app store, and even an Ecwid mobile app to manage your business on the go!

Ecwid merchants have already accumulated over $4.6 billion in revenue, so the potential is definitely there.

By using Ecwid’s free plan, you will miss some features. For example, you are limited to just five products in your store and won’t have access to Ecwid’s support:

Ecwid pricing plans

Shift4Shop (free for US merchants only)

Shift4Shop homepage

Shift4Shop is a relatively new platform that, according to its homepage, has 200,000 customers and processes approximately $200 billion annually.

However, the free pricing is the part where Shift4Shop steals the show.

Shift4Shop's free plan includes hosting and a long list of features that are usually only available for higher-priced plans elsewhere:

Shift4Shop pricing plans

The downside?

Well, if you have a sharp eye, you have already seen it in the small letters at the bottom of the pricing page.

The free plan is only available for US customers!

So, if you don’t qualify for the free plan, you will end up paying a monthly fee similar to Shopify's.

2. Decide between a general, niche, or one-product store

The next step is deciding between a general, niche, or one-product dropshipping store.

For a quick overview of the three, take a look at this table:

TypeShort descriptionProsCons
General storeSell products in various categories (find examples here).Take advantage of product trends.Marketing can be more difficult.
Reach more people.It's challenging to build a loyal customer base.
Niche storeFocused on a single niche (find hiking niche store examples here).You can focus on a specific target audience.It can be hard to pick a niche and stick to it.
You can start social media theme pages.Less freedom.
Upselling is easier.
One-product storeA dropshipping store that sells mainly a single product (e.g., Pillow Slides).Dedicate your focus to a single product.It's crucial to sell a winning product.
It's easier to optimize marketing campaigns.No possibility of upselling or cross-selling.
Improve your conversion rate.

If you can't decide between these dropshipping store types, let us give you our recommendation.

First, let's get out of the way that you can start all three of these stores for free.

However, we still recommend starting with either a niche or a one-product store.

This will allow you to focus on promoting and selling one or a few product(s) without worrying about managing many different products.

Remember that the more products you have, the more work you will do to manage your store.

Also, having fewer products listed on your store makes it easier to run your store for free or at least cheaper. For example, some dropshipping suppliers have a free pricing plan for stores that list fewer than 25 products:

Pricing plans of Modalyst
Pricing plans of Modalyst

3. Use free product research tools to find products

In our opinion, your products, suppliers, and marketing are the foundation of your dropshipping store's success.

It's normal that some products are relatively easy to sell while others are fairly hard to sell.

The 'easy' products are also called 'winning products' and often have some common properties:

5 Characteristics of a winning product - Infographic

Keeping an eye on properties like these is key in deciding what products to dropship!

The best free product research tools

This is another step where many people start investing money into their new business.

They start subscribing to product research tools, which help them discover winning dropshipping products.

Homepage of Sell The Trend
One of our favorite product research tools: Sell The Trend

That's because finding winning products can be time-consuming and complex.

This is especially true for beginners, who often don’t know what to look for.

Of course, finding winning products without research tools is also possible.

But the great news is that some product research tools can be used for free or using a free trial!

Here is an overview of some of the best free product research tools:

Research toolPricingRead ReviewTry Out?
AliExpress Dropshipping CenterFreeAliExpress Dropshipping Center ReviewClick here
ThieveFree / $15 / $49 per monthThieve ReviewClick here
Sell The Trend$39 per monthSell The Trend ReviewFree 7-day trial
Niche Scraper$49.95 per month (or $13 per month with our discount code)Niche Scraper ReviewUse code 'DoDropshipping' for 75% off (register here)
Dropship.io$29 / $49 / $79 per monthDropship.io ReviewFree 7-day trial

4. Define your ideal target audience

Once you've figured your products out, it's time to start defining your target audience.

Your target audience is the specific group of people you target with your marketing campaigns.

It's a group with the same interests, hobbies, ages, or gender that is most likely to purchase your product.

Understanding your target market

Philip Kotler, an American marketing expert, even said the following:

There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that target market.

Philip Kotler

The most common methods to define your target audience are developing a buyer persona, analyzing your product's benefits, or simply testing different audiences to find the best-performing one.

Buyer persona tips
A template you can use to develop a buyer persona (source)

For a detailed step-by-step guide on defining your dropshipping target audience, check out this article!

5. Find a free dropshipping supplier

The next step is to find a dropshipping supplier you'll purchase your products from.

But before you do so, make sure to learn how you can spot a good supplier.

Here's an infographic to help you:

How do you spot a good dropshipping supplier - Infographic

Got it?

Let's look at some of the best free dropshipping suppliers out there now!

We've made an overview of them in the table below.

By clicking on 'Read Review,' a new tab will appear where you can read our review of that supplier, including things like their pros and cons!

SupplierPrimary LocationPricingRead Review
AliExpressChinaFreeAliExpress Review
CJdropshippingChinaFreeCJdropshipping Review
AlibabaChinaFreeAlibaba Review
ModalystUS/EU$0 to $90 per monthModalyst Review
WiioChinaFreeWiio Review
HyperSKUChinaFreeHyperSKU Review
SpocketUS/EU$39.99 to $299 per monthSpocket Review

If you are especially interested in suppliers that are located in a specific region, you can find them here:

6. Design and brand your dropshipping store for free

Have you signed up for an ecommerce platform?

Great!

Now, it's time to design and brand your dropshipping store.

Custom image of an online store

One of the first things to do is think of a name for your store.

When doing so, it's important to pick a unique, short, and memorable name related to your niche.

You could also use a name generator if you're looking for inspiration. For instance, check out Namelix or Shopify's Business Name Generator!

Tip: Check out this article for ten tips on choosing the perfect name for your online store!

Next up, it's time to design and build your dropshipping store.

Make sure to spend some effort on this. You don't want to give your visitors the impression that you created your entire store in just a few days!

Take your time to get some awesome product images, craft an irresistible product description, and design a nice logo.

Also, don't forget to get your store's free business email address.

While building your store, it's a good idea to take some inspiration from some of the best players in the industry.

You can find some great inspiration here:

Example of a great product page for a dropshipping store
Example of a great product page for a dropshipping store (source)

7. Set up your payment gateways

Keep going; you are almost there!

One of the last steps of starting a dropshipping store is setting up your payment gateways.

Once this step is finished, you can start focusing on getting your first few orders!

A payment gateway enables a customer to buy something from your online store on your checkout page (for example, via a credit card). It handles all money transactions for an online store.

Paying with a debit card

There are multiple payment gateways out there that you could use for your store. When picking one, it's important to consider the following:

  • Does it work with the country and currency of your target audience?
  • What are the transaction fees?
  • How is the customer service?

Don't forget that you can combine multiple payment gateways to offer your customers multiple payment options.

Wondering about the best payment gateway for your dropshipping store?

Check out an overview of them here:

Payment gatewayPrice ratingRead Review
Shopify PaymentsCheapShopify Payments Review
PayPalExpensivePayPal Review
StripeAverageStripe Review
Amazon PayExpensiveAmazon Pay Review
Google PayCheapGoogle Pay Review
Apple PayCheapApple Pay Review

The best way to pick a payment gateway is by going through the following steps:

And remember that payment gateways will always charge a transaction fee for their service. However, this fee only occurs when you've made a sale.

So, just consider it in your profit margin calculation, and you will be good!

Note: Don't forget that it's often also possible to accept Bitcoin and other cryptos on your dropshipping store. You can check out this article for more details.

8. Promote your store with free marketing methods

A dropshipping store is nothing without proper marketing strategies.

Marketing your dropshipping store custom image

Without marketing, shoppers simply will not find you.

There are 12-24 million online stores in the world, but only around 650,000 of them generate more than $1,000 in annual sales.

Source

Luckily, there are free strategies you can use to attract visitors to your dropshipping store.

Just keep in mind that these free traffic tactics will take time and consistency. Don’t expect to start today and see traffic tomorrow already!

Here is a list of some free marketing methods you can try:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO). Build a blog on your dropshipping store or optimize your store for search engines! (More info here.)
  • Instagram/Facebook. Build an organic Instagram or Facebook page, advertise your store in Facebook Groups or sell on the Facebook Marketplace.
  • Pinterest. Advertise your dropshipping store by posting content on a Pinterest account! (More info here.)

At last, if you do want to invest some money into marketing (we recommend it), here is a nice infographic that can help you choose the marketing method that fits you:

How to pick the right marketing method for dropshipping - Infographic

5 Tips to start dropshipping for free in 2024!

We hope you now better understand how to start a dropshipping store for free.

But we have some more excellent tips for you below!

Let's check them out:

1. You can start for free, but you need money sooner or later

This article guides you on starting dropshipping for free, but please note that you will need to spend money sooner or later.

Starting a dropshipping store is the same as creating a real business.

Yes, it's a lot cheaper to start in comparison to opening a retail store, and the taxes might be different if you're just starting, but you're still starting a real business! (More information about dropshipping taxes here)

This means that, sooner or later, you will need to spend money to make money.

We know that many so-called 'gurus' (more about these 'gurus' below) talk about quickly starting a dropshipping business with zero investment, but it is simply not true.

And if it's true, then it's almost not possible for a beginner.

You will need to learn so many new things like dropshipping, creating ads, deciding which apps to start with, and ecommerce in general.

And you will probably make a lot of mistakes, which will cost you money.

A woman losing money

But that's great!

It's great to make mistakes.

Just take a look at this amazing quote:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.

Neil Gaiman

We're sorry if that just burst your whole dream.

If you want to learn more about the costs of running a dropshipping store, we suggest reading the article below:

Complete Guide: Can You Start Dropshipping Without Money?

2. You can pay just $1 per month for your first month on Shopify

This tip is for people who want to get their dropshipping store online with Shopify:

Shopify $1 per month for3 months deal

With this great offer from Shopify, you will get a free 3-day trial + 1 month for $1.

This means you can enjoy your trial for 33 days; the only downside is that it will cost you $1 in total.

However, that’s a lot less than the normal $39/month price!

Also, a great benefit of this $1 plan is that you can start selling! (Normally, with the trial, the checkout is disabled, but that’s not the case for this deal)

Click this link here to sign up for your extended Shopify trial!

Tip: Not sure yet about this Shopify deal? Check out our Shopify 1 Month for $1 deal page here!

3. Prepare, prepare, and prepare!

Older man behind a laptop

Yes, you read that right haha!

Prepare!

Definitely, if you want to go with Shopify, then it's great if you prepared the things that we'll cover below!

This way, you won't pay Shopify anything extra while you're still preparing everything for your dropshipping store.

And it's not only if you're on an ecommerce platform like Shopify, but it's also true if you're hosting your dropshipping store yourself with, for example, WooCommerce.

Hosting yourself will cost you more money upfront (you will pay yearly instead of monthly), but it will most likely save you money in the end.

So it's great that you prepared these things before paying your yearly bill for your host!

So, what can you prepare before opening your dropshipping store?

Dropshipping Startup Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Starting

If you're interested in learning what you can prepare before you open your dropshipping store, then you're in luck!

We wrote another article with ten things that you can do before starting with dropshipping.

If you're interested, then you can click below:

Dropshipping Startup Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Starting

4. Don't spend money to learn dropshipping!

Alright, this is an important one if you want to start dropshipping for free.

Please don't go into this with the mindset that you want to dropship for free, but at the same time purchase a dropshipping course of $500...

Plus, you need to 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've seen 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; many people purchase these courses. You can learn more about these 'gurus' here.

The thing is that you can learn so much about dropshipping, ecommerce, digital marketing, and so on; for free!

browse free online courses shopify learn
Free Shopify Learn courses

Just take a look at this article:

Where to Learn Dropshipping and Ecommerce in 2024 for Free?

You can get so much information from that already, and you don’t have to pay for anything.

Well, okay, maybe your internet connection!

5. You can advertise your dropshipping products for free

Someone holding an Ad

Alright, this is an amazing one as well.

There are many options that will help you keep your marketing spend at $0.

Just keep in mind that these free traffic tactics will take time and consistency. Don't expect to start today with trying to get free traffic, and then expect free traffic tomorrow already!

If you're interested in learning more about getting free traffic to your dropshipping store, then we suggest reading any of the articles below:

Summary

Before we go to the conclusion, we’ve created a quick summary of this article for you, so you can easily remember it:

  • It is possible to start a dropshipping store for free, but you must make some concessions.
  • Remember that you're starting a real business. So, you will have to invest your money in it sooner or later!
  • CJdropshipping and 01Supply are great examples of free dropshipping suppliers.
  • If you don't like Shopify's free trial offer, you can check out the ecommerce platforms Ecwid or Shift4Shop.

Conclusion

You made it to the end! Congratulations!

We hope that our guide will help you to start with dropshipping for free.

It's wise to learn a lot now about dropshipping, creating videos, ecommerce in general, and so on, and to earn more money in the meantime via your job!

Plus, keep in mind that learning more about digital marketing is important as well.

If you're wondering how fast you can earn money with dropshipping, you can check out this great article here.

And if you have any other tips to start dropshipping for free or have any questions regarding dropshipping, let us know by commenting below!

We wish you the best if you're going to start with dropshipping now!

Want to learn more about dropshipping?

Ready to move your dropshipping store to the next level? Check out the articles below:

Plus, don’t forget to check out our in-depth guide on how to start dropshipping here!

See what our fans are saying

10 Comments

  1. You just saved me so much damn money! Thank you so much. I thought it might be impossible to find actual legitimate free content but it also never occurred to actually just search it out either. I get so mad because usually when I try to go to YouTube university to learn something the gurus seem to always be charging a lot of money and I hate that. I understand being paid for services but at least make content affordable. I vow to do this very same thing with my own blog and website that I am currently working on now. Again, you just saved me money I didn’t really have in the first place!

    • Do Dropshipping - Author Logo

      Hi Tristan,

      Thank you so much for your amazing comment! Your comment made my day 😊

      I wish you the best with your blog (and everything else you’re going to do), and let me know if you ever have any questions!
      – Richard

  2. Thanks for this Great piece. I started building my store on shopify but it proved to expensive for my budget. so I decided to contact someone who is a web developer to build the website for me, please when i have the website ready where do I go from there?
    Thanks again

  3. nabeelkhan Reply

    I really like the way you explain the dropshipping thank you so much you make my way to learn free i really feel happy to learn and then earn please pray for me to earn as soon as possible.

    • Do Dropshipping - Author Logo

      Hi,

      Thank you for your amazing comment! I wish you the best with everything 😊

      Don’t forget that you can always contact us if you have any questions!
      – Richard

  4. deborah kelly Reply

    Thank you so much! Ive learned so much by just glancing through your blog. I was trying to get an idea how much opening a store would cost me, and I gotta say your content is great and surprising, I was prepared to pay at least 5000. or more to start.
    My question is, what has held me back is SEO, I know it can be expensive, and organic time consuming, as well as taking time to see results, so Ive been contemplating starting out with Amazon, or ebay since I have 500+ men’s suits, ties, shoes, (150 pairs in boxes) my bf passed away and loved beautiful suits some in unique fabrics, and they all look new, I have unusual sweaters with leather on some too, and designer jeans with leather appliques, and lion heads embroidered on back pocket, I believe their called Coogie jeans, and sold for 150. – 200. and a dozen high end leather coats and jackets. So it made sense to open a resale store, but I also have a ton of products, some new in the boxes, he had a HSN habit for a while. Lol So I figured ebay for the clothing after researching platforms, and Amazon for the products, I even have a brand new top of the line mountain bike that with a flip of a switch turns into a street bike with 24 speeds he bought for 800. and road around the block 3 or 4 times, and car rack for it. But the only thing keeping me from signing up for my own store with Shopify is Im overwhelmed by having to get traffic myself, I have had a business online and the SEO, and e-mail lists, article writing was a lot harder 20 yrs ago. I thought Id start with Amazon and ebay and their help with advertizing, and possibly move up to my own store after learning what Im doing. Now your blog has me 2nd guessing my options, as I had no clue about dropshipping, and learned a lot just in an hour reading your blog, and I’ll definitely be back to read more of the wonderful articles. Have you done any selling on other platforms like Amazon, and how long did it take till customers were finding your store and you really started making money from it? What your doing for other sellers wanting to get started is just amazing, and again thank you so much. Deb Kelly

    • Do Dropshipping - Author Logo

      Hi Deborah,

      Thank you so much for your amazing comment! And I’m sorry to hear that your bf passed away.

      Those are great questions, but we’re mainly focused here for now on the dropshipping part with an ecommerce platform like Shopify or WooCommerce – rather than selling directly on Amazon or eBay. (You can read more about that here)

      Secondly, we have a beginner’s guide coming up that will include the basics of how to choose a marketing method (like Facebook Ads) – I’ll update this comment once it’s live, and you can also subscribe to our email newsletter to be updated. You can, however, already check out our marketing articles here, but that could be overwhelming if you’re indeed not sure what to pick first.

      Update: You can find the beginner’s guide to picking the right marketing method here.

      Let me know if that leaves you with any more questions and good luck with everything!
      – Richard

  5. eCommerce seller Reply

    Great job on your blog post! The information you provided was enlightening, and I found your writing style engaging. I appreciate the effort you put into making the content accessible to readers.

    • Do Dropshipping - Author Logo

      Hi,

      That’s so great to hear! Thank you for your comment 😊

      Good luck with everything!
      – Richard

Write A Comment

Get in touch

Email: contact@dodropshipping.com

Follow

Our Site

As Featured On

Companies Do Dropshipping is featured on
Pin It