Have you ever dreamed about having your own Shopify dropshipping store? Well, now is the time to stop dreaming! You can follow me step-by-step below on how to create your own Shopify dropshipping store. Don’t forget that you can skip steps if you have already completed these!
What is dropshipping and why do people do it?
Let’s start this complete Shopify dropshipping guide 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!
If not, I will explain it really simply to you:
- You’ve 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, 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 receipts 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, 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, I suggest reading this article written by me:
Let’s begin now with this huge Shopify dropshipping guide. (Almost 6000 words!)
It will contain 20 steps that you can follow to set up your own Shopify dropshipping store.
Don’t forget that you can always come back to this article to see if you’re doing everything correctly. No need to remember it all at once!
1) Put your mindset right
If you’re new to dropshipping, you probably think something like “dropshipping equals getting rich fast” or “dropshipping equals easy money.”
Let me burst those dreams for you, I’m sorry…
A lot of so-called “gurus” talk about this, but do you know what they all have in common?
They have a course (and most are not even that cheap).
Maybe you should buy their course and follow them step-by-step to get rich, right?
If you’re interested in learning more about these “gurus,” I highly suggest you read my funny rant below:
But anyway, what can you do?
First off, you can learn dropshipping for free. See, for example, my blog posts below that will give you a lot of resources to learn dropshipping for free:
- Top 10 Dropshipping & Ecommerce Blogs
- The 17 Best Free Dropshipping Courses
- How to Start Dropshipping for Free in 2021? (5 Unusual Tips)
And secondly, let’s change your mindset to the correct mindset you should have when you want to open a Shopify dropshipping store.
Instead of thinking you will be rich the next day, you will need to start treating your dropshipping store like a real business (which it is)! And you will need to start looking at what your customers want and not what your pockets want.
Put your time and effort into it instead of opening a store in a few hours, importing a few products, and starting advertisements already without trying to be unique at all.
If you’re interested in learning more about having the right mindset before opening your dropshipping store, then check out these six tips here.
Don’t worry. If you follow my steps below, then you know how to be unique!
Plus, I suggest reading this article here which gives you tons of tips on how to be more unique than all the other dropshipping stores out there!
Also, if you were thinking of buying a premade dropshipping store, I recommend you to read this article here first.
2) Get some inspiration from other Shopify dropshipping stores
Before we get started with the most important steps of opening your own Shopify dropshipping store, I suggest you take a look at some of my dropshipping example articles first.
- 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 Shopify dropshipping store already!
3) Decide if you want to have a general or a niche dropshipping store
There are upsides and downsides to having both a general store and a niche store.
But one tip I can give you already is that if you pick a niche store, please pick a niche that you’re at least a bit interested in.
This is another big reason why people fail with their dropshipping store. They pick a niche for their dropshipping store just because they think they can earn money with it.
They don’t think about the future, “the grind”, the time that they need to work, and work on their store before they see success (if they ever do) — for example, the time before you see your first sale might be a while.
If you’re not interested at all in your niche, then this period will be really hard for you.
A lot of people give up after some time, simply because they are bored with their niche.
For example, don’t pick gardening as your dropshipping niche if you hate gardening yourself.
You will have a hard time communicating with your customers, maybe making blog posts, coming up with newsletters, or simply writing product descriptions that convert your target audience into buyers (people that love gardening).
If you think you’re going to be stuck on this step, then I suggest reading my other article here.
That article covers all the upsides and downsides to having a general store or a niche store, and I will give you my recommendation if you’re just beginning with dropshipping!
If you have decided to go for a niche dropshipping store, I suggest reading the articles I’ve linked below:
- 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?
After that, let’s move on to the fourth step!
4) Come up with an awesome store name and register your domain name
You’ve got three parts on this step! I will quickly tell you about the steps below to then dive deep into what you will need to do.
- Firstly, you will need to come up with a name for your dropshipping store and check if that name is available as a domain name.
- After that, it’s time to register your domain name.
- And the last step is to create one or more professional email addresses with your new domain name. For example, [email protected]
4.1) Come up with an awesome name for your dropshipping store and check if it’s available
The first step of this might be obvious, but I would still like to give you some tips on this!
You now know if you’re going with a general or a niche dropshipping store. This will be the starting point of your brainstorming process. (Click here if you want tips on how to brainstorm.)
Here are some tools that can help you with the brainstorming process of finding a good domain name. Just fill in a word and these tools will give you back a lot of domain names.
For example, if you’re in the garden niche. Try filling in something related to that niche to see what it gives you back. Like ‘garden’ or ‘trees’ or maybe ‘flowers’.
- Lean Domain Search
- Instant Domain Search
- If that’s not enough for you, then you can click here to view a lot more of these tools.
If you’re brainstorming yourself without the tools above, then you can check on Namecheap here to see if your domain name is available or not.
I suggest you check for the .com domain extension. It’s one of the most popular domain extensions. (Source)
If your domain name is not available but you really like the store name that you came up with, you could try other variations of that name or start brainstorming again.
Another option is to check other domain extensions like .shop instead of .com.
One last tip, don’t forget to check in your country if that name is already taken as a business name. This way you won’t run into any legal troubles in the future.
If you want more tips on how to choose the perfect name, I suggest reading 10 Tips to Choose the Best Name for Your Dropshipping Store written by me!
4.2) Register your domain name
Like you saw above already, I recommend you use Namecheap as your domain registrar. I personally use them as well, and I think they are great (and cheap).
One last tip, don’t forget to search for coupon codes (for example, take a look at Honey). This way you will hopefully pay even less for your domain name!
4.3) Let’s create a professional email address
The last step is to create a professional email address with your new domain name.
I suggest you take a look at Zoho Mail. With Zoho Mail, you can create a professional email address for free.
If you’re looking for more information on how to get a free business email address, I suggest reading the article I’ve linked below:
5) Decide where you want to source your products from
You don’t have any inventory yourself.
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!
With that guide, you will be fully prepared to start and grow your AliExpress Shopify dropshipping store in 2021.
But don’t worry if you don’t want to get your products from AliExpress; 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
6) Let’s do product research
This is the step that a lot of people are stuck on when starting their Shopify 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 further!
There are two options to do product research for your Shopify dropshipping store.
The first option is to do it yourself, and the second option is to use a (free) product research tool.
I will separate this step into two steps explaining both options that I talked about above.
But before we get started, please keep in mind 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.
Also, you can click here if you want to learn what a “winning product” is. That article also contains some product examples!
6.1) What if you want to do the product research yourself?
This step, doing product research yourself, 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!
Do you know what the best thing is about that article?
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 to spend!
6.2) What if you want to use a dropshipping product research tool?
Doing product research yourself 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, so-called “Winning Products.” For example, the free tool from AliExpress called the AliExpress dropshipping center.
I suggest reading the article I’ve linked below. It contains the best dropshipping product research tools in 2021:
7) Select the best suppliers
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 select the best dropshipping suppliers for your store.
Let me ask you this question first, 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, although 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 focused on AliExpress, but if you don’t use AliExpress, 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 14 great questions that you can ask dropshipping suppliers to find the best suppliers possible!
And if you’re not quite sure yet what a dropshipping supplier is or what kind of things they will help you with, then check out this article here.
8) Create your marketing and budget plan
Another big step is going to be creating your marketing and budget plan.
Both are equally important for the success of your Shopify dropshipping store!
Firstly, if you don’t know where you’re going to advertise your products or how you’re going to do that, that’s a recipe for the failure of your dropshipping store.
And secondly, it’s not good for you and your dropshipping store if you don’t know how much money you’ve got available for your store (your budget).
And it’s 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).
But don’t worry, I will explain it to you below!
8.1) Decide where you’re going to advertise your dropshipping store
This step is all about deciding which platform you’re going to use to advertise your products.
But don’t worry.
You can always change the place that you advertise your 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, 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, having a budget of around $250 – $2000 is great.
The budget depends on your skill levels, and it depends a bit on luck as well, because if your first product is selling well, 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, keep in mind that although free traffic is great, it will take time and dedication before you see anything happening.
If you’re interested in learning more about advertising your Shopify dropshipping store, definitely check out the articles I’ve linked below.
Firstly, here are some articles on how to get free traffic:
- SEO for Dropshipping Stores: 7 Ways to Increase Your Organic Traffic
- 8 Amazing Ways to Get Free Traffic to Your Dropshipping Store in 2021
And secondly, here are some great articles about paid traffic:
- 10 Ways That You Can Advertise Your Dropshipping Store
- Should You Use Google Ads for Your Dropshipping Store?
- Facebook Ads for Ecommerce Stores: A Beginner’s Guide
- Using Instagram Influencers for Ecommerce: The Pros & Cons
8.2) Do you want to do any opening specials?
Alright, now that you’re thinking about how to advertise your Shopify dropshipping store, it’s time to also think about what you’re going to do with the opening of your dropshipping store.
Do you want to do anything special?
For example, you could host a giveaway with one of the products that you’re selling on your dropshipping store.
You don’t have to do anything special with the opening of your store, but it could be an awesome sale booster if you come up with something unique.
For example, maybe your giveaway goes viral because a lot of people are tagging their friends, and now you have a ton of emails that you can later use to promote your products! (I will explain more about email marketing below.)
I will link two great articles about giveaways below:
- How To Grow Your Ecommerce Business With Viral Giveaways
- How to Use Instagram Giveaways to Grow Your Following
8.3) Decide how you’re going to price your products
Your first option with this is to go for normal retail prices.
What I mean with that is that you will go for prices that you can see in regular stores as well.
You can learn here how to price your products correctly if you decide to sell your products at normal retail prices.
Another option is to go with the Free Plus Shipping method.
If you want to offer Free Plus Shipping on your Shopify dropshipping store, or if you’re not sure what it is and you want to learn more about it, I’ve got some great articles for you below:
- Free Plus Shipping Method | What is it and Does it Still Work in 2021?
- Free Plus Shipping on Shopify | Set It up for Free & Paid!
I’ve got one last tip on this subject for you: please don’t put all your products on sale.
Do you know why?
Well, if you put all your products on sale, your sale won’t be meaningful anymore because everything is on sale anyway. Of course, there are exceptions like a site-wide, Black Friday sale.
One more thing: make your sale look real. Come up with a reason why these products are on sale only today (or whatever you say as urgency).
8.4) Begin to create your budget plan
This step is so important!
If you don’t know how much you can spend on your Shopify dropshipping store, then this might be the failure recipe for your store!
You might be advertising your products, and suddenly you think: “Where did all my money go?”
Or maybe you’re looking at your money, and you see that most of your budget is gone. Maybe you didn’t understand that Shopify costs some money as well.
Bottom line, please know how much money you have available for your store! And more importantly when you’re online and selling, know what you’re spending and what is coming in.
I will link below to a great article that will help you for sure with your budget plan:
It contains all the possible costs that you might have with a dropshipping store. From app costs to logo design; everything!
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.
9) Create a Shopify account to open your Shopify dropshipping store
This might be the most important step, but also the least time-consuming step, haha.
All you have to do with this step is create a Shopify account, because you can’t have a Shopify dropshipping store if you don’t have a Shopify account.
It’s really simple though, just click on the link below, and fill in your email address on the Shopify trial page.
After that, you fill in all the information Shopify asks from you. Like your store’s name and if you’re already selling or just starting out.
These are all personal questions, but it kinda all speaks for itself after that. If you do need any help, you can always contact me, or you can contact the Shopify Support Team!
You can click here to get a 14-day free Shopify trial, or you can click on the image below:
10) Make your Shopify dropshipping store perfect
Please don’t rush this step.
A lot of people open up a store and start selling straight away. You can beat them by putting some time into your Shopify dropshipping store!
I will link a few awesome articles below. These articles contain things that you should know before opening your Shopify dropshipping store.
Things like creating the standard pages, connecting your domain name to your Shopify store, and so on!
- Shopify Dropshipping: Setting up Your Store (2021 Checklist)
- Dropshipping Basics: 7 Surprising Things to Know as Beginner
- Dropshipping Startup Checklist: 10 Things to Do Before Starting
- 18 Things to Know Before Starting a Dropshipping Store
11) Adding Shopify apps to your store
Now that you have created your Shopify account and made your Shopify store perfect, it’s time to add Shopify apps to your store.
These apps will make your dropshipping life a lot easier!
Some will help you with the order processing, while others help you with email marketing or getting more sales.
11.1) Decide what app you’re going to use to import your products and to process your orders
Now that you know where you’re going to source your products from, it’s time to decide what app you’re going to use to import the products from that website to your Shopify dropshipping store.
This way you can start selling these products in your store!
Of course, there are so many more than just Oberlo and AliExpress. That’s why I suggest reading these articles:
- 15 Alternatives to Dropshipping With AliExpress in 2021!
- Dropshipping Without Oberlo: 15 Awesome Oberlo Alternatives
Also, I wrote an awesome guide if you want to learn how to import products from AliExpress to Shopify with Oberlo. I will also teach you there how to process your dropshipping orders and how AliExpress disputes work:
11.2) Decide what other Shopify apps you’re going to install
If money is tight, free Shopify apps are the best thing to have when you’re just beginning.
You don’t want to waste most of your budget on fancy apps that “could” boost conversions.
What you want to do is start slow. Have the best free apps first, and then after you get some sales or when your budget allows it, you could add more paid apps.
These paid apps could help you get more sales or increase something like the average order value!
If you’re interested now, then check out the two articles I’ve linked below. The first one will help you with the question, “What apps do I need to install?”
The other one explains everything about email marketing:
- The 13 Best Shopify Apps for Dropshipping 2021 (Free & Paid)
- Email Marketing for Ecommerce: A Beginner’s Guide (2021)
12) Make 1-3 products perfect for advertising
Now that you have added all your apps and you have made your Shopify store look good, or at least good enough for now, it’s time to import your products to your Shopify dropshipping store!
When you’re just beginning, I would suggest you import 5-20 products in your dropshipping store, but only really focus on 1-3 products. 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!
That’s why this step is called “make 1-3 products perfect for advertising”.
That article includes all my suggestions on what you need to do to make these 1-3 products perfect, and even more important, unique! Because you will need to be unique in order to beat your competition.
It also includes why it’s important to not focus on that many products at the same time when you’re just beginning with dropshipping.
I’ll also explain what to do with the rest of the products that you’re importing to your Shopify dropshipping store! Hint? Don’t leave them with the default product descriptions…
13) Optimize your Shopify store for speed
After you’ve created most of your Shopify dropshipping store, it’s time to optimize your Shopify store for speed.
It’s no secret that the faster your store loads, the higher the chance is on keeping your visitors on your store and on your checkout process, which could mean more sales! There are a lot of ways to improve the speed of your Shopify store. Think about optimizing your images and your CSS files, using a different theme and apps, and you could also use AMP!
Having a fast Shopify store could definitely help you with getting more sales and creating a better user experience for your visitors. For example, Strange Loop says that a one-second delay can cost you 7% of sales.
I suggest reading the article that I’ve linked below if you’re interested in making your Shopify store faster:
14) Optimize your Shopify store for a better conversion rate
It’s also very important to know what to do with your Shopify store so you can get a higher conversion rate. Think about better images:
And things like offering free shipping, more payment options, and much more! But do you know what a higher conversion rate means?
That means more sales!
I suggest reading the article that I’ve linked below if you’re interested in increasing the conversion rate of your store:
15) Decide how you’re going to handle your customer service and refund requests
This might sound like a small step, but a lot of people are stuck here.
I think that a lot of people have even decided not to dropship anymore because they just didn’t understand how to process refunds and returns with dropshipping suppliers.
These two subjects are the most important things to look at if you want to make your customers happy.
Keep in mind that happy customers equal fewer complaints! For example, you don’t want to end up like the dropshipping store below, right?
Just like the step above, if you want to learn more about this, I suggest reading the articles that I’ve linked below:
- Dropshipping Returns & Refunds: Everything You Need to Know
- Customer Service for Dropshipping Stores – Complete Guide!
Keep in mind that these articles above are big articles, but they contain everything that you need to know about that topic!
16) GDPR compliance
GDPR compliance is for businesses that are located and/or are active in the EU.
But if there is a chance, even though it might be a small chance, that you get EU visitors (for example, from Google), then you need to be compliant.
Yes, you could choose to lock down your site to not be shown in the EU (as you can read in the first article I’ve linked below), but this harder than being compliant.
I can’t say it better than him:
Will your Shopify store be a target? Probably not… but I’d rather be safe than sorry.Source
I’ve got some great articles for you below if you want to learn more about how to be GDPR compliant.
You can also watch this video from Flying Start Online:
One last thing, I’ve also included this app in the best Shopify apps for beginners list that I’ve linked above, but I thought I’d add it here as well. This free Shopify app will help you with being GDPR compliant.
17) Let’s launch!
This step is fairly easy and quick!
Let’s open your Shopify dropshipping store to the public!
I’ve got two things for you to double-check before going to the next step.
Firstly, remove the password from your Shopify store.
Yes, this might seem weird, but some people forget this and start advertising their store while there is still a password on their store!
This means that even though people are clicking on your advertisement, no one can see or buy the product.
Simply go to Online Store -> Preferences and scroll down until you see this:
Now make sure that the checkbox is not checked and press the save button at the bottom.
And the last thing to double-check is if you have put in your billing information inside Shopify.
This way there won’t be any hiccups when your 14-day free trial is over!
18) Keep testing!
If you made it to this step, congratulations to you!
I guess a lot of people won’t make it to this step, simply because it’s a lot of work. But if you’re reading this right now with a lot of motivation, then I’m proud of you!
This step is all about testing new things until you find a product that works for you and your dropshipping store.
Keep doing product research, testing new products, and tweaking your Shopify dropshipping store to get higher conversion rates.
Think about using a Heatmap (like Hotjar) to see what your visitors do on your store, split testing things like colors, descriptions, and so on! (More information about how to keep track of your store visitors here.)
I will write more articles about this in the future, but for now, I’ve got some great resources for you from other people:
- How to Choose the Right Color Schemes for Your Ecommerce Shop
- 5 Essential Areas to Optimize on ecommerce Sites
- 33 Ecommerce Conversion Rate Optimization Steps Guaranteed to Increase Sales in 2021
- 39 Quick Ways to Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rate
19) Found a product that is selling?
Then it’s time to scale the product and see how much money you can make of it!
I haven’t written anything about this yet on this blog (for now, it contains almost everything you need to know if you want to stop being a dropshipping beginner in 100 awesome articles!).
But I’ve got some great YouTube videos for you that you can watch if you want to learn more about scaling your Shopify dropshipping store:
Also, keep testing new products in the meantime because that product could become unpopular in seconds. It could all change the next day.
Maybe someone finds your product and copies everything (except they do a lower price) and then run the same advertisements.
If the product is selling well, you could think about importing the product in bulk to your house or to something like Amazon’s fulfilment center (of course, there are more ways than via Amazon).
Buying in bulk will give you more options. Like adding more products to the package, creating the package design yourself, and you could even add something like a business card for your store in it. (Maybe with a discount code for their next purchase?)
If you want to learn more about going from dropshipping to buying in bulk, I suggest watching this great video below:
20) Didn’t find a selling product yet? Don’t give up!
One of the biggest reasons most people fail with dropshipping is because they give up.
If you’re in that stage right now, then I suggest reading this article here before you give up!
That article also includes other reasons why people fail with dropshipping. Maybe it’ll give you some motivation!
Creating a Shopify dropshipping store: Conclusion
So, there you have it! The complete guide to opening your own Shopify dropshipping store in 2021!
I hope this article motivates you to keep pushing forward. Please don’t give up!
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 don’t forget, if you’re interested in that, to check out our complete AliExpress dropshipping guide as well:
If you haven’t created your Shopify account yet, or maybe you have skipped to this part, then you can click here to get your 14-day free trial!
If you’ve got any suggestions for this article or if you have any questions regarding dropshipping, let me know by commenting below or contacting me directly by pressing the “Contact Us” button at the top!
Good luck with your Shopify dropshipping store, and don’t forget to push through the hard times!