business & marketing

The terminal guide to dropshipping with shopify in 2020

Dropshippingis a business model that permits entrepreneurs to start out a web business and sell products to their buyers without ever actually stocking the things themselves. Instead, when a dropshipping store sells a product, it purchases the item from a 3rd party and has it shipped on to the customer. In here we are going to learn dropshipping with shopify.

At Shopify, what we actually like about dropshipping is that it provides a lower-risk approach for independent businesses to check out new product ideas (and product lines) without having to have and buy the merchandise up front. it is a business model that permits more people to participate in entrepreneurship.

Often, because entrepreneurs need to spend a big sum of their money on inventory before they will start selling, these costs feel really restrictive. While we’re also building services like Shopify Capital to assist businesses get the cash they have once they need it, dropshipping remains a highly accessible way for enterprising founders to attach customers with products on-demand—(dropshipping on shopify)without the necessity to stockpile inventory. It’s like retail’s version of cloud computing.

Still, the model continues to mystify many of us . That’s why we wrote this comprehensive dropshipping guide. In it, we’ll cover how dropshipping actually works, where you’ll attend source reliable suppliers, the way to pick products that are an ideal match for dropshipping, and therefore the sales and marketing advice everyone should consider when trying to find customers.

  • What Is Dropshipping (How Does Drop Shipping Work?)
  • Dropshipping Fulfillment: Understanding The Supply Chain
  • Sourcing and Working With Dropshipping Suppliers and Wholesalers
  • Find the Best Dropshipping Products to Sell for a Profit
  • How to Start Dropshipping: The Easiest Way to Sell Online
  • Dropshipping on Amazon and eBay: Evaluating Sales Channels
  • How to Run a Dropshipping Company
  • How to Make Dropshipping a Success

1. What Is Dropshipping (How Does Drop Shipping Work?)

Dropshipping may be a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells available . Instead, when a store sells a product using the dropshipping model, it purchases the item from a 3rd party and has it shipped on to the customer. As a result, the vendor doesn’t need to handle the merchandise directly.

The biggest difference between dropshipping and therefore the standard retail model is that the selling merchant doesn’t stock or own inventory. Instead, the vendor purchases inventory as required from a 3rd party—usually a wholesaler or manufacturer—to fulfill orders.

How does dropshipping work on Shopify?

Two of the foremost common approaches for dropshipping on shopify are to hunt out a supplier located in North America, or anywhere else within the world, using supplier databases or to hunt out a Shopify app that connects you and your store to thousands of suppliers.

For the latter, we recommend Oberlo, a marketplace developed by Shopify that helps independent business owners find products to sell. With Oberlo, you’ll browse AliExpress and import the products that pique your interest on to Oberlo—which is connected to your dropshipping with shopify store—with the press of a button.

Once a customer buys a product, you’ll be ready to fulfill their order within the Oberlo app. Fortunately, Oberlo automates this process. because the store owner, all you’ve got to try to to is make sure the small print are correct and click on the “‘order”’ button. the merchandise is then sent directly from the AliExpress supplier to the customer—wherever within the world they’ll be.

Benefits of dropshipping

1. Less capital is required

2. Easy to get started

3. Low overhead

4. Flexible location

5. Wide selection of products to sell

6. Easier to test

7. Easier to scale

2. Dropshipping Fulfillment: Understanding The Supply Chain and Fulfillment Process

Supply chain may be a fancy term describing the trail a product takes to travel from conception through manufacturing and eventually into the hands of a customer. If we were talking with hard-core supplier chain gurus, they’d insist a product’s supply chain reaches all the thanks to the mining of the materials (like oil and rubber, dropshipping with shopify) wont to manufacture an item. But that’s a touch intense.

For the needs of this guide, we do not got to get quite that detailed. you merely got to understand the three most applicable players that structure the dropshipping supply chain: manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.

Manufacturers. Manufacturers create the merchandise and most don’t sell on to the general public . Instead, they sell in bulk to wholesalers and retailers. Buying directly from the manufacturer is that the cheapest thanks to purchase products for resale, but most have minimum purchase requirements you will need to satisfy . You’ll also got to stock then re-ship the products when selling them to customers. For these reasons, it’s often easier to shop for directly from a wholesaler.


Retailers. A retailer is anyone who sells products on to the general public at a markup. If you run a business that fulfills your orders via dropshipping suppliers, you are a retailer.

3. How to Find and Work With Reliable Dropshipping Suppliers and Wholesalers

Before checking out suppliers, it is important to understand the way to differentiate between legitimate wholesale suppliers and retail stores posing as wholesale suppliers. a real wholesaler buys directly from the manufacturer and can usually be ready to provide you with significantly better pricing.

How to spot fake dropshipping with shopify wholesalers

Depending on where you’re searching, you will probably encounter an outsized number of “fake” wholesalers. Unfortunately legitimate wholesalers are traditionally poor at marketing and have a tendency to be harder to seek out . This leads to the non-genuine wholesalers—usually just middle men—appearing more frequently in your searches, so you’ll be wanting to take care .

The following tactics will assist you discern whether a wholesale supplier is legitimate.

They want ongoing fees

Real wholesalers don’t charge their customers a monthly fee for the privilege of doing business and ordering from them. If a supplier asks for a monthly membership or service charge , it’s likely not legitimate.

It’s important to differentiate here between suppliers and supplier directories. Supplier directories (which we’ll discuss shortly, dropshipping with shopify) are directories of wholesale suppliers organized by product types or market and screened to make sure the suppliers are legitimate. Most directories will charge a fee, either just one occasion or ongoing, so you should not take this as a symbol the directory itself is illegitimate.

They sell to the public

To get genuine wholesale pricing you will need to use for a wholesale account, prove you are a legitimate business and be approved before placing your first order. Any wholesale supplier that gives products to the overall public at “wholesale prices” is simply a retailer offering items at inflated prices.

But here are some legitimate dropshipping fees you’ll likely encounter:

Finding wholesale suppliers for dropshipping with shopify

Now that you simply can spot a fraud from the important deal, it is time to start out checking out suppliers! you’ll use variety of various strategies, some simpler than others. The methods below are listed so as of effectiveness and preference, with our favourite methods listed first:

Use Oberlo

Oberlo allows you to easily import products from suppliers directly into your Shopify store, and ship directly to your customers—all in just a few clicks.


  • Import products from suppliers
  • Fulfil orders automatically 
  • Inventory and price auto updates
  • Product customization
  • Pricing automations

 Oberlo’s dropshipping features

5. How to Start Dropshipping: The Easiest Way to Sell Online

At now you ought to have the dropshipping fundamentals down and you’ll be contemplating launching a dropshipping business. Before you start you’ll be wanting to think about taking the subsequent business and financial steps if you’re serious about your new venture.

Some are mandatory from the outset while others are just an honest idea, but handling them up front will prevent time and headaches down the road.

The commitment to start a dropshipping business

As with the other business, building a successful dropshipping business takes significant commitment and a long-term perspective. If you’re hoping for a six-figure income from six weeks of part-time work, you are going to be sadly disappointed. By approaching your business with realistic expectations (dropshipping with shopify) about the investment required and your profitability, you will be much less likely to urge discouraged and quit.

When starting a dropshipping business, you will need to take a position heavily using one among the subsequent two currencies: time or money.

Investing time in your dropshipping business

Bootstrapping and investing sweat equity to build your business is our recommended approach, especially for first-time dropshipping entrepreneurs. We favor this approach over investing a large sum of money for numerous reasons:

  • You’ll learn how the business operates inside and out, which will be crucial for managing others as your business grows and scales
  • You’ll intimately know your customers and market, allowing you to make better decisions
  • You’ll be less likely to spend large sums on vanity projects that aren’t critical to success
  • You’ll develop several new skills that will make you a better entrepreneur

Realistically, most of the people aren’t ready to quit their job to spend six months ramping up their new online store. it’s going to be a touch tougher , but it’s definitely possible to urge started with dropshipping albeit you are still working a 9-to-5 position assuming you set appropriate expectations regarding customer service and fulfillment times for your customers. As you begin to grow, you’ll then transition into working full-time on your business as income and profitability allows.

All businesses and entrepreneurs are unique, but it’s possible to get a $1,000–$2,000 monthly income stream within 12 months working approximately 10 to fifteen hours per week building your dropshipping with shopify business.

Investing money in your dropshipping business

It’s possible to make and grow a dropshipping business by investing a bunch of cash , but we advise against it. We’ve tried both approaches to growing a business (bootstrapping it ourselves versus outsourcing the process) and have had the foremost success when we’ve been within the trenches doing most of the work.

In the early stages, it’s crucial to possess someone who is deeply invested within the success of the business building it from the bottom up. Without understanding how your business works at every level, you will be at the mercy of pricy programmers, developers and marketers who will quickly eat up any profits you’re generating. you do not got to do absolutely everything yourself, but we strongly recommend being the first drive at the outset of your venture.

You will, however, need alittle cash cushion within the $1,000 range to urge your business launched and operational. you will need this for minor operating expenses (such as web hosting and suppliers) and to pay any incorporation fees, which we’ll discuss below.

Requesting an EIN number for your business

The IRS requires all businesses to possess an employer number (EIN), which acts as a Social Security number for your business. you will need this number to file your taxes, apply for wholesale dropshipping accounts, open a checking account and just about do anything associated with your business.

Fortunately, getting an EIN number is straightforward and free. you’ll easily apply for an EIN number online.

Credit Card

ou should have a business mastercard that’s used for business expenses and dropshipping inventory purchases only. Because you will be buying tons of merchandise from suppliers, you’ll rack up some serious rewards with the proper rewards travel cards. We’ve found that Capital One has the simplest travel rewards program, which Fidelity Visa/American Express offers the simplest cash-back program.

Incorporating outside the United States

It are often complex, but it’s possible for international merchants to include a business within the us , giving them access to U.S. based dropshippers and customers. The merchant will got to come to the U.S. to finish the required paperwork, have a trusted business partner within the U.S. who can act on his behalf or hire workplace to line everything up.

The following resources can help get you started with understanding this process, but we strongly recommend consulting with a legal professional before making any decisions:

Doing Business within the USA: A Bullet Point Guide for Foreign Business People – by ny attorney Aaron Wise
Non-resident Delaware LLC and Corporation for Foreigners – by

6. Dropshipping on Amazon and eBay: Evaluating Sales Channels

With a dropshipping product picked, suppliers secured and your business legally established, it’s time to start selling! Next, you need to decide how to get your products in front of prospective customers.

Several sales options are available, but you’ll most likely choose one or a combination of selling on your own online store, Amazon, or eBay.

Dropshipping on Amazon

Although Amazon stocks and sells variety of things , many of the products listed are literally sold by third-party merchants via Amazon’s website. Like eBay, Amazon acts to assist facilitate the sale and to resolve any problems that arise.

The pros of dropshipping on Amazon

The advantages of selling on Amazon are almost like the advantages of eBay: it is easy to urge started, you’ve got immediate access to an outsized audience and you do not got to worry about marketing or SEO.

Amazon also offers its own fulfillment warehouses referred to as Fulfillment by Amazon, which permit you to enrich your drop shipped items with products of your own without having to affect packing, shipping or warehousing.

Dropshipping on eBay

As the world’s largest auction site for physical goods online, eBay is a site most people know well. The following are some reasons you might want to consider⁠—or avoid⁠—dropshipping on eBay:

The pros of dropshipping on eBay

Easy to started: With eBay you’ll immediately dive in and begin listing your wholesale products. Create an account, add an inventory and you’re in business.

Access to an outsized audience: once you list on eBay, you’ve got access to the various online buyers who frequent the auction giant. many people will see your listings, and therefore the fairly robust and active market will help make sure you get an honest price for your products.

Less marketing: Because you are able to piggyback off eBay’s enormous platform, you do not got to worry about marketing, SEO or paying for traffic. this protects you time, as marketing is one among the most important challenges related to launching a dropshipping business.

7. How to Run a Dropshipping Company

If you’ve never run a dropshipping business, the knowledge during this chapter could prevent weeks of wasted time and frustration. Many of those detailed suggestions are drawn from two basic principles about dropshipping:

  1. Accept that things can get messy. The convenience of dropshipping comes at a price, and having an invisible third party involved in each sale often complicates things. From botched orders to out-of-stock items, fulfillment problems are going to be something you will have to affect . If you accept this before time, you’re less likely to contribute the towel thanks to frustration. dropshipping on shopify

2. Adopt a KISS mentality. Having a KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) mentality will serve you well with the dropshipping model. Given the inherent complexity of dropshipping—multiple suppliers, shipments from various locations, etc.—it’s easy to think you would like to line your system to perfectly track your costs and inventory in the least times. But if you are trying to try to to this, you will probably go crazy, spend thousands on custom development and never launch a store. that specialize in the easiest-to-implement solutions, albeit they are not “perfect,” is typically the higher option, especially when you’re starting out.

When suppliers botch an order

Even great suppliers make mistakes, and you’re bound to have fulfillment errors from time to time. So what does one do when your supplier sends the incorrect item, or nothing at all? Here are three possible options:

  • Own the mistake. Under no circumstances should you blame your dropshipper for the mistake. It will only cause confusion and make you look like an amateur. The customer has no idea the drop shipper even exists. Instead, you need to own the problem, apologize and let the customer know what you’re doing to fix it.
  • Make it up to them. Depending on the level of the mistake, you may want to proactively offer the customer something for the error. This could mean refunding the shipping fee (a personal favorite of ours) or an upgrade if the customer needs a new item shipped out. dropshipping on shopify
  • Make the supplier pay to fix it. You may have to assume responsibility for the error, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay for it! Any reputable supplier will pay to fix its own errors, including paying for shipping costs to return items. However, it probably won’t pay for any freebies or upgrades you gave the customer. You need to chalk those up as public relations and brand-building expenses.

Managing inventory and multiple suppliers

Most experienced dropshippers would agree that managing the status of inventory across multiple suppliers is that the biggest challenge you’ll face running a dropshipping business. Do a poor job of this and you will be constantly informing customers that their order is out of stock – not an excellent thanks to attract repeat business and constant brand fans.

Properly managing inventory across your suppliers—and limiting the amount of out-of-stock items you sell— may be a complex process. Web-based services, like Ordoro and eCommHub can assist you sync inventory. this is often an excellent option when suppliers offer real-time data feeds, but suppliers don’t always have them. dropshipping on shopify

Below are some best practices for inventory management that ought to help drastically reduce the amount of out-of-stock items you sell:

  • Use multiple suppliers
  • Pick your products wisely
  • Use generics to your advantage
  • Check on item availability
  • Dealing with out-of-stock orders
  • Order fulfillment for dropshipping
  • Route all orders to a preferred supplier
  • Route orders based on location
  • Route orders based on availability
  • Route orders based on price

Security and fraud issues

  • Storing credit card numbers
  • Dealing with fraudulent orders
  • The address verification system 
  • Understanding chargebacks
  • Dealing with returns in dropshipping
  • Shipping issues
  • International shipments
  • Picking a carrier
  • Providing customer support
  • Offering phone support

8. How to Make Dropshipping a Success

We’ve covered a bunch of data thus far , discussing everything from the basics of dropshipping to the intricacies of picking a distinct segment and running your business. By now, you ought to have enough of a foundation to confidently start researching and launching your own dropshipping business.

With such a lot to think about it is easy to urge overwhelmed and lose track of what is really important. That’s why we created this list of the crucial elements to success. These are the core “must-do” actions which will make or break your new venture. If you’ll successfully execute these, you will be ready to get tons of other things wrong and still have an excellent chance at success. dropshipping on shopify

1. Add value

Having a solid plan for a way you’ll add value to your customers is that the most vital success factor. this is often important for all businesses, but far more so within the world of dropshipping with shopify, where you will be competing with legions of other “me too” shops carrying similar products.

With dropshipping, it is easy to think you’re selling customers a product. But successful small merchants understand that it isn’t only the merchandise they offer—they’re selling insights, information and solutions. you think that you’re an ecommerce merchant but you’re also within the information business.

2. Focus on marketing and SEO

Coming during a close second to adding value as a key success factor is having the ability to drive traffic to your new site. The #1 problem and frustration new ecommerce merchants face may be a lack of traffic to their websites. Too many merchants slave away for months on the right site only to launch it to a world that has no idea it exists.

Marketing and driving traffic is completely essential to the success of your business and is difficult to outsource well, especially if you’ve got alittle budget and are bootstrapping your business. you would like to require the private initiative to develop your own SEO, marketing, outreach and guest posting skills.

Shopify’s first dropshipping book, The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping, was originally published in 2013 and recently moved to our blog. Keep an eye out for the Second Edition later in 2020.


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