Dropshipping has become a popular online business idea because it’s easy to setup, requires very little investment, and the market is huge.
Dropshipping is a different type of eCommerce that doesn’t require you to manage product inventories and ship logistics. Instead, you can open an online store with dropshipping without having to deal with inventory management or shipping.
This beginner’s guide will help you navigate the process of setting up dropshipping with WordPress. We’ll also give tips on how to choose the best products to dropship and how to grow your dropshipping company.
Dropshipping: What does it mean?
Dropshipping is an eCommerce business that doesn’t stock products, so there is no inventory cost. Instead, when a customer orders a product, the eCommerce store will place the order with the vendor to ship it directly to the customer.
Dropshipping is different from traditional eCommerce. You don’t need to have inventory or stock. Dropshipping doesn’t require you to manage any shipping or handling logistics.
You simply need to forward your purchase order to a manufacturer or wholesaler who will fulfill it when a product is purchased through your online shop.
Dropshipping is a growing eCommerce trend due to its low cost of operation and easy setup.
Dropshipping has its pros and cons. Before you get started, be aware of these.
The pros and cons of opening a dropshipping business
- Dropshipping requires a lower investment than an online store.
- You don’t have to manage inventory or purchase products.
- You don’t have to ship the product yourself
- There are many products that you can sell from different manufacturers and vendors.
There are cons to starting a dropshipping business
- The availability and quality of products are not your responsibility.
- It can be difficult to manage customer expectations when you don’t have control over the quality and shipping of your products.
- It can be difficult to provide customer support
- Because you won’t be buying bulk products, your profit will be lower because you only sell one item at time.
Dropshipping is an effective way to make money online. Dropshipping can be used to make extra money or build a profitable online business.
Let’s look at the steps to start a dropshipping company.
How to start a dropshipping business
Dropshipping isn’t as hard as you might think. There are plenty of eCommerce platforms that allow you to easily set up a dropshipping store without any technical skills.
We recommend using WooCommerce because of its low setup costs, ability to use multiple payment gateways, and flexibility to customize your online store.
Builtwith claims that WooCommerce is the most popular software for building eCommerce stores.
It is also the most popular choice among dropshipping stores mainly because it runs on top of WordPress, the popular website builder. WooCommerce allows you to access thousands of WordPress extensions and third-party integrations. You can also create beautiful store designs.
How to Dropship with WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that you can download for free. To start a dropshipping shop, you will need a WordPress.org site. See our guide to the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org for more details.
These items are necessary to get started with WordPress or WooCommerce:
- Domain name: This will be your online store address, e.g. wpbeginner.com
- Web hosting account: This is where you will store your website’s files.
- You will need an SSL certificate to accept online payments
A domain name is normally $14.99 per year. SSL Certificates are $69.99 per year. Web hosting starts at $7.99/month.
If you’re just starting out, this is a significant investment.
Luckily, Bluehost, our hosting partner, has agreed to offer WPBeginner users a discount on hosting with free domain name + SSL certificate. You would be able get started for just $2.75 per monthly.
Bluehost is one the most popular hosting companies worldwide and they are recommended by WordPress and WooCommerce as a hosting provider.
Once you sign up, Bluehost will send your login details to your email address. It will also automatically install WordPress for you, so you can easily login to WordPress dashboard from your hosting control panel.
Next, you need to install and activate the WooCommerce plugin. See our guide on how to install a plugin in WordPress for detailed instructions.
After activation, WooCommerce will guide you through a basic set-up to select currency or other settings.
For more detailed instructions, see our tutorial on how to start an online store.
Choose a design for your Dropshipping Store
You would first want to make your dropshipping shop look better. Luckily, one of the best thing about using WordPress is that you can select from thousands of WooCommerce themes.
These are our top picks to use as a dropshipping WooCommerce theme.
- Astra WooCommerce Theme – A powerful WooCommerce theme built specifically to boost sales and increase conversions.
- Divi – Another highly customizable WooCommerce theme that comes with built-in drag & drop page builder support.
- OceanWP – OceanWP is a multi-purpose WooCommerce ready theme with flexible customization options.
- Ultra – A multi-purpose WordPress theme with several ready-made layouts and a built-in drag and drop page builder.
Once you have found a theme you like, follow our guide on how to install a WordPress theme for step by step instructions.
Dropshipping Products for Your Website
Next, you need to choose the products that you want to sell through your dropshipping shop. First, you must decide which products you want to market before you can start selecting products.
It is a good idea to choose a niche for your shop. This will help you find customers and products easier.
You can, for example, narrow your search by style, theme or target audience if you are selling clothing and accessories.
It is a good idea to choose a niche you are passionate about. It will take more effort to create a store that focuses on products or topics you don’t know.
Once you have chosen a niche, you can start looking for products within that category.
You want to find products that are low in competition and high in demand when you do product research.
You can search Amazon to find the most popular products and conduct your own research. Amazon lists the top-rated, most desired, and best-selling products in many categories.
Keyword research can be used to determine which product categories people are searching for. See our guide on how to properly do keyword research for detailed instructions.
For more on this topic, see our detailed guide on how to find the best products to sell online.
Where can I find dropshipping suppliers and vendors
After you’ve decided which products you want to sell, it is time to look for dropshipping suppliers.
Many online marketplaces allow you to find dropshipping vendors and suppliers from around the globe. Below is a list of top dropshipping marketplaces where you can find suppliers.
- AliExpress – It is the largest online marketplace of suppliers offering millions of products. It is easy to integrate into your WordPress website to import products from AliExpress.
- SaleHoo – A powerful online marketplace for dropshippers, suppliers, and eCommerce stores. The subscription cost is $67 per annum and it is a paid platform.
- Doba – A large marketplace to find dropshipping suppliers. It allows you to manage your lists, locate products, and connect with suppliers. A subscription starts at $29 per month
- Etsy – Etsy is an eCommerce platform for unique and hand-made products. Many of these manufacturers will dropship directly to you.
For multiple reasons, we recommend AliExpress. First, you can import products from AliExpress directly to your store using easy-to-use WordPress plugins.
AliExpress makes it easy to fulfill orders for eCommerce shops. Dropshipping suppliers are rated highly on AliExpress, which is why it is the most popular marketplace.
Dropshipping products can be combined with third-party products to earn affiliate commissions on your store. This would enable you to offer a wide range of products and diversify your income stream.
Amazon.com is the best place to search for affiliate products. Affiliate earnings will be lower and you won’t be able set custom pricing. You can still find unique products to offer more shopping options on your site.
For details see our guide on how to create an Amazon affiliate store with WooCommerce.
Dropshipping products to your WooCommerce store
WooCommerce doesn’t come with seamless dropshipping by default. There are many WooCommerce dropshipping options that will allow you to do this.
Dropshipping extensions allow you to add dropshipping products and set custom prices with the desired profit margin. Collect orders, send them off to your supplier, etc.
Your dropshipping extensions’ functionality would depend entirely on the marketplace or supplier you choose.
Dropshipping extensions are required to automate checkout if you sell products from multiple suppliers on different marketplaces.
This is our selection of the best dropshipping plugins for WordPress.
- AliDropship – Makes it easy to import from thousands of products on AliExpress, offer seamless checkout experience, and 1-click order fulfillment.
- WooDropship – Another popular plugin that makes it easy to import products from AliExpress, automatically add product images and sync pricing.
- WooCommerce Dropshipping – Allows you to add other third-party suppliers or vendors to your WooCommerce store, and send them order details in PDF format for fulfillment.
How products are added to WooCommerce stores will depend on the extension, marketplace or supplier that you choose. If your extension allows you to automatically import product, you can do so. (Hint: The first two extensions in our list make it super simple to import products from AliExpress.
Here’s how to manually add products to your online store.
Manually adding Dropshipping Products to WooCommerce
It is easy to add products to your WooCommerce shop. You first need to go to Products >> Add New Page in your WordPress admin area.
Start by creating a product name and description. Next, choose a product category to upload product photos and product galleries.
The supplier’s website will have product images. You will need their permission to use these images. You may be able to request additional images of the product.
Next, add product information to the Product data section. You can also set the product’s price, attributes and other options.
You can also provide a brief description of the product below. This description will be displayed on the shop front, product categories, and product search pages.
You can publish your product and make it live in your store.
Continue the process until you have added more products.
WooCommerce Dropshipping Management
Customers will be able buy the products you’ve added to their store once they have been approved. WooCommerce >> Orders page will allow you to view customer orders.
You may be able to fulfill orders here depending on the dropshipping extension. This would send the customer’s order details directly to the supplier.
WooCommerce plugins like AliDropship makes it super easy to send orders to the supplier with a single click.
If your extension doesn’t support this feature, you will need to manually place an order with your supplier. You’ll need to provide the customer’s order details as well as shipping information.
Click on each order to view it.
You can view the products you have ordered, the customer payment information and modify the order status on the order detail page. You can modify the status of an order once it has been shipped by the supplier.
Dropshipping Resources and Tools
It is easy to set up a WooCommerce dropshipping shop. Once your store is set up, however, the hard work begins.
Promote your business, drive traffic to your site, convert traffic into customers and continue to improve your marketing strategy.
There are many extensions and tools that can help you reach these goals. Let’s get to the basics.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a way to increase traffic to your website from search engines. You can follow the instructions in our complete WooCommerce SEO guide to get more visitors to your website.
You want to see a steady flow of visitors so that they make a purchase. This is known as a conversion in marketing terms. It involves converting visitors to perform a desired action.
Conversion optimization is a way to increase sales. It’s crucial for your online success.
We recommend using OptinMonster, the #1 conversion optimization toolkit on the web. We have a detailed WooCommerce conversion optimization guide that helps you learn how to do that using the latest techniques.
Recover abandoned carts
Conversion and SEO can bring people to your website and help them find more products. Many of these visitors might not make a purchase.
Customers may create an account and add products to their cart but then leave without purchasing. You’ll need to learn how to bring back those customers and recover your abandoned cart sales.
You would naturally want to know how your efforts are paying off. MonsterInsights is required to install Google Analytics. It also has enhanced eCommerce tracking.
Using MonsterInsights you can track WooCommerce customers, see which products are popular, which product pages are not performing so well, and more.
WooCommerce allows you to access more than 55,000+ WordPress plug-ins, many of which are specifically designed for eCommerce websites.
These plugins allow you to add features like contact forms, product comparisons, currency switchers, and more. See our list of the best WooCommerce plugins to find more plugins for your store.
FAQs on Dropshipping with WordPress
As you begin to build your dropshipping shop, you may encounter new questions. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding dropshipping with WooCommerce.
Shopify allows me to start a dropshipping business.
Shopify is a great platform for starting a dropshipping business. Shopify will charge you per transaction which can impact your profit margins as a dropshipping shop.
Another downside of using Shopify is the limited number of extensions and apps that you can use. WooCommerce is a dropshipping platform that gives you more options and allows you to sell anything you like on your website.
For more information, see our comparison between Shopify and WooCommerce.
BigCommerce allows me to start a dropshipping business.
Yes, you can. BigCommerce is a popular eCommerce platform and it even integrates with WordPress. BigCommerce offers more payment options and does not charge transaction fees.
Although it lacks the extensions and flexibility of WooCommerce’s, it has better scalability. For more information, see our comparison of WooCommerce and BigCommerce.
What hosting company should I choose for my WooCommerce shop?
We recommend using Bluehost for a new dropshipping business. They are an official WooCommerce hosting provider and their shared hosting plan makes it easy to get started.
If you are looking for an alternative, then we would recommend SiteGround. They are known for their outstanding support and speedy servers.
If you can spend a little more, then you can go WP Engine. This is a managed WordPress hosting service that acts as a concierge for your eCommerce store.
Can I add WooCommerce to an existing WordPress site?
Yes, you can. WooCommerce can be installed on any WordPress website as a WordPress plugin.
How can I ensure that dropshipping suppliers deliver my products on time?
Dropshipping suppliers are mainly located in China. This makes dropshipping suppliers in China slower than vendors who are located in your country. However, many dropshipping suppliers use ePacket for faster deliveries.
ePacket, which is a faster shipping method that Chinese suppliers use in conjunction with USPS and other mail service providers, is basically a partnership between them. For faster delivery, ask your suppliers if they use ePacket.
What should you look for in a dropshipping supplier
AliExpress and other marketplaces let you view reviews and ratings of suppliers, as well as the number of products they’ve delivered and other useful information. These data will tell you how reliable a supplier is in the past. To learn more about the product quality, you can read customer reviews.
You don’t have any control over the quality or delivery of products so you should spend some time finding reliable dropshipping partners to your store.
Is dropshipping legal?
Dropshipping is very easy to start. Many people wonder if it is legal. Dropshipping is legal. It is legal in all parts of the world.
Dropshipping can be described as a method of fulfillment that involves shipping. Dropshipping is legal and not illegal.
You must pay the appropriate business taxes depending on where you are based.
This guide will help you start a dropshipping business using WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to add live chat support to your WooCommerce store.
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