How to Dropship with an eCommerce Website

How to Dropship with a Ecommerce website

Drop-shipping is one of the best ways to make money online. When I first started drop-shipping, I did not fully understand what I had gotten myself into. With the knowledge I have now, I am pretty confident I could be a successful drop-shipper so I will share my knowledge and give guidance on the subject.

What Is Dropshipping?

Drop shipping is a fulfillment model that allows you to buy products from a wholesaler and ship them directly to your customer.

Instead of purchasing a large amount of inventory, you simply partner with a drop shipping supplier and list their merchandise for sale. Then, once you receive an order you forward it to the supplier for fulfillment. The supplier will ship the product directly from their warehouse to your customer, and charge you only for the price of the shipped item.

The biggest perk when it comes to drop-shipping is that you don’t need to front the costs for the products you are selling. There will be some startup costs, but you won’t need to dish out thousands to start your online business.

Dropshipping doesn’t carry inventory nor does it ship goods which makes it a low risk.  If your vendors are reliable and send products that are in good condition, it can be a very rewarding venture.

Another benefit of having a drop-ship business is that your funds become available each week. If you consider starting a drop shipping business, I would recommend signing up for Salehoo.

Salehoo Review – What is Salehoo?

Salehoo is a wholesale supplier directory service that connects drop-shippers to suppliers.  Dropshippers use Salehoo to connect with suppliers, manufacturers, and liquidators to get access to products at wholesale prices to market on platforms such as eBay, Amazon, or Etsy to turn a profit. You can also create your own eCommerce website to start dropshipping products. Below are the pros for Salehoo

    • Great customer service – When it comes to customer service, Salehoo delivers it well. It has an A+ rating on Better Business Bureau. It’s obvious that this established brand, since 2005, knows how to treat its customers. Customers of all price plans have access to phone and email support, though this is standard across most companies. Generally, people who use this service feel that customer service is fair. Customers don’t struggle to cancel subscriptions making this a legit company.
    • Has top brands as products – Another great thing about Salehoo is that it has access to over 1.6 brand name products. You can sell products from top brands like Disney, Victoria’s Secret, Sony and more.

Supplier fees. Some suppliers might charge a fee to use their dropshipping services. Choosing the right dropshipping supplier can save you time and money in the long term.

By the Way…

If I remember correctly, Salehoo also shows the hottest selling items on eBay. When you look up these items, eBay shows you a seller’s account and details how many items they sold. With that said, there was this digital camera that was selling like hotcakes. The seller must have sold at least a 1,000 and the wholesale price was around $28. He was selling them for $40 or more so you do the math… And I’m Saying 1,000 Moderately because it may Have Been Way More than That. Sorry but my memory sometimes betrays me.

Starting Your Online Store

Choose a marketplace to sell your product: You can sell products on established online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, or you can start your own online store using a service like WooCommerce.

If you use a selling platform such as eBay or Amazon, you’ll need to factor in listing and sales fees. Running your own store lets you avoid these fees, but in exchange you’ll need to pay for hosting and any extras such as website themes or add-ons.

You will be able to give visibility to your products through social media, blogging, and email marketing.

You can also set up a nice Amazon store to connect to your blog instead of using WooCommerce.

List of the Best eCommerce Platforms for Dropshipping

The below comparison focuses on each platform’s user support, price, and ease of use.

1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the most widely used eCommerce platform around the world. It has a market share of more than 28% percent in overall eCommerce stores and the major factor is that it is free and easy to install the plugin. In using WooCommerce, you can install it with just a single click which makes it an ideal platform even for non-technical users.

WooCommerce is built on WordPress. For more information on WordPress, Click on this Link for the Review.

2. Magento

Magento is the second most used eCommerce platform in the world but it is complex and may not be suitable for beginners. Magento is a developer-friendly eCommerce platform and requires some basic programming knowledge. Most drop-shippers using Magento as an eCommerce platform either know about Magento store development or have hired developers for that purpose.

Like WordPress, Magento is a completely free eCommerce platform and anyone can launch it with little help

3. Shopify

Shopify is undoubtedly one of the most powerful eCommerce platforms for drop-shipping. Shopify hosts around 500,000 eCommerce stores and drop-shipping websites. In 2016, Shopify acquired Oberlo, a drop-shipping plugin that makes product import and order fulfillment easy. It is one of the most used eCommerce platforms by users who are not technically savvy. Unlike WooCommerce, Shopify is a paid eCommerce platform.

It has three plans ranging from $29 to $299. Enterprises that are interested in getting premium services, can opt for Advanced Shopify.

4. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a hosted eCommerce platform. There is a fair share of websites built through BigCommerce with more than 50,000 small business sites and 2,000+ enterprise companies. It is known for its simple user interface and quick eCommerce setup process. As opposed to Shopify, BigCommerce is more affordable because it doesn’t charge any transaction fee and it offers unlimited staff accounts along with other prominent features.

BigCommerce offers three basic packages ranging from $29 to $250. It also offers an enterprise version but the price of it is undisclosed. You will have to get in contact with BigCommerce for more information.

5. OpenCart

OpenCart is a free eCommerce platform that’s easy to set up. Anyone who is a little tech-savvy can easily set up an OpenCart store. The platform has multiple free and paid plugins and themes for dropshipping as well.

OpenCart is completely free to use. You will have to only pay for hosting it.

If drop shipping is so profitable, why isn’t everyone doing it already?

Drop shipping is most profitable if you have a unique product or brand name that makes you different from the competition.

If you are trying to drop ship products on eBay and are using the exact same item from the same supplier that many other sellers are buying from, you will have trouble being competitively priced. There will be small profit margins because not only will you have to pay a fee on eBay or Amazon, but you will also have to pay extra fees to the dropship supplier for using their services. Remember, suppliers do not care about which one of their customers makes the final sale. They make the same profit no matter who sends them the order.

You must also develop some unique and creative ways to convince the customer to buy from you instead of all of the other sellers offering the same product. Trying to compete off of price alone would be the wrong mindset for success. Someone else can always cut their price to compete, and if you are dropshipping and someone else is importing and fulfilling orders directly from their own warehouse, I guarantee, they are paying a lower price than you.

My Recommendation

In order to stand out, it is best to incorporate some kind of blogging strategy with your drop ship business. Whether you build a blog and connect it to an Amazon store, or incorporate your eCommerce website with a blog, it will give you a competitive edge opposed to someone trying to simply set up an eBay account and trying their hands at drop shipping.

All the eCommerce platforms listed in this article are great for drop-shipping, but I am in favor of WooCommerce as it is number 1 for a reason. With WooCommerce you will have unlimited plugins and features to build any kind of site you want.

I will also advise that having some products of your own from buying wholesale would be a great strategy. You will have a main product to market along with supplemental items from drop shippers on display to match the main product you may have.

It is great to have your own product because you have no control over how fast a drop-ship supplier will process and ship your order for you. If a bigger customer comes along with more orders he may go to the head of the line, then maybe your orders get pushed back for a day or 2. You can build a reliable reputation from selling your main product, but you must make a conscious decision when displaying the expected time of arrival for products you sell through drop shippers.

 Another thing that drop-shippers have to worry about is returns. If a customer wants to return a defective product or just doesn’t like what he received then how will you handle the return process.

Do you accept the return back to your address or,

do you have it returned back to the supplier and hope the supplier handles it properly?

Remember, if you are marketing on Amazon or eBay, your account can be suspended because of poor service or lots of customer complaints. That would be a big price for you to pay for the convenience of drop shipping since it is extremely difficult to get your account reinstated.

Dropshipping on Amazon is a business of scale. Margins are low and the competition is high. Products are relatively the same and are sold by dozens of merchants racing to the bottom to win the Buy Box. Winners in the drop shipping game outpace the competition by adding new suppliers and catalogs, posting listings, profitably repricing, and managing inventory faster and more accurately than the other guys.

Then they leverage their new higher volume to negotiate better deals from their suppliers which further increases their competitive advantage. They do it through end-to-end sales-to supplier automation. Two factors are critical for automating drop shipping at a high level:

  • Accurate Data
  • Integrated Systems

Most experienced drop shippers understand the value of automation as it will allow you to spend time on finding and negotiating new suppliers, investigating new channels, and focusing on other strategies to grow your business

27 Comments

  1. Thank you for this Max!

    I had decided to try dropshipping last year, as a lead up to helping a friend develop an ecommerce store for the first time, as her monthly expenses were so extravagant for the site she had. As I did my research, the main 2 I was left to decide from were Shopify and Woocommerce. When I looked at tutorials on Magento I felt it would have been too steep a learning curve! Admittedly, I didn’t see or even notice Bigcommerce or Opencart!

    I started on Shopify, and found that to be a good platform. I did like their free trial period, and would still recommend that for others to just see what it is like. It is an easy enough process to close up, or to not continue into the paid program. Nevertheless, as I am used to WordPress, I could see well here goes, I just have another dashboard to familiarise myself with. It seems to me, the more dashboards I have to learn, the more my mind is taken in different directions, and the less efficient I am. 

    Then I started trying Woocommerce, and yes it was easier for me because I already felt more familiar with the whole WordPress set up. It was also substantially cheaper than Shopify when considering overall costs for running the site for the year. 

    So I ended up using that for my friend. So far she has found it is reasonably easy to use, but it is still a learning curve for her. I don’t think she would have necessarily found Shopify easier, having played with them both.

    As for my dropshipping store, I closed it down from Shopify after a few months, and glad I did because that was just before the global pandemic, and I had been starting to work on suppliers from China. 

    If I was going to do it again, I would go with Woocommerce, so thank you for that confirmation!

    • No problem, I am glad this reaffirms your decision.  This pandemic has definitely been bad for business but I don’t completely understand why you would completely close the store unless it was not seen the profits you want and Shopify can be expensive.  Wasn’t it possible to switch over to WooCommerce instead of closing your Shopify site? 

  2. Nice post, Max! Dropshipping is a really good business model that requires very little investment. But yeah some investment is really helpful to kick-start things. I would say membership of SaleHoo is one of those. A store hosted on woo commerce and a customer directory like SaleHoo is all you need to start building a dropshipping business keeping the overheads MUCH affordable.

    Nice post bringing it all together.

  3. Wow, this is an very informative article and i want to thank you for sharing it with us. I just created my first website using an affiliate program and i would like to know if i can use drop-shipping here?  Reading your article i realized that there are a lot of very useful platform which can help me to sell products. With this commissions i think i will succeed to earn some passive income, hmm

    Thanks a lot for all your explanations and keep in touch! 

    • Yes you can mingle a dropshipping business with an affiliate website.  I observed a blog connected to an Amazon store.

  4. I had never tried drop-shipping before as I never have understood exactly how it works. Is this only used when you plan on selling your own products? Or it’s just a way to avoid stocking up on inventory and sending the packages? The one that keeps the inventory what is he getting for all this?

  5. Hi Max

    I have considered drop-shipping as a way of making passive income, but never quite knew how or where to start. With a company like Salehoo, it does seem as if it would be very straight forward. I do like their BBB rating of A+, which always speak volumes about the company and their services.

    I am already familiar with WordPress, so it seems that the WooCommerce plugin would be the easiest choice for me. Do you have an indication as to how soon one could expect some earnings from drop-shipping?

    • It took me two weeks but since I did not fully understand what I was doing, I stopped and started affiliate marketing.  You need to know whats trending and have connections to dropship suppliers.

  6. Thanks for this Max, drop shop is an interesting concept and clearly has advantages as a business model. If I want to brand my own product would something like Salehoo help me do that? So for example you purchase a clear label product from a factory and then rebrand with your brand,so clearly the product would have to be unique! Do I have that right or would there be more work to do first before I got to this stage. How does this compare to a retailer on amazon for example?

    I think your article is very educational, I think I need a FAQ!

    • Using a drop-shipping model, you would not be able to rebrand products being that they ship products directly.  If you buy from a wholesaler and carry inventory yourself then you would be able to rebrand products.

  7. I have to be honest, I’ve never heard of drop shipping and if I hadn’t read your article,  still wouldn’t know. After reading this I’m highly thinking of getting into drop shipping for extra income  you gave a small blueprint on where to start. You’ve compiled a great deal of information and have answered any questions that one may have.  You have some really good information to get me or anyone else a starting point. 

    I’ve always wanted to start an online business just never knew how to start one or where to begin, not to mention inventory it wa just so much that it really discouraged me from going any further in my endeavors of pursing an online business. Now I feel like I can actually restart those engines and try again,  this time have my husband as a partner. 

    I do have one question? How long does it takes before you start generating income? 

    The overall topic is very in depth and pretty much simple and straightforward. 

    Thank you this golden nugget, there’s so many different things out there that you can’t figure out where, what company to start with it. This literally gives you the help you need too in the right places and on the right foot. Wish someone gave me this information back in the day.  There’s no time like the present. Who knows one day I  might give it a twirl. 

    • Yes there are different ways and ideas to be creative and monetize a blog.  The only thing with WooCommerce is that you would have to switch over to a different host to get the true powerful features without limitations.  The best thing to do if you want to stay with WA is to connect and build an amazon store, but there could be a time when you outgrow the community.  Being that WA has been my start, I can never see myself leaving.

  8. Great information, I been recently thinking about starting a drop shipping venture , and was worried that I didn’t have enough experience to do it . You opened my eyes to some other platforms that I didn’t know about that seem a little easier for a newbie. So I’m going to look into them and see how it pans out . 

  9. Drop-shipping is much more simpler and effective than a traditional brick and mortar store. The first advantage being that you do not need to carry inventory and all your sales effort needs to be focused on marketing alone. This eases out lot of back-end work though you need to select good trustworthy and competitively prices vendor to deliver products on-time.

    My thought on setting up your own e-commerce store is to better try selling on Amazon, E-Bay, Etsy etc due to their popularity and worldwide reach. Individual stores do work but it takes lot of time for them to mature and visitors seldom trust them for purchase.

    Overall a great informative article. Thanks for sharing. 

  10. Lately I read a lot about drop shipping. They say that people are making good money with this business model. However I didn’t have enough knowledge how it is done properly to make money. Until i read your article. It was delivered in a very clear and easy to understand way that made it crystal clear in my mind how to do it. also your recommendations made it easy for me to decide which platform will I use to make my drop shipping business a breeze. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I now have a better understanding of drop-shipping. With the information you provided. I am confident I could employ drop-shipping to my website and create a passive income.

    They are dropshipping your products from a wholesaler and ship them directly to your customer—a definite time saver.

    I love the idea of purchasing a large amount of inventory. And using a dropshipping supplier.

    That would take a load off my list of things to accomplish in a day. How slick is that a supplier will ship the product directly from their warehouse to your customer and charge me the shipped item’s price.
    Thanks,
    Kevin

  12. I have always wanted to try drop shipping but I am just scared of the aspect of having to take care of the customers. I am just burned out from customer service, that is why currently I am doing affiliate marketing. However, there is more money in the drop shipping than affiliate marketing. Thanks for all the review. I am going to check WooCommerce out. 

    • I would say the money can be equal but drop-shipping is much faster in terms of making money in a short period.   

  13. I’m personally very interested in the drop shipping buisness model, ive already started out on affiliate marketing but I’m looking to expand my portfolio and start with this. 

    I found your article very informative and I’m I’m definately going to use it as reference material when I startup. cheers!

    Just a question are there any products that you would suggest a beginner dropshipper to start out with to get the ball rolling?

    • There are lists of trending products to sell every year. The best thing is to find what’s trending through Salehoo and if you have issues I can provide a list in the future for you.

  14. Wow I have never heard of this term but found it quite interesting. I don’t know if dropshipping is a thimg in South Africa yet but if it is I would like to join in on this venture. It seems like a clever idea to save some money with your online business. I am new to the online business world and eventhough I dont have products just yet I will consider this if and when my merchandise is ready. 

  15. I love dropshipping and it is an interesting business model. I have seen a lot of people make a lot of money from it and I have also seen several people lose money from it. It all boils down to products that are currently hot and mastering how to successfully run ads. If you can get these two things right then chances of succeeding is very high. One factor that is also very important is the product landing page as it has to be well optimized to guarantee a sale. There is a lot to learn of course but it is an amazing business model to get involved in.

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