Starting a dropshipping business on Shopify is the best way to get started with ecommerce.
Whether you’re looking to make an extra $1000 a month or build a six- or seven-figure online store, you can do it with Shopify dropshipping.
It’s low-cost, low-risk, it doesn’t require any technical skills, and it takes very little time to set up.
The real beauty of dropshipping is you don’t have to buy bulk stock or carry any products yourself – it’s all handled by your supplier or fulfillment service.
And doing it all on the Shopify platform, which handles everything from store design and hosting to payment processing and shipping, makes it accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
It almost sounds too good to be true, right?
But let me level with you. While it’s incredibly easy to set up a dropshipping business, it’s not easy to create a successful dropshipping business.
In order to be successful with Shopify dropshipping (by successful I mean building a store that makes consistent sales), you need to set up and run your store the right way.
That’s exactly what I’m going to teach you in the article: How to build a successful dropshipping business on Shopify.
Let’s dive in.
What is dropshipping?
Before we get into the juicy stuff, let’s quickly define dropshipping.
Dropshipping is a fulfillment method (or business model) where you send your customers’ orders to a manufacturer or wholesaler, and they send the products directly to your customer.
So your job is to make sales through your Shopify store and your product supplier handles the rest.
You never see or touch the products.
For a deep dive into this take a look at our Complete Guide to Dropshipping here.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a platform for building and hosting online stores.
Chances are some of your favourite online stores are using Shopify without you even realizing it.
It provides entrepreneurs like you with all of the tools you need to create, customize, and run your online store in one place.
You don’t need to know how to code and it can take just a few hours to build an attractive, functional online store.
Shopify can also be used as a Point of Sale (POS) system for offline stores, but it’s most widely used for online stores.
At the time of writing, you can sign up for a free 90-day trial to give it a try. Usually Shopify only offers a 14-day free trial so I can’t guarantee the 90-day trial will always be available.
How Shopify works
Shopify is incredibly intuitive. If you can set-up a profile on Facebook, you can set up a Shopify store.
It’s an all-in-one solution for building an online store from scratch.
Once you’ve signed up, you have access to an easy-to-use dashboard where you can start customizing your store, importing products, adding extra apps, and much more.
All you need to do is:
Sign up for a free trial
Choose a name for your store
Choose a theme for your store
Customize your theme
Start making sales
There are a few extra things you should do to optimize your store and increase your conversion rate, which we’ll cover below.
But that’s the basic process for setting up a dropshipping store on Shopify.
Shopify pros and cons
Shopify is one of the most popular all-in-one ecommerce platforms available today, powering more than 1 million businesses all over the world.
But like any platform, there are good things and bad things about Shopify that you should be aware of before signing up.
It’s easy to use and requires very little technical knowledge.
It costs at least $29 USD a month (but you can start with a 90-day free trial).
It comes loaded with attractive free themes that you can customize.
Theme customization is limited and requires some technical knowledge.
It has excellent customer service and educational resources.
Some apps and plugins cost money, which can add up quickly.
It supports more than 100 payment processors.
You pay transaction fees on every sale, which eats into your profits.
The Shopify “Buy Button” lets you add ecommerce capabilities to existing websites and blogs.
There’s a huge range of apps and plugins that you can use to upgrade your store.
It has excellent site performance.
As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons. Shopify is definitely a great option for getting a store up and running quickly, which is what you want when you’re testing dropshipping products.
On that note, let’s get into how to start a dropshipping store on Shopify.
How to start dropshipping on Shopify
Shopify dropshipping is one of the best ways to get started with ecommerce. Here I’ll take you through the process of setting up a dropshipping store on the Shopify platform.
1. Create a Shopify account (Free trial)
You need to choose a name for your Shopify store. This will create a website for you that looks like this:
You will probably want to create a custom domain name for your store so it doesn’t really matter what your Shopify store name is.
However, you should still use something that’s relevant to your store and niche, even if nobody else ever sees it.
2. Building your store
Once you’ve created an account you’ll be asked to enter some basic information about yourself and then be taken to Shopify’s main dashboard.
Now you can start setting up your store.
Choosing a theme
I recommend starting with the fun part – choosing a theme for your store. You just have to click on the ‘Online Store’ tab and then ‘Themes’.
Shopify has eight free themes, which are fine to get you started. Or you can visit the Theme Store and pay for a premium theme.
Once you’ve found a theme you like, click ‘Add to theme library’. You can add a few themes to your library if you want to test a few out. Or just choose one and run with it.
Customizing your theme
This is one of the most important parts of creating a successful dropshipping store on Shopify.
It’s where you get to flex your creative muscles to make people want to buy your products.
The two most important places to focus on are the homepage and product page.
You need to ensure that you have:
Accurate, persuasive copy and
Attractive, high-quality images
When writing your copy, try and focus on benefits rather than features. How will your product make their life better, easier, healthier or safer? Tell your website visitors a story in which they are the lead character.
Another effective copywriting method is to present a problem that your target audience might be facing and offer your product as the solution they’ve always wanted.
You should be able to source product photos from your dropshipping supplier. But if you have access to a decent camera, you should take your own photos and videos. Include photos and videos of the product being used as well as generic images.
If you get stuck, just go and look at what other online stores do with their copy and images to get some inspiration.
With a Shopify dropshipping store, you’re not going to be able to compete too aggressively on price, so you’ll need to get creative with how you sell your product with copy and images.
Creating a logo
Every successful online store needs a professional-looking logo. It boosts credibility and makes you look like an established brand.
I recommend heading over to Canva and using one of their free logo templates.
Importing products to your store
Most dropshippers source their products from Aliexpress. If you’re doing this, you can use a tool like SaleHoo Dropship to import products from Aliexpress to Shopify in minutes. No copying and pasting product information and photos, just a couple of clicks and you’re done.
If you want to automate your dropshipping store further, you can set it up so that your supplier receives orders and ships them to your customers without you having to do anything.
If your supplier provides you with a .CSV file, you can import products using the ‘Import’ link at the top of the screen.
The other option is to add products manually using the ‘Add product’ button.
Whatever method you use, make sure to check and double check your product information, including images and variants (colors, sizes etc).
Optimizing your product pages
If you’re using paid ads to drive traffic to your Shopify store, you’ll probably send people straight to your product page.
Therefore, your product page needs to be compelling and address customer concerns and objections.
That way, you’ll make more sales, which is the whole point of ecommerce, right?
Here are a few tips for optimizing your Shopify product page:
Include high quality images of your product from all angles
Create an irresistible headline
Highlight the most important benefits first in your product description
Include all of the product features, including size, weight, materials etc.
Have a clear call to action: Buy now, Add to cart etc.
Use psychological pricing (% off, show original price, $.99)
Offer free worldwide shipping (incorporate this into cost)
Add ratings and reviews (can import from Aliexpress)
Include trust badges to boost credibility
Use an automatic currency converter for international customers
Add a link to your store policies (see below)
Whatever you do, don’t use the copy provided by your supplier or taken from Aliexpress. Completely rewrite it so that it’s original and creative and more relevant to your target customers.
Adding a custom domain
You don’t have to add a custom domain, but I recommend that you do. Having a “myshopify” domain looks tacky and unprofessional.
You can buy a new domain through Shopify or connect or transfer an existing domain.
A custom domain will cost you about $14 to $20 USD per year.
3. Optimizing your Shopify settings
This is the more technical part of setting up your dropshipping store on Shopify, but it’s essential that you get this right from the beginning.
The first thing you should do is set up payment options for your store. Click ‘Settings’ and then ‘Payment providers’.
From here you can set up Shopify Payments, which accepts most credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay and more.
You can also set up Paypal, Amazon Pay and other third-party providers.
The more options you provide customers with, the more sales you’re likely to make. At the very least, you should be using Shopify Payments and Paypal.
You should add relevant policies and legal information to your dropshipping store.
This helps to provide you with some basic safety nets should you have any issues or disputes with customers.
Click on ‘Settings’ then ‘Legal’.
You can write your own policies or consult a lawyer for advice. But Shopify provides really good templates for these policies which you can customize to suit your store.
Just click on ‘Create from template’ and change the wording a bit.
You need to set up your shipping settings so that your customers know what to expect when they buy from you.
From a Shopify dropshipping store, I highly recommend offering free worldwide shipping. This is what most dropshipping stores do to help increase conversions.
You can just incorporate the shipping costs, which are usually only a few dollars, into your product price.
To set up shipping rates, click on ‘Settings’ and then ‘Shipping’.
Finally, I recommend customizing your notification emails to customers so that they are more personalized and aligned with your brand.
Notifications are automated emails or messages customers get when they buy from you, like the order confirmation emails you get when you purchase something online.
Shopify provides basic templates, but you should add your own flavor and include your store logo.
To do this, click on ‘Settings’ and then ‘Notifications’.
I recommend customizing Order confirmation, Abandoned checkout and Shipping confirmation.
The rest don’t matter quite as much when you’re starting out, but as you become more established you should create customized notifications for all customer communication.
4. Launching your store
Now you’re ready to launch your store and make sales. This is the business end of dropshipping on Shopify.
There are many ways to drive traffic to your store, but the most popular method is Facebook advertising that targets your ideal customers.
For more detailed information on getting started with dropshipping, you can check out our complete guide here.
Best Shopify apps for dropshipping
If you want to add some extra firepower and capabilities to your Shopify dropshipping store, you should make use of the Shopify App Store.
There are thousands to choose from, but here I’ll share the five best Shopify apps for your dropshipping store.
SaleHoo Dropship lets you import products and product information from AliExpress to your Shopify store in seconds.
The best thing about SaleHoo Dropship is it uses the data from SaleHoo’s Supplier Directory and Market Research Lab to connect you with trending, high-profit products from reliable suppliers.
I might be biased (we built this after all), but I really think SaleHoo Dropship is a gamechanger for Shopify dropshipping.
AliExpress Review Importer
This app does one thing really well. It lets you import product reviews from AliExpress to your Shopify store.
This means when customers land on your product page they can see star ratings and reviews from hundreds or thousands of customers that have purchased the product.
This adds a tonne of credibility to your dropshipping store.
You can even edit and remove reviews that are in different languages or aren’t particularly helpful.
Using an upsell app will help you to increase your average order value. This is especially useful if you sell a range of complementary products.
For example, if you’re selling winter gloves you could use the Upsell Recommendations app to suggest customers also buy a beanie or scarf to match their gloves.
Or you could offer them 25% off a second pair of gloves.
This is standard practice across all ecommerce stores and it’s easy to add to your dropshipping store on Shopify.
Auto Multi Currency Converter
Dropshipping stores tend to target a global audience. However, if your products are only listed in US dollars you’ll probably turn off customers from Europe and other countries.
Auto Multi Currency Converter automatically changes the currency of your store based on the user’s location.
This is a simple but important way to improve conversions.
Privy ‑ Pop Ups, Email, & SMS
Every dropshipping store should utilize pop ups. These are the boxes that pop up after a visitor has been on your website for a set amount of time, scrolled down the page, or taken an action that suggests they might leave.
You can hit them with a pop-up that offers them a 20% discount if they make a purchase in the next 24 hours.
Something as simple as this can make a big difference to your sales.
By adding these five apps to your Shopify dropshipping store it will perform much better than the average dropshipping store.
You’ll save time and make more money, which are the reasons you chose dropshipping in the first place.
What I wish I knew when I started dropshipping with Shopify
One of the secrets to Shopify dropshipping success is the ability to quickly identify the easiest products to sell for a significant profit.
If there’s one thing I wish I knew before I started, this is it.
Most successful dropshippers have to try and test several different products before they find a winner.
But what if there was a shortcut to finding the best products to dropship?
You could spend hours upon hours browsing Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress to find a great product. Then spend more time finding a supplier that offers a dropshipping service.
But even then, how do you know you’ve got a winning product and a trustworthy supplier?
This is where SaleHoo Labs comes in. This is the number one thing I wish I knew about when I started dropshipping on Shopify.
What is SaleHoo Labs?
SaleHoo Labs is a market research tool that lets you search for products based on specific criteria.
You can search by:
Sell rate (How well the product is selling on Amazon and eBay)
Average price (The average sale price)
Competition (How many other people are selling that product)
It allows you to see which products will be the easiest to sell online at a glance and removes the guesswork of doing it yourself.
For example, in just a couple of minutes I was able to find this Adventure Medical Kit that has low competition, only six competitors on Amazon, an average sale price of $43 and a 100% sell rate.
If you’re in the outdoors and adventure niche, this could be a great option to add to your Shopify dropshipping store.
Connecting with suppliers
What’s more, SaleHoo Labs directly connects you with reliable suppliers that have been vetted by the SaleHoo team.
In just a couple of clicks you can send an email off (with scripts provided) and get your dropshipping partnership underway.
This not only saves you a lot of time, it dramatically reduces the risk of getting scammed by a dodgy supplier.
SaleHoo Labs and SaleHoo Dropship are a powerful combination when it comes to finding the best products for dropshipping with Shopify.
The DIY approach
If you want to do all the heavy lifting yourself, here are some guidelines for finding good dropshipping products on AliExpress.
This is how to get the most out of your AliExpress results.
In the image above, I’m searching for a water bottle, which has been a popular dropshipping product for years (it’s all in how you market it, of course).
AliExpress will show you the “Best Match”, but you want to change the filter to “Orders”. That way you get to see which products (and suppliers) are generating the most sales.
You also have the option to choose where the product is shipped from. If you’re in the United States and want to be able to offer your customers fast shipping, choose “United States”. If you just want the cheapest price and worldwide shipping, choose “China”.
You also want to look at the number of sales for each item. This can be artificially inflated by the supplier, but it’s still worth looking at.
Next, take a look at the star rating. You should be wary of any product with a star rating below 4.7. When you’re dropshipping on Shopify, you can’t afford to have a questionable product or supplier.
Finally, go and read the customer reviews. If they’ve come from a wide range of countries and they’re generally positive, then you might be onto a winner.
See what customers say about the quality of the product and shipping times.
If you’re happy with how everything seems at that point, you have found a good Shopify dropshipping product.
Onwards and upwards
Dropshipping on Shopify is an exciting way to start an online business.
It’s a popular business model that’s not without its challenges. But if you set your Shopify store up the right way, you’ll be several steps ahead of the competition.
Let us know if you’ve found this guide useful or have any questions by using the comments section below.
Otherwise, all the best with your dropshipping journey. I wish you every success.
Read more: salehoo.com