Dropshipping For Beginners: The Simple Step By Step Guide To Starting

Written by Frank Hatchett

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Our goal at EcomElites is to help readers get the information they need, we partner with companies to help bring you that information. If a purchase or signup is made through our partners, we receive compensation for the referral. Learn More

So you want to know more about dropshipping? Have you seen all the people online making crazy amounts of money from it?

Maybe you came across a news article explaining how someone became a millionaire from dropshipping. Well, the good news is those stories are real and you can become successful. The trouble is, not many people understand how it actually works.

The upfront cost of buying and managing inventory can make it seem as if you need a lot of money to get started, let alone become successful. That's the good thing about this dropshipping business model, you don't need to pay upfront for inventory.

Usually when people start a store online they think they need to built order products. This puts people off so they don't even start selling products online

Dropshipping is a business model where you take orders on your ecommerce store and your supplier or vendor is responsible for shipping the items to the end customer.

You don’t have to store or deliver anything physical at all. You simply make sales and the rest of the process (mainly fulfillment and distribution) is handled by a supplier.

The best part?

Starting a dropshipping business is incredibly simple. Thanks to platforms like Shopify, you only need a couple of days to set up a store then you can start selling to customers all over the world.

So, how do you get started? First, we need to talk about the death of retail.

Let me explain.

Why You Should Start Dropshipping

As we advance into the smart phone era we have insane opportunities right at our fingertips.

Dropshipping is a great opportunity and you can start doing it with no upfront cost.

Why should you start?

Because traditional retail is dying and you can take advantage of that.

Need proof?

Those are just some of the retails stores that closed shops in 2018.

It's getting worse in 2019! Do you remember when videos stores started closing when video streaming came along? How much a video streaming platforms worth now? Netflix makes billions a year.

This is going to be the same thing. Retails stores are closing, if can figure out how to start dropshipping then you could make very good money.

I've made a ton of money from Dropshipping so let me explain exactly how it works!

Dropshipping For Beginners (How It Works)

Dropshipping is an ecommerce business where you can run a store without ever stocking any physical items. You find a supplier then you can start making money.

Once you get an order, your supplier will send the items from their warehouse to your customer. You don’t have to worry about packaging, storing, or delivering anything.

You can use websites like Aliexpress to find these products. The supplier will have their products listed, the more you sell eventually it will become a lot cheaper for you.

You then set a markup on that figure to determine the selling price for your products. You make a profit on what you sell after taking out advertising cost and the product cost.

Related: The Ultimate Free Dropshipping Course

Once you’ve determined the selling price, here’s how dropshipping works.

  • A customer visits your online store, orders a product, and gives you the money.
  • You forward the customer’s information and order details to your supplier and pay the wholesale price for the item.
  • Your supplier packages the product, puts your branding on it, and ships it to the customer as if it was shipped from your store.
  • You keep the difference between the sales price and the wholesale price of your item.

Overall, dropshipping can be a very lucrative business to pursue if you don’t have a lot of capital and if you have a long-term plan for your business

Why We Use Shopify For Dropshipping

Among the variety of ecommerce platforms online, Shopify continues to be one of the most popular platforms for creating a dropshipping store.

Shopify have great pricing plans that make it affordable to use.

We use Shopify because…

  • Easy to use: The platform boasts a range of features and tools, but it isn’t overwhelming. The company offers several guides on how to make the most of its solution.
  • Feature-rich: In addition to the native store builder, which allows you to set up and design your website. Shopify also has capabilities to handle your marketing, sales and payments.
  • Supportive of dropshipping: One of the main reasons I recommend Shopify is the solution integrates with a variety of dropshipping applications. I’ll take you through one of these when I get to the store creation part.

Now that you understand why it’s best to create an ecommerce store with Shopify, let’s talk about the steps you need to take to start dropshipping.

How To Start Dropshipping As A Beginner

The first step to creating a dropshipping business is to decide on a niche. It’s better to focus on a niche market than to launch a general Shopify store that is likely to face competition.

My advice is to pick a niche you’re genuinely passionate about, but make sure that it has the demand. For example, if you have a good understanding of denim, your best bet would be to pick clothing as your dropshipping niche and sell trendy products.

However, you’d also want to ensure there’s a big enough market for denim products.

If only 10-20 people are interested in denim jeans, jackets, and other items from your store, then you might have trouble selling anything.

Always choose a niche that not only aligns with your interests but, also makes sense demand-wise. This video should help you find products to sell.

Related: Why Is Dropshipping Popular?

How To Start A Dropshipping Store

Once you have found products to sell, it’s time to start building your website.

To help you set up everything correctly, here’s a comprehensive review of the steps I normally take to create a Shopify dropshipping store.

The first step would be to sign up to Shopify and get your trial.

To get started, head over to Shopify and click “Get Started.” Before you do this, it’s best to have a store name ready because it’s one of the first things required by the platform.

You will then be asked to provide more information like whether you’re already selling something and what your current revenue is. If this doesn’t apply to you, feel free to skip the step.

The next screen will ask you to enter a business address. Enter your office address or home address.

Once you have done this, Shopify will take you to your store’s backend.

The website address of your backend will have this format: your-store-name.myshopify.com/admin.

I recommend saving this URL somewhere so you can just copy and paste it for quick access.

Wan't a full guide on creating your store? This video will help!

Once you have started the store you can start adding products with Oberlo.

At this point, you’ll be looking at your Shopify dashboard.

Here, you can do a number of things such as add products, design your website, or set up a domain, among other things.

Start by adding products to your store as it’s far easier to design a Shopify website around existing items than it is to create one  from scratch.

I recommend using Oberlo to import products. It’s one of the best dropshipping apps and it makes the whole process incredibly simple.

Related: What Is Drop Surfing?

How To Use Oberlo

Click on the “Products” tab in the left-side navigation of your Shopify dashboard.

Click “Find products” then click “Find products now” in in the next window.

You’ll now be prompted that you’re about to install Oberlo. Click Install app in the downright corner to move ahead.

You’ll then be presented with Oberlo’s interface, where you can search for suppliers and products.

Enter some product name into the search bar and click the blue “Search” button to see a list of results.

Browse through the listings, then choose the items you like.

Click “select products” to go to the item’s product page, review pricing and shipping details, set a retail price, and then click “Add product”.

The item will be added to your Shopify store.

In Shopify, you can edit the product’s description. The best product descriptions are a mix of personality and technical details like the height and size of the product.

While creating the product description, you’ll also get the opportunity to add tags.

These act as labels for the items, allowing you to categorize them with ease. I can use “vintage” and “colored” for denim pants. 

You also get an option to set up a collection, which is a product group that enables your customers to discover items according to their category, type and more.

Create a few to make it easy for potential customers to find what they’re looking for.

How To Choose A Dropshipping Store Theme

It’s also crucial to put some effort into enhancing the look and feel of your store. Unless you provide a rich and beautiful experience to your website visitors, they’re unlikely to stick around and place orders.

Shopify offers a variety of paid and free Shopify themes that you can use to enhance your store's appeal. To access them, click the “Online Store” tab under the left-hand navigation in your Shopify dashboard.

Depending on your budget, you can pick one of their free themes or visit the Shopify Theme Store to buy a premium one.

Whatever theme you end up choosing can be customized using the in-built theme editor.

what is shopify dropshipping

If your theme has an option to add a header, you can upload a custom logo there.

For featured and the rest of the images on your homepage, consider uploading custom or stock photos depending on what’s convenient at this time.

Once you’re satisfied with the design of your site, click “Save.”

Creating Store Pages

Since Shopify and potential customers have no clue what your store is about, you need to build pages that will help educate everyone about your business.

Here are a few pages I recommend every ecommerce entrepreneur to create.

  • About Us
  • Contact Us
  • Shipping & Returns
  • Order Status
  • Terms of Service
  • Privacy Policy

To create a page, click on the “Pages” tab under the “Online Store” section in your dashboard. Then click “Add Page.”

In the screen that appears, enter the title of the page and the content to go with it.

If you’re good at SEO, feel free to write a meta description and SEO title to define how you want the page to appear in search engines.

Once you’re done, click “Save.” Do this for all the remaining pages and then move onto navigation.

To get more SEO options you can see our list of SEO apps here.

Setting Up Store Navigation

Once you’ve created your pages, imagine how you want shoppers to navigate your dropshipping website.

Most online stores want people to browse there About Us page and product collections first. It’s common for them to place these elements at the top of their homepage.

Other pages, like Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, are often found in their website footer.

For your store, take time to think which pages or collections should appear on your website’s top menu.

Which ones should go in your footer. Then, follow these steps to create your website navigation.

Choose “Navigation” from the left-side of your Shopify screen.

shopify navigation

Select the header or the footer menu.

Click “Add menu item” next.

Give a name to this item, then go to the “Link” field to select it from a list of products, collections and pages you’ve already created.

Repeat the steps until your header and footer menu gets populated.

Setting Up Shopify Payments

As an online store, you want to offer various payment methods so shoppers can use whichever option they’re comfortable with.

For online transactions, consumers normally use credit cards and PayPal.

Whatever the case might be, Shopify has great payment features that you can use to receive money directly through the platform.

To see what payment methods are available in your country, click “Settings” in the left-hand side of the screen, then choose “Payment Providers.”

As you can see, there are several ways you can receive payments.

Activate the ones you find suitable and provide additional details like your bank account number to ensure the money arrives in the right place.

Related: Is Dropshipping Dead? 

Choosing A Domain And Pricing Plan For Dropshipping

I highly recommend you buy a custom domain for your Shopify store.

It’s good for branding and it’s also easier to remember than the default nameofyourstore.myshopify.com URL.

You can find domain settings under the “Online Store” category in the left-hand side of your dashboard.

Once you’re on the “domains” page, you’ll be given an option to purchase a new domain, connect an existing domain or transfer a domain name to Shopify.

The first option will allow you to buy a domain directly via Shopify. The cost is $14 a year.

If you’ve already bought a domain from another registrar (like GoDaddy), just connect it to Shopify and use it as your store’s website address.

Once your website is set up and ready to go, introduce it to the world by signing up for a paid Shopify plan.

While the free trial lets you use most of Shopify’s features, you can’t sell anything until you become a paid monthly user.

So choose a plan that suits your needs (and budget) and you’re set to experience the wonderful world of dropshipping.

While you can set up a Shopify dropshipping store in just a few hours, you’ll need to spend on much more time on making it successful.

Because it can take a few weeks to drive traffic and sales, you need to show up every day and do the work.

One of the benefits of taking the dropshipping route is that it takes inventory control off your plate.

You have all the time in the world to focus on marketing.

So what sort of marketing works for an ecommerce website?

Ecommerce entrepreneurs use the following methods to market their products:

  • Set up digital ads
  • Broadcast ads to everyone
  • Sit back and hope they entice enough people to make a purchase

I see this as a “spray and pray” approach. It doesn’t work, and there’s the risk that people might start seeing you as someone desperate for a sale.

That’s why I created eCom Elites so I can help people like you gain a unique marketing advantage and propel you towards entrepreneurial success.

eCom Elites is my mastermind training program where you get access to all the ecommerce and dropshipping insights you wish you had.

This is a complete program that gets updated all the time with new methods!

Related: 13 Best Ways To Make Money Online With Dropshipping & Stay Profitable

Final Wrap Up

Signing up to eCom Elites means joining a community of driven, success hungry online entrepreneurs.

Almost each of them will say that the biggest advantage is the mentorship you receive.

I advise and help people like you.

This is perfect for beginners looking to start their very own online dropshipping store from scratch.

I also engage in open dialogue with members on a one-on-one basis. I’m in the exclusive eCom Elites Facebook group daily giving answers to questions.

I make custom, on-request videos that are separate from my weekly YouTube videos.

It’s not just me to guide you along the journey. The entire eCom Elites community is there to help, assist and advise.

So if you want to take your Shopify dropshipping store to the next level, join eCom Elites today.

I hope this dropshipping for beginners tutorial helped you understand how to start your own business online!

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