If you want to make money online selling physical products in the most efficient way possible, starting a Shopify drop shipping business is probably a great path for you to take. Drop shipping is a popular business model that allows you to have items purchased by your customers to be shipped directly from the supplier to your customer’s address. Shopify is a platform that provides you with all of the tools you need to sell products online, including website templates, connected payment gateways to process payments, and tons of tools to provide great customer service to your customers. Shopify powers over 800,00 businesses worldwide and has become an industry leader in providing an all-in-one platform to start, manage, and grow your drop shipping business. However, successfully running a drop shipping store on Shopify is not guaranteed. Following the steps in this post should greatly increase your chances of achieving your drop shipping business dreams.
Step 1: Choose a Product
Though Shopify is a powerful platform that helps you sell to millions of potential customers, it doesn’t choose what you will sell for you. To choose a product, you will have to do a little research. One great way to do this is to find out what people are searching for online to make sure there is a demand for what you want to sell. Use a tool like Google Keywords or keywordseverywhere.com to find out what people are searching for online. Shoot for products that have at least 20,000 searches per month to make sure there is decent demand for your chosen product.
Step 2. Choose a Supplier
Once you have a product (or products) to sell, you now need at least one reliable supplier that is willing to drop ship your products. There are thousands of suppliers all over the world who work with small businesses to shop products to their customers on demand. You will need to complete their application, get approved to sell their products, and get product descriptions (including images) for each product so that you can insert this information into your website pretty easily with the Shopify platform. If you’re unsure where to find suppliers that drop ship products, you’re in luck. There are great supplier marketplaces out there such as Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com that will make choosing the best supplier easy. However, it is important to understand the major differences between suppliers. There are three main types: Manufactures, which make products from scratch. Wholesalers, which buy items in bulk from the manufacturer, then markup the price before they sell the item to you. Finally there are Trade Companies, who are middlemen that work between you and the manufacturer. Ideally you want to work directly with the manufacturer instead of having to pay higher prices required by the price markups of middleman suppliers.
Step 3. Choose a Shopify Package
Shopify has three packages, each consisting of plenty of tools to get your store running well, but of course the most expensive packages come with the most tools. If you’re just starting out, you won’t their Advanced Shopify package, which sells for $299. It allows you to have 15 staff accounts which is only necessary if you’re already a well established brand. At $29 a month, you can start with two staff accounts and have everything you need to run an eCommerce store, including an eCommerce store, a blog, and great sales-converting tools like the Cart Abandonment feature, which emails a potential customer if they start but fail to complete an order. Their middle package costs $79 per month and provides you with extras like the ability to provide gift cards and have access to professional reports which can come in handy as your store grows.
Step 4. Brand Your Store
Now that you have your suppliers and a great platform to sell your products, it’s important that you brand your store. Your brand is basically the consistent style of your business to the world. This is important because shoppers often will buy the same product from a different store (sometimes even at a higher price) if they really like the brand. Items you need to decide to establish your brand include:
Store &/or website name
Colors (A primarily color, a secondary color, & a tertiary color)
Logo (create one yourself at canva.com or get a logo made for your business.
Tagline or Motto (Optional)
Step 5. Build Your Store
Now it’s time to put everything together. Choose a Shopify website template that is intuitive and easy to use for your customers. Insert your logo, upload the images and descriptions for your products. Also, be sure to activate your payment gateway(s), which includes connecting your payment gateway (i.e. Stripe, PayPal) to your chosen bank account.
Step 6. Market Your Store
Now that your Shopify store is set up, it’s time to get the word out about your online business. There are two main ways to market your product: the slower, but free way, or the faster way that will take at least a small financial investment. If you’re starting your business with no money for marketing, you will have to accept that it will take more time to get quality traffic to your offers. Remember, the idea is not to simply announce your products to anyone who will listen, but to get your product offers in front of the right people, which are people who are most likely to purchase from you. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is usually the path you should take in this situation, which in a nutshell requires that your offer website or landing page is optimized to stand out whenever someone searches for your products through a search engine. To do this requires that your offers are presented in ways that impress the major search engines like Google and are appealing to visitors.
If you have at least a small budget for marketing, you can usually speed up the time it takes to get people to view your product offers through paid advertising. Search online for advertising coupons from Google and Bing so that you can put out ads that get customers who are searching for your products to come to your store. Also, consider social media platforms like Facebook, which have metrics that allow you to pinpoint your potential customer by identifying traits your ideal customer is likely to have. You could possibly run ads with a budget of less than $20 per day. It’s a good idea to look for ads from competitors, not to copy, but to get ideas of what has been working to win over customers. Keep in mind that most of the people who hear about your business will not purchase from you, and that is normal. The idea is to present your business to as many targeted customers as possible so that a predictable percentage of them will buy your products.
Running a thriving Shopify drop shipping business is well within your reach if you can take action on the steps listed above. You don’t have to be a business genius, Shopify has established an efficient and reliable platform for you to sell and have products shipped all over the world. As long as you have the drive and focus, you can join the thousands of Shopify success stories and stake your claim of the 4 Trillion Dollar global e-commerce market. For more information on starting your own drop shipping store, or to get a head start on planning a successful drop shipping business, check out our sample drop shipping business plan that you can make your own.
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