Dropshipping is already a low-cost online business model. However, depending on the eCommerce software that you use, fees can add up quickly.
Before you know it, you could be spending $200 and up per month to maintain your dropshipping business. That is quite a hefty expense for new dropshippers.
Fortunately, there is an inexpensive way to get started. I’ll share details on the cheapest way to start dropshipping that you can start today.
Why I Stopped Using Shopify and Oberlo
When I became interested in dropshipping, I turned to the Shopify platform and the Oberlo app as they were both quite popular options.
However, I knew that if I could find a WordPress alternative, I could save on monthly fees and still have all of the same features.
Both Shopify and Oberlo have monthly fees. The basic fee for Shopify is $29 per month. Oberlo has a free option but it is limited. Oberlo’s basic plan is $29.90 per month.
That is already $60 per month for dropshipping software. That doesn’t take into account additional features that you may want or need for your store.
Additional Shopify features may also have fees. Before you know it, your monthly expense could be similar to the below:
The above image is from a Shopify dropshipping store which was for sale. On top of the $30 per month store fee, this particular store also used additional apps that totaled $250 per month!
Risking Account Closure
This hasn’t happened to me personally but I have read about it happening to other Shopify users. When you sign up with Shopify, you are also agreeing to their terms of service which states that they have the authority to close accounts at their discretion:
When you build your store using WordPress, you don’t have the worry about another service closing your account.
The Cheapest Way to Start Dropshipping – The AliDropship Plugin
Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find an awesome WordPress dropshipping plugin called AliDropship.
This plugin does everything needed to create and operate a dropshipping store. You can import an unlimited number of products from AliExpress.com and it will automatically fulfill an unlimited number of orders.
All of the products that you import will be automatically synced for price and inventory levels so that you never have to worry about doing so manually.
What is even more important is that there is no recurring monthly software fee and you always retain 100% ownership of your store.
How to Get Started with AliDropship
You have three options for using AliDropship. You can install the plugin on your WordPress website, install the WooCommerce version of the plugin for using with WooCommerce, or you can order a custom-made dropshipping store.
Get Web Hosting for Your Store
The next step is to get web hosting. The AliDropship plugin works with most commercial web hosting providers.
My store is hosted with SiteGround. I chose the Grow Big plan.
Whatever web hosting you go with, be sure to ask if they have the ionCube loader installed. If you rather not deal with another web hosting provider, AliDropship also offers their own web hosting.
The ionCube loader version that was installed on my website was not the correct version. I contacted SiteGround support via live chat and they updated the version within minutes.
Once you have your web hosting, you can install WordPress using one-click install. You can find the one-click installation inside of your CPanel:
Then it is a matter of installing the AliDropship plugin. You install it like any other WordPress plugin. Here is a video explaining how to do so:
Select a Theme and Import Products
AliDropship has their own custom store themes that you can find and download on their website. The Da Vinci theme is my favorite. If you’re using the WooCommerce version of the plugin, you can use any WooCommerce store theme that you like.
FYI: When you buy the AliDropship plugin, it includes the WooCommerce version as well.
You can then begin importing products from AliExpress into your store. You can control everything from the admin area of your WordPress website.
You’ll also have the ability to customize the look of your store in terms of colors and images (add a logo, banner graphics, etc.)
There are no limitations on the number of products that you can import.
What are the Total Costs for Using AliDropship?
Here is what you can expect to pay using WordPress and the AliDropship plugin:
Option One – Using a Separate Web Hosting Service
- WordPress = $0
- Web hosting = $5.95 per month (average)
- AliDropship Plugin = $89 (one-time fee)
- Total: $160
Option Two – Using AliDropship Hosting
- WordPress = $0
- Web hosting = $48/year
- AliDropshp Plugin = $89 (one-time fee)
- Total: $137
Another thing to take note of is that when you buy the AliDropship plugin you have the option to include their hosting service during checkout.
If you bundle it together, AliDropship will install WordPress and the plugin for you:
Other Monthly Fees You Can Expect
Besides a web hosting fee (unless you pay yearly or use AliDropship’s hosting), your other monthly fees can include advertising fees and payment gateway fees.
You will not have to worry about any AliDropship plugin fees as it is a one-time payment and the plugin is yours. It includes lifelong updates and customer support.
The Cheaper Option Does Not Mean Low Quality
Using WordPress and AliDropship is a lower cost way to own and operate a dropshipping business. Even though it is considered a cheaper alternative, it doesn’t mean you are getting lower quality.
The AliDropship plugin is one of the most robust pieces of dropshipping software that you can find for WordPress. Equivalent WordPress dropshipping options often have recurring monthly fees.
Some equivalents do not offer free lifelong support or customer service. Overall, AliDropship makes it really easy to have your own store.
Whether you build your store yourself or outsource the work to the AliDropship team with a custom store, you can have your own eCommerce business quickly at an affordable price.
I hope this post was able to show you an inexpensive yet effective way to start a dropshipping business of your own. Ready to get started? Learn more about both options below: