A lot of people that explore opening a dropshipping store often begin their journey using the Shopify platform. I should know because I began there as well.
The reason is that Shopify is not only a popular eCommerce platform but there are so many dropshippers that use it.
If you type in anything about dropshipping on YouTube, you will see video after video of dropshippers explaining how to dropship using Shopify. It is enough to make you ask, “is Shopify only for dropshipping?”
What is Shopify and How Does it Work?
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that enables anyone to get started quickly and easily by opening their own online store.
When you create an account with Shopify your new store will be hosted on their web servers. You pay a monthly subscription fee to use their shopping cart software.
It is an ideal solution for anyone that wants to get started quickly without any worries about the technical aspects of building an eCommerce store.
Is Shopify the Best Option for Dropshipping?
In order to use Shopify as a dropshipping store, you will need to install a Shopify dropshipping app.
The most popular being Oberlo. Once you have Oberlo connected to your store, you can begin building your dropshipping store.
Oberlo sources products from three different types of suppliers to include:
- Oberlo Suppliers
- Oberlo Verified Suppliers
The most popular source of suppliers for many dropshippers that use Shopify is AliExpress. The reason being that AliExpress has millions of products at super low prices.
Here is a screen capture of the difference between Oberlo suppliers:
When I used Shopify’s 14-day Free Trial, I sourced products from AliExpress.com.
AliExpress is widely used among dropshippers even though the merchants are primarily based in China. Here are some of the benefits of using AliExpress:
- 200,000 exporters
- Over 100 million items
- No entry or participation fees
- No limits on your profit margins
- No limits on the amount of products you sell
- Works with individuals and registered companies
- Free shipping on most items
- Ships to over 200 countries worldwide
- Online shipping tracking
- Wide range of shipping methods
- Buyer protection system with full money back guarantee
I like using AliExpress as my product supplier as well because there are so many products to choose from.
Many of the products offer ePacket shipping which is a faster shipping method from China to other locations.
Products shipped via ePacket are delivered between 7 and 20 business days and often times much sooner.
Shopify Pricing Plans
There are three main pricing plans to choose from to include Basic, Basic Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.
They also have a Shopify Plus plan for Enterprise-grade business and a Shopify Lite plan that lets you sell your products on Facebook and add your products to any website for $9 per month.
Shopify’s Basic plan starts at $29 per month and is a great option for new dropshippers.
Oberlo Pricing Plans
Chances are you will likely use the Oberlo app for your dropshipping store with Shopify. Oberlo has a free starter plan but you are limited to 50 orders auto fulfilled per month.
Oberlo’s basic pricing plan starts at $29.90 per month.
Two Reasons Why I Didn’t Stay with Shopify and Oberlo
Reason 1: You Do Not Have Complete Ownership of Your Store
Although I think Shopify and Oberlo are two awesome platforms, it wasn’t ideal for me as far as creating a dropshipping store goes.
I didn’t like the idea of having my store on another company’s platform and not owning 100% of my business.
What I mean by this is that when you create a store on Shopify’s platform, you must also agree to their terms of service.
Here is a screenshot of an important part of their terms:
This is the case when you use any company’s platform. They have the right to close your account at any time and for any reason without warning.
I simply did not want that hanging over my head. I knew that if I could find a WordPress dropshipping alternative, it could prevent that from happening.
Fortunately, I did find an alternative and a very good one at that. It is the AliDropship Plugin. AliDropship is a WordPress dropshipping plugin that turns any WordPress installation into an AliExpress dropshipping business.
What’s even cooler is that if you do not want to build out your store yourself, they also offer a turnkey custom dropshpping store creation service.
Since AliDropship works on WordPress (which is free to download and install) and AliDropship is a one-time fee and yours to keep, you retain 100% ownership of your store.
That means no worries about another service having the authority to close your account.
Reason #2: Expenses Add Up
There are a lot of services in which I pay monthly subscription fees to help run my online business. However, I try to save money where I can in order to reduce expenses.
The fees to run a dropshipping business on Shopify aren’t overly expensive but if you can run your business and save money with another service that is of high-quality, why wouldn’t you?
The minimum amount to run a Shopify dropshipping store using Oberlo is $60 per month for the basic plan on both services. That totals: $720 per year.
That doesn’t include additional apps that you may want or need to install to add additional features to your store.
Here is a screenshot of the expenses for a Shopify dropshipping store that was on sale on the Shopify Exchange website:
The particular store was earning revenue each month. However, the monthly expenses to include Shopify’s basic store plan totaled $150 per month for a total of $1,800 per year.
How AliDropship Saves You Money
When I decided to use the AliDropship Plugin, I was excited to be able to keep 100% ownership of my store.
The added bonus was all of the money that I also save on expenses. The plugin itself has a one-time fee of $89. That’s it. There are no monthly subscription fees to pay to use the plugin.
The same is true if you choose to buy a custom dropshipping store using their service. It is still a one-time fee for your store with zero monthly subscription fees.
How Good is AliDropship in Comparison to Oberlo?
The AliDropship features are quite impressive and similar to what you would experience using the Oberlo app with Shopify.
Here is a video I created that highlights how I use the plugin on our own AliExpress dropshipping store:
The plugin’s features offer everything you need to run a successful dropshipping business:
- Search and import products
- Auto updates product information
- Pricing automation
- Fulfill orders automatically
- ePacket shipping filter
- Auto order tracking
- Built-in themes
- Product customization
- Unlimited number of products
- Product variations
- WooCommerce support
- Built-In Image Editor (one of my favorite tools)
- Import customer reviews
- Discount coupons
- Product reviews
- SEO product tags
- Abandoned cart
- Email lists
- Live statistics
- Payment gateway integrations
- Inventory management
- All-in-One dashboard
- Cash-back system
- Free updates and support
To answer the question, is Shopify worth it for dropshipping? I’d have to say it depends on what your needs are for your business.
I feel it is an awesome platform that makes it super easy to get up and running quickly. You still have to do the work of niche marketer research, importing your items, editing descriptions, etc.
The same is true if you choose to build your store yourself using the AliDropship plugin. However, you can also save a ton of time by having the AliDropship team build a custom store for you.
They will handle everything to include niche market research and competitor analysis. Another plus is that AliDropship offers lifelong plugin updates and customer support.
What is your experience with using Shopify and Oberlo? Leave your feedback in the comments below.