I was fed up with working for other people for as long as I can remember. Maybe you feel the same way. Starting an online business is so much easier today than it was so many years ago when I would daydream about being my own boss.
If you wanted an eCommerce store of your own in the past, you would have to buy products in bulk and store them as well. That meant that your cash was tied up in inventory that possibly would or wouldn’t sell.
Today it is a lot different. Thanks to the dropshipping model, you can start your own online store without buying any inventory upfront—and you don’t have to ship anything either!
Start Your Own Online Store Using The Dropshipping Model
So what makes the dropshipping model so awesome? The primary reason why the dropshipping model is an ideal option for new online business owners is that you do not have to invest in any inventory.
You locate and connect with various dropshipping suppliers. You place the items that they offer into your store.
When a customer orders an item, you then order the item from your supplier. You input the customer’s shipping details and the supplier ships the item to your customer for you!
Your profit is the difference between what you’ve charged the customer and what the dropshipping supplier has charged you. Take a look at the flowchart below for an easy understanding of how it works:
Locating Dropshipping Suppliers
Finding dropshipping suppliers can be done in a variety of ways. The long and tedious way would be to do research on your own.
That means searching for the products you want to sell and finding out if the companies that you find offer dropshipping. It is a long process but thankfully there are easier ways.
An easier method for finding dropshipping suppliers is to use a wholesale supplier directory such as SaleHoo.
These types of directories do all of the hard work of locating and vetting suppliers for you. You can find wholesalers as well as dropshippers.
Want an even easier solution? You can begin dropshipping today by sourcing products from AliExpress.
AliExpress is a large online retailer whose merchants are based in both China and the United States. They offer millions of products at wholesale prices.
Many dropshippers source from AliExpress because of the huge product selection and hassle-free experience. There are no registration fees or other requirements to begin selling.
There are no limits on your profit margins and you can sell an unlimited number of products. Here are some other good reasons to source from AliExpress:
- 200,000 exporters
- Some suppliers ship from the U.S.
- 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
What About Shipping Time From China?
This is a common question for those that want to source products from AliExpress. The good news is that shipping time is not as big a factor as you may think.
For one thing, most products sold on AliExpress can be shipped via ePacket. ePacket shipping is a faster shipping method from China and greatly reduces the long shipping times.
There are ways to help your customers not mind the shipping time. The first thing you should do is make it clear on your shipping page that items are shipped from your warehouses in China.
Let your customers know that you ship worldwide and that shipping times will vary globally. Also, point out free shipping and low pricing (if you offer it.)
Display the average shipping time which is anywhere from 12-20 business days. Send your customers their tracking information as soon as it is available (this can be automated through your shopping cart software.)
Open Your Own Dropshipping eCommerce Store
Now that you have a better understanding of how dropshipping works it is time to get your store up and running.
Many new to eCommerce and dropshipping will likely come across Shopify and the Oberlo app. I’ve used these two together and they work well.
The reason why I don’t recommend them is for two reasons:
- The monthly fees
- Store ownership
Software Fees Add Up
It is true that you will need to invest a little money up front in order to get your store up. However, if you can avoid the monthly software fees that come with some services such as Shopify, you should.
Monthly fees can add up quickly and can eat into your budget which can be used for marketing your store. For example, Shopify’s basic plan is $29 per month.
Oberlo has a free plan but is limited and doesn’t include shipment tracking (which you’ll want.) The basic plan for Oberlo starts at $29 per month as well.
Together, you are spending a minimum of $60 per month or $720 per year. You can eliminate monthly software fees by using WordPress for dropshipping (which I’ll talk about more below.)
Using services such as Shopify means that you do not have full ownership of your store. This is because you build your store on their platform on their web servers.
That means that they have the authority to close your account at any time for any reason. It says so in there TOS (terms of service.) Here is a screen capture of part of their TOS:
Building your store using WordPress means you retain 100% ownership of your store.
Open Your Dropshipping Store with WordPress
Getting your dropshipping store up and running with WordPress is super easy with the right dropshipping software.
I use and recommend AliDropship to run your store. AliDropship is a WordPress dropshipping plugin.
It transforms your WordPress website into a full-featured AliExpress dropshipping store. The WordPress software is free to use. If you are not familiar with setting up WordPress, no worries.
Most commercial web hosting providers offer one-click WordPress installation so you won’t need to know any technical stuff to install. You simply follow some prompts and click a button.
However, an even easier solution is to bundle in AliDropship’s web hosting when you order the plugin. That is because the AliDropship team will install WordPress and AliDropship for you (and it includes free SSL.):
That is the best solution as their web hosting is already perfectly configured for the plugin. Once your store is up, you can begin updating your settings and importing products.
Importing Products Into Your Store
You can import an unlimited number of products with AliDropship. You will need to use the AliDropship Chrome browser extension which is linked from your WordPress admin area.
Here is a video tutorial I’ve created that demonstrates how to import products into your store:
Learning How to Promote Your Store and Make Sales
There will be a bit of a learning curve in terms of learning how to market your store. You can use both free and paid methods.
Social media is a great way to drive free traffic to your store. I recommend creating both an Instagram and Facebook page. Make your Instagram account a business account.
I wrote a blog post about my beginner experience with using Instagram for free store promotion.
Many dropshippers find success with paid advertising using Facebook ads and Instagram shout outs.
I recommend reading the marketing section of AliDropship’s blog for tons of free and valuable advice on how to promote your store.
Dropshipping offers a way for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort to become their own boss. It is a low-cost business model that can generate a steady online income.
Ready to get your own online store? Check out AliDropship’s website for details on how to get started quickly and easily.