It is great to have options and when it comes to opening your own drop ship e-commerce store, you have quite a few.
In this post, I will focus on two really good options which are Shopify and the AliDropship WordPress plugin.
Both are really good options and both have their pros and cons. At the moment, I have opened a Shopify store to experiment with the process of drop shipping.
I learned of AliDropship after reading some drop shipping questions on Quora.
Here is what I’ve learned so far about both platforms.
Which is Least Expensive to Operate? Shopify or AliDropship?
This is probably one of the most important questions to answer because you’ll want to know what your overhead costs will be.
Shopify is a shopping cart platform that handles everything for you. You can add your products, fulfill orders, track sales, and more.
Shopify is not a dropshipping store by default. You will need to install their Oberlo app to turn it into an AliExpress dropshipping business.
AliDropship is an AliExpress dropshipping WordPress plugin that allows you to import products from AliExpress into a shopping cart enabled WordPress theme such as WooCommerce.
Note: The AliDropship plugin does include their own WordPress shopping cart themes to choose from.
Shopify: $29 / month (lowest cost plan) + $29.90 / month Oberlo’s basic plan = $720 a year
AliDropship: $89 one time fee + $48 yearly web hosting (optional) = $137
Another thing to keep in mind is the apps that you may need to install or want to install to make your Shopify store more efficient.
I recently browsed Shopify Exchange (a platform for Shopify store owners to sell their stores) and clicked on the dropshipping category.
Then I clicked on one of the featured dropshipping stores that are for sale. As I scrolled down, I came to the “business expenses” section (view the screen capture below):
As you notice in the image above, this particular Shopify store owner has various apps installed that amount to another $120.00 per month on top of your monthly Shopify fee.
AliDropship already has a ton of features built into their plugin and their add-ons are reasonably priced with no ongoing monthly fees.
AliDropship is definitely the most cost-efficient in the long run.
What are the Major Differences Between Shopify and AliDropship?
While both provide many features that you will need to run your drop shop business, the main difference is that Shopify is already done for you, whereas using AliDropship means creating your website on your own.
If you are already familiar with setting up WordPress and installing plugins, then AliDropship will be easy to use.
If you do not have any experience with installing WordPress, then it may be easier to use the Shopify platform.
However, AliDropship does offer custom store creation starting at $299.
The plus about ordering a custom store from AliDropship is that it is still a one-time fee (no recurring fees) and you are also assigned a personal manager.
This enables you to ask questions and provide feedback through the entire process.
Shopify provides web hosting with their shopping cart service. It is also very fast which is crucial. If your visitors have to wait for your web pages to load, they will likely click away and move on.
AliDropship offers very inexpensive web hosting for your WordPress powered e-commerce store. Prices are $48/year, $86/year, and $220/year.
Shopify handles your credit card payments for you. As soon as you open your store, you can begin receiving orders and accepting credit card payments.
When you use Shopify Payments, you pay no subscription transaction fees. No third-party credit card software is needed. Credit card rates are based on your Shopify plan.
Here are the Shopify credit card rates for the U.S.: https://www.shopify.com/payments
AliDropship accepts various payment gateways to include popular options such as Authorize.net and PayPal.
The different payment gateways will have their own credit card transaction rates as well as subscription fees if any.
What About SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it is what encrypts user’s personal information when it is submitted through a website.
Having SSL is critical when running an e-commerce website. Shopify already has SSL included when you open a store with them.
AliDropship does not unless you also add in their hosting package, in which case, your SSL is included for free.
If you decide to host your online store elsewhere, you will be responsible for ensuring that SSL is installed.
Will I Own My Online Store if I Decide to Leave the Service?
Here is another issue to seriously consider. Let’s say for some reason you want to move your online store to another hosting provider or service.
As far as I know, once you close your Shopify store, all files are deleted. The only thing offered is downloading your products into a CSV file.
Remember that when you create an account with Shopify, you are also agreeing to their terms of service—you know, that page hardly anyone takes the time to read.
This screen capture is what is listed in their TOS page:
Keep that in mind! That means so long as you have your store on their platform, they have the power to close your account at any time for whatever reason.
As a dropshipping store owner, I do not want that hanging over my head. That worry is eliminated when you use WordPress and AliDropship.
AliDropship is a plugin so you have complete ownership of your online store, files and all. You can move your WordPress site to any hosting provider you want.
If this is a concern for you, in the long run, it is something you may want to seriously think about.
What About Customer Support?
Both services do provide customer support so whichever one you choose to go with, you are covered. When you buy the AliDropship plugin, you also get any ongoing updates.
The big plus about Shopify is that any updates or features they have will automatically pass on to you. You do not have to update or install anything. They handle all of the technical stuff for you.
The plus with AliDropship is that you get lifelong customer support and plugin updates. They also have a very active user forum and knowledge base that are both excellent resources.
How Do I Find The Best Products To Dropship?
AliDropship is continually creating new add-ons, plugins, and features for their products. One that you must check out is the DropshipMe Plugin.
What this plugin does is enable you to easily import some of the best selling products from AliExpress into your store. How is this different from the default importing feature?
Well, the AliDropship team manually selected and created a database of over 50,000 of the best selling items on AliExpress. They’ve already edited the product titles, descriptions, and images for you.
Therefore, all you have to do is search for the items that you want to import, click the import button, and the item is added to your store already edited for you.
What are the benefits of using DropshipMe? They include:
- No need for product research
- Save a huge amount of time on editing products
- Start selling items immediately
- Higher conversions and repeat purchases
- Improved shopping experience
- Fewer disputes with selected suppliers
This plugin also includes the ability to import user reviews.
As for Shopify, you can use the Oberlo app to figure out which items sell well. They have all of the ratings displayed for you when you search for items.
However, you are still going to have to do any editing yourself as far as the product titles, descriptions, and images go.
What if I Want My Store Built For Me?
Another feature that stands out between AliDropship and Shopify it that AliDropship offers custom store creation. You can find services that will build a custom Shopify store for you.
However, you may be surprised at what is available with AliDropship’s custom store service. The one feature that stands out among any other custom store service is that AliDropship provides you with your own personal manager.
What they provide is a truly turnkey solution. Let’s take a look at some of what their custom store service offers:
Saves a Ton of Time
Yes, you can build your store yourself but no matter which service you choose to do so, there is a lot of work involved. You must complete a number of tasks such as niche research, product research, importing products, editing product pages, customizing your store, building social media profiles, and more. AliDropship will handle ALL tasks necessary to build your store.
Stuck on what to sell or what niche to go into? The AliDropship team knows how to do the proper research and can select an in-demand, trending niche for your store.
The team will import only the best selling products into your store. Unlike some services, they do not bulk import items without doing any prior research.
Social Media Accounts
Depending on the package that you choose, you will have one or all of the major social media accounts and pages created for you.
They will handle your on-site SEO so that your product pages have the best chance of being discovered in the search results.
A Store That is Ready To Sell
Overall, everything is done for you so that when your store is delivered, you can immediately begin marketing and making sales.
You can find Shopify dropshipping stores for sale at the Exchange. However, keep in mind that the already established stores that are making a profit are quite expensive.
The ones that are inexpensive are stores that someone has set up and you take over and do the promotion on. Keep in mind that buying a Shopify store that is already built means that you are still responsible for the monthly software fees.
You must also still abide by Shopify’s terms of service as mentioned earlier. With a custom store from AliDropship, you will have zero monthly software fees and you retain complete ownership of your store.
Wrapping it All Up
In the end, I think it comes down to your comfortability with maintaining your own store versus relying on a company to handle the technical tasks for you.
Using Shopify will alleviate the technical worries that you may have. The software, web hosting, and payment processing are handled for you.
AliDropship will require more of a hands-on approach but isn’t extremely difficult if you are already accustomed to using WordPress.
Some people do not want to deal with plugins and rather have an all-in-one service.
I think both options are great for anyone who is wanting to dropship. Shopify works great in combination with Oberlo for importing products from AliExpress.
You can try Shopify free for 14 days.
Have you tried Shopify or AliDropship before? Which do you prefer?