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Shopify and Dropshipping – My Experience During My Free Trial

Dropshipping seems to be all the rage right now in the online business world. There are courses of all kind promoting Shopify and dropshipping.

I decided to give Shopify’s free trial a go and create an online store filled with products from AliExpress.

In this post, I’ll explain how I went about creating my store and the obstacles I discovered along the way.

Opening a Shopify Store is Super Easy

I can understand why a lot of people who are interested in dropshipping end up choosing Shopify for their e-commerce needs.

It is extremely easy to use and they offer a free 14-day trial which lets you play before you pay which is nice.

Creating a store is simply a matter of inputting your email address and choosing a name for your store.

shopify sign up

No credit card is required to get started. However, your store will be password protected and in order for the public to view your store, you have to select a paid plan.

Your card will not be charged until after your free trial has ended. That means you could create your store, input products, and make a sale before you are even billed.

You can literally have your dropship store up and running with products in a few hours if you have the time or within a few days with some effort.

Sourcing Dropship Products Using Oberlo and AliExpress

One of the pluses of using Shopify for dropshipping is the Oberlo app.

Oberlo is a free app that connects AliExpress to your Shopify store and allows you to add products with a click.

aliexpress

That is why you can have a store created in a few hours if you truly wanted to. One of the challenging parts is finding items in a niche you want to sell.

There is an abundance of items on AliExpress. You can sell anything from dog and cat costumes to high-end watches and more.

If you are using the Chrome browser, you can install the Oberlo extension which makes it even easier to select items within AliExpress.

Some Things to Be Aware of with AliExpress

A majority of the items inside of AliExpress are shipped from China. Here are some things I ran into when importing products.

Sizing

Many manufacturers are good about placing sizing information in their descriptions. You may have to convert the sizing to U.S. sizes if the manufacturer doesn’t do so.

Shipping

Some products have extremely long shipping times. When I looked for items to import into my store, I looked for e-packet and no more than a 12 – 20 day shipping time.

ePacket delivery is an agreement between the US Postal Service and the Hongkong Post to boost growth in ecommerce. It allows for faster ePacket delivery of lightweight products coming from China and Hong Kong to the US. Merchants can send small packages weighing up to 2 kg (4.4 lbs). [Source: Oberlo]

Seller Trust

You really have no way of knowing if one of your dropship suppliers are truly reliable until after you’ve placed an order with them.

One thing I looked out for was the seller ratings and how many years they have been on AliExpress. I felt ok with sellers with one year or longer on the website.

Knockoffs

I didn’t come across this problem too much because of the niche I chose. However, it is something to keep in mind if you are selling higher-end items.

Traffic – Every Store Owner’s Biggest Challenge

website traffic

Here is where I ran into the biggest issue. Like any website owner, without traffic, you realize your website is useless.

I had all of these great products in a very nice looking store and no way to make sales. I began reading articles on both Shopify and Oberlo for marketing my new store.

Facebook ads were talked about most so I created a few for testing purposes. Let’s just say if you do not have much of an advertising budget, it can be difficult to find a winning combination.

There is a learning curve with Facebook ads and I know for certain that I didn’t learn much during my free trial.

There are courses that will teach you how to use Facebook ads. I would probably research them and invest in one if I were to continue with running my store.

Keep in mind that regardless of what you learn, you’ll likely still have to pay quite a bit in advertising to receive traffic and make sales.

It is not uncommon for many store owners to spend $100 or more a day on ads. However, they are likely at a point in which they are making regular sales as well.

If you are a beginner, you may be risking quite a bit of money up front.

In Conclusion

thought bubble

Have I given up on the dropship model? Not at all. I think it can work if you have an advertising budget.

Facebook ads aren’t the only method of advertising. You can use other pay-per-click services or even use free methods such as posting on Pinterest or Instagram.

At this point, I’m happy to continue creating niche websites. For the most part, niche websites generate free traffic.

There is always the option to use pay-per-click advertising but it isn’t necessary. Shopify is also not the only option for creating a dropship store.

AliDropship is a WordPress plugin that imports AliExpress products into your e-commerce theme.

Niche websites are low-cost and can develop into a full-time income with hard work.

That’s right, like any business, some work is involved. I feel niche websites are a great way to create another stream of income online.

If you want to get started, consider the free training inside of Wealthy Affiliate.

I build my niche websites using Wealthy Affiliate’s SiteRubix platform.

The ongoing internet marketing training is helpful as well. The community is awesome and the web services are top-notch.

Read my Wealthy Affiliate FAQ page to learn more.

The tools and training are there. Creating niche websites are a great addition to any dropship business or even as a stand-alone online business.

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6 comments

  1. A very interesting review. I’m a six week newbie in internet marketing. Drop shipping is not something I’ve given any consideration to. Based on this review, it appears to be an idea well worth considering. Pointing out the major drawbacks (traffic to your site and the advertising costs) was extremely helpful. From this point, I’ll take a close look at Shopify, do some math and give a lot of thought to giving it a try. A lot of my decision will depend on how the math breaks down. Many thanks for this great information.

    1. Hi Ron,

      The biggest obstacle for me was the advertising costs. Otherwise, the actual set up of the store and the importing of products from AliExpress was extremely easy. I hope you have better luck with it than I did if you give it a try. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hi Eartha

    Great review, and thank you for honesty(disclosure) that make me trust in your words. I thought before about Shopify but not using Alibaba, basically I create some t shirt designs and I want to try to create my store and sell my shirts, and your review gave me a better perspective of this model.

    My main problem is the budget for advertising as you mention in your blog it can be a huge expense and for a newbie, it can be hard. Again, thank you for your info and Do you have any suggestion of marketing for a store like the on that I am planning to start (t shirt), please let me know

    Regards

    Roberto

    1. Hi Roberto,

      Budget is an obstacle for many online store owners. You could create a niche blog and link your posts back to the products in the store. There is always social media and email marketing as well. Check out what Wealthy Affiliate teaches about online marketing. I think it will help with what you’re trying to do. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Eartha, your review of shopify is a breath of fresh air after reading about all the scams out there. I really like your conclusions that say this is doable but it takes work. As in most things in life, hard work is the key. Your description of how to set up and get into the business is really compelling and I might give it a shot. You really make it sound just like opening a store in the strip center down the road………you have to get traffic, period. Or else it’s a pretty, empty box. Well done.

    1. Hi Warren,

      It is extremely easy to have your own online store. You can sell just about anything because AliExpress has a ton of products. I found that it can be quite expensive to advertise your store. I’ve read many stories in which people have found success using Facebook ads. However, it takes some time to find those winning ads. Best of luck to you if you try it out. Shopify definitely makes it easy to get started. Thanks for your comment!

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