So what is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is one of the most profitable business models on the internet where you sell products but do not keep them physically or have to deal with the stress of shipping them. When you become a drop shipper you bridge the gap between the buyer and supplier and get to keep the profits. The model works through a few basics. Let’s say you are interested in selling cell phone cases. You will find a supplier (usually from China) who sells the product at a cheaper price. You will then sell the case to a potential buyer at a higher price thereby making a profit. When an order is made on your website, you will make the purchase directly from the supplier who will ship the item to your client’s address.
Is dropshipping worth it?
This is one of the simplest and most structured ways of making money online. You don’t handle the hassle of shipping products directly to the client. Your responsibility begins and ends with you accepting the payment and making the purchase on the supplier’s website. As such, dropshipping is totally worth it!
Platform Hosting and Self Hosting
Before you begin drop shipping, you need to have a storefront for your consumers and a backend interface where you handle the orders. Several service providers offer these storefronts and backends depending on your preferences and needs. The general difference between these providers is that they are either hosted on a platform or self-hosted. Self-hosting is the most preferred choice for those who want complete control of their shop and have basic to novice knowledge of these self-hosting platforms. On the other hand, platform hosting is for those looking for a drag and drop builder where everything is designed for you and you just have to make a few adjustments to create the storefront. In the long run, self-hosting platforms are often preferred over platform hosting sites because of the flexibility and low costs associated with running the platform. This is because most hosted platforms charge a monthly subscription fee and a commission on all the sales that can accrue over time.
Differences between Platform Hosting and Self Hosting
|Dimension of Difference||Platform Hosting||Self-Hosting|
|Host your website on servers owned by the platform you have signed up to.||Host your website on hosting servers of choice.|
|Costs||Comes with a monthly subscription fee, commission on sales made, commission on the usage of payment processors.||Comes with an annual fee for a domain name and hosting.|
|Storefront Customization||Comes with limited customization options based on a selection of storefronts and capabilities offered by the host||Comes with full freedom in customization as you can choose from hundreds of thousands of themes and storefront interfaces.|
|Expertise||Beginner-level expertise is needed as it comes with drag and drop or Artificial Intelligence builders making it easy to create a storefront in a few minutes to hours.||Beginner to intermediate expertise needed on the software of choice. For instance, if you choose to use WordPress and Woocommerce you will need to have basic knowledge of store optimization and WordPress.|
|Integration||Comes with automatic integration to third-party sites like social media platforms, plugins, and themes.||Comes with manual integration to third parties sites as you have to download and install the required plugins to enhance the capability of your shop.|
|Usage||Cannot be used for some purposes and you have to pay to upgrade from personal to commercial usage. Additionally, you are prohibited from selling some types of goods or services according to the selected platform.||Can be used for personal and commercial purposes without any restrictions on products or services offered.|
|Support||Comes with customer service that often helps troubleshoot problems regarding your store’s integration.||Comes with a massive support community that is available through forums and social media groups where you can access both customer and technical assistance support.|
|Ownership||You do not own your shop as the provider can decide to terminate your services if you violate any of their principles. Additionally, you are selectively dependent on their hosting capabilities and may experience some downtime depending on problems faced by the company||You have complete control and ownership of your shop and may experience hosting issues that can be resolved by the hosting provider. These issues can be circumvented if you choose a good hosting provider. You also run your shop according to your preferences and have the ultimate decision on when to terminate or keep it operational.|
You can use the above differences to set a criterion for the selection of a service provider according to your needs. That being said, there are several hosted and self-hosted service providers that can help you create a dropshipping store.
Dropshipping on Shopify
What is Shopify Dropshipping?
Shopify is a website hosting platform that has several apps that enable users to create dropshipping stores within minutes. This platform is designed to help newbies who have no skills or interests in word press. The technical aspect of website building and maintenance is handled by the Shopify team and you get to deal with the simpler things like theme selection. The site has some apps like oberlo that comes with a chrome extension that links stores directly to suppliers. If you are new to the game and have no idea what you are doing then this is the best hosting site that will match your needs.
The convenience comes with a cost that is considered to be fairly affordable at $29/month for the basic plan. This is payable after a 14-day trial where you can get sales and find the money to invest in the plans. Shopify apps are conveniently located in their app store and provide a variety of services like email marketing, website optimization, and social media campaigns. You can choose to purchase a domain, which is often recommended, or have the free “myshopify” domain. If you are tech-savvy you can create paid apps and list them on the Shopify app store through the Shopify partners program. This program comes with several perks that include the ability to create unlimited dropshipping stores. All in all, if you can overlook the Shopify pricing plans; it is a great option for those looking for convenience and efficiency. I have created a step-by-step guide for those looking to set up their Shopify stores which can be found here.
Some of the features of Shopify include:
Simple to use Interface: Shopify comes with a simple set up process where you can create your shop from existing themes. The provider also comes with several themes (free and paid) that you can integrate with your store to enhance its capabilities. The platform comes with a free trial that will help you determine if it is the best provider for your needs.
App Integrations: Shopify has a store where you can access several apps or plugins that can help you enhance your store’s capabilities. These plugins range from automation of order processing and providing free shipping options for your users to SEO optimization and email marketing.
Security and Reliability: One of the best features of Shopify is its robust security system that enhances its reliability. To be able to provide e-commerce solutions you need to ensure that the financial information of your consumers is stored safely. Shopify ensures that this information cannot be accessed by third parties.
Dropshipping on Alidropship
Alidropship is an all-in-one dropshipping plugin for WordPress that helps you create stores and sell aliexpress products. This plugin is designed to help you import products and reviews from aliexpress stores, automate pricing, and track analytics on your dashboard. The main difference between alidropship and Shopify is that the former is built on WordPress while the latter is hosted on its servers. Alidropship comes with a one-time buying price of $99. WordPress may sound complex and difficult for beginners but this plugin simplifies the process. Why would someone choose alidropship over Shopify? It is considerably cheaper to maintain and operate and the owner has more autonomy and flexibility over their store. On Shopify, the maintenance costs usually increase with revenue. As such, it can become quite expensive for high-revenue stores. On alidropship, you only have to pay for a domain name, hosting, and the plugin which usually amounts to less than $150 annually depending on your service provider. Alidropship also has a team of dedicated technicians and support that are available 24/7. The good news is that you can get a ready-made, custom-built store, from alidropship that is optimized to make sales from the launch date!
Some of the features of alidropship include:
Easy Customization: The alidropship handles all the backend and front end needs of your store depending on the package you selected. All you need to do is select the domain name from options that they will provide for you and choose a theme for your shop.
Customer Support and Technical Assistance: The alidropship team offers 24/7 customer supports that can help you figure out the technical issues that come with operating a WordPress site. They also offer support on customer related issues which is an indeed bonus.
Sales and Marketing: This is the only platform in this list that provides sales and marketing support. Alidropship was created by former dropshipping store owners and this comes with full sales support. Some of their packages come with a sales and marketing package where you will be provided with replicable Facebook ad sets that have been tested in previous stores. This helps save the time and money required to test some of the ad sets.
Mobile Responsiveness: Alidropship stores are built on WordPress and customized for mobile phones which will increase your sales since a significant percentage of buyers use mobile phones and tablets.
Dropshipping with Woocommerce
Woocommerce is a free open source plugin similar to alidropship that facilitates the creation of e-commerce stores on WordPress. It is estimated that 20% of e-commerce stores use this plugin. All you need to run a Woocommerce store is a domain name and hosting which you can get for less than $100/annually on sites like SiteGround. This plugin is for those keen to start their stores on a budget. Woocommerce is often preferred and chosen by many drop shippers because of its flexibility, lack of product restrictions, affordability, convenience, and reach. Woocommerce also allows you to work with several suppliers which help you build a diversified inventory. This is significant when finding reliable and dedicated suppliers.
Some of the features of Woocommerce include:
Easy to use interface: Woocommerce requires integration with a website building platform like WordPress. This may seem daunting but the provider comes with a host of themes that are designed for minimal customization which makes it easy and simple to customize.
Cost: Woocommerce is one of the free options in this list. The only costs you might have to deal with are for a domain name and hosting that can be purchased for less than $50/year depending on your provider.
Support: Woocommerce comes with an extensive support community that can be found in various forums across the internet.
Dropshipping on Big Commerce
Big-commerce is a hosting site similar to Shopify but with more integrations, themes, and features. This site is preferred by those looking for diversity and affordability. Big-commerce pricing plans are entirely structured on subscription models and you don’t have to pay any transaction fees unlike Shopify and other hosting sites. One major advantage of dropshipping on big commerce is the diversity in sourcing apps. The site connects store owners to several suppliers like Alibaba and inventory sources. This is particularly great for people looking to build brands from their dropshipping products. The site also has logistics apps that simplify shipping and tracking.
Some of the features of Big commerce include:
User-friendliness: Big-commerce is tailored for new users. The simple to use interface will have you launching your site in a matter of minutes. Additionally, the site offers a free trial which can help you determine if it’s suited to your needs and capabilities.
Support: Big commerce offers customers support and technical assistance that can be accessed through their chat, email, and phone functions.
Dropshipping on Magento
Magento eCommerce is a service provider that enables drop shippers to sell products on customized storefronts. Magento is considerably cheaper than other hosting providers, does not have any commission fees on orders, uses an extension for automatic order fulfillment, and provides multi-channel platforms through the proprietary Magento marketplace. Multi-channel dropshipping is a new concept that provides merchants with a wider customer base through several offline and online marketplaces. Magento Open-source e-commerce software is appropriate for new merchants who want to test different markets concurrently without having to focus on traffic channels.
Some of the features of Magento include:
User Friendliness: Magento provides advanced user capabilities through a simple and user-friendly interface. However, you will need extra support and technical assistance to solve some errors or enhance the capabilities of your store which can be difficult to find. As such, this option is mainly recommended for those who are already familiar with the platform or have a background in website building.
Support: Magneto’s support is provided through their forum where store owners can interact with other store owners and the company’s officials. While this is not an ideal way of getting technical assistance, it can help you address your issues.
Price: Magento is free and anyone can create an e-commerce store in a few minutes to hours depending on their level of expertise.
Dropshipping on eBay
Dropshipping on eBay is one of the most profitable e-commerce models in this category. eBay is a marketplace where sellers and buyers converge. The advantage of this platform is that you do not have to look for buyers as millions of buyers visit the site daily. eBay dropshipping policy states that sellers are allowed to drop ship if they source the product directly from a wholesale supplier. As such, it is permissible if you source your products from aliexpress and other wholesale suppliers. Many people are afraid of dropshipping on eBay for fear of losing their account. However, if you stick to their policies, have a great niche, and process orders promptly then it is a profitable and highly lucrative business model.
Dropshipping Services on Wix
Many companies have a remote workforce that supplements their in-office staff. This presents an opportunity for those interested in owning a home business. You can drop ship services by offering unique and skilled services for these companies. Think of it this way: a graphic design agency employs graphic designers to provide services for their clients. You will be employing third-party service providers to fulfill orders for your clients. All you have to do is create a website based on service, find affordable service providers on sites like Fiverr and Upwork, and market your services to potential clients on social media and other platforms. We have a step-by-step tutorial on creating and launching your dropshipping service’s website that can be accessed through this link.
Dropshipping is a business model that has existed for ages and has been perfected over the last couple of decades with several technological advancements. This lucrative and profitable business model underpins some retail giants and popular online stores that you can replicate to increase your passive income. Development of your store can result in creating a more stable and full-time income or part-time income. It is important to remember that this is still comparable to a physical store and your level of effort determines how much you can earn. There are several other notable providers such as OpenCart which is free to use platform. Before deciding on a provider, create criteria based on your needs and that of your target audience. This is integral in determining what features and capabilities your store will need. Additionally, always think about your store in the future. If you might need to re-edit and customize your shop then you should go with self-hosting platforms. However, if you will stick out with the current design of your shop then go with the platform hosting providers. Also, consider the costs of operation because this can slowly eat up into your profit-making your business unprofitable and doomed to fail.