To make sure you’re set up for success, we’ve created this dropshipping checklist for new store owners. You will have your Shopify store ready if you go through our checklist carefully.
- First of all, all free resources and we do not charge any fees for our service!
- Our checklist are focused on using Shopify.
- The goal is to walk you through dropshipping business with 7 steps you should follow so you can launch your dropship with efficiency.
- We will recommend tutorials and tools helpful for you to understand and set up your Shopify stores successfully.
Step1:Background Knowledge 4/hoursLooking to start a dropshipping business? In this beginner's Checklist, we will walk you through the entire process of setting up a dropshipping business with Shopify.
You have two choices :
1. you can either set up an independent website (build a website using Shopify from scratch)
2. or set up a store on a well-established dropshipping platform or marketplace, such as Amazon or eBay.
Take a look at this article about the comparison of two typical dropshipping platforms (Amazon VS. Shopify), to have a better understanding of Pros and Cons of these two platforms.
As for dropshipping beginners, we suggest starting dropshipping with Shopify. Since you are able to own a website completely, no product limits, low market competition and fully dive into dropshipping.
Step2:Identifying Your Niche 6.5/hoursWhen starting a dropshipping business, one of the many questions you will face is whether to go with an exclusive one product, dropshipping niche or general stores.
For instance, those niches featuring
1. heavy items, spend more money and charge more for shipping and more difficult to return
2. fragile items, not easy to handle for shipping, increase possibility for bad impacts on your store review if customers got disatisfaction about received products.
3. seasonal items, could only sell for a period of time
4. overly saturated, have to face fierce competition from the very start and lower profits
5. rarely seen in stores, not easy for advertising and hard to target the audience
which of those requiring extra amount of efforts should be avoided.
A niche online store is based on a specific product or category. In this e-commerce, every item is related to that niche, which might be larger or narrower.
Benefits of choosing niche based on interests:
1. Finding Best Products : If you're passionate about some kind of niche, then you can use that knowledge to select the best products and help your customers even better.
2. Offer Better Customer Service: You can help your customers by giving them insightful tips when you were learning about that specific niche.
3. Better Product Listing: You can describe well if you know the products in details.
4. Find Your Target Audience: It is easier for you to target active audience and gain their loyalty to your specific niche
5. Accurate Advertising: You can put this kind of information inside a blog or your social media page! It's easy to rank on search engine SERPs, on social media and keyword advertising.
6. Because of your experience and expertise in that area, you might apply higher prices and enjoy higher profits.
Take a look at the comparisons among one product store, general store and niche store for dropshipping business for more information. And Read more in our tutorial page about determine your niches to have better ideas.
However, it can be difficult to know where to just start looking for optimal dropshipping niche ideas. What criteria should you use for finding good niches?
The best dropshipping niche would have low to medium competition and high demand. It would also stay popular indefinitely. Of course, niches like this don't exist, so you have to figure out how to balance these criteria.
Luckily, there are tactics you can use to choose a great niche in a matter of weeks (or even days, though you shouldn't rush it). Basically, you have to determine if a niche is suitable based on the following:
The level of competition
The demand for physical niche products
The long term forecast of niche popularity
1. Sales Analytics from Online Marketplace:
Amazon Best Sellers lists all of the best selling products on amazon for all niches. You need to narrow down to the type of product you are interested in.
Ebay daily deals is the eBay section where eBay selects the most interesting things to buy today.
Google Trends is trends search feature that shows the popularity of a search term in Google.
2. Keywords Analytics from Independent Site:
When it comes to finding the best dropshipping products for your niche, conducting keyword research is an excellent method. Keywords will reveal which products are being searched for. While you can't always tell if these products are selling, typically a high search volume means a product is performing well.
Reasearch Shopify Niches Keywords using Shopifyspy tool to check out which niches currently are trending.
3. Niche Insight From IXSPY:
In order to find a profitable niche, you need to conduct an in-depth research: explore the trends, find the countries where this niche is popular, explore your target audience.
Here from IXSPY provides valuable data on numerous niches, such as Market Capacity, Total Sales, Total Wishlists, Total Reviews, Total Products Quantity. Niche Insight is a great solution that will help you save the time you'd spent on a full-scale research on evaluating competition.
Step3:Finding Products and Suppliers 5.5/hoursSelecting the right dropshipping products is a crucial and difficult step in planning your business. You'll need to consider what your new customer base is looking for and offer products that meet their needs.
Winning products are products that your target audience loves and that sell like crazy.
It takes time and effort finding potential winning products to sell for begginers.
The ability to conduct valuable product research and analyze trend data can help you to find the best dropshipping products for your niche.
Key criteria for selection: Unique! New! Attractive!
Before testing a new product on your store, you need to make sure that your product follows a few rules. If it follows all of these rules, it's probably a winning product.
1. High demand : The best characteristic of a high-demand product is a product that is problem-solving.
2. “Wow” factor : You need to find a really impressive product that the majority of people never saw before.
3. Low availability : This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you try to sell something that can be found in any Walmart, nobody will buy it. It’s mainly due to the fact that people don’t know your store and that shipping from China usually takes a lot of time.
4. Good profit margins: A product can check all the previous boxes but if it doesn’t have good profit margins, it’s not gonna be profitable. Making $100k of revenue isn’t worth it if you only make $1k of profit on it.
We would recommend to have some best-seller products in your store as basic items in the beginning. Since they have been proved to be best sellers, they will establish the overall product levels in your store. They are imported to diversify your products at first stage and shall not be our main focus. It is better to spend your time and efforts finding winning products for higher profits in the long term.
Why to choose hot selling products:
1. Optimize visitors traffic value to store site (Long tail marketing strategy);
2. Increase website credibility
Product Sourcing: Hot products ranking list ; Product growth ranking list
You could take a look at product ranking list from IXSPY. You are free to view and find best-seller products from total product ranking list. However, the total rankings are for products that have been sold for a long time. For getting insights of current trending best sellers, you could view weekly or monthly total rankings if you join the membership.
Notes: Every product you choose for selling in your stores should be close or relevant to your niche.
Take a look at this article about tips to find HOT dropshipping products.
1. Look for products with key criteria ---- new, unique, atrractive ;
2. Sales Statistics: total product sales and product growth performance over a period ;
Based on growth analytics, you could evaluate or predict product trending potential in the near future.
3. Product Advertising and Posts of Competitors
From your competitors' efforts on advertising and posts, they could be another source for finding potential winning products.
1. All Product Growth Lists; New Product Hot Lists; New Product Growth Lists;
2. Facebook Ads; Facebook Posts
3. Products Ideas from current Shopify stores
The best winning product finder on Aliexpress, IXSPY, which is an efficient tool providing multiple product rankings to help you find winning products. There is also a hand picked section of winning products recommendation for beginners by analyzing product growth, Facebook Ads, Facebook Posts from IXSPY staff.
What Features Do IXSPY Have?
👍Discover winning products by monitoring your competitors.
👍Get inspiration for Facebook operations and advertising by referring to your competitors.
👍Discover winning products according to monitoring sales changing.
👍Choose the best supplier from a large number of Aliexpress stores.
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Further analysis on winning product details
What to look for
|Product Details||Sales , Wishlists, Product Listings, Relevant Products|
|Aliexpress Product Reviews||Check customer reviews, especailly analyze negative ones|
|Google Trends||Know about hot or trending keywords|
Additionally, you should spend time analyzing market competition and saturation. You could know more into details in our tutorial page regarding finding winning products for your dropshipping business.
I would suggest begginers to follow step by step process of selecting winning dropshipping niche products as below, when you get experience, you could skip or adapt to your own procedures.
1. See what is trending on Aliexpress, Google Search, Amazon or Trendhunter.
2. Make sure it can trigger impulse buyers.
3. Check the trend of demand.
4. Verify the size (envelop to shoebox packing) and price ($25-$50).
5. Calculate the potential profit margin.
6. Find the average CPC (cost per click) and SEO difficulty.
7. Check reviews to find customer's pain points.
8. Research for marketing opportunities.
9. Check for the room for value addition
10. Ensure the availability of suppliers
Criteria of a good dropshipping supplier:
High-quality products; Fast and reliable shipping; Great customer service; Enough inventory; Return policy
How to find dropshipping suppliers on Aliexpress:
1. Sort the product search results on Aliexpress
2. Explore the seller stats
3. Examine the product reviews
4. Consider the shipping time
5. Check the seller guarantees
6. Contact the supplier and order a sample
Notes: Suppliers are your business partners. They can make or break your dropshipping business, so you should pick them carefully. It is better to find and contact multiple suppliers beforehand.
Take a look at this article for more information about Dropshipping With AliExpress: How to Find the Best Suppliers?.
There are a number of factors to take into account when pricing your products: cost of goods, cost of advertising, business expenses, psychology of numbers, and more.
Four key numbers must have are : Product cost; Competitor's selling price ; Advertising cost ; Profit estimate
Take a look at this article about how to price your products for more details.
Step4:Start Creating Your Own Website With Shopify 13/hoursYou have two options of choosing a dropshipping platform as we discussed in our Background Section. You can start with your own website to start selling or an online platform with a market place.
If you want to go at it independently, the fastest way to launch your own website that supports a drop shipping business model is to use a simple eCommerce platform such as Shopify. Shopify comes with user-friendly features, themes, tools, resources and apps. You don't need a tech background to get up and running and they offer easy-to-integrate Shopify dropshipping partners and apps.
Shopify is one of the most recommended E-commerce platform on the market today. It has features present to help people build their own, flexible, scalable online selling store with hundreds of remarkable built-in features, and tons of apps. Store owners can sell products directly on website, and across numerous marketplaces and social channels.
2. How does Shopify store work?
Shopify is a cloud-based, software as a service online selling solution. A monthly fee provides access to the admin panel where store data can be entered like adding of products, and process orders. In addition, you’ll be able to select from a rich collection of free and paid design templates.
3. Is Shopify safe to order from?
Shopify is a secure and one of the most recommended E-commerce platforms in the world. The security features it holds are incredible and to question its security standard is not appropriate. Shopify is the probably safest E-commerce platform to start your business by almost every measure.
Shopify is great for the stores that sell goods or services that need a minimal amount of configuration. You can sell a single product or a handful of products by implementing an advanced Shopify homepage section as per your business requirement. This ultimately increases your ROI and boost your business revenue.
In short, Shopify is a preferred choice for the sellers who want quality and efficiency along with simplicity and rich features.
Important features of Shopify:
1. easier to use; helps you sell online, offline and on-the-go using powerful evolving technology;
2. use your own domain name; easily process credit card payments;
3. includes a great blogging system to create blog posts and share them with the world;
4. Shopify POS;help you make sales, track performance, and manage customers, orders, and inventory;
5. easily process purchases with your iPhone using Shopify Mobile; allow for unlimited SKUs;
6. excellent built-in SEO; has built in coupon codes and A/B testing;
7. has fully PCI Level 1 Compliant checkout systems, to keep you and your customers secure.
Apart from Shopify, there are many other platforms for creating your own website, such as:
WooCommerce; Magento ; Wix ; Volusion
As you think through the correct platform for your store there are a number of features you must consider. For each of these features you will need to understand how they work on self-hosted platforms compared to fully hosted platforms.
Shopify vs WooCommerce Comparison:
Shopify and WooCommerce are the two top eCommerce platforms in the world each with their own pros and cons.
As a business owner, choosing the right eCommerce platform that fits your business needs is crucial for your success.
Take a look at pros and cons of Shopify vs WooCommerce. Check out here.
1. Plan Your Store Without Opening Your Computer
2. Choose Your Store’s Name
3. Create A Shopify Account
4. Select & Customize Your Shopify Theme
5. Optimize Your Store’s Settings
6. Create Your Essential Pages
7. Add Products To Your Store
8. Create Your Collections
9. Add Discount Codes
10. Get Familiar With Your Orders Page
11. Review Your Analytics & Set Up Google Analytics
12. Add These Recommended Apps
13. Choose A Paid Plan
Check out our other Shopify tutorial collections for beginners. You could optimize your website to the best.
Tips: Try to incorporate useful and popular Shopify Apps for improving customers' shopping experience, and thus driving more sales.
Step5:Learn Marketing Strategies to Drive Sales 30/hoursCarefully planned marketing strategies are essential in ensuring the success of any dropshipping business, as it’s marketing that drives traffic – and thus, sales – to your store. The good news is that there are lots of low-cost marketing strategies available, and you don’t need to hire a marketer to start out. It is necessary to spend some time learning and applying promotion strategies in order to drive more sales.
Email marketing gives an excellent opportunity to keep your customers “warm” about your brand and products. You can send them your newsletters, product updates, information about promotions through email marketing to keep them in touch with your business.
Keeping your customers attracted to your business eliminates a lot of initial steps in their potential purchasing journeys. That is why the conversions (sales) generated by an email marketing campaign usually costs you less.
MailChimp – MailChimp is another most popular email marketing services around. Although recently they got some backlash for their new pricing plans, it offers the best all-in-one marketing automation suite for small business.
SendinBlue – SendingBlue is a beginner friendly email marketing service provider with a free startup plan. Also, they offer a feature for SMS marketing too. So, depending on where your customers are located in, you can leverage the power of this email marketing service.
Mailjet – Mailject is more of a free email service that lets you send transactional emails. Also, you can integrate their email API with your existing configuration or even use their SMTP relays.
ConvertKit – If you are more inclined into sending newsletter updates, ConverKit might be the best email marketing service for you. With ConverKit, you can create custom-tailored emails to individual subscribers.
MailerLite – MailerLite is the best email marketing service for those who are on a tight budget. You can enjoy their free plan for up to 1000 subscribers.
2. SEO Marketing:
Essentially, SEO improves the visibility of your site in search engines. If your site has good SEO, someone searching for a product type you carry will see your site on Google. This is why so many marketers shout the benefits of SEO from the rooftops.
SEO breaks down into two types: on-page and off-page. On-page SEO deals with the content on your website, and off-page SEO happens outside of your site. Take a look at SEO Optimization Tips and Tricks for Ecommerce.
Influencer marketing can be combined with other paid forms of social media campaigns. By working with your influencers on paid ad campaigns as well, you can create a whole new marketing strategy.
Check out our tool recommendations for discovering influencers and evaluating their performance.
2. Content marketing is creating and sharing videos, blogs and social media posts to attract potential customers to your business.With content marketing, you provide your customers with a reason to hang around your business. They will stay around looking for more content. Also, they will share your content in their own networks, helping you to grow your audience. So, with content marketing, you can get active participation of your customers to the growth of your business.
What steps you need to take to create your strategy?
3. Facebook Ads and Google Adwords are considered the top competitors in online advertising.
As a new entrepreneur or dropshipping business owner, it can be a difficult choice to pick just one for your business.
While there is a heavy debate about selecting Google Adwords or Facebook Ads for online advertising, it all comes down to your budget, vision and the main objective.
Take a look at the facts and some differences between Facebook Ads vs Google Adwords.
5 smart tips for running Facebook ads
1. Experiment with audience targeting
Start with a narrow audience and then broaden it slowly by adding one interest category at a time.
2. Use the Facebook Pixel
The Facebook pixel is a small piece of code that can have a big impact on your Facebook ad campaign. Once you place the code on your website, it allows you to track conversions, remarket to people who have viewed a product on your site, and create lookalike audiences.
3. Use top-notch photos and video
Your words are important, sure, but your visuals are what will first grab viewers’ attention and create the best impression.
4. Test everything
It's important not to make assumptions about what will work and what won’t in your Facebook ads. Every time you try something new, you should test it against your previous ads so you can see whether you’re making improvements to the metrics that matter most to you.
5. Track and optimize performance
Closely monitor how your campaigns perform in the Facebook Ads Manager dashboard. If a campaign isn’t performing well, put your money into an ad that is instead.
If you’re just starting out, it might make sense to run several ads with small audiences and budgets. Once you’ve determined what works best, use the winning ad as your primary campaign.
Step6:Optimize for Expanding Dropshipping Business 4/hoursNow that your business is up and running, you might want to know how to manage and grow it. Running a tight ship is crucial, and if you don't make any changes or try to achieve specific goals, your dropshipping business won't last long.
Create stability within your business and optimize cutomer service are important to expand your business.
Dealing with problems:
Returns and Chargebacks: For one reason or another, you’ll likely get customers returning items. In some cases, you may get chargebacks on orders.
Shipping Issues: Most dropshippers have trouble with rates. Depending on which carrier you choose, you’ll have any number of rate options to choose from, and it can be daunting.
It's ideal to use dedicated support software from day one.
There are many options for you to choose from, such as Help Scout and Desk.
Although more antiquated, phone support is also something to think about. If you’re planning on selling pricier products, plan on getting phone support. Grasshopper is a good starting point that works well for small businesses.
Having a brand means improving your brand awareness, conversions and revenues. Branding allows you to build trust relationships with clients. This will help you have a long-lasting business winning the competition.
So how do you make dropshipping business well-known? Take a look at this article and borrow some tips from it.
When you start out, you can easily run your business all by yourself. As you grow, you might get overwhelmed with tons of daily orders, support tickets, and other administrative duties. That's when you should think about getting more people on board.
But who should you hire and when? Typically, dropshipping merchants can benefit the most from hiring certain roles.
Depending on your exact business model and goals, you may want to hire some freelancers to do some once-off work, including SEOs, marketers, copywriters, and designers. It could be worthwhile to hire a dedicated professionals. This will free up your time to focus on higher level responsibilities.
Step7:Common Beginnner Mistakes and Final Words 1.5/hoursCongratulations, you have made it here.
I assume you have a Shopify store ready and kick start dropshipping business successfully!
1.) Selling Trademarked Dropshipping Products
2.) Not have good Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
3.) Poor Customer Service
4.) Relying Heavily on One Supplier
5.) Dropshippng Worldwide when Beginning
The process of setting up your dropshipping business is crucial. From selecting products, to making your store, to customer service all play a pivotal roll in how successful your business can be. You want to make sure that when you are setting everything up you are doing it correctly to save you time down the road.
Learning from failures is how you succeed in business, but being able to learn of failures without you having to fail in that way is a huge bonus that saves you tons of time. Take a look at common mistakes in details.
If you find this checklist helpful, you are welcome to share to your social network. Shopifyspy aims to help entrepreneurs succeed in dropshipping business from all aspects. Please don't hesitate to leave any comments to help us improve and join our dropshipping community to grow your business.
Just a kind reminder: do not forget to follow us on Facebook and join our Facebook group.
- Background Knowledge
- Identifying Your Niche
- Finding Products and Suppliers
- Start Creating Your Own Website With Shopify
- Learn Marketing Strategies to Drive Sales
- Optimize for Expanding Dropshipping Business
- Common Beginnner Mistakes and Final Words