Having your own Shopify store sounds like fun right? It can take a bit of work, so it’s good to know what you might be getting into if you’re never done this before.
Below if a list of steps to setting up and creating your own Shopify Dropshipping Store. Feel free to take your time going through the list below and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to post those in the comments below.
And if you’ve already gotten started with this process, it’s no problem to skip to the parts of this guide that are most relevant to you. This will be a pretty long guide, so also remember to take breaks along the way. Thanks for reading and I hope you find it helpful!
- 1) Have the right mindset
- 2) Decide on a general or niche specific dropshipping store
- 3) Pick an amazing store name
- 4. Conduct some product research
- 5. Source your products
- 6. Create a Shopify account and store
- 7. Choose an app for importing products and processing orders
- 8. Choose products for your store
- 9. Focus on 1-3 products to advertise
- 10. It’s launch time!
1) Have the right mindset
There are several success stories that make it look like success in dropshipping can practically happen overnight. And while that certainly can be the case in some situations, that’s not typically not the case.
I’ve noticed that a lot of these success stories also come from “gurus” who are selling a course. Not always, but often. And many of the times these courses are not cheap.
I’ve been through many of these courses myself, and what’s interesting is the really expensive courses (like $1,000 to $3,000) aren’t necessarily that much better than the less expensive courses ($300 or less).
Now you can start dropshipping for free, and if you’re in a situation where you don’t have any money to work with, then that’s part of what this site is here to help with. To show you ways you can actually get started dropshipping for free, make some money doing that then hopefully take some of that money to invest into your dropshipping business and grow it from there.
But I think it’s helpful to have the mindset, that ultimately, if you desire to be really successful in dropshipping, then having a little bit of money to work with can help dramatically.
The most important mindset though, is to truly treat your dropshipping business like a business (because it really is!)
Think about your customers and how you can create a great shopping experience for them. Think about how you can be unique in the types of products you’re offering or maybe it’s a special combination of products.
I see a trend where a lot of people get super excited about opening a drop shipping store by importing a few products and then running ads to those few products without trying to do anything unique.
Please don’t do that! While it’s possible you might happen upon some success, it’s not as likely and that’s what I want to help you with. I would rather you take a few extra days, to set you up for some real success!
2) Decide on a general or niche specific dropshipping store
There are pro’s and con’s to both of these.
However, if you’re just starting out as a newbie dropshipper, then I’d recommend starting with a general store.
When you have a niche specific store, it can take more skill to convince your target audience that they should shop at your store. You have to be more aware of the using the right “tone” when speaking to your potential customers.
Also, when focusing on a niche store, if you get tired of this particular niche, you’re pretty much stuck. You don’t have the flexibility of adding products outside of this niche. And that can be very frustrating when you come across something you’re really excited to sell, but can’t because it doesn’t fit.
For example, instead of having a niche specific store about cats, you could have a broader general store that has pet products. This way you if you have difficulty finding the right cat products, or if you come across a really cool dog accessory, you have the option to sell that as well.
But even though the general wisdom is for beginning dropshippers to start with a general store, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start with a niche specific store. Just take the time to consider your situation a bit to see what you think will be best for you.
Here again, let’s say you own a golden retriever and are passionate about this particular dog breed. It could be a great idea to have a specific store that’s all about products for golden retrievers. You can have mugs, t-shirts, etc. with messages on them that would appeal to golden retriever owners.
You could have practical things like dog beds, but then have a lot of fun items that people might want to give as a gift or get for themselves because the products are unique and special to people who own a golden retriever.
Being passionate about your store helps a lot! So if you’re really passionate about golden retrievers, then that will help motivate you if you hit a sticking point to be able to push on through.
3) Pick an amazing store name
This can be a really fun part! And hopefully you’ll be able to find a name that you can register as a domain name. Here’s the three steps I’ll be walking you through to do this:
- The first step is to see if the name you’d like to have for your store is available as a domain name.
- Next you’ll want to register that domain name.
- Finally, you’ll want to create a professional email address to go with your new domain name. (ie. [email protected])
Step 1: Find a domain name
My favorite tool for looking for an available domain name is called LeanDomainSearch.
As an example, let’s say I really liked the name “Poodle Palace” and wanted to use that for my store name. I would type “poodlepalace” into the search bar to see if it’s available as a domain name.
Unfortunately, that domain is already taken. But what’s great about using the “LeanDomainSearch” tool is that is will show you a huge list of alternatives that are available.
You can also sort the list by popularity, length or in alphabetical order.
For example, you might decide that “The Poodle Palace Store” would work just fine as well.
Step 2: Register your domain name
I recommend using Namecheap for registering your domain. They are who I personally use, and the best marketers I know all use Namecheap as well.
As you can see in the example photos below, “thepoodlepalacestore.com” is available to purchase. Namecheap will show you other extensions you can purchase for your domain such as “.dog, .net, .dev” etc. but I would HIGHLY recommend sticking with a .com extension.
Once you find the .com domain name you’re looking for, go ahead and “Add to cart” and then you can go through the checkout process.
Also, one thing to note is that if you are lured into using another domain registrar (such as GoDaddy) by a coupon or special offer. Just be sure to read the fine print about how much your domain will cost after the first year.
For example, you may get a great sounding offer where the cost is just $4.99 for a domain, but then each year after that the cost will be $12.99 per yer. It’s just something I wanted you to be aware of.
Step 3: Create your professional email address
You can set up your professional email address using Namecheap. This way you can have an email address such as “[email protected]” that people can use to contact you (or your store).
It does cost $1/month but you can get a 1 month (or sometimes they offer a 2 month) free trial.
4. Conduct some product research
The reason to do some product research is to help you figure out “what products you should sell” and to have a degree of confidence whether a product should sell or not.
When doing product research, there are both free and paid tools you can use. I recommend starting out with getting ideas and inspiration for free. Then you can always try a paid tool later on if you still feel like you need more ideas.
If you’d like some ideas on researching great products to sell on your store, I recommend reading 5 Methods for Finding the Best Dropshipping Products which walks you through 5 free ways of doing product research.
5. Source your products
Now you’re ready to start finding a source for your products by finding the best suppliers possible for these products.
You’ll want to choose a source that allows you to dropship. For example, some products can be purchased at wholesale prices, but you’ll need to order several quantities at a time.
And at least when starting out, you want to source products that can be purchased one at a time (when a customer places an order through your site), and then those products will be shipped directly to your customer.
Another factor you want to consider is whether the company you’re purchasing products from will handle customer returns and be reliable.
For example, you don’t want to have to wonder every time you place an order, whether the company will ship the product out in a timely manner or not. This can lead to a bad customer experience if they’re not getting the product they ordered in the timeframe they expect.
Here again, if you contact this company wondering where a product is that was supposed to be shipped to your customer and they don’t respond or they take a few days to respond… is that hassle worth it?
In my opinion (and the opinion of many other successful dropshippers) the answer would be “No.” It’s worth spending a little more on products that come from companies who have good customer service.
One of the most popular sites to use for sourcing products for dropshipping is AliExpress.
You can also search for them using search terms like:
- Dropship Supplier
- Dropshipping Supplier
- Drop Shipping Supplier
- Dropshipping Reseller
- Dropshipping Product Supplier
- Wholesale Dropshipper
If you know what products you might like to source (or sell) then try targeting those specific products. For example, you could use the following search terms:
- Clothing Dropship Supplier
- Hiking Gear Drop Shipper
- Yoga Mat Dropshipping Supper
- Pet Supplies Dropship Shipping Supplier
If you’re interested in a product you can private label, try typing “private label + product keyword + no minimum + country” in the search bar. For example, when I search for “private label cosmetics no minimum USA” I get the following list below:
There are also directories such as Salehoo which you can join that can make this process easier, or at least help you uncover other companies to work with that you may not find on your own.
6. Create a Shopify account and store
Fortunately, there’s currently a Free Trial for all new Shopify accounts, you can take advantage of. This way if you decide this isn’t for you, can can always cancel without owning any money.
It’s as simple as entering in your email address, creating a password and choosing a store name.
If you get stuck, or prefer having a detailed guide to follow, check out this post on “How To Start A Shopify Store in Under 20 Minutes” which will literally take you step-by-step through the entire process.
7. Choose an app for importing products and processing orders
Now if you followed the article I referenced in Step #6, you may already have the Oberlo app installed (which is a great app to use).
Oberlo is the main dropshipping app that people use within their Shopify store. It makes it VERY easy to connect your Shopify store to AliExpress.
If you have a limited budget, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with free Shopify apps to start. As you start getting sales and making money you may want to try some paid apps that can help boost conversions as an example.
8. Choose products for your store
Hopefully this is the fun part!
If you’re using Oberlo, you can use this app to search for products to add to your store. And if you’d like a detailed explanation of how to do this you click here for my article which will walk you through how to do this.
Ideally you can shoot for adding 5-20 products to your store. As time goes on you can refine this. But this will give you a good product range to start.
As you import these products you can go ahead and set what price you’d like to sell each of them for as well. You can always change the price later if you feel like you set it too high or too low. Just be sure to use a price where you make at least a little profit!
9. Focus on 1-3 products to advertise
Once you’ve added your 5-20 products into your store, the next step is to really focus on 1-3 of these products. These are the products you’re going to start advertising and promoting first. Here’s the steps you’ll want to follow:
Step 1: Write a product description that converts
You want to spend a little time make the description stand out. Talk about the benefits of a particular product. If you can add a little humor (if appropriate), feel free to do that. This idea is you want people to start getting excited about buying and using this particular product.
Step 2: Use amazing product images
Equally important is using the best images possible to help sell your product. Sometimes the images for AliExpress will work great for this, other times you may want to edit the photos yourself to help them look better (of course, make sure you have the suppliers permission if you do this).
And if necessary or helpful (and if you can afford to do so), it can be a great idea to order the product yourself and take photos. But typically this isn’t something you need to do right away.
Step 3: Determine your marketing platform
There are both free methods and paid methods of marketing your products. A great paid method is using Instagram or Facebook. But you can also start out with a free method like using Pinterest.
Another free method that works (but can take some time to see the results) is adding a blog to your site. This allows you to write and create articles that can help bring traffic to your site.
So you could begin by writing a few articles about your top 1-3 products. Then you could even try sharing your best photos on Pinterest of these products to help get some free traffic (and hopefully sales).
10. It’s launch time!
Now that you’ve got all the basics covered, you’re ready to launch your store and open it to the public.
Step 1: Remove the password
There is a password that will show up on your Shopify store when people visit it. To remove this go to “Online Store” then select “Preferences” and scroll down until you see the “enable password” box. Make sure that box is not checked, then press the save button.
Step 2: Add billing information
This is an optional step, as it’s just a good thing to do if you’re fairly certain at this point you’ll want to continue with your store once the free trial is over. This just insures that there won’t be any down time once your 14-day free trail is over.
There you have it, that’s the basic list of steps to get your Shopify store up and running. I hope this article helps you see how do-able it is to start your own store.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to share those in the comments below.