Shopify Dropshipping: From Browser to Business Empire (Guide)

Melinda Curle
Melinda Curle
September 19, 2018
2 min read
Shopify Dropshipping: From Browser to Business Empire (Guide)

In this article

A Shopify dropshipping store is a great way to break into eCommerce. Shopify is an all in one solution to an online store. It is very affordable and gives you the ability to market products and collect payment. Dropshipping is great because the prospect of spending money on managing inventory can be a bit overwhelming for many entrepreneurs. If you create an ecommerce store that uses the dropshipping business model, you won't have to carry an inventory. You will be able to focus your valuable time and resources on growing your online store and making sales.​

Dropshipping is a very flexible way to run a business. It is supported by the majority of the largest ecommerce platforms. Shopify simplifies dropshipping for many people. This ultimate Shopify dropshipping guide was created to help you start your own successful dropshipping business.

Shopify Dropshipping

What is Dropshipping?

First and foremost, you must understand the dropshipping model. Dropshipping is a business model in which ecommerce entrepreneurs sell products without carrying an inventory. You don't need to have a garage full of widgets to move. When an ecommerce store owner receives an order from a customer, they simply contact their supplier, who will in turn ship the product directly to the customer's doorstep. You can integrate products from a variety of suppliers into your shop through Dropshipping apps, such as Oberlo. This helps to simplify the process.

For new ecommerce entrepreneurs, dropshipping is the perfect business model. It is simple to set up and manage. Most importantly, it also does not require a large up-front investment. You can run your dropshipping business in your spare time and you won't need to quit your job to start up a successful store!

What is Shopify?

Shopify is the most popular ecommerce platform. It enables entrepreneurs to start their own online stores. Shopify is simple to use. You'll be able to build your own store even without technical experience. Shopify has excellent customer service and provides hosting for your website as well. It is an excellent solution for entrepreneurs who want to launch their own ecommerce store without any hassle.

shopify dropshipping - shopify app store referralcandy

Shopify also has an app store with plenty of useful integrated apps, like ReferralCandy

Why Should I Start Dropshipping on Shopify?

Dropshipping is a great business model for the entrepreneur who has little up-front investment. Shopfiy is the simplest platform to get up and running with an ecommerce store.

One of the main benefits of dropshipping with Shopify is that you don't have to worry about excess inventory. Therefore, you only order the necessary amount of products to meet the demand from your customers. This is unlike the typical ecommerce business, which involves manufacturing products or purchasing products from a wholesaler in bulk, which will require . With dropshipping, you'll be able to control your inventory with a few mouse clicks.

Steps to get started with a Shopify Dropship Store today

Step 1: Choose A Niche

You'll need to figure out what niche market that you want to be involved in selling. It's better to start with a niche market; a smaller category of products aimed at a specific target audience, like beard grooming products for Asian men or socks for long-distance mountain hikers runners. You'll want to do a bit of research on your niche market. With fewer buyers and sellers leading to less competition, it is possible to be successful with almost any niche.

You may want to start by thinking about the networks that you are already involved with. Do you know products that would meet the needs of these people? Who are the big brands like Nike overlooking?

Do some keyword research and discover roughly how many people are searching for the products.

Need more help on choosing your niche? Check out How to Find Niche Markets for Selling Online.

Step 2: Research Competitors

Check out how much competition is out there. You may think that it is a good thing if there are no other websites in competition, but if that is the case, you may have to question whether there is enough demand for the products in that niche. Competition is a good thing.

In this step, look for dropshipping sites that you'll be competing with. As you are researching your competition, you'll want to take notes on the competitors. Make a note of the style of their website, the themes they are using and the colors that they are using. Do you think they present the material well? Are there ways that you could improve on what your competitors are doing?

Step 3: Create Your Store

Once you've selected your niche and researched out your competition, the third step is to build your online store. This happens prior to contacting the supplier. Good suppliers won't approve you unless they see that you already have an eCommerce store. This is something that you'll want to do even before making that first phone call or sending that first email to the potential drop ship supplier.

Naming Your Shopify Dropshipping Store

The first step towards opening your Shopify dropshipping store is to name the store. When selecting a name for your online store, there are three tips that pros keep in mind:

  • Be creative - try for something catchy.
  • Keep it simple - you don't want people struggling to pronounce or figure out your store name.
  • Make it memorable - you want your customers to remember it and refer their friends.

After you've come up with the perfect name for your Shopify dropshipping store, you'll want to check and see if the domain is available. Generic names and keywords typically are already taken, so if you were thinking "Girls Clothing Store," it is likely already in use. Checking can be done through a simple Google search. You can also search if there is a .com domain already being used.

Creating a Shopify Account

Once you have named your store, you're ready to create your Shopify account. This is a simple and quick process. Visit Shopify's homepage. After you've loaded the page, you'll see puple button on the top of the screen that says "get started." Click on that button.

shopify dropshipping

Enter your email address into the field. You'll be asked to create a password for your account and enter the name that you have chosen for your Shopify dropshipping store. You will be instructed to answer a few questions about your experience with commerce and a few personal details.

After you've completed this, your Shopify account will be up and running. The next step will be to configure the settings to launch your Shopify dropshipping account.

Optimizing the Settings for Your Shopify Account

Now, you are going to have to select the settings that will optimize your shopify account. This step is essential so that you'll actually receive money from your customers. You need to do this in order to create your store policies and establish your shipping rates.

Payment Information

Setting up your payment option is the first setting you'll want to set. This is a very important step because you'll want to get paid. You won't be able to receive money from your customers if you don't add a payment option.

You need to first access Shopify's "settings' page. From this page, select the "payments" link on the left and add your own payment information.

shopify dropshipping

It is recommended that you add a PayPal account for your payment information. You can easily sign up for a Paypal account in a few minutes if you don't have one. You simply need to have your bank account information. It is a very simple process and the most efficient way to get paid.

Setting Store Policies

You need to make sure that you have clear store policies. This will ensure that people do not take advantage of you and that the customers feel that you are running a legitimate business. Shopify has a helpful tool that will automatically create a standardized privacy policy, refund policy, and terms and conditions for your store. You can tweak it and customize it from there. This tool is located on Shopify's settings. Click on the Checkout link and scroll to the bottom to discover the fields that you need to fill out.


All you need to do is simply click on the "generate button and you'll have your policies!

Shipping Rates

It is vital that your Shopify dropshipping store has clearly stated shipping rates. It is always recommended that you offer free shipping, because that is the easiest option. Offering separate shipping rates for various regions can become confusing. It is much easier for the customer if you incorporate your shipping fees into the price of the products and make shipping free.

This can easily be done by raising the price of the product by how much it will cost to ship it. For example if you are planning on selling a tee shirt for $15, raise the price to $20 and offer free shipping. Many customers will favor sites that offer free shipping because they don't want to calculate in the cost of shipping and taxes. Using FREE SHIPPING! as part of your store's marketing will help you to sell your products.

To set up free shipping on your store, access the "Shipping" link in your Shopify settings.

dropshipping on shopify - shipping zones

You will want to delete all the domestic shipping zones. Add "Free International Shipping" into the "Rest of the World" section. Finally, you'll want to select “Rate: Free Shipping Rate” and you’re good to go!

Launching Your Shopify Dropshipping Store

By this point, you've added all the vital information that you need to launch your Shopify dropshipping store. To launch your store, you'll need to access the "Sales Channels" option on your Shopify settings. It is down at the bottom of the column on the left. If you click on the "online store" under sales channels, you are given the option of creating blog posts, pages, and navigation for your online store.

Shopify Dropshipping

Now that you've done this, you have an online store which is up and running! The next step is to design your store.

Designing Your Shopify Dropshipping Store

Having an aesthetically pleasing ecommerce store is just as important as having great design in a brick and mortar store. An enticing shop window will draw people in and a nice website design will make sure people check out more of your website. Remember, first impressions count!

As you set about designing your Shopify dropshipping store, you'll want to pay close attention to two main features - your theme and your logo.

Your logo will help to brand you. People will start to recognize your logo and they'll share it with other people. A nice logo will help to build your brand. People will start to trust you as they see your logo more and more frequently.

The theme that you chose for your website will set the stage for shopping on your store. It includes the colors, style and layout of your website. You want to make sure that your style and layout displays your products well.

Picking a Theme on Shopify

Fortunately, Shopify has a built-in theme store. You'll be able to select from a wide variety of themes. Many of the themes are free, but there are some premium options that you can pay a little extra for your website. Shop around a bit and decide on the best theme for your store based on your financial resources. For those starting out with a tight budget, simply select a free theme. You can always upgrade later as you start earning more for your Shopify store.

If you need help - remember to check out our blogs on the 20 of the Best Shopify Themes (Most Reviewed + Most Downloaded) as well as 50 Beautiful Shopify Websites to Spark Your Creativity For Your Own.

Creating a Logo for Your Store

Logos help store customers remember your brand. You want to make sure that your logo is easily recognizable. Take some time to look at a variety of logos from people who are in your industry. Think about how you want your logo to look and fit in with the rest of your store's design.

For those with a tight budget, you can create your own logo using graphic design software, such as Canva or Venngage. Oberlo has free online logo software. You can also outsource your logo from freelance platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. This will help you to get a logo at an affordable price point.

Step 4: Get Approved With Suppliers

Now that your store is set up and designed, it s time to start making phone calls and sending out emails to potential drop shipping suppliers to get approved with them.

It is important to note that there are different types of suppliers. You want to deal with suppliers that are not middle men. If the supplier allows everyone to fill out an application to become a supplier, they are middlemen. They make money off of the fees they charge you. Their products tend to be inferior quality. You don't want to deal with them.

Here are a some characteristics to look for in dropshipping suppliers:

  • They have MAP policy that allows you to make a decent profit (between 20%-30%).
  • They have good customer service.
  • Have quality control on their products. This ensures fewer returns and complaints.
  • Highly competitive, you'll need to optimize your paid traffic for the best results.

The best suppliers are looking for retailers that can provide a good buyer experience and exceptional customer service. Because you're representing their brand, they want to ensure that you meet their level of customer service. Then there is a consistent, positive, experience with their brand. When speaking with them, you should focused on presenting yourself as a professional and be brand focused. You'll want to make sure that your responses are friendly and timely. Give them a sample of your customer service through every interaction that they have with you.

Quality dropshippers will require that you have a website before you even contact them. It doesn't have to be the best website ever, but it should be professional enough that they can imagine their products sold there. Make sure that it lines up with their brand. Having a website built demonstrates your commitment and abilities. This will build trust and credibility.

A few other tips to get approved:

  • Use a professional email address from your web domain (
  • Refer to yourself as an online retailer NOT a drop shipper.
  • Consider each drop shipping supplier as a long term business partner and treat them as such.

Step 5: Optimize Your Site For Conversions

During the fifth step, you will want to optimize your website for conversions. This can make all the difference. This step can take a bit of time and testing. You'll want to test out different colors, sales phrases and presentation methods. There are many ways to improve your conversion rate.

While getting traffic is important, if people don't buy from you, it won't matter if you have all the traffic in the world. You do need a buying audience. You need to be able to convert your traffic and visitors into buyers. This will be an ongoing process of monitoring the minor improvements and tweaks to your website.

One great place to start is with your SEO. Make sure that you are using keywords that are buyer friendly and that the products that you are selling are being searched for online.

You can start with buyer phrases, such as:

  • "where to buy..."
  • "buy..."
  • "best place to purchase..."
  • "best price for..."

Psst... If you have a Shopify store you simply must check out our Step-By-Step Shopify SEO Guide (For Real People).

Step 6: Get Paid Traffic

It’s unlikely that you’ll be get much traffic simply launching your store, so we recommend that you use marketing campaigns to draw potential customers to your store. Paid traffic is the fastest way to get people to your website. Creating advertisements on Bing and Google adwords is the simplest and easiest way to get interested buyers to your website. If you think that most of your customers are hanging out on Facebook, this is another great place to advertise.

Shopify Dropshipping

You may want to take a look at what your competition is doing and mimic that initially. It will take a bit of testing to discover which traffic sources work best for your drop-shipping store. Create a few different campaigns and test them out. Keep testing and soon you'll find out which marketing strategies work best for your store.

While it is recommended that you use paid traffic for faster results, there are many free ways to get traffic to your drop shipping site. You can also use social media and search engine optimized blog posts. You'll want to make sure that you have diversified sources of traffic. This ensures that if one of them stops working, your business doesn't turn off overnight.

Need more ideas for getting website visitors? Check out 6 Evergreen Strategies to Drive Traffic to Your Shopify Store.

Step 7: Outsource & Automate

Now that your shopify dropshipping store is set up and able to earn you some money, you'll want to outsource and automate the tasks that are required to maintain it. The beauty of drop shipping stores is that its very easy to automate them and outsource the different tasks to someone else. In the beginning, you'll want to do it all. This way you understand the tasks and how they should be accomplished. Then you can explain it to someone else.

Once you know how every step of the process of drop-shipping works for your website, it is very easy to start delegating the tasks. You can find workers on Upwork that will maintain your site. There are also apps that will automate how your business works on a day-to-day basis.

Your Shopify Store is set up. What's Next?

Once it's set up, a dropshipping store isn't all that different from other eCommerce or Shopify stores. All the other aspects - marketing, product management, customer service - are skills that are transferrable to any eCommerce business.

To get started, here are some articles you should check out:

Stay tuned to the ReferralCandy blog for more great content on marketing and eCommerce, and remember to check out our Ultimate Shopify Marketing Guide.

Melinda Curle
Melinda Curle

Melinda is a blogger at ReferralCandy. She loves learning about internet marketing and maintaining her own fitness blog. She enjoys running, swimming, dancing and Pilates.

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