Many eCommerce entrepreneurs are looking for a way to build their business online. An eCommerce store that uses the dropshipping model allows us to sell to our customers with low upfront investment and high returns. Moreover, the Shopify app ecosystem lets us build a visually pleasing website that makes online shopping easy for customers.
When we start, it can be overwhelming to build a Shopify dropshipping store from scratch without having ample information about Shopify.
That’s why this article will cover all the information we need to start a Shopify dropshipping store. Step by step, we’ll learn how to set up our Shopify store and establish a successful dropshipping business.
What Is Shopify Dropshipping?
Before you start building a Shopify dropshipping store, it is essential to grasp the basics of Shopify and dropshipping in general.
Shopify is a leading eCommerce platform that hosts our online stores. Its functionalities help us design and set up our dropshipping website, market our products, handle payments, and much more. Moreover, the Shopify platform is incredibly user-friendly, meaning we don’t need any coding skills to build or design our store.
As a trending business model, dropshipping enables us to sell products globally without holding inventory. When we receive an order in our store, we simply order it from our supplier, who delivers it to our customer. Finally, we only have to pay after the customers buy from us.
So how do they make a great combination? Shopify’s unique platform provides an excellent solution for dropshippers to list and sell their products. Aside from being an easy-to-use online store builder, Shopify also has an entire dropshipping ecosystem of apps and services to assist dropshippers like us.
How To Start Dropshipping On Shopify
Now that we know dropshipping and Shopify complement each other, we’re ready to learn how to implement their benefits in the real world.
Here are seven steps to building a winning Shopify Dropshipping store:
- Step 1: Find Products To Sell
- Step 2: Set Up Your Shopify Store
- Step 3: Promote Your Products (Online Marketing)
- Step 4: Fulfill Your Orders
- Step 5: Managing Returns & Refunds
- Step 6: Provide Customer Service
- Step 7: Scale Your Success
Let’s understand how to carry out these steps in-depth for excellent results.
Step 1: Find Trending Products To Dropship
When building a Shopify dropshipping store, the first and most fundamental step is to do proper product research. Additionally, choosing good products to sell consistently can skyrocket our sales and help our store take off in no time.
For starters, finding out what’s trending gives you an idea of what sells. The AliExpress dropshipping center is an excellent place to get ideas for trending dropshipping products.
Another method to find products that sell well is by spying on other dropshipping stores. We can use spying tools and software like Koala Inspector to check a product’s performance and import it directly to our store.
While we might find many products with these tips, adding them is impractical. Even when we find plenty of good products, narrowing them down is still crucial to get a clear idea of what to sell or decide a niche.
Here are six things to keep in mind while searching for products:
- Products should not be readily available in local stores.
- Customers should not be able to guess the product’s price.
- Find a problem-solving product that makes our customers’ lives easier.
- Ensure that the product supplier offers fast shipping and delivery times.
- Products that customers can buy impulsively without putting much thought into it.
- The product should cost under $30 per item.
With our Product Research Spreadsheet, we can organize the information and analyze the products well. The spreadsheet has specific questions that you fill in to spot trending dropshipping products with the highest potential to become winners.
To create a new spreadsheet with your products, open the spreadsheet, click on ‘File,’ and choose ‘Make a copy.’ Finally, save the new spreadsheet and start working on product research to find your first bestseller.
Step 2: Set Up Your Shopify Store
The second step is to set up your Shopify store. Setting up a Shopify store requires plenty of time, effort, and focus, but it will pay off if you do it right. Here are the basic steps to set up a working Shopify store:
I. Sign Up For Shopify
Setting up our account for Shopify is an easy process. We should consider signing up with Shopify’s 14-day free trial to test before we buy.
To sign up, enter a valid email address, choose a password, and fill in a temporary store name. Then, we can finish up the signup process by answering questions about our business.
At this stage, we don’t have to worry about subscribing or entering a payment method. We’ll deal with that once our store is all set up.
Tip: It is better to use our 14-day free trial period only after completing the product research phase. Instead of wasting the trial period on product research, we can use it to build our Shopify store.
II. Name Your Business
After making our Shopify account, we need to choose a name related to our store. For example, if your store sells dog products, something like Doggyhub or Doggyverse will make sense. Additionally, we need a simple yet creative name for our business.
That’s where the Business Name Generator comes in handy. It is a free tool that generates unique and original business names. Additionally, the tool saves us time by checking the domain availability of our business name.
III. Connect Your Domain
The next step is to connect the domain with our Shopify store. A domain is simply a website address where people can find our business on the internet.
Instead of using Shopify’s long and complicated web address, using our domain name is a simple way for people to find us.
For example, doggytreat.com is better than doggytreat.myshopify.com.
To get a domain name, we can use GoDaddy to reserve a domain name. The cost of hosting a domain for our Shopify store can range anywhere from $10-$20. Once you enter a valid domain name and follow Shopify’s instructions, the new domain name connects easily with the Shopify store.
If the automatic method doesn’t work, read Shopify’s tutorial on manually connecting a third-party domain.
IV. Create A Shopify Store Logo
Like picking a name, a creative logo helps differentiate our store and establish a brand. A good logo is a visual essence of our business that helps brand our store.
To create unique logos in a matter of minutes, Hatchful remains an excellent choice. As a free online logo maker tool, we can quickly create beautiful logos for our business.
Once we create our desirable logo, we should save all images and sizes in a folder later. They will be helpful to us once we get to the branding stage.
V. Get A Shopify Store Theme
The fifth step is to choose a niche-suitable theme for our Shopify store. That’s because themes are the visual and user-friendly interface that shapes customers’ experience while browsing and navigating our store. Also, a good, responsive, mobile-friendly theme converts viewers into buyers.
While there are paid themes, more than 100 professionally designed themes are freely available on Shopify.
VI. Choose a Dropshipping Tool To Automate Your Business
After setting up a Shopify store theme, we have to find a dropshipping automation tool to streamline our business operations. If you love the idea of letting dropshipping software handle most of our tedious manual tasks, then dropshipping automation is for you.
For that purpose, AutoDS is an excellent tool that helps us save time and scale our business with its wide range of dropshipping features, such as:
- Quick Product Importing
- Over 25 Suppliers
- Price & Stock Monitoring
- Automated Order Fulfillment
- Tracking updates
To begin automating your dropshipping business, register for an AutoDS account. Next, fill in your payment details for the AutoDS subscription. Inside the AutoDS app, from the left menu, choose ‘Add Store,’ enter your store’s web address and click on the ‘Add Store’ button.
Then, install the AutoDS app on our Shopify store. Finally, click on ‘ Install app’ to integrate the AutoDS app successfully with our Shopify store.
Well done! You have a working Shopify store fully automated with AutoDS and ready for action.
VII. Import Products To Your Shopify Store
Next, we’ll import products to our Shopify store. Connecting a dropshipping software lets us easily import tons of products, saving us the time from doing it manually.
One of the many features available with the free AutoDS Helper extension is the one-click importer that helps import any products from our suppliers in a few clicks.
The one-click importer enables us to create and export a CSV file containing our product list from the supplier page. Then, we import it to our store via the AutoDS platform. Most importantly, we can complete the process in just a few clicks which is a huge time saver.
VIII. Optimize Product Pages To Convert
We’re almost there. After setting up our store and importing our products, it’s time to optimize the product pages. The product page shows the details of the product we are selling like product description, specifications, images, the ‘add to cart’ button, and the ‘buy it now’ button.
Since customers directly land on our product pages from our ads, we should optimize the product page to attract the customers’ interest as soon as they land on our product page. Also, it should communicate the problem-solving capability of the product clearly to the customer.
If you struggle to optimize product pages to increase sales, we recommend reading 10 Ways to Increase Your Product Page Conversion For Your Shopify Stores.
IX. Create A Professional Shopify Homepage
Our targeted ad directs potential customers to our product page. However, most of them will go to the homepage to check other available products and our store’s credibility. Therefore, we must professionally design a homepage to make the store look attractive and trustworthy.
As a rule of thumb, the name and logo of the business should always appear on the top. After placing the name and logo, update the announcement bar to offer discounts, promo codes, etc.
Similarly, edit the theme colors to match your brand style.
Even though our targeted ads do not direct buyers to the Shopify store homepage, they should look professional and lead our customers to the product pages elegantly.
X. Store Policies And Legal Pages
Aside from creating a professional Shopify homepage and product page, setting up store policies and legal pages is equally important. Store policies are a set of guidelines for conducting our business online.
Pages like store policies, legal pages, FAQs, contact forms, etc., may not be the most thrilling side of creating our eCommerce store. Still, they are necessary to inform and avoid customer confusion.
That’s why we have done most of the work by preparing ready-made structures for those pages to save you time. Just fill in the relevant information in the following articles to get your policy pages ready:
To add policies, go to the Shopify dashboard, click on ‘Settings’ from the left bottom of the page, and click on ‘Policies.’ Here, we’ll find different policies of our Shopify store like privacy, returns, and refund policy. Finally, we can then edit or replace them with new ones.
XI. Set Up The Shopify Navigation Menu
The navigation menu displays links to pages on your store, like the ones we just set up (policies, legal pages, etc.).
The main menu (top) and footer menu (bottom) are the two sections of our website in which we display the relevant pages and policies. Our customers should be able to easily explore different pages on our Shopify store via a clickable link on the main menu and footer menu.
To edit the Shopify Navigation menu, first, go to Shopify admin, select ‘online store,’ then click on ‘navigation.’ On the navigation page, we can add a title in the menu by clicking ‘Add menu item.’ For example, Home, Product, About Us, etc.
Now that the titles are ready, we can link each title with a website address that takes it to a specific page. Then, we click ‘Add’ to save them and finally choose ‘Save menu.’
XII. Set The Shopify Store Currency & Payment Provider
Now that we’ve set up our navigation menu, let’s go on ahead and set up our store currency and our payment providers. The store currency should be set up so that our customers rightly see the currency when they are browsing through our site. For example, if we’re selling to US customers, choose ‘USD’ currency.
However, if we want to target multiple countries and not just the US, we can use free apps like the Auto Multi-Currency Converter. It automatically converts and updates the store’s currency according to our choice.
Regarding payment, Shopify provides different payment options for different countries. For US residents, Shopify Payments is the default method and is ideal since it accepts most credit cards. Similarly, Paypal is also an option for US residents.
If we’re not US residents, we cannot use Shopify payments. Instead, we need to sign up with third-party payment options. We can find convenient payment solutions from the list of additional payment gateways to choose one suitable for our location.
For example, if we’re from Denmark, choose ‘Denmark,’ which will show all the acceptable payment options in that country.
XIII. Shopify Checkout Settings & Shipping Zones
When customers buy your product, they’ll be redirected to Shopify’s checkout page to pay and complete their purchase. Simplify the checkout process for customers by configuring the checkout section.
For example, we can disable the option to create an account for each customer. This will allow them to check out as guests and decrease the chance of cart abandonment.
The more smooth our checkout process, the higher the chance for the buyer to go through with the checkout process.
Shopify’s shipping zone settings allow us to select which countries we can ship to and set different rates for each of those countries. From the Shopify admin, go to Settings and then choose Shipping and delivery. Click on Manage rates next to the shipping profile.
Next, click on ‘Create shipping zone’ beside the group of locations. Then, we can enter a name for the shipping zone and select the countries and regions that we want to be in the zone. You can add the rates that you want for the zone. Finally, click Save.
For example, if we want to dropship in the US, we need to put in a valid address in the US to get a location for our shipping zone. Simply choose one from our list of US Addresses and fill in the shipping zone. For other countries, we can simply choose valid addresses in those countries to use for our warehouse location. We can search on Google to find out valid addresses.
XIV. Go Live With Your Shopify Store!
Now that our store is optimized, it’s time to go live and open our Shopify store to the world.
Go to Shopify settings, click on ‘Plan’ and select Shopify subscription. Although we can choose any Shopify plan, a basic subscription plan is enough for beginners.
Once we have a Shopify subscription plan, we can disable our store password. Disabling the password allows everyone to visit and purchase from our store. Click on ‘Online Store,’ select ‘Themes,’ and click on ‘Disable Password’ under the Sales channel.
Congratulations, now you have a fully working professional Shopify store! But our work is not over yet. Now, we will learn how to promote our Shopify store because customers do not know that our store exists.
Step 3: Promote Your Products (Online Marketing)
While we successfully built a professional Shopify store with well-researched products, no one knows about it yet. However, once we learn to market our products, we can fill our Shopify store with potential customers.
Facebook Ad is the best marketing tool to turn our dropshipping store profitable. That’s why it’s essential to learn how to create a Facebook ad and launch it.
Create & Launch Facebook Ads
Facebook ads are a powerful marketing tool for businesses as it allows us to reach our customers even while on a budget. The advertising campaigns on Facebook are easy to run, enabling us to market our products to the right audience pool.
Furthermore, Facebook has a database of millions of people to reach with our ads. If we target the right audience and create engaging content, we can quickly drive traffic to our website and make sales.
To help you go from beginner to pro and not waste your budget, our ebook, ‘The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ads For Shopify In 8 Simple Steps’, will guide you to leverage Facebook ads to market our products.
By completing the workbook, we will be able to:
- Learn to set up our Shopify dropshipping Facebook page and start generating traffic.
- Understand about Facebook Pixel and learn to utilize it on our Shopify store.
- Receive the best tips to improve our ad’s success rate by perfecting our audience research and targeting.
- Create or source engaging Facebook video ads for our products.
- Run Facebook ad campaigns from scratch with optimal configuration for outstanding results.
- Analyze and optimize our ads to scale our success.
- Save money and time on courses that AutoDS teaches for free.
Video ads are proven ways to increase conversions but creating dynamic and eye-catching videos is more complicated than it seems. If your dropshipping business has difficulty promoting products, we suggest using Waving Pandas. With their help, we can create engaging videos for our products and drive traffic to our stores.
Step 4: Order Fulfillment
Marketing our stores through Facebook ads will inevitably bring in orders, which means we’ll have to make sure that our customers get their products as soon as possible. Satisfying our customers and building long-lasting relationships with them helps increase customer loyalty.
There are two ways of processing orders: Manual fulfillment and automatic fulfillment.
Manual fulfillment means we have to go to the supplier’s website for each order, fill in customer details, and place the order.
In contrast, automatic order fulfillment saves a lot of time to perform this tedious process by automating orders, tracking updates, and more. This method uses our buyer accounts with our suppliers to fulfill our orders.
On the other hand, the Fulfilled by AutoDS service provides additional automatic fulfillment services using AutoDS’ buyer accounts for order fulfillment, tracking information updates, one-click returns, and more. Therefore, we don’t have to use our credit line at the banks or worry about buyer account suspensions.
Firstly, we first need to opt-in for automatic orders by enabling it in our plans & subscriptions. To fulfill one order, we need to spend one auto-order credit. To add more credits, go to ‘Orders’ in the AutoDS platform, click on the ‘Buy Credits’ button on the top right and purchase your desired amount.
Furthermore, AutoDS processes our incoming orders and deducts the price from our managed account balance. Click on ‘Load,’ located right beside Auto Credits to add balance.
Fulfilled by AutoDS is an efficient method for automatic order fulfillment and is available for US suppliers.
Step 5: Managing Returns & Refunds
When our stores are up and running with increased orders and sales, we have to deal with returns and refunds at some point.
Nonetheless, as long as we do our product research properly, there is no need to worry about returns and refunds. They are a part of the dropshipping business, and we should be able to handle our customers’ requests when they wish to return or replace products.
When handling returns, check the store/supplier’s policy to see whether the customer is eligible for a return. For manual orders, reach out to your supplier and ask for a return label. Once you get it, send it to your buyer and track the return progress using the tracking number provided in the return label.
Once the product returns, send a refund to your customer, and make sure that your supplier sent you a refund as well.
For Fulfilled By AutoDS orders, we need to change the order status to ‘Request Return.’ Then, AutoDS will provide you with a return label to send to your buyer. All return labels have a tracking number on them so that you can track the status of your return.
Once the buyer returns the product with the return label, you can send a refund to your buyer, and AutoDS will send a refund to your managed balance.
Step 6: Customer Service
Managing refunds and returns with care is vital, and along with it, we need to look after our customers. It is very well known that good customer service means a strong foundation for a successful business.
Therefore, if we provide quality customer service and support, they will have a better experience while shopping at our store. Moreover, happy customers will buy from us again and refer their friends or family.
We can see our customer’s messages from the Shopify dashboard or email inbox. After receiving the message, ensure that you provide them with adequate information and resolve issues swiftly.
Step 7: Scale Your Success
Once we reach this stage, our stores are up, running, and making sales. It’s now time to scale our business to rake in substantial profits.
Scaling our dropshipping business is possible with the help of dropshipping automation software. The more we automate our businesses with tools and apps, the more time we have for marketing our stores or growing our business.
To start scaling, we can analyze our bestsellers through the AutoDS platform and add more products similar to them. In addition, we should replace slow movers with new trending products.
Similarly, we should scale the ads that bring in customers and turn off those that aren’t performing well. Scaling ads means we gradually raise the budget for marketing ads until we hit our preferred return on investment (ROI).
An additional step to scaling is adding Virtual Assistants. VAs can help take the load off of our daily tasks and allow us to focus on growing our business. Combine that with our automation software, and we have a perfect formula for scaling & success.
When we repeat these processes consistently, we can start our network of successful Shopify stores.
If owning and running a scalable dropshipping business excites you, then Shopify dropshipping is the best way to do it. And, now you have all the knowledge you need to start a successful Shopify dropshipping store.
The next step is to enrich your knowledge with a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it right. AutoDS’ Shopify dropshipping course is an in-depth guide on everything this article teaches. At the end of this course, you will be able to run a profitable store and be an expert Shopify dropshipper in no time.
Our articles and dropshipping courses are always there to support you along your journey to the top. If you have the desire to learn more, here are some resources to take your dropshipping business to the next level:
- Free Shopify Dropshipping Course From AutoDS
- Shopify Dropshipping Stores For Sale: How To Buy A Working Business
- Branded Dropshipping: How To Leverage Branding And Increase Sales
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Shopify support dropshipping?
Shopify supports dropshipping among many other business models and is one of the best platforms that let us build and run a dropshipping store.
Can you make money with Shopify dropshipping?
Yes. We can make money on Shopify dropshipping. Moreover, its profitability depends upon how we handle our business operations like marketing, customer service, etc.
Does Shopify have a free trial?
Shopify has a free 14 day trial period. After the free trial, we have to pay a monthly subscription fee.
How much does it cost to dropship on Shopify?
Shopify’s monthly subscription and marketing budget are two main costs of Shopify dropshipping. Shopify’s basic plan costs 29 USD per month.