With eCommerce set to become a 5 trillion dollar industry by the year 2021, it has become a very attractive business model for new and experienced entrepreneurs. It is one of the two business models I highly recommend to my audience (you!!). In this guide, you will learn how to start a WooCommerce dropshipping business from scratch with a very clever WordPress plugin
Dropshipping is a fantastic method to start an online business and has several benefits over a traditional eCommerce business.
The no.1 benefit being the low start-up costs, I am not stretching the truth when I say you can start a dropshipping business with WooCommerce for under $100.
In a traditional eCommerce business, you will be looking at at least $3-$5 grand (maybe more) with a bulk of that going towards inventory costs. There are also fees for storage and delivery.
With dropshipping,you don’t have to worry about any of those costs as you will not be holding any inventory. In fact, as a dropshipper you will not handle any of the goods you will be selling.
Dropshipping is a very simple business model and is easy to understand, I have written a whole article on it and do not want to bore you with the small details. However, the image below will give a better visual understanding of how dropshipping works.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin and is free to download, it comes with a ton of features and is fully customisable. This means you can build any type of webstore you want without any limitations.
In my opinion, the main benefit of WooCommerce is its worldwide community of helpers and developers. There are many active forums just for WooCommerce users where you can get help for any type of problems you may encounter.
WooCommerce always stays updated with the latest web technologies, from security to UI, you can be confident that the developers behind this platform will continuously improve it so that it always stays ahead of its competition.
WooCommerce comes with a huge range of extensions that will allow you to add any type of feature to your store. From marketing automation to using different payment gateways, these extensions will allow you to add even more functionality to your webstore.
Step 1 – Niche Research
Before choosing anything else, for a dropshipping business to be successful you will have to find a profitable product to sell and that will require some initial research.
There are many successful dropshipping businesses that sell a wide variety of products, however, I like to keep things simple and choose products that meet the following criteria;
- Item must be lightweight
- Item must not be mechanical or electrical
- Item must not be fragile
- Will not require much research to purchase
So, now that you have a basic idea of what kind of product to sell, its time to dive in to research mode.
There are several ways I do niche research, but I always like to start with keyword research.
Keyword research is important as it will tell you if a product has market demand, I use a variety of keyword research tools just to be thorough in my research.
However, for those new to keyword research, I highly recommend a free keyword tool called Ubersuggest. It will provide you with all the necessary data to make an informed decision with regards to your niche research.
You want to sell products that are in demand and have a stable popularity trend, one of the best tools to check for this is Google trends.
For example, if I wanted to sell products related to the Netflix series Stranger Things (brilliant program by the way). This is what it looks like on Google trends;
Apart from a spike around the end of October to the start of November, the trend is pretty flat during the rest of the year. So, despite it being a popular series, I would not be interested in selling items related to this niche.
I also like watching Golf and I know that it is a very popular sport that plays throughout the year.
I entered the term ‘Golf accessories’ and this is what I got;
This a very stable niche and has peaks throughout the year, it tells me that there is a demand for golf accessories and it is a niche worth getting into.
You cannot finish niche research without checking out what is trending on the largest eCommerce sites in the world.
- Amazon–Amazon’s bestseller rank is updated every hour and is a brilliant place to find good ideas for a product to sell.
- Watchcount-This website lists the most watched products on eBay, this will give an idea of what kind of products people are interested in buying. eBay is a great source for product ideas especially for dropshipping as it has a large number of successful dropshippers selling on the platform.
- Aliexpress-Aliexpress is the premier destination most dropshippers use to find low-cost good quality products that can be sold for a huge profit. Beneath their search bar, they list the most trending items for that day, it’s a good place to start looking for popular products to dropship.
I recently came across this site and am surprised I hadn’t come across it sooner, they analyse products on a daily basis and the ones with the most potential for eCommerce, they recommend to their membership.
However, they go beyond just choosing a winning product, they also provide you with some analytics such as examples of Facebooks ads for that product, Facebook ads targeting, Profit margins and video engagement rate.
If you cannot identify a product to sell, I highly recommend you check this site out.
Similar to Ecomhunt, they analyse products on a daily basis and provide data for the ones with the most potential. The only difference between Pexda and Ecomhunt is that there is no free membership with Pexda.
If you are still unsure of what kind of products to dropship, this list of 50 product ideas for dropshipping should provide you with plenty of options.
Choosing A Domain Name
After you have chosen a niche and identified a product to sell, its time to choose a domain name for your eCommerce store.
Do not overthink this part, it is probably the easiest task in this journey of yours. Just make sure that the domain name ends with a .com and that the name is relevant to your niche.
There are several places to purchase domain names, I prefer Namecheap as they are largely cheaper than other domain name registrars and they give you 1 year free of WHOis protection.
There are many good WordPress hosting services, WordPress endorses three hosting providers on their website.
- Bluehost – Have used them before and despite what many people say, they are a good hosting provider
- Dream Host
There are tons of others, choose one that meets your demands and fits your budget, the good thing about most WordPress hosting providers is that installing WordPress is done through the simple click of a button.
Don’t worry if you have never used WordPress before, it is very simple to learn and one of the many reasons it powers nearly 30% of the web.
The video below shows you how to install WordPress with Bluehost.
WooCommerce Plugin Installation
After you have installed WordPress, you will be greeted with the WordPress dashboard which is very intuitive and simple to navigate.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin, all you need to do is click on the plugins menu and then click on ‘Add new’ and you will be taken to the plugins interface as shown below.
In the search bar type in WooCommerce and then click on install and activate the plugin.
You can start to play around with the WooCommerce plugin to familiarise yourself on how it works, however since this is an article on how to start a WooCommerce dropshipping store, there is one more task and that is choosing a dropshipping automation software.
This is my no.1 recommendation for WooCommerce dropshipping, it is a premium WordPress plugin with a one-time purchase fee.
This software comes with a lot of powerful automation features that will make the day to day running of a dropshipping business much simpler.
These automation features include the following;
- Import items from Aliexpress
- ePacket filter (fastest shipping times for lightweight dropshipping products)
- Order tracking
- Apply pricing rules to multiple items
- Automatic inventory update – get instant notification if items are out of stock
- Price change notifications – get notified when prices change on the supplier side.
Along with these features, Alidropship has many add-ons that have been developed to enhance your webstore performance.
These add-ons have been designed to attract more customers, increase your average cart value and make more sales.
There is also a free Alidropship Chrome extension that will allow you to easily import multiple products at once.
The plugin is very easy to use and is constantly updated and new features are updated on a regular basis.
One of the reasons I recommend this plugin over others is not only because of the powerful features but also, they have many inspiring success stories and helpful training resources as well as an active community forum.
The plugin usually costs $89, but for readers of this blog, if you enter the code ‘STARTER15’ you will receive a 15% discount.
After you have purchased the plugin, just upload it to your WooCommerce store.
Install A WooCommerce Compatible Theme
WordPress is the most popular CMS and one reason for its popularity is because of the huge number of themes that are available to you.
Most of these themes are compatible with WooCommerce, however, there are themes that have been developed specifically for the WooCommerce platform.
One of the most popular is Storefront which has over a million downloads and is the official theme of WooCommerce.
Other themes developed specifically for WooCommerce can be purchased from My Theme Shop and Theme Forest. However, if you are just starting out a free theme like Storefront will be fine.
Storefront can be downloaded from either the WooCommerce website or from within your own WordPress dashboard. The latter is far more convenient, just click on ‘Appearance’ in the menu section and then ‘Themes’, you will be taken to a screen similar to the image shown below.
Just enter ‘Storefront’ in the search bar and it will be the first theme to show up, just install and activate and you will be done.
Create Your Core Pages
Every website has a core set of pages and this is no different with an eCommerce store.
Setup the following pages;
- About Us page
- Contact Information
- A page for each product category
When you are starting your first dropshipping store you should not have too many product categories.
So, for example, if you have chosen to sell sports clothing, you might have the following categories;
- Baseball etc
Once your store is established and making consistent sales you can add more product categories. You should also think about having a blog for your store this is a fantastic way to interact with your customers and also good for SEO purposes.
Without an automation software like Alidropship, this part of running an eCommerce store would take a huge amount of your time, fortunately, with Alidropship, this can be done with the click of a button.
Importing products with Alidropship is very simple, you just need to download the Chrome extension and link it to your webstore.
Go to Aliexpress and navigate to the products that you would like to import, you will see that products that come with ePacket delivery (the recommended delivery method for dropshipping) will be highlighted in green.
There is also an orange coloured AliDropship bar at the top of the screen, this lets you know how many products are ready to be imported and what shipping method you prefer.
Hover over the item you want to import and click on the Alidropship icon and the product along with the description and images will be imported into your store.
It really is as simple as that.
Now, you can make changes to the pricing, product description, apply coupon codes, select only the images you want and even alter them with the built-in image editor.
Automate Your Pricing
This is one of the best features of AliDropship and will save you a lot of time.
Instead of pricing items individually, you can set pricing rules for all your products or only particular products in a certain price range.
You have two pricing options;
- Fixed amount – Add a fixed value to the original amount
- Multiple – Multiply the original by a fixed value.
You will have other options and you can have your own pricing formulas but at the beginning just keep it simple and use either the fixed amount or multiple.
Promote Your Store
Now that you have a basic store set up, it is time to start marketing your store so that it makes you some money!!
One of the best methods to get some quick sales is through word of mouth, ask family and friends to visit your store and to spread the news of its launch.
You might not get many sales but the first few are always a good confidence booster and at the end of the day it is free traffic.
Social Media Marketing
Create accounts on the leading social media platforms and post highly engaging content that will resonate with your target audience and lead them to your webstore.
However, just posting good content will not result in more business for your eCommerce store, you will need to have a good social media strategy in place that will result in consistent traffic and sales.
I highly suggest you concentrate on the following social media platforms;
Posting on all these networks can take up a lot of your time, however, there are several apps that will allow you to automate this process.
One such app is a plugin from AliDropshop called Social Rabbit, this plugin will automatically post content on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
For more information on Social Rabbit and how it can help your social media marketing campaigns, click here.
If you want traffic from the search engines (and why wouldn’t you?), make sure to follow good SEO guidelines. SEO is a long-term process and it will take time to see results. However, once you do start ranking for your keywords, you will start t0 receive long-term targeted traffic for free.
Paid ads can get you very fast results but if you go in blind without guidance or any prior experience, it can be very costly.
This is why I suggest that you only try paid advertising if you can afford it and f you have a clear strategy in place.
For paid advertising, I advise you to concentrate on one of the following platforms;
- Facebook – A lot of dropshippers are having some fantastic results with Facebook ads, if you can spare $10 per day to test out some ads, you should think about giving Facebooks ads a try.
- Instagram – With over 1 billion monthly users and its highly visual content platform, Instagram presents a fantastic platform to test out ads for your eCommerce store.
- Google AdWords – The largest advertising network also brings you the most targeted traffic as you will be advertising to people who are searching for your products.
I hope you have enjoyed this guide, dropshipping is one of the most cost-effective ways to start an online business and can be very lucrative if you find a good product to sell. You do not need to pay some ‘guru’ hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn how to start a dropshipping business.
The AliDropship plugin will allow you to start a WooCommerce dropshipping business with little investment, it is the best dropshipping app for WordPress users.
Both are compatible with WooCommerce and are a good alternative to AliDropship, however, I still believe that AliDropship is the superior option.