How to Run a WooCommerce Dropshipping Store – Ultimate Guideline 2020

woocommerce-dropshipping

If you desire to run an online shop without storing your own products, dropship can be one of the greatest ways to start an online business. The world of dropshipping has strongly developed because of the ability to sell without carrying inventory, and ease of setting up a store. One of the ways to achieve a store like this is to launch a WooCommerce dropshipping store.

What is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a form of eCommerce where the retailers, do not keep the products they sell in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product using the dropshipping model, it purchases the item from a third party and has it picked, packed, and shipped directly to the customers.

Advantages of launching a dropshipping store

Running a dropshipping business model can bring you more benefits than the traditional one:

  • Low investment and running cost – With the dropshipping method, you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars in purchasing physical storefront or finding a warehouse to store your products. Plus, you don’t need to pack and ship your orders, handle returns or track inventory. Instead, the products will be transported directly from the suppliers. Each of these things will save you time and money, reducing cost and risk. All you have to pay for is the cost of building your eCommerce site and marketing your store.
  • Flexible Location – Your business can be based anywhere as long as you have a good internet connection, a good relationship with your suppliers and are able to communicate with your customers.
  • Scalability – With dropshipping, the majority of the work falls on the suppliers. Dropshipping eliminates much of the complexities involved with scaling your business. You won’t have to hire a new warehouse, staff, etc. Basically, the only thing you’ll need to scale is your ability to offer customer support.
  • Diversity When you purchase inventory it is easier and cheaper to buy a small number of items in larger quantities; however, with dropshipping you can ultimately sell as many different items as you want, at no extra cost. If you have the time to list them on your site, you have the ability to sell them.

The dropshipping model is not perfect and comes with several drawbacks; however, convenience, flexibility, and low investment are all great attractions.

Disadvantages of running a Dropshipping Store

  • Low profit margins – You put less money in, so you get less money out. That means you have to do a lot of business just to stay afloat, let alone turn a profit.
  • Highly competitive – Starting a dropshipping business requires very little capital, so that it will reduces the barrier to start a dropshipping business. Therefore, there are a lot of competitions in this type of business.
  • No control over supply-chain – In standard eCommerce, if customers complain about product quality, fulfillment speed, or return policies, you can address the problems yourself. In dropshipping, you’re more or less at the mercy of your supplier — but you’re the one who still has to talk to your customers directly.
  • Dealing with unreliable suppliers – Although this isn’t a common problem for dropshippers, it’s worth mentioning. Some suppliers aren’t as legitimate as they claim, and you don’t always know where the merchandise comes from. Even more deceptive is when suppliers illegally use a trademarked logo or another company’s intellectual property.
  • Difficult to build a brand – If product you’re selling is so amazing, your customers are going to focus mostly on the product’s brand and forget about the shopping experience entirely.

Why Using WooCommerce for Dropshipping?

WooCommerce is a widely used and an easy-to-use eCommerce platform. According to Builtwith, a website profiler providing eCommerce data, eCommerce sites built with WooCommerce accounts for about 26 percent eCommerce websites globally.

Starting a dropshipping store with WooCommerce is a good way to save time and money with many outstanding features such as low price, flexibility, and no product restriction.

It’s cheap.

WooCommerce is 100% free. All you need to run a WooCommerce store is your own hosting, and domain which may cost as least as $50 per year. There are some other optional costs that you probably will want to pay for if you desire to grow your store.

It’s flexible.

WooCommerce is an open-source platform, so it gives you full control of customization and full access to your site. Hence, building a WooCommerce dropshipping store requires you almost no programming skill.

There are no product restrictions.

Because WooCommerce is open-source software, there are no rules about what you can sell. So you can choose any product for selling as long as you’re able to find a way to process payments and shipping.

In comparison with other platforms, you can see that WooCommerce will be an ideal choice for setting up an eCommerce website, especially for selling dropshipping products. For example, according to Shopify Payments’ Terms of Service, you can’t sell some products as follows:

  • Drug paraphernalia: Any equipment designed for making or using drugs, such as bongs, vaporizers, and hookahs
  • Remote technical support; psychic services; medical benefit packages; telemedicine and telehealth services; circumvention, jamming and interference devices; prepaid phone cards, etc.
  • Multi-level marketing: Pyramid schemes network marketing and referral marketing programs
  • Social media activity: Sale of Twitter followers, Facebook likes, YouTube views, Instagram followers, and other forms of social media activity
  • Video game or virtual world credits, etc.

Unlike Shopify, starting a dropshipping business with WooCommerce, you can sell whatever you want.

Now, are you ready to start with dropshipping? Below are 6 detailed steps to launch a WooCommerce Dropshipping Store. Let’s get started:

Step 1: Find the Perfect Dropshipping Products

Running a dropshipping store, retailers can choose any products for selling, but shop owners need to consider which products are the most suitable for their dropshipping stores. Once you understand the types of products that are perfect for a WooCommerce dropshipping store you’ll be ahead of your competition, and you’ll be ready to start making sales. Below are the best ways for you to select the items perfect for your store’s inventory.

Products that are currently trending are great options for your dropshipping business’ inventory because you can take advantage of low marketing fees and establish your brand as a leader in that field.

To find the products which are currently trending or likely to be popular in the future, you can check out the following sites:

Find a Niche Dropshipping Product

Targeting a specific niche is another great way to help your WooCommerce dropshipping store grow and generate revenue. You’ll have less competition if you’re running a niche dropshipping store, as you’ll be targeting a smaller group of audiences. This means that your marketing fee will be much cheaper. It’ll also be easier for your store to rank on search engines, which is good for your business’ long-term growth.

It’s critical to note that focusing on a specific dropshipping niche doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to expand into different areas later on. When your dropshipping store grows as a leader in that niche, you can try adding related products which you believe your current customers will be interested in. This will help you extend your dropshipping business and target new customers.

So Which niche is best for dropship? There is no absolute true answer to this question. When finding the best niche for your WooCommerce dropshipping store, you should consider the following factors:

  • The profit margin
  • Competitive landscape
  • Future trends
  • Seasonality of the product
  • Repeated purchases

Do Competitor Product Research

Finding possible competitors and looking at their products and research how they source and sell them. From that, you can find out their pricing strategy or possibly forecast potential new products that they will sell. If they are selling a product you are considering but you cannot provide this product at a similar price, you can cross this product off your list at this moment. Once you build a strong brand and customer loyalty, you can come back to this product option.

Search Social Shopping Sites for Products That Sell

Another ideal way to search for products for your WooCommerce dropshipping store is taking advantage of social shopping platforms such as Pinterest, Wanelo, Etsy, etc. These are websites supporting eCommerce, allowing users to interact with each other, including liking, commenting, recommending or sharing products with others. The main benefit for sellers on such websites is using other recommendations and influence to gain more sales.

Look around these websites and discover how people use them. Notice how each store’s customer reviews are prominent and feedback is important to the UI. This makes it easy for you to research potential dropshipping products to sell in your store as you can quickly identify products that people love to purchase.

Join Online Communities to Find Products to Dropship

There are tonnes of online communities and forums that you can join and begin to do research through. Facebook has hundreds of open and close communities that can help you understand the needs and wants of people in certain areas of the world. If you want to limit your dropshipping business to a country or region you can restrict your research to groups in these areas. Alternatively, you can open your search to many different areas or just search for niche groups that have people from around the world in them.

There are many worldwide groups and forums around areas like veganism, gardening, fitness, and so many other subjects the list is too long to note. Check these groups out and notice if products or problems are mentioned. If problems are discussed find a product you could sell to overcome this.

Step 2: Find Good Dropshipping Suppliers

Dropshipping suppliers are those who you work with to get the dropshipping products for selling. Finding and choosing good dropshipping suppliers is a critical step that all dropship businesses need to take. Since a bad supplier can destroy all the hard work and credibility that you have achieved. In contrast, a good one will multiply your shop’s value.

What makes a good dropshipping supplier?

To find out good and reliable dropshipping suppliers, you need to consider many factors as below:

Product quality: a quality product means more satisfied customers and more repeat purchases.

Professional and dedicated: the best suppliers and wholesalers have skilled and knowledgeable staff who understand the products they’re selling and the industry they’re in. The staff will help you resolve issues as quickly as possible in a dedicated and professional way.

Organized and efficient: a sign of a good supplier is an error-free fulfillment. Dropshipping suppliers need to schedule shipping times and the delivery times should be punctual without compromising the quality of their products and service.

Good feedback: Most directories and drop shipping platforms have a feedback rating for each supplier. You should also take the time to read the comments and to research the supplier information on a search engine before you strike a partnership. In detail, you should choose suppliers with a feedback score of at least 90%.

Flexible Minimum Order Quantities: Some wholesalers will have a minimum initial order quantity which is the lowest amount you have to purchase your first order. Meeting the minimum order quantity can be challenging especially if you have a limited budget and just starting out with the smallest quantity possible. Hence, you should go for the suppliers that allow you to negotiate with them and make the minimum quantity more flexible.

How to avoid fake Dropshipping suppliers?

Although finding a legal dropshipping supplier, there are a large number of “fake” wholesalers. Below are some factors that will help you decide if a supplier is legitimate.

They want ongoing fees: Real wholesalers don’t charge their customers a monthly fee for the privilege of doing business and ordering from them. If a supplier asks for a monthly membership or service fee, it’s likely that they’re not legitimate. But some legitimate drop shipping fees you’ll likely encounter is “Per-Order Fees” that can range from $2 to $5 or more, depending on the size and complexity of the items being shipped.

They sell to the public: To get genuine wholesale pricing, you’ll need to apply for a wholesale account, prove you’re a legitimate business and be approved before placing your first order. Any wholesale supplier that offers products to the general public at “wholesale prices” is just a retailer offering items at inflated prices.

Test purchase a product first: If you still think a supplier’s reputation is questionable. You can start a partnership and make a test purchase. If the product arrives on-time and meets your requirements, they are most likely a legitimate supplier. If you’re a newbie of dropship-selling, this test purchase also lets you walk through the ordering process from a buyer’s perspective so you can make any modifications to your selling program, too.

Some reliable dropshipping suppliers you may consider

Here are popular sites to look for reliable dropshipping suppliers. Most of them are for free and some require a fee to access their directory.

Alibaba – a Chinese multinational and the world’s largest retailer that has available regional suppliers from 17 countries.

Brandsgateway – Europe’s largest dropshipping supplier of branded clothes and accessories. Shipping worldwide and delivery within 3-5 working days.

AliDropship – a dropshipping supplier with 100К+ trusted suppliers and 100 million products available.

SaleHoo – a supplier directory, an online community for drop shippers, wholesalers, and e-commerce stores with over 8,000 local and global suppliers.

Worldwide Brands – a wholesale & dropship directory with more than 16 million products from over 8,000 suppliers.

Step 3: Create a WooCommerce site

Get a Domain Name

A domain name is your website name, and the address where users can access your eCommerce website.

Selecting a name for your store is undoubtedly the most interesting part of the whole process. Most people love to name things, especially name their businesses. However, the name you choose for your store can have significant effects on your future business. When brainstorming a domain name, you should notice some factors as follows:

  • Easy to pronounce & memorize(Simple)
  • Brandable (Original enough so that people won’t mistake it for any other similar business)
  • As short as possible (No more than three words)
  • Credible (Avoiding a combination of letters and numbers making no sense)

To get a domain name, you can go to Namecheap and follow the steps I mentioned in this guideline.

Register web hosting

Now, you have chosen and got a domain name. The next step is to register website hosting to place your website on the Internet. There are many kinds of website hosting services, each of which is suitable for different types of business. As for a WooCommerce dropshipping site, the web hosting service that may fit all sized-business is cloud hosting such as Cloudways and Siteground because of their scalability, security, and credibility. 

In this article, I will guide you to build a WooCommerce dropshipping store with the web hosting at Cloudways which is one of the leading managed cloud hosting platforms, leverages the resources of several servers to balance your website load by providing hourly cloud hosting packages that only charge you for the amount of time you’ve used. So you can save money while enjoying good hosting service.

Cloudways comes with 4 pricing plans. Based on your need, you can start at any plan, and upgrade it if your business grows.

woocommerce dropshipping

After choosing a hosting plan, you now can register an account with Cloudways by filling up the form below and click Launch Now.

Launch Server

Once you have got a hosting provider and a domain name, it’s time to install WordPress and WooCommerce to launch your server.

If you get Cloudways hosting service, WordPress & WooCommerce are available on your website. If not, download WordPress WooCommerce and install them on your hosting.

Now, Login Cloudways with your account you’ve created, and Launch server by making some customizations as follows:

Enter Server & Application Details

In Cloudways, there are 4 types of WordPress configurations including WordPress with optimization, WordPress with WooCommerce, WordPress Multisite, WordPress without any optimization.

To build a WooCommerce dropshipping, you need to choose the latest version of WordPress with WooCommerce.

Select Cloud Provider

The next step is selecting a cloud provider. Cloudways offers 5 different providers namely DigitalOcean, Linode, VULTR, Aws, and Google Cloud Platform. Based on your needs, you can choose the provider most suitable for your WooCommerce dropshipping site.

Select Server Size

After taking a cloud provider, you need to choose the server size as you desire.

Launch Your Server

Now, click the Launch Now button to set up the server and the application. This process may take some minutes.

woocommerce-dropshipping

Once your server is ready, go to Cloudways Platform and click Applications in the top-left menu to start configuring WordPress & WooCommerce.

Set up WooCommerce

After registering and launching your server, go to Cloudways Platform and click Applications in the top-left menu, then click on My WooCommerce to configure some features of Woocommerce.

Navigate to Access Details > Admin Panel. From there, you can find your login credentials and the URL for the WooCommerce store. Click the URL then a log-in box appears.

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Use the credentials above to log in to the WooCommerce Dashboard.

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In WooCommerce Dashboard, click on the Run the Setup Wizard button to start setting the main information of your WooCommerce store.

Click “Get started” if you want to set up your store with Jetpack (if you chose to use automated tax calculations and live shipping rates later). Or you can Proceed without Jetpack.

Store Details Tab

In this section, you need to enter basic details for your store including location and postcode.

Industry Tab

In this tab, you have to choose the niches of you store.

Product type Tab

Here, you select the type of products you are going to sell. (for a WooCommerce dropshipping store, you may need to choose physical products)

Business Details Tab

In the Business Details tab, WooCommerce asks you to provide other information like the number of products you are going to sell, and if you have sold these products elsewhere. You are also offered some other tools you may need in your store such as Facebook, Mailchimp, Driver.

Theme Tab – Get a Theme fitting your WooCommerce dropshipping site

In the Theme tab, you need to choose a suitable theme for your dropshipping store. There are various free and paid WordPress themes which are verified by WordPress.org. So you can select any theme you like. However, a theme determines how your store looks in front. In other words, choosing a theme means that you are choosing the design and appearance of your eCommerce website.

Hence, you should go for the theme that helps you give customers a good user experience when they visit your Woocommerce dropshipping site and convert more sales.

Here, we propose you Woostify theme, one of the best free and powerful WooCommerce themes that optimize for the conversion. Woostify comes with many awesome features needed in any online store, especially dropshipping sites, such as Ajax Add to Cart, Ajax Search, Mega Menu, Sale Notification, Size Guide, Elementor addons, Quick View, much more.

Especially, Woostify Pro has been recently released a useful, unique feature- WooBuilder which allows users to create their desired single product page, checkout page, shop page, and cart page.

To install Woostify theme to your site, you find Woostify, then click “Choose” under the theme. Once you’ve done, Woostify theme will be immediately installed and activated in your WooCommerce dropshipping store.

Or if you can’t find Woostify in this Theme tab, you can go to Appearance > Themes > Add New. Then find Woostify theme using the search box. Click Install to install the theme now. Once your theme is installed, you can activate it by clicking into the activate button.

Step 4: Customize your WooCommerce Dropshipping store

The next step is to set up your WooCommerce dropshipping store and start selling with some core configurations as follows:

Add your first product

There are 2 main ways to add dropshipping products to your store: using the native WooCommerce interface and getting support from a third-party plugin.

By default, you can import products manually with some clicks. You should choose “Add manually” to add items one by one.

This process is mostly the same as the process of importing a normal product. The part you need to consider is Product data.

If you sell a dropship product, besides products’ images, description, category, shipping, attributes, you need to add linked products but pass unnecessary tabs, such as tax and inventory.

Once you finish adding your first product, you’ll need to repeat the process for other dropshipping items that you want to sell.

There are other ways that simplify the process of adding dropshipping products to your WooCommerce store. For example, if you get dropship products sourcing from AliExpress, then you can install WooDropship which allows you to:

  • Customize and import products from AliExpress to your WooCommerce dropshipping store with very few clicks.
  • Get sales & automatically fulfills orders

For more details, you can take a look at this tutorial to learn how to import products from AliExpress to your WooCommerce dropshipping store.

WooDropship offers you a free trial for the first 7 days and paid plans starting at $19.99 per month. 

Personalize your store

In this section, you can add information to build your WooCommerce dropshipping store brands such as homepage, logo, and other notice (if necessary)

For homepage creating, you can use Woostify theme (mentioned earlier) to design your homepage using the friendly interface and real-time drag-and-drop editing of the Elementor page builder.

Go to Appearance → Customize to configure the theme or navigate to the Edit With Elementor to edit any other page of your site by using Elementor.

Set up shipping

In the Shipping area, you can configure how WooCommerce handles shipping rates for your products.

For dropshipping stores, shipping can be more tricky because you might have products sourced from various dropshipping suppliers. So there might be different shipping calculations.

From our perspectives, we recommend choosing either the Flat Rate or Free Shipping option, because they can encourage sales. For example, you can boost your sales by only offering free shipping when your customer spends over $100 on your store, and offer a flat rate for any purchase under $100.

Setting the shipping rate for an individual item is so easy with just one click when importing that product to your store. How about adding the shipping rate for multiple products?

Go to “WooCommerce > Settings”. In Settings, choose Shipping tab, then click in Add Shipping Zone to set up another shipping rate.

Now, you can set up new shipping zone for various regions.

In Zone name, you type “Free Shipping” if you offer free shipping, and “flat rate” if you offer a flat rate, or “Local pickup” if you offer flexible shipping rate based on the product’s weights, sizes, and customers’ locations, etc.

Zone regions are the regions you want to apply the shipping zone.

After you have added Free Shipping, scroll down click to the page bottom, click on “Add Shipping Method”.

After that, in a popup box, you choose the shipping method corresponding to the zone name you have created.

Remember to save all changes you have made.

Set up Tax rate

Here, you can set up a tax rate manually for your WooCommerce dropshipping store or have Automated Taxes calculation enabled by connecting to WordPress.com. It allows you to enable/disable automated VAT.

Set up Payment

Here, you can choose the payment gateways used in your store. By default, there are Stripe and PayPal available on your WooCommerce dropshipping store. They are good options for most stores. However, you can also add other different gateways to make your payment methods more flexible.

Step 5: Build trust and authenticity for your WooCommerce dropshipping store

As mentioned earlier, when a store sells products using the dropshipping model, it sources the item from third-party suppliers and has it picked, packed, and shipped directly to the customers. If your visitors have just one shadow of doubt in your store, then it is most likely that they won’t buy anything from you. Hence, to attract more customers to buy products from you, not other stores, you need to make your WooCommerce dropshipping site more authentic and credible.

Here are four ways to add trust and authenticity to your dropshipping store.

About Us’ page

Think of all the things you’d like to know before giving a business your money. In a dropshipping site, besides your identity, address, contact information, company history, you need to

  • Mention when the company was founded.
  • Mention about all the systems of drop shipping that you are into. 
  • Mention the licenses that you have.

Social proofs

Visitors seek advice from other people before they buy a product. This is because they are more inclined to buy a product with high social proofs like positive reviews or huge orders. You can use the power of social proof using Sale notification available on Woostify. It shows popups of a recent sale and the total number of sales in the corner of the website, serving as evidence that other shoppers have already bought the product, pushing the hesitating customers to buy your products.

SEO improvement

If visitors see your online store at a results page for the first time, but your page title and description seem to not related to what they are looking for, then they will unlikely click your site because of the lack of credibility and trust. Valuable, SEO-optimized content published on your site can not only boost your rankings on search engines but also help you increase trust in visitors.

You can improve SEO for your WooCommerce dropshipping store by providing the quality content relevant to the site which meets the user’s need. For this purpose, you can install an SEO plugin and have it optimize SEO for your dropship store.

Dedicated support

Good customer service isn’t something you can earn immediately, but it will be proven consistently over time. A responsive dropship store owner will build trust in your brand and in your WooCommerce dropshipping store. You should respond to customer questions and comments in a timely, professional manner.

Step 6: Consider other WooCommerce dropshipping plugins to extend your store

In addition to the plugin I mentioned earlier, there are many other dropship plugins available for you to expand and grow your WooCommerce dropshipping stores, such as Beeketing for WooCommerce, Spocket, WooDropship, and more. These plugins allow you to run a WooCommerce dropshipping store while offering your customers a seamless UX. For more details, you can take a look at the best WooCommerce dropshipping plugins and top free WordPress plugins that we did search and summary to help you find the best solution for your dropshipping business.

Conclusion

We have presented our ultimate guide to creating a WooCommerce dropshipping store! Hopefully, this article will be a help for you to start your dropship business.

In order to take the store to the next level, simply add more products and start promoting them with some useful marketing strategies like utilizing social media, investing in Facebook or Google ads. And if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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