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Updated On :
March 21, 2024

How to Start Dropshipping: The Ultimate Guide for New Entrepreneurs

March 21, 2024
How to Start Dropshipping

Dreamt of owning an online store but overwhelmed by upfront costs? Dropshipping could be your answer! This model lets you launch an e-commerce store without managing inventory or shipping. You connect customers with a supplier who handles everything from storage to fulfillment.

The exciting part? The dropshipping market is booming, expected to reach a staggering $301 billion in 2024. Plus, over 27% of retailers already leverage its advantages. Dropshipping offers a low barrier to entry into a rapidly growing industry.

Ready to turn your entrepreneurial dream into reality? This how to start dropshipping guide will equip you with everything you need to start your dropshipping journey!

What is a Dropshipping Business?

Dropshipping business lets you sell online without stocking inventory. You manage the store (marketing, sales, customer service) while a supplier warehouses and ships products directly to your customer. This offers a low-cost entry to e-commerce but comes with lower profits and less control over fulfillment.

How does the Dropshipping Business Model work?

how to start dropshipping

The dropshipping business model allows you to sell products online without managing inventory or directly fulfilling orders yourself. Here’s a breakdown of the key players and how it works:

You (The Dropshipper): You act as the store owner and the middleman, creating the online storefront and handling the marketing and customer service. You’ll set the product prices on your store, which will include your profit margin.

The Supplier: This is the company that holds the inventory of the products you’re selling. When a customer places an order on your store, you’ll purchase the product from the supplier, typically at wholesale pricing.

The Customer: They browse your online store, find products they like, and place an order. They pay you the price you set.

Here’s the order fulfillment process:

  • Customer Orders: A customer places an order on your online store.


  • Forwarding the Order: You receive the order notification and forward it to the supplier, along with any customer specifications (color, size, etc.). You’ll also pay the supplier for the product at their wholesale cost.


  • Supplier Fulfills Order: The supplier receives your order, packages the product, and ships it directly to the customer. They handle the packaging, shipping labels, and postage.


  • Customer Receives Order: The customer receives the product without knowing it originated from a different source. They only interact with your brand.

Your Key Responsibilities:

  • Product Selection & Pricing: You’ll research and choose in-demand products that align with your niche and brand. You’ll also set competitive prices that factor in your profit margin.


  • Marketing & Customer Service: You’ll drive traffic to your store through marketing efforts and provide excellent customer service to build trust and brand loyalty.

In essence, you’re the curator and marketer, while the supplier acts as your warehouse and fulfillment center. This allows you to focus on growing your business without the upfront costs of inventory or managing physical products.

What are the Advantages of Dropshipping?

how to start dropshipping

Dropshipping shines for aspiring e-commerce entrepreneurs seeking to learn How to Start an E-commerce Business. Here’s why:

  • Low Startup Costs: No hefty upfront inventory means lower financial risk. Perfect for testing product ideas!
  • Flexibility & Scalability: Manage from anywhere with an internet connection and scale easily as you grow.
  • Wider Product Variety: Offer a vast selection without storage limitations.
  • Easier to Get Started: Less setup and complexity compared to traditional retail. Focus on marketing and customer service.
  • Low Overhead Costs:  Skip the expenses of a physical store and its staff, boosting your profit margins.

Bonus: Dropshipping allows you to be a location-independent entrepreneur and experiment with product lines at a lower risk.

How to Start Dropshipping in 5 steps:

how to start dropshipping

1. Profitable Niches:

Forget being a generic store! Leverage market research tools like Google Trends or social listening platforms to discover trending products with a healthy profit margin. Identify gaps in the market that align with your interests and knowledge. 

Remember, passion for your niche fuels better marketing and exceptional customer service, both crucial for long-term success.  Consider factors like competition level, target audience interests, and product seasonality when making your choice.

2. Source Reliable Suppliers:

They’re the backbone of your business. Look for established suppliers with a proven track record of excellent customer service, high-quality products, and competitive pricing. Explore platforms like Alibaba or Doba, or contact wholesalers directly. Request samples to ensure product quality aligns with your brand image.

3. Build Your User-Friendly Online Store:

Your storefront is your brand’s digital home. Choose a user-friendly E-commerce Platforms For Your Online Store like Shopify or WooCommerce that integrates seamlessly with your chosen supplier. Prioritize a clean, professional design with high-quality photos and compelling product descriptions that highlight the unique features and benefits of your offerings. Don’t forget a smooth checkout process to minimize cart abandonment.

4. Become a Marketing Mastermind:

In the crowded world of e-commerce, effective marketing is essential to attract customers. Utilize a mix of organic and paid strategies. Master social media marketing by creating engaging content that resonates with your target audience.  Learn search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to increase your organic ranking in search results. 

Consider paid advertising platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads to reach a wider audience, but ensure you target the right demographics to maximize your return on investment.  How to Start Dropshipping 

5. Prioritize Customer Service:

Excellent customer service builds trust and loyalty, which are goldmines in the e-commerce world. Respond promptly to inquiries on various platforms, handle returns efficiently, and go the extra mile to create a positive customer experience. This could include offering helpful tutorials, answering product questions in detail, or even including a handwritten thank-you note with orders. Remember, a happy customer is a repeat customer, and positive word-of-mouth marketing is free advertising!

Dropshipping is a journey, not a destination. Stay updated on industry trends, analyze your results using website analytics tools, and adapt your strategies for continued growth. There’s always room for improvement, so be prepared to learn, test, and refine your approach to build a successful dropshipping business. 

Different types of Dropshipping

While product reselling is the dropshipping staple, there are exciting variations:

  • Classic Reselling: Source products, list them online, and outsource fulfillment.

  • Business Extensions: Add dropshipping products to your existing store’s offerings.

  • Print on Demand (POD): Design custom products (t-shirts etc.) and partner with a supplier who prints and fulfills orders.

  • Product Creation: Craft unique products, partner with a dropshipper for fulfillment, and enjoy higher profit margins and brand control.

Choose the model that aligns with your skills and goals! Consider factors like interests, investment capital, and desired level of brand control. With the right approach, dropshipping can be a launchpad for your e-commerce success.

Pros and Cons of Dropshipping

Pros:                  How to Start Dropshipping

  • Low Startup Costs: No need to buy and store inventory upfront. This minimizes financial risk and allows you to test product ideas easily.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: Manage your business from anywhere with an internet connection. Scale your product offerings effortlessly as your business grows.
  • Wide Product Variety: Offer a vast selection of products without worrying about storage limitations.
  • Easy to Get Started: Less complex setup compared to traditional retail models. Focus your energy on marketing and customer service.
  • Low Overhead Costs: Eliminate expenses associated with a physical store and its staff, potentially boosting your profit margins.


  • Lower Profit Margins: Due to competition and supplier markups, dropshipping profits can be smaller compared to traditional retail models.
  • Limited Control over Quality and Fulfillment: You rely on the supplier for product quality, packaging, and shipping timelines. This can impact customer experience.
  • Less Brand Identity: Since products often come with generic packaging, it can be challenging to build a strong brand identity.    How to Start Dropshipping
  • Inventory Management Challenges: You might face stockouts if your supplier has inventory issues, leading to frustrated customers.
  • Higher Dependence on Marketing: Since you don’t control product placement or pricing as much, effective marketing is crucial for driving sales.

5 Best Dropshipping Platforms

Choosing the right platform is crucial for the success of your dropshipping business. Here are the top 5 best dropshipping platforms to consider:

1. Shopify

how to start dropshipping

Undisputedly the most popular platform for dropshipping, Shopify offers a user-friendly interface, a vast app store with tons of integrations, and a robust ecosystem for building and managing your online store. It boasts a large selection of dropshipping apps like Spocket and Oberlo that seamlessly integrate product sourcing and order fulfillment into your Shopify store.    How to Start Dropshipping

2. Spocket

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Specifically designed for dropshipping, Spocket offers a curated selection of high-quality products from US and EU suppliers, with fast shipping times. It integrates seamlessly with Shopify, allowing you to import products directly into your store and manage orders efficiently. Spocket also offers features like real-time inventory updates and automatic order fulfillment.

3. BigCommerce

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Another popular choice for dropshipping businesses, BigCommerce offers a powerful and scalable platform with built-in features like product reviews, abandoned cart recovery, and SEO tools. It also integrates with various dropshipping apps and marketplaces. BigCommerce is a good option for businesses that anticipate high sales volume and require a feature-rich platform.                 How to Start Dropshipping

4. Wix

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Wix is a popular website builder known for its user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. While not exclusively focused on dropshipping, it offers a user-friendly platform with built-in ecommerce functionalities and integrates with several dropshipping apps like Spocket and Doba. Wix is a good option for beginners who want a simple and affordable way to start a dropshipping business.    How to Start Dropshipping

5. WooCommerce

how to start dropshipping

WooCommerce is a free, open-source plugin that transforms your WordPress website into a fully functional online store. It offers a high degree of customization and flexibility, but requires some technical knowledge to set up and manage. WooCommerce integrates with several dropshipping plugins, giving you more control over product sourcing and order fulfillment.

Can you start Dropshipping with no Money

how to start dropshipping

While dropshipping offers a low-cost entry point, starting with no money requires extra creativity. Here’s how to get your store rolling:

  • Free Trials & Freemium Tools: Don’t underestimate the power of free trials! Platforms like Shopify offer temporary access to build your online store foundation. Similarly, explore dropshipping suppliers with free plans or no upfront fees. Remember, these might have limitations, so choose strategically.


  • Social Media Marketing Mastery: Social media is your free marketing playground.  Craft engaging content showcasing your products on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Utilize hashtags to connect with a wider audience and consider contests to generate buzz.


  • Content Marketing Magic:  Write informative blog posts or design eye-catching infographics related to your niche. Share them on social media or relevant websites. This establishes you as an authority and attracts customers searching for valuable information. How to Start Dropshipping


  • Free SEO Strategies: Leverage free keyword research tools to identify what your target audience searches for. Optimize your product descriptions and website content with these keywords to improve your organic search ranking. Additionally, reach out to bloggers in your niche and offer valuable guest posts. This can earn backlinks to your store, boosting your search authority for free.

This approach requires resourcefulness and strategic planning. But with dedication, you can leverage free resources, prioritize organic marketing, and build a solid foundation for your dropshipping business, even on a shoestring budget. Remember, reinvesting some profits later can unlock advanced features and further growth!

In Conclusion

Building a thriving dropshipping business takes time. Cash flow might not be immediate, but by tracking key metrics, you can optimize your store for long-term success. How to Start Dropshipping

As you grow, consider leveraging marketing tools like Mailchimp. It helps nurture customer relationships, showcase products, and position your brand as the perfect solution. Embrace data and the right tools – they’ll be your secret weapons on the road to dropshipping mastery!

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