If you believe that dropshipping is what's written in the stars for you, then hitch your wagon to our attempt at an ultimate WooCommerce-based dropshipping guide to aid eCommerce rookies struggling at this venture. We're here to pave your way towards building a profitable eCommerce store.
For starters, let's turn your WordPress website into an eCommerce website using the plugins WooCommerce and AliDropship. You may not know it, but this is the best combo if you want to embark on WooCommerce Dropshipping.
Wondering what makes WooCommerce superior for dropshipping over Shopify?
- It's the most popular way of building an eCommerce store.
- If you're a newbie and very conscious of the budget, WooCommerce has the lowest entry costs or even freemium plans.
- It has no limitations and restrictions on the products that you would like to sell (Shopify stores ask the users to follow their Terms of Service and Payment Terms, or you have to pay an extra 2% fee on all of your transactions).
Since this is a long and detailed dropshipping guide, we have broken it down into different sections that you can navigate to by using the navigation below:
What is Dropshipping?
Let's talk about the basics first. What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a supply chain management method where a seller doesn’t keep a stock of the specific product on their store. Instead, sellers transfer the customer order to a third-party or other wholesalers who then directly ship the goods to the customer.
So, how will you, as a drop shipper or a retailer, earn?
You make a profit from the difference between the wholesale price and the retail price. Sometimes, you can earn on a commission basis based on their agreement to the wholesaler.
Dropshipping lessens the worries of having a warehouse or purchasing inventory in bulk.
What are the main advantages of dropshipping?
There are a lot of advantages to patronizing the dropshipping business compared to the traditional business scheme. In the traditional system, the seller stocks his products in his warehouse, creates a website, and when a customer buys from his website, the seller gets the product in the warehouse and sends it to the customer. When you go with dropshipping, here are the perks:
- Requires low investment and overhead – unlike the traditional business, which requires substantial capital to start purchasing the stocks to sell, other fees such as storage fees, signage, and other requirements.
- Easy to get started – building an eCommerce website is much easier than traditional ones. You don’t have to worry about lease agreements of your store, shipping providers, tracking inventory for accounting purposes, and many more.
- Flexible location – as eCommerce dropshipping business, you don’t have to worry about being locked up to business locations. You can transfer anytime you prefer.
- Scalability – the only thing you need to scale is your capability to offer customer support and satisfaction.
What are the disadvantages of dropshipping?
The major downside of this type of business is the profit and margin, which can target you in two ways:
- Your supplier might charge a higher price since they handle product fulfillment.
- If your product is not too unique and easy to sell, you might find a lot of competitors in this industry, and they might offer lower pricing to the customers. This factor can also hurt your margins.
Shipping problems, supplier errors, and inventory issues are also among the disadvantages of dropshipping. If your supplier messed up with the order, you, as a dropshipper, will be accountable for the blame and mistake.
Elements that you need to start dropshipping
Dropshipping isn’t the perfect business, but it's great for entrepreneurs who want to start an online selling business.
So, what are the things you need to start that dropshipping business?
Element #1: Dropshipping products and suppliers
Of course, you should always start on finding the quality products that you can dropship. Now, there are two things to consider:
- The product itself – You have to think and find products that are in demand in your niche market. Find a product that people want but don’t have a lot of competitor sellers.
- A reliable supplier – The supplier has a tremendous impact on your business. You have to find the right supplier not just because he offers the products, but he should also be reliable when it comes to shipment and timeliness.
Element #2: Your eCommerce store
After finding the right supplier and product for your business, you need to start an eCommerce store where you can display and sell your products.
Most sellers do their dropshipping business on Amazon or eBay, but the competition there is stiff. So, I don't recommend it.
You can just create your eCommerce store with your own personal touch of uniqueness. You'll lose the built-in audience of Amazon, but it has definitely more advantages:
- You can have your own branding – With your own store, you don’t have to compete directly to the sellers to offer the same products unlike in Amazon or eBay.
- You can build long-term assets – With your own eCommerce marketing channel, you can create your email list, which is considered to be one of the highest returns on investment.
- You’re in control – You don’t have to worry since you own the store and you take full control of it. So, issues with Amazon or eBay won’t affect you.
Why WooCommerce over Shopify
Well, Shopify is too commercialized, which means they have a quality marketing team paid through commission. Their commission is covered when you pay for the signup fee on this platform.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a free tool that you can use to build your eCommerce store. It's a built-in platform on WordPress and one of the most popular eCommerce plugins in WordPress.
Even if you're a newbie, you can create and run a unique, professional online store from your WordPress website, as it doesn’t require technical knowledge, and it's almost effortless to use. Head over to our step-by-step guide on setting up a WooCommerce site, if you want to know more.
Main Reasons Why WooCommerce is Better
WordPress and WooCommerce are definitely free! All you have to do to run a WooCommerce store is to purchase your own web hosting, which should reflect as an investment. It only takes $5 per month depending on the package that you will need.
If the budget is too tight right now, you don’t have to worry since WooCommerce is a free plugin. You can launch an online store with less than $100. Better hosting and an upgrade to the WooCommerce premium version can come later when your business starts to pick up.
On the other hand, Shopify requires $29 per month. Shopify doesn’t mind if your business is just starting or your sales don’t grow; they’re still going to take the $29 per month. Premium Shopify themes start at $140 per month.
If you want to have more features to place on your store, they will surely charge a rate for whichever apps you want to add on the enhancement of your store. So, if you’re looking for a less cost startup, WooCommerce is the best for you.
Cheap? Yes, WooCommerce might be popular to be called cheap, but when it comes to its features, it's the bomb!
WooCommerce offers more flexibility than Shopify. On Shopify, you can only do what they want you to do with minimal access. But, on WooCommerce, you can do whatever you want, with a wide array of access on this platform.
You don’t have to worry about being technically knowledgeable to be flexible. WooCommerce and WordPress offer a lot of plugins that you can choose from, whether free or premium ones. You can select as many plugins as you want. Any plugins you can think of, you can apply to make your online shop edgier than what your competitors have.
3. No product restrictions
WooCommerce is not just free when it comes to payment, but it also gives you the freedom to sell the products that you want.
Shopify asks you to abide by their terms of service, which means some items are not allowed to be sold on this platform. Shopify also has a built-in payment system, but they don’t restrict you not to use it. Another thing is if you prefer to use a different payment gateway, they will charge you 2% for every transaction that you conduct.
Some products that are prohibited in Shopify are hair extensions, sex toys, e-cigarettes, etc.
When you choose to use Shopify, keep in mind that you need to abide by someone else’s rules and if they decide to change their provisions, you’re screwed and stuck.
Compared to WooCommerce, it's open-source software. You are the one who will create your own rules, without any restriction on the products that you like to sell. You can even choose from a variety of payment gateway plugins.
What You Need to Create a WooCommerce Dropshipping Store
Now, here are the things that you need if you decide to create your dropshipping store with WooCommerce.
1. Hosting and Domain Name
A domain name is typically the permanent address that identifies you on the internet. For example, mydropshipstore.com.
Here's the tip. Your domain name must be:
If you now own a domain name, the next thing on the list is web hosting. Find a reliable hosting provider that will store your files in their servers. A powerful hosting service will make your WordPress/WooCommerce site run without issues.
If you haven’t decided yet on web hosting, check out SiteGround because they offer:
- Affordable Price – for the whole year, you only have to pay $70.
- Great Performance – who wouldn’t want to have a quick page load? Well, SiteGround offers it too!
- Free SSL Certificate – one of the essentials on building an eCommerce store is an SSL Certificate. With SiteGround, they offer it to their subscribers for free.
- Easy WordPress Installation – you can start building your store at your own convenience.
- Excellent Support via live chat and phone – in case you face troubles, their support team are always there to assist you.
SiteGround also gives you an option to purchase your domain name for only $15 per year. Not bad, right?
2. WordPress and WooCommerce Plugin
WordPress and WooCommerce Plugin can be downloaded at WordPress.org for free. You have to download both softwares on your host, but if you choose SiteGround as your web hosting, they will do everything for you.
3. A Conversion-Oriented WordPress/WooCommerce Theme
The percentage of website visitors that makes a purchase are your store’s conversion rate. If you want to have a higher conversion, you have to consider purchasing a WooCommerce theme that can help you with that.
Premium themes can be purchased starting at $60 to $100, but if you are on a tight budget, there are plenty of free WooCommerce themes to choose from.
4. Optional: A Dedicated WooCommerce Dropshipping Plugin
This one depends on the type of business you want to build with your suppliers. If you want to expand your store on bigger products, you should select a dedicated WooCommerce Plugin that directly connects you to the AliExpress Suppliers.
But, if you’re selling only a few products with a single supplier, you may stick to the normal WooCommerce Functionality.
How to Find DropShipping Suppliers and Products
Here are some things to consider in finding the right supplier and products that will maximize your profits.
How to Know If a Product is Good to Dropship
Every retailer is looking for a product that is good to dropship. Two relevant pointers in choosing a product that has the potential to be successful in dropshipping:
- Products that are fairly well-known in the market but has few competitors.
- Products that have competitive pricing, so that you can add up enough margins to grow your business.
If you're a newbie to the dropshipping industry, what I recommend is to sell in a niche that you're accustomed to. It's much easier because you already understand the market.
Consider Products That Are Under $200
Start researching on products that are under $200 only. Why? Because this price range is much easier to sell. You'd rather pay $200 for a product rather than paying about $600, right? It would take a lot more time and effort to convince buyers to buy an expensive product.
Take consideration of the refunds, too. If you sell your products which are lower than $200, some buyers who received a defective product will ask for a refund. Giving refunds lower than $200 is not too painful for a seller.
Plus, be aware of products with MAP (minimum advertised price). This means you are limited in setting your own cost for that product.
Be Aware of The Size of The Product
It is crucial to consider the dimensions of the products that you will sell. Most of the products are from China, which will take more days before it arrives at the customer.
If you choose a large-sized product, shipping fee will be much higher. Some of the shipping providers give a limit to the sizes and weight of the products. Like ePacket shipping, they can only ship a maximum of 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds), depending on the dimensions.
If you are planning to purchase products from AliExpress or any other Chinese dropshipping suppliers, consider the weight and dimension of the products that you will sell are within the measurement guidelines of ePacket.
Where to Search for Products
If you need some ideas for products to dropship, you can check out some recommendations here:
- Go to Amazon.com and look for product ideas. It's a good place to start since Amazon takes 50% of consumers' product searches, now dominating Google.
- You can also look at the trending products on social shopping sites such as Wish, Massdrop, and Fab.
- Consider using keyword research tools such as Keyword Planner and KWFinder to know which products are mostly searched in Google. If you want to see the demand changes of a product, try using Google Trends.
Finding Suppliers for Dropshipping on The Products That You Choose
Once you’re done deciding on the product that you will sell, start searching for the best suppliers of your products for your dropshipping store.
Here are some recommendations:
AliExpress – It's the most popular online source of suppliers from China. You can find a dedicated WooCommerce plugin that directly connects you to the suppliers in AliExpresss.
SaleHoo – helps you to research good suppliers for your products through their supplier directory.
Google – of course! Google has it all. The only thing is it might show a not so reliable supplier. It is better to browse thoroughly in finding the right supplier for you.
WorldWide Brands – It's a large directory of certified wholesalers and dropshippers. You have to join the membership for $224 life access to the directory.
Local TradeShows – attending trade shows is also a good avenue for meeting different suppliers and manufacturers.
In picking the best supplier, make sure that they are dedicated to the timeline of the shipping, maintain a healthy communication, and the quality of the product is ensured as it brings satisfaction to the customers.
Step-By-Step Guide in Creating Your Dropshipping Store Using WooCommerce
1. Sign Up for Hosting
If you're still at the planning stage of your dropshipping business and haven't got a hosting yet, SiteGround is one that I recommend.
In the signup process, you can start registering your Domain Name for your eCommerce store will only cost you for $15.95 per year. If you already have a domain, you can simply select the “I already have a domain” option.
Fill out the basic account details and payment information form to complete the registration process.
Once you're done, you can now start installing WordPress and WooCommerce plugin. Since you’re using SiteGround as your host, installing WordPress and WooCommerce is very easy. Just a few clicks and you’re done with the first step.
2. Configure WooCommerce
At this stage when WordPress and WooCommerce plugin are already installed, you can now configure your WooCommerce from your WordPress dashboard. Simply go to the WooCommerce Setup Wizard and
Store Setup Tab
This stage is entering the basic details of your store like the address or location, the currency you accept as payment and type of products you will sell. Since you're into dropshipping, select physical products.
In this section, you have to configure which payment system you want to agree on. By default, they have Stripe and PayPal as a payment gateway.
If you want to use Stripe, WooCommerce can set up a Stripe account for you. Just tick the checkbox and enter your email address.
Another thing when using WooCommerce, you can choose any payment gateway without paying additional fees compared to Shopify.
For newbies, you can choose either Live Rates or Flat Rate option on the shipment. But, as your business grows, you have to establish your shipping rate options since each dropshipping supplier is different.
On this tab, I suggest unchecking most of the options since there are much better options that you can use for your online store.
If you chose the automated tax calculations and live shipping rates, you will be asked to activate Jetpack. But, if you don't want this to be installed on your website, you can click on the Skip This Step link.
Once you're done configuring your WooCommerce, you'll get a success screen, and you can now move forward to selecting a theme for your online store.
3. Choosing Your DropShipping Theme
Picking a great theme will have a monumental impact on the conversion rate of your website. It will attract more customers and website viewers. I recommend using the Astra theme. It's well-known as the fastest and most reliable free WordPress Theme. As luck would have it, we have a comprehensive review of the Astra theme you might want to leaf through.
Using Astra as your website theme will save your time in customizing your website. It provides tons of layouts that you can manage with your personal touch. Astra is considered as the most lightweight theme in the market that makes the website performance even better and reliable.
It is a user-friendly theme that you don’t have to crack codes to make your store professionally-done. You can customize it easily and hassle-free. It provides pre-built website samples that you can choose from and customize it the way you want it to be done.
4. Start Adding Your Products at Your Page
Once you're done configuring your website and choosing the right theme for you. It’s time to add your products to your online store!
Adding products mainly depends on which type of product you are selling.
- If you're selling only a few products, you can use the default WooCommerce system to manage your products.
Simply go to Products then Add New in your dashboard and start fulfilling the product information.
At the lower section of the product page, you'll see the Product Data section where you can select the product type, pricing, shipping, and other options.
Once you’re finished, click on the Publish button. If you want to add more products, simply repeat the same process.
I'd recommend using WooCommerce Dropshipping Suppliers Pro to help you manage your products, primarily when you sourced the goods from different suppliers. You can create a list of all your suppliers, as well as assign them to corresponding products that they ship for you. You can also send automatic notifications to your suppliers when someone buys the product from your site. You can even import reports of your product inventory.
- If you are getting your products from AliExpress, you might consider a WooCommerce dropshipping plugin that allows you to run your dropshipping store on autopilot.
You can try WooDropship plugin for free for 7 days. After the trial period, pricing starts at $14 per month.
What does it do? Well, you can automatically add AliExpress products to your WooCommerce store and decide your own pricing. You'll also receive automatic notifications, once the product you're sourcing has a price change or zero stock, so you can immediately update your store. You'll get the product images from AliExpress and edit them using the in-app image editor.
Order fulfillment is also automated, which means once your customer buys from you, the product is automatically added to AliExpress cart with the customer details and it ships for you.
5. Other WooCommerce Plugins That Can Help You
You already have a full-functional dropshipping store. But since you're using WordPress and WooCommerce, you can install some more plugins to help you skyrocket your business.
Find plugins that can help you:
- Optimize the SEO ranking of your store with the help of plugins such as Yoast SEO
- Create different form types
- Email customers who have abandoned their carts
- Create Email List
What is AliDropship?
Another plugin that you can use to integrate with AliExpress with your WooCommerce store is the AliDropship. WooDropship and AliDropship have few common features, but AliDropship functions in both WordPress and WooCommerce, while WooDropship is for WooCommerce only.
It is also one of the most well-known eCommerce plugins for AliExpress Dropshipping business model. AliDropship gives an opportunity for every entrepreneur to sell products based on AliExpress. It is a WordPress plugin that turns your website into a dropshipping store that directly imports products from AliExpress.
It offers a wide variety of features such as unlimited product importing, unlimited automated order fulfillment, pricing automation, auto-updates of product information, and much more.
AliDropship has a one-time membership fee starting from $89. This includes Built-In Themes, Product Customization, Unlimited Number of Product, Product Variations, and WooCommerce Support.
You can still select tons of themes at WooCommerce by selecting the WooCommerce version of AliDropship plugin. The one-time payment membership fee includes all features without limitations of what you want to use.
AliDropship Best Features:
- As a newbie, you can simply start your dropshipping store with its pre-built themes. You can also integrate WooCommerce for more open source and customizable system.
- Chrome Extension – AliDropship is a chrome extension where you can automatically import AliExpress products directly to your online store.
- It provides data entry automation for fulfilling orders.
- Easy installation – you can install this plugin by simply downloading the zip file and uploading the plugin to your WordPress website.
- 100% Store Ownership – unlike any other plugins, AliDropship store ownership is guaranteed since it is run through the use of WordPress website.
- Importing Product Reviews – this feature is great, especially as proof that the product that you are selling has a good quality. For some plugins, they don’t have this kind of feature, or you have to pay extra for this.
How to Install AliDropship Plugin
Once you've purchased the AliDropship Plugin, you can go to your WordPress dashboard. In the Plugins menu, click on Add New and Upload Plugin. Browse the .zip file and click on Install Now.
Once installed, you can now Activate the plugin.
Please note that this plugin does not work with WooCommerce themes, so you have to switch to the AliDropship built-in themes. There are free themes that you can simply download and install on your website.
Once the theme is set up, you can now enter your license key and activate.
WooCommerce and AliDropship are both great plugins to use. But if you’re a beginner with limited capital, I suggest that you use WooCommerce, since it’s a free and feature-rich plugin.
The AliDropship plugin works well to manage your new dropshipping store, directly coordinating with AliExpress Suppliers is invaluable for business owners. If you want to be hassle-free in managing product uploads and coordinating with AliExpress suppliers, you can invest in AliDropship plugin. Their wide array of features and themes are the irresistible bonus to this investment.
Its one-time payment option might be a potential deal-breaker for new store owners, but it will be all worth it because of its top-notch features.
So, go ahead and get your dropshipping business running.