It all depends on your needs. But here are some scenarios, along with your best dropshipping option In our opinion:
- If you want to sell items worldwide with access to a wide range of suppliers, your best bet is likely to be Oberlo. Whether you want to sell just one type of product or a wider selection of products, you will have no problem finding your suppliers at Oberlo.
- If you want to sell items from US or European suppliers, try Spocket.
- If you want to sell products through branded suppliers, try Modalyst.
- For products printed on-demand, choose one of Printful, Printify, or Gooten.
- Want to get started quickly and sell Amazon products? Go with Spreadr, but this will be an affiliate agreement, instead of dropshipping.
- Finally, if you want to sell coffee, Dripshipper!
With apps out of the way, now let’s talk about how to actually build your own Shopify dropshipping store.
How to set up a dropshipping store with Shopify step by step
Having chosen your ideal tool from above, you can now finally start building your dream Shopify dropshipping store. There are a few steps to do this. We will examine them one by one.
Here is the overview:
- Understanding how all the tools fit together
- Choosing a niche and target market
- Choosing a name for your store
- Signing up for Shopify and setting up the basics, connecting a domain name
- Install the dropshipping app and set it up
- Choosing products that really sell
- Adding products to your store
- Working on store design and serving your ideal customer
- Creating essential pages for your ecommerce website
- Fine-tuning shop navigation
- Setting up payments
- Launching the store to the public and testing if everything works
1. Understanding how all the tools fit together
Technically speaking, a dropshipping e-commerce store works just like any other e-commerce store, with the main difference: when an order is received, it is immediately transferred to the supplier, instead of being handled personally by you .
That said, all of this may sound not specific enough to really understand what a dropshipping store looks like behind the curtains. So, let’s just discuss the main elements here briefly. This will help us to feel more comfortable with the store later.
There are five main elements of a Shopify dropshipping store:
- Shopify if. It is the main platform that enables your e-commerce operations. Shopify is the tool that allows your store to exist online and for your customers to find it. Think of it as your store’s operating system. In other words, your iPhone has iOS and your eCommerce store has Shopify.
- A dropshipping app. We have listed the best Shopify dropshipping apps above. A dropshipping app is responsible for “getting” products from the supplier and allowing you to import them into your store and list them for sale.
- Payment processing. This is what makes your operation possible from the point of view of collecting money. Payment processing is not always an integral part of Shopify as it depends on the dropshipping app you choose and the payment model used by that app.
- Dropshipping suppliers. Your suppliers connect to you through the dropshipping app. In most cases, you do not need to be in direct contact with your suppliers outside the dropshipping environment.
- Products. You have no products in your inventory, but only import the product listings for your store. These listings are from the vendors but are brought in by the dropshipping app.
Here’s how all of these elements fit together:
You don’t need to be an expert on all of this, but the goal here is just to have a general understanding of how dropshipping setup is performed in practice.
With that, we can move on to the fun things:
2. Choosing a general niche and target market so that you can start dropshipping
The real first step when building a Shopify The dropshipping store is finding out what you are really going to sell – how to choose a niche .
There are a few ways to address this challenge. Some dropshippers follow their instinct and simply start looking for any niche that they find personally interesting. Others resort to good old market research and base their decisions mainly on that.
The best of both worlds is to do something in between. Start with your initial idea and then turn it into a model dropshipping business with research.
Here’s how to do it:
First, decide the general market you want to face. This can be as general as clothing , electronics , home improvement , programs , apps , sports , video games , beauty and personal care , etc.
We are doing this for a few reasons.
- First, this is where we are going to restrict things using some useful online research tools.
- Second, our niche choice will define the specifics of Shopify dropshipping apps that we will use later (if you haven’t already chosen it, see the list of top apps above).
Just to give an example, my seed niche is personal electronics. I can take that niche and use it as a seed keyword in KWFinder. KWFinder is an interesting tool that accepts any phrase you enter and provides a number of related keywords, plus some metrics that describe the viability of those keywords. KWFinder is a premium tool, but it offers a free trial to test things out. After inserting “personal electronics” in the box, KWFinder shows me a whole set of related terms:
What you see in the “Search” column is the popularity of a particular keyword. The numbers represent the average monthly search volume for the keyword. Although you receive a different recommendation from each specialist, I would say that a viable niche starts with 10,000 monthly surveys.
As you can see, my term “personal electronics” is not very popular. But we can browse the list to find something better. An interesting keyword that is on the list is “best electronic gadgets”. When I click on it, the search is redone and now I see the numbers for that new keyword. Doing this a few times – going from one keyword to another and looking at the numbers – I came up with an interesting term, “gadgets for men”.
It sounds like a promising term, especially considering that it is also easy to classify, according to KWFinder – you can see the keyword’s difficulty level in the image above.
Now let’s take that potential niche and run it through another tool, Google Trends. This tells the popularity of a particular term over time. Essentially, you don’t want to enter a niche that is downstream. You want to insert something that is increasing or that has a strong and steady flow of interested people. This is what Google Trends shows me when I look for “gadgets for men” and set the graph to show me over the past five years:
As you can see, it is a strong niche that peaks on holidays, which makes sense. It just means that it is really a niche for buyers, as people are looking for gift ideas when the time of year is right.
Building a store in this niche can be a good idea.
Now, what you saw above is just an example. You can do similar searches for any niche and market. The steps are the same:
- Start with an initial term and run it in KWFinder.
- Find relevant terms to narrow down a viable niche that has at least 10,000 searches per month.
- Check trends and see if interest has been constant over the past five years.
But wait, that’s not all!
The next step is to look for some competition.
The rule is simple; if there is no competition in the niche, then there is no niche . ?♂️
Some competition is always a good sign. This means that there is really money to be made and that people are really interested in buying.
Searching for the competition is simple, just search on Google for the term that is most associated with the niche. In my case, the phrase “gadgets for men” returns many pages that list various gadgets and point to Amazon and other stores (like Firebox.com ) where you can buy them. That’s nice.
3. Choosing a name for your Shopify store
With the niche out of the way, we can now start thinking about how you will name your name. Shopify dropshipping store.
A popular and modern way to choose a name is to combine part of the main keyword with a single word or phrase.
For example, in the “gadgets for men” niche, I could use names like:
- Gadget zone
- Gadget Court
- Epic gadgets
And so on. However, instead of leaving it all to brainstorming, you can help yourself with some tools. Specifically, Shopify has its own tool that can help you choose a name. It is simply called a Business Name Generator.
Enter part of your niche keyword and see what appears. If you like any of the options, you can click the arrow icon next to a suggestion and move on to create your Shopify store using that name.
But before doing this, it is also a good idea to ensure that the name you choose for your store is available for domain name registration. Shopify Business Name Generator does not provide this information, so you need to go somewhere else to get it.
Namecheap is a good place for that. Namecheap is a domain registrar, which means that it can register domain names in your name. However, we will not use it to register a domain name, but only to verify that the name is available. So, enter the desired domain name in the field and see what appears. If it
.comis available, you will see the following:
Note; you should generally always obtain a
.comdomain instead of any of the less popular domain extensions (like
Now that you know that the domain name you want is available, you can go back to Shopify and start building your dropshipping store.
4. Signing up for Shopify
It doesn’t matter if you start creating a new store using Shopify Business Name Generator or simply click the “Start Free Trial” button on the Shopify home page, the process is the same:
First, you need to provide your email address, password and store name (if you come here through the Business Name Generator, the name will already be there).
Shopify will guide you through the basics, how to ask about your store’s purpose, what you want to sell etc. After that, you will be directed directly to the main Shopify control panel.
Nota️ Note; don’t forget to confirm your email. Shopify will send a confirmation with a link to click.
Basic Shopify Settings
The first thing to do is to go into the settings and deal with the basic details. The settings icon is in the lower left corner.
Once there, you have a selection of options to choose from:
The first section to be examined is labeled Generalities . You will find all kinds of personal information – the information entered during registration. There is no need to go over that thing again. You can simply go to the section labeled Standards and Formats .
If you operate in a location other than the target market, the time zone settings and unit systems may not be set correctly. Adjust these settings to what you want.
Also, take a look at what’s in the next section, Store currency . This may also not be what you want. Adjust if necessary.
Click Save when you’re done.
The next page in the main Settings panel is called Taxes . As you would expect, this is not fun. However, Shopify tries to make things easier for you by filling in these settings based on your location. Take a look there and, if something is not right, check with your local authorities or accountant.
The rest of the pages in the Settings panel are not that important right now. We will come back to them later. Still, you can browse through them briefly just to see what’s there.
Adding a domain name
Now is the time to register a domain name and connect it to your store.
Go back to the Shopify panel and click on the Add domain section in the central block, then click on the Add domain button.
You will be directed to a different panel, where you can purchase a domain name directly from Shopify. It is much easier to get your Shopify domain than to go back to Namecheap and buy it there.
Click Buy new domain to continue. When entering the desired name, you will see it in the list of available domains. Click on Purchase next to the domain and follow the steps to complete the process.
When finished, your domain will be automatically connected to your store.
5. Installing a Shopify dropshipping app
We spent a lot of time analyzing the main dropshipping apps available for Shopify already in this guide, so you probably have a good idea of what will be the best for your market and the products you want to sell.
In this guide, I will use Oberlo. The Oberlo app is one of the most popular Shopify app dropshipping out there, so there’s a high likelihood that most readers will want to use that app too.
Regardless, no matter which application you want to use, the installation process is the same, and later use is also similar, so you can find out.
To install any app, click Shopify Apps sidebar.
It turns out that Oberlo is among the most Shopify Apps , so you’ll see him in the main list. If the desired app is not there, click the Visit the Shopify app Store button icon to find it.
When you’re on the app’s page, click the Add app button.
You may need to provide your store’s web address to continue.
Shopify will list all the details of the Oberlo integration and what this new app can do with your Shopify account.
Click Install application to complete the installation.
At this stage, you will be directed to Oberlo.com to complete the setup. Doing so is a four-step process. You already have the first step – sign up for Shopify.
The second step is to find products to sell, which we will discuss below:
6. Choosing dropship products that actually sell
Finding products can be tricky. While finding old products is very easy to do with Oberlo, finding products that will actually be sold requires some additional steps.
Even if you are not holding the stock, you still want to offer only the best products on the market. That way, you’re creating your brand and showing customers that you only have the best things. This also facilitates cross-selling – recommends other products based on what the person is browsing.
To do some valuable market research, it’s best to go back to Google and search using your main phrase again.
In my case, looking through various lists of gadgets for men, it seems that the types of things that are really popular are:
- VR Headphones
- power tools
- Echo points of the Amazon
- cameras of all kinds (including motion detection cameras and dashboard cameras )
- several creative bottle openers (like this Thor is one )
- espresso machines
- 3d printers
- survival equipment (like this survival bracelet )
- beard care products
- headphones and audio equipment
According to my quick survey, the brand name is not such an important factor for these products – unless you are dealing with specific products like Amazon Echo, etc. Most of the time, if a product looks legitimate and has the right specifications, it will sell.
You must do similar research in your niche. First, look through your competitors’ stores and see which sales are better (best-seller lists). Also go to Google and look for popular articles with lists of “best products” in your niche. These are more likely to be the products that will give you the best results.
Peering Market Oberlo and search product trends.
As you are doing this, you can also narrow down in a sub-niche, if it makes sense. For example, selling “all leggings” can be a difficult niche to enter. But selling “L-XXL leggings” is a good niche that should be easier to cover.
In my case, I could attack “technological devices for men” to narrow the niche.
Either way, compile a list of the types of products most likely to sell in your niche. Make note of specific product links as well. Later, you can contact the same supplier and obtain the same products in your store or, at least, find similar products.
7. Adding products to your store via a Shopify dropshipping app
With the search done, go to the Oberlo panel at Oberlo.com. Click the Explore products button.
What you will see is a vast product directory with many items to choose from. With your list in hand, use the search feature to find the products you want to offer in your store.
You’ll quickly see that there is a lot to choose from and making a decision on which products to actually choose can be difficult. But the Oberlo app wants to make it easy for you, to get some interesting extra tools that will be useful.
First, from the drop-down list on the left, choose a shipping destination. This has to be the country where your target market is, rather than your own location (if they are different).
Then, each product listing receives a note on the number of times the product has been imported into Oberlo-enabled stores, the number of page views obtained and the number of orders generated.
You can also sort the list according to the number of sales. Just edit what’s in Sort by dropdown.
In my example, this is the best selling drone:
Before importing it into a real store, I would go online to look for reviews and also browse drone reviews directly on AliExpress. You don’t want to offer products that are unsuccessful.
Also, check the shipping details of the products to ensure that delivery times and prices make sense.
Once you have an overview of what the product’s manufacturing prices are, you can start importing them, but first, you must define your own pricing rules.
By default, Oberlo doubles the price of imported products. This means that if you see a product listed at $ 20, it will be $ 40 in your store after it is imported. This may or may not be what you want. See some more information on Oberlo docs pricing strategies. To change these settings, in the Oberlo sidebar, go to Settings and then Global Pricing Rules.
Once this due diligence is done, you can click on the product list to add it to your store. When on the Oberlo product page, click Add to import list .
Following the same process, add your desired products to the import list, one by one. For the purpose of this guide, I will stick with two products.
In the sidebar of the Oberlo panel, click Import List . Analyze your products individually, adjust the names, descriptions, choose the images you want to import and even add more product variants. The names and descriptions that you can adjust later on Shopify too, so there is no need to be stressed out about it here.
If you like what you see, click on Import to store next to each product. When the import is complete, you can go back to Shopify to edit product details.
Editing product details
All products you have imported from Oberlo will be visible in the products section on Shopify.
Click on each product, one by one, to edit it.
As you will see, the standard descriptions are very basic and you will always want to adapt them to suit your niche and the angle you are taking. Writing a sales copy is a huge topic in itself, so let’s not get in here, but you can find quality information online.
For each product, you can also add your own images and edit any other aspect of the product.
Another thing you can do is adjust the price of the products, one by one. Just remember not to go below the supplier’s actual product cost.
Finally, grouping products into categories, collections and tagging them can be a big step in terms of making browsing the store easier for customers.
- Use categories to group the individual types of products you offer; for me, these can be things like drones , cameras , coffee gear , printers , etc.
- Use tags to highlight individual product features; for example, you can use tags to indicate color options , sizes , whether a product is suitable for children , etc.
- Use collections to group products that fit perfectly in any theme.
Let’s discuss the last thing a little more – the collections. Think of collections as product packages that go well together for one reason or another. For example, you can create a collection of products and label it “perfect Christmas presents for dad”. Or “camping equipment”.
Collections give you complete freedom on how you want to group products.
You can create new collections by going to Products → Collections from Shopify Sidebar. Then click Create collection and choose the products to include.
When it comes to categories and tags, you can assign them when editing products individually.
To help find that out, you can again take a look at what your competitors are doing and the collections / categories / tags they have in their stores.
8. Working on the store design
With imported products, you should spend some time working on the design of your dropshipping ecommerce store. At the moment, it is very simple and does not attract much attention from customers.
Fortunately, Shopify offers many options in terms of design; and the process of activating these designs is also very easy to use.
To start, from the sidebar menu in the Shopify panel, go to Online Store → Themes . In the Theme Library In the section, you can insert the catalog of free themes or access the Shopify theme store for more premium selections. We will use it for free for now.
When choosing your design, do some research on the type of design your competitors are using and what you think might work in your niche – in a way that satisfies your customer base.
Installing a theme is simple. Just click on the listing and then on the Add to theme library button.
You will see the theme in the Theme Library section.
Click Customize next to the theme name. You will see the main customization interface:
The way to use it is by selecting a section in the sidebar, adjusting the options and then admiring the effect within the main view block.
The sections you can see in the sidebar correspond to the elements on the home page. You can add new sections freely, in addition to editing existing ones or deleting them.
It is best to proceed with the customization from top to bottom.
Start with the header. Add a logo if you already have one. Otherwise, you can use one of Shopify’s tools called Arrogant family . You can also realign the header if you want.
After that, things like how to proceed with the sections and the content that you will include on the page are yours. In general, it’s a good idea to start the page with a nice, broad image, showcase your main products, and finally say something about your store below. Although it is just the simplest layout. The more you work on something original for your store, the better your results will be.
use Shopify The interface itself is very intuitive, so you shouldn’t have any technical problems. You can edit all texts quite naturally and you can also adjust fonts, sizes and upload images to use on the website.
When you’re ready, click on the main Publish button in the upper right corner. With relatively little effort, you can make your dropshipping store’s homepage much more user friendly.
9. Creating essential pages
Every e-commerce store – including dropshipping stores – needs a set of pages that help build trust and answer customer questions.
Most commonly, you will need:
- about the page – is where you tell the story of your store, why you created it and what it offers
- contact page – allow people to contact you directly via a contact form
- Frequently Asked Questions – where you answer common questions
- Shipping – the shipping rules
Fortunately, Shopify will provide templates for some of these pages. Go back to your Shopify control panel and Settings → Legal .
To speed it up, scroll through the pages and click Create from the template under each one. Adjust the content of the templates to ensure that they reflect your policies. Click Save when done.
As for all other pages, you will have to create them manually. But don’t worry, this is not too difficult. Go back to the Shopify panel and on Online Store → Pages . Click Add Page .
You will see an editing panel in which you can insert the content of your page. The interface is intuitive, so you should have no problem.
As you can see, Shopify offers all the common text editing features, such as bold, italic and you can also add images and even videos.
When you’re done creating your page, don’t forget to adjust your search engine listing information. You can find the section below the content area of the main page.
When finished, click on the main Save button in the upper right corner.
Proceed like this to create all the pages you need – yours on the page , FAQ , and so on. With a distinction, however. When working on your contact page , take a look at the right sidebar and under the Model section, change the Suffix of the model parameter to
page.contact. When you do this, Shopify will add a functional contact form at the bottom of your contact page automatically.
Scroll through your list of required pages one by one until you create them all.
10. Fine-tuning shop browsing
With the pages made and the products added to your database, it is a good time to work on your website navigation.
At this stage, there is not much done in terms of browsing your Shopify dropshipping store. Basically, all you have is a home page and some links to your products. We will improve this now.
The main task of good site navigation – and e-commerce store navigation as well – is to get people to what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
In other words, you want to make it easier for people to access your products and also access all other shopping-related information that might interest you along the way. To achieve this, we will use two menus:
- the main header menu
- the footer menu
The main header menu is where the most important pages in your store should be.
In most cases, these pages are your home page, the store catalog, the search feature, the shopping cart and, optionally, some of your best product collections.
Note that the main menu is not the best place for an about page, contact page and so on. We don’t want people to be distracted from their main task – buying! The footer menu is exactly where we are going to place all the additional pages.
Editing menus in Shopify
By default, Shopify already offers two pre-created menus – one at the header and one at the footer. All you have to do is adjust what’s in them.
Go to your Shopify panel and then to Online Store → Navigation .
From there, select the Main Menu to start editing it. There are currently only links to your home page and product catalog in the menu. This setting is good enough for many stores, but if you want to expand the menu, you can add your product categories or some of your product collections.
Click Add menu item . Click the Link field and, from the drop-down list, select the page you want to link to. For example, first click on Collections and select the collection you want to add.
When you’re done, click Save menu . When you update your homepage now, you’ll see the effects of these changes.
As you can see, the links to the shopping cart and the search feature are already available, so there’s no need to add them manually.
Then the footer menu. Return to Online Shop → Navigation and this time, click on the Footer Menu link.
By default, the only link in the menu is pointing to your store’s search page. Let’s add more! Specifically, we are going to add all the other pages you have in the store. Again, to begin, click Add menu item .
From the drop-down list, click Pages and select the pages you want to add. Repeat one by one until all of your pages are added.
When you’re done, click the Save menu button at the bottom. Go back to your home page and refresh the page. You should see your updated footer menu there.
11. Setting up payments for your Shopify dropshipping apps
At this stage, your store is very set up for operation, with only one exception, you have not yet defined payment methods. Let’s do this now. Go to your main Shopify settings panel and then to Payment providers .
You’ll see this Shopify connects your store with PayPal Express Checkout straight from the gate. So it technically works. However, it may not yet be the ideal configuration. For example, by default, all payments will be associated with the email address you used when registering with Shopify. It may not be what you want. You probably have your PayPal running in a different email.
To change this email, first you need to click on the Disable PayPal Express Checkout button and then activate it again, but this time PayPal will ask for the email address you want to use.
In addition, Shopify allows you to work with a wide selection of third-party payment providers. You can take a look if you have a preference. Click Choose third-party provider to begin.
Shopify will also allow your own Shopify Payments module as soon as you complete your account setup and provide additional verification details.
12. Testing if everything works
The last task on your to-do list is to make sure that everything works as planned and that orders can actually enter.
To start, read all of your pages and make sure they look as they should. Also, make sure that the product listings are correct and that the entire site is accessible via mobile devices.
Finally, you will need to check that orders are coming and payments are being processed.
There is only one problem; keep in mind that while Shopify offers you a free 14-day trial to test your store, set up, and make sure everything looks right, you can’t really sell anything to real people. To make your store fully functional, you must upgrade to one of the paid Shopify plans.
After doing this, your orders will be “activated”.
Make some fake purchases at your store to check that orders are coming in correctly. To verify payments, go back to your payment settings and, in the third party provider section, add a payment method called Fake Portal . This is for testing purposes only and will simulate a successful payment. Don’t forget to disable it when the test is complete!
The way things work Shopify and Oberlo is that with each new order you receive, you see it first in the Oberlo interface. From there, you will need to order products from dropshipping suppliers to fulfill the order. You can also manage orders in the Shopify control panel.