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Like many people, you want to spend less time working and more time doing the things you love. Of the various ways to make money on the internet, an online store that uses drop shipping could fulfill your objective.
Online retail is growing fast and offers enormous potential into the trillions of dollars. Retailers sell from their websites, on marketplaces, or both. Online store software gives you everything you need to launch a website/store. For example, many retailers use Shopify, 3dcart, and WooCommerce to run their stores. With a website of your own, you’re in full control.
Marketplaces also utilize software to enable individuals to sell online, but you must follow the platform’s rules. For instance, millions of merchants sell goods on Amazon and eBay. There are also print-on-demand marketplaces, including Zazzle and DesignByHumans. Regarding guidelines, Amazon has many, including policies specifically for sellers who use dropshipping. Learn more about the pros and cons of marketplaces.
Apps, plugins, browser extensions, and tools are available to improve stores and processes. They might be free or require payment. Shopify apps and WooCommerce plugins range in the thousands and span many categories, including marketing, order tracking, shipping, store design, and more. Browser extensions vary in functionality as well. For instance, Oberlo’s AliExpress product importer allows users to import products quickly. There are many ecommerce extensions available on the Chrome Web Store.
Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method that lets you sell products without holding any inventory or purchasing large quantities of product up-front. Instead, when a product sells, you buy the product from a third party that will ship the good directly to the customer. Those processes can be automated. The third-party could be a manufacturer, wholesaler, or another retailer. Dropshipping removes the fears and costs associated with buying and holding inventory that may not sell.
Dropshipping, by itself, isn’t a business. It’s one aspect of running an online store. It’s critical to realize that because you’ll need a comprehensive understanding of online retail to achieve your goals and sales targets. For instance, you must have a robust marketing plan to attract enough potential customers. If you don’t understand marketing or must improve your skills, you should take an ecommerce-focused marketing course too.
Many people talk about dropshipping and AliExpress as if they are synonymous, but they are not. AliExpress is an online retail service based in China that is owned by the Alibaba Group. It’s made up of small businesses in China and other locations, such as Singapore. AliExpress is aimed primarily at international buyers in the Americas and Europe. Although it may position itself as an online retailer, most sellers understand that most of their customers are resellers and drop shippers.
AliExpress is an excellent website to find suppliers, but there are many popular alternatives, such as Banggood, Oberlo, and Wholesale2b. You can also search for white and private label drop shippers in your area, country, and outside of China. Although Amazon FBA doesn’t manufacture products, it will pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for products you store in its fulfillment centers. The point I’m making is that you should think outside of the AliExpress box.
There is nothing mystical about dropshipping. Moreover, there are thousands of online courses, guides, tutorials, blog posts, and webinars that demystify the topic. Start with free resources before paying for anything. If free resources don’t satisfy you, set a budget of $100 to $200 for paid content. You shouldn’t spend more than those amounts, given the plethora of excellent free resources available. You must also keep in mind that your experiences will teach you a lot. As it relates to dropshipping, you should learn about:
- How it works and the different methods
- The pros and cons
- The top websites/marketplaces, directories, and suppliers
- How to select and deal with drop shippers
- Costs, pricing, and margins
- How to find great products
- How to add products to your store
- Product photography (supplier images can be hit or miss)
- How to process purchase orders and returns
- Useful apps, plugins, and tools
A Word of Caution
Many people claim they’ve made fortunes with dropshipping and online retail (specifically using Shopify). Some of these individuals are phonies and marketers who want to sell you courses and tools. They use theatricality and deception to gain your trust. They display income reports and sales dashboards as proof. However, a loophole in online store software enables users to record transactions that supposedly took place offline or elsewhere. Therefore, someone can show you that he or she has made thousands in sales and profits without selling anything.
Does Jeff Bezos share his private plans for Amazon? No, of course not. When something is working and making money, a person is unlikely to give up those insights because they’re too valuable. Sharing excellent ideas would also reduce a person’s competitive advantages. Many YouTubers and bloggers do the opposite and share how they’re supposedly making millions, which doesn’t make sense. Secondly, anyone trying to sell you on dropshipping as a get-rich-quick activity is uninformed, a fraudster, or both. Do your due diligence and research before buying anything.
Courses & Resources
Shopify provides everything you need to sell online, on social media, and in person. It enables users to create stores, manage and sell products, accept payments, ship, and integrate with other apps.
Shopify’s Dropshipping 101 class is one of the best courses for beginners, and I’ve taken it. It’s one of many courses on the Shopify academy. You’ll learn how to find products to sell, how to identify a niche, how to connect with suppliers, and how to build your own dropshipping business.
Shopify has the best information about dropshipping and ecommerce. Its other resources include The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping, The Definitive Guide to Dropshipping with AliExpress, blogs, podcasts, and a YouTube channel. No matter how you like to learn, Shopify has you covered. Moreover, its courses and content are free.
Oberlo allows you to easily import products into your ecommerce store and ship them directly to your customers. Shopify owns Oberlo. In Oberlo 101, you’ll learn about dropshipping methods, product selection, store development, Facebook ads, and scaling your business. The course cost $50. You’ll get your money’s worth, but a price of $10 to $20 would be more suitable. Alternatively, Shopify’s course is likely similar and free.
Like Shopify, Oberlo’s free resources consist of a dropshipping hub, ebooks, articles, answers to FAQs, and a YouTube channel.
SaleHoo is a research tool, supplier directory, and online community for drop shippers, wholesalers, and ecommerce store owners. It has a webinar/class called, How to Build a $100,000 Dropshipping Business On Amazon from Scratch. It also has an extensive library of guides and articles, including Your Complete Guide to Dropshipping. It covers everything from products to pricing to common mistakes sellers make.
Udemy is a global marketplace for e-learning and teaching online. Students master new skills by learning from an extensive library of courses in various categories and subcategories. Its bestselling categories include web, mobile, and app development, IT and software, business, marketing, and personal growth.
A search for “dropshipping” revealed 1,000+ results. From those results, there are probably ten to twenty courses worth exploring. Courses for specific marketplaces are available too, for example, a class for dropshipping on Amazon. Courses range in price from free to $199, but frequent sales events mean you can purchase classes for $9.99 to $19.99. Udemy also provides a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Udemy is known to have low-quality standards, and many of its instructors repackage content from Shopify, Wikipedia, and other sources. Therefore, it’s hard to say what instructors and courses deliver genuine insights that can’t be found elsewhere. Assess curriculums, reviews, and contact instructors to learn more about their courses.
3dcart is a complete and robust ecommerce platform designed to help online store owners thrive in competitive markets. With hundreds of features built directly into its software, business owners can effectively open, operate, and grow successful online stores with ease and efficiency.
3dcart has a guide to dropshipping and an ecommerce university with courses on selling, social media marketing, getting traffic, and more.
BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform that creates beautiful and customized online stores with built-in features. It has solutions for businesses of every size.
BigCommerce doesn’t focus on attracting the dropshipping crowd, but it does have a post that outlines truths, pros, cons, and FAQs. It also has insightful guides, webinars, and blogs.
Volusion gives business owners an all-in-one ecommerce toolkit to sell their products online and create remarkable stores. In partnership with Doba, a dropshipping service, it offers a guide to ecommerce optimization. Additionally, it has guides and articles.
There are many videos on YouTube about dropshipping. Search for terms such as dropshipping, dropshipping training, dropshipping for beginners, dropshipping on Amazon, dropshipping on eBay, dropshipping on Shopify, and dropshipping tutorial to learn more.
CreativeLive offers online courses in photography, video, music, business, productivity, self-development, and art. It doesn’t have content about dropshipping, but product photography, entrepreneurship, and online marketing courses can help you. CreativeLive provides free on-air/live and paid classes.
I haven’t vetted all the course suggestions in this post. Do your due diligence and don’t rush to purchase courses. There are as many scammers as honest people in the dropshipping community.