More and more people are looking to set up online businesses. And one idea that has been steadily gaining traction is setting up an online store – specifically a Shopify store.
So how can you make money with Shopify? And which tips and tricks can you implement to make it work in your favor? Let’s find out!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure here.
First, some stats: In 2017, it was estimated that e-commerce sales worth $2.3 trillion were made in the e-commerce sector. This trend is expected to escalate further, with a predicted $4.5 trillion in sales to be made by 2021.
Shopify dropshipping is a great way to go about making money online. You can get all the help and resources required to start, run and maintain your online store.
By the time we are done with this article, you’ll be ready to open your Shopify store and kick-start this journey.
What is Dropshipping?
You can actually sell something that you don’t have in stock. This is what dropshipping entails.
In the simplest terms, it’s the process of selling something directly from a manufacturer to the customer.
For instance, I can decide to pick some items from AliExpress and market them on my website for a higher price.
When a client buys from me, I buy the item from AliExpress and send it to them. The difference between the original price and my price becomes my profit.
That is dropshipping.
What Is Shopify Dropshipping?
If you asked me what Shopify is, I would say it’s the holy grail of e-commerce.
It is an online platform that has made e-commerce as easy as 1-2-3.
With Shopify dropshipping, you can create and run an online shop from anywhere in the world, at any time, as long as you have internet.
This platform gives you a place to sell your stuff, caters for your payments using secure checkout systems and even handles your shipping.
In a nutshell, they make the e-commerce seamless for you.
The Shopify package will give you:
- A fully customizable website, blog and online store.
- Inventory features such as customer data and unlimited bandwidth.
- Acceptance of all major credit cards.
- Fast, safe and secure Shopify shipping to most parts of the planet.
- 24/7 customer support)
Firstly, Shopify offers you 14 free days so you can try them out.
You get access to all the features of a premium user and after the 2 weeks, you can decide whether Shopify is what you need or not. They will not even ask for your credit card details.
You can choose from any of these premium plans (as at the time of writing this post):
- Basic Shopify costs $29 a month.
- Shopify costs $79 a month, and.
- Advanced Shopify costs $299 a month.
The differences between the plans include the rates charged on credit cards, transaction fees, staff accounts and more.
You can get full details about the plans here.
Best Dropshipping Apps
While setting up your online store on Shopify is an awesome idea, there are apps that can help you reduce the digital legwork that you’d have to do in your store. These apps include:
- Hurrify Countdown timer ($6.99/month): Motivates your clients to buy by showing them temporary sale offers with a fixed expiry date or time.
- Sales Pop by Beekiting: Notifies you of what people have recently bought through pop-ups.
- Frequently bought together ($5.99/month): Shows people who have purchased similar items that are usually bought together.
- Spin a Sale: Transforms the traditional subscriber pop-up into a more fun, interactive and irresistible form.
- Klaviyo Email Marketing for Shopify: Sends automated post-purchase emails, win-back mails and abandoned cart reminder mails.
- Conversio (Previously Receiptful): Sends out discounts, receipts and some cute messages to clients.
What To Sell In Your Shopify Store – Selecting a Product
Before signing up on Shopify, you must decide what to sell.
This is one of those major decisions that every successful dropshipper has ever had to make. Conduct extensive market research first. This is a key step when creating a profitable online store.
With all those amazing products out there, this can be a tricky decision to make. Luckily, Shopify, together with Oberlo, have put together a manual on their site to help you make this decision.
Some of the important things to consider when choosing a product to sell in your Shopify store are:
Identify the potential market size and make sure the niche that you choose isn’t too small, and that it has high keyword searches. Find a product that cuts across a large customer base and one that will be evergreen.
Identify your competitors. One great sign of a good market is that it has a lot of players. It means that there is a demand. The downside to this is lots of competition can also make it harder for you to succeed. But there are some strategies to help you with that. More on this later.
Is the market a fad, trend, or stable field? Make sure you know where your target market is headed. A fad market is a very intense but short-lived demand for something. Such products will move fast for some time then fade out. A trend is just a longer fad. The product will sell as long as the trend remains. A stable market is one whose products will always move.
Check if the products are available locally. If you sell something that people can get locally, there are chances that you will make little or no sales at all. If you insist on selling such products, make sure you offer something more than what the local dealers offer.
Understand your target customer. There are tons of factors to consider when looking at your clients. For example, on Shopify, the major mode of payment accepted is credit cards. Not everyone will have access to this so it’s a good idea to also incorporate Paypal as a payment method.
Calculate the end costs. Example: you want to sell a wall painting worth $80. Upon calculating, you realize it will cost $100 to ship to your client. Will the prospective customer pay an amount equal to or more than the product for shipping? Definitely not!
Shipping costs are the number 1 reason why people cancel or abandon items already in their carts.
Therefore, consider the shipping costs. It would be better to offer items whose shipping costs would be insignificant compared to the price.
Finding Winning Products
Let’s talk some more about finding the right products to sell.
A wise thing to do would be to identify your competitors, particularly online stores that are popular.
Go ahead and “spy” on them. What products are they selling like hot cakes? From a customer’s perspective, try and figure out what your potential competition is doing to score the high sales.
Second, follow or peep social media accounts of popular influencers.
Find out what products they keep promoting. Influencers are paid for the ads you see on their pages to market the trendiest products.
Find out which products have the most reactions (likes, shares, etc). That’s a good indicator that those are winning products!
In this article, you will find great ideas on trending products that can sell awesomely!
Where to Buy Products to Dropship?
It’s time to stock your shop. You’ve identified your target customer and now need to put up the products.
There are multiple stores where you can source products to dropship. One of them is eBay. You will need to identify the products that you want to sell from eBay and integrate them into your Shopify website.
When your clients see your ads, follow them and make purchases via Shopify, you’ll then complete the order. eBay demands that you are responsible for the safe delivery of the item as well as the time-frame you promised your client.
They have no obligation with your clients whatsoever.
Secondly, we have Aliexpress.
This is the most preferred and popular dropshipping site by users worldwide.
The owners of the site even understand that most of their clients are resellers. As such, they’ve made the process easy and safe.
Pros and Cons of Buying Products From AliExpress to Dropship
- Cheap starting costs.
- It offers product reviews and sale statistics.
- Competitive prices.
- Easy to integrate into Shopify.
- Lots of high-quality, unbranded photos.
- It is a public website and anyone can purchase directly.
- The delivery time is considerably longer than other similar platforms.
Oberlo – Why is it so popular?
Oberlo is an app that lets you import dropshipped products into your Shopify store and ship them to your customers – directly and in only a few clicks.
Instead of going the manual way of importing products from a supplier and having to order products every time someone buys from your store, Oberlo helps to automate this process.
Oberlo is easy to use, has great customer service and even has a free plan!
PS: A close competitor of Oberlo is Importify. You can import products from 30+ more stores other than AliExpress.
Marketing Your Shopify Store
With your niche cut, products to sell identified and shop set up, it’s time to market your shop. Marketing is the second-hardest thing after deciding what to sell.
Proper SEO is a necessity for almost all online businesses and this is no different.
Luckily, Shopify has your SEO catered for. Once you’ve placed your products properly, and in the correct category, the marketing will be done on your behalf. Well, somewhat.
Shopify has tools like meta tags and keyword selection features on their site to make it easy for clients to locate their products, as well as rank high in Google search.
However, the truth is that SEO can take some time. This is where social media comes in.
This is where you can hitch the most customers as social media is the biggest meeting place on the planet. According to Wearesocial.com, there are now over 3.196 Billion social media users.
I can see your eyes getting all starry-eyed as you imagine all the customers that you can target. Let’s take a look at how you can market your Shopify store via Facebook and Instagram.
Marketing Your Shopify Products Via Facebook Ads
You’ve obviously come across Facebook ads.
This is a powerful platform that can deliver your ads to your target market, easily.
Facebook has user data such as age and personal preferences. As such, they deliver different ads to different users depending on the info they used to sign up.
You’ll need to create a page to be able to use Facebook ads (which are premium).
Once you get down to using these ads, you can use an advanced tool, Facebook Pixel, to optimize your advertisements for better reach.
Facebook Pixel is a tracking code similar to AdWords cookies, which lets you track users then target them.
With it, you can track conversion (see how your ads make the users behave when they click on them), target the group that is most likely to convert and remarket (target people who didn’t convert the first time they saw the ad)
You can also use the “lookalike” feature to reach out to an audience that is similar to those who converted. Amazing, right?
All in all, you need to test and retest your approach to know what works best. Are 24-26-year-old men converting more than the same age group of women, although you initially wanted to focus on women?
Let the numbers guide you.
Promoting Your Shopify Store Via Instagram Shoutouts
Instagram is loved by marketers due to its visual appeal.
Truth is, a lot of Shopify dropshipping beginners find Facebook Ads to be quite challenging to use, at least initially.
When that is the case, Instagram Shoutouts come highly recommended. They’re also cheaper.
This is how it works if you’re looking to market your products via Instagram.
Find an influencer on Instagram who appears successful. This is determined by the number of followers and post reactions.
Choose an Instagrammer with at least 50k followers. This is where you’ll need to be really keen. Not all followers are real. There are Instagrammers who have lots and lots of followers but they are fake.
Watch out for accounts that have lots of followers but the followers are writing irrelevant comments and accounts that have lots of followers but few likes per post.
You can go a step further and take a peek at those followers profiles. Do they have weird looking profile pics and spammy names? That’s a red flag.
If the influencer’s account is legit, you can then proceed to the next step – checking the engagement score of said account, i.e, how much interaction their posts are receiving.
One way to do this is to use a tool called Phlanx. Typically, you want an engagement score of between 2.5 to 5% for every 100k followers.
When you are satisfied with the results, you can then go ahead and contact the influencer.
Let them know that you’d like to market your product via their account. Expect to pay between $20 and $150 for Instagram ShoutOuts.
On average, influencers are paid as follows:
- $10 to $25 per Shoutout if they have 50 to 150k followers
- $25 to $40 if they have 150 to 300k followers, and
- $40 to $70 if they have 300 to 700k followers
Other factors such as length of exposure, time of exposure and length of the shoutout might influence the rates.
Try running every Shoutout for about 12 hours.
More importantly, ask for data such as the gender of the audience, their countries of origin and any info that is relevant for your promotion.
After that, decide if you’ll pay for the ad or not.
Shopify Dropshipping Mistakes That Many Beginners Make
There are certain mistakes that dropshipping beginners make that need to be avoided. This include:
- Selling products that are readily available elsewhere, such as your local mall/store. You need to sell unique and hard-to-find products so as to convince people to buy from your store and not elsewhere. Ride on the power of impulse buying!
- Visual appeal is crucial in e-commerce. Chances are that if the product doesn’t appeal to the eye, your prospective customer will not be attracted to it. Use good images and see your interactions as well as sales increase.
- Your product descriptions emphasize the features while ignoring the benefits. Tell your clients what they stand to gain by purchasing the product. Without a reason to buy, few will purchase from you.
Why Do Many Shopify Dropshipping Beginners Fail
Most online business ventures require that one have sufficient grit. Lots of persistence, testing and determination is needed.
Shopify is no different. Let’s take a look at why some dropshippers give up after a couple of months try.
- Selling the same product as everyone else. This doesn’t necessarily mean that demand is high. Rather, it could be a strategy used by many marketers where they see a trend begin, sell the trending item and quickly get out. When dropshipping beginners copy and paste this, they end up with products that never sell.
- Not treating Shopify like a real business: Your Shopify store will need time to garner momentum before blossoming. People who jump into this ship expecting quick profits end up disappointed, exit prematurely and say that the dropshipping business model doesn’t work.
- Giving up too soon after trying to sell a few products: One cannot simply give up on dropshipping after testing out only one or two products. You need to set aside at least $300-500 to test out different products on Facebook Ads or Instagram Shoutouts.
- Spending too much time on aesthetics. Beginners can spend lots and lots of time trying to make the store appear as perfect as possible. However, there are far more important factors such as marketing. The bulk of your time should be spent on testing products to find out which ones will resonate with your audience, and also marketing your products.
Final Tips on Product Sales
As we round up this article, there are a few more tips that are worth sharing about Shopify Dropshipping.
- It’s worth going after a passionate audience, assuming you’ve done your research well. People who are passionate about cats can easily buy a cute cat mug or other unique cute item that has cats on it. You can apply the same idea to, say, people who are crazy about video games.
- Evergreen niches can be awesome. These are categories or products that will always be in demand. You ask for some examples? Well, there’s health and fitness. People will forever need to stay healthy and keep fit. Find a product on AliExpress that can help your prospective clients with their health or fitness issues (a product that they cannot find easily elsewhere) and you just might have struck gold.
- The Psychology of Selling: Increase Your Sales Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible That’s a bestselling book by Brian Tracy and in my online career, I have become utterly convinced that sales/ marketing and psychology go hand in hand. And this is where scarcity comes in. Many times, people tend to value things that are rare or limited. You can use this to your advantage by stating very clearly when certain products stock is almost over. This will create a sense of urgency leading to more sales. However, do this wisely. Employ scarcity techniques every now and then and soon your customers will be on to you.
- Jump into a short craze. Do you remember how crazy people were about Bitcoin last year? There was a frenzy! If that kind of frenzy happens again, you can get creative and sell Bitcoin-branded socks, t-shirts or key holders. You can do the same for any other frenzy. Just be sure to know when the craze ends and jump out lest you end up with stale stock.
Pros and Cons of Shopify Dropshipping
As with all things in life, there are pros and cons to starting your Shopify store.
- They provide a customizable store and blog which you can modify to fit your shop needs.
- They easily accept payments via credit cards.
- You can connect your store to major wholesalers like Amazon, Oberlo, AliExpress and so many more.
- There are tons of add-ons and plug-ins which expand the functionality of the online store.
- Built-in SEO helps the seller and saves the costs and labor of SEO optimization.
- Huge community means you can find help whenever you need it.
- Some of their best themes are quite steep.
- Some of their apps have recurring (monthly) fees.
- If you needed to transfer your store, this would prove to be challenging since the themes only work in Shopify.
Evidently, as much as Shopify has its shortfalls, the pros overshadow the cons.
Most of the cons are money-related, but if the site brings in more money, then the costs can be overlooked.
Furthermore, the costs are insignificant compared to running a physical store and executing all the processes that have already been done for you.
Want to check out successful Shopify stores for inspiration? Check these ones out.
- Taylor Stitch – Sells men’s apparel.
- Helm Boots – Sells boots and shoes.
- Gallery Drink Ware – Sells reusable glass water bottles.
- Take a Shot – You’ll find wooden sunglasses, wooden iPhone cases, and wooden watches in this store.
- Hobbe.com – Sells high-quality rocking chairs.
- Ninnho.com – Luxury designer bath towels created by Portuguese craftsmen are sold in this store.
Is Shopify Saturated?
Shopify is just one of the many e-commerce platforms but it’s still very popular.
Not only is it user-friendly but it’s mobile responsive designs, themes and optimizations, and awesome customer service come highly recommended by serious online entrepreneurs.
So, can a beginner make it on Shopify? Definitely. Like I stated in the intro, the trend of e-commerce is going up. Google Trends can quantify these words.
To quote a gentleman who shared his e-commerce success story, “I can’t find a reason why people shouldn’t give e-commerce entrepreneurship a try. With all the technology out there, it costs no money to get started and it couldn’t be any simpler. You literally have nothing to lose. And I’m surprised more people don’t use this to their benefit.”
If you are ready to jump into this bandwagon, sign up for your 14-day free trial today!