If you’re thinking about a side hustle that could turn into a rewarding full-time job, one option is to start a Shopify business. But, if you don’t want to spend money on building inventory and shipping products yourself, though, you can leverage the dropshipping ecommerce model on your Shopify store.
With dropshipping, all you need is a tool like SaleHoo to handle sourcing products, inventory management, and fulfillment, leaving you to focus on marketing your Shopify store and bringing in shoppers. SaleHoo does product research for you, using a vetting process to ensure you only offer products from trustworthy suppliers to your customers.
Crazy Egg’s Favorite Tools for Dropshipping on Shopify
Dropshipping can be one of the easiest ways to start an ecommerce business. But the ease of getting started with dropshipping all depends on selecting the right tool for sourcing and shipping products. Let’s take a brief look at three of the best options in our eyes:
SaleHoo is a great choice for ensuring the quality of products you send to customers through dropshipping. When you purchase a one-year subscription to SaleHoo, you can receive a second year for free.
Printful is ideal for dropshipping apparel and fashion products. Sign up for a free account at Printful.
Inventory Source can take your dropshipping operation from zero to 60 in no time with its ability to automate product uploads and order management. Start using Inventory Source today for free.
More Top Dropshipping Companies
In our research, we’ve found several tools to help you get going on this journey, collecting all of the top picks in our list of the best dropshipping companies. Read that post in full to get a wide view of the platforms that can help you start dropshipping today and which needs and use cases each one is best suited for.
Step 1 – Get Started with Shopify
Shopify offers a number of advantages for those who want to get an online store off the ground quickly.
- Includes everything you need: You don’t have to worry about finding a web hosting service or a store-building app when you go with Shopify. All these features are part of your Shopify subscription.
- Trusted digital store model: Shopify gears its features toward ecommerce rather than simply building a generic website. It delivers designs and themes that work to highlight your products and simplify the shopping experience for your customers.
- Made for novices: You don’t need site building or ecommerce experience to use Shopify. It greatly simplifies the signup, store creation, and order management processes.
- Easy to link to dropshippers: Shopify designs its digital stores to work seamlessly with dropshippers, as Shopify knows that many store owners choose this type of selling model.
To create a Shopify store, click the Start Free Trial button at the top of Shopify’s homepage. Then, answer a few questions about the type of store you are trying to build. Once you reach the Shopify setup page, follow the guide to take the steps necessary to create your store.
As part of the process, you must select a name for your store. You may already have this in mind. If not, try to select something that uses relevant and descriptive keywords, so your customers know what you are selling, and your site will show up in search results for your products.
Then, create a theme for your store. You can use a free theme from Shopify or pay for a premium theme that tends to have more functionality and unique design elements. Either way, the theme will set the initial layout of your store, giving you the main homepage and places to upload your products.
With your Shopify store ready to begin selling products, this is where SaleHoo enters the picture.
Step 2 – Get Started with SaleHoo
Now, it’s time to get set up on SaleHoo. From their homepage, click the Get Started Now button at the top. Then, click the SaleHoo Dropship tab along the top of the next screen, which shows all of SaleHoo’s pricing plan options.
There, you’ll see two packages: Basic and Premium. The two are similar, with the latter’s primary benefit being its support for more than one web store (up to three).
Before you commit to one of the plans, select whether you want to subscribe annually or monthly. You’ll save 17% if you can pay for the whole year up front.
Once you select your plan, you’ll enter your user name and email address, then click the Create Account button. The last step before you’re done is entering your payment information for your SaleHoo plan.
Do you know what’s even better than saving 17% on your plan? Getting a second year for free! If you follow our link here to SaleHoo, you’ll get a free year of SaleHoo after purchasing an annual commitment of either SaleHoo Dropship’s Basic or Premium plans.
Now you have both your Shopify and SaleHoo accounts set up and you’re ready to connect them to one another.
Step 3 – Connect Your Shopify Store to SaleHoo
The first time you log into your SaleHoo account, you’ll receive a prompt asking whether you want to connect a Shopify store at that moment. If this doesn’t appear for you, just look for the red bar at the top of the page alerting you to the lack of connection, then click Connect Store.
In the field, enter the name of your Shopify store (which is also the prefix to your store’s myshopify.com URL). Then click the Connect to Shopify button, allowing SaleHoo to do all the technical stuff in the background. After that, you just need to click the Allow button to finish the process.
With that done, you’re ready to import products you find on SaleHoo to your Shopify store and then use them on your Shopify site’s product pages to sell them to customers.
Step 4 – Figure Out What to Sell
The big hurdle with dropshipping is product paralysis. It can be hard to find unique, appealing products that aren’t what other dropshippers are already selling. Other stores may even be using the same dropshipper.
Before selecting the products from SaleHoo to sell to customers on your Shopify store, you should perform some research on various products and types of stores. Get an idea of what you want to sell and what your potential competitors are selling (and how they’re selling it). Search on social media or Google or use market research to find product lines that may be ready to take off and grow. SaleHoo can help you with this research through SaleHoo Labs.
You’ll also want to consider how narrow your product focus should be. Do you want to sell everything from suitcases to duffel bags or do you want to focus on being the best store specifically for over-the-shoulder travel bags? Dominating a niche area means you have less competition from other stores on Shopify. It could also mean you have fewer potential customers, though, too.
With this research completed, you’ll have a good handle on what products to search for in SaleHoo’s dropshipped product database. You can filter potential products by keywords, profit margin, price per product, and color.
With SaleHoo, you can be certain that your products have the quality and designs that will make your customers happy.
This removes an issue other dropshippers face. Those unsure of the trustworthiness of a particular supplier would have to order product samples to make sure the product would fit your expectations. This can be quite a bit of work, and it can significantly delay your ability to sell. This delay can leave you trailing competitors when you try to sell popular niche products.
Because SaleHoo takes care of the vetting process for you, you’ll never encounter this delay and can always feel comfortable listing the products you find without testing them.
Step 5 – Consider Each Product’s Shipping Options
SaleHoo’s database is great at showing you detailed information for any product, including shipping estimates.
As you search through products on SaleHoo, you especially want to pay attention to the shipping options from each of the suppliers. You’ll probably want the supplier to handle all the shipping requirements for you, so the entire process happens behind the scenes once you approve the sale.
Additionally, the supplier should provide information about likely shipping times and the shipping carriers they use. Pay attention here—you may only want to offer products that can arrive in your customers’ hands in a week or less. Or you may want to stick to products that give customers an option for expedited shipping for a higher cost.
Keep this in mind before committing to products, as this can be as influential on the success of your new Shopify dropshipping business as the type of products you select.
Step 6 – Import Your Products and Create Product Descriptions
Once you have a firm grasp on what products you’re going to sell, you can then begin importing products through SaleHoo into your Shopify store.
Since SaleHoo makes use of Aliexpress to source products, you do not have to manually enter the product information, photos, and other items. SaleHoo imports all of this data for you, greatly simplifying the process of importing and adding products.
When you are ready to add a product to your Shopify store, just click on the blue plus sign button in the upper left corner of the product description in SaleHoo. This adds the product to the list of items to import into your Shopify store. You can add as many products as you want to your import list. At any point, click on the Import List tab in the upper left corner of your SaleHoo page to bring them into your Shopify store.
At this point, you’ll go one by one through the products you’ve selected to import to review the product information that will be imported automatically. You have the ability at this point to edit the product title, type, and description to make them better fit the theme and branding of your web store.
You also can add tags that indicate the categories to which this product should belong. This helps to keep your online store organized and, in turn, makes it easier for your customers to search for particular products.
After finishing all your edits, click the Upload to Shopify button in the lower right corner of the product page to add the product to your Shopify store. You also can delete the product from your list of products to import if you change your mind about wanting to sell it by clicking the Remove product from list button next to the green button for uploading to Shopify.
With that done, congratulations! You now have products ready to sell through your Shopify store and can start marketing your store to start bringing in customers and revenue.
Step 7 – Manage Your Orders In SaleHoo
As customers make orders on your Shopify site, you can use SaleHoo to see the orders and verify that they are ready for dropshipping.
From your SaleHoo dashboard, click on Orders tab across the top of the screen to see orders that are pending. Verify that the customer’s shipping information for a particular order is correct and there are no issues with the price or supplier. Then, click the Place Order button next to any order to allow the supplier to begin processing it for you.
As SaleHoo verifies your orders, the status changes from unfulfilled to partially filled to fulfilled. The fulfilled orders have a green checkmark icon to easily distinguish them at a glance.