For some time I wanted to share my experience with WooCommerce Dropshipping on the blog in recent years. First of all, I want to make it clear that I an expert in WooCommerce Dropshipping but if you want to build WooCommerce Dropshipping Website, You can check the details of my services on Fiverr. Create a Dropshipping Website With WooCommerce.
I would like that when you finish reading this post you have a much more complete and realistic vision of everything behind dropshipping so you can decide for yourself if it is really the eCommerce model you are looking for.
I will try to be totally transparent and honest with you. I’m going to tell you the good and not-so-good thing about dropshipping.
But above all, I will explain how I would do it if I started an online store with this business model today.
How to do eCommerce with little investment thanks to dropshipping
If there is something that makes dropshipping especially attractive compared to other online business models, it is undoubtedly its little or almost no entry barrier.
That is, to get started with dropshipping you do not need a large economic investment or very advanced technical knowledge. What you will need most is time.
But as you probably don’t know what dropshipping is about, I’m going to explain it quickly before delving deeper into the subject. Quiet! Believe me, if I tell you that pronouncing it is harder than understanding hehe …
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an eCommerce technique in which the owner of the online store (also called dropshipper) acts as an intermediary between the customer and the actual seller.
The actual seller is usually a large supplier of products that works with multiple dropshippers at once.
And what benefit does the owner of the online store get? You will be wondering …
Well, here the dropshipper has the freedom to put the price you want on the products and thus define the profit margin with which you want to work. That is, the supplier does not impose a minimum PVP (Retail Price) to work with him.
To be more easily understood, I show you an outline of how the order would be handled in an online dropshipping store:
The great advantage of dropshipping is that you do not have to invest anything in buying the stock of products, so you do not need to physically have a warehouse to store them, or even take care of shipping orders. All that is done by the provider.
The dropshipper all you have to do is collect the orders and notify the supplier.
Where to find product suppliers?
Finding good product suppliers is vital for an online dropshipping store to become profitable. These are, from my point of view, the minimum requirements that a dropshipping provider should meet in order of priority:
- That the products are of quality. We are not looking for top brand products, but they have a minimum quality that guarantees that we will not have many returns.
- Have experience selling online. I usually discard those who have been selling for less than 5 years.
- Good prices. In order for a dropshipping store to work, we need to offer attractive prices, but that in turn give us a minimum profit margin (at least 50% for medium-low ticket products; $20-50). Conclusion; We need to buy cheap.
- Fluid communication. That is, if we contact the provider, it does not take a week to respond.
This is very important to keep in mind if we have to manage a return.
Considering these requirements, it is usual to look directly for suppliers in China. And the web par excellence for this is Aliexpress.com
However, the biggest drawback of these two is that they are not compatible with the main dropshipping tools, the product catalog is usually smaller and prices somewhat higher. Hence, AliExpress remains the most used option today.
Start with the most important thing: the niche
The niche market you are going to focus on will make the difference between the success or failure of your online dropshipping store, even before you start selling. A very common mistake that is repeated to satiety among people who start dropshipping is that they spend 10% of the time (at most) looking for the niche market and 90% to set up the store. If you really want to have a chance of success with dropshipping, don’t skimp on time to search for your niche. If you need 4 or 5 days to do it, go ahead! It will be your time better spent.
Seriously, be patient in this phase of the process and analyze in detail the pros and cons of each niche you study. Because this will be one of the few things you can’t change once you launch the store.
To make it a little easier, I will share below a checklist of requirements that a good niche for dropshipping should meet.
- Focus on a very specific niche market, the more specific the better. This will greatly reduce your competition, help you stand out more easily over the rest and turn your store into a reference for your target audience. An example of a specific niche would be training material for yoga lovers.
- If there is already someone selling, better. I am not saying with this that you look for niches saturated with a lot of competition, but rather that you are looking for a balance between specialization and market size. That is if you find a very specific niche that you find interesting and do not detect any competition. Mmmm … it is likely that this niche is too small or not profitable and that is why no one has continued with it.
- Avoid complex products. The easier to understand the product, the easier it will be to sell it and less likely to receive returns. For this reason, if you are starting on this, I would not recommend entering technology or electronics niches.
- Focus on medium ticket products. That is products that you can sell from $20 to $100 and that allows you to apply a good profit margin. Selling non-branded products above that price constantly over time will be complicated. I don’t say you can’t, but it will certainly be much more complicated.
- Make it timeless. In other words, it does not depend on specific dates/seasons of the calendar for sales. So I would recommend that you try to avoid niches related to; Halloween, Christmas, summer, etc.
- That allows you to create attractive content for social networks (Facebook and Instagram especially). This that a priori may seem silly, will give you a beastly advantage over other niches that do not have it. Mainly because it will allow you to quickly get qualified public at a very low cost.
- Have a stable consumption trend and if it is growing, the better. Forget about fashions and niches «ball». You can use Google Trends to get an approximate idea.
Do you remember the spinner? Well, that is a good example of a niche “ball” that you should avoid.
And please, record this on fire; «More products in the store does NOT mean more sales». I know dropshipping eCommerce with 4, 5 or even a single product, which has managed to bill several thousand euros per month.
A good example of a niche that would meet all the above requirements could be the gel manicure.
It is a very specific microniche within the giant beauty sector, but in turn, it is large enough to generate a good sales volume. The products are not complex, the price is the medium ticket and its search trend has been quite stable in recent years and most likely will remain.
AliDropship, the ultimate tool for dropshipping with AliExpress and WooCommerce.
Well, we already know that AliExpress is the marketplace par excellence to get dropshipping suppliers with attractive prices and minimum guarantees.
Now, can you imagine for a moment what it would mean to have to replicate on AliExpress manually all the orders you receive in your online store?
And when I say replicate, I mean to repeat the entire process on AliExpress; Search the products, select the configuration options if it is variable, add them to the cart, enter billing/shipping data and make payment. And all that for every new order you receive.
At first, with very few orders, it might even be feasible to do so. But as soon as the number of daily orders grew, it would be virtually impossible to manage manually.
You would have to devote most of your time just to that and the chances of making mistakes with orders would grow exponentially.
Luckily, today there are already tools and plugins that allow you to connect your WooCommerce store with AliExpress so that all the orders you receive are automatically generated on AliExpress without you having to do absolutely nothing.
So you don’t have to spend a good part of your time looking for the perfect tool, I’ve already done that analysis work for you.
AliDropship is the most complete plugin for synchronizing WooCommerce with AliExpress and doing dropshipping like a pro.
Main advantages of AliDropship over other plugins
- Allows import of AliExpress products in the block. This would save a lot of time in creating product listings.
- Automatic update of prices and inventory.
- Cashback system This functionality is super interesting because it allows you to earn up to 12% extra for each order. Simply explained, what this system does is to place orders with your AliExpress affiliate ID (you can create a free affiliate account) so that they also pay you commissions for recommending their products. And best of all, it makes it automatic
- Automatic price rules. Another functionality that will save you a lot of time. With this, you can define conditions to automatically calculate the prices of the products to be imported and thus not have to go defining prices one by one. For example, a rule could be; apply a 100% margin to the original products between $15 and $30 and round decimals to XX, 99 cents.
- Good documentation, detailed, with examples, videos, and screenshots.
- Good technical support That is, if you need to contact the support team to resolve an issue, it does not take more than 24 hours to answer me. (They also have chat support).
- Great user community behind. This always makes your life easier when it comes to finding information or solving doubts.
- Newsletter with many guides, tips, success stories and tricks for dropshipping.
- Economic price Yes, Alidropship is a payment plugin, but the great advantage is that you only pay once and have professional support and updates forever. I also think that its price is quite cheap for everything that it includes. Only for the support and all the features it brings, it is already worth it.
How does AliDropship work?
The first thing you should know is that this plugin has two versions, one for WordPress and another exclusive for WooCommerce. (With the purchase of a license you will have access to both).
It goes without saying that the version you should use is the WooCommerce version.
Once the plugin is activated, a shortcut to the AliDropship settings will appear in the main menu of the WordPress admin panel.
The first thing to do once you enter the configuration panel is to register the license of the plugin to configure it. The license key is a long combination of letters and numbers and they are sent to you by email when you purchase the plugin.
You just have to paste it in the field that I show you below and click on “Activate“:
Well, you already have the plugin license activated, so the next thing will be to configure the general settings from «AliExpress> Settings». In this section you can configure things like:
- Add a note in the orders. This is very important because it allows you to notify the supplier that you are a dropshipping seller and that you only want to contact you if there is any problem with the order.
- Activate order tracking.
- Or include your Aliexpress affiliate URL to activate the cash-back option I talked about earlier.
Apart from that, it is important that you leave the update settings well configured from the beginning. With these settings, you will tell AliDropship how to update product information when they change on AliExpress.
You will find these settings in the “AliExpress> Updates” section and you can define in detail what you want AliDropship to do in the following cases:
- The product runs out of stock on AliExpress.
- A variation of the product runs out of stock.
- The AliExpress supplier updates the inventory, that is, it changes the number of units available for the products.
- The supplier changes the price.
From here you can also activate the automatic product update system of AliDropship and choose how often you want all these changes to be checked on AliExpress.
As you have seen in the previous image, you can choose between updates once a day, a week or a month.
IMPORTANT: You should keep in mind that this automatic update system only works if you have the Google Chrome browser open. If you don’t usually have your browser open, you can also do the manual update with just one click.
Finally, without going into detail about them, I leave you below a list of the main options that allow you to configure AliDropship:
- Multi-currency to show prices in different currencies.
- Color variation selector with thumbnails.
- Activity report panel. You will have access to a complete record of all the changes that the products undergo in AliExpress ordered by dates.
- Order tracking report panel.
- Migration assistant to export the configuration to other stores and save you hours of work.
How to import products from AliExpress with AliDropship?
Although we already have AliDropship installed in WooCommerce, I have not really explained how to connect our online store with AliExpress to be able to import products and register orders automatically.
To do this we are going to need a new tool that will “bridge” between WooCommerce and AliExpress. This tool is an extension for Chrome that we must install in the browser and that receives the same name as the plugin, AliDropship. You can install it from here.
Once the extension is installed, you will see an icon like the following in the browser bar. Click on it, type the URL of your store’s home and click on the “Add” button. Then, WordPress will ask for permission for the AliDropship extension to connect to your store and perform its bridge function with AliExpress. Click on “Authorize” to allow the connection and go!
Listen to me. It may seem complicated, but I assure you it is only 3 steps and in less than 1 minute you have it.
From now on, when you enter AliExpress and are logged in with your customer account (you can create a free one without buying anything) you will see a red bar with the name of AliDropship at the top of the page.
With that bar you can select the products to import, search with one click the suppliers with the best price, modify the information of each product if you need it and even edit the images and thus import only what really interests you.
Some important considerations about AliDropship
To use AliDropship you need to have ionCube installed on your hosting or server. I will not go into details of what is ionCube because it is irrelevant for this post, but if for some reason your hosting does not have it, activating AliDropship will show you a message like the following:
The solution is simple. Contact the support of your hosting and in a matter of minutes, they will activate it. At least I had no problem with SiteGround, in 5 minutes I already had it.
I do not recommend importing product descriptions for 2 reasons; Google can penalize you for duplicate content and secondly, the descriptions are usually very poorly translated into Spanish and poorly optimized for SEO. So to avoid this, it is best to write them yourself.
Beware of the file names of the product images. When you import products from AliExpress, the images are automatically uploaded to the WordPress media library with file names (the combination of numbers and letters) not optimized for SEO.
The solution is quite simple. Once all the photos are imported, you can modify the file name to optimize it for SEO with the free Media File Renamer Auto plugin.
Taking traffic to our dropshipping store.
You may have succeeded with the niche, found the best product provider and have an online store with the best design in the world and still not sell ANYTHING.
The real challenge begins when you have to publicize your online store to the public and bring traffic to it.
Once at this point, you should be aware that it is no longer enough just to dedicate your time but that you will have to invest money in advertising to capture your first traffic and start selling as soon as possible.
If someone promises you that you will get sales in a couple of weeks without investing a single euro, surely he is lying to you.
In dropshipping – as in any online business – a minimum investment is required to have some chance of success. At least I don’t know how to do it any other way.
And now yes, we are going to see the 2 main ways of capturing traffic with which you have.
What nobody tells you about dropshipping
We have almost reached the end, but I could not say goodbye without giving you my most sincere opinion about this eCommerce model.
I honestly believe that there are still interesting niches to exploit in dropshipping and I still believe that it is a good option if you want to start in the world of eCommerce and do not have products to sell or can afford to invest a lot of money.
However, I also recognize that I am tired of seeing advertising from experts selling you the promise that anyone can bill $300 day with dropshipping in a few weeks and without investing hardly any money.
I am not saying that it cannot be achieved, but of course, you are going to have to invest a lot of time and money and even then, doing this will not guarantee you will achieve it.
Thanks for your time