Warning: This post contains everything you need to know about how to build a successful Shopify dropshipping store in 2021.
No stone is left unturned – from finding winning products to designing your site to running your first marketing campaign.
Reading from start to finish may result in:
- Generating massive profits.
- The ability to run a business from your laptop.
- Quitting your job to become a full-time entrepreneur.
Please be aware that ReConvert takes no responsibility for radical changes to your career after consuming the knowledge below.
Proceed with caution – your life may never be the same!
Prefer a video version of this post? Check-it out here:
Want the steps laid out in writing? let’s keep going!
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a fulfillment model that allows companies to make sales and deliver products without holding any inventory in stock.
How? When a dropshipping store receives an order, they pass it onto the supplier who sends the product to the customer.
Dropshipping is a great business model for entrepreneurs getting started with eCommerce because it’s low-risk.
You don’t need to front up lots of capital, develop new products, or manage inventory. Plus, tools like Shopify make it dead-simple to get started.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that lets you effortlessly build a professional-looking online store.
You don’t need to know how to code or have any technical expertise to design a fully functional ecommerce store.
They’ve got pre-made themes that look and function great, as well as apps that allow you to add extra functionality to your store and make more sales.
When you combine the Shopify platform with the Dropshipping fulfillment model, you can create and run an online store where you never need to touch the products your selling.
Incredible stuff, right? Let’s dive deeper.
The Pros & Cons of Shopify Dropshipping
Every business model has its ups and downs. Before jumping in, it’s essential to know what you’re getting yourself in for.
The Pros of Shopify Dropshipping
- Rapid to launch: You can build a functioning Shopify dropshipping store in a day or two if you get your head down. Plus, there are no lead times for product manufacturing.
- Tiny overhead: No need to invest money in renting a premises, paying staff, or putting down money upfront for production and storage of products.
- Scalability: As your business grows, the bulk of the extra work falls on your suppliers. Plus, with access to customers worldwide, you’ve can reach a massive audience of customers to buy your products.
- Minimal risk: With a small amount of investment needed to launch, there’s not a huge amount to lose if the business doesn’t become successful.
The Cons of Shopify Dropshipping
- Low-profit margins: Buying individual products is more expensive than buying in bulk. As a middle man, everyone wants to squeeze you, making it harder to eek money out of each sale.
- Little quality control: Your supplier is in charge of the quality of your products. If you’ve got a supplier who’s cutting corners, you’ll end up taking the brunt of customer complaints.
- Shipping issues: Dropshipping from overseas can result in longer shipping times. This can annoy customers who expected fast delivery.
- High-competition: The low-barrier to entry means you’ll face lots of competition from other similar businesses. This makes it more challenging to carve out a corner of the market for yourself.
How to Build A Shopify Dropshipping Business From Scratch
Now that you know what’s up let’s get this show on the road.
The first thing to understand is that there are two primary kinds of dropshipping stores: niche stores and general stores.
Niche vs. General Shopify Dropshipping Store
There’s a lot of debate in the Shopify dropshipping world about a niche store vs. a general store. So what’s the difference?
A general store is a store that contains lots of various unrelated products. You might be selling a pair of sneakers alongside a kitchen tool. TrendyGoods is an example of a general store:
General stores are advantageous because you can test a wide variety of products across various industries without worrying about harming your brand.
The downside is that it’s harder to create a strong brand. This makes it harder to dial in your marketing and achieve high conversion rates.
A niche store, on the other hand, is built around one particular interest. So, for example, you could create a store that sells interior lighting products like LitFad:
So should you start with a niche, general, or one product store? At this stage, it doesn’t matter. Seriously, the most important thing is that you get started.
If you have a particular product idea, go with a niche or one-product store. If you don’t, go with a general store.
Once you find a profitable product to sell, you can create a new store with a niche brand.
Whatever you do, don’t overthink it! In eCommerce, there’s always more than one way to skin a cat.
Step 1. Find Products for your Shopify Dropshipping Store
Choosing the right product to sell is half the battle with Shopify dropshipping.
After all, the best marketing in the world can’t sell a product that nobody wants.
Here are five proven ideas to help you find good Shopify dropshipping products:
a) Know The Characteristics of Good Shopify Dropshipping Products
To come up with winning product ideas, you need to know what they look like.
In general, a stellar dropshipping product meets most of the following criteria:
- It’s relatively easy to ship
- Ships quickly via epacket, DHL, or another fast shipping method
- Not overly technical (e.g., a drone)
- Can’t find it in regular stores
- Has good mark-up potential (200%+)
- It catches your eye while browsing.
- Got emotional appeal
- Facebook allows you to advertise it (supplements, weapons, etc. are off the table)
To get your creative juices flowing, here’s an example of a product that ticks all these boxes:
b) Brainstorm Passionate Groups
Unlike some businesses, you don’t need a mind-blowing original idea to be successful with Shopify dropshipping.
Instead of thinking of something new, focus on connecting a passionate audience with an existing product.
So, don’t ask ‘what’s a great product to sell?’ but instead say ‘What’s a great group to sell to?’
Why? Because passionate people are prepared to spend money on the things they care about.
So, open a Google doc and note as many groups of passionate groups as you can think of.
Some examples of passionate groups are:
- Animal lovers – cats, dogs, horses, etc.
- Food – craft beer, coffee, baking, etc.
- Hobbies – video games, weight lifting, canoeing, etc.
- Interests – Anime, NFL, Heavy metal, etc.
- Causes – veganism, environmentalists, etc.
Begin with irrationally passionate people you know in your own life – if you get stuck, hop over to Reddit and peruse through the subreddits for more ideas.
👉 Pro Tip: Use the website FrontPage Metrics to discover which subreddits are growing quickly – a strong indicator of increased demand for products in that area.
Once you’ve got a minimum of 20 passionate groups on paper, come up with at least three ideas for products you could sell to them.
c) Find Products That Are Already Popular
Identifying trends is another great way to find winning dropshipping products. Here are sites where you can find great ideas:
- Amazon Bestsellers
- Amazon Hot Releases
- Wuanto – eBay Bestsellers
- Etsy Trending Now
- Wallmart Bestsellers
The top products on these sites have proven demand. Meaning there are lots of people who are buying them.
Browse various categories on each site and keep your eyes peeled for excellent product ideas.
For example, here’s an interesting product I found on Wuanto that’s got over 7,000 people watching it on eBay:
👉 Pro Tip: Don’t always look for exact product matches. Instead, ask, ‘what’s the deeper reason people are buying these products?’.
For example, if you see that the board game Monopoly is trending on Amazon, there’s no point in trying to sell a knock-off version from Aliexpress.
Instead, think about why Monopoly is trending. For example, people may be looking for a way to pass the time with their families during lockdown – so what else could you sell them?
Cozy clothing sets, retro video game consoles, and scented candles are just some products that come to mind.
Thinking like this allows you to tap into broader consumer trends and discover more awesome product ideas.
d) Find Shopify Dropshipping Products With Facebook Search
The majority of dropshippers use Facebook to drive traffic to their store.
And thankfully, many of them use similar phrases in their ad copy, such as:
- Free Shipping
- 30/40/50% Off
- Get yours now
- Limited supply
To unearth a goldmine of dropshipping products, type one (or a combination) of these phrases into the search bar.
Then filter the results by ‘video’ and set the ‘date posted’ to ‘this month.’
The results you’ll get are often filled with profitable dropshipping product ideas you can test on your store.
To filter the very best products, look for ads with lots of views plus comments from people in higher-income countries like the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia.
e) Validate Shopify Dropshipping Products With Google Trends
Google trends can help you determine if a product or niche is increasing or decreasing in popularity.
For example, if I punch the ‘outdoor string lights’ product I saw on Wuanto above into Google trends, I can see that’s a product that’s been increasing in popularity over the last five years.
You can also deduce from the graph that this is a seasonal product – notice the peaks and troughs in search volume.
This means there’ll most likely be strong demand at certain times of the year for this product moving forward.
Here’s another example of a niche (‘Houseplants’) that’s been seen a steady increase in demand over the last number of years:
In general, if a product or niche has a low search volume or downward moving trend, it’s best to move onto your next idea.
If it’s trending up, add it to the list for testing!
🔥 Action Step: Use the five steps and examples above to find a minimum of ten product ideas to test. Remember: each one should satisfy as many of the ‘good dropshipping product characteristics’ as possible.
Step 2. Find a Dropshipping Supplier for Your Product
It’s hard to overstate the importance of a reliable supplier for dropshipping success.
Think about it: your supplier is responsible for sourcing/manufacturing your products, quality control procedures, and shipping and handling.
In other words, for better or for worse, your supplier holds sway over the majority of your customer’s experience.
So, where to find the best supplier for your product?
Where to Find Shopify Dropshipping Suppliers
Suppliers are everywhere. But tracking them down isn’t always easy.
Here’s a list of the most common platforms where dropshippers search for suppliers:
- Aliexpress: A massive Chinese-based marketplace offering a wide selection of low-priced products with worldwide shipping. Free to browse and no additional fees for selling off the platform
- Spocket: A dropshipping marketplace that connects you with thousands of EU and US-based suppliers for faster shipping at more premium prices. Free to browse but costs $24/mo to sell via their suppliers.
- CJ Dropshipping: A supplier that sources products from China and offers faster shipping options and custom packaging once you reach a particular sales volume.
- Printify: Printify is a print-on-demand service that allows you to upload custom designs to a variety of products such as t-shirts, mugs, and canvases and sell them in your store (Suggested Reading: How to Hire a T-Shirt Designer)
- DropCommerce: A great Shopify dropshipping app that connects you with premium US and Canadian suppliers. Fast 3-5 day shipping direct to your customer.
- SaleHoo: A wholesale supplier directory that includes a selection of niche suppliers from the UK, USA, and Australia. Access is charged at $67/year.
- Worldwide Brands: An extensive directory of bulk wholesalers and dropshipping suppliers. Used by big brands like Best Buy and Nordstrom. Lifetime access will run you $249.
For this guide, we’ll focus on using suppliers from Aliexpress. However, the information will be relevant no matter what platform you’re using.
What to Look for in a Quality Aliexpress Supplier
In general, Aliexpress does a solid job of rooting out sub-par suppliers from this platform.
But if you want to get the very best for your business, here’s how to sort the wheat from the chaff:
- Only use suppliers with a feedback score of 95% or higher: This ensures you choose suppliers with a track record of good service and few mishaps.
- Only use suppliers who’ve handled 300+ orders: Suppliers with a minimum of 300 orders will have sufficient experience to make things run smoothly.
- Communicate with multiple suppliers: Message five or more suppliers who are offering your product. Narrow down your choice to those who provide excellent communication, fast responses, and a high level of English. When things go awry, you want your supplier to answer quickly.
- Order samples: Once you’ve shortlisted the top three suppliers, order samples. This allows you to gauge who has the fastest shipping times, best packaging, and highest quality products. Use your samples to take high-quality product images. This will make your store and ads stand out from competitors selling the same items.
👉 Pro Tip: If budget allows, consider hiring a product sourcing agent on UpWork or Fiverr to help you find the best rates, suppliers, and shipping for your products.
🔥 Action Step: Use one of the platforms outlined above to find a list of reliable suppliers for your chosen product or products. Create a spreadsheet and rate each one on communication, feedback score, product price, shipping options, and more.
Step 3. Build Your Shopify Dropshipping Store
Now that you have some awesome product ideas and high-quality suppliers, it’s time to build your Shopify store so people can buy your stuff!
a) Sign-up to Shopify
First things first, hop over to Shopify’s website, enter your email and hit “Start free trial.”
Don’t worry about coming up with a store name now – you’ll have a chance to change it in the next step when we buy a domain.
Once you’ve registered, spend a while exploring and getting comfortable with the Shopify back-end interface.
b) Register a Domain
Without buying a domain, the default URL for your store will be ‘your-store-name.myshopify.com.’
While it’s technically possible to run a store with such an URL, it looks much more professional if you have your own domain without ‘.myshopify’ in there.
Thankfully, registering a domain is easy. To access your domain settings, simply click ‘Domains’ located under the ‘Online Store’ tab in the left-hand menu of your Shopify Dashboard.
On the Domains page, you’re presented with two options:
- Buy a new domain: Selecting this option will allow you to directly purchase a domain through Shopify from as little as $10 per year.
- Connect an existing domain: Choose this option if you already purchased a domain on a third-party site like GoDaddy. The ins and outs of connecting domains can differ depending on where you bought the domain. Most of the time, it’s dead-easy, but if you’re stuck, check Shopify’s help section.
Your domain will be the address that people type into their browser to access your store, so choose one that makes sense for your business.
👉 Pro Tip: Lots of people get stuck trying to decide a name for their business. In reality, your store’s name only plays a tiny part (if any) in your success. Set a timer for 30mins and use the best name you can come up with in that time. Remember: done is better than perfect.
c) Add Your Shopify Dropshipping Products
With your account set up and your domain registered, it’s time to add products to your store.
The easiest way to get started importing products for free is by using Oberlo.
Oberlo is a Shopify dropshipping app that connects your store to Aliexpress and makes importing products simple.
- Head to the Shopify AppStore, search for ‘Oberlo’ and hit ‘add app’
- Create your Oberlo account and install the Oberlo Chrome extension
- Jump over to AliExpress, find the product(s) you identified earlier, and hit ‘Add to Oberlo’ to import them into your store.
- Open Oberlo’s ‘product import list’ and give your product(s) a title, assign it to a collection (homepage is okay), and add appropriate tags. Then click ‘Description.’
- The product descriptions from AliExpress are usually pretty poor. So you’ll want to rewrite the copy to keep conversions high. If you’re stuck for words, take inspiration from what other brands and retailers have written about similar products.
- Moving on to the ‘variants’ tab, you can remove any unwanted variants and set your pricing. Oberlo recommends a retail price, and this is usually a pretty good estimate.
- Finally, review product images in the ‘images’ tab. Only choose high-quality images. Once you’re satisfied, click ‘import to store.’
Congratulations! You’ve successfully added your first products to your store! Now let’s optimize your store for a better customer experience.
d) Set-up Product Collections
Collections are groups of products that help customers find items with ease. If you’re starting a general store, creating collections is vital to keep things organized.
Some examples of product collections are:
- Product types: home, garden, pets, etc.
- Customer groups: Men’s, women’s, youth, etc.
- Promotional collections: On Sale, Staff picks, Under $20, etc.
To add a collection, hit ‘Products’ in your Shopify dashboard and then click ‘Collections.’
On the next screen, click ‘Create Collection’ and input your collection name and add a description to help customers understand what your collection is about.
You can set up collections to be either manual or automated.
Manual collections require you to manually add and remove products to collections. That’s manageable if you’ve got a small catalog.
But if you’ve got a wide selection of products, automated collections can save you time.
You can set up collections that automatically add imported products based on conditions like ‘tags,’ ‘price’ or ‘type.’
There are no rules for how you set-up your collections. Just make sure you create them in a way that makes sense for customers.
e) Configure Your Payment Gateway
Next, let’s set up payments and shipping for your store.
Click ‘settings’ in the bottom left of your Shopify Dashboard. On the next screen, hit ‘Payments.’
Here you’ll be able to set-up payment gateways. What gateways are available to you depends on where you live.
If you’re lucky enough to reside in a location where Shopify Payments is available, that’s the easiest way to get started.
If not, head over to Shopify’s payment gateway directory, select your country, and you’ll get a list of payment providers that integrate with Shopify.
Reach out to a company that offers reasonable rates and set-up an account with them before adding them to your Shopify account.
For bonus points, add Paypal express checkout as a payment method too. In general, the more payment options you offer, the more conversions you’ll get.
👉 Pro Tip: Once you’ve set up your payments, place a test order to make sure your checkout is working correctly before you begin marketing your store.
f) Set-up Shipping
Next, it’s time to configure your shipping rates to allow you to offer free shipping to all customers.
This will keep your conversion rates high and reduce the chances of customers abandoning their carts.
In ‘Settings,’ click ‘shipping and delivery.’ Then, in the first box, click ‘Manage rates.’
On the next page, you’ll see that Shopify has automatically set up domestic and international shipping for you.
Since you’re dropshipping, these rates don’t apply, so click on the three small dots (…) and hit ‘Delete.’
Once you’ve removed the existing rates, click ‘Add rate.’
Then choose ‘Set up your own rate,’ type ‘Worldwide FREE shipping,’ set the price to ‘US$ 0.00’, and hit ‘Done.’
👉 Pro Tip: To boost your average order value, add a ‘Priority Shipping’ option for $2.99, which jumps your customer’s order to the front of the queue. It might not seem like much, but at scale small, upsells can add up.
🔥 Action Step: Create a Shopify Account, register a domain name, import your products, and set-up your payment gateway and your shipping rates. Once you’ve done that let’s keep moving.
Step 4. Design Your Shopify Dropshipping Store
With your products added, your payments set-up, and your shipping configured, it’s time to start designing your store.
Many people think you need to be a pro web designer to create a high-converting store, but that’s not true. Shopify’s drag and drop builder takes all the stress out of the process.
a) Install Your Theme
To get started, click ‘Online Store’ on the left-hand menu of your dashboard. Here you’ll be able to choose a ‘theme’ that’ll lay the foundation for your store’s appearance.
If it’s your first time building a Shopify store, opt for a ‘Free Theme.’ For our store, we picked the free theme called ‘Venture.’
Once you’ve picked a theme you like, hit ‘Customize’ to start editing it.
b) Brand Your Site
Even if you’re running a general store, sleek branding is essential.
Building an ultra-basic brand involves combining elements like logos, typography, colors, and images to create a unique and consistent feeling on your site.
So, first, you want to choose your site’s colors. Most brands stick to one or two primary colors to keep things clean and consistent – do the same for your store.
Next, you’ll want to create a logo and upload it to your store. If you’re on a budget, Shopify has a free logo maker that’ll do the trick until you can hire a designer to make you one.
After that, you’ll need images to draw visitors in. Again, Shopify has a collection of high-quality stock images you can use if push comes to shove. Just search their database using keywords related to your niche.
To illustrate what you’re aiming for, here’s an example of a general Shopify dropshipping store with a consistent ‘feel’ created through their colors, logo, and images:
When designing for the first time, don’t chase perfection. Remember, the goal is to get your store to the minimum viable standard as quickly as possible so you can start testing products.
👉 Pro Tip: Struggling to come up with a professional brand feel? Take inspiration from big companies like ASOS, Amazon, and Nike. They’ve spent heaps of money testing what works. So, model your store’s design using their approach. And for bonus credit, raiseyour store’s professionalism by removing ‘powered by Shopify’.
c) Add Essential Pages
The next step is to add pages. Pages add legitimacy to your store and build trust between you and the visitor.
The key pages you need are:
- About us – Provide a quick overview of who you are and what you do
- Contact us – Add a contact form so customers can reach out
- Shipping & returns – Outline your shipping times and returns policy
- FAQ – Include answers to the most common questions customers have
To create a page, hit ‘Pages’ under ‘Online store’ in your Shopify dashboard in the left-hand menu, then click ‘Add Page.’
Note: Shopify has a designated template for contact pages complete with a contact form, so make sure to choose that when creating your ‘contact us’ page.
Add these as pages on your site, and you’re good to go from a page’s perspective.
d) Adjust Preferences
Under ‘Online Store,’ click ‘Preferences.’
On this screen, you’ll want to:
- Enter a Homepage SEO title and meta-description: It helps rank your site in search engines.
- Add Google analytics tracking: Google Analytics is a powerful tool to study the traffic you’ll drive to your site, as well as for running Google ads.
- Add a Facebook pixel: A snippet of code that deposits cookies in visitors browsers and allows you to take your Facebook ads to the next level
- Set a social sharing image: to represent your store whenever a link you’re shared via social.
If you’re unsure how to do any of these things, there are many helpful tutorials on the web that’ll help you get the job done.
e) Configure Your Store’s Navigation
Your store’s navigation is how people move around your store via menus and links.
To set this up, click ‘Navigation’ under ‘Online Store’ in your dashboard.
Shopify automatically creates a ‘Main menu’ and a ‘Footer’ for you.
In general, support pages like your FAQ and shipping policy can go in the footer, while the mian menu houses money pages like your collections and product pages.
Here’s how we set up some elements of our main menu:
And here’s what it looks like to the customer:
🔥 Action Step: Build a minimum viable brand, design your Shopify store, and organize your collections so that it’s ready for customers to start coming in the (virtual) door!
Step 5. Add The Best Shopify Dropshipping Apps
Ok, by now, you’ve got a functioning Shopify store. You’re almost there.
The last step is to add a selection of high-quality Shopify apps to give your store additional functionality.
To add an app, simply navigate to ‘Apps’ in your Shopify dashboard and then hit ‘Visit the app store.’
Once you’re there, here are our top picks that’ll give you the biggest bang for your buck:
A whopping 76% of shoppers who add products to their cart don’t complete their purchase.
If you’re not following-up with these customers, you’re leaving money on the table.
Carti allows you to re-engage cart abandoners by reaching out via email, SMS, push notifications, and FB messenger.
Seriously, it’s one of the easiest ways to capture missed revenue – all you need to do is set the maximum discount you’re prepared to offer, and Carti takes care of the rest.
Plus, Carti is 100% free until it starts making you at least an extra $100 in additional revenue per month. A must-have before you begin marketing your store.
One of the best ways to boost your profit margin is to increase each customer’s average order value.
Think about it: let’s say a customer spends $50 on your store. If you spent $20 on ads, $20 on their product, and $5 in fees, you pocket $5.
Now imagine instead of the customer spending $50, you upsell them to a cart value of $70. Now all your costs remain the same, but your profit jumps to $25!
ReConvert achieves this by allowing you to add upsells and cross-sells on your thank-you page.
Why the thank-you page? Because when customer’s land on the thank-you page, they’re still in peak buying mode.
ReConvert also has a bunch of other cool features you can add, like an order tracking widget,
ReConvert is also totally free until you’re generating at least 50 orders per month, making it perfect for dropshippers looking to keep costs down in the beginning.
Ever been shopping online and find yourself going straight to the reviews?
You’re not alone. Research shows that 83% of people trust reviews over advertising – and with more trust comes more sales.
Loox is a beautiful review app that integrates seamlessly with Shopify. It allows you to set-up automated review requests from recent customers via email.
For dropshippers, Loox also allows you to import product reviews from Aliexpress.
This means you can get reviews from genuine customers even if you haven’t yet sold the product on your store.
Adding reviews with Loox will boost your conversion rate and help you make more money from the get-go.
d) Set-up Facebook Messenger
Technically, Messenger isn’t an app.
It’s classified under ‘sales channels’ in Shopify, but we’re adding it to the list because it’s so powerful.
There are three reasons for this.
First, the fact that customers can contact you makes them feel more secure and indirectly boosts conversions.
Secondly, your customers are your most significant source of feedback. Having Facebook messenger on your store means you can figure out what’s working and what’s not.
For example, if customers are messaging you about a slow-loading page, you can fix it. Alternatively, they might have questions about shipping, which you need to add to your FAQ.
Thirdly, the integration means customers can get order updates directly to the messenger app, which will reduce the number of customer support requests you need to deal with.
In all, Facebook Messenger allows customers to reach you conveniently, reduces the burden on your support while also acting as a feedback mechanism that helps you improve.
Talk about a triple-win!
Many visitors will come to your site once, leave and never think about your business again.
That’s why collecting visitor information is crucial.
If you can snag an email address, you’ve got a chance to transform one-time visitors into lifelong customers via email marketing.
Poptin is a simple and effective way to add pop-ups to your store that lets you capture emails and seduce visitors with enticing offers.
The drag and drop builder makes it a breeze to produce professional-looking pop-ups, and the triggers mean you can time your pop-ups to perfection.
Plus, Poptin integrates with most email marketing platforms so you can send automated emails that’ll super-charge your profit margins.
For best results, incentivize your pop-up. Try a simple offer like ’15 % off your first order’ in exchange for the customer’s email address.
If you’ve ever had your eye caught by one of those ‘you may also like’ selections on Amazon, you know personalized recommendations work.
Wiser, let’s you do this on Shopify by suggesting related products, bundles, and collections based on your customer’s browsing behavior.
Pricing starts at $29/mo, which may seem a little steep for first-time dropshippers. However, it’ll almost certainly pay for itself by boosting your average order value.
Plus, it comes with a 14-day free trial, so you can always try it and cancel if it’s not providing you with any value.
🔥 Action Step: Add these apps to your store, set them up as quickly as possible, and you’re ready to rock.
Step 6. Market Your Shopify Dropshipping Store
With your products chosen, a supplier found, and your store built, you’re ready to start driving traffic to your store.
There are lots of ways to market your store to potential customers, for example:
- Facebook ads
- Google ads
- Influencer marketing
- Search engine optimization
For this tutorial, we’re going to cover influencer marketing, as it’s the easiest way to get your products in front of interested buyers.
What is Influencer Marketing?
So, what is influencer marketing? Well, in traditional terms, it involves partnering with someone who’s got a large audience of followers and having them advertise your product.
This type of advertising works so well because:
- It’s not overly pushy or in your face.
- The audience trusts the influencer’s recommendations.
- You can reach huge audiences with relatively low effort.
How to Find Influencers to Work With
It’s easy to spend hours trawling through Instagram in search of influencers. But we ain’t about that.
So, here’s an uncomplicated strategy for finding the best influencers to market your products.
- Create an Instagram account for your store (add some posts to boost your credibility)
- Search for hashtags related to your niche or industry
- Pick accounts using those hashtags with between 10k and 500k followers (it doesn’t have to be a person – meme pages can work wonders too!)
- Ensure the accounts have an engaged audience (post likes should = 3% of the total following)
- Send a direct message asking if they’d like to do a product review.
- Create a google sheet containing info for each influencer (followers, engagement rate, what they charge, etc.)
- Choose the 3-5 influencers who most closely align with your brand.
Remember, finding influencers is somewhat of a numbers game. You’ll have to message 30 accounts to get a single positive response.
That said, kicking off with the right message can make things a lot easier.
How to Approach Influencers (and get them to say yes)
Knowing what to say to influencers can be tricky. If you’re stuck for words, here’s a template you can use:
Hey [influencer’s name],
I’m [your name] from [your store].
We’ve been following your account for a while and love your work! It’s fantastic that we both share a love for [your niche].
I’ve been thinking about your audience and how they might absolutely love our [you product]
How would you feel about me sending you a free [your product] in exchange for a shoutout or review on [Instagram/TikTok/Facebook/YouTube]?
Alternatively, if you’re interested in a sponsored post, we’d be open to discussing that too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
All the best,
How to Structure Your Arrangement with Influencers
Once an influencer says ‘yes,’ it’s time to talk business.
In general, there are four main ways that brands work with influencers:
- Flat fee: e.g., A 24-hour story post for $100
- Free products/gifts: a review or shoutout in exchange for free items
- Affiliate deals: e.g., Influencers get 10% from every sale generated via their link
- Equity arrangement: Influencers receive a % of your company.
All of these arrangements can work well, and the type you’ll choose depends on your products and industry.
However, for the most part, a flat-fee or sending a free product will be the best option for dropshipping stores that are just starting.
Usually, influencers will come back to you with the promotional services and a price list for each option.
Note: Set up a Paypal account if you don’t have one, as that’s almost always a method of payment that influencer’s accept.
How to Create Your Influencer Marketing Offer
The final step is to create an offer for the influencer’s audience.
This could be something as simple as a 15% discount code, but the idea is that you give the influencer’s followers that extra nudge they need to go to your site and check out your products.
Another clever tactic is to run a 24-hour giveaway contest via the influencer’s Instagram. Contestants enter by tagging a friend on the post, liking it, and following your page too.
Then, when time is up, and you’ve chosen a winner, go through and message each entrant with a runners-up prize of 15% off their first order.
Whatever offer you choose, make sure you use a trackable link to know how many visitors each influencer drives to your store.
This will allow you to calculate your cost per visit and work out which influencers give you the best value for money!
Once you’ve found an influencer, negotiated a deal, and created your offer, it’s time to make it happen!
Once the post goes live, it’s time to sit back and watch those sweet sales roll in!
👉 Pro Tip: Before your offer goes live, set-up basic retargeting ads on Facebook. Such ads will allow you to serve ads to store visitors who left without purchasing. A Better Lemonade Stand has an excellent guide on how to create Facebook retargeting ads.
🔥 Action Step: Reach out to a minimum of 30 influencers in your niche using the template above. Choose the influencers that best fit your brand. Using at least 3 different influencers, make the payment/send them the product and get ready for your first sale!
Shopify Dropshipping Store Examples
Examples can help you visualize what successful dropshipping looks like.
Good examples allow you to discover new tactics, marketing angles, and product ideas by looking at what seasoned dropshippers are doing.
Here are some of the best Shopify dropshipping stores on the web:
Westhikers is a dropshipping store that sells products in the outdoor and adventure niche.
Notice how they’ve built a genuine brand around their products with slick images, clever copy, and an excellent color scheme.
In particular, their product pages are fantastic. Use them for inspiration when creating your own.
Best Choice Products is a great general dropshipping store to inspire your design.
It doesn’t focus on selling in any particular niche but rather test a large volume of products until they find one that sticks.
They don’t dropship from China but instead focus on using US-based suppliers to offer their customers fast shipping.
Happy Kalimba is a brilliant one product dropshipping store.
Notice how they’ve focused on selling in a niche of super-passionate folks.
Remember: the more passionate your shoppers are, the easier it is to make a sale!
4. Mooshe Socks
Beautiful branding and mesmerizing product photography are the order of the day with Mooshe socks.
They’re a dropshipping business that offers custom packaging and branding – something you can negotiate with your supplier or agent once you’re selling at scale.
4. Treasure Fan
Treasure fan is another general dropshipping store that sells a mixed bag of items.
However, while the items may fit into different categories, notice how every product in the store is eye-catching.
Eye-catching products with some emotional appeal will always stand a chance of being winning dropshipping products.
Meowingtons is a dropshipping store in the cat niche that does everything right.
From solid branding to excellent product selection and killer ads, take liberal inspiration from them if you’re setting up a niche store.
They’ve recently branched into print-on-demand items too, which is a great way to get started if you’re not crazy about dropshipping products from China.
Bluecrate is one of the biggest general dropshipping stores around. They sell a variety of products via both print-on-demand and traditional product dropshipping.
They mainly focus on gifts – a great niche to enter, especially if you can curate excellent products for different occasions.
Shopify Dropshipping Guide Wrap-up
In this guide, you’ve learned how to:
- Identify high-potential dropshipping products
- Seek out quality suppliers
- Build a Shopify dropshipping store
- Run your first marketing campaign
But before you race off and start building your business, it’s essential to know that there’s one key ingredient we haven’t talked about: your perspective.
Seriously, most people go wrong here. Because the truth is, dropshipping isn’t a walk in the park.
If you’re going to become successful, you need to get used to failure (yeah, that goes for any area in life).
Sure, this sounds cliche. But almost nobody builds a profitable dropshipping business on their first attempt.
Keeping realistic expectations about the results you’ll achieve will keep you from getting discouraged and quitting when the going gets tough.
Don’t get me wrong – Dropshipping isn’t so hard that you can’t do it. Especially, now that you’re armed with the wisdom in this post.
But the magic land of dropshipping nirvana is only entered by those who are willing to persevere.
With that in mind, roll-up those sleeves and get to work!