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Shopify Dropshipping for Beginners: 15 Important Steps to Start

If you’re a beginner looking to dive into the exciting world of online business, dropshipping through Shopify could be your ticket to entrepreneurial freedom.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the fundamentals of Shopify dropshipping for beginners, equipping you with the knowledge and tools you need to embark on your journey toward building a profitable e-commerce venture.

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur exploring new avenues or a complete novice taking your first steps, this article will offer insightful information and practical advice to kickstart your Shopify dropshipping business.

Let’s get started on your path to e-commerce success!

Table of Contents

What does dropshipping mean?

Dropshipping is a type of business in which the dropshipper sells products to customers without physically stocking or handling the inventory themselves. Instead, they partner with suppliers or wholesalers who fulfill customer orders on their behalf.

What does dropshipping mean?

Here’s how dropshipping typically works:

  • Setting up an online store. The dropshipper sets up an e-commerce store, often using platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, or BigCommerce. They design their website, list products, and set prices.
  • Partnering with suppliers. The dropshipper identifies and establishes partnerships with suppliers or wholesalers willing to dropship their products. These suppliers maintain inventory and handle the shipping process.
  • Listing products. The dropshipper selects and lists the products they want to sell on their online store. They use product descriptions, images, and pricing provided by the supplier.
  • Customer orders. When a customer places an order on the dropshipper’s website and pays, the dropshipper forwards the order details to the supplier. This includes the product, quantity, and shipping information.
  • Supplier fulfillment. The supplier then prepares and sends it directly to the customer’s address. They may use the dropshipper’s branding and packaging if requested.
  • Customer receives the product. The provider sends the product straight to the customer, often without indicating that it came from a third party.

Successful dropshippers often focus on niche markets, excellent customer service, and effective marketing strategies to overcome these challenges and build a profitable business.

Related topic: What is Dropshipping? The Definition and Best Practices

Why should we consider dropshipping on Shopify?

Why should we consider dropshipping on Shopify?

Dropshipping on Shopify can be an appealing business model for several reasons:

  • Low initial investment. Starting a dropshipping business on Shopify requires minimal upfront capital. You don’t need to invest in inventory, manufacturing, or a physical store. This makes it accessible to individuals with limited financial resources.
  • Easy to set up. Shopify is a user-friendly e-commerce platform that enables quick store setup, design customization, product addition, and business management, even for those with limited technical knowledge.
  • Wide product selection. Dropshipping enables businesses to offer a diverse product range without physical inventory constraints, allowing for easy product addition, removal, niche testing, and customer adaptability.
  • Location flexibility. If you have access to the internet, you can operate a dropshipping business from anywhere. This flexibility is particularly appealing for digital nomads or those looking to work remotely.
  • Scalability. As your business grows, you can scale your dropshipping operations easily. You won’t need to worry about managing a warehouse or fulfilling orders, allowing you to focus on marketing and growing your customer base.
  • Reduced risk. Since you don’t purchase products upfront, you avoid the risk of holding unsold inventory. This makes dropshipping less financially risky compared to traditional retail.
  • Access to a global market. You may connect with a global audience using Shopify. With proper marketing and targeting, you can sell products to customers worldwide, expanding your potential customer base significantly.
  • Marketing and SEO tools. Shopify provides a range of SEO and marketing services to help you drive traffic to your store and improve your online visibility. This includes tools for email marketing, social media integration, and search engine optimization.
  • Analytics and insights. Shopify offers thorough reporting and analytics solutions, allowing you to track your store’s performance, monitor sales, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your business.
  • Integration with dropshipping apps. Shopify integrates seamlessly with various dropshipping apps and platforms, making it easy to source products, manage inventory, and automate order fulfillment.

However, though dropshipping on Shopify offers advantages, it also presents many challenges. Also, success in dropshipping depends on choosing the right niche, finding reliable suppliers, and executing a well-thought-out business strategy.

Is dropshipping on Shopify profitable?

According to Virtual Market Research, the global dropshipping market size was valued at USD 190 billion in 2022 and is expected to exceed USD 1096.5 billion by 2030.

Is dropshipping on Shopify profitable?

In general, dropshipping profitability depends on your niche, product selection, marketing strategies, competition, pricing, and more. Some dropshippers have achieved significant profits, while others have struggled or even lost money.

To determine the potential profitability of dropshipping on Shopify, you should consider factors like:

  • Product niche. Some niches are more profitable than others. Highly specialized or unique products can often yield better profit margins.
  • Product cost. Lower-cost products can have lower profit margins, while higher-cost items can yield more significant profits.
  • Competition. High competition can drive down prices and make it harder to stand out. Low competition may offer more opportunities for profit.
  • Marketing strategy. Effective marketing is essential for attracting customers. Advertising costs can vary, and your ability to target the right audience matters.
  • Operating costs. Consider the costs of running your Shopify store, including hosting, apps, advertising, and any other expenses.
  • Conversion rate. Your profitability depends on your ability to turn website visitors into paying clients.
  • Shipping costs and times. These can affect customer satisfaction and costs.
  • Economic conditions. Economic factors, such as inflation and consumer spending habits, can impact profitability.

It’s also important to note that dropshipping is a business model with relatively low barriers to entry, which means there can be a lot of competition. Success often requires a combination of effective product selection, marketing, and customer service.

Read more: Shopify Pricing Plans (2023): Which Shopify Plan is For You?

15 steps to start Shopify dropshipping for beginners

Step 1: Conduct market research and niche selection

Before diving into the e-commerce world, it’s important to lay a strong foundation by conducting thorough market research and selecting the right niche. This step is one of the essential parts of ensuring the success and sustainability of your dropshipping business.

Step 1 to start Shopify dropshipping for beginners

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • List your interests, hobbies, and passions, choosing niches that genuinely excite you to fuel your dedication to the business.
  • Use keyword research tools to identify potential niches and related keywords with low competition and reasonable search volume.
  • Utilize Google Trends to gauge your chosen niche’s upward or downward trend.
  • Conduct market research on competitors in your niche to assess their product offerings, pricing strategies, and customer engagement tactics.
  • Develop buyer personas to understand target audience demographics.
  • Choose reliable suppliers based on factors to ensure the success of your business.
  • Calculate potential profit margins by incorporating product costs, marketing expenses, and Shopify fees to ensure your niche provides a healthy profit margin.

Market research and niche selection are vital when Shopify dropshipping for beginners, aiding in identifying profitable niches, understanding target audiences, and positioning for growth. So, staying updated is essential for long-term success.

Step 2: Create a business plan

Creating a business plan is one of the most essential steps to consider when Shopify dropshipping for beginners.

Step 2: Create a business plan

Here are some recommendations to consider:

  • Prepare a concise overview of your dropshipping business plan.
  • Provide an in-depth description of your dropshipping business.
  • Conduct in-depth market research to identify your target market and competitors.
  • Outline the products you intend to sell and how to source them through dropshipping.
  • Detail your sales and marketing strategies to attract customers to your Shopify store.
  • Explain how you’ll manage day-to-day operations.
  • Create financial projections for your dropshipping business.
  • Set milestones and a timeline for achieving your business goals to track your progress and stay motivated.

In conclusion, a business plan is important for starting a successful dropshipping business on Shopify and defining goals, strategies, and financial expectations. As a result, it should be dynamic, adaptable, and regularly reviewed for success.

Step 3: Register your business

Starting a dropshipping business on Shopify is a profitable and exciting venture, but proper registration is needed to establish it as a legitimate and compliant entity before entering the online retail world.

Register your business

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to register your business when Shopify dropshipping for beginners:

  • Choose a legal structure for liability, taxes, and other legal aspects.
  • Choose a distinctive business name that reflects your brand, verify availability, and consider trademark registration for brand protection.
  • To save on taxes, get an employer identification number.
  • Register your business with the appropriate government authoritiesfor businesses, or laws for limited liability companies.
  • Research local permits and licenses for dropshipping businesses to ensure compliance and avoid legal issues.
  • In the areas where you have consumers, determine whether you are required to collect and submit sales tax.
  • Open a separate business bank account to keep track of your business transactions.
  • Obtain business insurance to safeguard your business from potential liabilities.
  • Understand Shopify’s Acceptable Use Policy and Terms of Service to ensure your dropshipping business adheres to its guidelines and avoids online store issues.

As they vary by location and structure, remember to consult local legal and financial professionals for business registration requirements to maintain good standing and build trust with customers and suppliers.

Step 4: Set up a Shopify account

Starting a dropshipping business on Shopify is an excellent way to enter the world of e-commerce with minimal upfront investment. Shopify offers an intuitive system that makes it simple for business owners to launch an online store and manage their products.

Step 4: Set up a Shopify account

Here’s a guide to walk you through the step-by-step process of setting up a Shopify account:

  • Sign up for a Shopify account:
    • Open your web browser and navigate to the Shopify website.
    • Click on the “Get Started” button on the Shopify homepage.
    • Create a password after entering your email address and choose a unique store name.
    • Click the “Create your store” button.
  • Customize your store:
    • Select your business type and provide pertinent details about your business and its products.
    • Select a theme for your store.
    • Adapt your theme to reflect your brand identity by including your logo, changing the colors, and changing the fonts.
  • Add products to your store:
    • To start dropshipping, source products from suppliers.
    • Install the Oberlo or other dropshipping app from the Shopify App Store.
    • Search for products within the app’s catalog and add them to your store.
    • Customize product details, including titles, descriptions, and pricing.
  • Set up payment and shipping:
    • Configure your payment settings to accept payments from customers.
    • Set up your shipping options and rates.
    • Determine whether you’ll offer free, flat-rate, or real-time carrier-calculated shipping rates.
  • Configure taxes and legal settings:
    • Check your local tax regulations and configure tax settings accordingly.
    • Create necessary legal pages, including a privacy policy and terms of service. Shopify provides templates to help you draft these documents.

To sum up, establishing a Shopify account for dropshipping is necessary for a successful online business. Therefore, adapting your approach and utilizing the platform’s user-friendly features are key to success.

Step 5: Design your online store

Step 5: Design your online store

Starting a dropshipping business on Shopify offers low costs, but a well-designed online store is essential for success, attracting customers and instilling brand trust. Here are some recommendations:

  • Design your store by identifying your niche, researching market trends, and selecting high-demand products.
  • Sign up for Shopify to access user-friendly templates and tools designed for e-commerce.
  • Choose a Shopify theme that matches your niche and products.
  • Customize elements to enhance the shopping experience for customers.
  • Create high-quality product listings for your dropshipping business.
  • Configure payment gateways to accept credit cards, PayPal, and other payment methods, and set competitive shipping rates to attract and retain customers.
  • Enhance your store’s search engine visibility by using relevant keywords in product descriptions, meta tags, and URLs to attract organic traffic.
  • Develop crucial pages to establish customer trust and ensure legal compliance.

In closing, designing your online store is one of the most essential steps for a successful dropshipping business on Shopify. So, choose the right niche, customize the theme, create high-quality product listings, and optimize for search engines.

Step 6: Add products to your store

Step 6: Add products to your store

One of the key steps for Shopify dropshipping for beginners is adding products to your online storefront. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to do it:

  • Choose a passionate and knowledgeable niche for effective product marketing, then find products to sell within that niche.
  • Find trustworthy suppliers to collaborate with for inventory and shipping management.
  • Import products into your Shopify store by using the user-friendly Oberlo app.
  • Enhance your product listings to differentiate yourself from competitors and attract potential customers.
  • Implement Shopify’s payment and shipping options to attract customers and manage expectations effectively.
  • Test your dropshipping store’s entire shopping process to ensure smooth operation before launch.

Adding products to your Shopify dropshipping store is important for a successful e-commerce business. For that reason, selecting a niche, partnering with suppliers, optimizing listings, and setting up payment and shipping options can attract more customers.

Step 7: Establish payment and delivery procedures

Starting a dropshipping business on Shopify also requires setting up payment and shipping methods.

Establish payment and delivery procedures

To set up payment and shipping methods for your dropshipping store on Shopify, follow these steps:

  • Access your Shopify admin panel.
  • In the payment settings:
    • Click on “Settings” and then select “Payments.”
    • Choose your preferred payment gateway.
    • Follow the prompts to connect your chosen payment gateway and complete the setup.
  • In the shipping settings:
    • Navigate to “Settings” and choose “Shipping and Delivery.”
    • Click “Manage rates” under the shipping zone you want to set up.
    • Add shipping rates based on your dropshipping strategy.
    • Configure shipping zones and rates for different regions or countries you plan to ship to.
  • Connect your supplier’s app or platform to streamline order fulfillment.
  • Test your payment and shipping methods and send order confirmation emails.
  • Create and distribute clear shipping policies on your Shopify store, outlining estimated delivery times, fees, and applicable restrictions.
  • Implement customer support channels for payments, shipping, and orders, potentially utilizing Shopify’s features or integrating a helpdesk app.

By following these steps, you’ll establish a robust foundation for your dropshipping business on Shopify, providing a seamless payment experience for customers and efficient shipping methods for your products.

Step 8: Organize your inventory and suppliers

Organize your inventory and suppliers

To kickstart your dropshipping venture on Shopify, it’s essential to efficiently organize your inventory and suppliers. Here’s a concise guide:

  • Choose a market-demanding niche or product category and conduct thorough research on competition and trends to make an informed decision.
  • Identify potential suppliers in your chosen niche by seeking reputable dropshipping companies.
  • Develop clear supplier agreements and ensure they can integrate with Shopify.
  • Create a Shopify store, set up your payment gateway, and customize its design and layout to match your brand and products.
  • Utilize inventory management software or Shopify apps to monitor product availability and sync your store with suppliers for automatic stock-level updates.
  • Enhance your Shopify store’s appeal and SEO by optimizing product titles, descriptions, and images using supplier-provided data or product feeds.
  • Create a pricing strategy to maintain competitiveness and ensure profitability.
  • Automate order processing as much as possible.
  • Offer exceptional customer service, addressing inquiries, handling returns, and promptly resolving issues to differentiate your dropshipping business.
  • Analyze sales data, website traffic, and customer behavior regularly.

By effectively organizing your inventory and suppliers, you can streamline your dropshipping operation and create a successful online store on Shopify. Consistency, quality, and customer satisfaction are vital for sustained growth in this competitive e-commerce landscape.

Step 9: Implement SEO and marketing strategies

Starting a dropshipping business on Shopify can be a lucrative venture, but having a strong online presence is essential to attract customers and drive sales. Implementing effective SEO and marketing strategies is crucial for your store’s success.

Step 9: Implement SEO and marketing strategies

Here’s a brief overview of the steps to get you started:

  • Start by researching relevant keywords for your products to establish the foundation of your SEO strategies.
  • Develop compelling product titles, descriptions, and meta tags using selected keywords while ensuring high-quality and optimized product images for quick loading.
  • Ensure your website’s structure is search engine-friendly.
  • Create valuable content related to your niche, and share it on your Shopify store and social media channels.
  • Create high-quality backlinks for your Shopify store and engage with influencers or relevant websites in your niche for guest posting or collaboration opportunities.
  • Utilize analytics tools to monitor SEO and marketing performance and adjust strategies accordingly to enhance results.

Remember that SEO and marketing are ongoing processes, and results may take time to materialize. Consistency and persistence are key when building a successful dropshipping business on Shopify.

Step 10: Manage customer service

Managing customer service is a critical aspect when Shopify dropshipping for beginners. Offering your clients great customer service can help you gain more consumers’ trust, encourage repeat business, and ultimately drive the growth of your online store.

Manage customer service

Here are some steps to effectively manage customer service for the Shopify dropshipping venture:

  • Maintain clear expectations for shipping times, returns, and product quality by ensuring transparency in product descriptions.
  • Maintain open communication with customers by promptly responding to their inquiries and concerns through various channels.
  • Use chatbots or automated email responses to handle common queries, quickly resolving basic issues.
  • Consider outsourcing customer support to a virtual assistant to handle inquiries during non-working hours.
  • Create a clear and fair returns policy, and be prepared to process returns efficiently.
  • Keep an eye on social media channels for mentions of your brand.
  • Gather customer feedback to identify improvements in your products and services.
  • Ensure the quality of products from your suppliers to minimize customer complaints.
  • Consistently provide excellent customer service to build trust.

In conclusion, effectively managing customer service can help you enhance the shopping experience for your dropshipping customers and increase the chances of building a successful Shopify store.

Step 11: Monitor and analyze performance

Monitoring and analyzing performance is essential when starting a dropshipping business on Shopify. By closely tracking key metrics and making data-driven decisions, you can optimize your store’s operations, increase profitability, and ensure long-term success.

Step 11: Monitor and analyze performance

Here’s a brief overview of the process:

  • Define your objectives, such as sales targets or profit margins.
  • Identify the metrics that matter most to your business.
  • Utilize tools like Google Analytics and Shopify’s built-in analytics to monitor key performance indicators.
  • Analyze website traffic sources like organic search, paid ads, and social media to understand visitor sources and identify the most effective channels.
  • Monitor the conversion rate of visitors.
  • To prevent stockouts and overstocks, check your product inventory and utilize inventory management tools or apps for automation.
  • Pay attention to customer feedback and reviews.
  • Analyze the success of your advertising campaigns and adjust your strategies.
  • Utilize competitor pricing, product offerings, and marketing strategies to maintain competitiveness and pinpoint areas for enhancement.

By consistently monitoring and analyzing performance using these steps, you can refine your dropshipping strategy on Shopify, maximize your success, and grow your online business.

Step 12: Consider legal and compliance issues

Step 12: Consider legal and compliance issues

When starting dropshipping on Shopify, it’s essential to consider legal and compliance issues to ensure a smooth and legally sound operation. Here’s a brief overview of the key strategies:

  • Choose a business structure like sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation to determine your legal liability and taxation.
  • Register with the appropriate authorities, and obtain necessary licenses or permits.
  • Understand your tax obligations and determine if you need to collect and remit sales tax in the regions where you have customers.
  • Establish clear agreements with dropshipping suppliers, guaranteeing accurate product information, efficient return handling, and adherence to quality standards.
  • Develop a privacy policy to educate customers about their data collection, use, and protection, using Shopify’s template as a guide.
  • Develop concise and clear terms and conditions outlining customer rules, expectations, shipping, returns, and disputes.
  • Use copyrighted images or trademarks with proper permission and ensure product listings adhere to intellectual property laws.
  • Protect customer data and payment information by following cybersecurity best practices.
  • Have a clear system for handling customer inquiries, disputes, and returns.
  • Consider getting business insurance to protect against potential legal claims or losses.

Remember that legal and compliance issues are important for your dropshipping business’s long-term success and sustainability. Taking the time to address these matters properly from the beginning can help you avoid legal troubles.

Step 13: Launch your store

Step 13: Launch your store

As mentioned above, launching your dropshipping store on Shopify involves several key steps to get started successfully. When launching your store for dropshipping on Shopify, consider the following tips:

  • Choose a niche that interests you and has a target audience.
  • Analyze successful competitors to understand their strategies.
  • Curate a selection of high-quality and in-demand products to offer in your store.
  • Look for trustworthy suppliers who have an archive of success for on-time delivery and quality products.
  • Create an appealing, user-friendly website with a clean design, clear navigation, and mobile optimization.
  • Optimize product titles, descriptions, and images for search engines to improve visibility.
  • Set up secure and convenient payment options for customers.
  • Offer competitive shipping options and clearly communicate shipping times and costs to customers.
  • Provide excellent customer service to inquiries and address issues promptly.
  • To drive traffic and sales, develop a marketing strategy using social media, email marketing, and paid advertising.
  • Use analysis tools to monitor website traffic and customer behavior for insights.

Therefore, when considering these tips, you can set a strong foundation for a successful dropshipping business on Shopify.

Step 14: Scale your business

Starting a dropshipping business on Shopify offers low costs and reduced operational complexity, but long-term success requires effective scaling, including expanding operations, expanding product catalogs, and increasing revenue.

Step 14: Scale your business

Scaling your dropshipping business on Shopify involves several key steps:

  • Optimize your Shopify store’s user-friendliness, visual appeal, and quick loading by enhancing product listings with high-quality images and compelling descriptions.
  • Concentrate on a certain market or product type to target a specific audience by researching trends and identifying high-demand and profitable products.
  • Establish strong relationships with reliable suppliers.
  • Create a comprehensive marketing strategy incorporating social media advertising, content marketing, email marketing, and SEO to boost traffic and sales.
  • Provide excellent customer service to lead to repeat business and referrals.
  • Utilize inventory management software to monitor stock levels and prevent stockouts or overstocking.
  • Utilize paid advertising to expand your audience, keep an eye on performance, and modify your budget and target as necessary.
  • Use Shopify’s analytics tools to monitor performance metrics, analyze customer behavior, and analyze sales data for informed decision-making.
  • As sales grow, reinvest profits into scaling your business.

Don’t forget that scaling a dropshipping business on Shopify takes time and effort. So, be prepared to adapt to changing market conditions and customer preferences and stay committed to providing value to your customers as you grow.

Step 15: Stay informed and adapt

Stay informed and adapt

Success in the world of dropshipping hinges not only on setting up your store but also on your ability to stay informed and adapt to ever-changing market trends and consumer preferences. To stay informed and adapt, you need to follow these essential steps:

  • Stay informed:
    • Conduct extensive market research to find valuable niches.
    • Study competitors to understand their strategies, pricing, and customer base.
    • Stay updated on e-commerce and dropshipping trends.
    • Utilize Shopify’s resources, like their blog and forums, for valuable insights and updates.
  • Adapt to changes:
    • Keep up with Shopify platform updates.
    • Be flexible with your marketing tactics and adjust them depending on what appeals to your target demographic the most.
    • Listen to customer feedback and adapt your product offerings and customer service accordingly.
    • Be prepared to adjust pricing and shipping strategies based on economic fluctuations.

To sum up, staying informed and adaptable in the dynamic world of dropshipping on Shopify will assist in your continued success in the e-commerce industry.

Create a Shopify store for dropshipping now

If you want to create your own Shopify store, let Mageplaza help you do so. This is a wise decision because of its low entry barrier, minimal upfront costs, and potential for substantial profits, which can be combined with Mageplaza’s features and benefits.


Here’s why you should consider taking this step:

    • Easy setup and integration. Shopify’s user-friendly interface allows entrepreneurs to integrate their dropshipping store with Mageplaza, enabling them to focus on expanding their client base and growing their business.
    • Wide service range. Mageplaza offers a diverse range of services, catering to various niches and markets, enabling businesses to adapt to market trends and customer preferences.
    • Responsive support. Shopify offers excellent customer support, and Mageplaza extends that support with its integration, ensuring prompt assistance in case of issues or questions.
    • Analytics and insights. Both Shopify and Mageplaza offer robust analytics tools for tracking store performance, understanding customer behavior, and making data-based decisions to optimize dropshipping businesses.
    • Security. Security is essential in e-commerce. With Mageplaza’s security features and Shopify’s SSL certification, you can ensure the safety of your customers’ data and transactions, building trust and credibility.
  • Connection with Avada Commerce. Mageplaza’s connection to Avada allows access to numerous apps on the Shopify app store that can help you enhance your e-commerce business by improving the consumer experience and optimizing processes.

Therefore, by utilizing Mageplaza’s features and Shopify’s infrastructure, you can start and scale a profitable dropshipping business with confidence.


Closing remarks

In conclusion, embarking on a journey into Shopify dropshipping for beginners can be exciting and rewarding.

Throughout the article, we’ve equipped you with essential strategies to confidently kickstart your dropshipping venture. Remember, dropshipping success relies on continuous learning, adaptability, and a strong commitment to providing value to customers.

So, as you embark on your dropshipping journey, keep these strategies in mind and stay motivated to achieve your entrepreneurial goals. You can turn your Shopify dropshipping venture into a flourishing online business with dedication and perseverance. Happy dropshipping!

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Marketing Manager of Mageplaza. Summer is attracted by new things. She loves writing, travelling and photography. Perceives herself as a part-time gymmer and a full-time dream chaser.
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