Dropshipping is an effective and exciting way for entrepreneurs to launch a profitable business with minimal investment and risk. Use this step-by-step guide to set up your dropshipping business with Shopify and Modalyst today!
Dropshipping is a fulfillment business model where entrepreneurs can sell items directly to consumers without actually owning any inventory. The online store makes the sale directly to the buyer, but the online store routes that order to a supplier instead. The supplier packages and ships the item directly to the end customer, but under the online store’s name.
Dropshipping involves minimal risk, as no inventory needs to be purchased. This means there is no overhead for storing products, and it is increasingly convenient as the supplier handles the packaging and shipping directly.
Shopify is an e-commerce tool that allows you to integrate your supplier catalogs and manage your inventory and product listings in one place. You can easily create and design an online store, set up dashboards and blogs, and create a custom domain that is best suited to appeal to your target market.
Shopify plans begin at $29 per month, but the price is well worth it as it includes 24/7 support. This will allow you to stay ahead of the competition and answer your customers’ questions immediately.
Modalyst is an app that can be integrated into Shopify that enables online stores to source unique and quality items that are immediately available for sale. Modalyst has thousands of suppliers on their platform, in categories ranging from apparel and home to beauty. They also offer useful workflow tools as well, integrating inventory data such as stock levels and pricing.
The first step to launching your dropshipping business is to sign up for Shopify. Once you set up your account with an email and password, you will be asked to fill out a few forms with questions about your background to help you set up your store. After these have been submitted, you will be redirected to your new dashboard where you can access the front- and back-end of your store.
Next, you will need to select a theme that will determine the layout and design of your store. You can do this by selecting “Online Store” under “Sales Channels” and then selecting “Themes”. There are options to customize the layouts, and you can select unique images, fonts, and colors.
While choosing your setup, consider how you want customers to navigate around your store. Set up a menu where customers can find basic information about including products, shipping and return policies, and contact information.
Registering a domain name is the next step. While it is not absolutely required, it is very beneficial for branding purposes to have full control over how your URL will read. To do this, click the “Buy New Domain” button or purchase it through a third party like Namecheap.
Once your Shopify store is set up, you must decide on a target market. To get the most out of your dropshipping business, you need to identify a niche market so that you can cater your product offerings to meet their needs.
Through research, you can determine the best products to sell to the target market that you choose, but consider products that cost less than $20 and have no discernible brands, as this will help you maximize earnings and minimize competition.
Signing up with Modalyst to find products to sell is your next step. Browse the app store from your Shopify dashboard and select Modalyst, then click “Get”. This will automatically install the app to your Shopify site and integrate all of their features.
You can initially sign up for free on the Hobby plan, and this will give you full access to the app and their marketplace so you can get a feel for how it works.
What’s a Shopify store without products? You can go directly into the Modalyst application to select the products you want to add, but remember to consider your niche market when creating your product list.
Choosing the right products to feature in your dropshipping store is essential. Focus on items that have a large number of high ratings, and suppliers with a feedback score of at least 95%. Select either branded or non-branded products, and if possible order a sample from the supplier to see how the purchasing process flows and to determine the quality of the product.
You will be working with these suppliers extensively, so make sure you understand their policies as well as how responsive they are with communication.
To add a product, simply click “Add Product”. Make sure that you add the product name, description, and who the vendor is so customers know exactly what they are purchasing. Adding images and creating compelling descriptions will help increase your sales volume and attract customers.
Using the Organization section of the Shopify menu, organize your products into collections by type of item or vendor to make the customer experience even more seamless. In addition, you should create keyword tags to help buyers search for products.
After adding items to your store, you need to determine the selling price. Use platforms like Amazon to research what is reasonable pricing for items similar to the ones in your catalog. Your goal is to sell items for more than what you pay the supplier for the product and for shipping, but not so high that buyers are not interested.
Be sure to link payment options to your store at this time too. Shopify payments are ideal as it can track all of your transactions for you and help you create customized templates. However, it is not available in all countries so you may want to consider setting up PayPal as well.
At this point, you have to edit your shipping rates to ensure you are providing accurate prices. To do this, look at the size and weights of your products and determine the pricing for both local and international deliveries.
Note that this price should also consider the surcharge the supplier may charge for packaging and preparing the product for shipment – you want to make sure you are not on the hook for these costs. There are
Setting up customer support is an extremely important step, as you want to help your customers make a purchase. Even though you already set up contact information in your store, consider an additional tool like ZenDesk or Intercom to decrease your response time. They can help support your customers through chat or phone and can be seamlessly integrated into your store or social media.
Last but not least, it’s time to launch your store! Up to this point, your site has been password-protected and kept private, but when you are ready to open for business you can unlock it and make it open to the public.
To unlock the site go to the “Password” section of the “Preferences” page, then un-check the box that says enable password page. Once you hit save the site will be live, so now you can get started with promoting your store on social media and start attracting paying customers. Good luck!