How to start a dropshipping business

Dropshipping is a model that allows ecommerce businesses to market and sell products online without manufacturing or stocking inventory. Learn how to start one here.

Webflow Team
March 25, 2021
Tutorials

Are you interested in starting an ecommerce business but have limited capital to invest, want to test your ideas before spending a lot, or want to focus your efforts on marketing and customer experience? A dropshipping business is an option to consider.

What is a dropshipping business?

Dropshipping is an ecommerce business model that allows businesses to market and sell products online without manufacturing or stocking inventory. With dropshipping, you don’t pay for warehouse space, manage stock, pack or ship products, track inventory, or handle returns. You can invest your time and money into customer support, marketing, and sales. 

How does dropshipping work?

As a dropshipping retailer, you sell products on your website under your brand. You choose and market the products and set your own prices. Once you’ve made a sale, your supplier — usually a manufacturer or wholesaler — ships the order from their warehouse straight to your customer’s doorstep. You only pay for items you’ve already sold, and you don’t handle the product directly. If issues arise, customers contact you, but the supplier physically accepts returns and replaces any defective products.

How to start dropshipping in 7 steps

Many people start their dropshipping business during time off from their day jobs. Here’s a step-by-step plan.

  1. Choose a niche and your initial products.  Find something to sell that people want. You can look at lists of trending products on websites like Oberlo, check Google Trends, browse other websites in a niche that interests you. Choose products you are enthusiastic about selling, but keep in mind that no niche will work if it’s unprofitable. 
  2. Analyze the competition. Learn the business. Google shows you who’s on top in your chosen niche. You want to know who your competitors are, what and how they sell, and what they’re doing right or wrong. Check their marketing and their prices. Also, read up on the ecommerce business. Learn from others’ experiences.
  3. Find suppliers. If you don’t already have one in mind, you can check online dropshipping supplier directories. Contact your shortlist for information about their minimum orders and shipping timeframes. Place sample orders to compare product quality and packaging. 
  4. Choose a name and develop a brand concept. Think about your products and your buyers. Identify your potential customers and consider what appeals to them. Your domain name is your first impression, so choose carefully. 
  5. Build your dropshipping website. Follow your brand concept, and make it look professional. Create content and a customer experience that drives sales.
  6. Market. Market. Market. This is your most important task. Do more of Step 2, and get creative.  
  7. Analyze and improve. Then do it again. Use good analytic tools because data is key. Guesswork can sometimes lead to success, but do you really want to trust it?

How to create a dropshipping website

  1. Choose a rich platform for your ecommerce website.
  2. Build your layout or choose a template you can customize.
  3. Make your customer experience special, memorable, and targeted to your audience.
  4. Create branded cart and checkout experiences.
  5. When you’re ready, go live
  6. Start selling!

Webflow: Your dropshipping website builder

At Webflow, we know about dropshipping websites — we have one ourselves. Check it out. But better yet, we believe the web needs all the creativity and diversity it can get, so our mission is to empower business builders to create beautiful ecommerce websites without coding. Design your website for free — take as long as you want — and when you’re ready, pick a site plan and go live with a click.

  • Exciting design features, interactions, animations
  • Lightening-fast, reliable, scalable, and hassle-free hosting
  • Integrated SEO, ecommerce, and marketing tools
  • Easy updating — still no coding!
  • Free education and inspiration
  • Access to experts, if you need them

 Start your dropshipping website with Webflow today.

Webflow Team

Webflow is a software company based in San Francisco, California. When not empowering everyone to build for the web, we love to time travel, design things, and hang out with Webflowers. If we were a person, we'd probably be a Pisces.

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