When you launch a dropshipping store, you need to remember a lot of essential aspects. From finding suppliers to order fulfillment, you need to juggle various things at the same time.
If you miss out on any of them, I bet you’d suffer in the long run. Or worse, you’ve to start from scratch once again!
And this is where a rock-solid dropshipping checklist comes as a savior. It eliminates minor errors and helps you launch your dropshipping store without any friction.
In this guide, I’ve given you a 9-step dropshipping checklist you must need on your side to avoid any kind of friction. You can also look at it as a quality assurance for your dropshipping business.
The 9 Step Dropshipping Checklist: An Overview
- Brainstorm and perform market research
- Decide on the products you want to dropship
- Plan your budget
- Figure out your dropshipping business logistics
- Find a legitimate dropshipping supplier
- Set up Your dropshipping store
- Add essential apps and add-ons to your store
- Develop bullet-proof marketing strategies
- Set up analysis tools
Let’s get into them one by one.
1. Brainstorm And Perform Market Research
Be it for dropshipping or any other business model; thorough market research is not just an option anymore – it’s a necessity!
Why? Let’s say you’ve started a business without the proper demographics of your target audience and your competitors. Would you ever get any conversions? – No! Because whatever you’ve done to date is nothing but throwing arrows in the dark.
The same is true for dropshipping businesses.
No matter what products you’re selling, performing market research would help evaluate who your potential customers are, what exactly they want, and who your rivals are. And it’ll further help you market your business in the most effective way so you can stand out in the saturated market.
That’s why, before starting your dropshipping business, ask:
- What’s trending in the market?
- What do my target customers want?
- Who are my competitors?
- Where would I set up my business?
- What are the goals I want to achieve?
Once you answer all these questions, you’re now ready to take any step further.
2. Decide On The Products You Want to Dropship
Remember you conducted market research in the first step. Then I’m sure you have some ideas of what you want to sell in your dropshipping store.
Now it’s time to narrow down your ideas and prioritize what exactly you want to sell. Here are a few tips for choosing the right products for your dropshipping business:
- Avoid selling bulky items: If you are just starting out, try not to sell huge and heavy items like furniture, heavy gym machines, etc., to avoid higher shipping costs.
- Understand customers’ pain points: Tap into your customer’s network and check where they are struggling. Once you get their pain points, try to solve their issues with your products.
- Check customers’ review section: Another unpopular way to find the right products is the “customer review section” of your competitors’ stores. Analyze the negative review and try to bridge the gap by launching valuable products.
- Explore social platforms: Search on different social platforms and find trending items.
- Try your hands out on SEO tools: Don’t forget to use SEO tools like Semrush and Ahrefs to find products with higher search intent.
- Use third-party dropshipping product search tools: Sell the Trend, Ecomhunt, and Alihunt are some top-notch tools you can try to find winning dropshipping products.
3. Plan Your Budget
Once you get a clear overview of what you want to sell, ensure to strategize your budget so you can generate higher profit without ripping off your pocket.
Decide how much you want to invest in product sourcing, order fulfillment, marketing, and designing. Also, determine the product’s selling pricing to generate higher profit.
4. Figure Out Your Dropshipping Business Requirements
If you’re serious about your dropshipping business, you’ll need to figure out the requirements of starting and running your own business. As I’m not a lawyer, I can’t give you solid legal advice, but here are a few considerations you must check out to run your business without any friction –
- Decide on a business structure ( Sole Proprietorship/LLC/C corporation)
- Get an EIN for taxes.
- Streamline business finances and get a separate business account and credit card.
- Get a sales tax and local business license.
There is a lot to consider. Thus, it’d be a smart move if you connect with an accountant and a lawyer – it’ll make your life much easier.
5. Find A Legitimate Dropshipping Supplier
When it comes to dropshipping, great suppliers and a seamless order fulfillment process are two crucial aspects you need to pay close attention to. There are lots of ways to find great dropshipping distributors. For example:
- Google Dropshipping suppliers. This old-school way still works like magic while searching for suppliers. Write [ product name]+ dropshipping suppliers and search on Google. You can also use synonyms of suppliers to find multiple results.
- You can try different online directories. Some of our best recommendations are AliExpress, Alibaba, SaleHoo, Spocket, etc.
(Pro Tip 💡: If you are trying online directories, be sure to check suppliers’ ratings, product quality, shipping time, and company information to avoid future risks)
- Tap into your network and ask for supplier recommendations. It’s one of the best ways to find trustworthy suppliers.
- Join different trade shows to find the best dropshipping suppliers.
Once you find the most suitable supplier, ensure that you try product samples first. If it meets your needs, stick to him. Either way, keep looking!
6. Set Up Your Dropshipping Store
Now, this is where the rubber hits the road.
So far, you have planned every nitty-gritty aspect of your dropshipping business. Now, you’ll need an e-commerce store that will make all your planning come true.
However, as far as my experience with eCommerce platforms is concerned, I’d recommend you go for Shopify – one of the best platforms to create a standalone eCommerce store without any friction. You can also try your hands out on Woocommerce if you already have a WordPress site that’s driving traffic.
But no matter what platform you choose, make sure to follow the below-given tips to create a full-fledged store that turns lurkers into customers:
Get A Custom Domain Name
When you sign up for any eCommerce platform, you get a default domain name and URL (Like yourstorename.myshopify.com) that somehow lowers your brand authority and authenticity.
Hence, ensure to buy a custom domain name (go for .com) that’ll portray your brand identity and set your store apart from the crowd.
Add Relevant Pages
Website pages not only make your store complete but also enhance user experience. They are the most crucial parts where most activities happen.
However, here are some must-have website pages for your store:
- A Homepage where you can show product categories, discount coupons, and your brand’s story. You can also add a search bar so your visitors can easily find the products they are looking for.
- The About page where you can show how you started, your mission, your unique value proposition, etc.
- The return page where all the information regarding refunds and returns would be included.
- FAQ pages where your customers can solve their queries in no time.
- Contact Us page so your visitors can connect with you to solve their doubts.
As a dropshipping business owner, your main goal is to stand out – not blend in. And one of the best ways to do it is to get a customized logo that would portray your brand identity and verify you as an authentic seller. Hence, connect with a designer, and get an attractive logo for your store.
Add Product Details
Product pages can make or break the whole game. If created strategically, it can make customers hit the “Add to Bag/cart” button. Otherwise, your customers won’t take a second to leave your site.
However, here are a few tips that you’ll need to ensure to create a top-notch product page:
- Add high-quality photos with different angles. If possible, add product videos to give your customers an “in-store” essence.
- Offer different sizes and colors of products.
- Write impressive product descriptions.
- Show product reviews.
- Show discounted pricings (It attracts customers!)
- Add relevant keywords to product titles and product descriptions for better visibility in SERPs.
Add Payment Gateways
If you want seamless CX and want your customers to come back again to your store, ensure streamlining their checkout process.
Don’t ask for unnecessary extra details that have nothing to do with the payment process. Rather, offer multiple payment gateways, including “Checkout with credit cards,” to ensure they can purchase without any hassles.
7. Add Essential Apps And Add-Ons To Your Store
While this step is not mandatory, but can give you better results by automating your workflow. Meaning – you can delegate the product-finding and supplier-finding tasks on tools/ apps so you can solely focus on marketing.
For example –
- Automizely – if you’ve created a dropshipping store on Shopify, you can go for apps like Automizely to dropship from Aliexpress, Oberlo, and CJ.
- DSers: Another top-notch Shopify dropshipping app for order fulfillment, product search, and supplier management.
- Duoplane – if you’re dealing with multiple vendors at a time, you can try Duoplane to automate multi-supplier order flow.
- Spocket – It’d help you find trustworthy US and Europe-based suppliers.
- You can also integrate live chat support to have your customers’ back 24/7.
8. Develop Bullet-Proof Marketing Strategies
Once you’re done with setting up a store and connecting with suppliers, ensure developing excellent marketing strategies to generate your first sale and create a healthy pipeline of customers. There are a lot of ways you can market your business. Here are a few –
SEO is old-school but can change the whole game if done correctly. When you gather keywords with higher search intent, make sure to use them on your web pages, product titles, and product descriptions to rank your site higher on search engines.
Email marketing works as a silver bullet for your eCommerce growth. Be it for welcome emails or abandoned cart recovery, it can help you connect with customers on a personal level, resulting in better conversion rates. Hence, try to build a loyal email list for your marketing campaigns.
Social Media eCommerce Marketing
If you want to differentiate your dropshipping brands from thousands of other brands, don’t rely on your websites only. Go a step further and try your hands out on Social commerce. It’ll not only generate better sales but communicate your brand purpose and authenticity with your potential customers.
Here’s a proper example:
Blog posts for eCommerce sites are not necessary but are good to have. It’ll make your customers aware with special tips and tricks and drive traffic if optimized well. For example, if you have a dropshipping store related to clothing, you can launch a fashion or lifestyle blog to increase brand awareness.
9. Set Up Analytics Tools
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to set up analytics tools like Google Analytics and Kissmetrics to track your performance so you can realize where you lack and what’s going well.
Tips For Starting A Dropshipping Business From Scratch
Here are some tips for starting a dropshipping business from scratch:
- Research profitable niche products to sell that have demand but low competition. Tools like Ecomhunt can help with product research.
- Thoroughly vet suppliers that will fulfill orders reliably at high service levels and fast shipping speeds.
- Set up your ecommerce storefront on platforms like Shopify using themes tailored to your products and brand.
- Create high-quality product listings with compelling descriptions, specs, images, and marketing angles.
- Promote your store aggressively through channels like Google Shopping ads, social media marketing, and influencers.
- Focus on excellent branding, photography/video, and storytelling to connect with your target audience.
- Provide stellar customer service by responding to queries and issues quickly and empathetically.
- Follow up with customers who abandon carts through email and retargeting campaigns.
- Analyze data like best-selling products, traffic sources, and conversion rates to optimize business operations.
- Reinvest revenue earned back into growth strategies like paid ads, email marketing automation, and social content.
Dropshipping takes consistent effort upfront in branding, marketing, and content to launch profitably. But done effectively, it can create a scalable income stream over time.
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Final Note! Dropshipping Checklist
That’s it! Once you tick off all the boxes, you are all set to get your first sale.
However, no matter what, never stop A/B testing and following new trends in your store. After all, it’s all about experimenting and checking what’s working and what’s not.
With that, it’s time for us to wrap up and for you to launch your Dropshipping Store.