What is dropshipping and how does it work? A beginner’s guide

What is dropshipping and how does it work? A beginner’s guide

Author  Natalia Wiszewska

Estimated reading time: up to 8 minutes

Are you interested in starting an online business but don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing inventory? Look no further than dropshipping.

Dropshipping is an ecommerce business model that allows you to sell products without having to keep them in stock. In this beginner’s guide, we will delve into the basics of dropshipping and how it can work for you.

What is Dropshipping? Understanding the Basics

Dropshipping is a business model where you, as the retailer, don’t keep any products in stock. Instead, you collaborate with a supplier who will fulfill the orders on your behalf.

When a customer places an order on your online store, you simply forward the order details to the supplier, and they will take care of packing and shipping the products directly to your customer. Essentially, you act as a middleman between the supplier and the customer.

Imagine this: you’ve always dreamt of starting your own business, but the thought of managing inventory and dealing with shipping logistics has always held you back. Well, dropshipping might just be the answer to your entrepreneurial aspirations. With dropshipping, you can focus on what you do best – marketing and growing your online store – while leaving the nitty-gritty details of product fulfillment to your trusted suppliers.

Dropshipping vs logistics models

Comparison of advantages and disadvantages of the 6 most popular logistics models

So, how does the process work?

Let’s say a customer visits your online store and places an order for a stylish pair of sunglasses. Instead of you having to purchase and store the sunglasses, you simply forward the order details to your supplier.

They will then pick, pack, and ship the sunglasses directly to your customer, all while maintaining your branding and packaging. This seamless process not only saves you time and money but also ensures that your customers receive their orders in a timely manner.

5 steps of dropshipping

How does dropshipping actually work?

In conclusion, dropshipping offers a low-risk and cost-effective way to start and grow an online business. By leveraging the expertise and resources of your suppliers, you can focus on building your brand and connecting with your customers.

With the freedom to offer a wide range of products and the convenience of not having to handle inventory, dropshipping empowers entrepreneurs to turn their dreams into reality.

Is dropshipping worth it in 2024?

Dropshipping has been a popular business model for several years now, and it continues to gain momentum in 2024.  However, it’s essential to consider both the benefits and challenges before diving into dropshipping.

On the positive side, dropshipping allows you to start a business with minimal upfront costs. You don’t need to purchase inventory or invest in a physical store, which significantly reduces your financial risk.

Dropshipping Global Market

Dropshipping sector value forecast by Dropshipping Global Market

Additionally, dropshipping provides flexibility, as you can operate your business from anywhere with an internet connection. Dropshipping in 2024 offers a range of automation tools and software that can streamline your operations.

Which technologies can help you automate repetitive tasks?

  • ChatGPT and AI,
  • order tracking,
  • inventory management systems,
  • customer relationship management tools.

By leveraging these tools, you can enhance efficiency and improve the overall customer experience.

So, what are the challenges associated with dropshipping?

As a dropshipper, you are responsible for customer service and ensuring that orders are fulfilled on time.

This requires effective communication with your suppliers and careful monitoring of inventory levels. It’s crucial to choose reliable suppliers who can consistently deliver high-quality products.

Dropshipping pros and cons

However, it’s important to note that the dropshipping landscape is constantly evolving. As more entrepreneurs enter the market, competition can become fierce.

To stay ahead, you need to continuously adapt and innovate. This means keeping up with the latest trends, exploring new marketing strategies, and staying connected with your target audience.

How much does it cost to start dropshipping?

The cost to start dropshipping can vary depending on several factors, such as the ecommerce platform you choose, website design, and marketing expenses. However, compared to launching a traditional brick-and-mortar store, dropshipping typically requires a much lower initial investment.

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What costs should you consider when starting a dropshipping business?

  • Many popular ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify or WooCommerce, offer subscription plans starting at a reasonable price.
  • Securing a domain name and reliable hosting are essential for your online presence. Expect to pay a small fee for registering a domain name and a recurring cost for hosting services.
  • You may choose to design your website yourself or hire a professional web designer to create a customized look for your store.
  • To attract customers to your store, you will likely need to invest in marketing and advertising.
"Dropshipping is a popular business model due to its low startup costs, zero overhead and simple business model. It is possible to start a dropshipping company for as little as $100."

Don’t forget to factor in ongoing expenses such as transaction fees, shipping costs, and potential returns or refunds. These costs can vary depending on:

  • Payment gateway,
  • shipping carriers,
  • return policies.

Remember, while it may require some initial investment, the low overhead and flexibility of dropshipping make it an attractive option for aspiring entrepreneurs.

How do I start dropshipping?

Starting a dropshipping business involves several essential steps that can help set you up for success.

Here’s a simplified guide to get you started:

  1. Research and identify a niche market that interests you and has the potential for profitability. It’s essential to select a niche with a target audience and products you are passionate about.
  2. Find reputable suppliers who offer the products you want to sell. Look for suppliers who are reliable, responsive, and able to meet your fulfillment requirements.
  3. Select an ecommerce platform that suits your needs, and set up your store. Customize your website design to align with your brand and optimize the user experience.
  4. Import product images and descriptions from your suppliers and add them to your store. Optimize product titles and descriptions to improve search engine rankings.
  5. Develop a marketing plan to drive traffic to your store. Utilize social media, content marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to attract potential customers.
  6. Once orders start rolling in, ensure seamless communication with your suppliers to fulfill orders promptly. Keep track of inventory levels to avoid stockouts or delays in shipping.
  7. Respond promptly to customer inquiries, address concerns, and handle returns or refunds professionally. Building a positive reputation will help you establish customer loyalty and generate repeat business.

How to start dropshipping business

Which website is best for dropshipping selling?

When it comes to choosing the best website for dropshipping, several platforms provide powerful features and seamless integrations that can help streamline your business operations.

Here are our top 3 picks for selling online in dropshipping:

  1. Prestashop: A versatile platform known for extensive customization options, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes. Its wide range of themes and plugins allows for easy creation of a unique online store.
  2. WooCommerce: Built on WordPress, WooCommerce offers flexibility and scalability. It integrates seamlessly with WordPress, allowing you to leverage the robust content management system for your online store.
  3. Shopify: Shopify is a leading ecommerce platform that offers user-friendly tools and a wide range of themes and apps to customize your store. It provides reliable hosting and payment processing options, making it an excellent choice for beginners.

Ultimately, the best website for dropshipping selling depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors such as ease of use, available features, and pricing plans before making your decision.

top 3 online sales platforms

What is the best dropship product and where to find it?

Choosing the best dropship product largely depends on your target market and personal preferences.

What features should you think about when choosing products to sell?

  • Look for products that are currently trending or have consistent demand throughout the year.
  • Ensure the products you choose have a reasonable profit margin to make your business financially viable.
  • Find products that have less competition to increase your chances of success.
  • Opt for products that are relatively lightweight and don’t require special handling or shipping requirements to keep your operational costs down.
  • Sell products with good quality that can stand out in the market and provide value to your customers. Consider offering unique or niche products that are not easily found elsewhere.

When searching for dropship products, consider exploring online marketplaces such as Droplo.com – a leading B2B marketplace that connects buyers and sellers.


Now that you have a better understanding of dropshipping and how it works, it’s time to take the leap and start your own online business.

By following the steps outlined in this beginner’s guide, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your dropshipping journey with confidence.

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