The Shopify platform is one of the most popular ways of building your own eCommerce business. You can sell and manage the distribution of your own products of course, but an increasingly popular online business model is dropshipping.
In a dropshipping business, the merchant enters into a partnership with a supplier who carries out the creation and shipping of products after you’ve made the sale through your website. The advantage for the site owner is that there’s no need to invest in stock. The customer places the order and pays you, the site owner, the money. You then pay the dropshipper and they fulfil the order, so the goods never pass through your hands.
Of course, you still need to run your online store and that’s where Shopify comes into play. There are a number of apps available which make running a dropshipping business using Shopify very easy indeed, so let’s take a look at some of the best.
Below are our picks for the best dropshipping apps for Shopify:
- 1.0 Sprocket
- 2.0 Printful
- 3.0 AlliExpress Dropshipping
- 4.0 Printify
- 5.0 Oberlo
- 6.0 EcomDash
- 7.0 InventorySource
1.0 Sprocket ***Recommended***
Like Oberlo, Sproket offers you a choice of different dropshipping suppliers. It’s more biased towards European and US suppliers, so it’s better suited to merchants in these regions who don’t want the long shipping times of products sent from the far east.
Sprocket is competitively priced and the average merchant discount is around 45 per cent, giving you as the seller an attractive profit margin. All the invoices and receipts carry your company branding and customers are kept up to date with tracking information when goods are shipped. There’s a testing option that allows you to check out products before adding them to your site.
***Rating: 4.7, free 14-day trial, paid plans from US$12 per month***
Printful is a more specialised app that offers print on demand services. This means that your customers can order items such as T-shirts, posters, mugs, phone cases and more, all bearing your own designs. This is great for artists who want to branch out into selling other products and there’s also a fully-featured design module to allow you to create your own artwork to go on your products.
Printful has several dropshipping locations so items are printed and dispatched close to the customer in order to deliver a fast service. Each item in Printful’s catalogue has a basic price to which you can add your own margin when setting your retail price.
***Rating: 4.6, free, no paid plans***
3.0 AliExpress Dropshipping
This is the Shopify version of the AliDropship application. Closely associated with the AliExpress store, it also allows you to sell products from a range of other marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, Gearbest and even Walmart – which stores you can access depends on which plan you have.
Item details and prices are updated automatically and there’s a handy Chrome browser plug-in that allows you to quickly and easily add products to your site while browsing the AliExpress store pages. Your company branding can be printed on all of the transaction paperwork including the shipping labels.
***Rating: 4.5, free basic plan, paid plans from US$5 per month***
Like Printful that we looked at earlier, Printify is a dropshipping app specialising in print on demand products. Printify has a network of more than 90 different printers and a catalogue of over 200 products. In addition to Shopify, it works with Etsy and WooCommerce and eBay support is in the pipeline.
With Printify you can put your own branding on the packaging and it’s easy to create and upload your own designs. Unlike Printful, there is a subscription fee for the app, so if you’re looking to run a print on demand business you need to weigh the pros, cons and costs of each carefully.
***Rating: 4.5, free basic plan, paid plans from US$29 per month***
Oberlo was one of the first apps to make it possible to automatically sync order, product and shipping information within your Shopify store. No surprise then that it’s grown to become one of the most popular of the dropshipping apps. In fact, Shopify now includes it as standard in new stores.
It works with a number of different dropshipping suppliers from around the world, so you’re not tied to a single source. This allows access to a huge product catalogue and you can choose the destinations you want to ship to. Once you’ve linked to a product on your site, it’s automatically updated, so you won’t end up taking orders for items that are out of stock, for example. It also shows information about sales and popularity so you can choose items that are more likely to sell.
***Rating: 4.6, free starter plan, paid plans from US$29.99 per month***
EcomDash works across a number of different sales channels and it has a clever mapping system that can track the same product across different sites, even if it has different SKUs on each. Product inventories are automatically updated to stay in sync with warehouse stock. It integrates with Amazon, eBay and Etsy as well as Shopify.
Customised packing slips with your company details can be created and customers are automatically updated with tracking details once a product ships. There are tools to help you calculate pricing and margins and reports that show you which items are selling best, allowing you to fine-tune your store.
***Rating: 3.3, 15 day free trial, paid plans from US$60 per month***
Inventory Source is more than just a Shopify app. It also allows you to list products elsewhere on popular eCommerce sites such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace – more than 20 platforms are supported. Product data is automatically synced to inventory and there are customisation and cataloguing tools to allow you to manage your products.
Inventory source doesn’t take a cut from sales, so all you pay is the monthly subscription and the products come directly from the suppliers.
***Rating: 4.1, free basic account, paid plans from US$50 per month***
Your choice of dropshipping app for Shopify is going to depend on a number of factors. These include the type of products you want to sell, the geography to which you are selling them and so forth. You also need to look carefully at the pricing of the various options and the other features they offer. Consider all of these carefully and perhaps try out some of the options before making your final choice.
Running an online business can be quite challenging but not impossible. Most e-commerce businesses fail within the first year of starting them; this is why most people strive to acquire the right skills to ensure everything goes smoothly.The typical setback is finding the right place to get these skills; however, there are now online platforms where you can get professional training that can help improve your e-commerce skills.
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