If you are planning to start your own online business, one of the best business ideas out there is launching a dropshipping ecommerce store.
Dropshipping is the business of choice for thousands of internet entrepreneurs for several reasons.
First of all, it is much easier and less expensive to start a dropshipping operation. This is due to the fact that you are not going to handle or keep any inventory.
Your only responsibility is to create a website where you can promote the products to the target market. You will also process the orders, but you are not burdened with inventory handling and shipping.
Another great reason dropshipping is a popular business model is the availability and a wide range of ecommerce platforms that are available on the market today. You can use these platforms to jumpstart your business. This means that anyone, even those with very limited technical know-how, can build their own drop shipping businesses.
The question is which ecommerce platform should you use for your dropshipping business? You have a number of options. These are as follows:
1. WooCommerce is the most customizable ecommerce platform for building your online dropshipping business. The best part is, it’s completely free. WooCommerce comes bundled with reliable payment gateways like PayPal, credit cards, Stripe, and Amazon Payments. These make it very easy to accept payments from customers. Not only that, WooCommerce has hundreds of both free and paid extensions that you can install in your online store. These include extensions for Zapier, Sage Pay, Mail Chimp, United States Postal Service (USPS), and FedEx.
A huge percentage of websites on the internet are built using WordPress tools, software, and resources. Chances are, your own website runs on WordPress. If you are going to set up a dropshipping business using WordPress, you are going to need a plugin. – And, it so happens that WooCommerce is one of the best of these plugins. This is a perfect platform for slightly more technical users as you’ll still need to set up hosting and other things.
2. Magento – If you are a Magento merchant, you can use the platform to build a successful dropshipping business. Magento offers several benefits to those who use its platform for dropshipping.
One, Magento is explicitly designed for ecommerce operations. This means it supports all types of online stores, including dropshipping shops. Two, they don’t charge commission for every order. Three, they don’t have any hidden charges or extra costs. Last but not the least, they don’t have any limitation on the number of orders. The problem with Magento is that it’s quite complicated to use and install, it’s not the best platform for beginners. You’ll most likely need a developer to help you with the set up, but Magento is probably the most powerful platform out there.
3. Shopify – When it comes to creating a dropshipping business, Shopify does it for you – quick and easy. You can have a fully-functioning dropshipping website in just a couple of hours.
Shopify also offers affordable prices for its dropshipping services. You can avail of the basic package, which will only cost you $13 a month. If you want to have access to all of Shopify’s features and functions, you should avail of their advanced package. It will cost you $107 per month. Don’t worry, you can always start with the basic account, then upgrade to an advanced account once you are ready for it.
Another great thing is that there are multiple order fulfilment apps that are perfect for drop shipping. One example (and probably the most popular) is Oberlo. This app allows you to import and fulfil orders through Aliexpress, orders are then sent directly to your customers from China.
4. BigCommerce – This platform may be less well-known compared to the likes of Shopify and WooCommerce. But, it’s not that far behind when it comes to its dropshipping services. BigCommerce hosts several applications that enable you to dropship products using companies like Printful, Inventory Source, Sunrise Wholesale, AliExpress Dropshipping, Wholesale2b, and eProduct Plug. Other valuable features of BigCommerce include unlimited staff accounts. Also, they don’t charge transaction fees.
5. OpenCart – This is yet another free ecommerce platform that allows new online entrepreneurs to set up their dropshipping businesses with little hassle. You don’t have to be that tech-savvy to set up an online store with OpenCart. The platform also offers free as well as paid plugins. OpenCart’s services may not be as comprehensive and complete, but it’s a platform that you can use to gain experience and insight in the dropshipping business. The platform is free to use. This way, you have little to lose.
Let’s go back to the question: what is the best ecommerce platform for a dropshipping business?
Well, there’s no definitive answer to the question. Some dropshippers say they prefer WooCommerce. Others would say they prefer Shopify or Magento or any of the other alternatives discussed above.
In a nutshell, it all depends on your experience using any of the platforms. You should go with the ecommerce platform that you think will suit your products and services. Or, you should go the route of testing each platform to find out which one generates the best results for your business.
There are websites that rank these platforms based on criteria such as: functionality, speed and performance, customer service, pricing, the choice of themes and plugins, etc.
If you’re just starting out, there is a high chance that you do not yet know what kind of functionality you’ll need. So it’s best to start comparing the most popular platforms, for example, Shopify, Volusion, or Bigcommerce. As mentioned above, there are comparison websites such as SupplyGem and others, that offer comprehensive ecommerce platform comparisons. As an example, have a look at this Shopify vs Volusion comparison by SupplyGem.
Dropshipping is an evolving business model. So, all of the platforms mentioned above are also evolving. They are regularly changing and improving the features and functions of their services. Needless to say, you should be updated of these changing features and functions so that you can adapt if necessary.