Imagine an e-commerce store selling products… that it doesn’t own. Sounds like sweet madness, right?
Not to mention all the problems and customer dissatisfaction that this can cause.
However, this kind of practice is common, and completely legal. It is the principle of dropshippingone of the most popular sales techniques in recent years. And one of the most discussed topics on Facebook e-commerce groups.
At the end of this article, you will know exactly what it is, and how to set up a dropshipping system on WordPress.
Originally written in September 2019, this article was last updated in March 2022.
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping – “direct delivery”, in French – consists of marketing and selling products that you do not have on your online store.
As an intermediary, you do not manage the stock of products, nor the logistics such as delivery, for example.
This system is based on three different actors:
- seller : you, via your website. You aggregate products from external services, such as Amazon, AliExpress, Etsy, or eBay. You sell these products on your site, products that you do not have in stock;
- the buyer : the visitor who places an order on your site and becomes a customer;
- supplier : this “wholesaler” owns and ships the products to the customer (the visitor who bought on your site).
By doing dropshipping, you free yourself from all the logistical side of the sale, and collect a commission on a product that you have never seen.
Whether you want to get into e-commerce, you limit the risks, especially financial ones.
Interesting, isn’t it? On the one hand, yes. On the other hand, it is important to say that dropshipping is not a golden hen either. If everything was so easy, everyone would be drop shipper (and would succeed)…
Selling products that you do not have requires compliance with certain formalities, and a well-organized organization on a lot of important points that you will discover later.
Do you want to create a dropshipping site with WordPress? Know that to embark on such an adventure, several prerequisites are necessary. In particular, you must:
- have an online store. The most popular solution for turning WordPress into an e-commerce site is called WooCommerce. Alex explains how to configure this extension in this video:
Without transition, now see the advantages of dropshipping. If it has the wind in its sails, it is because there are still interesting positive sides.
What are the benefits of dropshipping?
Low financial investment
The stock of a shop can quickly represent a substantial budget when you invest to get started.
In fact, usually you must have in your possession at least 2 or 3 copies of each product in store to send to your customers in case of order.
Imagine the frustration of these when they learn that the product they were finally looking for is out of stock.
Well with dropshipping, this problem no longer concerns you. You have no inventory and you ship absolutely nothing to your customers.
This sales system therefore minimizes the costs incurred at the start of your activity. In the end, you only need an e-commerce site.
A varied product catalog
From this first advantage comes a second: the product catalogue.
Since you don’t have stocks and you don’t have the products yourself, you can offer as many products as you want.
Nothing prevents you from selling both bluetooth speakers and animal toys. You therefore have no limit (in reality this is not entirely true, but I will tell you about it a little later).
I remind you again, but the principle of dropshipping is to have neither stock nor products.
You are free of delivery and shipping. They will be entirely managed by the supplier himself. You save a lot of time, cost and organization.
As you can see, this system looks quite attractive.
However, there are downsides to consider before getting started.
What are the disadvantages of dropshipping?
You’re not the only one who thought about it
Starting a business easily attracts people, lots of people.
The competition in dropshipping is fierce because almost anyone can try it.
You will therefore have to stand out and play elbows to stand out.
Try to niche your activity as much as possible to invest in areas where you have a chance of being a reference site.
Take example from the neil patel adventure and its challenge of $100,000/month (about €88,190) by selling only one dropshipping product.
Margins can be low
The competition is important, you will have to match the prices of other online stores if you sell similar products.
Your margin per product may not be amazing, and only the sale of a large volume will allow you to get out of it properly.
In addition, you will have to invest in advertising on search engines and social networks to make yourself known.
To understand a little better how to set your prices and generate a correct margin, you can browse AliDropship’s article on the subject.
You have no control over the delivery
Dropshipping allows you to free yourself from all the logistical and organizational side, and this is both an advantage and a disadvantage.
In effect, you are not in control of delivery times or the personalization of your packages.
So you can forget the goodies in the boxes, or the little thank you flyer.
Difficult product quality control
Another advantage that can become a disadvantage: the possibility of selling almost any product.
Most of the time, you will never have had it in your possession and therefore cannot really vouch for its quality.
So try, if possible, to order a few test products before putting them on sale on your store. This is so as not to impact your customers on the one hand, and your reputation on the other.
Second point: I told you that it was possible to sell thousands of products in a few clicks. True, but it has some limitations.
For example, you are not allowed to sell a branded product without having the license to do so.
For example, it will be impossible for you to market Nike clothes, or Playmobil toys, without asking anyone.
A customer service to ensure
Even if you do not arrange delivery, you remain fully responsible for the proper execution of the order placed by the customer.
As a result, you risk having a lot of customer support to manage regarding delivery times, questions about products, or even product returns.
Remember to set aside time to take care of it in order to avoid disappointing your visitors and tarnishing your reputation.
Strict legislation to respect
Beyond the elements already revealed previously in terms of regulations to be respected, be aware that you have for example the obligation to declare your taxes to customs.
But also to pay the VAT on imported products, under penalty of having your products confiscated or having to pay hefty fines afterwards.
To know more, go to the customs website.
Now that you are well aware of the benefits and limitations of dropshipping, let’s present 5 extensions for dropshipping on WordPress.
The Best WordPress Dropshipping Plugins
There are many extensions dedicated to dropshipping on WordPress to make your life easier.
Several of them caught my attention because of their simplicity and functionality.. In the next lines, you will see in particular:
- how to dropship AliExpress and Amazon on WordPress;
- how to dropship on WooCommerce.
AliDropship is an AliExpress dropshipping plugin on WordPress. This is surely one of the most advanced extensions of this selectionbut also one of the most expensive.
It is sold at a price of $89 in one-time payment (approximately €79).
It allows you to search and import products on AliExpress from the WordPress admin. You can then list them on your WooCommerce store for your customers to order in one click.
The information of the products offered for sale is updated automatically if the supplier publishes them on AliExpress, and resale price ranges are offered to you as an indication.
You can also edit the images or information yourself if you wish.
AliDropship also automatically sends notification emails to your customers regarding their order progress.. This is a rather practical and useful point.
It is also possible to import customer reviews from AliExpress, but I do not recommend this because they will not be in French on the one hand, and on the other hand not unique.
As the name suggests, this plugin only works with AliExpress.
Spreadr WooCommerce Plugin
Spreadr WooCommerce is dedicated to Amazon products. It works a bit differently than AliDropship, in that you don’t set their prices.
You can search for them and import them into your WooCommerce store in the same way as with AliDropship, however once the order has been placed by the visitor, Amazon takes care of the rest of the process (shipping, returns, stock, service customer, etc).
You will need an Amazon Associates account (free). It is through this that you will receive commissions on each order placed on your site.
Spreadr WooCommerce is a monthly subscription plugin starting at $6/month (€5). The import of products is unlimited for each monthly license.
The price then depends on the number of products to be synchronized with Amazonand the options chosen (geo-location, customer reviews, analytics).
To download Spreadr WooCommerce Plugin:
Wooshark is a WordPress dropshipping plugin coupled with a Google Chrome extension.
It allows you to import products from Amazon, Etsy, eBay or AliExpress with one click from the product page to the WooCommerce store.
It offers features similar to AliDropship, such as editing product images, descriptions or prices, and offers full import of all product variations (colors, sizes, etc.).
It offers two lifetime licenses. The first is sold for $39.99 for use on up to 3 sites (around €35), the second for $49.99 for use on up to 5 sites (around €44).
Note that Wooshark also offers a free version of its extension on the official directory: TheShark Dropshipping for Aliexpress, eBay, Amazon, etsy and woocommerce.
It is logically more limited than the paid version. For example, you can only import 100 products per month.
Finally, alongside this, there is also an extension dedicated specifically to dropshipping on AliExpress: Aliexpress dropshipping for Woocommerce by Wooshark.
This official extension sold by WooCommerce offers integration with AliExpress and Amazon Affiliate support (the affiliate program dedicated to Amazon partners).
A Google Chrome extension helps you find, compare and select the best products sold on AliExpressas well as shipping methods for your store.
WooCommerce Dropshipping allows you to send a notification email to your suppliers containing the details of the order they need to send to your customers, as well as the invoice for your store.
Thus, the process is completely transparent for your visitors and the invoice contains only the name of your shop.
You also have a complete dashboard showing, for example, the best-selling products, the number of orders, the profit generated, etc.
Finally, the support of the Amazon Associates Program allows you toadd the Amazon products for which you are affiliated to your WooCommerce store. Your visitors are then redirected to Amazon to pay.
WooCommerce Dropshipping is sold for $79/year (about €70).
Download WooCommerce Dropshipping extension:
DropshipMe works with AliExpress and allows you to import all the products you want quickly with just a few clicks.
Its main assets are its very advanced product search filters that will allow you to select the best-selling products, the best rated and with the most positive opinions. Its system for editing product sheets allows it to be differentiated a little more from the competition.
DropshipMe is available for free up to 50 imported products if you want to try it, and the price then depends on the number of products you want to aggregate to your store (from $29 to $199, or around €26 to €176).
Obviously, the above list of extensions is not exhaustive. During your research, you may also come across Spocket, Dropified, WP Amazon Shopor WooDropship. If you use them and they do the trick, do not hesitate to share your feedback with us by posting a comment.
Our final opinion on dropshipping on WordPress
Along these lines, you have discovered free and paid WordPress dropshipping plugins.
You now know a little more about what dropshipping is and how to implement it on your WP sites.
This can be interesting to generate profits at lower costs.
It can be suitable for several types of profiles, especially those of you who wish to enter the world of e-commerce without incurring too many financial risks at the start, just to test the waters a little.
It is also an interesting way to offer more products for sale, without having to manage binding extras (delivery, stock, etc.).
If you want to test dropshipping, however, consider:
- remain vigilant and in good standing with the legislation;
- regularly check the products you sell;
- keep track of your suppliers.
Keep in mind that many try dropshipping… and few succeed. Unfortunately, this is not the Eldorado that many online training courses or paid guides can sell you.
Are you planning to try dropshipping on WordPress? Tell us everything in the comments.