Lots of people think about starting a dropshipping business. But they never take the all-important first step and actually build a store.
WooCommerce is an easy-to-use free plugin that makes it helps you to create an e-commerce store.
In this guide, we’ll go through the step-by-step process of how to start a WooCommerce dropshipping store.
By the time you finish this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to launch a dropshipping business.
Are you ready to build your store?
Let’s get started.
WooCommerce is a free plugin that helps you to create an online store using WordPress.
The WooCommerce plugin turns your WordPress website into a fully functional e-commerce store with just a few clicks.
Since it was launched back in 2011, WooCommerce has become the most popular e-commerce platform for successful merchants and dropshipping businesses:
WooCommerce powers around 28% of the top 1 million e-commerce stores.
Before we get to the tutorial, it’s important that you know the pros and cons of WooCommerce.
There are plenty of reasons why it’s so popular, but there are also some significant disadvantages you should know about.
This is a big plus point. While Shopify will set you back $29 per month for a basic plan, WooCommerce is free.
There are no upfront costs and no monthly subscriptions.
You get complete access to all features for free. That’s unbelievable value.
There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes that you can use to create your WooCommerce store.
Once you’ve chosen a theme, you can customize everything. You can change the fonts, headers, product pages, checkout, and more using a page builder like Elementor.
If you know basic coding skills, you can make even more customizations to your store.
WooCommerce is an open-source plugin. There is a huge, engaged community of users and developers online that can help you if you have any issues with the platform.
You’ll find guides, forums, and tutorials to help you do anything from customizing your checkout page to calculating and adding tax to customer orders.
You can add all major payment gateways to your site with just a few clicks. PayPal, Stripe, and Square all integrate seamlessly with WooCommerce.
If you want to accept crypto payments, you can easily add a plugin to your site and take Bitcoin and other coin payments.
WooCommerce makes it super easy to see the performance of your dropshipping store.
The plugin has ditched its old Reports section for a more in-depth and intuitive WooCommerce Analytics section.
The most important metrics are shown in the customizable dashboard, with multiple reports you can dig into for more data.
You can filter and segment reports and download all data to CSV.
Plugins can slow down your WordPress website - especially a plugin that is as big as WooCommerce.
While this isn’t a problem for most stores, you may find that your site speed slows down if you are using WooCommerce and multiple other big plugins.
Speed is vital for conversions. For every additional second a page takes to load, conversion rates fall by 4.42%.
If you’re going to use WooCommerce, make sure you know how to keep loading times down by choosing the right theme and optimizing for page speed.
WooCommerce works well with the vast majority of other WordPress plugins.
But there can be issues if you use a plugin that has a conflicting script library.
The most common issues are problems with layouts and PHP warnings.
You can usually fix these issues without any coding skills.
While the WooCommerce plugin is free, you will need to pay for web hosting. This isn’t too expensive but is a cost that you need to factor in.
If you want to add a premium extension or WordPress theme, you will also need to pay a monthly subscription or one-off fee.
Shopify is the leading rival platform to WooCommerce when it comes to dropshipping.
The right platform for you will depend on how confident you are in basic web design skills and your budget.
Shopify is super easy to use. You don’t need to have any experience with WordPress, and you can create a professional-looking store really quickly.
WooCommerce is simple, but there is a bit more of a learning curve compared to Shopify.
However, millions of store owners without any web design experience use WooCommerce. You don’t need to know how to write any code to create a great-looking store with WooCommerce.
Shopify is also a paid platform. The costs of running a Shopify store can mount up quickly when you start factoring in transaction fees, integrations, and upgrades to your monthly plan.
With WooCommerce, you need to pay for your hosting and any third-party premium plugins, but the platform itself is free.
If you want an intuitive and really simple platform to create your store, Shopify is a great option. You can also test out Shopify with a free 14-day trial.
If you want to keep costs down and don’t mind spending some time getting used to the platform, WooCommerce is the better option.
Now, let’s get started with the tutorial.
In this section, we’ll go through the process of building a dropshipping store using WooCommerce.
Let’s dive in.
You’ll need to register a domain for your WooCommerce dropshipping store.
You can use a tool like Domain Wheel to find a short, catchy domain name that is a good fit for your niche.
Enter your seed keyword or domain name idea, and Domain Wheel will show you a bunch of variations that are currently available:
Once you’ve found your domain name, you’ll need to get web hosting.
There are a bunch of hosting providers that offer free domain registration as part of their hosting packages, including:
Whichever hosting provider you choose, registering your domain and setting up hosting is a straightforward process.
Most providers will also offer one-click WordPress installation.
Follow the instructions from your hosting provider to install WordPress, and you’ll be ready to get started with WooCommerce.
The next step is to install the WooCommerce plugin.
Login to your WordPress site dashboard and click on “Plugins” and “Add New.”
Use the search bar to find the WooCommerce plugin.
Click on “Install Now” and wait a few seconds for the plugin to install.
Then click “Activate”:
That’s the easy part done.
The WooCommerce plugin is now installed on your website.
After you’ve activated WooCommerce, you’ll get a prompt to complete the setup wizard.
This is where you enter information about your store and complete the initial setup.
You can change any of these details later, so don’t worry about making sure every tiny detail is correct for now.
The first page of the setup will ask for your store address:
Enter your details and click “Continue,” and you’ll see the next page of the setup.
You’ll be asked to select your industry:
You’ll then be asked about the types of product you sell:
The next page will ask for details about your business size and if you are selling anywhere else online.
The final page of the initial setup is to choose a theme for your store.
Your theme is like a style guide for your e-commerce store. It dictates the appearance of your pages and where elements like menus and buttons are displayed.
There are thousands of free and paid themes to choose from.
To make this decision easier, we’ve compiled a list of five recommended themes for WooCommerce dropshipping stores.
All of these themes are lightweight, responsive for mobile users, and have great SEO fundamentals.
Astra is a lightweight and fast theme that integrates smoothly with WooCommerce. It’s been installed on over 1 million WordPress websites. Astra comes with over 150 templates, including product pages and category pages. In addition, it can easily be customized using a page builder like Elementor or the Gutenberg editor.
Shoptimizer is another free theme that delivers excellent performance. One of the significant issues with lots of free themes is that they are slow and bulky. When every 1-second delay reduces conversions by 20%, having a fast theme like Shoptimizer is vital for a dropshipping store.
When we checked Shoptimizer’s demo site performance using Page Speed Insights, it scored a perfect 100 for desktops and a respectable 83 for mobile.
ShopIsle is an intuitive theme that makes it super easy to customize your store. There’s a live customizer feature that allows you to drag and drop elements around the page. It also works with Elementor, Gutenberg, and other page builders.
It’s has a spacious page design that gives your product page elements room to breathe. It’s a great option if you want to sell luxury or fashion/beauty products.
Extra isn’t designed for e-commerce stores specifically, but it’s powered by the Divi page builder, so it’s effortless to customize. It integrates with the WooCommerce plugin and is an excellent option for a dropshipping store.
There are over 800 templates you can choose from, and it’s a fully responsive theme that looks great on all devices.
Pepper+ is a stylish theme that is a great option for a dropshipping store that sells luxury or high-end products. It integrates with the WooCommerce plugin and comes with lots of pre-built website templates you can install with a couple of clicks.
You can drag and drop elements around the page to make your product pages look pop and look great for your customers.
After selecting your theme, you’ll be directed back to the WordPress dashboard.
Click on the WooCommerce option in the left-hand menu, and you’ll see a page like this:
You can see the remaining tasks to complete the setup of WooCommerce.
We’ll leave “add my products” until last, so click on “Set up payments” to choose your payment processors.
On the next page, you can decide what payments you’ll accept on your online store.
Some payments require additional setup, but you can hit the “get started” button to add Visa, Mastercard, and many other payments gateways at the same time.
Once you’ve added your details, you’ll be asked to finish the setup and agree to the terms of service.
If there’s a payment gateway you want to use that isn’t included, you can find a bunch of extensions online that allow you to add more payment gateways.
The next step is to set up your shipping options. Click on “Set up shipping” in the WooCommerce dashboard, and you’ll see a page like this:
You should have already set your business location during the initial setup process, so you just need to add your pricing for shipping. This is your standard shipping fee.
You will be able to charge custom pricing for different products.
The next step is to add products to your store.
Click on the “Add my products” option in the dashboard:
You can add products using CSV if you have a file, but we’ll use the manual option for this tutorial.
Click on the “Add manually” option, and you’ll see the standard WordPress editor page:
The first task is to add a title for your product and a short description.
The description doesn’t need to include all the product details, so describe the product in a couple of compelling sentences.
A good tip is to focus on the benefits of the product. What will the product help the buyer to do?
Once you’ve added a title and description, scroll down the page, and you’ll see the “Product data” section:
This is where you can add details about your product.
The “General” tab is where you can set the pricing, sale price, and tax status.
If you select the “Inventory” tab, you can add your SKU, manage your stock level, and choose whether you want to accept backorders if the item is no longer in stock.
You can also enable “Sold individually.” This means shoppers will only be able to purchase one unit of the product in a single order.
The next tab is “Shipping.”
This is where you can enter details about the size and weight of the product and its shipping class.
There’s also a “Linked Products” tab where you include up-selling and cross-selling products.
The “Advanced” tab is where you can choose to add or disable customer reviews and create custom purchase notes.
In the “Attributes” tab, you can add descriptors and key information about the product.
This is where you include information like color, materials, size, etc.
Attributes tell shoppers the key things they need to know about a product.
However, if you sell a product that comes in different variations (e.g., sizing, colors, etc.), you’ll need to add variations.
In the top dropdown menu of the “Product data” section, change the setting to “Variable product.”
This will add the “Variations” tab.
You can now add variations of your product using the attributes you have already assigned.
For example, you can add color options, different sizes, and other variations of the product.
You can also add a unique description and price for each variation. Using the variations tab, you can make it easier for your shoppers to find the different options for a product.
It can also save you the work of creating a separate product listing for each variation of a product.
When you’re done adding variations of your product, scroll down, and you’ll see the “Product short description” section:
This is where you can add a tagline that will appear under your product title.
It’s an opportunity to include a key selling point or benefit of your product. You can also include target keywords to boost visibility in search results.
After adding your short description, you can explore the other options for your product page. For example, you can add the product to a category, add tags, and upload your feature image or an image gallery.
Once you’re ready, hit “Preview” in the top right of the page, and you’ll see how your product page will look to shoppers on your dropshipping store:
If you’re happy with how everything looks, click on “Publish” to make the page go live.
You can repeat the above steps to add more products and build out your categories with your dropshipping products.
We’ve covered how to create your store using WooCommerce.
Next, you need to find products to sell.
There are two factors that you need to consider:
You need to find in-demand products that people are willing to spend money on. The challenge is to find a product that people want to buy, and that is not ultra-competitive.
You need a dropshipping supplier that provides consistent quality products at the right price point. You’ll also need to consider shipping and customer service.
You’ll be relying on your dropshipping partner to handle the entire fulfillment process, so it’s vital that you find a reliable supplier.
In simple terms, you want to find a product that is:
These are the core elements you need to consider.
It might sound simple, but you’ll need to spend some time researching different products.
If you’re starting your first dropshipping store, choosing a niche you already know and have some experience with can be advantageous.
For example, if you have no experience or interest in fishing, you’ll find it hard to understand what shoppers are looking for in a fishing rod.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when looking for a dropshipping product:
Profit margins can be bigger on expensive items, but it can be much harder to make a sale if you cross the $200 price barrier.
When you go higher than $200, it’s a significant purchase that people will want to spend time researching and comparing options. In addition, for some types of products, people will want to see the item in person before purchasing.
If you stay below $200, you increase the chances of an impulse purchase.
It’s also important to look out for minimum advertised price (MAP) limitations. Some manufacturers set a pricing floor for their products using MAP pricing. If you sell one of these products, you’ll have to sell at or above the MAP.
Lots of dropshipping suppliers are based in China. While this means products are generally much cheaper, it does mean shipping can be an issue.
You can find affordable shipping services like ePackets, but many of these services have restrictions on the size and weight of packages.
If you choose a product that is above the limits, shipping can get expensive. Of course, you can pass this cost onto your customers, but it will affect your conversion rate and sales.
If you need some help coming up with ideas for products, you can turn to the two biggest search engines on the internet.
Amazon and Google.
Amazon is the biggest e-commerce platform globally, and it’s a great place to find ideas for dropshipping products. Take a look at products in your niche and try to find items with lots of reviews, so you know that the products sell well.
Google is another place to look for product ideas. You can use a free keyword research tool like Keyword Planner to see the search volume for products in your niche. If many people are searching for the keyword, it shows lots of interest in the product.
After finding a good product idea for your WooCommerce store, the next step is to find a reliable dropshipping supplier that can handle the fulfillment process.
This is one of the most challenging parts of dropshipping.
We’ve compiled a list of the best places you can find suppliers to make it easier for you.
Most of the websites on the list are directories that have multiple suppliers.
SaleHoo offers a vast directory of dropshipping suppliers with thousands of products to choose from. Suppliers are vetted and certified, and there’s a thriving community of other e-commerce store owners to support you.
The SaleHoo API means you can easily integrate your WooCommerce store with the platform. There’s also a bunch of great resources to help you start your dropshipping business. Overall, this is a great place to begin your career in e-commerce.
You can access the SaleHoo directory for an annual fee of $67.
AliExpress is the first place that most people look for suppliers when they start selling online. It’s a huge directory of Chinese dropshipping suppliers that offer order fulfillment.
You can sign up for free and browse the millions of products listed on the site. There’s also a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to add products to your WooCommerce store.
Worldwide Brands is an established directory of wholesale and dropshipping suppliers that’s been around for a long time. You can currently access over 16 million products listed on the directory.
However, there is a one-time access fee of $299. The fee is high, but it may be worth looking at the directory once you have made a few sales and your WooCommerce store is generating revenue.
Printify is a print-on-demand supplier that offers a range of customizable products you can sell on your WooCommerce store. The company is best known for custom t-shirts, but you can find everything from apparel and homeware to jewelry and phone cases.
There’s a WooCommerce integration to connect your store. Because fulfillment centers are located in the USA, Europe, and multiple other locations worldwide, shipping times are faster than China-based suppliers.
Importify is one of the best options for WooCommerce dropshipping stores. It has an extensive range of products from some well-known wholesalers, including Costco, Walmart, Kohls, and Sears.
There’s an integration for WooCommerce so you can easily connect your store and 24/7 customer support. In addition, Importify offers some useful automation features to help you run your store and fulfill orders on autopilot. These extra features are restricted to the highest pricing tier subscription at $37.95 per month.
After deciding on a product and finding a few potential suppliers, you need to choose the right partner for your WooCommerce store.
Here’s how to choose a dropshipping supplier:
The first step is to reach out to the dropshipping supplier. This is an opportunity to ask any questions you have about the product and the fulfillment process.
Your supplier will be a partner in the success of your store, so reaching out and building a relationship early will help you build trust. If you have any disputes later, this trust can help you resolve issues quickly.
Before promoting a product on your WooCommerce store, order samples from 2-3 potential suppliers to see the product first-hand. This enables you to experience the delivery times, the packaging, and the quality of the product.
You can step into your customers’ shoes and see what it is like to order a product from your WooCommerce store.
Even if you sell high-quality products, you will always get some return requests from your customers. It’s an inevitable part of running an e-commerce store.
It’s essential that your supplier can deal with returns. Some suppliers will offer free returns, others will charge a fee, and some will have a no returns policy.
Make sure you align your returns policy with your supplier’s policy. You also need to be aware that a “no returns” policy could affect your conversion rate and sales.
Some suppliers charge additional setup fees on top of the flat per-order fulfillment fee. This one-time fee can vary, with some suppliers charging hundreds of dollars to set up an account.
Not all suppliers will charge a setup fee, but you need to factor any costs into your product pricing and choice of suppliers.
Plugins make it easy for you to add integrations and functionality to your WooCommerce store.
There are thousands of WooCommerce plugins that help you do everything from monitoring your traffic to automating the order fulfillment process.
Here are the five best WooCommerce plugins for dropshipping:
AliDropship Woo is the AliExpress dropshipping plugin. It allows you to automate the entire process of fulfilling orders. It also allows you to import products from AliExpress direct to your e-commerce store with a few clicks.
There’s also an image editor tool that helps you remove watermarks and logos from product photos before they go live on your WooCommerce store.
The plugin is a must-have if you are selling AliExpress products in your store. It costs $89 and is limited to one store per license. If you have a second store, you’ll need to pay for an additional license.
Dropified is an automation plugin for WooCommerce stores. You can easily find and add products to your store and fulfill orders automatically. There’s a free plan that allows you to save up to 500 products and fulfill up to 50 orders per month.
However, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan to access the automation tools and be able to add products in a single click. Upgrading will also increase the number of orders you can fulfill using the plugin per month.
The vast majority of people that visit your WooCommerce store and add a product to their shopping cart won’t complete the checkout process. Around 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts before completing a purchase.
Abandoned Cart plugin helps you to recover those lost sales by using email remarketing strategies. If the shopper has a registered email with your store, the Abandoned Cart plugin will send email reminders to encourage shoppers to come back and purchase the products they added to the cart but didn’t purchase.
It’s an excellent WooCommerce dropshipping plugin. Abandoned Cart costs $59 per year.
Customer reviews are vital for conversions. According to Bright Local, 91% of consumers aged 18 to 34 trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
With Ultimate Reviews, you can create an easy way for your customers to leave reviews for the products you sell in your WooCommerce store.
It’s a really intuitive plugin that comes with two review shortcodes you can add to your product pages. One displays existing reviews, and the other has a review form for customers to leave their feedback.
You can purchase Ultimate reviews for your store for a one-off fee of $47.
Advanced WooCommerce Reporting helps you monitor performance metrics from a single dashboard. It shows you a breakdown of orders, customer data, category reports, and data on tax and refunds issued to customers.
All data is displayed in eye-catching visualizations and charts. You can also schedule reports to be delivered to your email inbox. This plugin is a great way to keep an eye on your sales data and product performance.
You can purchase Advanced WooCommerce Reporting for $35 with a multiple store license.
You’ve reached the end of our guide on how to start a WooCommerce Dropshipping store.
The next step is to take action and start building your store.
If you have any questions or need some help getting started, leave a comment below.