So, you want to start your side hustle? Congratulations! Let's get you started with an ecommerce business project that will make you money.
The dropshippingXL Academy is here to help you step-by-step.
Anyone can begin dropshipping without creating a company or any other requirements. Simply set up an online store, use dropshippingXL as your supplier, and sell to your customers.
We also have blog articles that can expand your knowledge of the basic:
Choose how you will sell to your digital customers.
These are the most popular options:
We recommend setting up your own website.
This is the most popular channel for selling your dropshipping products. Not only do you have more control over your own website, but you save money by not paying commissions as you would on other third-party selling platforms.
Before you start building your website, you will need a domain name. This is the unique URL of your website. Normally, this is the name of your dropshipping store or your brand name. It's possible to have more than one domain name and connect them so that they all direct to the same website.
Using SEO keywords in your domain name helps customers find your website. Think about which SEO phrases that your target audience would use to search for the products you sell. The more accurate your domain name is to these SEO keywords, the higher you will rank on Google's results pages.
For example, if you are dropshipping pet supplies in Australia with the brand name "Soft Paws & Co.," some or all of these would be domain name options:
Notice how a dropshipping store in the pet niche would use different phrases related to pet supplies and pet accessories. Including the country you sell from is also useful for online customers.
Where to buy your domain name
Once you have your list of domain names, it's time to purchase. These are some websites to use:
You can use a search engine to find other domain name providers.
Do I need to buy a domain name?
For professionalism, it's better to buy a domain name. Website builders give you the option to use a free website URL, however, it will include the name of the website builder you are using.
For example, the pet company mentioned above that decided to use Shopify, would have the option of using the URL, www.soft-paws-co.myshopify.com. To show your customers that you are an authentic and trustworthy online store, we recommend that you buy your custom domain name.
Other benefits of buying a domain name:
There are platforms to help you easily build an ecommerce website without any technical knowledge. These are popular beginner-friendly options:
How to choose a website builder
With so many website builders to choose for your dropshipping store, it can be difficult to decide which one is best. To make this decision, it depends on these factors:
Each website builder is slightly different. For example, WordPress is a little more technical. WordPress is designed so that you create your content in the back-end and switch views to see how it looks to your online visitors.
Options such as Shopify and Wix allow you to build a website by the easy method of drag and drop. This means you see how your website will look while you are building it.
Many offer a free or cheap trial so you can test a few website builders and see which one works best for you.
We highly recommend you use Shopify or WooCommerce because we have special vidaXL plugins with these two partners.
Is your website builder compatible with dropshippingXL?
It's crucial to check whether the website builder you want to use is compatible with dropshippingXL. You can see our integrations page for a full list of dropshippingXL plugins available and which websites they work with.
You will need one of these plugins when you start to build your dropshipping website. It is necessary for connecting your website with dropshippingXL. These are the features our plugins provide:
You can create a dropshipping website in less than a day. To see how easy it is, follow our step by step tutorial.
Learn everything you need to know about our Integration partners
A niche market is a specialized and smaller segment of a market. When you begin your dropshipping business you will need to decide which products to sell and to which buyers.
If you decided to sell every type of toy to every adult buying for a child, you would be competing with a huge number of other online companies.
The cost to compete and to advertise to such a large number of buyers would be very expensive. It is more time and cost-effective to focus on a smaller number of products for a highly targeted group of buyers.
You can find more than 90,000 products at vidaXL in 30 categories, such as:
Check out our product categories
Before choosing your niche, take some time to do some research to see the competition and if it will be profitable.
You can use online tools to help you:
Google Trends is a free tool to see what people are searching for on the internet. Type in keywords related to the niche you are interested in to find how many people are searching those terms on Google. It also tells you how popular those search terms were over time.
Another free tool from Google, Keyword Planer gives you data on how competitive search terms are. This will help you see how much advertising will cost to pay for paid adverts on Google and get an idea of how popular these search terms are with online buyers.
Use powerful data from Meta to find out shopping trends on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Search forecasts and reports to get an idea of how successful your niche might be based on the behaviours of users across three of the most-used social media platforms.
Don't sleep on social media as a source of information. Search directly on each platform such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to find out what customers like, the most talked-about products, and topics they care about. For example #TikTokmademebuyit is a trending hashtag for shopping trends.
For paid data, try Emerald Insight. It is an academic database to access industry reports such as current online shopping preferences and channels being used.
A paid resource, BCC Research is incredible for up-to-date market analysis and industry reports. This market intelligence will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses, current key figures, and forecasts for global market segments
You can read more about competitive research in our blog article
You have your website, your products, and your niche. Now it's time to refine your branding to stand out from your competitors and make sure you are memorable.
What is branding?
Your company's branding is not just your logo and business name. It is the look and feel that you present to your customers, it's your reputation in the eyes of the consumer, and how the consumer connects with you.
Why is branding important?
Investing time into your branding will help you build a better connection with your target audience. The more you appeal to your ideal buyer, the more trust they will have in you as a brand, leading to repeat sales, and recommendations of your store to their family and friends.
Invest in your visual content
In today's digital world, brands have learned that customers have high expectations when it comes to ecommerce websites. Online shoppers want an easy, seamless, and aesthetically-pleasing buying experience.
Impress buyers with your looks:
Decide your tone
The tone of your brand is the way you speak to your customers. Businesses that specialise in banking and finance, for example, usually have a formal tone with their customers. For dropshippers, this tone can be more casual and friendly. You can choose how humorous, informal, relatable or tongue-in-cheek you want to be.
How to talk to your audience:
How do you want your customers to perceive you?
Think about the brands you know. What are the first words that come to mind when you think of them? Are they classy, luxurious, and elegant? Or are they affordable, reliable, and entertaining? Why did you think of each brand this way?
Consider how these brands look and feel, how they speak to their customers, and what methods they use to give their brand this unique personality.
Steps to establish your brand's essence:
Read more about how to improve your branding:
In this course we’ll be setting you up with a dropshippingXL account and preparing for your first sales!
First, let's set up a dropshippingXL account for your business.
Why do I pay a monthly fee?
The subscription to our dropshipping platform costs 30 euros/month. This includes business support and account management, access to attractive B2B prices on stock, and the cost of customer delivery and returns.
Concerned about commitment?
If you don't place orders within your first month and wish to cancel, your subscription will be refunded. You can close your account at any time after that.
What is a product feed?
We provide you with a data feed updated in real time (CSV and XML file):
New products (updated every week) with product description in your webshop language and images, prices (can vary every day depending on supply and demand) and stock (updated every 15 minutes).
How do I integrate the products in my webshop?
Combine your own implementation system with ours to synchronize product updates and orders.
Skip ahead to Module 2 for instructions on how to do so
Download our full Registration manual
How do I integrate vidaXL products into my webshop?
We provide you with a data feed updated in real time (CSV or XML file):
Use API to connect your webshop to dropshippingXL for these benefits:
What is API?
Here is a quick basic explanation:
Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of functions to connect separate software platforms.
This makes it possible for the latest data such as stock levels and pricing to be sent from a supplier's database (ours) to your dropshipping store.
How can I use API?
Once you will have successfully created you dropshippingXL account, you will be able to request your API Token. We will give you access by enabling your API token directly in your account.
After that, you will be able to link our API with your webshop, using the API token provided.
The easiest way to synchronize your ecommerce store with data from vidaXL is to use our recommended plugins. This saves you time as the product data feeds are sent directly to your store automatically.
Discover all our integrations partners
Carefully choosing what price to sell your dropshipping products is key to making sure you attract sales while making a profit. To do this, you will need to consider your operating costs and external factors that will have an influence on your optimum price point.
As with any business, you will have ongoing costs to pay to keep your business up and running. Covering these costs comes from the revenue you make from your product sales. So, factoring in these expenses will allow you to make a profit. These include:
The cost of goods sold (COGS) is the B2B price of the product that you buy from your supplier. It is the direct costs required to produce a product.
If you were to produce a product yourself, you would need to cover the cost of manufacturing. This would be the cost of machinery and equipment, materials, labour costs, packaging, and storage, for example.
The largest part of your dropshipping business expenses will most likely be for your marketing and advertising campaigns. Search engine and social media paid ads are normally the biggest investment per month.
Especially in the early days of your dropshipping store, you will notice higher costs per campaign as you begin to test which ads are the most effective.
Email marketing, influencer marketing, and paid content marketing are also costs to pay for if they are in your digital marketing plan.
Building and hosting a dropshipping website will require part of your budget. Consider these fees:
Some of these are one-off costs, for example, your logo design might not need to be updated for several years. Website builder fees have monthly or annual payment plans and your domain name will be paid for once every 1-2 years.
Many dropshipping suppliers charge delivery costs to send products to your customers. However, the delivery costs for dropshippers with dropshippingXL is free. This covers all countries that are part of our program. Returns are also free for all countries with the exception of Australia and Norway.
If the customer gives the return reason as "Not As Expected," then the original shipping and return costs are deducted from the refund (with the exceptions for returns from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane metro areas).
If the customer gives the return reason as "Not As Expected," then a return fee of 300 NOK will be deducted from the refund.
For more information, please see our returns policy.
What are the fees associated with your dropshipping supplier? This will vary depending on the supplier you choose.
With dropshippingXL, our dropshippers don't have to worry about any surprise costs. Simply pay a flat subscription fee of €30 per month. What's more, enjoy 0% commission regardless of your sales volume of vidaXL products.
Besides your operating costs, there are other external factors to consider. These will impact the best price point for your dropshipping products.
The supply and demand of your products can be important when deciding a price point.
If the demand is high, you can take advantage of this and price slightly higher.
If the demand is low, you can entice sales by lowering your selling price.
How desirable do consumers see your products?
The perceived value of your product can depend on whether it is affordable or luxury, the quality of materials used, and how original the product is.
Perceived value is how much consumers are willing to pay for your goods.
The target buyer persona:
Think carefully about who you are targeting:
Don't forget to check what your competitors are offering.
Consider whether you want to match their prices, lower yours or charge higher but offer value to your customers in another way (e.g. excellent customer service).
In theory, yes, you can make a vague guess at how much to price your products. But, it's a very big risk. If you get it wrong and make few sales, you might not break even.
To prevent your dropshipping business from failing, we recommend that you take some time to consider various pricing strategies. Don't base your retail price on your competitors price alone!
There's no perfect pricing strategy for dropshipping. Instead, you will need to make a decision based on the type of products you are selling and reviewing the factors mentioned above. Whether you are offering low-ticket, medium-ticket, and high-ticket items will also affect your pricing formula.
Then, once you see how your products are selling in the market, you can make adjustments. See below for our explanation of low, medium, and high-ticket items.
You might be surprised to know there are many pricing strategies to choose from. We will talk you through the relevant ones for dropshipping, which include:
It's possible to combine some of these pricing models together, so don't feel obliged to strictly stick to only one.
Also known as cost-based pricing or cost-plus pricing. A fixed markup means that you add a specific amount to each product at the price you pay your supplier (B2B price).
This will give you a fixed profit margin. There is no set average markup price to go by, since this figure depends on the type of product you are selling.
For example, imagine that the average B2B price of your products is €15. You might decide that you want to add a fixed markup of €15 to cover the costs of your business expenses and a small profit margin. You would then sell these products at a retail price of €30.
Likewise, you can add the fixed markup as a percentage. Taking a look at your operating and marketing costs, you may decide that you need to markup your products by 80% to make a profit. A product with a B2B price of €15 would then be sold to consumers for €27.
This is the same as the fixed markup pricing strategy, except that you vary the markup percentage depending on whether it is a low-ticket, medium-ticket, or high-ticket item.
A low-ticket item usually has a retail price of €50 or less. Consumers spend less time considering whether to purchase and often impulse buy. A high margin is applied, which might be around 80-150%.
A medium-ticket item may have a retail price of €60-180. A price markup is typically around 40-80%.
A high-ticket item is the most expensive retail product to sell, at least €200. Consumers spend more time weighing the pros and cons of buying a product in this price range. The price markup is smaller at around 20-40%.
High-low pricing defines the retail price with the intention of offering it at a sale price after some time. This is suitable for dropshipping products such as seasonal goods, for example, swimming pools and garden firepits.
So, a product will initially be sold at a higher price and then as demand decreases, the price will be reduced.
If you were to sell garden swimming pools just before summer, the retail price would start high to meet high demand. At the end of the summer season, this item would be discounted to increase sales as demand drops.
If you want to boost interest in your products and get your customers to spend more, try bundle pricing. You have likely seen it in shops online and offline, where several products are sold together as a pack at a reduced price.
The retail price for the bundle is a great deal for consumers as they save money on what they would have spent if they bought the items separately.
Bundle offers work for many types of product categories including furniture, decor, children's toys, pet supplies, and sports equipment. Not only does it help you to sell quickly, but you also save on marketing costs.
If you were to sell the products on their own, you would need to factor in a marketing budget for each. However, in a bundle, you are able to make the sale without paying for extra Facebook or Google ads.
With this strategy, you can sell multi-packs of the same product or put matching items together. For example, you might decide to sell a garden table, sofa, and chairs as a bundle.
Finally, there is psychological pricing, which is a technique used almost everywhere. The idea is to lure buyers into a sale by using retail prices that end in odd numbers. The most famous, and arguably the most effective, is a number ending in 99. For example, €15.99 instead of €16.
Consumers feel like they are getting a better price but, in reality, it's only a saving of a few cents. You can experiment with how you round your retail prices. By testing €15.95, €15.99, €15.97 or €16 for items on your dropshipping store, you can see at which price your customers respond the best.
Another tactic is to include the delivery costs into the product price. Many consumers will abandon their baskets if they feel the delivery cost is too much on top of their purchase.
Thankfully with dropshippingXL, delivery is free of charge to our dropshippers. This makes it easy for you to pass on this saving to your customers.
The goal of marketing is to help you attract customers to your store. A dropshipping business can use online marketing channels to reach its audience. These channels are:
One of the quickest ways to promote your product or store is by purchasing PPC adverts. These are the sponsored ads at the top of Google after you have searched for something.
Email marketing is the method of promoting a product or offer by sending emails to your customer base. It's also a trusted and affordable way to update customers or build customer relationships.
According to a report by Omnisend in 2022, email marketing has an average ROI of $40 per $1 you spend. This is the highest ROI of any marketing channel.
The average cost for email marketing can be $300-500 per month for a medium-sized company using an agency. A large business could spend up to $2000 per month.
If you were to create email campaigns yourself, this could be completely free. Considering the ROI rate, email is an extremely cost-effective way to promote your business.
Personalisation in marketing is the fast lane to better sales. In 2023, McKinsey research suggested that personalisation reduces customer acquisition (the amount of money needed to spend on marketing per customer that leads to a sale) by 50% and improves revenues by 5-15%.
The open rate and click-through rate is notably higher when customers give permission to receive marketing emails. An ROI of $40, as mentioned before, applies only to emails where customers opted-in.
This compares with the low average open rate of non-permission emails, which is around 5%. Sending promotional emails without permission from the recipient is in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law in the EU.
Email marketing software sends emails to customers at every stage of the customer journey. Set up automation to trigger welcome emails when new customers sign up, abandoned baskets when customers leave the website, and product recommendations to encourage repeat sales.
Automatic personalisation of emails also improves conversion rates. So much so, that the global revenue of the customer experience personalisation and optimisation software industry will be worth USD 11.6 billion by 2026, says Statista.
Automated email marketing software measures your email data for you. This makes it easy to objectively see what does and doesn't work in your email marketing strategy, understand your audience better, and maximise your profitability.
The key metrics include:
Email marketing is the preferred method that customers want to hear from brands. Calls and texts are too invasive but emails are easy to manage.
According to The Future of Commerce: 2023 Edition by Square Up, 60% of US consumers want to hear from brands by email. This compares with 46% who prefer social media.
In the UK, 57% of British consumers read more than half of the emails they receive, says data from the Data & Marketing Association in 2019.
There are a few things to do before you start to pen the best promotional email ever sent. First, think about what your email is for:
There are different types of email formats for marketing. These include: newsletters, promotional email shots, and order information.
For a marketing campaign, a series of short email "shots" are usually sent over the course of weeks. This is important as we take into account how quickly the average email inbox is filled with competitor emails.
It's possible to send marketing emails manually but as your email list and business grows, it's not feasible to use this method. There are many email marketing software companies on the market to choose from.
They are worth the investment to access automation, personalisation, and analytics features. Building your emails is no longer complicated by using "drag and drop" tools when creating an attractive design.
Here are some examples of affordable email marketing software companies that are suitable for a startup dropshipping business:
Now it's time to start building the email content. The structure of a marketing email is typically as follows:
It's a good idea to pay attention to the overall look of your email marketing campaigns. Customers are more likely to respect your brand if you use clean graphic design and attractive colour palettes.
After triple-checking your email for good grammar, spelling, and working links, send your email to your desired list segment. Track the success of the marketing campaign by looking at the open rate, click through rate, bounce rate, and conversion rate.
These metrics will be on the dashboard of your email marketing software account, which you can export to a spreadsheet if you want to compare against previous campaigns.
Social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube are used by brands to advertise their services and manage customer support. It is a preferred method of communication as consumers can keep up-to-date with businesses and access quick responses to queries.
Here are some recommendations for costs to include in your social media marketing budget:
As you may have noticed, all marketing campaigns start with the marketing goals. Then, you can choose the appropriate steps to achieve them. Your social media marketing objectives might be:
Before you dive into your campaign, it's helpful to see what your competitors are posting on social media. Take note of:
This step is handy to get an idea of what works for your competitors and how you can stand out from the crowd.
Tailor your social media marketing content based on the objectives you have chosen in step 1. This is an example social media content plan if your goal is to increase your brand awareness:
Your social media marketing campaign will fall flat if you don't know your target audience. Age, interests, geographical location, personality traits, attitudes, hobbies, education, and household income are some psychographics of your target audience to consider.
All this data can influence how they like to interact with brands and what content they find appealing.
How to find out about your target audience:
Take advantage of as many social media platforms as you can. If you don't have the time to run social media posts on every channel, try to create an account for each one.
This will ensure you are the official owner of your preferred brand name on that channel with the basic company information and link to your dropshipping store.
Remember that social media pages are perfect for link building - driving web traffic to your online store and increasing your search engine optimisation (SEO).
The more social media platforms that you use to post content, the greater the size of your audience.
Your customers will have different preferences for which social media channel they enjoy using the most. Reaching them on as many as possible caters to their needs and increases your chances of making an online sale.
Influencers are digital creators. They have an online community with loyal followers who trust their opinions and product recommendations.
Influencer marketing is a form of online paid advertising. It is a way to promote brand awareness, reach a new target audience, and increase sales conversions. These are a few ways to use influencers:
There are mixed opinions about whether social media influencers are still relevant and trusted by consumers. A recent small study by EnTribe in 2023 found that almost 90% of 1,000 survey respondents are fed up with sponsored influencer content.
The study suggested that "86% are more likely to trust a brand that publishes user-generated content, compared to just 12%, who are inclined to purchase a product promoted by an influencer."
However, another study of 1,000 participants by Matter Communications in 2023 found completely opposite results. 81% of consumers said that they were tempted to purchase an item after seeing friends, family or influencers post about it.
According to the survey, these are the most popular social media influencers:
They note that only 11% of participants said that they prefer and trust celebrity influencers.
You can find an influencer to suit your dropshipping marketing budget. Influencers with large audiences will charge more and smaller influencers will be more affordable.
YouTubers are more expensive than on other social media platforms. Their rates greatly depend on their engagement rates per video and their number of subscribers.
These are the types of influencers and their costs*:
|Type of influencer||Number of followers||Average cost per Instagram post||Average cost per YouTube video|
|Nano influencers||Less than 1,000||$10-100||$300|
|Macro influencers||100,000-1 million||$500-5k||$3k-5k|
|Mega influencers||More than 1 million||$5k-10k||$4k-20k|
SEO is the marketing practice of improving the visibility of your website on search engines. For internet users to find your dropshipping store within the first 2-3 pages of Google is prime online real estate.
When your dropshipping store is easy to find on the internet, you will have a higher rate of traffic and online visitors. This means more sales and more revenue. SEO is crucial for long-term ecommerce success!
Customers can only find your website if you appear in Google with the keywords they are searching for. Think about what words or phrases someone would associate with your products.
For example, a customer who wants to buy a baby cot would likely search for: "baby cot," "baby bed," "baby cradle," or "baby crib."
How to choose keywords:
Where to use your keywords:
Link building is when you have other websites link to your dropshipping store. These are known as inbound links, which are part of external link building.
When other websites link to yours, not only does it generate more traffic to your website, but it is one of the major ways that Google ranks your SEO.
There are 4 ways to generate inbound links:
Pay for adverts on Google and social media such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok to improve your website traffic and SEO ranking.
These pay-per-click (PPC) adverts don't directly help with your SEO however, these are some indirect benefits:
1. Consumers who saw your paid ad will be more likely to visit your website as you have improved brand awareness
2. Consumers may wish to visit your store organically after viewing your advert, instead of clicking on the paid ad.
3. The increased website traffic from the paid ad will increase the exposure your website has from social media coverage.