What’s the Best Dropshipping Platform for Your Online Business?
The internet has driven many sellers to ditch the traditional brick-and-mortar business model in favor of the convenience of eCommerce platforms. In addition, with online shopping becoming a go-to method for consumers to buy products, many store owners have decided to hop onto the dropshipping bandwagon.
If you’re just starting out or want to take your online venture to the next level, dropshipping is an option to get the ball rolling. In this article, we’ll cover the four most popular dropshipping platforms to help you make an informed decision.
What Types of Dropshipping Platforms Are There?
When making your choice, it’s essential to know the two options available to you: online marketplaces and customizable e-commerce platforms.
An online marketplace can make managing your business quick and simple. Since marketplaces usually come with a large pool of customers, drop shippers only have to create their accounts, add the items they’re offering, and watch them fly off the virtual shelves. However, you won’t always be able to tweak the details of the store to your liking. Nor will you have complete control over scaling your business if you’re missing some necessary features like order tracking and app integration. Also, when the number of products you can sell is limited, your revenue will be seriously affected.
Ultimately, you need to find a way to beat the competition and attract potential buyers. For example, the number of sellers active on Amazon is a staggering 1.9 million. Even if you’ve found your niche, driving traffic to your account might mean lowering your prices, which may not align with your original plan. In addition, marketplaces usually take a percentage of your sales, a figure anywhere from 10%-15%. If you don’t have the time or budget to build an e-commerce website from scratch but want a cost-effective dropshipping solution, this is a good option.
Customizable Ecommerce Platforms
A customizable e-commerce platform gives users more room to control every aspect of their internet brand. You can provide customers with a more personalized user experience and increase your sales rate by either creating your own website or going for a hosted platform.
Building Your Own Website
If you want to have complete control over your shop’s online presence and are ready to invest a bit of money, a self-hosted platform might work for you. You’ll have to hire a designer or developer to build your commerce site from the ground up. It’s a long-term investment for drop shippers who plan to eventually expand their business. You’ll also save money as you won’t have to pass the transaction fees of hosted companies. If you’re interested in coding, you could also choose a more hands-on approach and design the whole website yourself.
A hosted solution is a great option when you don’t want to stress about the technical side of dropshipping but are willing to invest in getting a professional-looking shop. The service providers will grant you access to their ecommerce platform once you sign up for a subscription from one of their pricing plans. Shopify, for example, lets you design your shop using ready-made templates and layouts, making the entire process effortless.
While users won’t be able to customize everything they want, there are many built-in plugins and features that can be added down the road. Your dropshipping goals will influence the type of platform that will serve your business the most. If you want to build a serious presence in the dropshipping space and showcase your products in the best light, self-hosting is the way to go. However, if you want to skip the hassle of launching the shop and are itching to get into selling immediately, a hosted platform has all the tools you need.
eBay offers a simple and inexpensive way to make online store sales with its vast market. To start operating your store, you’ll create your personal account and put in the information that will appeal to potential customers. Once you ensure customer loyalty, you can switch to a seller account which starts at $7.95 per month. The price drops to $ 4.95 per month when you get the yearly plan.
Dropshipping on eBay comes with a few different charges. However, as you get up to 200 listings for free, it’s relatively inexpensive to begin your dropshipping journey. The fee calculator will give you an indication of how much of a startup investment you’ll have to make. The seller fees page also has helpful information on how much it costs to boost your listings.
There are two basic fees to keep in mind:
The Insertion Fee
You’ll pay 35 cents per added product when you go over the free listings. If it falls under several categories, you pay the insertion fee for each category.
The Final Value Fee
The most commonly drop shipped items like yoga mats and wireless charging stations are what eBay sees as ”most products,” and the final value fee is 10%. So eBay takes 10% of the item’s total value, shipping included. So if you’re dropshipping a candle for $20 and the shipping is $3, eBay gets $2.30.
You’ll then need to set up a payment method. eBay works well with several providers like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal Credit. New sellers usually opt for PayPal because of its simplicity, while bigger businesses use Stripe, which is easier to customize. In addition, the platform attracts buyers with its variety of payment gateways. Not only can they shop with their debit and credit cards, but they can exchange gift cards and store their card information for future purchases as well.
Note that eBay manages all payments, which bumps up the final fee to 12.55% for most products. While this seems a bit steep, it also eliminates PayPal fees. In addition, it enables you to streamline your business and access personalized reports and additional protection. The transaction method also protects customer card data and has money-back guarantees.
You can use many third-party apps to maximize efficiency and secure growth for your shop. The most popular software helps sellers with listing and inventory management. For example, Celigo enables you to sync your eBay page with other applications and commerce channels, allowing you to ship, track, and fulfill orders in one place.
Since you’ll be working with suppliers to get the products in the hands of buyers, inventory and storage won’t be a problem. You’ll have more time to focus on marketing and expanding your product offerings.
As long as you have a stable internet connection, your products will do the work for you.
Make sure that the descriptions are transparent and straightforward to keep them SEO-friendly. Your listing plays a crucial role in converting visitors into customers. High-quality pictures and polished descriptions help eBay’s search engine pick up your items so that they’re more likely to be recommended to users as a ”Best Match.” In addition, as you’ll be dealing with many competitors, your descriptions should reflect that you’re a responsible business that cares about customer service and timely deliveries. That way, your items will also pop up as recommended when people browse for similar products.
- Easy to start
- Low investment
- Huge established market
- Good for marketing products
- Listing fees add up
- High competition
The new Facebook marketplace remains an untapped resource for drop shippers. When Facebook first introduced the Marketplace, it was primarily aimed at letting users sell the items gathering dust in their homes to other users. However, the social network has added a wide range of e-commerce features that have seen dropshipping flourish on the platform in recent years.
Only businesses located in the U.S. can sign up for the business account, creating a dedicated page for their shop to enter the Marketplace. They can also use Facebook’s ecommerce tools. People living outside the U.S. can list their products using their personal accounts, but they won’t be able to use helpful e-commerce features like onsite checkout.
Once you’ve created your account, you can add the items you’re selling. Then, click on ”Create listing” to upload high-resolution product pictures and descriptions quickly and easily. Unfortunately, when you already have an online selling channel or website, including hyperlinks in your listing is not possible. However, you’ll be able to put your site’s domain in the product description. This is an excellent way to encourage customers to check out your website and see what the business offers. In addition, since all Facebook users can access the Marketplace at any time, the door for new buyers is wide open.
The platform isn’t oversaturated with different sellers, and by taking advantage of the low competition, your business venture can generate a significant profit. It’s easier to find your selling niche and build a reputable brand name. The number of potential customers is rising, with more than one in three Americans using the Marketplace to buy and sell products.
It’s best to use one of Facebook’s listening partners to manage inventory to make the most out of the platform. Not only will you save time when listing products, but you’ll also unlock advanced features like chargeback management. This lets you know about any chargeback you may receive after users have purchased. In addition, you can run your business using the dashboard on the partner of your choice. The most popular options are BigCommerce, Shopify, and Channel Advisor.
If you’re new to dropshipping and are not ready to invest in creating a dedicated site, this option will let you drop ship without a website.
Facebook Messenger also provides customers with a unique user experience. They can contact you directly and ask for more information about your store and items. This direct line of communication between buyers and sellers builds trust and strengthens customer loyalty.
The location restrictions are a serious drawback. If you live outside the U.S., you won’t be able to use the built-in e-commerce tools to scale your business. Also, the Marketplace requires you to select the area the product is ”sold from.” This narrows down the number of people you can reach, as people will only see the product within a 100-mile radius of its location.
However, it’s a great way to cut back on advertising costs. You won’t have to organize an email marketing campaign to put your products on the map. Potential customers searching the Market are ready to spend money to get the items they want. All you need to do is conduct some research and find the most profitable niche.
You can use third-party software to make dropshipping with several suppliers, or wholesalers run smoothly. AutoDS will enable you to find new products, create good-looking listings, and keep track of stock levels and prices. If you’re expanding your store, it also allows virtual assistants to access your business through multiple user access. A 30-day AutoDS trial costs $1, while regular pricing plans go from $27 to $47 per month, depending on the type of business you’re operating.
Facebook’s payment processing is handled on the platform, and your earnings will be deposited directly into the bank account you’ve entered during sign-up. However, this in-house checkout system comes with a 5% selling fee deducted from each payout. The fee applies to orders which require shipping. As people are still using the platform to sell locally, it’s a go-to choice for many people offering handmade products and even traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.
Another perk is the no-selling limit. You can list as many products as you want with no additional charges.
- Facebook users make for good traffic
- Low competition
- Inexpensive option
- Unlimited product listing
- Location restriction
- Ecommerce features available only with partner providers
An open-source ecommerce platform, Magento helps users build a professional online business from scratch. They have complete control over every aspect of the store, from the website layout to shipping. If you’re serious about dropshipping, then you should be ready to hire a developer to launch a site through this content management system (CMS) as technical knowledge is required. The open-source CMS is free to download, but the commerce plan is also suitable for larger corporations. Of course, the pricing of this plan depends on your company’s size and performance.
While you’ll be able to download the open-source version for free, there are a few expenses to keep in mind. For example, you’ll be responsible for setting up a domain name for your site, securing web hosting, and establishing payment processing. However, if you’re determined to make a name for yourself in the e-commerce space, it’s well worth your time and money.
It’s more challenging to navigate than hosted platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce. Once you get over this hurdle, you’ll get the chance to unlock your business potential with amazing e-commerce features. The marketing tools allow users to activate discount codes and organize customer data. The preserve cart feature boosts sales, saving the items in a customers’ cart even when they haven’t gone through with the purchase. The next time they visit your site, the products will be waiting in the cart, reminding the customer to finish their order.
But Magento really shines when it comes to SEO tools. The CMS allows you to change item descriptions to optimize the site further. Plus, you can edit URLs to make them more SEO-friendly. Magento will also automatically delete the words that lower your search engine rankings.
You can create a unique layout from scratch, or you can scroll through the Magento Marketplace to add a dash of creativity to your storefront. The templates are responsive, so the quality of user experience remains the same, regardless of whether customers are shopping on a PC or mobile device.
But to make the most of dropshipping with Magento, it’s best to combine it with a powerful e-commerce extension. Dropshipping for Magento 2 comes with a steep price tag of $399. That said, the plugins and features allow you to minimize business expenses. For example, it will enable you to work with several wholesalers and suppliers, so you’ll never have to worry about renting warehouse space. Also, it creates a streamlined workplace you can use to communicate with your suppliers. Keep track of both digital and physical products, and the inventory management system will suggest the best storage options for lowering shipping rates.
The extension generates a shipping options chart for customers depending on their location. They can go through it and choose the shipping method that suits them. Then, when buyers add changes to their orders, you can track them and manually pick the supplier that will fulfill the order efficiently.
When you want to take your ecommerce store to the next level, Magento offers limitless opportunities to upgrade your dropshipping business.
- Great SEO tools
- Fully customizable
- Excellent E-commerce extensions and plugins
- Sell both digital and physical products
- Expensive option
- Not beginner-friendly
Printful is one of the most popular dropshipping suppliers of goods and services. Their reasonable pricing, high-quality products, and excellent customer service make them a great partner for new and experienced drop shippers. If you’re interested in selling clothes, accessories, and homeware items such as mugs, tote bags, and phone cases, they might be the dropshipping platform for you.
Unless you decide to get a Printful Pro subscription, which is $49 per month or $539 per year, there are no monthly fees. The expensive plans come with exclusive perks, but there’s still much you can do with the free option. For example, you can customize up to 314 products and integrate with over 20 ecommerce platforms. You’ll also be able to make product templates and use more than 2,400 clipart images to tweak your storefront to your liking.
Most importantly, Printful allows dropshipping integrations with most major ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. This will automate your business, so you won’t have to handle orders manually. When all your selling channels are connected, the orders will be directly sent to Printful, taking over packaging and shipping. The margin for error is slim, and customer details stay protected. You can also use API integration to link your store to Printful.
To make your shop stand out from the competition, you’ll have to find the best pricing for your items. The product calculator takes in Printful product pricing and your desired profit margin to help you decide on the retail price.
Their warehouses are located in the U.S. and Europe, where a large market of customers resides, so you’ll never suffer from a lack of buyers. Printful is easy to use and offers tips to business owners who are just getting started. Their Help Center offers articles, guides, and video tutorials on navigating the site. If you need more help, you can also contact the customer support team.
- Easy to navigate
- No platform fees
- Simple integration with other apps
- Great warehouse options
Products limited to apparel and houseware goods
Good Dropshipping Platforms: What to Look For?
Ease of Use
The platform should allow you to navigate the store easily and give customers a satisfactory user experience. When you run your business from one place, it will minimize your work hours and increase the site’s performance. In addition, if the interface clearly outlines the product, shipping, and payment information, buyers will be encouraged to spend more because the whole process is so simple.
Working With Different Suppliers
Ensure that the dropshipping company you’re using allows you to source items from several suppliers and wholesalers. This way, you’ll never have to stress about running out of stock. In addition, the platform should be a workspace where you can clearly and easily communicate with vendors about inventory management and order fulfillment.
Integrations and Apps
The service you’re using should have built-in plugins or allow for integrations with other software and online commerce channels. When you’re selling across multiple platforms, syncing the websites and apps will help you track your business’s progress and develop a strategy for the future.
If your store offers only a few payment methods, it will turn away potential customers, especially if you’re hoping to tap into an international customer pool. Your seller’s dashboard should also organize completed payments and pending withdrawals, which is essential when you’re selling through several online venues.
To manage a successful dropshipping business, you’ll need to constantly communicate with suppliers about restocks, warehouse solutions, and order placement. A good platform will let you see up-to-date information about which items are available, and your orders won’t be placed on hold.
Suppose you’re also notifying customers about shipping information. In that case, you’ll have to monitor the shipping process, which can get a bit complicated when buyers order items from different suppliers. A platform that breaks down these aspects and makes them easy to follow is necessary when you want to be seen as a reliable business owner.
Final Verdict: What’s the Best Dropshipping Platform for Your Online Business?
Finding the right dropshipping solution can make or break your ecommerce business. You should consider several important aspects, from pricing and payment processing to app integrations and user experience.
The platforms we’ve mentioned in this article all come with handy dropshipping features and plugins that will help you take your business to the next level. However, our vote goes to eBay. It’s easy to use and benefits both newbies and experienced sellers. In addition, since it doesn’t require you to invest much upfront, it’s a low-risk way to make money through selling.
Second place goes to Printful. While the range of products is limited, if you want to offer clothes, jewelry, and homeware goods, it’s an inexpensive and beginner-friendly way to get you into the swing of e-commerce.
The platform you choose will depend on your dropshipping business plan, so check your budget and select the option that will best serve your needs.