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Can you dropship without money?
If you can, how? How do you do dropshipping without capital?
Dropshipping is a great business. But like any business, you need capital.
If you are strapped for cash, you would be hard-pressed building your own website, much less advertise on Facebook or social media to increase your conversion rate.
Today, I will share with you three ways to do dropshipping without money.
But first, let us talk about the basics.
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a retail business. It has similarities with a common online store.
In dropshipping, you offer products that you did not make. These are products that you buy from manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers.
The main difference between dropshipping and the typical retail store is that you do not keep an inventory in dropshipping.
In a nutshell, this is how dropshipping works:
- You choose a supplier
- You post that supplier’s product on your store
- You market that product
- A customer orders from you
- You order the item from the supplier
- The supplier ships the item to your customer
The profit you make is the difference between your buying price what the customer paid you.
As you can see, you do not spend money on inventory; you only pay for the item once a customer already paid you.
There is no limitation as to what type of niche and product you can focus on. You can build several dropshipping stores if you want to.
My take is that you should build niche stores, not general stores.
RELATED ARTICLE: Niche vs General e-Commerce Store: What Should You Choose?
How do you build a dropshipping store?
Building a dropshipping store entails cost. If you are strapped for cash, it is a matter of choosing which platforms work best for you.
Build a Dropshipping Store with Shopify
The most common way to build a dropshipping store is through Shopify.
Shopify is the best e-commerce platform. All you need to do is to choose a theme, and then upload the products. Think of Shopify as the WordPress of e-commerce stores.
There are thousands of apps that you can use, too, to make your store look and function more professional.
Shopify dropshipping is the most preferred choice of many who do not have a background in website building.
RELATED ARTICLE: Shopify Pricing: What Are the Different Features Between the Plans?
Build a Dropshipping Store with WordPress
The second method to build a dropshipping store is via WordPress.
This is what I use myself.
And when I say WordPress, I mean WordPress.ORG, not WordPress.COM.
WordPress.COM is not free; you need to pay a lot of money to be able to build a fully functional website store.
On the other hand, WordPress.ORG is a free content management system. To make it work, you need a web hosting provider, install WordPress and WooCommerce, and then use a web-builder tool.
For my websites, these are the things I use:
- Website hosting – I use SiteGround. With SiteGround, I can build an unlimited number of websites, and I only need to pay $9.99 per month. You cannot do this with Shopify. Shopify costs $29 per month per store.
- WordPress and WooCommerce – WordPress is the content management system where you can choose a theme to decide how your website looks. WooCommerce is the e-commerce engine that allows you to display products and charge customers.
Both are free.
- Website Builder – this is a drag-and-drop tool that you can use to design your website. You can make a website without this, but your website will be a “me too” website. It looks generic. What I use is Elementor.
I manage three websites built on SiteGround, WooCommerce. WordPress and Elementor. These websites are:
- Just Keep Shippin’ – my blog where I teach people about e-commerce; you are on this website right now.
- Aaron Matthew Ang – my website, where I offer freelance writing services, SEO services, and my other products.
- Backlink Society – a “dating” website, but not for people. It is a “dating” site for bloggers, affiliate marketers, and online store owners.
Here, members join and reach out to one another to get free backlinks to improve their website’s authority and credibility.
I also use an SEO tool. It comes in really handy in helping my clients find the right keywords to use. It also allows me to track the performance of my websites in terms of keyword position and SEO opportunities.
What I use is SEMRush.
The biggest benefit I find with building a dropshipping store with WordPress is the cost. Another thing that I like about it is that there are thousands of free plug-ins that you can use on your store.
In Shopify, many plug-ins are paid.
Because the developers know that you are selling stuff, and if you are selling stuff, you are earning money.
Build a Dropshipping Store for Free
The last method is the free one. Yes, you can do dropshipping without investment.
The set-up is free, but you still have to pay fees if you make a sale. In this method, you are not going to build a store per se.
Instead, you will use a platform to sell.
The three methods that I recommend are:
I will discuss how each one works. After you read these three, you should be able to decide which of these three methods best fits your situation.
Dropshipping on Amazon
The first e-commerce site that you can use for your dropshipping business is Amazon.
Amazon is one of the leading sales platforms in the world.
There are 310 million active users of Amazon. This number makes it a promising place to sell. You do not have to worry about building traffic to reach your target market.
Being an Amazon seller is easy.
And yes, you can dropship on Amazon.
Here are the steps to get you started.
Amazon Step 1: Set up your seller account
You will be asked to choose between an Individual Seller Account or a Professional Seller Account. The type that does not require monthly fees is the Individual Account.
This will, however, deduct an item fee of $0.99 per item sold.
As an Amazon seller, you have to pay other fees. Once you made a sale, Amazon will charge you closing fees, referral fees, and other costs.
Go to Amazon’s seller pricing resource to learn more.
Amazon Step 2: Choose suppliers and a niche
If you sell on Amazon, the best supplier you can possibly choose is AliExpress. A lot of dropshippers on Amazon get their products from AliExpress.
From AliExpress, you will copy and paste the images and product descriptions, and then upload them in your Amazon store.
There is no plug-in to do this automatically. It is possible, but only if you build your store via Shopify first.
Once you have built your Shopify store, you will integrate it with your Amazon seller account.
From there, your Amazon seller account will automatically copy the products you have in your Shopify store. If you delete anything from your Shopify store, that same item will be deleted from Amazon.
I know that copying one product from AliExpress is tedious. But since you want to build your dropshipping store for free, you need to put in the effort.
Amazon Step 3: Create your Amazon Listing
This listing will serve as your product catalogue and shall be made visible to people who are surfing for products in the Amazon site.
There are policies that you need to follow in order to dropship here.
Specifically, you should:
- Be the seller of record of your products
- Identify yourself as the seller of your products
- Be responsible in cases of product returns; and
- Comply with Amazon’s terms and conditions in selling
It is also worthy to note that Amazon strictly prohibits the traditional method of dropshipping. They do not allow a seller to buy products from other retail stores and let them process the shipping.
They clearly emphasize that your store should be the only brand found in the products’ packaging.
Despite this, there are still plenty of sellers that opt for this kind of dropshipping. They do this by establishing a connection with AliExpress suppliers and then proceed to sell the products on Amazon.
If you want to play on the safe side, however, you can consider using the Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA)
With this, Amazon will be the one responsible for all the processes involved in selling your product. This includes handling, packing, shipping, and even customer support.
With FBA, you will have to pay fees for every unit sold. This will depend on the product’s weight and other dimensions.
To sum it all, you can dropship via Amazon, but make sure that your packages are not branded. If they are branded, they must be branded as yours.
Dropshipping on eBay
Moving on, we have eBay.
Dropshipping on eBay is controversial. There are some who say that it is not allowed, and there are some who say that it is allowed.
What is the real deal?
To find out, we need to look at eBay’s policy about dropshipping.
Here it is:
Dropshipping is allowed on eBay, but not if you buy from another retailer.
Here is an example of what is not allowed:
- You go to AliExpress and choose a product
- You display that on eBay
- Buyer wins an auction or clicks Buy Now from your eBay store
- You order the product from AliExpress
- Your supplier ships the item to your eBay customer
That is not allowed.
Because your eBay customer could have bought that item himself from AliExpress. However, he paid more than what he was supposed to because you profited from it.
Clearly, dropshipping is allowed, but only if you buy from a WHOLESALE supplier, not a retailer.
So, how does this work?
Wholesale dropshipping is different from retail dropshipping. In wholesale dropshipping, you pay the products in advance.
And you need to buy a lot.
However, that product will not be shipped to you. Instead, it stays in the supplier’s warehouse. You can do this with wholesale dropship suppliers like uDroppy.
After you paid for the products, you display your items on eBay, Amazon, or your own website.
Once a customer order, you notify the supplier, and then he ships the item to your customer.
This form of dropshipping is what eBay allows. What it means is that if you dropship on eBay, you must sell items that a customer cannot buy on retail anywhere else.
RELATED ARTICLE: uDroppy Review: why is this tool good for dropshipping?
Here are the steps to get you started.
eBay Step 1: Set up your seller account
Unlike in Amazon, there is only one type of seller account on eBay.
What this means is that by signing up, you already have access to the platform’s features and benefits. Signing up for an account is free.
eBay is very strict about usernames, so you have to make sure that yours adhere to the guidelines.
eBay Step 2: Find products and supplier
Take note that eBay does not allow sellers to get Amazon nor their program (FBA) as their suppliers. This is applicable to all countries.
As I mentioned earlier, you can only do eBay dropshipping is the product you sell cannot be purchased in retail anywhere else.
I strongly suggest that you do a private label or white label dropshipping. You can also visit uDroppy how you can purchase items in bulk and then have them ship your items to your customers.
eBay Step 3: Create your listing
The most common mistake that sellers make is making an account in an eBay site made for another country. eBay caters to most countries worldwide so you should first check the site before proceeding.
The terms and conditions of dropshipping are simple in eBay. There are only two matters that you should keep in mind:
- Dropshipping suppliers should be wholesalers.
- You must meet the shipping conditions.
The shipping conditions are fast. eBay does not like it when the buyers have to wait for months. The best course of action here is to only ship to the country where your items are located.
As you can see, starting a dropshipping business is relatively easier compared to Amazon because it only has few limitations.
In a deeper sense, the first condition states that your supplier, the one that you are getting your products from, should be a wholesaler.
Some sellers opt to negotiate with retailers, which can result in higher prices which are not consumer-friendly.
eBay’s guidelines, on the other hand, revolves around the delivery and shipping process, and product exchanges and returns.
So, how to dropship on eBay with no money?
If you do not have money to but wholesale on eBay, there are two things you can do:
I prefer the latter. My dropshipping store is print-on-demand. I sell mugs that I designed, but I do not pay for them until an order is placed by my customer.
RELATED ARTICLE: Print on Demand: A Great Way for Dropshippers to Get Started
Build a Dropshipping Store with Etsy
My third and last recommendation about dropshipping with no money is Etsy.
It probably has the smallest customer base out of the three mentioned, with 35.8 million active buyers.
However, this does not mean that this is not a good marketplace.
Etsy is known for exclusivity. Here, you can only sell handcrafted items.
You cannot sell anything here that is mass manufactured.
So, how will you dropship?
The only way you can dropship on Etsy without being flagged is through print-on-demand dropshipping (POD).
Signing up to open a shop on Etsy is free. The process is relatively simple and is quite similar to the other two.
Here are the steps:
Etsy Step 1: Create your shop’s page
This is done by going to their homepage and clicking the “Sell on Etsy” button. With this, you will be able to customize your shop’s name and settings like payment methods and shipping processes.
Etsy Step 2: Find dropshipping suppliers
What I recommend that you use is Printful. It is a POD company where you can choose from hundreds of items. What you have to do is to design your products, then upload them on Etsy.
Once a customer buys, you can place the order from your Printful dashboard. After that, the company will print the item, and then ship it to your customer.
I use Printful for my dropshipping store.
Printful is FREE. You only pay for the product once you ordered it. And you will only order it if you already made a sale.
Etsy Step 3: Start listing your products.
Etsy has quite a few strict regulations:
- Resellers are not allowed
- Products must be under specific categories
As you may have noticed, their terms focus solely on their products. Technically, you cannot resell products that you did not personally make or design.
Moreover, your shop’s niche and products must either be a handicraft, vintage item, or anything that is relevant to art.
The seller’s fee in Etsy is quite high compared to others. There is a listing fee that costs $0.20, a transaction fee of 3.5%, and a payment processing fee of 3% and $0.25.
Where to Find Dropshipping Suppliers
Now that you know how to start dropshipping with no money, you need to find suppliers.
Aside from the selling platform that you are going to use, another factor that will play a vital role in your business is your supplier.
Although AliExpress is one of the biggest platforms in finding potential suppliers, you should not limit your search to this one site only. You should explore all possible directories in order to efficiently land on a good supplier.
I have three recommendations for suppliers, but some of them require an investment.
Spocket is a dropshipping application that can be integrated with various e-commerce platforms. It is specifically designed to provide a platform where merchants and suppliers can connect directly.
Most suppliers found on Spocket’s directory are either from the United States, Australia, Europe, and other parts of Asia, like China. Moreover, some of them can also be found on AliExpress.
It is not limited to that one task, however. Because it is basically a dropshipping app, you can also use this as a tool for a more efficient dropship business management.
Spocket offers a 14-day free trial if you want to try it out. Their plans start at $19/month.
uDroppy, on the other hand, is a great choice if you want to do white label or private label dropshipping.
The main difference would be the fact that making an account in uDroppy and accessing its features are free of charge.
Another exceptional thing that they offer is that besides the list of suppliers, you are also provided with a list of products that you can add to your store. In addition, you can also ask for a free consultation with an E-comm manager.
RELATED ARTICLE: uDroppy Review: why is this tool good for dropshipping?
For the third service provider on our list, we have Salehoo. The purpose it mainly serves is providing a directory list of possible suppliers.
There are currently more or less than 8,000 merchants that you can choose from. The good thing about this is that you can be assured that all are of high-quality because SaleHoo, itself, verifies them.
The downside of this, however, is that you cannot filter out the list based on their locations. This can make it difficult for you to find suppliers based on how far they are from you.
SaleHoo’s pricing retails to $67 per year.
RELATED ARTICLE: SaleHoo Review: A Quick Overview of the Program
The last that I recommend is Dropified.
Dropified is another dropshipping application that can help you with all the tasks related to a dropshipping business.
This app includes the process of store opening, supplier and product searching, and handling of the shipping process.
Dropified has several plans, and it starts at $47 per month.
RELATED ARTICLE: Ultimate Dropified Review: the best dropship tool?
Finding a reliable supplier is important. Your business reputation and performance rely on them. If you can, open a free dropshipping store, but invest in your supplier.
INTERESTED IN PRINTFUL?
There goes our method of how to do dropshipping with no money.
As a beginner in the dropshipping business, there is no harm in starting out small. Build your business without spending too much. Do not spend money on ads. Let Amazon, eBay, and Etsy do the heavy lifting of marketing.
If you build a free dropshipping store, you will learn a lot from product selection to customer service to supplier selection. Over a period of time, you will be ready to build your own dropshipping store without relying on free platforms.
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