Dropshipping Store Checklist 2022: The Ultimate Guide
Dropshipping seems fun, easy, and profitable to all of us. But, it also requires the initial push, like every other business. You can start making good money when you set up your business properly. The most important part of dropshipping is setting the store on an eCommerce platform. A dropshipping store checklist ensures everything goes according to plan.
Keep reading to learn everything about a dropshipping store launch checklist and how it will help you in the long run.
What is a Dropshipping Store Checklist?
A dropshipping store checklist refers to all elements needed to start a store. You can create a checklist through research or take help from other drop shippers. Design a list with all the important steps of the process. It will help you work on everything to develop a successful business.
If you are not sure of what to add to the list, don’t worry! We got you covered.
Develop a Store
Dropshipping is a broad business. Some people use websites, while others create their stores on eCommerce websites. You can also create a store on an eCommerce platform if you have the basic knowledge. Otherwise, an experienced dropshipping agent or agency can help you with it. They can also suggest if you should go for a website or a store. So, the first step is to decide how you want to go about it. Understanding this basic step will serve as the base for the next ones.
Design a Website
If you want a unique identity, it is better to opt for a website. It will act as your online store where people visit to find what they need. The first component of a website is picking the domain name. You can choose a unique domain name for your store accompanied by an extension from .com, .org, .net, or according to your region.
Yet, choosing a name that tells what you are selling is essential. It will save potential customers from confusion and they will be more willing to visit your WordPress or Shopify store. Choosing a simple name is an added benefit. It makes the name easy to memorize. To get your website, GoDaddy and Bluehost are popular domain name registrars.
The next step in creating a website is buying hosting or getting a monthly subscription. Hosting is the soul of any website and keeps your website live. It makes your content accessible and visible to visitors. WordPress stores require you to buy hosting from a credible site like HostGator or Bluehost. On the other hand, you do not have to purchase hosting if launching a Shopify store. It is included in the monthly Shopify charges.
Once you have decided on the domain name and the hosting, it is time to decide on your store’s theme. A good eCommerce website theme is simple yet captivating. It should not be clustered but provide all the information. The theme accounts for the outlook and features of your website. You can find multiple themes on WordPress and Shopify to choose from. You do not even need to pay for some of them. Paid themes are used less and thus easily differentiated from others. They also come with extra built-in features compared to free options.
The theme may act as your store’s base, and you can add plugins and applications to improve the navigation.
The next step on the dropshipping startup checklist is to create a brand identity that you will display on your store. Your store name is a part of the brand identity. Moreover, your logo and colors also contribute to creating a brand image. Design a logo for your brand that depicts what you do. Usually, small businesses create their logo in Canva or illustrator themselves to save costs. But, if you want to give a more professional look, connecting to a professional designer is a better choice. You may find them on Google or look for freelance service providers on Fiverr, Upwork, Guru, and others.
Do not overdo the logo by adding a lot of elements. Choose a different brand theme that is easy to recognize. The logo must be easy to understand and remember. It should allow your customers to identify your brand anytime instantly.
Besides the logos, you must not forget about favicons. Favicons are the small logos that appear on the tabs in browsers. They can be called the ‘shortest visual of your website.’ It is best to extract the favicon from your logo to not confuse the users. Some businesses with busy logos make changes to create a favicon.
Now that you have decided on the theme and basic brand identity elements for your business, it is time to set up the pages on the website. It is one of the most critical components of the Shopify store setup checklist. Every website has different pages, including the landing page, product pages, checkout, etc. Your website should have enough pages to facilitate users.
The homepage is the first page your users see when visiting your website. Whether they mention your website directly or search the name on Google, users typically land on the homepage. The homepage includes as much or as less information as your theme complements.
It is best to add a prominent header on the homepage. It can be your slogan or a lucrative offer. Moreover, you can mention the services you offer or the sales you have made. It is the perfect place to keep your user hooked to the website by adding CTAs.
About Us Page
Another important part of a website is the about us page. Many businesses skip this part. Yet, it gives a professional feel if you give the user an insight into your business. You can provide details about what motivated you to start the business. You may also mention your vision, mission, values, and others that you relate to the business. It is a good way to connect the user to your brand emotionally. Refrain from putting wrong details. Only mention what’s right about your brand without bragging. You can always change the content as the website grows.
Category and Product Pages
You can create different pages that direct the users to their desired products. Some websites create a different page for each category. On the other hand, some design pages like ‘all products,’ ‘best selling products,’ ‘our shop,’ etc., for easy navigation. These pages may have sub-pages that take your customers to their desired categories.
The Contact Us page is another optional choice when launching a Shopify store. Being optional does not mean you should skip it. It provides you an opportunity to push your customers to reach you through other means. You can mention your email, contact number, and social media handles. It will allow the customers to ask questions and clarify their concerns (if any).
Create a Contact Us page manually on your website or use plugins and apps. Both choices are suitable. Or you may take help from experts to create a functional and pretty Contact Us page.
Blog and Other Pages
Nowadays, you might see a ‘blog’ section on many websites. This page helps improve search engine optimization of the website by blog SEO. It also gives answers to your customer’s questions through informative blogs.
Subsequently, you may also add a FAQ page on your website. It also works similarly to a blog but provides to-the-point answers. It can include everything from product categories to shipping time, costs, and return policy.
A few websites also add pages to showcase their work, testimonials, user-generated content, and a Q&A page.
How can a dropshipping website succeed without an efficient payment gateway?
Thus, the next element on our dropshipping store checklist is the payment gateway. A payment gateway is essential for launching a dropshipping store. It allows you to collect payments from your customers anywhere in the world. Yet, only having a payment gateway is not important.
You can choose from different payment gateways and add as many options as you want. Make sure to check what the customers prefer the most. Also, it is recommended to ensure that the payment methods work in your region. Else, it would be difficult for you to withdraw the revenue. The most widely used payment gateways include ApplePay, GooglePay, AliPay, and Wise.
Extensions are essential to any dropshipping store to provide multiple options to your customers. They help improve the experience and allow you to easily manage your business. You can incorporate various extensions on your browser to monitor your store conveniently.
Check some of the best dropshipping extensions for your business here.
Applications are another crucial part of the dropshipping process. They make your life easier than ever before. Applications make your store more efficient and automate the processes for you. They are similar to extensions but not the same.
You can find various Shopify store set-up checklist applications on Shopify to improve the way you work your website. WordPress or Woocommerce also offers applications that can save a lot of time and effort. Some applications enhance the look of your site, while others help manage products. You may also get an application to display product reviews on your store.
As we mentioned earlier, social media helps customers connect to you. It also lets you promote your store on social media effortlessly.
Social media is the backbone of digital marketing. It enables you to reach a massive audience without spending a lot of money. TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram are the most popular social media platforms for marketing.
You can attach your social media accounts to your Woocommerce or Shopify store to manage them easily. This option also allows users to share the products on their social media. It helps build a loyal customer base and invite more people to your store.
When you design your store and integrate social media, it is important to add products to the store meanwhile. It is an extensive process, so you should be ready to put in that time and effort. Take nice pictures for your store and add descriptions to all products. The images should be attractive, with complete details. Categorize the products according to their niche if you are working on multiple niches.
If you think the dropshipping checklist is finished, you are missing out on a few crucial aspects. Besides the technical elements of creating a store, there is a lot more. Let us tell you all about dropshipping store launch checklist 2022 in detail.
Other Important elements of dropshipping store checklist
Understanding the Dropshipping Model
People thinking of setting up a dropshipping business think they know everything about dropshipping. Yet, it is not so in most cases. Dropshippers often do not understand the minor details of the business, leading to issues in smooth running. Problems may arise in selecting the right products, connecting to reliable vendors, choosing a suitable delivery service, and providing customer service. All these elements together ensure the success of a dropshipping store. A store that lacks in any of these is rarely likely to succeed. Thus it is necessary to conduct proper research on dropshipping before entering the market. It might not cost a lot of investment, but you will lose the time and effort you put into it.
Stable Internet Connection
When starting a dropshipping business, most people do not think how critical having a stable internet connection is. Your business is entirely online, from vendor communication to customer service. Not having a stable internet will affect operations and timely replies to customer queries. It will lead to a bad impression on your customers.
You can start by testing the speed of your internet connection and updating your browser if needed. Turning off the background applications and software you do not need will help improve the operation speed. It is also suggested to clear the cache and remove rarely-used apps to reduce the burden on your system.
Finding Your Niche
Typically when a person decides to start dropshipping, they just want to sell products. “What kind of products” and “how to launch” are questions they do not consider. But it is vital to your dropshipping startup checklist. As a drop shipper, you must be clear about the products you want to sell. Some drop shippers opt for a specific niche; others pick between trending and evergreen products.
On the contrary, a few choose to sell general products without picking a specific niche. Selecting a niche and working on best-selling products in it is more promising. You can use a mix of trending and evergreen products for your store.
Launching a Shopify store or WordPress website is the initial stage of dropshipping. There is a lot more to the process, including marketing. Effective marketing is the fundamental constituent of any successful dropshipping business. If you are not able to market your product properly, it will not be able to interest the audience.
Many drop shippers make the mistake of ignoring the marketing aspect. Either they find it costly or do not realize how important it is. Marketing your store is vital to bring visitors. These visitors have the potential to convert into customers. You can market your store in different ways. Some of them are:
Email marketing or cold emailing is one of the marketing methods on the Shopify store checklist. Most drop shippers email potential customers to bring them to your store. You may do this yourself or hire a professional copywriter for the task. The emails should be compelling enough to sell your products.
Social media is essential for marketing to reach more people in less time. It is suggested to promote your business on different social media platforms. Social media marketing has higher chances of conversions than many others.
There is nothing better if you have enough investment to spend on paid ads. Paid ads will give you the push you need to familiarize potential customers with your Shopify store. They will get to know about you and a few might also place orders. You can eventually move to organic reach when you have a few reviews on your store. Use your testimonials to attract more people.
Besides the right marketing, adequate product pricing plays an essential role in product sales. Let’s say you do everything right and bring people to your store. But, the prices are so high that the visitors do not purchase anything. Alternatively, sometimes the prices are so low that they do not leave a profit.
So, what do you think is the right thing to do?
You got it right. You must think of the pricing strategy adequately when setting up a dropshipping store. The price should be higher than the price offered by the vendor. Add the packaging, operation, marketing, and customer service cost to the final price. The price should be high enough to offer a good profit. Yet, you also need to consider competitors when setting the price. If you sell at a higher price than most sellers, your chances of sales are low.
AliDropship offers pricing markup rules features that help you sell at a better profit. You can use it to set prices for the products in your store without any additional effort. This tool also rounds off the value to a particular price.
Calculate Shipping Costs
The Shopify store checklist is incomplete without the mention of shipping costs. Shipping costs are one of the deciding factors when customers purchase products. 79% of consumers say free shipping makes them more likely to shop. Thus, free or minimal shipping makes your products more likely to sell than others.
You need to connect with shipping companies that charge less to offer low shipping charges or free delivery. Usually, shipping charges depend on the destination country and the parcel’s weight. Some companies also charge according to the dimensions or number of products. Calculate the shipping costs beforehand to ensure you do not lose customers or profit.
Find out about the best shipping companies from dropshipping here.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is not a choice but a necessity in the rising competition. Apply SEO techniques to every part of your website, from the URL to product descriptions, alt text, and sitemaps. Sitemaps help Google crawl your store in an organized way and index your pages. If your store does not have a sitemap, Google will not index the content, and it will not appear in search results as it should.
Install Analytic Tools
Like social media, analytic tools are critical to analyzing the progress of your dropshipping store. Add them to your store before launching it to observe the traffic and visitor activities on the site. You can find many analytic tools on Shopify that help analyze the progress and activities. Make sure to pick the tool with good reviews about accuracy. Choosing the right analytic tool will give you correct insights about the store. It ensures that you invest your money in the right places when marketing.
Why Do You Need a Dropshipping Checklist?
Checklists may seem like a lot to new drop shippers. But you will create one right away when you understand the importance of having a store launch checklist. Here are some of the benefits of having a dropshipping checklist.
- It lets you understand what you must do before launching the store. For example, you can work on brand identity elements and search engine optimization.
- It helps you break down the process into smaller milestones to make sure you do not miss anything. Without a store launch checklist, you might miss a few critical parts of the process.
- You can create the checklist according to the priority or order of the procedure. It will let you keep a thorough eye on proper implementation.
- By breaking the elements into smaller chunks, you can focus on them better and implement them in the best possible way.
It might take some time to create a dropshipping startup checklist, yet it saves significant time in the long term.
How to Launch Your Shopify Store?
When you have created your Shopify store, it is time to launch it. You can launch the store through these six simple steps:
- Create and add a domain name
- Update DNS records
- Remove any storefront passwords
- Set primary domain
- Adding other domains if needed
- Your store is live!
Following these simple steps will help you launch your store in no time. Who knew launching a Shopify store could be this easy !
Before launching your store, add meta tags to every product and page. It is also suggested to place a test order to see how your vendor ships to the customer. While you check the delivery process, also see if you receive the analytics properly on your store. Create a subscription form and offer discounts to your customers. Check your store every day to make sure the processes are smooth.
Dropshipping seems easy. But it requires effort and time to get desired results. New drop shippers often do not research thoroughly and forget about some steps of the process. Dropshipping Store Checklist helps you break the process into smaller steps. It allows you to remember and incorporate all components properly. Create a dropshipping startup checklist that suits your needs besides basic components. A store launch checklist typically includes choosing the right niche, finding a suitable vendor, setting up the store, and marketing it. Yet, the process does not end here. You must also add other elements like hosting, domain name, products, extensions, applications, banners, and social media to your website. It brings more customers to your store and enables them to share your products. Lastly, consider the shipping company and charges before launching your dropshipping store. Ignoring this minor element may lead to inconvenience.
So, are you ready to create a checklist for your dropshipping store?
Let us know everything you would add to the checklist!
shailesh is a Design Founder & Advisor, Berlin School of Creative Leadership Executive MBA participant, Zippie advisor, Wolt co-founder, and Nordic Rose stakeholder.