5 Real Shopify Success Stories in Dropshipping to Inspire You
The global dropshipping market is developing at a phenomenal rate, valued at $102.2 billion USD in 2018 and expecting a compound annual growth rate of 28.8% from 2019 to 2025, according to Grand View Research. This highly lucrative market will no doubt attract the attention of more and more merchants, as well as suppliers in the near future.
If you are among those merchants and suppliers who are considering stepping into the world of dropshipping, 5 Shopify success stories in dropshipping within this blog will inspire you to stamp out your hesitation and take action.
Besides a few sources of inspiration, this blog also includes valuable lessons drawn from real case studies, from which you can learn and build your online store more effectively.
- What is Dropshipping? The Pros and Cons of Dropshipping
- Why Should I Choose Shopify to Dropship?
- User-friendly interface
- A one-stop solution for online shopping
- Excellent support system
- Integrated dropshipping apps
- Top 5 Shopify success stories in dropshipping
What is Dropshipping? The Pros and Cons of Dropshipping
Briefly speaking, dropshipping is a business model where your store receives an order for a product and a third-party supplier ships that product directly to the customer. With dropshipping, the merchant doesn’t have to manage inventory or set up a brick-and-mortar store, which reduces operational costs hugely. Because of the minimal risk requirement, there is a much lower entry barrier into the dropshipping market, making it a highly competitive industry.
Of course, dropshipping means that there can be a lack of control over inventory, which can equate to a lack of control over product quality. Negative customer experiences are not uncommon in dropshipping.
To learn in detail about how dropshipping works as well as the full list of strengths and weaknesses for the model, you can refer to this ultimate dropshipping guideline prepared for you by PageFly.
Why Should I Choose Shopify to Dropship?
The easy and flexible nature of dropshipping makes it perfect for e-commerce. E-commerce’s online operation enables efficient communication between merchants and customers, as well as merchants and suppliers.
This has encouraged several dropshipping merchants to establish their online stores on Shopify, one of the biggest e-commerce platforms around right now. In fact, there are many other reasons why Shopify is preferred when it comes to dropshipping.
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First, Shopify is user-friendly and supports merchants to rapidly publish their online stores even with zero coding skills. With nearly 4,400 apps in the Shopify App Store and 100+ free and premium themes, Shopify allows merchants to easily set up and customize their stores on their own. A few drags and drops in addition to some mouse clicks, and you are ready to go online, develop your own brand, sell your products, and earn some money.
A one-stop solution for online shopping
Secondly, Shopify is a one-stop solution that can take care of every step of your journey in online retail. After publishing your store, you can attract more customers by using Shopify’s discount feature, building a subscription list with email marketing apps, or integrating your Shopify store with major social media outlets like Facebook or Twitter to increase your reach.
After the customers shop around your store and decide to check out with a product, you can use Shopify POS or any other third-party payment providers to manage your money. After every completed purchase, you can access Shopify analytics to monitor the performance of your online store and make informed business decisions. Shopify has all the tools available for you to run and manage your store smoothly.
Excellent support system
Thirdly, Shopify stands out with a top-notch support system. Customer support is available 24/7 via phone, live chat, social media, and email. Shopify Community has a huge library of active discussion forums, which is an amazingly resourceful place to ask your questions and have them answered. There’s also an exhaustive list of articles and videos on Shopify Help Center that can help you remove any blockade on your way to success.
Integrated dropshipping apps
Last but not least, Shopify simplifies dropshipping by hosting third-party dropshipping apps. There are over 200 such apps on Shopify App Store, each of which is a fantastic virtual warehouse of products that you can begin to sell within the click of a button.
Oberlo and are the clear frontrunners in the race to become the best dropshipping app on Shopify; let’s find out what each app has to offer:
Oberlo currently has the most reviews on Shopify (2,435 reviews as of June 15th, 2020) as well as a 4.2 star rating. Oberlo was acquired by Shopify in May 2017, thus the app has been specifically and exclusively designed for Shopify ever since. This explains the seamless integration of Oberlo into the Shopify platform and makes the process of importing products to your store very simple.
Products on Oberlo range from electronics, toys, apparel, accessories, etc, and vary in price. They are sourced directly from Oberlo marketplace or AliExpress, the Chinese retail giant. This lowers the price of Oberlo’s products but prolongs delivery time, as global shipping is no quick venture. On the other hand, Oberlo supports Inventory and Price Auto-Updates, which frees you from logistical worries.
Pros of the Oberlo app:
- Seamless integration with Shopify.
- User-friendly interface.
- No need for inventory or price management.
- Free Chrome Extension to add products directly from AliExpress with just a few clicks.
- Diverse product selections from Oberlo marketplace and AliExpress.
- 24/7 customer support.
Cons of the Oberlo app:
- Only compatible with Shopify.
- No control over suppliers and product quality.
- Long shipping time.
Founded in 2017, Spocket entered the dropshipping game two years later than Oberlo. However, Spocket quickly proved its competitive advantage by scoring 4.5 stars on the Shopify App Store and boasting 1,641 reviews as of June 15th, 2020.
Unlike Oberlo, Spocket’s suppliers are based mainly in the US and Europe, which ensures fast delivery within those two regions, yet limits business opportunities at the same time. Spocket also offers Inventory Auto-updates and real-time order tracking to streamline inventory management. Another outstanding feature of Spocket is Order Samples, which enables merchants to order products themselves to verify the shipping speed and quality before distributing.
Pros of the Spocket app:
- Easy to import products to your Shopify store.
- Vetted suppliers from the US and EU.
- Faster shipping time within the US and EU.
- No need for inventory management.
- 24/7 customer support.
Cons of the Spocket app:
- Longer delivery time to regions beyond the US and EU.
- More expensive products compared to other sources.
DSers was launched as a Shopify app in May, 2018. It quickly gathered interest and is now one of the best rated app with a 4.9 star rating (1390 reviews as of January 6th, 2021). With a steady growth, it quickly became one of the best alternatives to Oberlo.
Unlike Oberlo or Spocket, DSers is working directly with AliExpress API, this allows DSers to get more accurate information from AliExpress, to import product data with a different technology, but more importantly to place over 100 order in minutes. This is the biggest forte of the app, saving time to place orders.
With the automatic synchronization of tracking number, real time inventory update, supplier management features, supplier optimizer, 10 days delivery to the US and more, it is one of the most complete solution available.
Pros of the DSers App
- AliExpress partnership
- Supplier optimizer
- Easy product import
- 24/7 customer service support
- Forever free plan available
- 10 days delivery to US and France
Cons of the DSers App
- Only supports products from AliExpress
- Interface could be improved for new users
- Some features are not introduced well enough
Oberlo vs Spocket vs DSers
Oberlo offers 3 plans: Free (starter), $29.90/month (basic) and $79.90/month (pro). What distinguishes the basic and the pro plan is the product limits and number of staff accounts allowed.
Spocket, on the other hand, has a 14-day free trial, after which the user must choose between the Starter plan at $19/month, Pro at $49/month, Empire at $99/month, and Unicorn at $299/month.
DSers has 4 different plans: Free – Standard ($1.99/month) – Advanced ($19.9/month) – Pro ($49.9/month). Some features such as bundle mapping and realtime inventory update are only available in the paid plans. The main difference between the paid plans is the limit to the number of stores or products you can manage in one DSers account.
An overview of both pricing plans can quickly point out that DSers and Oberlo might be more affordable since they all have free plan. Spocket seems to compensate for its expensive price with its premium customer service and shipment tracking system.
Oberlo relies massively on AliExpress, on which it has little to no power to directly verify suppliers. AliExpress is amazing in terms of product diversity and price, however, the inability to check the reliability of suppliers means that Oberlo’s users might risk a good customer experience if delivered products are not of high quality as promised.
Similarly, DSers only supports products from AliExpress, which means that the quality and reliability of the suppliers may vary . The number of products to choose from is huge - but the large volume also comes with unreliable suppliers. (Even though DSers tries to bypass that issue with the Supplier Optimizer, which lets users easily find better supplier for a product they want to sell)
In contrast, Spocket emphasizes on local manufacturers and providers who are individually vetted.
As a result, Spocket has a higher chance of overseeing product quality and guaranteeing customer satisfaction.
Since products on Oberlo are shipped from abroad, it is unavoidable that users will have to sacrifice shipping time for the cheap price of operation.
With DSers, the delivery time may vary greatly, depending on your suppliers. DSers does offer faster shipping (10 days) to US and France, and the Advanced Mapping can help to assign specific suppliers for specific countries, but most product may suffer from varied shipping time.
If you’re concentrating on the US or EU markets, Spocket can actually be more efficient in distributing your store’s goods. This is a huge bonus point for Spocket as fast delivery time is a very important part of customer service, and customer service is a very important part of dropshipping.
Both Oberlo and Spocket allow merchants to customize their product description, title, and price. However, Spocket has an additional customization feature for pro users and upwards: branded invoicing. If you are qualified, you can ask the suppliers to change the structure of the invoice, add your store’s logo, contact, or even a personal note, then send it along with the original package. This is a great way to build your brand image and encourage impressed buyers into becoming returning customers.
Spocket’s branded invoice sample.
Wait, one more app..
Pros of the Salehoo:
- Intuitive and user-friendly interface
- Powerful features, with Salehoo, you can: Find profitable niche and product ideas, quickly find trusted and low-cost suppliers using a huge directory.
- Unlimited support via phone, email, live chat, facebook.
- Money-back guarantee
Cons of the Salehoo:
- No Free Plan - Salehoo Directory will cost you $67 yearly, while Salehoo Dropship will charge you for $27/month with Basic plan, or 97$/month with Premium plan.
- Trial is currently not available for those who want to take a quick test before investing in Salehoo.
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Top 5 Shopify Success Stories in Dropshipping:
Meowingtons is the prime example of the statement you don’t need to serve the mass market to be profitable - a rich and niche market will do. Appealing mostly to cat-aholics, Meowingtons specializes in anything related to cats, with all products sourced from AliExpress. Despite a seemingly small area of influence, they manage to attract thousands of visitors per day, accumulating 557k Instagram followers and 1.3 million likes on Facebook.
Meowingtons’s success stems largely from the company’s extensive branding. Back in the early days of 2014, Meowingtons’ website was first launched containing nothing more than some product listings. However, it was always obvious that the store was cat-centric as cats, in multiple shapes and colors, appeared in all product photos. Meowingtons gradually built up their brand by designing an adorable cat logo, diversifying their cat product lists, and building social media channels dominated by cute cat photos.
Meowingtons has grown out of the initial dropshipping model to develop their own customized product lines. It now partners with a local cat cafe and a foster home for abandoned cats.
Takeaway lessons from Meowingtons
- Branding is essential for dropshipping.
- No need to start big: Start small, be focused, and grow!
- Dropshipping can lay the foundation for huge business opportunities in the future.
District of Clothing is a print-on-demand success story founded in 2014 in Washington D.C. The founder, Dionna Dorsey, was inspired by the creative community around her at Dionna Dorsey Design, her full-time job. She wanted to spread the positivity further by selling apparel with inspiring messages printed by Printful.
District of Clothing started out as Dionna’s side project on which she only spent 1-2 hours a day. Yet in 2016, this side project provided her with $29K of extra income. The success of District of Clothing lies in the meaningful messages its products deliver, newly updated product designs, and viral marketing campaigns using influencers and story-telling.
Takeaway lessons from District of Clothing
- Storytelling is the best marketing method to keep customers engaged.
- Influencer marketing and social media marketing play a vital role in building brand awareness and acquiring first-time customers.
- Plan your budget carefully. Make sure that your online store helps you pay your bills and that you’re paying yourself, too.
- Don’t be scared! Just do it!
You can learn more about the story of District of Clothing in the YouTube video below:
Launched in December 2017, HYGO quickly scaled up and became one of the biggest Shopify dropshipping stores in general gadgets. According to Myip.ms, HYGO ranks 32nd among top websites hosted by Shopify, competing against big names such as Morphe or MVMT Watches. HYGO also secured a stable online presence with nearly 164,000 Facebook likes and 60.4k subscribers on Youtube.
HYGO is attractive to consumers for a wide variety of products, all of which are offered at discounted prices. The company creates guide videos for almost all products to showcase their features and benefits. Moreover, each product receives thorough reviews accompanied by photos to strengthen customer trust. HYGO’s partnership program includes affiliates and influencers, which widens their reach and enriches their customer base.
Takeaway lessons from HYGO
- Frequently update and diversify products to identify best-sellers.
- Dropshipping in bulk is another promising option.
- Affiliate marketing when done right can be amazingly effective
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Warmly is another niche dropshipping store on this list of Shopify’s best success stories, selling furniture and decor accessories for the home. According to SimilarWeb, in the last 6 months, the store saw a 26% increase in website visits, totaling at 269,000 a month. Their revenue is estimated by Salesource as between $566,000 and $1,100,000 per month, which is impressive for a store younger than 2 years old.
What is unique about Warmly is that most of its traffic comes from a less popular social media site: Pinterest. Operating in the market of aesthetics, Warmly successfully takes advantage of Pinterest’s visual search engine to advertise their products and appeal to their target audience.
Takeaway lessons from Warmly
- Know where your niche is located and focus there.
- Don’t be afraid to invest in the unpopular channel.
Notebook Therapy specializes in Japanese-inspired stationery, gadgets, and tote bags, mostly targeting young women. Their sales are estimated by Salesource as between $350,000 and $700,000 per month. Notebook Therapy invests heavily in social media, among which the most productive is Instagram, with over 1 million followers.
Notebook Therapy is on point in terms of store design, with lots of cute illustrations and bright colors. The store also wins customers’ hearts because of free worldwide shipping and a full 30-day return policy.
Takeaway lessons from Notebook Therapy
- Customize your store to your market’s preferences.
- Customer experience is key.
In case you are not satisfied, yet - Check out our deep-dive case studies of 11 other successful Dropshipping stores to learn what the big guys do so well and how you can recreate that success for your own store!
Thanks to the convenience of Shopify and plug-in dropshipping apps, dropshipping has never been easier to get involved with. Checking out Shopify success stories in dropshipping can give you valuable inspiration as well as insight into how to optimize your dropshipping business.
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