The rapidly increasing popularity of dropshipping has pushed many of the top ecommerce platforms to embrace it. However, there are clear differences in how good different platforms are for dropshipping. And what is the best dropshipping platform for someone might depend on exactly what they want from a platform. With those things in mind, we hope that this page helps you to find the ecommerce platform that is the best fit for your dropshipping needs.
1. Shopify – best overall dropshipping platform
Shopify was probably the first ecommerce platform -company that truly understood how big dropshipping might become and that quickly led to it becoming the platform of choice for a lot of dropshippers. And while many other platforms have recently improved their dropshipping offering, Shopify is still, in our opinion, the best choice for dropshipping.
Key advantages of choosing Shopify:
- Widest selection of high-quality dropshipping apps (some displayed in the image below)
- The platform makes it easy to quickly build and improve an online store
- Very easy to change the products listed in your store and their pricing etc.
- The only ecommerce platform that works properly with the very popular Oberlo-app
- Reasonably priced
- Allows you to accept a lot of different payment methods
- No sales limits on any of the plans
- You can add an unlimited number of products to your store
Shopify has three regular plans. The cheapest of those costs normally $29/month and the most expensive one costs normally $299/month. Additionally, Shopify has a plan called Shopify-lite that makes it possible to do ecommerce on an existing website. Using the Lite-plan costs only $9/month. While using Shopify is very affordable even with its regular prices, it gets even cheaper if you pay for a year or two in advance: in the case of an annual subscription you get a 10% discount and in the case of a biannual subscription you get a 20% discount.
A possible downside of choosing Shopify
As you can see, using Shopify can be a quite cheap way to do dropshipping. However, it is good to be aware of the fact that Shopify charges extra transaction fees on purchases made in stores built with their platform. According to Shopify’s website, the extra fees are on the $29/month-plan 2.9% + 30 cents of each sale when using Shopify Payments as the payment solution. On the $79/month-plan the transaction fee is 2.6%+30c and on the $299/month-plan it is 2.4%+30c – all fees assuming the use Shopify Payments and representative of “online credit card rates”.
The fees charged by Shopify mean in practice that it might not be the ideal choice for selling extremely cheap products. That as the fees might force you to use a higher markup than might otherwise be ideal.
New Shopify customers get a 14-day free trial. You can build a proper store even during the trial period. And that includes also, for example, testing the different dropshipping features and apps. Start your free trial.
2. Shift4Shop – solid option for a small dropshipping business
Good to know: Shift4Shop was until recently known as “3dcart” and their dropshipping plan is still called “3dcart Dropshipping”. Additionally, U.S.-based ecommerce entrepreneurs should be happy to know that Shift4Shop now offers them a free ecommerce plan.
If you are looking to get into dropshipping just to generate some extra-income, it might be worth testing Shift4Shop and seeing if you like it. That is because Shift4Shop actually has a dedicated dropshipping-plan that is very cheap (see prices below), but the downside of it is that it allows you to do only $10,000 in annual sales before you need to upgrade to another Shift4Shop plan.
In regard to the prices shown above, it is good to note that all the purchases renew at the $9.99/month price. And also realistically speaking it might not be a great idea to pay upfront for 3 years of the dropshipping-plan, as dropshipping stores are often quite short-lived and you might find out later on that Shift4Shop is not the best choice for your needs.
On the other hand, while Shift4Shops’ dropshipping-plan is a bit limited, it also has some great features. Those include, for example, the option to dropship products from AliExpress and the fact that Shift4Shop doesn’t charge extra transaction fees. Get started with Shift4Shop.
3. BigCommerce – another high-quality option for dropshipping
BigCommerce is currently the ecommerce platform that is improving the fastest. And as they also appear to be serious about dropshipping, it should certainly be considered as an option when launching a dropshipping store. BigCommerce is not as easy-to-use as Shopify, so while Shopify is a great choice for ecommerce beginners as well as for experienced ecommerce entrepreneurs, BigCommerce is best suited for those who already might have some knowledge about running an online store or a website or about coding.
BigCommerce’s cheapest plan, Standard, costs $29.95/month, which is pretty much in line with Shopify’s cheapest plan. However, it is important to be aware of the fact that the Standard-plan allows you to do only $50,000 in sales in a 12-month period. And as dropshipping tends to be about sales volume, the mentioned sales-limit means that BigCommerce’s cheapest plan might not be the optimal choice for running a serious dropshipping business.
As part of its Essentials -portfolio BigCommerce also has two other plans that allow people to do dropshipping, those plans are called Plus and Pro. With Plus you can do $180,000 in sales in 12 months and with Pro you can do $400,000 in sales in a 12-month period. The Plus-plan costs $79.95/month and the Pro-plan costs $299.95/month. For those two plans, you can get a 10% discount if you pay for a year in advance.
If you hit the sales limit of your chosen BigCommerce-plan, you are forced to upgrade to a more expensive plan (applies to the Standard and Plus -plans) or pay extra to continue using the plan (applies to the Pro-plan).
The dropshipping apps that work with BigCommerce include, for example, Printful and Spocket. So, while BigCommerce doesn’t have as many dropshipping integrations as Shopify, it still has some really good partners.
New BigCommerce users get a 15-day free trial. Try BigCommerce for free.
4. Wix – dropshipping made easy
If you are just looking for a very quick and easy way to do dropshipping, it might be worth testing if Wix might be the best choice for you. That is because Wix’s platform is extremely easy to use and because it works, for example, with the rapidly improving Modalyst-app.
Modalyst is a bit less-known dropshipping app, but one that appears to be, for example, great for finding products from geographical locations that some other dropshipping apps might not be able to find products from. And just recently Modalyst announced that the app now works also with AliExpress, which makes the app even better.
The downside of using Wix is that the platform does not allow you to do as much customization of your store as, for example, Shopify and BigCommerce do.
Regular prices for Wix’s ecommerce-plans start from $23/month and it is possible to test a limited version of the platform for free. Try Wix for free.
Good to know: If you have previously used a “website builder” to create a website and now are looking for a dropshipping platform similar to those, Wix is probably your best choice. That is because Wix’s ecommerce platform is really only an extension of their website builder.
5. WooCommerce – best for doing dropshipping on a WordPress-site
WooCommerce differs from the other ecommerce platforms mentioned on this page in that you actually need to have an existing website to be able to use it. And to be more specific, the website needs to have been created with WordPress. However, if you do happen to already have a WordPress site or are willing to create one (you can find instructions on how to create one from lower on this page), it might be worth considering WooCommerce.
That is because using WooCommerce and the dropshipping plugins that work with it can be a particularly cheap way to run a dropshipping store: WooCommerce itself is completely free and the dropshipping plugins for it tend to cost less than $100/year.
While the main reason for choosing WooCommerce for dropshipping might be the cheap price, there is also at least one more benefit of picking WooCommerce. That is that the combination of WordPress+WooCommerce gives you a lot of room for designing and customizing your store.
How to do cheap dropshipping with WooCommerce if you do not already have a website:
- Buy a cheap web hosting subscription. You can pick from the standard hosting options or you can choose one that is specifically for WooCommerce. If you are interested in the latter, see this page (opens in a new window) for a cheap option.
- Go to your new web hosting account and install WordPress. At least most of the web hosting companies seem to offer simple “one-click” WordPress installations.
- Go to your new WordPress site, choose “Plugins” from the main menu, from under “Plugins” choose “Add New” and from there search for WooCommerce.
- Install WooCommerce. You now have an online store.
- In order to turn your online store into a dropshipping store you need/should get a dropshipping plugin. Here is one option that seems good. It costs $89 and that should be a one-time fee, meaning that if you run your store for, let’s say, 5 years the cost should be less than $20/year.
Questions and answers
How long does it take to build a dropshipping store? Based on my experiences, you can do that in less than 1 hour. Of course, if you want to add a large selection of products and make your store great, it will likely take longer, but even in that case, dropshipping can be a very fast way to start selling products online.
It refers to an online-based piece of software that you can use to quickly launch an ecommerce store through which it is possible to do dropshipping.
1. Does the platform make it possible to build a credible online store?
2. Does the platform work with the dropshipping app(s) that you would like to use?
3. Does the platform make it possible to accept the payment methods that you believe your customers will want to use?
4. Is the platform reasonably priced? (pretty much all are)
5. Does the platform offer high-quality customer service?
The first big advantage is that dropshipping can be a much cheaper and faster way to get started with selling online than traditional ecommerce is. The second really nice benefit of choosing dropshipping is that, it allows you to scale your business much faster, as you don’t have to worry about warehousing and shipping.
One problem with dropshipping is that the realistic profit margins on products can be very small, as the barrier to entry to do dropshipping is almost non-existent. It is possible to try to overcome this problem by trying to find unique/new products to sell.
A second rather large problem with dropshipping is that the quality of the products that are easily available for dropshipping is not always the best – this can be both an ethical and a financial issue. It is possible to try to overcome the quality issue by focusing on finding suppliers who have a good reputation and whose products have received good reviews.
The first thing you should think about is if the app makes it easy to find products that can be credibly sold with a high enough profit margin. Secondly, you should make sure that the app features suppliers that are located in or close to your target market, so that you are able to offer your customers quick shipping times. And thirdly, it is good to compare the costs of the different apps: some dropshipping apps are free, while others might cost more than $50/month.