Here is our updated, step-by-step tutorial on how to build an AliExpress dropshipping store using Shopify in 2019.
Watch the video below:
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OK guys, let’s roll up our sleeves and get down to it…
Today, you’re going to build an AliExpress dropshipping store – even if you’re a newbie, or have zero experience.
With just a little bit of time and effort, you’ll have a store that is semi-automated, high-converting, and ready for customers to come and spend money.
This step-by-step guide is an updated 2019 version of our video tutorial, and it has some exciting new changes to our previous 2018 version.
This tutorial will have 20 steps, and we’ll be using two tools—Shopify and Oberlo—to build our store and make the process as simple and straightforward as possible.
Plus, as an extra bonus, I’ll be giving you actionable advice on how to optimize your store for increased sales and more conversions.
This tutorial is going to be interactive. We don’t want you to passively read and then forget everything ten minutes later!
So sit up, grab some coffee, and get ready to follow along this in-depth tutorial!
Step 1: Sign Up For the FREE Shopify 14-Day Trial
The first step is to sign up for a Shopify account. Shopify costs $29/month, but you can try it out for free for the first 14 days.
- Go to Shopify.com and click the ‘Start free trial’ button on the homepage.
- Enter your email, a password, and your store name on the next page. For your store name, go for something short and catchy — no more than two or three words. This helps customers remember your store — and it makes your store not look “spammy.”
- Fill out the survey. To be honest, you can select anything here, because it’s not important.
- Finally, fill out your personal details then click ‘enter store.’ You now have now opened a brand new store!
Step 2: Install the Free Shopify Theme ‘Minimal’
For this step, we’re going add a theme for our store. Even though we’re going to add this now, you won’t be really getting to work with it until later in this article.
- On your dashboard, click Online Store.
- Click Explore free themes, then scroll down and select the theme ‘Minimal.’ There should be three variations of this theme, but we’re only focusing on using the ‘Modern’ variant.
- To finish off, click the Add Minimal button — then under Actions, click Publish to activate your theme.
Step 3: Install the Oberlo Shopify App
Oberlo is the “secret” tool that makes our store semi-automated. In layman’s terms, it is simply a tool that fulfils orders for you via AliExpress.
But for all its simplicity, fulfilling items without it would be a tedious job. Thankfully Oberlo removes a lot the hassle by handling most of the dirty work for you.
- In your dashboard, click Apps, then click the Visit Shopify App Store button on the next page.
- In the search bar, type in ‘Oberlo.’ Once you’ve found and clicked on it, click the Add app button.
- Click the Install app button on the next page.
- Once Oberlo has installed, click Settings at the bottom left of the dashboard.
- Now it’s time to play around with some settings. First, enter your store name and set the unit of measurement for product weight from kilograms (kg) to pounds (lb).
Next, under Auto updates, tick both Notify Me boxes and select the following questions for Set Quantity to Zero:
- ‘When product is no longer available’
- ‘When variant is no longer available’
For the next two options (as shown in the image), have both Notify Me boxes ticked—but for the ‘When cost changes’ option, set this to Do Nothing, and for the ‘When inventory changes’ option, select Update Automatically. (Don’t forget to click Save!)
- Back inside your dashboard, click Suppliers. Set your default shipping method to ePacket and insert your phone number.
For the Custom note option, copy and paste the following text:
“I’m dropshipping. Please DO NOT put any invoices, QR codes, promotions or your brand name logo in the shipments. Please ship as soon as possible for repeat business. Thank you!”
For the last step, click the Add Payment Card button at the top of the page, then enter your credit card details. This is the card Oberlo will be using to purchase items on AliExpress.
Step 4: Install the Oberlo Chrome Extension
Besides the app, you’ll also need Oberlo’s Chrome extension to import products you want to sell directly from AliExpress to the Oberlo app.
As it is a Chrome extension, you’ll need to use Google Chrome. This browser is easy to install, so if you don’t already have it, click on this link to download Chrome.
- Go to the Google Chrome web store and type ‘Oberlo’ in the search bar.
- Next to Oberlo, click the Add to Chrome button, then click Add extension when the pop-up box appears.
Step 5: Add AliExpress Products to Your Store with Oberlo
NOTE: Before starting this step, open up Chrome. Next, open up your Shopify store in a single tab, and then open up AliExpress in the second tab.
- On AliExpress, type the name of the product you want to add to your store into the search bar. Make sure you sort your search by clicking Orders to ensure you’re only looking for the top-selling items.
- Once you’ve found an item you want to sell, click on the Oberlo icon an top right of browser and click Add to import list.
Obviously, you don’t want to just import just a single product. Ideally, you’ll want around 20-25 products. You want to have a substantial number of products to make your store appear professional.
Another bonus of having at least 20 products is, when it comes the point where you are promoting products on Facebook, you will have more ‘room space’ for testing a variety of products.
- After importing your last item, click Open import list. From here you’ll want to click the Images tab and deselect the images that you do not want to appear on your product listing inside your store.
Once you have deselected any unwanted images, click Import to store. Repeat this step for every product you imported into the app.
Step 6: Add Product Collections
‘Collections’ is basically Shopify’s way of saying product categories — and that’s what we’re going to be adding to our store in this step.
If you already know which categories you want to add to your store, great! If you don’t, spend a couple minutes writing down three categories you’d like to add to your store.
- Back on your Shopify dashboard, click Products, and under the sub-menu click Collections.
When the page loads, click Create collections.
- In the Title box, type in a category you’d like to create. For example, if you’re selling mugs in your store, your title could simply be “mugs.”
Then under Collection type, select the Manual option. Once completed, repeat the process for the other categories.
Step 7: Edit Your Product Pages 14:17
Now we’re getting into the customer-facing side of things. Here is where customers can actually see the products you’re selling, including the description and more, so you want to make sure to follow this step closely.
- On your Shopify dashboard, click Products, then on the corresponding page, select a product page you’d like to edit.
- Delete the existing title and create your own. The long titles here are directly pulled from AliExpress, but you’re better off creating your own clear, concise, and catchy title.
- Next, delete the product description and create your own. But don’t just pick any old description. You want to create a description that is SEO optimized, compelling, and highlights the BENEFITS of your product. To learn how to do this, click here before moving on.
- Under Price, reset your price to the price you have personally chosen, then delete your Compare at price.
This is because we want to create an even split between the products that are ‘on sale’ and the ones that aren’t. No retail store puts all of their goods on sale—and even if they did, customers will usually sense that something fishy is going on.
Products with Variations
- Under the Products heading, click All products and select an item you are selling with more than one variation.
- Again, delete both the title and product description, then add in the ones you have personally created.
- Under Variants (directly below Images), click the Edit button on the variant you do not want to sell. On the next page, scroll down and click Delete. Repeat this step for all of the variants you do not want.
Now with the variant(s) you want to keep, click the Edit button again. Then under Pricing, enter your real price and compare at price. For your Compare at price, set it at something a little higher than your original price.
For each variation, repeat these steps and add the same pricing strategy sale, then finish off by saving what you’ve done.
NOTE: Don’t forget to remove the photo of the variations you are no longer selling.
Step 8: Add FREE Trust Badges to Your Product Pages (NEW in the 2019 Shopify dropshipping tutorial) 20:49
- On your Shopify dashboard, click Apps, then click Visit Shopify app store.
- In the search bar, type in “free trust badge” and click on the app.
- On the app’s page, click the Add app button then the Click install app button.
- Once installed, you’ll be directed to the app. Scroll down until you find Design settingsand click the left alignment button. Doing this will make your badges appear aligned on the actual product page.
- Finally, finish off by clicking Activate badge, then click Save.
Step 9: Add Free Shipping to Your Orders
Finding out your shipping options or how much to charge for each item is definitely frustrating.
That is why, as a newbie to selling online, I recommend only having one shipping option for every item in your store — and that is free shipping.
Of course, the shipping isn’t actually “free.” Instead, you just slightly increase the product price so it has free shipping (but costs a little bit more).
For example, an item may originally cost $9.95 plus $1.50 in shipping costs. If we used the free shipping method, though, we’d simply add together both the item and its shipping cost together so that it would cost $11.45 — making it seem to the customer as though shipping is free.
Not only is this way easier for you to manage, but you can also take advantage of using “free shipping” ads on Facebook.
Free shipping is a powerful sales pitch—and the reason why it is so powerful is because of the very first word: free.
As humans, everyone loves a bargain. Alternatively, majority of people HATE shipping costs; they are seen as one of those ‘hidden’ costs that always manages to slide its way in during checkout–then suddenly, your price increases by x amount.
This is a great sales pitch, and it converts super well.
- On your Shopify dashboard, click Settings, and then on the next page, click the Shipping
- Next, click Edit on both shipping options—‘Local shipping’ and ‘Rest of the world’—and delete each option by clicking Delete zone.
- Under the header Shipping zones, click Add shipping zone. Under Zone name, type ‘free shipping.’
Next, under Countries, click Add countries and select the United States.
- Under Weight based rates, click Add rate, ticking the Free shipping box — then finish off by clicking Done.
NOTE: If you’re just starting out, I recommend only selecting the US as your primary country. This is because the majority of sales you will make are likely to be from the US.
Step 10: Set Up Shopify Payments and PayPal (BIG update for the 2019 Shopify dropshipping tutorial)
- Click Settings, and on the next page, click General.
- Next to Standard and Formats, set the unit system to Imperial system and set your Default weight unit set to pounds (lb) instead of kilograms (kg).
- Next to Store currency, set the currency to ‘United States Dollars,’ and then finish off by saving what you have done.
- Head back to Settings. Click Payment provider, then click Add a provider.
- In the popup box that appears, make sure “Shopify payments” is ticked, then click Continue.
- Next, click Complete account setup and fill in all of the details on the next page. It is super important that everything here is accurate, as this is a legal requirement for all sellers.
- Once saved, under PayPal express checkout, select PayPal Express Checkout as your default PayPal payment method. (For some of you, this option should be already turned on)
Then on the same page, scroll down and click Activate. You’ll be taken to a page where you’ll need to enter your store’s email address (the same one you signed up with on Shopify in step 1).
Once you’ve entered your email address, click Next, login to your PayPal, and click the ‘I Give Permission’ button.
Step 11: Add Branding to Your Store’s Checkout
To complete this step, you’ll need two things: 1) a brand logo and 2) a custom brand colour for your store.
If you don’t already have a logo, you can easily have one created for you on Fiverr for as little as $5
Your brand colour should reflect the types of items you are selling in your store. So for this coffee store that we are building in this example, the primary brand colour is brown (because, well, coffee is brown).
But you might be selling something different; in that case, you need to decide on a brand colour that aligns with the niche you are building your store around.
As a small exercise: go to Google images and type in the name of your niche to get a feel of the type of colours associated around your brand.
So, if you haven’t done already, get a store logo and pick a brand colour before moving onto this step.
- On your dashboard, click Online store. Then on the Theme page, click Customize which will direct you to the theme settings.
- On the theme settings page, click the cart icon at the top of the page, then scroll down and select the checkout button.
Switch tabs to Theme settings, then scroll down to Checkout. Under Logo, click Select image and upload the image of your logo. (Remember, if you do not have a logo, get one designed for you before carrying on with this step.)
- Next, scroll down to Colors, and under Buttons, select or move the palette to the brand colour you have chosen.
Finish off by clicking Save, and move on to the next step.
Step 12: Create an About Page
Unfortunately, creating a whole lesson on About Pages would take the focus of this blog elsewhere. (Though in our premium course, The Dropship Club, we provide members with a pre-made template they can use for their About Pages)
A good About page outlines three things:
- What your store sells
- Your mission
- Why you are better than the competition
As long as you include these three, there isn’t much to worry about. (Plus, you can always go back and improve it later on)
That doesn’t mean you should say: “We sell dog accessories to make dog lovers happy, and have better products that all of our competitors. BUY NOW!” It needs to sound like an About page, and not some desperate sales pitch.
Once the copy for your About page is ready, follow the next steps.
- Click Online store > Pages, then click Add page.
- In the Title box, type ‘About Us,’ then underneath this paste in the copy you prepared into the description.
- If you have any images related to your niche (something I highly recommended), upload them to your page by clicking the small image icon.
Use the align icon to move the image to the right, or click Wrap text to freely move it around.
Step 13: Create an Contact Page
Compared the previous step, this one’s a piece of cake. You’re going to add a simple contact form where customers can easily reach out to you.
- Under Pages, click Add page. Then under Title, type in ‘Contact Us.’
- Under the Template box, select ‘page.contact’ in the drop-down menu. And as always, finish off by clicking Save.
Step 14: Add Menus to Your Store
In this step, we’re going to edit the header and footer menu of your store.
Unlike our previous tutorial, creating menus with Shopify is much easier in 2019 than it was before. They’ve added extra tweaks and modifications to make the process simpler, which means that your life just got a little easier!
First, let’s start with the header.
- Click Online store > Navigation, then click Main Menu.
- Then next to Catalog, click Edit and change the name from ‘Catalog’ to ‘Products,’ then click Apply changes.
- Next, click Add menu item and type in the name of one of your categories.
- Under Link, click Select the relevant collection under the list, then finish off by clicking Add.
- Use your mouse to drag and drop the category under Products so it is indented below.
Repeat this step to create the rest of your categories, an About Us page, and a Contact Us page before moving on to editing your footer.
The footer is slightly is different than the previous steps. Start off by going back to the Navigation page, and this time, click Footer menu.
- Click Add menu item. Under the Title box, type in ‘Homepage,’ then under Link select Home Page.
- Again, click Add menu item. For the title, type in ‘Account Login,’ then under Link paste in your custom Shopify URL.
Your Shopify URL should look like ‘https://your-store-name.myshopify.com/account/login.’ (Don’t forget to add the ‘/account/login’ part!)
- Next, click Add menu item, name your title ‘Cart,’ and paste in your Shopify URL. This time, though, it should look like: https://your-store-name.myshopify.com/cart.
To complete this step, finish off by clicking Save.
Step 15: Create Your Store Design and Homepage
- Click Online store > Customize. Under Sections, click Header and upload the image file of the logo you created in Step 11.
Under Custom Logo Width, change the size of your logo to 250px, then untick the ‘Show announcement’ box.
- Go back to Sections and click Slideshow, then under Content, upload the image you want featured in your slide show.
If you don’t want to use every slide, delete the extra ones that you don’t need.
- Go back to Remove all of the collections under Header — this includes the Collection List and Newsletter.
- Click Add section. After this, click Featured collection > Under the Heading box, type in the name of the first product collection that you want to showcase.
Then click the Change button, select your product category from the list, and finish off by clicking the Select button. This will now change the URL link to your product collection page.
Repeat this process two more times, adding other product categories you have created.
- Head back and click Footer this time. Remove the News/blog widgets, as well as the Social icons.
- Go back, and this time, click Theme settings. Click Colors, and change your background colour to your brand colour.
- For Buttons and Text, change to a suitable colour that contrasts well with your brand colour.
For example, since my top bar is brown, a white colour for my text would be suitable. But if it was white, black text would’ve been a more suitable colour for my store.
- Under Theme Settings, click Typography (which basically means font) and change the font for your store. This is an optional step, but it is highly recommend to help your store appear more personalized.
And, as always, finish off by clicking Save.
Step 16: Add a Store Favicon (NEW in the 2019 Shopify dropshipping tutorial)
In layman’s terms, a favicon is the mini icon you see on tabs like the one you’re on right now.
To complete this step, make sure your favicon is 32 x 32 pixels with a transparent background.
Click Online store > Customize. Under Theme Settings, click Favicon and upload your own favicon image. Finish off by clicking Save.
Step 17: Add Facebook Messenger Livechat (NEW in the 2019 Shopify dropshipping tutorial)
NOTE: Before completing this step, make sure you already have an active Facebook page.
- Come back to the Shopify app store, and type into the search bar ‘Facebook chat.’
- Click on the Beeketing Facebook app as shown in the image below.
- On the next page, click the Add app button, then click Install app.
- Click on the big ‘Start connecting with your customers’ button.
- Click ‘Continue as [your name]’ then select the Facebook page you set up before completing this step.
- Under Button Design, select the icon I have selected below.
- Click continue until you reach a page where you can save and activate the work you’ve done, then finish off by clicking the Save & activate.
Step 18: Select a Payment Plan
- Click Settings, then click Account.
- Click Compare plans. On this page, select the $29/month plan.
- Lastly, just fill in all of your payment details and click Start plan.
Step 19: Choose a Domain Name
Before completing this step, make sure you use a ‘.com’ domain — ALWAYS. Do not pick another universal domain name.
- Click Online store, then click Domains.
- Click the Buy new domain button and type in the domain name you want to use.
If your name has already been taken, choose a different one. But if it’s available, proceed by clicking the Buy button.
Don’t forget that if you don’t want to be automatically billed for your domain name every year, untick the Auto-renew this domain every year box.
Step 20: Send Your Store LIVE!
Under Online store, click Disable password.
…then untick the ‘Enable password’ box. Then finish off (literally, this time!) by clicking Save.
BOOM! Your brand new store is officially live — congrats!
Want to learn the blueprint wildly successful dropship stores follow to make six-figures?
Six steps to building a six-figure Dropship Store
In the ebook, I’ve included:
- How just one “winning item” can earn $10k/month. Yep. A lot of people don’t realize this, but most stores make the majority of their money from just a handful of items!
- The right way to choose AliExpress suppliers. Picking the right AliExpress dropshipper is crucial to drastically reduce things like refunds. Learn how to pick the right suppliers.
- Why long shipping times DON’T matter. A lot of people are scared to start Dropshipping because of “long” shipping times. You’ll learn why this doesn’t matter.
- Why six-figure stores take ONLY two hours a day to manage. You’ll learn how they utilize apps like Oberlo to make their stores semi-automated, making managing orders super simple!