With the ability for independent entrepreneurs to start and grow a successful e-commerce store quickly, the growth of the e-commerce industry has exploded over the past few years.
One of the biggest reasons for this growth is that the cost to start an e-commerce store has dropped dramatically.
However, traditional e-commerce stores have still had somewhat of an initial cost barrier, in that you had to purchase inventory first so that you could ship out your customers' orders as soon as they came in. That could mean several hundred to several thousands of dollars upfront for inventory.
However, the barrier to entry dropped even more significantly once dropshipping became so easy to do.
Because with the dropshipping model, you no longer had to invest a ton of money into buying inventory ahead of time. Instead, you didn’t need to order any products until your customers ordered from you first and paid you first. So not only are you getting paid first, but you could also buy just one product at a time, so you were in “profit” first before you ever placed an order.
Now, I put “profit” in quotes because you certainly had other costs involved in getting that customer and the software to build your stores, etc, so you may not truly have been in profit yet, but you were able to place that order with customer money on your own.
Not only did you not have to worry about buying inventory, you never had to worry about storing inventory, nor worry about packing and shipping anything either.
That’s why dropshipping became so popular – when you combine the low cost of getting started up with affordable store software and not having to sink money into inventory and fulfillment.
So, with all that said, how much does it cost to start a dropshipping business?
The fact is, you could get started for as little as free, at least for a short period of time due to most platforms and apps offering free trials, or at the other end of the spectrum, you could spend thousands to get started.
There are a number of factors involved that will determine how much it will cost you, so let’s look at these different factors and the parts of a dropshipping business that you need to have in place to operate your business.
We won’t look at every option in every category but we will look at the main options in each category.
The big categories we’ll be looking at are:
- The E-commerce Store Platforms That Will Run Your Store
- Dropshipping Automation Apps That Will Power Your Ordering And Fulfillment Tasks
- Traffic Buying Startup Costs
- Supplier And Product Sourcing Costs
So let’s look at a breakdown of costs to get started in each of these categories.
The e-commerce Store Platforms That Will Run Your Store
Varies from Free, Free Trial, then up to $299 per month, not including the addition of plugins, extensions, themes and more.
How and where you run your e-commerce store is set up and run from is one of the main pieces of the dropshipping puzzle, so let’s look at the main platforms people set up their dropshipping stores at and look at their pricing.
Shopify is one of the most popular platforms on the market because they’ve made it so easy to get your store up and running and made it so affordable to use them. They host and house everything for you, so then you simply answer the questions and complete the setup processes and you can have your site up in less than an hour.
Shopify’s Current Pricing:
Free trial for 14 days, then they offer monthly pricing based on the features you want:
- Basic Shopify for $29
- Shopify for $79
- Advanced Shopify for $299
So, you can get started for Free for 14 days, then you can continue for as little as $29 per month on their least expensive plan, the Basic plan.
Additional / Optional Shopify Fees To Consider:
Outside of the features that come with every Shopify account, you have the option to expand the look and functionality of your store through upgraded Store Themes and Apps that you need to consider when you're looking at your stores' functionality.
Shopify has a “Shopify Themes” store where they offer additional themes anywhere from Free to $180.
There are also hundreds of apps that can integrate with Shopify to extend your stores abilities, and these apps run anywhere from free, to one-time payments and some with monthly fees up to thousands of dollars per month.
So, if you need to add new functionality that’s not included, then you have to factor in the costs of those apps.
This WordPress e-commerce platform is for entrepreneurs that are more Do-It-Yourselfers, and want greater control and flexibility over their store, along with the ability to use WordPress.
For this option, you’ll need to factor in the cost of not only the WooCommerce plugin, but also your web hosting options, themes, and other plugins as well, so let’s take a look at the costs:
WooCommerce Current Pricing:
- Free to use the WooCommerce Plugin
Additional / Optional WooCommerce Fees To Consider
You need your own web hosting service since you will self-host your website and your store, so your hosting cost will come down to what hosting service you choose. You can get hosting for as little as $5 per month all the way up to hundreds of dollars per month depending on your needs.
If you want a store theme outside of the options WooCommerce provides, then there are free options and paid options in the WooCommerce Marketplace for $39 and hundreds more from independent companies ranging from Free to hundreds of dollars each.
There are hundreds of plugins available to allow your store to have more options and functionality, and they run from free, to one-time payments, to monthly fees.
Similar to plugins, they also have a marketplace for extensions that extend the functionality of WooCommerce, and those run from free to $79 each per store.
CommerceHQ is more of an all-in-one platform than Shopify in that all apps that are available to use with the platform are already included as free options within the platform.
CommerceHQ Current Pricing:
Free trial for 14 days, then they offer monthly pricing based on the number of stores you want to run:
- Startup (1 Store) for $99
- Pro (6 Stores) for $299
- Enterprise (30+ Stores) you need to contact them for price.
Additional / Optional CommerceHQ Fees To Consider
The only additional fees you have with CommerceHQ are upgraded themes that can run anywhere from Free to $180.
GrooveKart is a newer e-commerce platform that is less of a store and more of a direct response e-commerce funnel system and they claim to get more conversions and sales for their stores than Shopify is designed for. They have built-in connections to many print on demand platforms and can add order upsell pages that the other platforms do not offer.
GrooveKart Current Pricing:
- Monthly Option (1 Store) for $99
- Annual Option (1 Store) for $497
Additional / Optional WooCommerce Fees To Consider:
Similar to CommerceHQ, all available apps are already built into the platform for use by all users at no additional cost.
Dropshipping Automation Apps That Will Power Your Ordering And Fulfillment Tasks
Varies from Free to Free Trial, then up to $127 per month, not including the addition of plugins, extensions, themes and more.
While dropshipping is a much easier way to run an e-commerce business than traditional e-commerce since you don’t have to spend money upfront on inventory, and you never have to store it, pack it up or ship it out, there are still a ton of regular tasks that need to be handled in order to sell and fulfill your orders.
That’s why you need a dropship automation software because a good program will handle a lot of these daily mundane tasks for you so that you don’t have to worry about them.
The good news is that there are dozens of these apps on the market to choose from and they all have there own pros and cons. Many of them also only work with one platform or one dropshipping site like AliExpress, so that needs to be considered as you chose your store selling platform as well.
Again, because there are so many different apps on the market, we’re only going to look at the most complete and most popular dropshipping apps available.
Per their website, Oberlo describes themselves as a marketplace that makes it easy to find awesome products to sell online.
With Oberlo you can access a huge variety of different products with just a few clicks. Whether it’s fashion, electronics, toys, beauty, or the next trending product – Oberlo makes it easy for you to find products from suppliers all over the world and instantly add them to your own online store.
Oberlo Current Pricing:
- Starter: Free
- Basic: $29.90 per month
- Pro: $79.90 per month
Platforms Oberlo Integrates With:
- Oberlo only integrates with Shopify, so the only way you can use it is if you choose to use Shopify as your store selling platform.
Dropshipping Sites Oberlo Integrates With:
- Oberlo also only integrates with AliExpress, so you can only dropship items from AliExpress, and no other dropshipping sites.
If your store is set up through Shopify and you only need to import products from AliExpress, then Oberlo would be on your dropshipping apps to review.
If you plan to work with a platform other than Shopify, or you want to dropship products from sites other than AliExpress, then Oberlo won’t work for your needs.
Per the Dropified site, the app is described as the only fully automated drop shipping app on the market that takes order fulfillment (and more) from 17 minutes per product – to just a few seconds…
…with no storing inventory, no packing or shipping out products you pick the items you want to sell and market your store… Dropified automates the rest for you!
Dropified Current Pricing:
- Dropshipping Plans: click here to see our most current dropshipping plans
Platforms Dropified Integrates With:
Dropshipping Sites Dropified Import Integrates With:
According to DSers, they are a no-cost dropshipping tool to help you process hundreds of orders at once between your Shopify store and AliExpress.
DSers Current Pricing:
Platforms Dropified Integrates With:
Dropshipping Sites DSers Integrates With:
Similar to Oberlo, DSers works as an automation app that focuses solely on your Shopify store and your vendors on AliExpress.
So, if you only use your Shopify store to dropship products through AliExpress, then DSers is an automation app to consider.
If you want to use a platform or vendors from any other sites, then DSers is will not be an automation app you can use for those.
According to the DropshipMe website, they have manually picked and edited 50,000+ best selling dropshipping products so you can import them to your WordPress store without any hassle.
DropshipMe Current Pricing:
Platforms DropshipMe Integrates With:
Dropshipping Sites DropshipMe Integrates With:
Similar to Oberlo and DSers, DropshipMe works as an automation app that focuses solely on your WooCommerce store and your vendors on AliExpress.
So, if you only use your WooCommerce store to dropship products through AliExpress, then DropshipMe is an automation app to consider.
If you want to use a platform or vendors from any other sites, then DropshipMe is will not be an automation app you can use for those.
Traffic Buying Startup Costs: Varies – Start with Free $100 Google Ads Credit
Once you’ve got your store set up, filled with products, and your automation apps are set up and ready to go, now you need to focus on getting targeted visitors to your store in hopes they start buying.
So, how much does it cost to get started with buying traffic?
Well, this is an area that’s really beyond the scope of this post, because there are too many factors and variables that affect the cost of your traffic.
For example, some niches can cost a few cents per click to reach your intended audience, while other more competitive niches can cost anywhere from a few dollars per click to even hundreds of dollars per click.
With that said, there is a way to get $100 in FREE Google Ads credit, so that you can test the waters with your initial traffic up to the $100 in credit from Google.
To learn more about how to claim your free $100 credit, simply follow this link: https://ads.google.com/intl/en_us/lp/coupons
Supplier And Product Sourcing Costs: $0
Now, when it comes to filling your store with products that you can dropship, we need to look into any costs involved in the process.
In working with all the main dropship vendors, there are no additional costs associated with working with vendors on the major dropship platforms.
The only additional costs you’ll incur is with the actual cost they are charging, along with any applicable taxes and shipping costs, but those will all be discussed ahead of time.
For example, it does not cost you anything to integrate with AliExpress, and you will only ever be charged by them when you place an order with an AliExpress vendor when you pay for the product, taxes, and shipping.
Bottom Line Costs:
Here’s the summary for each of the main factors from the cost reviews above:
$2 – $15 per year.
The E-commerce Store Platforms That Will Run Your Store:
$0 – $299 per month + Any Apps, Plugins, Themes, Extension costs
Dropshipping Automation Apps That Will Power Your Ordering And Fulfillment Tasks
$0 – $127 per month + Any Apps, Plugins, Themes, Extension costs
Traffic Buying Startup Costs
$0 – Thousands per month. Varies depending on too many factors, but you can get $100 Free Google Ads Credit to get started.
Supplier And Product Sourcing Costs
$0 – Most drop ship vendors do not charge to connect to them, but some may charge a monthly fee.
As you can see from the reviews above, the e-commerce Platform you choose to move forward with will be the main factor in the costs associated with getting your dropshipping business started.
The great news is that the costs listed put running your own business easily within reach without needing to pour thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to get started like most traditional e-commerce and even brick and mortar businesses.
There has never been a better time to get started in the business, and these platforms and automation apps listed above make running your dropshipping business so much easier than before.
So, if you’re looking to get started, make sure you do your own research into each of the platforms and apps listed above, see which other platforms and sites they work with, choose the right combination for your business…
…and make the decision to get started with your own dropshipping business today!