If you’re a newcomer researching dropshipping, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Shopify. Dropshipping and Shopify go together like peanut butter and jelly. You have many other great options to choose from, but most dropshippers primarily use Shopify or start on another platform and transition their business over to Shopify.
Shopify dropshipping is profitable and has the potential to make you millions and to make you nothing, depending on how you approach it. Due to the increase in popularity, you’ll need to put the effort in and learn every aspect of the business model in depth to make it profitable.
Check out the demand for dropshipping since 2004 on Google trends. Dropshipping exploded onto the scene around 2016 and has grown exponentially ever since. There was a sudden spike as the pandemic hit and although has subsided a little, the popularity of dropshipping has remained high and doesn’t appear to be declining anytime soon.
Shopify was founded in 2006 but never really took off until around the same time as dropshipping took off. Both graphs show the worldwide demand since 2004 and both have very similar trajectories.
The question “is dropshipping profitable?” is a ridiculous question to me. According to Stastita, eCommerce was worth $4.8 trillion in 2021, and dropshipping is said to be worth around a third of that.
If you are a beginner and concerned there is no money to be made, don’t be, there’s plenty of money to be made. You just need to educate yourself properly first so you don’t make the same mistakes 90% of the beginner dropshippers make. I have written an article about how hard it is to learn dropshipping if you’re interested.
I use a poker analogy with dropshipping, it’s very easy to learn the basics, have some success and feel like dropshipping is easy. However, over time all the small things you learn make a big difference and are what separates the really successful people from the ones making a few dollars.
If you’re still working and want to do dropshipping on the side, check out my article Is Dropshipping a Good Side Hustle?
Is it Hard to Be Profitable Dropshipping as a Beginner?
So we’ve established that dropshipping can be very profitable, but is it actually hard to make money dropshipping?
As a beginner, you may get lucky and make some money dropshipping in the short term, but it’s unlikely. Anyone can create a Shopify store, add some products, run some ads and make some sales. To take dropshipping to the next level requires determination and a willingness to learn.
It is far more likely you’ll lose money in the beginning stages of dropshipping. Running Facebook ads can empty your wallet fast if you’re inexperienced. Even experienced users of Facebook ads run multiple campaigns and need to optimize their ads before they find the most profitable advertising strategy.
If you want to make dropshipping a sustainable long-term income that can allow you to quit your 9 to 5 job, you need to take the time to learn all the elements of dropshipping in depth. Because of the extra competition dropshipping has gained in recent years, you need to gain advantages over the competition and perfect each step. Doing the same as 90% of dropshippers won’t lead to long term success.
If you’re considering dropshipping as a minor, check out my article How to do dropshipping if you’re under 18.
Although eCommerce is bigger than ever and looks set to continue growing, it’s actually harder to make money dropshipping today than it was back in 2016 when I first started.
The main reason for this is the abundance of competition and the very best dropshippers have such a large share of the market. The pros have not only learned everything they need to learn in creating a profitable dropshipping store, but they have also expanded and scaled their stores so they are effectively dominating specific niches.
This is why it’s so important to learn everything you can as a beginner. Once you learn the process of creating a profitable store, the process is completely replicable. The best in the business create multiple branded dropshipping stores and dominate multiple niches.
If you’re a complete beginner I suggest you read my post on Is Dropshipping Easy – Beginner Tactic Revealed!
The thing you need to remember is that dropshipping is relatively new, this means those pros who are killing it with dropshipping were only beginners not too long ago. As you can probably tell if you watch YouTube videos, most of the people making a fortune are kids in their 20’s who have figured out the keys to success.
If you’re a young 19 year old worried that all these pros have taken over the market and worried that there is no room left for you, don’t be. It’s not unrealistic to expect that you could literally be making 100k a month within a year dropshipping as a complete beginner. I wouldn’t say it’s likely but by applying yourself and immersing yourself in the world of dropshipping it’s very possible.
Like everything else, dropshipping will continue to evolve and there will always be new methods of creating a profitable dropshipping business. But you need to throw yourself into it to stay on top of the changes.
Is Shopify the Only Way to Make a Profitable Dropshipping Store?
In my opinion, Shopify is the best website builder out there, but not by much. Platforms such as Wix, BigCommerce and WooCommerce are still amazing. You can easily create a profitable dropshipping store on either of these platforms without too many difficulties.
Shopify just appears to have it all in terms of ease of use, themes, features, SEO and much more. It was created specifically for eCommerce and caters towards complete beginners with no tech experience all the way up to the biggest eCommerce stores in the world.
If you would rather not use Shopify or any other website building platforms to dropship, you don’t have to. You can dropship from your supplier onto other online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy and the list goes on. Although many of these platforms have certain guidelines you must follow to dropship on their platforms.
Personally, I wouldn’t exclusively dropship from these marketplaces. If you want to dropship to these marketplaces in addition to your Shopify store that’s fine, but owning your own store is important.
Having your entire business on a marketplace like Amazon is risky. If they decide for whatever reason you can’t sell on their platform, your business is finished along with your income. Having your own Shopify store is almost like a backup that is yours nobody can take from you.
A Shopify store is your own profitable dropshipping business, which means it’s a valuable asset you can sell eventually.
If buying a Shopify store is something you have considered, I have articles on buying pre-built Shopify stores and what to look for when buying a dropshipping business.
If you can’t tell by reading this article, dropshipping is extremely profitable. The problem is it’s not as easy to be profitable as it once was.
Back in 2016 you could list a bunch of products from AliExpress onto your Shopify store and be profitable, those days are gone. These days you have many more challenges in terms of competition and higher ad costs, therefore your strategy needs to change.
The innovators of the dropshipping world realized selling cheap inferior items from AliExpress with long shipping times wasn’t sustainable.
You’ll find all the lucrative dropshipping stores have focused on building a brand around quality products and they dropship domestically to provide fast and efficient shipping. They tend to use regular AliExpress dropshipping as a way of validating products before transitioning into bulk purchases and brand building.
I have a complete step-by-step tutorial on creating a dropshipping business. If you’re a complete beginner it will be a very helpful guide.