If you'd like to launch an online store but do not have your own inventory, dropshipping can be a good way out - you can sell a variety of products without ever having to stock any inventory. With dropshipping, a third-party company (usually, it’s a manufacturer or a wholesaler or a fulfillment company) takes care of producing, storing, packing and shipping products to buyers, while all you have to do is marketing and selling their products as if they were your own.
What is dropshipping
In a nutshell, dropshipping works as follows:
- The customer places an order for a product in your online store.
- You forward the order and customer details to the dropship supplier (either manually or automatically).
- The dropship supplier packages and ships the order to the customer in your name.
The following types of dropshipping are popular:
Acting as a reseller of products. For example, you can resell learning toys of a supplier (e.g. offered via Wholesale2B) if you are an expert in child education and thus you can market them wisely. The orders will be fulfilled by the dropship supplier.
Using a dropshipping print-on-demand service. For example, you are from a music band that wants to sell merchandise to fans or you are an artist that wants to sell their artworks in the form of canvas prints or framed posters. A print-on-demand service like Printful can produce and store these products, print your designs on them once they will be notified of an order, then, pack and send the ordered print products to buyers in your name.
To start selling dropshipped products, you should partner with a preferred dropship supplier, and list their products in your online store. When you receive an order, forward the order details to your supplier and they will ship it to the buyer for you.
Ecwid has ready integration with Wholesale2B and Printful dropshipping services. You can connect your store to them by installing their apps from the Ecwid app market. After that, you will be able to quickly import their products to your store and automatically notify them of new orders that they should fulfill.
Connecting your store to Printful
Printful is a print-on-demand dropshipping service that can be used by designers, artists, sports teams, musicians and others who want to sell branded products or merchandise. It is integrated with Ecwid via the Printful app.
After installing the app you can choose from a range of products in Printful such as t-shirts, hoodies, hats (embroidery), posters, photo prints, canvas, mugs, etc. You can apply your graphics to the chosen products, set your margin on top of Printful prices and publish the products in your Ecwid store.
When a customer places an order for such a product, Printful will be automatically notified of a new order. It will print your graphics on the ordered product, pack it and send it to the customer in your name.
Here you can find the detailed instruction on the app setup: Printful: Dropshipping for Custom Print Products.
The app is free to sign up and you only pay when an order is made.
Connecting your store to Wholesale2B
Wholesale2B is a service that connects you with over 100+ dropship suppliers and handles orders with the suppliers for you. You can connect your Ecwid store to Wholesale2B service by using the Wholesale2B app. After installing the app you can pick the products of the dropship suppliers integrated with Wholesale2B, change product titles and description to your liking, set your price markup and list these products in your Ecwid store.
When you get a new order and receive the buyer’s payment, the order details will be automatically imported into your Wholesale2b account where you will need to click on the "Order Now" link to make the wholesale payment. At this point, the Wholesale2b team will process the order for you, send the tracking code to your store and automatically mark the order as shipped. Note that currently only shipments to the USA or Canada are supported.
The Wholesale2B service costs $29.99 per month and comes with a free 7-day trial. During the free trial period, you can only add up to 10 items however you can increase this limit to 10,000 items at any trial day by activating the Wholesale2B plan.
Selling products of another dropship supplier
If you want to use another supplier that is not integrated with Ecwid, you can add their products to your store and notify the supplier of the to-be-fulfilled orders. Here is how this can be done:
- Get a list of products from your supplier (ideally, in the form of CSV file or a spreadsheet) and add them to your Ecwid store in bulk using CSV import.
- Send emails to the supplier about orders that should be fulfilled by them.
You can include the email address of your dropship supplier in the list of the recipients of admin notifications. Or you can use the tools of your mailing service to automatically resend the New Order Placed notifications from your mailbox to your supplier’s address - here is how you can set up forwarding in Gmail, for example.
To make your store ready for accepting orders, you can follow Ecwid’s initial setup guide however take into account the following things:
Use your own product descriptions. Instead of the default texts provided by the supplier, write your own. Unique content is highly rated by search engines, so it will help you to get your store indexed and it will be easier for customers to find you.
Set the supplier’s address as the origin address. If you are going to use real-time shipping quotes in your store, specify your supplier’s address as the Origin address in your store. As a result, it will be used as the ship-from address to calculate shipping costs that shoppers see at checkout.
Printful: dropshipping for custom printed products
How to Launch a Poster Store Online: The Full Guide (blog)
The Science of Contacting Suppliers When You're Starting a Business (blog)
Should You Make, Manufacture, Wholesale or Dropship Your Product? (blog)
How to Start Your Drop Shipping Online Store (blog)