Starter’s Guide to Dropshipping with WooCommerce

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When warehousing your own inventory is not an option, dropshipping with WooCommerce can be a great way to get your online store rolling.

In this post, we’ll walk through setting up three specific kinds of dropshipping stores to help you understand how to put dropshipping with WooCommerce to work for you.

The kinds of stores we will set up are a:

  1. T-Shirt store
  2. Dropshipped product additions to your digital offering store
  3. Cell phone accessories store

But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when using the term dropshipping.

What is Dropshipping and How Does it Work?

Dropshipping is a form of eCommerce where you, as the retailer, do not warehouse your store’s inventory; rather you have a dropshipping agreement with your chosen wholesaler(s) who handle the warehousing, picking, packing, and shipping of your store’s products for you.

In a dropshipping arrangement, as new orders are placed in your WooCommerce store, your wholesaler is emailed packaging instructions (and perhaps a printable packing slip), and they put the product into the hands of your customer.

You are, of course, responsible for paying the wholesaler their portion of the retail price for delivering a quality product to your customer and on your previously agreed upon timeline.

The foundation of dropshipping success lies in the relationship between you and your suppliers, which is ideally a mutually beneficial arrangement. Thanks to you selling their wares, the wholesaler saves on marketing costs for finding customers and you don’t have to warehouse your store’s stock, which significantly lowers your store’s startup cost.

Invest your resources in relationships with quality dropshippers because their performance reflects directly on your business in a dropshipping arrangement.

Now that you’re starting to understand dropshipping and how it works, you’re likely looking for some specific examples of dropshipping stores you can deploy dropshipping with WooCommerce.

Let’s walk through setting up those three dropshipping stores.

Store 1: Build your Own Dropshipping T-Shirt Shop

In this section, we’re going to walk through the process of setting up your own dropshipping T-shirt store by combining WooCommerce with Printful.

Install WooCommerce

install woocommerce to start dropshipping

  1. While logged into your WordPress backend, in the left-hand navigation column, hover over Plugins, then click on Add New.
  2. Type “WooCommerce” into the search bar in the upper right of your screen and hit enter
  3. Click the Install Now button
  4. You will see a message at the top of the screen saying: Plugin Activated and in your left-hand navigation column, you’ll see two additional Menus, WooCommerce & Products.

Complete the WooCommerce Setup Wizard

woocommerce store setup

  1. Verify your store address and currency are correct
  2. Selling T-shirts, Select the drop-down: I plan to sell physical products
  3. Choose if you will allow WooCommerce to improve with usage tracking or not
  4. Click the purple button titled: Let’s go!

Configure Stripe + PayPal Payment Processors

woocommerce payment info

  1. Toggle on to add Stripe payment processor for your WooCommerce store
  2. Check this box and add your email address in the field that the check opens for a Stripe account to be created for you
  3. Toggle on to add PayPal payment process for your WooCommerce store
  4. To be clear, understand that by toggling on #1 and #3, you’re requesting download and installation of these WordPress plugins
  5. Click the purple Continue button

Shipping Setup in WooCommerce Setup Wizard

woocommerce shipping info

  1. Toggle off both options, because shipping will be handled through Printful
  2. Change the weight unit to lbs
  3. Change the dimension unit to in
  4. Click the purple Continue button

Skip the Recommended Options Step

recommendations from woocommerce

Setup Wizard Complete! Now Click the Gray Button Titled: Review Settings

review woocommerce settings

Activate the Legacy API in WooCommerce

woocommerce advanced settings legacy API

  1. Hover over the WooCommerce menu, and click Settings
  2. Click the far right tab, titled: Advanced
  3. Now click the Legacy API link
  4. Check this box to enable the legacy API
  5. Hit the blue Save Changes button
  6. You’ll see a message saying: Your settings have been saved.

Check Your Permalink Settings: Anything But Plain Will Work With Printful

woocommerce permalink settings

  1. Hover over the Settings menu
  2. Click on Permalinks
  3. Set the structure as anything other than the default; I use Post name
  4. Now scroll to the bottom of this screen and click the blue button titled Save Changes
  5. Be sure you get the confirmation message at the top of the screen saying: Permalink structure updated.

Install the Printful Plugin on Your WooCommerce Store

how to add printful plugin to woocommerce

  1. Hover over Plugins in left-hand navigation column, click on Add New
  2. Upper right, type Printful into the search box and hit enter
  3. Click the Install Now button
  4. Then click the blue Activate button that replaces it
  5. You will see a message Plugin Activated and just below the Products menu item, you’ll see a new Printful menu item, click the Printful menu

Go to Printful.com and Click the Red Connect Your shop Button for the Sign up to Printful Page

printful setup for dropshipping

  1. Your name
  2. Your email address
  3. Choose your password to login to your Printful account
  4. Click the red Sign up button

Your Account Created, Now Head to Your Email Inbox to Confirm Your Email Address

confirm printful setup for dropshipping

Now Go to Your WooCommerce Store to Connect WooCommerce to Printful

connect printful to woocommerce

  1. Click on the Printful menu item
  2. Then click the blue Connect button

This Will Open This Application Authentication Request

verift sharing privileges between printful and woocommerce

  1. Verify that you are signing in with your correct account
  2. Click the purple Approve button

Click the Red Continue Button to Use the Printful Account You Just Set Up

start using printful for dropshipping

Now You’re Ready to Design Your First T-shirt, Click Design Products

start desiging your first product in printful

Click the Gray Add Button to Add Your 1st Product

how to add your first product in printful

Choose T-shirt to Create Your Mockup

create product mockups with printful

  1. Click on T-shirt in the left column to sort your options
  2. Now choose the T-shirt you want to use to create your first product mockup

Upload Your Design File

upload your design files to printful

Your design file should be 12×16 inches and 300 dpi (digital pixels per inch). The size and dpi combination are important for your design to print clearly and not be pixelated and blurry.

  1. Click the upload file tab
  2. Click the red choose file button
  3. On the next screen, click the gray button to the right, titled Upload
  4. Then you’ll need to check the box that you understand and accept these conditions, followed by clicking the red button titled: I accept

Terms and Conditions to Upload

images being uploaded to printful for woocommerce

T-shirt Store – Product list | Printful

sample product list with printful

Set Your Shipping Options In WooCommerce Settings

setup shipping options for dropshipping with woocommerce

  1. Hover over WooCommerce and click Settings
  2. Click the Shipping tab
  3. Click the Printful Shipping link
  4. Check this box to enable Printful shipping
  5. Click the blue Save changes button

Set Your Printful Shipping Setup in the Printful Plugin

standard and expedited shipping options for woocommerce

  1. Click the Printful menu item
  2. Click the Settings tab
  3. Make sure all the Standard shipping options you wish to offer are checked
  4. Make sure all the Expedited shipping options you wish to offer are checked
  5. Click the blue Save changes button

Now You’re Ready For Your Last Three Steps:

  1. Add your card in Printful, so that as T-shirts are sold, they will charge your card and immediately start printing rather than Printful holding the order while awaiting payment.
  2. Enter your Stripe keys to start accepting payments via customer’s choice of credit card in your WooCommerce store
  3. Add the rest of your products and let people know about your new T-shirt store!

Check Mark Want a fast store designed for conversions that maintains high performance no matter the traffic? Check out Managed WooCommerce Hosting.

Store 2: Add a Couple of Products to Supplement Your Digital Store Offering Utilizing Dropshipping

Perhaps you want to offer an upsell to customers of your thousand dollar video course, where for a flat thirty-bucks, they can get a USB drive of your course videos dropshipped to their designated shipping address.

This allows them to watch your videos while they’re offline.

In this case, the WooCommerce Dropshipping plugin over at WooCommerce.com will take care of your dropshipping needs. The plugin subscription, for both updates and support, starts at $49.00 per store each year.

Once You Buy WooCommerce Dropshipping Plugin, It’s Time to Install It

buy and install woocommerce dropshipping plugin

  1. Hover over Plugins in the left-hand navigation column and click on Add New
  2. Click the Upload Plugin button
  3. Click the Choose File button to select the plugin zip file on your computer
  4. Click the Install Now button
  5. When you see the message that the Plugin was installed successfully, click the blue Activate Plugin button
  6. You will see a message saying: Plugin activated

Add Your Dropshipping Supplier

setup suppliers on new dropshipping plugin for woocommerce

  1. Hover over Products and click on Suppliers
  2. The name of your supplier
  3. I replicate the name as the slug (the specified URL minus the domain)
  4. Describe the supplier relationship/offering
  5. If you have an account number with your supplier, enter it here, leave blank if not
  6. The email address(es) to be notified when this supplier’s products sell in your store
  7. Click the blue Add New Dropshipping Supplier button

Now You See The Blue Inventory CSV Button

import csv file for importing their products into woocommerce store

  1. When your supplier provides you with a CSV file for importing their product(s) into your store, this is the button you use to import their products.
  2. If no CSV file is provided, you will need to create the Supplier’s product(s) and assign each product to the dropshipping supplier as you create the product.

Assigning a Supplier

adding dropshipping suppliers for new products

  1. To add a new Product, hover over the Products menu, then click Add New
  2. Scroll down and in the far right column, you’ll see a drop-down to choose the Dropshipping Supplier for this product
  3. Be sure to scroll back up to publish/save your changes so the product is assigned to the proper supplier

Setup Your Packing Slip

When an order in your WooCommerce store is paid for by your customer and WooCommerce marks the order as processing, then this plugin emails each supplier whose products were ordered to notify them to ship the products.

setup packing slips using dropshipping with woocommerce

  1. Hover over WooCommerce and click Settings
  2. Click the emails tab
  3. Click the Dropshipping Notifications link
  4. The email message to the dropshipping supplier, with the PDF packing slip attached
  5. Upload your logo to your Media manager and copy and paste the file’s URL and then below that, Input the width of your logo, in pixels
  6. Your company name and address
  7. Our customer service email address and phone number
  8. Thank you message for the packing slip
  9. Configure your Inventory pad, to protect you from selling products that the supplier has run out of. With a pad of 5 set, that means that once there are only 5 of the product inventory left, your store will show the product as sold out in order to not sell products the supplier no longer has in stock
  10. Click the blue Save changes button
  11. You will see a message saying that your settings have been changed

Now you’re all set to sell your USB drive of your videos to your course students. But what if you have bigger dropshipping aspirations for your WooCommerce store? What if you want much more than a small inventory supplementing your digital product(s)?

Check Mark Liquid Web has Helpful Humans available 24/7/365 via chat, ticket, or telephone so you can have peace of mind. Plus, we offer platform hardware and infrastructure updates, security patching, monitoring, and updates all for you. All on our Managed WooCommerce Hosting.

Store 3: Open Your Own Cell Phone Accessories Store

Install WooCommerce

install woocommerce to start dropshipping

  1. While logged into your WordPress backend, in the left-hand navigation column, hover over Plugins, then click on Add New.
  2. Type “WooCommerce” into the search bar in the upper right of your screen and hit enter
  3. Click the Install Now button
  4. You will see a message at the top of the screen saying: Plugin Activated and in your left-hand navigation column, you’ll see two additional Menus, WooCommerce & Products.

Head to WooDropship.com and Click the Red Get Started For Free Button

download and install aliexpress dropshipping for woocommerce

Create Your WooDropship Account

create woodropship account

  1. Choose your username, I make my email address my username, so I don’t forget
  2. Choose your account password
  3. Your email address
  4. Click the orange Get Started button

Which Will Bring You to Your Dashboard

setup woodropship dashboard

  1. Click the Connect Store button
  2. Which brings you to this tab to connect your store
  3. Enter the URL for your WooCommerce store
  4. Click the green Connect Shop button

Application Authentication Request

accept sharing privileges for woodropship to connect with woocommerce store

  1. Verify that you are connecting your correct account
  2. Click the purple Approve button

Which Returns You to the Dashboard

add woodropship chrome extension

  1. Verify that your store was successfully connected
  2. Click the link to add the WooDropship Chrome Extension

Click the Add Extension Button of the Popup Window

accept chrome extension for woodropship

Configure Your Updates Settings

configure updates settings

  1. Click the Settings menu in the left-hand column
  2. Now click the Updates tab
  3. When a product disappears, unpublish product
  4. When a variant disappears, remove variant
  5. When a cost changes, update automatically
  6. When inventory changes, update automatically
  7. Click the green Save Settings button
  8. You will see a green message saying Settings updated.

Back at Your Dashboard, You’re Ready to Add Your First Aliexpress Product Using the Woodropship Chrome Extension

add first product using aliexpress dashboard on woodropship

  1. Click the Go To Aliexpress button to head over to Aliexpress. You will not need an account with Aliexpress thanks to the Woodropship Google Chrome extension

Start By Choosing Your Product Category

choose product categories

Followed by the Specific Product to Add to Your Store

choose specific products to add to your store

Now You’re Ready to Employ the Woodropship Google Chrome Extension

employ woodropship google chrome extension for dropshipping

  1. This product search was for Screen Protectors for Apple iPhone
  2. While hovering over the product you want to sell, click the orange button
  3. Which will show this message that the product is being imported
  4. Followed by confirmation that the product was successfully added to the import list (If you don’t see this message, it means the product is not on your import list, so if you use Ghostery or other ad blockers, you will want to turn it off for aliexpress.com)

Now Head Over to Your Woodropship Dashboard

import descriptions and images to woodropship for products

  1. Hover over Products in the lefthand navigation column and click on Import List
  2. Verify and edit the product’s title prior to pushing the product into your WooCommerce store
  3. Assign a Product Category
  4. Click the Description tab to edit the product description
  5. Click the Variants tab to verify the variants and adjust pricing prior to pushing the product into Woo
  6. Click the Images tab to check the product images
  7. Click the green Push Product button to send the product over to your WooCommerce store

Successful! So It’s Now Displayed Under My Products

successful product upload example on woodropship

Now You’re Ready For Your Last Three Steps:

  1. Add your card in Woodropship.com, so that as items sell, they will charge your card and immediately start rather than Printful holding the order while awaiting payment.
  2. Enter your Stripe keys to start accepting payments via customer’s choice of credit card in your WooCommerce store
  3. Add the rest of your inventory from Aliexpress and let people know about your new Cell phone Accessories store!

Conclusion: How to Get Started Dropshipping with WooCommerce

Starting your own dropshipping store starts by understanding the customer that’ll be anxiously tracking their shipment after completing your secure checkout. The same person that’ll Instagram the package’s arrival and subsequent un-boxing.

Get your store setup, stocked, and open for business. Then you’ll be ready to tackle the cart abandonment issues faced by every online store, ever.

Eventually, the experience will lead you to start looking for ways to speak more directly (and successfully) to your growing list of shoppers.

Start by looking closely at Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting, because every store includes Jilt’s cart abandonment solution and Glew.io’s robust analytics and customer segmentation tools in the monthly plan. Let us help you get started today!
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