dropshipping with shopify hero
Read time: 13 minutes

How to make money on Shopify? That’s the burning question on the lips of every budding solopreneur. Can you make money on Shopify? Yes, you can. And in this Shopify tutorial for beginners, we’re going to tell you how.

How dropshipping works

Dropshipping is the process of selling a product online, without having to handle the physical stock. As a result, dropshippers will negotiate with a supplier to hold, package and deliver their products to customers.

If an online retailer doesn’t have a bricks and mortar store, there’s a good chance they’re dropshipping products.

Dropshipping from countries like China and Taiwan has become increasingly popular over recent years. This has been as a result of websites like AliExpress and Alibaba coming to market and serving as the middle man between the supplier and the customer.

“Dropshipping is the least hands-on form of e-commerce, making it the perfect option if you’re looking to reduce the amount of time you actually spend on your business.”

Neil Patel | neilpatel.com

How to make money on Shopify as a dropshipper

Dropshipping is the perfect side hustle to get into if you don’t have thousands of dollars tucked away and ready to invest.

Dropshipping is actually one of the easiest ways you can make a passive income online. It requires very little investment to get started and is an ideal side hustle for single moms, college students and many more.

Setting up your dropshipping store with Shopify is easy. Shopify will host your dropshipping store and handle all of your transactions.

There are other platforms out there that you can use, like Woocommerce, but we don’t recommend these for beginners. And for that reason, we’ll focus this article on how to make money on Shopify.

In this Shopify tutorial for beginners, we’ll teach you how to start, build and make sales as a dropshipper. At the end of this article, you should have a good understanding on how to make money on Shopify.

How can I setup a Shopify store?

In order build a Shopfy dropshipping business from scratch, you’ll first need to complete their application form. This process is fairly simple and will give you access to a Shopify store in minutes.

At the time of writing this post, Shopify are offering you a 14 day free trial. In these 14 days you’ll have time to set up your dropshipping store and get a good feel for the platform.

To get started, click here and select start free trial on the top right of the homepage:

Shopify application page

After you’ve entered your details, you’ll be asked a little bit more about you and your dropshipping store.

Once you’ve answered these questions, Shopify will likely offer you some additional services, but don’t feel obliged to use them:

Shopify application form screenshot

In the final stages of the application process, you’ll be asked to enter your business address and website:

Shopify application form screenshot

If you have your own domain name registered, you can add this to your application. Shopify will give you the name servers for your dropshipping store and you can update these with your domain provider.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a domain name registered. You can purchase a domain from Shopify or you can use the free .myshopify.com domain.

After you hit enter my store, you’ll have access to your Shopify store and the suite of tools on offer.

In your 14 day Shopify free trial, you’ll be able to customize your store and get a feel for what’s available. However, it’s important to note that you won’t able to sell any products until you’ve selected a Shopify plan.

Here’s how your Shopify dashboard will look:

Shopify dashboard

How much does Shopify cost per month?

There are three Shopify plans available and the best plan for you will depend on a couple of factors.

Shopify plans

The main differences between the basic Shopify plan ($29 p/m) and the Shopify plan ($79 p/m) are the transaction fees and the number of user accounts available to you.

Under the basic Shopify plan, you’ll be charged a slightly higher transaction fee than you would under the Shopify and Advanced Shopify plans. Equally, you’ll have access to fewer staff accounts.

This shouldn’t affect you too much as a newbie, but as your business starts to grow, you might notice this impacts your bottom line.

The advanced Shopify plan ($299 p/m) is aimed at well established dropshipping businesses that need more than 5 staff accounts and the lowest possible credit card rates.

Which Shopify plan should I choose?

If you take advantage of the Shopify 14 day free trial, you’ll have some time to experiment with the platform. You won’t be required to choose a plan during your trial, but you won’t be able to list and sell products until you do.

If you’re new to dropshipping, we recommend going with the basic Shopify plan. This plan is going to give you enough features to easily start making money with Shopify.

Choosing a free Shopify theme

As a Shopify beginner, you’re probably want to keep costs to a minimum. For this reason, you’ll be happy to know that there are 10 free Shopify themes on offer.

Whilst basic, these themes will definately provide you with everything you need to start making money with Shopify.

To select a Shopify theme, click online store on the side navigation and then select themes. My personal favourite is the free Shopify minimal theme.

The minimal theme will give you access to 3 style choices. The style you choose will depend on your store and of course, personal preference.

Within the minimal free Shopify theme, we like the fashion style as it’s been well suited to the type of dropshipping stores we’ve ran in the past.

Once you’ve chosen a free theme, click install. Shopify doesn’t publish the theme by default, so it’s important that you click publish theme on the next page. When complete, you’ll see a message similar to this:

Shopify theme installed

Choosing a premium Shopify theme

We’ve never made use of premium Shopify themes, but if you’re serious about dropshipping and your Shopify store, it may be worth considering.

When you first start out researching and looking at examples of Shopify stores, you’ll likely be able to spot a Shopify store from a mile away.

Why? Because Shopify free themes are limited in choice and most people don’t want to pay for something when they could get it for free. For this simple reason, a lot of Shopify stores look very similar.

If you want to set yourself apart from the crowd, you may want to invest in a premium Shopify theme. Premium Shopify themes don’t come cheap, however, and will set you back around $160. In saying that, similar to free Shopify themes, they require minimal effort to customize.

For this reason, when you consider that you’ll likely not need a developer to make your dropshipping store look pretty, the cost can be justified.

How do I customize my Shopify store?

To start customizing your Shopify store, you’ll need to click online store in the side navigation and then select themes. You’ll then want to click on customize theme.

There a number of ways that you can customize your Shopify store, but my recommendation would be to get started by following these steps:

1. Add a logo

Click header and upload your company logo. If you haven’t created a logo for your Shopify dropshipping store just yet, you can head on over to fiverr and get one made pretty cheaply.

Once you’ve uploaded your logo, we recommend selecting center main menu below logo to have the logo centered on the page. Now, click save.

2. Add your images

Click back to the main menu and select slideshow. Here you can upload your brand or product images to your Shopify store. These images should be inline with your product niche and should give your users a clear idea about what it is you’re offering.

If you’re not sure what images to use, you can use the images from the products that you’ll be dropshipping on your Shopify store. More on this later.

Once you’re done, click save.

3. Talk about your brand

Click back to the Shopify main menu and select talk about your brand. 

This is where you’re going to tell your customers about your brand, what it is you’re offering them and why they should choose your products.

You’re going to want to point out any unique selling points, e.g. free shipping, to hook potential customers. If you have some knowledge of SEO, try to optimise the copy around your focus keywords.

4. Featured products

Click back to the Shopify main menu and select featured products. We’ll tell you how to add products to your Shopify store a little later in the post, but if you have products listed on your Shopify store already, you can feature them here.

The featured products section is where you’ll want to promote your high profit products, or products you’re confident will sell.

Having these products displayed on your Shopify homepage will attract more eyeballs from people landing directly on your site.

5. Social icons

Click back to the main menu and select social icons. If you’ve already created social accounts for your Shopify store, add links to them here. If you haven’t created any social accounts, you can leave this section blank and add them in later.

We recommend following the five steps above as soon as possible, to ensure you’re maximising brand awareness and exposure.

Using the Oberlo extension with your Shopify store

If you’re thinking about how to easily and quickly fulfill orders on Shopify, Oberlo is an application that allows you to to import products from AliExpress to your Shopify store. It also allows you to automate the sales process in just a few clicks.

Adding products to your Shopify store using Oberlo

If you’ve got this far, you’re almost there. In next to no time, you’ll have a pretty good idea about how to make money on Shopify. But first, you’ll need to know how to add products to your Shopify store.

Of course, you could manually add these products, but there’s a much faster way to do this. This solution comes in the form of the Oberlo extension for Shopify.

To make use of the Oberlo extension for Shopify, click apps on the side navigation within the Shopfiy dashboard. From there, you should be able to see Oberlo as one of the recommended apps:

Shopify apps page

Click the Oberlo logo. On the next screen, click add app. You’ll then see this screen:

Shopify log in screen

Enter the name of your Shopify store and click log in. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see this page:

Oberlo confirmation page

Review the settings and then click install app.

You’ll then be taken to the Oberlo dashboard where you’ll be able to quickly and easily add products from AliExpress to your Shopify store.

To add a product from AliExpress, simply search for the type of product, or select a category to browse. Once you’ve found a product you’d like to list in your Shopify store, hover over it and select add to import list:

Importing products using Oberlo

After selecting a few products to add to your Shopify store, click import list on the side navigation where you can customize your listing.

Customizing your Shopify listing

We recommend reducing the number of options in your listing to a maximum of 5. We also recommend you aim for a profit of 3 times what the product is retailing for, so that you can account for your time and marketing expenses.

There are of course a number of different ways to customize your listings, but ultimately, you’ll want your listing to be as appealing as possible to potential customers.

The more appealing your product listings are, the more likely your users are to convert to a sale.

How to fulfil orders using Oberlo on Shopify

Aside from automating the process of listing products on your Shopify store, Oberlo goes one step further by automating the fulfilment process.

Now, lets assume that you’ve just made your first sale on Shopify. You’ll receive an email notification from Shopify instructing you to fulfil the order. Now you could either do this manually, or you could use Oberlo to automate the process.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is ensure that you have the Oberlo chrome extension installed. If not, you can find the extension here.

Using the Oberlo chrome extension makes the whole process that much simpler and will save you time and energy in the long run.

Once you’ve installed the Oberlo chrome extension, log into your Shopify store’s dashboard and click apps. 

Click on to Oberlo and then click order. To start the process of ordering your product, click order product.

Related image

After a few seconds, you’ll be redirected to AliExpress, and if you’re not logged in already, you’ll be prompted to do so.

Oberlo will add the order to the cart and pre-fill the customer details, at which point you’ll be asked to make payment. Once you’ve made paid for the order, you’ll see that Oberlo has synced the order data back to your Shopify store.

Once the order has been shipped, you’ll want to go back to AliExpress, click my orders and you’ll see a list of your completed orders.

Click sync order and this will sync the tracking data back to Shopify and your customer. And that’s it.

How to drive traffic to your Shopify store

Up until now, we’ve talked about the functionality of your Shopify store. The final piece of the puzzle is to understand how to drive traffic to your Shopify store.

To keep your costs to a minimum, your best way to drive traffic will be through SEO (search engine optimization). What this means is that you’ll need to create content that people are searching for on google.

You can use free tools like the Google keyword planner and Uber suggest to find keywords with high search volume and low competition. Armed with a list of focus keywords, you can create content around these keywords and link to your products.

Wondering how else you can drive traffic to your Shopify store? Here are a few more examples:

  • Social media advertising (Facebook & Instagram)
  • Google Adwords advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Influencer marketing

Whilst you’ll be driving completely free traffic to your Shopify store with SEO, the methods above will require some investment.

Equally, you’ll find that different approaches work differently depending on what you’re selling. If you’re specialising in fashion, inlfuencer marketing on Instagram works really well. Whilst social media marketing works really well for low value accessories.

Our advice is to test different platforms to market your products and see what works for you. As you experiment with advertising, you’ll need to make sure you’re constantly testing different images, ad copy and call to actions.

Running multiple tests will give you the data you need to successfully advertising and give you the advantage you need to make money on Shopify.


Dropshipping is a great source of online passive income and there’s a reason why people are making millions of dollars from the comfort of their own homes.

If you’ve follow the steps in this Shopify tutorial for beginners article, you’ll have all the information you need to get started, build and drive traffic to your Shopify store.

You’ll also have the answer to the question you came here with today: how to make money on Shopify?

Take action and start your free trial with Shopify today.

One thought on “Shopify Tutorial for Beginners 2019: How to Make Money on Shopify”

  1. Good blog! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I could be notified when a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a great day!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.