August 1, 2019
Dropshipping has risen in popularity among entrepreneurs and business owners as a whole. In a dropshipping supply chain model, the seller does not actually ever keep goods in stock. Instead, they use ecommerce to transfer orders and shipment details to either a manufacturer, another retailer, or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer. In a dropshipping business model, someone can sell physical products without ever managing inventory, packing and shipping logistics, and other concerns related to selling tangible things.
Why does this matter to WordPress professionals? This new method of ecommerce has been associated with the rise of suppliers like Alibaba, Amazon, etc. – really big companies. Dropshipping is unavoidable, and at the center of it, sits the ability to make a small, well-branded store.
This should be the domain of WordPress and its infamous ecommerce plugin, WooCommerce. After all, WordPress powers over a third of the top traffic websites online, and is especially popular among small to medium businesses (but also larger businesses!). However, the most common way to set up a dropshipping store has become Shopify.
Shopify is inflexible, difficult to customize and integrate, and not open-source – definitely not the WordPress way! In addition to this, Shopify is easy to setup, but the larger merchants get, the more expensive it gets – punishing merchants for success. These factors make a move away from Shopify a smart sell for the clients of WordPress professionals, but this means that we are tasked with keeping the experience as consistently good as Shopify’s.
I started to work at Liquid Web as Product Manager for Managed WooCommerce, and this specific problem was of particular interest to me in learning the product I’m newly in charge of. So, I set out to find out whether I could run a dropshipping store with the same ease and success using WooCommerce as using Shopify. In this hour, I will share with you how I got started, what I’ve learned so far, and most importantly, where WordPress shines and where it could do better – and how to talk about those differences with potential WordPress + WooCommerce clients.