When you are thinking of starting an e-commerce business, the dropshipping model is the best business model for low investment. In a normal scenario, you need to spend money on inventory and other activities in a business. However, in dropshipping, you can source products from a marketplace and send them to the customer directly, thereby reducing your costs.
However, you may be wondering how you can start an online store for free. While dropshipping gives you benefits in total cost, can you really make an online website for free?
In this digital age, it is not entirely impossible to create a website for free. There are only two things you need to think about:
- SSL certificate; the famous HTTPS
- The domain of your store
These two things are imperative for your dropshipping store. You may be collecting personal details of customers and accepting payment. So, it is best to find an alternative with the least amount of spending rather than free.
Let’s discuss this further and understand our options to start an online store for free in 2022.
In the following section, we have briefly discussed how you can start an online store for free. Read more details.
Choose the Right Niche
Before you move towards starting an online store for free, you should decide the niche for your online store. Knowing your niche helps you dedicatedly sell to customers, create content around the exact topic, and find secondary keywords.
For instance, you need to sell women's wear, but what in it? You can decide on a niche like women's workwear.
This way, you can create a go-to store. When someone asks your customers for a women's workwear store, they may be able to suggest you exclusively.
Although a multitude of dropshipping businesses use different methods to find a relevant niche, you can achieve this manually without spending money.
Here are a few questions to answer:
- What is being sold on AliExpress?
- What is currently trending?
- Have you heard about this a lot on social media?
- Have you checked the feasibility of the product on social media?
- What does Google Trends say about the product?
- Can you spot an ongoing trend or short-term trend on Google Trends?
These questions will help you evaluate the best niche for your dropshipping store. You can achieve this completely free of charge, but you need to spend more time.
Select the Platform
Once you have selected the niche, move forward and select the platform for your e-commerce store. Ideally, many dropshipping business owners use Shopify and WooCommerce (and sometimes, Wix). However, for a free online store, you can use platforms like Weebly.
This platform can be used for free, but remember that it is not highly customizable. Therefore, you should eventually plan to move to a paid e-commerce store.
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There are a few drawbacks to using Weebly:
You don’t get a custom domain for your dropshipping store. This means your URL is like xyz.weebly.com. You can also always upgrade to the paid plan on Weebly by buying a domain and creating a dedicated identity. But, to start with, this is a great option.
Set-Up and Customize the Store
If you are using Shopify and WooCommerce, you can use Shopify guides to set up the store and WooCommerce development for the same. While you can self-create an e-commerce store on WordPress also, it is comparatively difficult. Connecting with a developer may be a profitable and feasible option.
If you are using Weebly, you should set up your store and customize it. Here, you don’t need any knowledge of coding, which is definitely a major benefit for non-technical users.
Here are some steps to follow for Weebly.com:
- Sign Up on Weebly
- Add your personal information
- Try Square Online
- Define merchant type. Are you a business or an individual? Dropshipping businesses should use individual
- Add the name of your store
- Select the type of business
- After this, select product type, shipment options, and type of store.
The above actions may help you set up a simple store. This defines the basic layout of your dropshipping store. For customizations, you can follow the given steps:
- On your dashboard, you have to select Design Now.
- Update your logo and choose the font, color, and bottom style.
- Choose the name of the domain.
- Customize the main banner, header, location, image gallery, footer, and email newsletter.
- Add a list of products that you wish to sell.
- Decide shipping details.
- Add tax details.
Market Your Business
Finally, once you have created your online store on Weebly, you can start marketing it. This part can also be achieved without additional expenses. However, you need to offer dedicated time to the activity.
Some ideas for marketing success:
- Firstly, always post on social media, especially Instagram. You need to grow your following on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.
- Start your dropshipping blog. The reason for this is that keywords in your blog help your users find your business. You need to market your products through your blog as well.
- It is best to send email notifications to your customers regarding order updates. This is usually a paid service for dropshipping businesses, but you can try sharing details manually to reduce costs in the beginning.
- There are so many influencers and bloggers on social media who are ready to market your product for free if you decide to send them the product. You need to take this level of risk to improve your customer outreach. You may get noticed with influencer marketing.
- Always try to show your face on social media. People tend to connect with other people they can see and communicate with. So, go live on Instagram and Facebook and hold a Q&A with your audience. Allow them to ask you questions.
- It is great to create reels on Instagram. This is definitely one of the best methods to improve traffic on your business page. It will help you reach out to more people.
Through the above discussion, we have created a roadmap to start an online store for free. However, as a dropshipping business owner, you need to understand that you need to spend some money on your business in order to grow.
Here are some reasons why:
- You need SSL and a dedicated domain. You can’t keep selling with the Weebly.com domain forever.
- You need better features and functionalities on your website to allow simple access to users.
- It is necessary to spend on social media marketing to receive more and more traffic. Organic sales won’t turn out great all the time, you have to promote them at some point.
- You may need research tools to make better decisions with a larger number of users. There’s an unavoidable need for a customised user experience today.
- Lastly, you can’t manage all these orders on your own forever. So, you need to, at some point, purchase a dropshipping tool like DSers for working feasibility and profitability.
We have discussed a simple method to start an online store for free in 2022. Go through the discussion, see if this works for your dropshipping store and start your journey. Remember to upscale, improve and improvise with time to gain future success and growth.