In this e-commerce model, you only pay for items when they're sold. With no need to stock inventory, the cost is virtually nonexistent.
Here's the exciting part: I'll show you how to start dropshipping with no money. It might be a bit tricky, but trust me, it's possible.
So, keep reading to learn:
- Whether you can really start dropshipping for free
- Advantages of free dropshipping
- How to start dropshipping with no money
- Whether you can dropship private label items for free
- Whether AliExpress offers free dropshipping
- What the best dropshipping courses are
- Alternatives to free dropshipping
- Starting a dropshipping business with no money is possible. But it can be challenging to keep costs at zero.
- Rely on free services, platforms, and plugins to run a cost-free dropshipping business.
- Create a memorable brand with a logo, cohesive website theme, and catchy business name.
- Tap into free marketing channels such as social media and user-generated content.
- AliExpress is a popular choice for free dropshipping.
- Reliable suppliers with positive reviews and a dependable order fulfillment plan are the key to success.
- Your location doesn’t matter when it comes to starting a dropshipping business.
Learn From Our Founder
Our founder, who has made millions on dropshipping, created this in-depth guide to how to start dropshipping for $10. Not free, but close enough.
Can you start dropshipping with no money?
Yes, you can start dropshipping with no money.
But let's be real: keeping costs at zero is challenging.
To run a cost-free dropshipping business, you'll need to rely on free services, platforms, and plugins.
Make the most of free trials and opt for free services whenever possible.
By investing time in research, you'll discover profitable products to kickstart your business.
You can even find e-commerce platforms that offer free hosting for your site.
Why consider free dropshipping?
Why opt for free dropshipping? Well, let me tell you, there are some compelling reasons that make it well worth your while. Here they are:
- Proven strategy: Dropshipping is a booming industry, with entrepreneurs raking in millions. It's not a fly-by-night idea but a proven method with actual results.
- Automation advantages: With dropshipping, you can automate your business, giving you more freedom. Your supplier handles fulfillment, while you focus on promotion and customer support. You can even outsource tasks as your store grows.
- Easy setup: Starting a dropshipping business is simpler than building a brick-and-mortar store. No formal training or technical knowledge required. In a few hours, you can have your online store up and running with a list of suppliers and a marketing strategy.
- Profitable venture: Dropshipping can be highly profitable. In fact, it can generate you 50% more profit in business compared to traditional ecommerce.
How do you start dropshipping for free?
Wondering how to kickstart a dropshipping business with zero funds? Look no further!
I've got all the details you need to dive into the world of dropshipping without breaking the bank.
Here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Choose your niche
Finding a niche is crucial for dropshipping success. It's not about quick riches, but long-term profitability. Choose a niche you're passionate about and can commit to.
Also, seek niches with free shipping opportunities. Some examples are clothing, pet products, and gardening tools. These niches boast durable, lightweight items that incur minimal shipping costs for suppliers.
Speaking of products, how do you identify winning items in each niche? That's what I'll discuss next.
2. Identify profitable dropshipping products
From my view, the success of your dropshipping store depends on the products you sell.
Based on my experience, winning products are the ideal items to dropship.
Winning products are items that are:
- Unique: These products have innovative features that help them stand out of the crowd.
- Hard to find: They can be exclusive or limited editions that are difficult to obtain.
- Reasonably priced: They offer a good balance between quality and affordability.
There are various ways to find winning products. But I am going to share the specific methods I use to search for them.
Search on AliExpress
AliExpress is an excellent platform for finding winning products.
Visit the AliExpress Dropshipping Center for a vast selection of low-cost items.
Additionally, check the:
- Hot Products section: This section curates the most popular items. based on their trendiness.
- Trusted supplier rank: Use this feature to identify the best vendors. Use this tool to sort suppliers by their reliability, sales, and time on the platform.
Search Amazon & eBay
Amazon has plenty of vendors selling products across different categories.
To find winning products on this Amazon, check out:
- Amazon Best Sellers: This page features the most sought-after items on the platform.
- Amazon Movers & Shakers: This section shows which items are trending upwards.
For eBay, you can use the Watch Count to see which products are currently in demand.
The tool gives you an overview of the number of people watching an item.
Products with more watchers can be a good fit for your free dropshipping store.
Search TikTok & Instagram
I also use Instagram and TikTok to get ideas for winning products.
On these platforms, you can use hashtags to find items related to your niche.
For instance, if you're interested in selling pet products, use hashtags like #dogfashion and #pettoys to see what's trending.
You can also search popular phrases like:
And the platforms will show you popular items and reviews to help you with your selection.
Dropship.io is a product research tool that offers a 7-day free trial. It’s equipped with various features to help you identify profitable dropshipping products.
One feature I really like is Sales Tracker. It allows you to see the sales data and bestselling products of other stores.
Pay attention to the items that generated the highest revenue. These are likely to be winning products.
Additionally, use the Product Database to find more product ideas for your niche. You can check the price, monthly sales, revenue, and other metrics to identify the best products to sell.
Other features you might find handy include:
- Portfolio: Dropship hand-selects potential winning products each week and sends them to you. We choose up to 40 products based on your plan.
- Chrome extension: Analyze competitor stores as you browse. You can view historical sales data, themes, apps, live sales, and other store insights.
- Numbers Breakdown: Calculate your potential profit by entering costs, order volume, and selling price. The calculator helps you understand your numbers and improve profitability.
- Interests Explorer: Find hidden Facebook interests to discover less competitive ones and outperform your competition.
- CPA, ROAS, and BEROAS Calculators: Determine your cost per acquisition, return on ad spend, and break-even return on ad spend by entering your numbers. You can optimize your ad spend for profitability.
For more ways to find such items, check out our in-depth guide, 10 Ways to Find Winning Products For Dropshipping.
3. Find a supplier
To find the right supplier, consider a few key factors. First, priortize reliability and reputation. Your supplier will handle inventory and shipping, so it's important to choose wisely.
A reputable dropshipping provider has:
- Many positive reviews: Customers consistently praise the supplier’s product/service. They may even recommend it to others due to the positive experience.
- Good rating: Customers have given the supplier a high rating. This rating highlights their reliability and performance.
- Dependable order fulfillment plan: The company ensures timely and accurate processing of orders. Their efficient fulfillment plan minimizes errors and delivers as promised.
- High-quality products: The supplier deals in products made with superior materials. As such, you'll get items having good functionality, durability, and attention to detail.
- Excellent customer service: The supplier offers prompt, helpful, and efficient service to customers.
Make sure to use these criteria during your supplier research.
Now, let's see a few places where you can find dropshipping suppliers.
Trade shows are events where businesses showcase their products physically. You attend these shows to meet people and interact with potential suppliers.
It is important to inquire whether they offer dropshipping services, as some of them do. Some vendors are more than willing to ship the products directly to your customers.
At a trade show, you have the opportunity to negotiate and secure favorable deals. For instance, you can ask the seller to lower their price, allowing you to achieve higher profits.
You can also consider on-demand providers like Printful for sourcing your products.
These are print-on-demand (POD) businesses that dropship custom printed items.
The way they work is that you choose from their assortment of products. Then you put your design on these items via an app. Once done, you list these products on your dropshipping store.
Once a customer places an order, the provider will print and ship the product to them.
AliExpress and Alibaba
Alibaba and AliExpress are selling platforms in China. AliExpress focuses on retail, while Alibaba caters to wholesale.
Think of them as China's equivalent of Amazon. You browse products like a customer and contact the seller once you find one.
Ask the seller if they offer dropshipping and can ship to a different address. Also, go through their return and cancellation policies to ensure a smooth experience.
The beneficial aspect of both platforms is the protection they offer. In the event of any issue, you can file a complaint and Alibaba or AliExpress will help you.
4. Create a free online store
To create a free online store, you can consider ecommerce and social media platforms.
And though they have some limitations, they let you start dropshipping for free.
How to start dropshipping for free on Amazon
Ecommerce platforms like Amazon offer an internal store for dropshipping your products.
But you need to set it up yourself. Doing that isn’t hard with all the tools and templates available.
For example, here are the steps to set up an Amazon shop:
- Create an Amazon Seller Central account. Then log in and access your Amazon store in the main navigation bar under the "Stores" tab.
- Provide the required information for your Amazon storefront. Include the brand display name and a logo image that is at least 400 px wide and tall.
- Choose a template for your homepage. Options include Product Highlight, Product Grid, Marquee, and Blank. Once selected, Click "Create Page" to proceed.
- Create multiple pages and a navigation feature on your homepage. Customize them and add the bestsellers slider.
- Choose the "product" tag and search for your items by keyword or ASIN. Choose the desired products, and they will be displayed in the tile slot with the product image and price.
- Add more pages to your Amazon Storefront. Navigate to the Store builder main menu and select "add page" from the left-hand menu. Customize each page as desired.
- Now click "Submit for publishing" from the navigation bar. Your Storefront will undergo a manual approval process, usually taking up to 72 hours.
Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok
Another way to dropship for free is to set up your online store on social media platforms.
While this won't cost you any money, it's important to note the potential limitations.
For instance, generating enough sales requires a strong following on Instagram or Facebook. And when you're new on these platforms, it can be difficult to gain traction.
But it’s not impossible. With persistence and hard work, you can find success on these platforms.
How to start dropshipping for free on Facebook
Step 1: Go to your Facebook Page and click on the Shop tab.
Step 2: Set up your shop details, including business type, address, and product type.
Step 3: Configure your payments by linking a bank account or setting up payments via PayPal or Stripe.
Step 4: Add a product to your Facebook store. Include photos or videos. And with a title, description and price.
Step 5: Manage your orders by accessing the Pending Orders section. You can also review order details and talk with buyers to ensure a smooth transaction.
Note that the availability order management features may vary based on your location.
How to start dropshipping for free on Instagram
Step 1: Check eligibility and connect your business profile to a Facebook page.
Step 2: Choose between the Instagram app or Commerce Manager to create your shop.
Step 3: Submit your account for review in the Business tab of Profile Settings.
Step 4: Go to the Purchases tab in the Business tab of Profile Settings and select a product catalog.
Step 5: Create collections and add product tags to reels, posts, or Stories to enhance your visibility.
How to start dropshipping for free on TikTok
Step 1: Head to the TikTok Seller Center and sign up as a Seller.
Step 2: Upload the necessary documents, add your products, and link your bank account.
Step 3: Verify your documents to set up your TikTok Shop.
Step 4: Take orders and dropship them.
Step 5: Use the Seller Center to manage your shop, orders, and customer service.
How to start dropshipping for free on YouTube
Step 1: Establish your YouTube channel and ensure a reliable video setup.
Step 2: Create high-quality content by identifying trending opportunities .
Step 3: Promote your dropshipping products in the videos. .
Step 4: Optimize your video description and title for SEO benefits.
Step 5: Engage with your audience through comments and community features.
Step 6: Collaborate with influencers or other YouTubers to expand your reach.
How to start dropshipping on Shopify
If you're willing to dedicate a small budget of around $5 per month, you can build your own web presence. You just need to create a link in bio and sign up for a starter Shopify plan.
This allows you to have more control over your store and customize it to your liking. With a free theme that suits your product, you can quickly get your online store up and running.
Additionally, Shopify offers a range of apps to help you promote your products. Some of my favorite are:
- PageFly: Enhance your store with landing pages featuring professional templates. Other handy features include speed optimization and design enhancement.
- Judge.me: Display star ratings, product reviews, and more to build trust with customers.
- SEO, Speed & Image Optimizer: Optimize user experience and improve search engine rankings.
- Frequently Bought Together: Add relevant products with a single click. Or use AI-driven recommendations to increase sales.
- Shopify Inbox: Track customer history, provide product recommendations, and automate greetings and responses.
Plus, Shopify integrates with all the platforms I’ve listed previously. This means you can connect your online shop to TikTok, Amazon, Instagram, etc.
Using free dropshipping site builders
For those seeking completely free options, there are a few free dropshipping site builders:
- Square Online: This platform offers a drag-and-drop website builder. While there plans starting at $29 per month, there's also a free plan available.
- Mozello: If you're looking to build a free online store and launch fast, Mozello is a viable option. It also integrates with most social media platforms, making it easy to gain exposure for your store.
- Ecwid by Lightspeed: Another free dropshipping platform is Ecwid by Lightspeed. It allows you to launch a site quickly without the need for coding. Additionally, Ecwid provides a convenient mobile app for managing your store from anywhere.
Consider these options and choose the one that best suits your long-term goals.
5. Add your products
Once your store setup is complete, it's time to add products.
Start by creating captivating product images. Then, infuse your creative flair into the supplier-provided descriptions to create unique pages.
How to create product images using Canva
Canva is my go-to tool for creating product images. This free graphic design tool includes lots of templates that make the process easy. Here are the steps you need to take to create an image:
- Start by choosing a premade template from Canva's extensive collection. These templates are already organized and visually appealing, saving you time and effort.
- Customize the template to fit your brand by editing the colors, fonts, and layout. You can change every element in the design to align with your brand aesthetic.
- Use the search feature within Canva to explore the vast library of photographs. You'll find many visuals that complement your product.
- Use the layouts feature to arrange your product photos in an organized manner. This ensures your images are evenly spaced and cropped to fit your chosen canvas size.
- Enhance your design with various elements. You can use shapes, lines, illustrations, icons, and more. These elements add depth, creativity, and visual interest to your product images.
- Leverage the text tab to incorporate text into your design. For example, include informative captions, or compelling call-to-action statements.
- Choose a suitable background for your product image. Canva provides an extensive selection of patterned backgrounds. Or upload your own background image to get going.
- Save and download the completed product image from Canva in your preferred format.
6. Build a brand
When dropshipping for free, building a brand becomes paramount. Your brand is what sets you apart and builds trust with customers.
Start by creating a memorable logo that represents your business. Use free logo maker tools to make one in minutes. I personally use Shopify’s free logo maker Hatchful, which gives me plenty of pre-made designs to work with.
Additionally, come up with a catchy business name that resonates with your audience. For this, you an use a generator tool like:
- NameSnack: AI-powered generator that suggests brandable domain names based on your niche keyword.
- Hostinger logo maker: A business name generator that provides brandable and unique name options.
- Brandroot: Premium-class domain provider offering memorable and catchy brand names for purchase.
Next, think of ways to add personality to your brand. Remember that people will interact with your brand as if it was a real person. So try and come up with strategies that can help make it more relevant to your audience.
Infuse your brand with a unique voice and tone
Successful dropshippers understand the importance of having a distinct voice for their brand.
A consistent, reliable voice builds trust—a foundation for emotional connection.
To establish a unique voice, consider your designed brand personality and target audience. Then align your tone, language, and messaging with these factors.
For instance, if you're targeting fitness enthusiasts, you'll want to use a voice that inspires and motivates.
Share behind-the-scenes stories and experiences
Sharing behind-the-scenes stories is a great way to connect with your audience.
Brands like Warby Parker and Pura Vida do this to engage their new and existing customers. With unscripted glimpses into their processes, these companies inspire trust and admiration.
Create engaging BTS videos highlighting your own unique story and processes. Share them across your marketing channels to reach more people and encourage action.
7. Tap into free marketing channels
You've learned how to start a free dropshipping business. Now, how can you spread the word without spending anything?
If you're looking for no-cost marketing methods, consider the following strategies:
Use social media
It's free to establish a presence on social media channels like Facebook and TikTok.
Once you've created a profile, start posting about your products.
Ideas for social media content
- Use captivating visuals and relevant hashtags.
Capture mesmerizing product shots that captivate social media audiences.
This may involve highlighting design details with unique angles. Or creating eye-catching compositions by experimenting with contrasting colors or textures.
Pair these images with relevant hashtags like #InstaWorthy and #MustHaveItems to maximize visibility.
- Offer an overview of your process
How do you ensure product quality? What's your packaging process like? Do you talk to suppliers everyday?
Show, don’t tell! Share footage from your day-to-day operations so that people know how you operate in real life.
This strategy will help you foster meaningful connections with your target audience. By being transparent about your process, you're showing commitment to ensuring customer satisfaction.
- Organize fun contests and giveaways
Create a buzz around your products with engaging contests and giveaways.
Ask followers to come up with innovative videos incorporating your product.
Or offer a prize to the most engaging and entertaining caption marker.
These methods will help you get more exposure and attract new customers to your store.
- Leverage user-generated content
Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your products.
Ask them to post reviews, testimonials, or photos of themselves using your items.
This not only generates authentic content but also acts as social proof for potential customers.
Build and promote to an email list
This strategy involves capturing and nurturing leads through your site.
Use a free email marketing tool to create a form. Next, offer valuable incentives in exchange for email addresses.
For example, you could offer:
- Discounts: Offering a discount on purchases can incentivize customers to sign up.
- Free coupons: Offering free coupons to customers as an incentive can motivate them to sign up.
- Contest entry: Offer entry into a giveaway in exchange for the customers email.
- Free upgrades: Promoting product upgrades to visitors can entice them to subscribe.
- Free shipping: Offer free shipping as an incentive can also help grow your email list.
When people sign up, use the tool to send them educational content, exclusive deals, and more.
Best free email marketing software
- Mailchimp: User-friendly email marketing software with customer journey mapping, list segmenting, and more.
- HubSpot: All-in-one growth platform with free CRM, email marketing, and analytics.
- Omnisend: Ecommerce-focused platform with customizable email and SMS marketing.
- Moosend: Unlimited emails/month for up to 1,000 subscribers.
MailerLite: Easy to use email platform with drag-and-drop editing.
- Benchmark: Free email marketing software with AI-powered Smart Content and Smart Sending.
- Brevo: Free email and SMS marketing tool with mobile campaign support.
8. Provide excellent customer support
Getting customers to buy from your store is just the beginning. Real growth happens when you keep them coming back. Don't let the first purchase be your last interaction with a customer.
Instead, focus on customer satisfaction to drive sustainable revenue. Good news: you don't need expensive tools for that.
Offering free shipping is a great example of excellent customer service. It shows you value their experience and are willing to go the extra mile.
You can easily provide stellar support by adding an email address to your site. Or by opening a Facebook page for chat support. These options won't cost you a dime.
Use chatbots to create an autoresponder for asked questions. It's a simple way to deliver top-notch customer support.
Chatbots I recommend:
- Botsify: An easy-to-use chatbot builder with multilingual capabilities. It's powered by AI and ML for self-learning.
- Bold360: Build omnichannel chatbots with NLP technology. This is meant for interpreting complex language and maintaining brand personality.
- LivePerson: AI chatbot built on 20+ years of messaging transcripts. Intent manager for contextual conversations and automated flows across multiple channels.
- Zendesk Answer Bot: Integrates with knowledge base for quality omnichannel conversations. Custom AI-powered flows and deep learning capabilities for understanding intent.
Remember, happy customers lead to a thriving business.
Can you dropship private label products for free?
Private labeling means making a product with your label, but it usually has a higher MOQ.
White labeling, on the other hand, is where you add custom packaging or tags. Although the MOQ is lower, you still need to order more than one product.
It's tough to dropship private label or white label products for free due to these reasons.
If you're new to dropshipping, start with free options like AliExpress. (Save private labeling for later when you're ready to grow.).
Is AliExpress dropshipping free?
AliExpress is the top choice for many dropshippers, and for good reason.
AliExpress a B2C marketplace with no high MOQs, allowing you to ship individual orders. Sellers on AliExpress are usually willing to ship directly to your customers.
Signing up and buying from AliExpress is completely free. But some products may not have free shipping.
To counter this, you can incorporate the shipping price into the product's base price. Although this would raise the final cost of the item, it will enable you to ship for free.
If you have a Shopify store, you can use a tool like DSers to import items from the site.
No matter which ecommerce platform you use, you can dropship for free with AliExpress.
What are some good free dropshipping courses?
As a beginner in dropshipping, research and staying updated are crucial.
This is a fast-moving business, so it's important to keep an eye out for the latest trends and developments.
Explore Dropship University, our blog, and join our Discord community for discussions. Look for free dropshipping courses on Udemy and watch YouTube videos.
With these resources, you can develop a good understanding of free dropshipping.
Alternatives to free dropshipping
Dropshipping isn’t the only business you can start without money. Here are some other ventures you can consider:
- Sell digital products: Create and sell digital goods like ebooks or digital artwork. With free tools and platforms, you can easily distribute and monetize your creations.
- Sell services online: Offer your skills as a freelancer in areas like graphic design. Join freelance platforms to connect with clients and start earning.
- Become an affiliate marketer: Promote items and earn a commission on each sale. Join affiliate programs of companies in your niche and to reach a wider audience.
- Start print-on-demand: Design custom products like mugs and smartphone cases. Then have them printed and shipped on-demand.
Does it matter where you live?
It doesn't matter where you live to pursue free dropshipping.
What matters is having a computer and an internet connection.
These are the only essentials needed to start a dropshipping business.
So whether you're in the US, Canada, Nigeria, India, or any other place, you can dropship without any limitations.
How to start dropshipping for free in India
Starting dropshipping for free in India is simple.
First, identify your niche and find reliable manufacturers.
Next, upload your products with accurate descriptions on a dropshipping platform like Shopify.
Then promote your products through free social media channels like Instagram and WhatsApp.
Want to dropship Indian products? Source them via local dropshipping sites like WebdealIndia and IndiaMart.
How to start dropshipping for free in Australia
Starting a dropshipping business for free in Australia follows a similar process. But there are specific factors to consider for selling Down Under.
The main thing you should know is that there two directories catering to dropshippers in Australia:
- Dropshippers Directory
- Australian Dropshippers.
You can visit these directories to contact local suppliers for dropshipping.
When choosing suppliers, consider reputable companies like Factory Fast and Color Block. These suppliers are experienced in handling imports and navigating Australian customs processes.
How to start dropshipping for free in South Africa
If you're looking to start a dropshipping business for free in South Africa, here's what you need to know.
South Africa is a thriving market with a population of over 61 million and a fast growing e-commerce industry.
It also offers globally trusted payment gateways like PayPal and 2Checkout. This makes it easy to receive payments from customers worldwide.
But note that it's illegal to sell copyrighted items and things like knives in the country.
How to start dropshipping for free in Pakistan
As a resident of Pakistan, you can start a dropshipping business for free.
With stable Internet access, you can stay connected with suppliers 24/7.
And the country's multicultural environment offers detailed insights into consumer preferences.
Pakistan supports the 2Checkout gateway, making it easy to receive and manage profits.
How to start dropshipping for free in Nigeria
Nigeria boasts the largest economy in Africa. According to estimates, its GDP is expected to reach USD 454.05 billion by the end of 2023.
The thriving e-commerce market in Nigeria makes it an ideal marketplace for dropshipppers.
Starting a dropshipping business for free is a simple process. Just create your online store, source products, and start sellling.
Nigeria's social and cultural environment provides ample opportunities to understand the local market.
Overall, the country has a lot to offer to budding dropshippers.
Free dropshipping FAQ
Can you start a dropshipping store with $0?
Yes, you can start a dropshipping store with $0. But it’s advisable to have around $5 per month for store creation. Dropshipping on Amazon or eBay for free is possible, but competition is intense. Creating your own store improves your chances of success.
How long does it take to start making money with dropshipping?
It takes at least six months to see results when starting a dropshipping store. You need to conquer a steep learning curve for consistent sales. Invest time in learning free marketing strategies, and the results will follow.
How to start a dropshipping business for free? Have a plan, use free software, and be consistent.
If you're committed to success, results will come, but it will take time and effort to overcome the lack of money.
Consider setting aside a few dollars for hosting. Although not necessary, having a direct-to-consumer website will improve your chances of success.
Now that you know how to dropship with no money, there's nothing to stop you from taking that first step.