In today’s post, you’ll learn how to start a dropshipping business in South Africa with little to less investment and even if you’re a complete beginner.
But quick one;
Did you know that the dropshipping industry worldwide is expected to reach a market valuation of $557.9 billion before 2025 according to statistics on dropshipping?
I mean, I’m just trying to let you know the profitability of this business model!
Truth be told, dropshipping is still regarded as one of the best and easiest ways to make money online in South Africa or any part of the world.
It doesn’t matter if you have the normal 9–5 pm daily routine job, having a dropshipping store could be another source of income that makes you money passively.
Dropshipping in South Africa is a great idea, but that’s only if you know how to run it successfully.
The reason why dropshipping is such a popular business model is because it gives you the ability to sell products without your own capital.
So think of it as a risk-free business because you won’t be risking your money on product inventory.
Just pick products online and promote them.
If you like the idea of dropshipping in South Africa, then let’s see how you can run it successfully.
What is Dropshipping In South Africa?
Dropshipping is a business model whereby you sell a product to your customer while you don’t have the product inventory or stock.
Instead, the supplier of the products is the one who keeps product inventory and is responsible for the packaging and shipping of products to your customers.
You only pay the supplier after a customer must have paid for a product on your dropshipping website.
However, you’ll be the one to handle customers’ complaints which of course will be transferred to your supplier by you.
So, in the simplest form dropshipping is selling products without buying or having them.
How Does Dropshipping Work In South Africa?
There are three major players when it comes to dropshipping. They include:
- The Supplier
- The final consumer or your customer.
Here’s how it works…
A customer visits your online store and he/she purchases a product on your website. On checking out, the customer enters his or her contact address to receive the product.
You on the other hand forward that contact address to your supplier who then ships the product to your customer after you must have paid for the product.
In most cases, I list products on my website as free shipping, but mind you, the shipping fee has been added already to the product cost.
And you can also set aside the shipping fee and let your customer pay for it when checking out. But most times it increases conversion when the product is listed as free shipping.
So basically that’s what dropshipping is and how it’s been run.
Pros and Cons of Dropshipping in South Africa
Since we’ve been able to unravel how dropshipping works in South Africa, now let’s talk about the good and bad side of the business.
This will help you to know what you’re getting into and how you can use them to your advantage to run a better dropshipping business.
Pro of Starting a Dropshipping Business In South Africa
- Starting a dropshipping business requires a low start-up fee compared to other ways to make money online in South Africa.
- You can test as many products online to find a winning product without incurring much cost
- You can work with multiple suppliers and sell different kinds of products in your store. All you need do is create a new category for the product and you’re good to go
- There’s no need to buy the product or stock inventory with dropshipping
- Your supplier handles the shipping of products and all you have to do is receive and forward orders to your supplier
Cons of Starting a Dropshipping Business in South Africa
- You’re responsible for your customers
- Customers can be annoying when their product is delayed
- You are not in control of your product quality your supplier is
- The easiest way to get traffic is to run adverts
- Profit on each product can be small compared to buying them in bulk
The key to success here is finding a good product and finding the right interest of buyers then scale your marketing to make the most of it.
But keep in mind, there could be one or two failures along the line but once you’re determined and consistent you’ll have a profitable result from your business.
Also, you might want to target international buyers instead to selling directly to South Africa which is going to take longer shipping time.
Having said that, now let’s proceed to how we can start the business the right way.
How to Start a Dropshipping business in South Africa in 5 Simple Steps
By now, I’m sure we must have understood the basics of dropshipping. So, the next step is to take action.
Below are the five simple steps to start a dropshipping business in South Africa:
- Find a Product to Sell
- Build Your Dropshipping Website
- Market Your Products
- Send Orders to Supplier
- Repeat Step 3 & 4 to Make More Money
Step 1: Find a Product to Sell
The first step to this is finding the product you want to sell. Many people are often tempted to start selling anything they can think of. You should have this at the back of your mind that dropshipping is a business.
And like every other business, you need to do thorough research and have a business strategy on how to be profitable in your business.
One of the ways you can do this is by looking for winning products to sell.
Another thing you should have in mind while choosing your product is that you can’t just start selling any product you see. Try as much as possible to check the demand over time for such products through the use of Google Trend.
It has to be on the market trend. That is, demand for it must be relatively high or at least very stable and the competition for it should be minimal.
You don’t necessarily have to have tons of products on your website to be successful in this business model. Your emphasis should be on hot products around a particular niche.
There are two actual ways to find products to sell. The first is via manual product research while the second option is using winning product research tools, some free and some paid.
#1: Doing Manual Product Research
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, and I personally go with something that’s working already. The same thing goes for winning products.
Most people say it’s bad to sell what everybody else is selling but what they fail to realize is that, why is everybody selling it if they are not making profits?
There’s no need to be a product pioneer because most times you’ll be losing more money than you ought to make pushing a new product to the market.
But with already selling products, you can quickly plug in and get your own share of the market real quick.
So how do you find what’s selling already?
It’s very easy…
Just look for popular eCommerce store bestseller lists and you’ll be provided with goldmines worth of products.
Let’s use AliExpress as an example:
AliExpress Dropshipping Center
The AliExpress Dropshipping Center is created for the main purpose of dropshipping. Inside the centre, you’ll have access to top-selling products on AliExpress.
From there, you can also find products you’ve found on other platforms like Amazon and Wish using the image of the product.
You can also analyze products by the seller and their logistic rating. This will provide you with a metric of how well a supplier on AliExpress is doing before you start selling with them.
#2: Using Winning Product Research Tools
This research method involves using winning product tools to find products that are hot in demand. What they do is curate these products and provide them access to their users.
The most important thing here is they save time and most of them also provide ads insight on how to promote the products via social media.
Let’s talk about a few of them;
AliDropship Premium Products
The AliDropship premium products are a list of hot selling products tested by the AliDropship team on their own dropshipping stores. AliDropship is the founder of the popular AliDropship dropshipping plugin with WordPress and WooCoomerce.
They pick potential winning products and run test adverts to find winners amongst these products using different ad copies.
Once they find the winner they then add it to their premium products list on a weekly basis.
So users subscribed to it will be provided access to the products and the winning ad copies to promote the product.
Finally, these products are made available inside your WordPress dashboard, so you can easily publish them with a push of a button.
Click here to check out the AliDropship Premium products
Step 2: Building Your Dropshipping Website
After you’ve determined the products you want to sell, you need an e-commerce website to showcase your products.
For this, there are two options. It’s either you build your store with Shopify or you use the popular WooCommerce.
Shopify is a perfect store builder even great for a complete newbie, but the monthly fee for Shopify and other apps to run the store could come up a bit pricy.
But once the income starts rolling in, you won’t have to bother about the monthly fee, because that will have been sorted out already.
which is WooCommerce and what I recommend is relatively cheap compared to Shopify.
For that, you’re going to need the AliDropship Plugin for building your dropshipping website with WordPress. However, you need a domain name and web hosting to fully create your dropshipping website.
For this, the best we could recommend is BlueHost!
It comes with a free domain name, free SSL certificate and 30 days money-back guarantee.
An advanced alternative to this is ordering a custom website from AliDropship which is virtually the best option.
This way, the AliDropship team will do extensive niche research for you and build your website accordingly. This website will come with products ready to start selling immediately.
The hard work is already done for you.
However, if the website is built by you, the AliDropship plugin will integrate your website with AliExpress and allows you to import products to your website with just a click button.
In addition, while adding products you want to sell the AliDropship plugin will also show you the supplier score. Try as much as possible to avoid supplier below 90 scores, always go for 90 and above.
Step 3: Find and Connect with a Reliable Supplier
Trust me, the place of suppliers cannot be over-emphasized in the dropshipping business.
This is because they are the owners of the products you’re selling.
So, it’s safe to say the quality of your supplier determines the success of your business.
Trust me without a reliable supplier there won’t be a product for you to dropship. So you might as well take them seriously.
One of the ways to spot good suppliers on AliExpress is by checking their seller rate. You wouldn’t want to go for a seller below a 90% score.
Most likely, AliExpress is the best option for anyone interested in dropshipping from South Africa. Except you have a reliable manufacturer or seller in South Africa that’s willing to work with you.
In this case, all you’ll have to do is promote their products and send orders to them, and they will be the ones to handle the logistic within South Africa.
However, if you don’t want to limit your dropshipping to local dropshipping, there are two best dropshipping suppliers i use that I’ll also share with you;
- Sellvia Dropshipping Supplier
- Spocket Suppliers
The good thing is you can easily content these suppliers to your websites be it Shopify or WordPress.
Sellvia is a complete eCommerce ecosystem and dropshipping supplier for both WordPress and Shopify sellers. It offers everything you need to start and grow your Shopify and WooCommerce dropshipping store by giving you access to products to sell across the US.
What makes it unique is its Done-for-you and done-with-you approach. Sellvia is both an eCommerce platform and an eCommerce supplier for the US market.
It comes with a WordPress and Shopify dropshipping app that links your Shopify store directly with the Sellvia dropshipping supplier warehouse.
So, with just a click of a button, you can have your product fulfilled on WordPress and Shopify with the help of Sellvia dropshipping suppliers.
The sellvia supplier’s catalogue has products from various categories and also offers good and profitable deals.
Its product categories include Auto, Family store, fashion, festive, gadget, health & beauty, home & garden, hoodies, kids & babies, Made in USA products, outdoors, pets, and sport.
What’s also interesting about the Sellvia catalog is the unique buyer reviews that come with each product. Each product comes with SEO-friendly titles, clearly written product descriptions and high-quality product images.
So technically you don’t need to do anything again once you imported any product to your store.
- 1-3 business days US shipping
- Best-sellers products
- huge profit margins
- Lower prices than on AliExpress
- Cheap products
- Unique design product pages
- compatible with Shopify, WordPress and WooCommerce
- Exclusive to the US market
- No branded packaging for store owners
Spocket is another dropshipping supplier you can use for your international dropshipping. Having a large database of suppliers, Spocket allows you to dropship US and EU products to customers very fast.
Spocket was Founded in 2017 and since then Spocket has grown to be one of the major suppliers from the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, Germany, and many others.
They literally ship their products all over the world and this qualifies Spocket as a global dropshipping platform.
Here’s the best part.
Spocket doesn’t just help you find a supplier, it makes it easy to automate your store with WordPress and the Shopify platform.
To begin with, Spocket offers an advanced solution to dropshipping.
You can do more than just find a supplier, this tool allows you to set up a store and automatically sync your store with your suppliers using the Spocket marketplace. Just like Sellvia.
In that case, you don’t have to manually place your products on your dropshipping store.
It allows you to automatically forward your product listing on their platform to your own dropshipping website.
- Fast Delivery
- Branded Invoicing
- Customer Support
- Winning products
- Compatible with Shopify and WooCommerce
- Some product comes with low processing time.
- the pricing plan is a bit costly
Step 4: Market Your Products
This step is very important because as a new store no one is going to know about your business. This means you have to push the products to your potential buyers and can only be done through marketing.
I’ll talk about a few platforms and ways to market your store as a new store owner. They include:
- Google Adwords
- Facebook Marketing
- Email Marketing
#1. Google Adwords
This is still one of the most effective means to generate your first sale while getting started. This is because Google only showcases your advert to interested buyers.
For anyone to see your ads on Google means they’ve probably searched for that product before and when they see it they are most likely to make a purchase because this is what they are interested in already.
The only shortcoming to Google ads is that they are more expensive compare the Facebook ads.
Here is a comprehensive article on how to set up your Google ads for your dropshipping website.
#2. Facebook Marketing
I only recommend running Facebook ads after you must have run a few Google ads and have enough traffic to your website.
Always make sure you have your Facebook pixel install on your website immediately you finish setting up your website and before you run any ads.
This way you will be able to target your traffic or run a lookalike ad. Facebook is always good for retargeting.
Instagram is another place to market your products you can start with Instagram influencer and have them promote your products to their followers. This can also generate an amazing result with less cost for it.
#4. Email Marketing
I’m sure you know the importance of email marketing. Try as much as possible to collect your customer email and remarket them via sending out emails.
You can create a free bait offering for them and ask their email address in return for that.
Or do a free cross-sell give them a product for free and ask for their email address, there are various ways to do this you just have to be creative.
Writing a blog post around the products you’re selling is another way to generate free sales from search engine traffics.
This will not only boost your sales but also create massive awareness for your brand.
Step 5: Send Orders to Suppliers
After marketing your products the next thing is to start generating sales that need to be fulfilled.
If you’re using the AliDropship plugin you don’t have to worry because most of the work is already done for you. Once you have an outstanding order all you have to do is forward them to the supplier with just a click button.
There’s a note that will be sent automatically with the order via the plugin that’s going to notify the supplier that you’re dropshipping.
So, your customers won’t have to discover that the products are from AliExpress which is good for business. With the AliDropship plugin, you can send as many orders as you have.
Dropshipping In South Africa: FAQ
Dropshipping in South Africa is very attractive because regular citizens find it comfortable to browse the internet and do a lot of shopping online. Dropshipping here is very worth it.
Yes, you’ll need to register your business since dropshipping is an international business and selling abroad will require you to create a stripe account which will require a registered business.
Yes, dropshipping is very much legal in South Africa, just make sure you run a registered business and sort out all tax issues.
Yes, you can dropship from your phone in South Africa. Depending on the platform you’re using (Shopify or AliDropship) you can easily fulfil orders using your mobile phone.
Dropshipping in South Africa is proven to be a good residual stream of income when done the right way and following the proper channel.
So learning is not enough, you need to implement what you’ve acquired by trying out the business yourself.
For the smooth running of your dropshipping business, I’ll suggest you create a Stripe account in South Africa in other to be able to receive payment seamlessly on your dropshipping website.
If you need a hand launching your store, Check out these ready-made stores by AliDropship.