The secret world of DropShipping used to be a unknown place that a select few knew how to do, successfully.
With the rise of platforms such as Shopify and Woocommerce, and apps such as Oberlo and AliDropShip, this underground money maker has become available too the masses.
Unfortunately, not everyone is good with technology, or knows how to build a successful DropShipping site.
Creating a good looking site is easier, with ready made themes from the guys at AliDropShip being included with the app, as well as premium themes being made available for Shopify such as Ecom Turbo or Shoptimized, but researching products, writing descriptions and creating compelling sales copy can still be difficult.
This has spawned an industry of companies or users who will set up stores for you, or sell you ready made stores, allowing you to focus on marketing or others ways to increase sales.
There are a number of different places you can get these stores, but they do come with a number of downsides, which we will also explore in this article.
One of the most well known places for purchasing any kind of ecommerce store, is the Shopify Marketplace or the Exchange Martketplace as they like to call it these days.
The exchange has a number of different businesses for sale, from complete starters to huge fully branded websites that have been built upon the platform.
As well as the 'high quality' businesses, they also have a whole area dedicated to the DropShipping stores, and you can see the difference fairly quickly.
First up you will notice that a lot of these sites are usually a lot younger.
Typically under 12 months old.
Now, that in itself is not an issue, as mainstream DropShipping has only really kicked off in 2018, so you would expect the sites to be a bit younger, but that does pose issues when it comes to SEO, but we will talk about that later.
As you can see from the images above, some of the stores have got a healthy profit, some hitting a near 70 - 80% profit margins, wich is insane for an eCommerce store.
Others are more reasonable, sitting at a 20% profit margin.
But here is one of the issues with buying a DropShipping store from a place such as Exchange Marketplace.
What you get as part of the purchase.
Obviously you are not given any inventory, as it's a DropShipping store, you wouldn't expect it.
But you are also not given any suppliers. You may get lucky and the Oberlo links are still active. But if they are not, you will have to find new suppliers to get that product fulfilled.
Another issue is that many DropShippers, don't have a relationship with their suppliers. They just link the item up and forget about it.
Meaning that if that supplier wants to move on, they will.
They don't have to tell you, they just close shop and do something else.
Now this is an issue with DropShipping in general, but it can be a major issue if you are buying a ready made DropShipping store that is reliant on 1 - 5 products that has made that store money.
By purchasing the store you wont be able to get that information, unless the seller is being quite charitable.
They may tell you that the sales / profit has come from the store as a whole, or they may explain it has come from 1 or 2 viral products. You just don't know.
The Shopify exchange does offer an escrow service, so you can
argue discuss these points, but at the end of the day you have no guarantee the site you have set your sites on will contain this information as part of the sale.
Other issues that you will face will be the fact you may not be given (and usually are not given) the advertising campaigns or any of the pixel data that the original store owner would have saturated with useful data.
Again, you may get lucky, but most of the time they wont want to give access, or wont know how to transfer this information too you.
As you can see, the Shopify Marketplace / Exchange does offer businesses for sale, but they don't provide you with all the information you need to decide if you want to purchase the DropShipping store.
Empire Flippers are a very well known company, or what used to be a couple of guys on a forum when I first dropped into the game.
They have now grown too a fully fledged business, brokering some huge website deals over the years, from Amazon affiliate sites, DropShipping stores or even Amazon FBA sites.
They really do cater for the masses. But they are also on a whole different level at times.
As you can see from the image, looking at their current listings, they have one that is being sold at $888k, that is a world away from the $500 one you found on Shopify Exchange earlier!
Currently (as of the 1st of February) Empire Flippers don't have any eCommerce sites up for sale, but looking at Amazon FBA sites, some of the issues we saw before are found here as well.
The major difference is that Empire Flippers have taken the time to identify them and even comment on them.
For example looking at an FBA listing, the seller has identified that existing suppliers are not 'brilliant' and other opportunities should be looked into. They have also said they would offer the buyer the contact details for the suppliers (again this is an Amazon FBA listing, so this isn't quite comparing Apples with Apples).
Even though the calibre of website is higher, the listings are more in-depth and Empire Flippers know what they are looking for, there is still very little detail about the things that matter for ecommerce stores, such as Advertising Manager access, pixel data, any influencer marketers and relationships with them, and you also don't know if the seller is going to go into direct competition.
A Better Way?
Unlike a traditional store that will provide you with inventory, relationships, walk-throughs, a real branded product etc, a purchased DropShipping store is little more than having someone set up a store, possibly identify a few winning products and then leaving you that shell.
Another issue you may face, is that a lot of these stores are held on Shopify (though I did find a few running on WooCommerce while searching empire flippers a month or two ago). The problem with Shopify is that if they don't like your store, they see too many refunds or simply want to close down DropShipping stores because it damages their reputation, your store vanishes with them.
Unlike a WooCommerce store, or even one built with WordPress, you own that store outright and a higher power such as the platform owner can't shut you down on a whim.
So there must be a better way.
And there is.
Purchase A Custom Store
A much better way of doing this, is to get experts to research a niche, find you products, set you up listings and even identify target markets for you.
Why spend $1,000+ on a store that yes has proven to have sales, but has no guarantee that you can continue to get them sales, it's a huge risk.
The old store owner may have got all their sales because they run another Instagram account that has funnelled buyers into the store.
You have no guarantee you get access too it.
Instead it is much wiser to invest your money, from as little as $299, you can have a fully researched custom made site, designed exactly how you want it.
And you own the rights too it, unlike something running on Shopify or BigCommerce.
As you can see from the table above, you can get a store that comes with it's own Facebook page, 50 researched products with descriptions and images, all set up and ready to go for $299.
That's cheaper than the stores that are essentially going to be shells once the advertising has come.
Why spend $$$$'s unless the seller is going to provide you with all the data, adverts etc, when you can be in the same position but without having spent your entire budget!
So who does this amazing service?
The same guys who built the amazing AliDropShip plugin, and yes the purchase of the store also includes the cost of the plugin, so you actually only pay around $200 to have someone research a nice, find appropriate aged domains, import products, set up the listings (including headers, images and descriptions).
That's a bargain.
It's definitely worth checking out what they are offering by following this link.
So the question you are still asking yourself is, should I purchase a ready made DropShipping store, or should I purchase a turnkey DropShipping store designed too my needs and hobbies?
A bit of a no brainer in my eyes.
Yes purchasing an eCommerce store can make sense, you do get the relationship with suppliers, you get their inventory, usually rights too the products and even adverts etc for those products. But with a DropShipping store you rarely get that information, because there are very few stores that DropShip their own products or don't have an ongoing relationship with suppliers.
So why risk trying to get someone else business back up after it's been sold, and just get yourself a custom built DropShipping store instead!
James started The Online Student as a typical blog telling people about his struggles and woes with DropShipping, Amazon FBA and even Affiliate marketing. He then decided that blogging about it all would give people the skills, knowledge and apps to get up and running (while making a little extra on the side). After a few months he realised it was quite lucrative and decided to work his ass off making it a bit more than just a hobby!