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The number of Internet users worldwide now exceeds 5.3 billion. That enormous number means a lot of things to different people. For the budding entrepreneur, it spells ecommerce opportunity. And there are few paths to get on the online business bandwagon easier than dropshipping.
No inventory costs. No space lease. No warehousing fees. No shipping expenses. All you need is identify a suitable dropshipping supplier, build a website, publish photos of the supplier’s products, mark up prices, advertise and you are in business.
Of course, that is a bit of an oversimplification. Like any other enterprise, success is not guaranteed. Many dropshipping online stores fail to gain the traction needed to get off the ground and thrive. A lot of times, failure boils down to the structure, design and flow of the website in addition to the overall quality of service.
If you are going to build a profitable dropshipping store, you are better off learning from those that have made it.
We take a look at the best dropshipping stores and explain some of the attributes that set them apart from the competition.
Best Dropshipping Stores For Your Inspiration
Product Category: Knives
Vertoku specializes in Japanese-inspired kitchen knives and associated accessories. As a dropshipping store, the company takes time to assess and rate each product before putting it up for sale.
The store’s knives are positioned as a premium product and are costlier than the average Western-styled kitchen knife.
- Niche product – Vertoku doesn’t just sell knives but Japanese-inspired knives. Given the store’s primary audience is North America and Western Europe, it offers a product that stands out from what one would run into at their average neighborhood store.
- Facebook comment reviews – Toward the bottom of the home page, the store has published screenshots of customer comments from Vertoku’s social media pages. Such social proof from dozens of customers creates a bandwagon effect that spurs visitors to buy.
- Hero image – The home page has a large, high quality hero image occupying nearly the entire section above the fold. In case a visitor had any doubt about what the store sells, this photo featuring multiple knives does make it clear.
- Clean, uncluttered layout – Apart from the hero image, the home page’s other product-centric entries are the single-row ‘Best Seller’ section and single-row ‘Shop By Collection’ section. That quickly funnels prospects to the exact product they are looking for.
2. Shop Kako
Product Category: Women’s Fashion
Kako means ‘summer rainbow’ in Japanese, a fitting description of this dropshipping store’s vibe.
Shop Kako offers carefully curated (often colorful) products that are fun, cute, chic and cozy. Items cut across women’s apparel, hats, footwear, bags and houseware.
- Free shipping worldwide – Shipping costs can be a turn off. Shop Kako offers free shipping even though that may come at the cost of longer shipping times (as much as two weeks). But for a lot of people, that’s a worthwhile sacrifice.
- Font – The store uses a font that features gentle, round edges conveying warmth and approachability.
- Color scheme – Shop Kako has a pink and light blue color theme that complements its playful personality.
- Testimonials – The website’s home page has scrollable testimonials near the bottom. Each review is no more than 12 words long. This brevity acknowledges that a lot of visitors may have time for little more than a cursory glance.
3. Sage & Sill
Product Category: Home and Garden
Sage & Sill sells a broad range of home and garden products. These include planters, vases, stands, hangers, kitchen, dining, bath and home décor products.
- Email opt-in discount – A pop-up window offers a 10% discount on the first order for visitors that opt in to the store’s mailing list.
- Media mentions – The bottom of each page of the website shows the major news publications and magazines where the store has been featured. These include The Washington Post, Time, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, House Beautiful and Apartment Therapy. Visitors often see mentions on major publications as an endorsement of the business or product.
- Installments – Using Shopify’s Shop Pay checkout service, buyers can break down their purchase into four installments for orders of $50 or more.
- Local currency pricing – The website auto-detects the visitor’s IP address and indicates pricing in their local currency. Buyers do not have to go through the hassle of manual conversion.
Product Category: Stuffed Toys and Travel Accessories
Plushie Depot is a US-based store that mostly sells stuffed toys but does have a category for travel accessories. Items are sourced from factories and vendors in the US and around the world. With thousands of toys and new ones added each week, Plushie Depot is home to some difficult-to-find stuffed toys.
- Page-specific promotional codes – On the store’s About Us page for example, the end of the text includes a special coupon code a reader could use for a discount on their next purchase. By creating promotional codes for each page, the store can identify the pages that contribute the most to conversion.
- Rewards program – Customers are invited to join Plushie Depot’s loyalty program where they can earn points and redeem them for rewards.
- Email opt-in pop-up photo – Plushie Depot’s email opt-in screen stands out for the inclusion of an adorable, high quality photo showing a colorful, wide-eyed stuffed toy. It’s almost as though it's urging the reader to opt in to enjoy the 10% discount on their first order.
- Free shipping – By offering free shipping on all orders to North America and most other destinations, Plushie Depot eliminates a major barrier to purchase for buyers in its major markets.
Product Category: Cat Merchandise
Meowhisters is an online store that sells unique products made for cats and cat lovers. Items range from stationery and cat beds, to earrings and handbags, to cat outfits and cat feeds.
- Product photos change on hover – When visitors hover over a product photo, they get a second photo of the same product or a different color of the product.
- Separation of pet and pet lover products – On the website’s main navigation bar, the store has a ‘For Hooman’ and ‘For Cats’ section to quickly guide visitors depending on who they are buying the product for.
- Social media links at the top-most notification bar – Websites often place social media links towards the bottom of the page. By placing links to its Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and X profiles at the beginning of the page, Meowhiskers can organically increase its social media following and reach.
- Free shipping clarity – Meowhiskers provides shipping clarity from the get-go via a notice at the top-most section of the page indicating free shipping is only available for orders exceeding a certain amount. That way, users can make an appropriate purchase decision depending on whether their order value is likely to exceed this minimum.
Product Category: Make-Up Mirrors
Makeup Mirror is an Australia-based store that sells a variety of makeup mirrors. Products range from travel-s-zed mirrors, to magnifying mirrors, to LED-fitted mirrors. The store runs on the Shopify platform and relies on Spocket as its dropshipping supplier.
- Warm colors – The store goes for a warm, inviting color theme that combines gray and a gentle pink.
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on home page – Many dropshipping stores tend to have their FAQs on their own page. Yet, users will sometimes want answers to crucial questions from the start before they invest too much of their time. Makeup Mirror places the most important FAQs at the bottom of the home page.
- Blog – Makeup Mirror’s publishes informative blog posts at least once a month providing useful insights on makeup mirrors.
Product Category: Jewelry
Little Crystals is an online jewelry store that offers a variety of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and jewelry-centered books.
- Simple design – The store uses a light red color on an all-white background. Product photos are well spaced and the home page has just a few items to whet the visitor’s interest. It’s an intuitive design that makes it easy for users to shop for and locate an item of interest.
- Blog – The store has an active blog with at least two posts published per month. Blog content is designed to share important information and valuable insights on jewelry shopping as well as general guidelines on proper use and handling. It also covers general topics on personal growth and wellbeing.
- Newsletter opt-in discount – A banner at the bottom of each page invites visitors to opt-in to the store’s email newsletter to get a 10% discount on their first order.
Product Category: Fashion and Home Living
Inspire Me Positive is a dropshipping ecommerce store that sells print-on-demand wear, fashion accessories and home items. In line with the online shop’s name, each item has a positive, inspiring phrase on it.
- Stylish but Motivational – To stand out from other clothing shops, Inspire Me Positive goes beyond a focus on attire’s style and design. Instead, all products feature a positive, thought-provoking message.
- Diverse means of payment – The store accepts more methods of payment than most online businesses. These include major credit cards, PayPal, Meta Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay and Venmo.
- Social media consistency – With 2,400 Instagram followers and 1,300 on Facebook, Inspire Me Positive does not have a large social media footprint. Yet, the store posts on its social pages at least once a week. No social media following is insignificant. Further, posting regularly is a form of marketing that steadily builds brand recognition, earns public trust and generates an increasing number of leads.
- Real-time order notifications – Any time someone anywhere in the world buys an item from the store, a small pop-up window at the bottom of the screen shows the buyer’s first name and the product they purchased. It’s an important tool for social proof.
9. Ellen Shop
Product Category: Gifts, Games and Branded Merchandise
The Ellen DeGeneres Show may have shut its doors but the Ellen Shop has not. While not all of the products are dropshipped, the Ellen Shop does have a print-on-demand segment powered by Printful. It runs on the Shopify platform.
- Income Diversification – Dropshipped items are only one type of products sold on the Ellen Shop. Many items are not. That way, income from the dropshipped products complements the primary income from the non-dropshipped ones.
- Values-based – Not everyone will necessarily subscribe to Ellen’s value system. However, there are a lot of people that do. The store does state it only sells products that are environment friendly and/or built from recycled materials. Further, part of its sales proceeds are donated to social causes. By aligning the store’s products and processes with Ellen’s own values, the shop is designed to appeal to buyers that share the same perspective of life.
- Rides on a recognizable brand – Ellen is a world renowned personality. Her store could have picked on any other business name. However, by choosing Ellen Shop, the store announces an association with Ellen thereby riding on her fame and recognizability.
Product Category: General
Founded in 1965 as a direct marketing business, Brookstone has evolved into a multi-channel retailer and manufacturer. Its online dropshipping store features curated diverse products. Major categories include massage, wellness, sleep, home, alcohol, fitness, travel, technology and entertainment.
- Short home page – For a store that sells hundreds of products, it can be tempting to pack the home page with dozens of products. Brookstone keeps the home page short. It includes featured categories, featured brands and best sellers.
- Minimizable pop-up discount window – On a pop-up window, visitors learn that opting in to the store’s contact list by sharing their phone number means enjoying $10 off their first purchase for orders of $100 or more. Closing the window minimizes it to the bottom of the page so one can access it later if they want to.
- Staggered purchase – Brookstone has partnered with the Klarna payment service to facilitate staggered purchase for buyers who prefer to pay in installments.
- Physical and online stores – Brookstone’s founding precedes the Internet Age. So it does have physical stores. While its online shop is now considered its primary outlet, the company has retained its physical stores perhaps emphasizing the importance of diversification.
Product Category: Apparel and Books
Founded in 2008, The Art of Manliness (or AoM) is one of the oldest and most popular blogs whose primary target audience is men. As part of its monetization strategy, AoM has an online Shopify dropshipping store that leverages Printful’s print-on-demand service. Products include apparel, books and stationery.
- Simple design – The AoM store is built on one of Mile High Themes’ Shopify themes. Cool, neutral colors complement the simple, clutter-free, and easy-to-navigate layout.
- Social media – AoM has an expansive and active social media presence across major platforms including 1.4 million subscribers on YouTube, 950,000 followers on Facebook, 215,000 on Instagram and 330,000 on Pinterest. It leverages this large audience to drive traffic to the store at near zero cost.
- Auto-detection of visitor country – The website determines the visitor’s location based on IP address and offers the option to ship in local currency. Further, users are informed of their country-specific shipping options.
There are a lot of successful dropshipping stores out there. We deliberately selected this mix of successful stores on this list so there is at least one shop or one strength that a first-time dropshipping entrepreneur could relate to. Some of the stores are large and/or widely known, but most are not recognizable outside their target market.
Either way, the stores all offer one or more lessons on what it takes to win in the dropshipping space.
To set up your new dropshipping website for success, start off by defining your goals, identify the features that will be most suitable for your target audience, and roll out your store. Monitor your progress and identify areas of improvement as you test out what works and what doesn’t.