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  • Peter Mantu

The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping in South Africa

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

In this post, you will learn how to start dropshipping in South Africa, as I will be sharing important and valuable information regarding dropshipping as a business in South Africa. Some of the many questions you might have on how dropshipping in South Africa works as well as topics on this subject will be answered in this post, which include the following:

What is dropshipping and how does it work?

As you can clearly see from the dropshipping model illustrated above, one can define dropshipping as a process whereby merchants (you as an online store owner) purchase products from suppliers (warehousing for inventory) as customers (people visiting your online store in need of your products) make or place orders from your online store. In other words, you (merchant) do not keep inventory or stock in your own warehouse, you simply place orders from your suppliers as soon as your customers have completed a purchase from your store. Sounds simple right? Yes, that's all there is to it.

Does dropshipping work in South Africa?

Yes, dropshipping does work in South Africa. As a matter of fact, dropshipping works anywhere in the world. It is only a matter of acquiring the right knowledge and tools to make it work wherever you are. Fortunately, I will be sharing some important and useful platforms and tools you can use in order to start your dropshipping business from anywhere in the world, especially in South Africa.

Is dropshipping legal in South Africa?

The answer to this question is simple. Yes, dropshipping is legal in South Africa. Just treat it as a serious business, just like you would do with a physical store.

How to start dropshipping in South Africa

First and foremost, let me share this important information with anyone interested in starting a dropshipping business in South Africa. I have conducted a thorough research on the subject and have come to realize that many South Africans are interested in learning how to make money online. With that being said, I thought I should share some of the information and knowledge I have on the subject with anyone interested in starting a dropshipping business in South Africa. Am I qualified to do this? Yes, I have my own women's online clothing store which is currently LIVE as a dropshipping business.

The best way to start dropshipping in South Africa includes the following important steps, which I will reiterate or explain further in details within this post:

  1. Researching a market or a niche (works well with what you are passionate about).

  2. Find or create products to sell (this is where your passion plays an important role).

  3. Creating a website (eCommerce site) to sell your products on.

  4. Link a payment gateway (an electronic wallet) to receive payments.

  5. Send potential customers (drive website traffic) to your website.

We are now going to explore each topic mentioned above so that you may have an understanding of how to start a dropshipping business in South Africa. Let's dive into it.

Researching a market or a niche (works well with what you are passionate about).

One of the best ways to research a market or a niche is by identifying your passion and interests. This might seem like an odd, strange and difficult thing to do, but I can assure you that this is the easiest step and basis of starting any type of business. Every person has something they are passionate about, they are simply unaware that it is the very thing they can use to start a business. I have heard many people speak of 'researching the market' without explaining what the whole process entails. It all starts with you. Please do not take this advice for granted, it is one of the many reasons why you have been struggling all this time. I am here to tell you that your struggle ends here, with you. Do not research any market, you are the market you want to research.

Ask yourself this one question: What is the one thing you would do without getting paid for it? If you are still struggling with an answer to this question, think of one thing that makes you happy and joyful when doing it, a hobby like cooking, playing soccer, netball, baking, playing video games or travelling for example. Many people know how to do all these things and actually have their own secret recipes, tips and tricks that they should be sharing with the world. You see, you have been doing these things all this time without getting paid for it! Even if you don't have products of your own, you can still sell other people's products relating to your passion (niche) and earn what is called referral commissions from them ( I will shortly explain more on how this works, just keep reading).

In a nutshell, you are the market you need to research.

Find or create products to sell (this is where your passion plays an important role).

I think the best way to help you find a product to sell is by providing you with a real example. Let's take soccer for example as an interest, which could be something you are passionate about and know a lot that has to do with it. You know the names of many soccer players and their respective teams, their jerseys and so other words, you know everything about soccer. How do you turn your knowledge about soccer into a dropshipping business? Well, there are plenty of suppliers for soccer kits such as boots, scarves, t-shirts, shirts, shorts and so forth. As far as you are concerned, you can even go deeper in this niche by being more specific by simply selling only soccer boots in your dropshipping store.

With the above being said, we have now come to a point of finding suppliers for your products. Fortunately, there is a solution to finding a multitude of already sourced suppliers in one location. As I mentioned earlier, I have conducted an extensive research on the subject of dropshipping in South Africa and have come to realize that one of the easiest ways to start this type of business in South Africa is by using a platform or company called Dropstore. (You may click the image below and learn more about Dropstore)

What is Dropstore?

Dropstore is a marketplace designed for South Africans to make it easy to find awesome products to sell online. This is the beauty of a dropshipping business model. You don't have to own any product in order for you to own an online store. Yes, this is the simple truth to dropshipping. One thing you need to remember when registering with Dropstore is this: if you would like to become an online store owner, you will register as a merchant and if you would like to become a supplier (of products for merchants) you will obviously register as a supplier.

Creating a website (eCommerce site) to sell your products on.

The obvious route to take for anyone who is not familiar with website creation platforms such as WordPress and the likes of Shopify is to get a ready-made store.

Advantages of using Dropstore to create a website

  • One of the many advantages of using Dropstore for your dropshipping business as a South African is that this marketplace is made for South Africans. This simply means shipping times are much shorter than they would be if you were ordering an item or a product from overseas suppliers for your customers.

  • Dropstore offers an option to purchase a ready-made store packed full of relevant products relating to your niche. Yes, this is not a typo. If you’re looking for the simplest, fastest way to start selling right away, then consider getting a ready built website from Dstore.

  • You can literally start selling or sharing your store links with potential customers on your social media platforms in less than a few hours of purchasing or creating your store.

  • You can have your dropshipping business launched in one hour.

  • There are multiple product categories to choose from, making it almost impossible for you not to find something along the lines of your preferred niche choice.

  • Dropstore works with either WordPress or Shopify.

Disadvantages of using Dropstore

  • We could not find any disadvantages of using Dropstore, except the obvious fact that many people do not have the technical knowledge of setting up their own online stores. Nevertheless, Dropstore also offers their services of providing a fully customized (ready-made) ecommerce websites hosted through their platform, but this also comes at a cost.

For more information on how to get started with dropshipping through Dropstore, simply head over to Dropstore, take your time and go through the platform, engage in a LIVE chat with one of their customer service and support agents who are always ready to assist.

Link a payment gateway (an electronic wallet) to receive payments

This is one of most important steps in any online business since it involves a merchant's way of receiving payments from customers buying products from their online store. There are many payment gateways with the most popular one for South African being Payfast. Simply register with them as you will need to connect a payment gateway with your online store. Another payment gateway you can use if you're planning to accept international payments is PayPal. These payment gateways are simply a link between your online store and local bank account. You will have to link your payment gateway with your bank account for withdrawal purposes.

Send potential customers (drive website traffic) to your dropshipping online store.

Although this might sound like an easy thing to do, it is probably one of the most difficult things to do, especially if you did not do your 'market research' as explained in the precious passages. Sending or driving potential customers, what is called website traffic in web-language can be done in many different ways.

As long as you send targeted traffic to your online store, regardless of how you have done it, you are well on your way to success. Paid advertising is one the fasted ways to send immediate, targeted traffic to your dropshipping store. This can be done through Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn advertising. Word of mouth is still another way of advertising. Search Engine Optimization is also one way of driving organic traffic to your dropshipping store.

How much does it cost to start a dropshipping business in South Africa?

The initial cost of setting up your own online store in South Africa can range from R100 for a basic eCommerce online shop, through to R2000 for an eCommerce store with premium themes and plugins. The running cost will range from R100 to R600 per month.

How to start a dropshipping business from anywhere in the world.

The most common way to start a dropshipping business from anywhere in the world is through Shopify and suppliers from Aliexpress. The reason why I left this subject to be discussed at the end of this post is because dropshipping through Aliexpress for South Africans isn't such a great idea due to high shipping costs from China suppliers to South Africa. You need to have extensive experience and skills to make your dropshipping through Aliexpress work as a South African. In other words, you must have the skills needed to search for suppliers who are willing to supply products to South Africa at affordable rates.

I have learned that most suppliers on Aliexpress do not ship to South Africa, while others charge shipping rates which are much higher than wholesale prices. This is one of the reasons why my online stores do not ship to South Africa.

How dropshipping using Aliexpress suppliers and Shopify works

As I mentioned earlier in this post, lack of knowledge is the only barrier between you and your successful online business. It is very easy to setup an ecommerce store using Aliexpress and Shopify. All you need to get started is a Shopify basic plan with a store, a clear picture of what products from Aliexpress you would like to sell in your store and lastly, an app called Oberlo which helps in automating the importation of products from Aliexpress into your Shopify online store.

As far as Shopify is concerned, I would like to mention that I also offer services of assisting others with their Shopify store creation, for free. So, if you would like me to create a Shopify online store for you, do not hesitate to contact me.


Allow me to thank you for visiting our blog. Hopefully, you found the information I shared with you as valuable as I think it is. I will keep updating this post as I gather more relevant information around the web.

Click here to start your dropshipping business in South Africa with Dropstore, while it's also an option that if you’re looking for the simplest, fastest way to start selling right away, then consider getting your ready-made dropshipping store by clicking here!

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