A guide to starting a successful dropshipping business in South Africa

A guide to starting a successful dropshipping business in South Africa

Dropshipping in South Africa is still a new concept, a lot of people don’t know how to go about it. This is my experience after building a dropshipping store in South Africa. In this guide you are going to learn how to start a dropshipping business in South Africa and also learn from my experiences.

I started a dropshipping store selling luxury items like watches, expensive phones, expensive clothing. It was not easy at first, YouTube marketers make it seem like this is a get quick rich scheme. It’s not, making money with dropshipping is not easy, it requires a lot of hard work. The good thing about this business is that you don’t spend a lot for setting up, nowhere near as you would with a traditional store or an ordinary online store. You don’t spend money on inventory, you are basically selling things that you don’t own, this is easy because your buyers don’t have to touch the products before buying them, they only have to see a visual representation of them.

What is drop shipping

Drop shipping is a form of retail business wherein the seller accepts customer orders without keeping the stock on hand. The seller then transfers the order details of the customer to the manufacture or supplier who then ships the products directly to the customer.

Is drop shipping profitable?

Drop shipping can be a very good business when done correctly. However, most people underestimate the effort and hard work that is needed to make this business successful. Drop shipping has very low profit margins, which is what most people who are “successful dropshippers” won’t tell you.

You might have seen some people post screenshots of the amount of money they make with drop shipping and it just seems too good to be true, in most cases it is. Here is an example, let’s say an Iphone 11 costs R13 000 in South Africa and you find one priced at R11 500 overseas and decide to drop ship it.

Assuming that you price the phone at R13 000, you will likely spend around R600 on ads before getting any sale. Shipping costs might be around R300. This means in reality your profit will be around R600. This is why a screenshot of R13 000 will be very misleading, because it gives the impression that you have made R13k while in reality you made R600.

1) Build a website

You can’t dropship without a website, you will need to have a website. This is the website that you will use as an online store. This is where people will buy and you will handle everything. There are lot of options for E-commerce stores, a lot of people use WooCommerce or Shopify, but you have other options like Magento. In my personal experience, WooCommerce is the best, it gives you a level of control over your business that you don’t get with a Shopify store.

A WooCommerce store in South Africa costs anywhere between R6000 and R50 000, depending on what you want. Promta web services offers it at R6 500, they are one of the best when it comes to building E-commerce sites. You will need to build your website before doing anything else. Your website should fit the theme of what you are going to dropship, you can basically dropship everything on Amazon, AliExpress, and eBay.

2) Join a dropshipping platform

I personally use ShopMaster; it is completely free. These programs just make it much easier to dropship, at first, I used to go to AliExpress then download the images of the products I wanted to dropship then added them to my online store alongside with information. This is a very painstaking process. A dropshipping program allows you to just import all that information to your site with a few clicks. That way you can important hundreds of items in a very short space of time.

3) Import products

When using ShopMaster you will just need to make a few configurations with your site then go to any E-commerce store that they allow dropshipping for and just copy and paste the URL. Import all the products you like, you might want to change their descriptions a bit, it shouldn’t be obvious to your customers that you are dropshipping. A dropshipping program also keeps track of the items you drop shipped, when they are out of stock, they will automatically be out of stock in your website too.

You will have an option to increase the prices and add your own variations and customization.

4) Start selling

This is the difficult part, it’s hard to get traffic for any website. You will need to find a way to direct people to your website to see your products and ultimately buy. A lot of drop shippers make use of Ads to attract people, you can use Facebook ads, Google ads or Pinterest ads. Google and Pinterest are probably your best bet. It easy to setup a dropshipping store, the problem comes when trying to sell to people. Your website is not like Takealot, people don’t know it, so they don’t just come to your website to browse.

It’s also incredibly difficult to rank on Google for your products, it might take close to 2 years to really get traffic from Google. This is because Google won’t just send people to your site, what if they get scammed and you deactivate the site soon after collecting money. You need to prove that you are trustworthy first. You will need to advertise your business for that to happen.


This guide is packed with everything you need to know when trying to start a dropshipping business in South Africa. For my online store, I have picked on the most profitable product and I focus on advertising it. Follow these steps and you will be able to successfully start a dropshipping business in South Africa. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hi
    Thank you for this, you explanations of dropshipping and the tips were easy to understand and gave a pretty good high level view of what one needs to do to have a solid dropshipping business, thanks for taking time to write and publish your knowledge on this.

  2. Good Day

    Any more information on dropshipping?

    Like what is needed for the tax part of the process?


    1. Hey John, taxation works exactly the same as with any other business, you don’t have to worry much about tax, SARS will contact you when you make enough money to pop up on their radar. You are generally safe as long as you make less than R120k per year

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