How to set up your dropshipping business

May 13 2021 | PayPal editorial staff

How do you choose which products to sell? How do you create a new ecommerce store from scratch? Leap Vista CEO Steve Tan guides us through market research and setting up your store in his latest video.
To learn more about what is Dropshipping, read the first part of our dropshipper series, How you can reach the world with a dropshipping business and finally, How to grow your dropshipping business with new markets and strategies.

If you decide what you’re going to sell before settling on a name or launching your site, you can then choose a name, logo and site design that best suit your product.

In his latest videos, Steve looks at how to research products and markets and how to quickly set up your new store.
 

How to start your market and product research.

“When it comes to building a profitable dropshipping business, choosing the right product and [market] is the most important piece of the puzzle,” Steve says. It’s also often “the most challenging part of starting a new online business for most aspiring entrepreneurs.”

An easy first step, he says, is to check out top online sellers like Amazon, eBay and AliExpress to see what sells (and what doesn’t) on those sites.

To estimate market size, Steve suggests some free online tools you can use.

Once you have a shortlist of potential products, you can consider Steve's 5 quick tips for making your final product decisions:
 
  1. Trending products are ideal,
  2. Go for products that solve an underlying issue of pain point,
  3. Look for innovative products,
  4. Choose products that are not readily available locally,
  5. Avoid bulky or heavy products.
Watch Steve's video to hear how to get started with market and product research:
 

You can read more about finding international markets to target in the free PayPal ebook, How to Sell Internationally.
 

4 steps to setting up your store.

Once you have decided what to sell, you’ll need to set up your store.

In his next video, Steve gives advice and top tips on 4 steps to get your new store up and running:
 
  1. Decide on a business name – choose a memorable name for your business, make sure it’s not already trade-marked and check that a .com domain is available for it.
  2. Design your logo – your logo is often what customers remember, so take time to create a design that represents your business vision and mission using the free tools Steve suggests.
  3. Create your online store – you can create your online stores in just a few clicks using ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce and BigCommerce.
  4. Set up store payments – with ecommerce you can sell around the world, so choose a payment partner, like PayPal, that can support your international sales.
 

“When you’re selling globally, you need a good payment partner to help you set up payments internationally,” Steve says. “One key thing that sets PayPal apart from other competitors is that they have really good fraud protection. With PayPal Seller Protection1 you can sell with confidence because you know can have protection from fake chargebacks, claims, disputes and reversals. I highly recommend PayPal to all online sellers who want to start selling globally.”

For more advice on setting up an ecommerce store, check out this article, Why you need your own ecommerce website.
 

How PayPal supports your dropshipping business

With over 360 million customers worldwide, PayPal makes it easier to build customer trust and to sell internationally. And, as Steve says, PayPal also offers seller protection.

PayPal helps dropshipping businesses in other ways, too:
 
  • Making payments and managing cashflow- Many businesses use PayPal to pay product suppliers and marketing partners. In the fast-moving world of dropshipping, PayPal provides a fast, simple and secure way to invest in business growth.
  • Streamlining operations- PayPal’s built-in analytics and reporting give you a clear view of sales performance and provide one place to manage your business activity – sales, payments and any disputes.
You can find the PayPal Dropshipping site here.
 
1Available on eligible purchases. Limits Apply.
 

Frequently asked questions.

PayPal invoices are easy to create. Just enter your customer’s email address. Then add an item with its quantity and amount. Add as many items as you like. You can include personalized notes, terms and conditions, discounts, or any attachments your customer might need.
When you’re finished, click Preview to see how your invoice will look for your customer.
 

How do I send invoices?

You can send PayPal invoices to any email address in the world. When your invoice is ready, just click or tap the Send button and PayPal’s platform will send an email notification with a secure link to the invoice directly to your customer. If they have a PayPal account, your customer will also receive notifications about the invoice when they log into their account.
 

How do I share invoice links?

You can also share links to invoices directly with your customers. On the desktop experience, click Share link to invoice under the Send action. You’ll get a link that lets your customer view and pay the invoice. You can copy the link and your invoice becomes payable. Then share it by email, text, or messaging app. Because invoices contain your customers’ personal information, don’t share the invoice link on a public site.
To share the link again, copy it from your list of invoices by clicking the three-dot icon for the invoice. Or get the link by opening up the invoice details.
 

How do I send invoices to multiple customers?

Send the same invoice to up to 100 customers by clicking Multiple customers and entering each email address in the Bill to field. We’ll send a separate, payable invoice to each customer.
 

How do I import a batch of invoices?

Create and send a batch of multiple invoices by importing a CSV file. Use our spreadsheet template to fill out the invoice details for each customer. For each invoice, include a customer email address, item name, and item amount. After you import the spreadsheet file, you can view a summary of the imported invoices before sending them. Once you send the file, we’ll email each customer a secure link to pay their invoice. For customer security, PayPal limits the number of invoices you can send in a single day.
Learn more about batch invoices.

Can I manage PayPal Invoicing from my mobile?

You can create, send, and manage invoices on both desktop computers and mobile phones. You can also send and manage invoices on the go with the PayPal Business mobile app. Get the mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play. Learn more.
 

What are quick invoices?

Quick invoices let you send easy, professional payment requests on your mobile phone. They streamline invoice creation so you can quickly share a link to an invoice with your customer. Your customer will still get a professional invoice including your default business information.

On a mobile phone web browser:

1. Log into PayPal and go to your invoices.
2. Tap on the button icon in the lower right.
3. Choose Send a quick invoice, enter an amount, and payment description.
4. Tap Create and Share Link.
5. When your invoice link is ready, tap Share Link, and then share it by email, text, or messaging app.
 
On the PayPal Business mobile app:

1. Tap on the lightning bolt-shaped Quick Actions icon in the lower right.
2. Choose Send a Quick Invoice and follow prompts.
3. Tap Create and Share Link, then share it by email, text, or messaging app.
4. Tap Done.
 

How do invoices for shippable items work?

If you’re shipping an item or need your customer to give a shipping address, check the Ship Order box when you’re creating your invoice. You can then add any shipping costs. When your customer pays, you’ll be able to add tracking information when you ship their order.
 

How do I schedule recurring invoices?

You can set invoices to repeat weekly, monthly, yearly, or at a custom interval. When you start a recurring series of invoices, the customer will immediately receive the first invoice. (You also can schedule the recurring series to start at a future date.) The following invoices in the series will issue around 7:00 AM in your time zone according to frequency that you set.
 

Can I cancel a recurring invoice series?

 You can cancel a single invoice within a recurring series or the entire series of invoices. To cancel an invoice, tap the three-dot icon for the invoice within your list of invoices. You can also cancel the invoice from its details page. When you cancel an invoice within a recurring series, we’ll ask if you want to cancel the single invoice or the entire series.
 

How do I send invoices across national borders?

There’s no extra step to send invoices across national borders. You can send PayPal invoices to any email address in the world.
If your customer has a PayPal account, we’ll display the invoice and email notification in their preferred language. If your customer doesn’t have a PayPal account, we’ll send the invoice and notification email in the language of your account. You can also specify a different language by editing your customer’s contact info when you create the invoice.
Fees vary by country or region. See seller fees.

* The below information applies to Business accounts only.

How do I enable subscriptions for my business? 
Can I temporarily pause an active subscription? 
What changes can customers make to their own subscription plans? 
Can I enable subscriptions on my social media sites?
How do I track overall performance of my subscription business?   
What features are included in a PayPal subscription plan?    
Can I update the price of all active subscriptions in a particular plan at once?  
Does PayPal provide real-time webhooks for payment status? 
Can I modify the PayPal Smart Payment Button layout and color format to match the look of my website? 
Can I enable credit card, bank account and other payment method options for my subscribers?  
Can I generate API credentials for integrating subscriptions? 
Can I create a PayPal Sandbox account to test and integrate subscriptions? 
What happens when a subscription payment fails? 


How do I enable subscriptions for my business?  

You can enable subscriptions using one of 3 methods:  
  1. PayPal Subscription Dashboard and Smart Payment Button (SDK)
  • Go to your Subscriptions.
  • Click Create Plan and enter your subscription details.  
  • When finished, click Save Plan and Turn on Plan.
  • Click Generate Code and Copy Code to copy and paste the Smart Payment Button HTML/JS code to your website.
  1. Subscription REST APIs
  • Generate your API credentials through the PayPal developer portal.
  • Use the create plan API to produce and activate your subscription plan.
  • Use the PayPal JavaScript SDK to add the PayPal subscribe button to your website
  1. Sell on Social subscription weblink
  • Go to your Subscriptions.
  • Click Create Plan and enter your subscription details.  
  • When finished, click Save Plan and Turn on Plan.
  • Click Generate Link and Copy Link to copy and paste the weblink and add it to your social media platform.

Can I temporarily pause an active subscription? 

Yes. To pause a subscription, follow these steps:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Select the subscription profile.   
  3. Select the button next to "Paused".
You can also reactivate a subscription following the steps above and selecting the button next to "Active". 

Note: PayPal doesn't charge customers for subscriptions that are paused.  
 

What changes can customers make to their own subscription plans? 

Customers can modify their existing subscription quantity. The subscription price will be based on the new quantity.
 
Customers can also switch plans for the same product. The billing and pricing terms of the new plan will take effect during the next cycle.
 

Can I enable subscriptions on my social media sites?

Yes. You can enable subscriptions on social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. Here's how:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Click Create Plan and enter your subscription details.  
  3. When finished, click Save Plan and Turn on Plan.
  4. Click Generate Link and Copy Link to copy and paste the weblink and add it to your social media platform.

How do I track overall performance of my subscription business?  

You can track performance through various metrics on the dashboard. Here's how:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Click Overview.
The overview page allows you to view cumulative revenue and total subscriptions count for your business. You can also compare the performance of different subscription plans by churn rate, monthly recurring revenue and customer lifetime value.
 

What features are included in a PayPal subscription plan?    

You can choose from multiple features to customize subscription plans and pricing, including:
 
Cross-border subscriptions. Define subscription plans in different currencies to enable cross-border subscriptions. The customer will be charged in the currency you configure.
 
Promotional trial cycles. Offer free or discounted trial cycles to your subscribers by defining trial periods for subscription plans. You can define up to 2 trial periods and set discounted pricing.
 
Example: A merchant offering video streaming service configures a subscription plan at $0 for the first month, $4.99 per month for the next 2 months and $9.99 per month onward.
 
One-time setup fee. Define a one-time setup fee for any registration or configuration purpose.
 
Example: A merchant charges a $10 registration fee to enroll in gym and yoga classes, normally priced at $50 per month.
 
Negotiated or discounted prices. Customize any subscription at a negotiated or discounted price to certain customers.
 
Example: An educational institute typically offers online tuition classes at $10 per month but offers a discounted price of $8 per month to a specific student.
 

Can I offer tier-based pricing to my subscribers?  

Yes. You can define volume-based and tier-based pricing models for your subscription plans.  
 
Example: A merchant offering helpdesk services and live technician support defines a tier-based plan at $20 per technician for the first 10 technicians, $18 per technician for the next 10 technicians and $15 per technician after that. If a subscriber requires 30 technicians, the subscription price will be: $20x10+$18x10 + $15x10 = $530 per month.
 

Can I update the price of all active subscriptions in a particular plan at once?  

Yes. You can update the price of all active subscriptions by updating the price of the original subscription plan.
 
Example: If you update the price of a 'standard' plan from $20 per month to $25 per month, then all existing and new subscriptions under the 'standard' plan will be charged $25 per month from the next effective billing cycle.
 

Does PayPal provide real-time webhooks for payment status? 

Yes. PayPal provides webhooks for all payment and lifecycle activities. To track payment status, your platform must be set up to listen to the webhooks.
 

Can I modify the PayPal Smart Payment Button layout and color format to match the look of my website? 

Yes. To change the look of the PayPal Smart Payment Button, follow these steps:
  1. Go to your Subscriptions.
  2. Click Subscription plans.
  3. Click the 3 dots to the right of the plan you want to update and select "Copy code".
  4. Click Copy Code to copy and paste the button code into any editor and make your changes. 

Can I enable credit card, bank account and other payment method options for my subscribers?  

Yes. PayPal supports full stack payments capabilities including:
  • PayPal
  • Credit/debit card and bank account via the guest flow for non-PayPal customers
  • Unbranded or white-labeled card support (via API only)

Can I generate API credentials for integrating subscriptions? 

Yes. You can generate API credentials through the PayPal developer portal.
 

Can I create a PayPal Sandbox account to test and integrate subscriptions? 

Yes. You can create a PayPal Sandbox account through the PayPal developer portal.  
 

What happens when a subscription payment fails? 

If a subscription payment fails at the start of the billing cycle, we'll try the payment again every 5 days for a maximum of two retries until the next billing cycle.
 
If the second payment attempt fails, we'll increment the failed payment count by 1, place the failed payment amount in the customer's outstanding balance and add the amount owed to the next billing cycle.
 
You can also set a failure threshold for subscription plans. We'll pause the subscription if the customer exceeds the failure threshold.
 
You can capture an outstanding balance at any time. You might want to do this if the failure threshold is met and the subscription is suspended.
At PayPal, we put your privacy first. As a trusted global payments company, we not only protect your data, we respect it. To accomplish that, we do more than just comply with privacy regulations. We integrate a privacy-first approach mindset into all our products and services. 

PayPal’s Privacy Statement describes PayPal’s information collection practices, and how we use, store, disclose, and protect that information. The Privacy Statement applies to the PayPal website and all related sites, applications, services, and tools regardless of the device or method you use to access those platforms.

You accept the Privacy Statement when you sign up for, access, or use our products, services, content, features, technologies, or functions. Learn more about our PayPal Privacy Statement.

The following companies are in PayPal’s family of products and are covered by our Privacy Statement: PayPal, Inc. and Xoom.

The following are PayPal-owned companies who have their own privacy statements: Venmo, Honey, Zettle, Simility, Hyperwallet. 

Yes. Once you've confirmed your email address and your PayPal account is activated, you can start receiving payments without being verified.

For more information about how to verify your PayPal account, here's a video to help you out:

The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. The information in this article does not constitute legal, financial, IT, business or investment advice of any kind and is not a substitute for any professional advice. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, IT and legal advice before making any business decision.