Best ecommerce platforms for dropshipping 2022

Demand for dropshipping functionality on ecommerce platforms is at an all-time high. Let us help you pick the best choice for your business with this in-depth review.

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0 out of 0
Platform
Best for
Price from
Hosted or self hosted

Shopify

WooCommerce

Magento

BigCommerce

OpenCart

Dropshipping beginners who want a simple and easy user experience, with expansive sales features

Users wanting a free and easy-to-install ecommerce platform that will get them operating as quickly as possible

Advanced users who already have experience using an ecommerce platform to run a dropshipping business

Using multiple channels to promote the products in your dropshipping store

Dropshipping business owners with experience in website building, who want to get going with minimal outgoing and support costs

£20 per month

Free

Varies – full breakdown in the pricing section

£22 per month

Free

Hosted

Self-hosted

Self-hosted

Hosted

Self-hosted

Based on our in-depth research, there are three clear winners standing on the best ecommerce platforms for dropshipping podium:

Shopify – best for dropshipping beginners who want a simple and easy user experience, with expansive sales features
WooCommerce – the best choice for users wanting a free and easy-to-install plugin that will get them operating as quickly as possible
Magento – best for advanced users who have experience in building and designing an ecommerce store

But the important question is, regardless of our expert opinion and research, are you making the right choice for your business?

These providers aren’t the only game in town – BigCommerce and OpenCart also have fantastic dropshipping store solutions.

Or, if you want to carry out further research, read on for our review of the best ecommerce platforms for dropshipping stores. We’ll also give you some top tips on choosing the service most suited to your business’s needs, and explain the differences between a hosted vs self-hosted ecommerce platform.

Shopify

Shopify
4.6
Shopify’s superb features and extensive app market give ambitious ecommerce businesses everything they need to scale rapidly.
  • FREE TRIAL 14-day free trial
  • PRICE FROM Approx £21 per month
  • Preempts and predicts what a merchant might need next in all aspects of creating a website
  • Best range of apps and extensions
  • Perfect for dropshipping
Summary Shopify is perfect for users looking for that all in one online store solution. Its ability to predict what a merchant will need next when creating a website is a brilliant feature, and its countless apps give you complete control over your business, enabling you to grow through diverse multi channel integration options and automated SMS and email marketing. It is definitely better suited to store owners with complex, larger inventories and because there are fewer built in features, using the platform can get expensive compared to other feature-filled competitors like Squarespace and Wix.
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Best for: dropshipping beginners who want a simple and easy user experience, with expansive sales features

Pricing from: £20 per month

Features

Shopify takes the title of the most user-friendly platform, particularly for beginners. In our recent round of in-depth ecommerce product research, Shopify earned second place overall with an impressive score of 4.6/5.

But why is Shopify the ideal ecommerce platform for dropshipping in particular? For starters, of the dropshipping-specific platforms, it is certainly the most user-friendly and easiest to navigate – especially compared to the more complex platforms like Magento.

Shopify was also designed specifically to help you build an online store – it even suggests specific add-ons and plugins from its app market depending on the type of template (AKA online store format) you select when creating your website.

Here are some of the top dropshipping features you’ll get with Shopify:

  • Unlimited inventory allowance
  • Stock management
  • Revenue reports
  • Multiple product variants
  • Comprehensive fraud detection abilities

Shopify also has some of the strongest sales features available for users, which is perfect since the basis of a dropshipping business is to make it as streamlined and simple as possible for consumers to purchase products from your website.

These features include multi-channel integration options for selling across a number of platforms, including Instagram, Amazon and Facebook. There’s also customisable checkout, plus excellent sales analytics tools that provide granular data and actionable insights on your customers behaviour.

Shopify hosts your website for free, eliminating the need to purchase an expensive server. Instead, you’ll just pay a monthly fee to access and manage your site. After all, the whole point of running a dropshipping business is to minimise overheads.

Shopify dropshipping: pros and cons

Pros:
  • Huge range of apps makes it easy to acquire and manage your inventory
  • Comprehensive range of POS (point of sale) options
  • Great for creating product categories
  • Very easy to use and set up
Cons:
  • Some core functions will require third-party apps
  • No specialist supplier network, so you need to carry out background checks yourself

What other benefits do you get when using Shopify for your dropshipping store? 

We’ve put together a Shopify Dropshipping guide for small UK businesses to give you more information.

Pricing

0 out of 0
Ecommerce Plan
Price
Plan main features

Basic Shopify

Shopify

Advanced

$29 per month (approximately £21)

$79 per month (approximately £58)

$299 per month (approximately £220)

Unlimited products
Abandoned cart recovery
Online credit rates: 2.2% + 20p

Professional reports and analytics
5 staff accounts
Online credit rates: 1.9% + 20p

Advanced reports
Calculated shipping rates
Online credit rates: 1.6% + 20p


WooCommerce

WooCommerce WooCommerce is best for users wanting a free and easy-to-install ecommerce platform that will get them operating as quickly as possible
  • Pricing from Free
  • Dropshipping-specific extensions
  • Mobile app
  • Freedom and flexibility to tweak everything on your site
Summary WooCommerce is one of the most commonly used dropshipping ecommerce platforms worldwide. This is largely due to how easy it is to install the plugin and begin selling entirely for free. It uses a simple GUI (graphical user interface) that adds real value to a user’s experience. In other words, you don’t have to be a programming expert to make changes and add elements to your site. Because it’s built on WordPress, it’s also a solid choice for bloggers who want to become dropshipping entrepreneurs. A huge bonus of WooCommerce is that it's free, and as the appeal of starting a dropshipping business is keeping costs as low as possible, WooCommerce is certainly helping the cause. Keep in mind that, although the platform itself is free, WooCommerce is self-hosted. This means you’ll have to either be a tech whizz and set up your own server, or purchase a hosting account from the likes of Bluehost or HostGator.
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Best for – Users wanting a free and easy-to-install ecommerce platform that will get them operating as quickly as possible

Pricing from – free

Features

WooCommerce is one of the most commonly used dropshipping ecommerce platforms worldwide. This is largely due to how easy it is to install the plugin and begin selling entirely for free.

It uses a simple GUI (graphical user interface) that adds real value to a user’s experience. In other words, you don’t have to be a programming expert to make changes and add elements to your site. Because it’s built on WordPress, it’s also a solid choice for bloggers who want to become dropshipping entrepreneurs.

A huge bonus of WooCommerce is that it's free, and as the appeal of starting a dropshipping business is keeping costs as low as possible, WooCommerce is certainly helping the cause.

Keep in mind that, although the platform itself is free, WooCommerce is self-hosted. This means you’ll have to either be a tech whizz and set up your own server, or purchase a hosting account from the likes of Bluehost or HostGator. So don’t put your credit card away just yet…

What else do I need to use WooCommerce?

  • A server or hosting account
  • WordPress
  • Payment gateway extensions to facilitate card payments
  • A domain name and SSL certificate

Here are some of the top dropshipping features you’ll get with WooCommerce:

  • Flexibility: you’ll have the freedom to tweak everything on your site and set it exactly how you want it, from product catalogues to the payment details section.
  • Mobile app: this allows you to run your store from anywhere. You can process orders, monitor real-time stats and create products on the go.
  • Dropshipping-specific extensions: these are available in WooCommerce’s extension store. There’s even an integration with AliExpress (a major and popular dropshipping supplier) to help make dropshipping easy and hassle free.

What are dropshipping extensions?

Dropshipping extensions are store management tools. They make selling easier by adding several tailored features to your ecommerce site, which help you manage your online store and improve sales.

WooCommerce pros and cons:

Pros:
  • Amazing level of support available online to help you use the platform, with a widespread community of expert designers and developers
  • WooCommerce is free to install, whereas other competitors will charge you a monthly or annual fee
  • Multiple add-ons are available for free, including WooCommerce Payments, which you’ll need to install before you can start making any money!
Cons:
  • Because it’s self-hosted, you will need some degree of technical skill and experience in web design if you want to make any big changes to your store.
  • Some extensions that will help grow your business are pricey, so although WooCommerce seems like a cheap option, once you begin to scale it will get more expensive

Pricing

  • WooCommerce platform = free
  • Hosting costs = £90 annally (on average)
  • Domain = £11 annually

Magento

Magento Magento is best for advanced users who already have experience using an ecommerce platform to run a dropshipping business
  • Pricing from Varies
  • Platform is free to download
  • Large number of payment gateway options
  • Order management features
Summary It is safe to say that out of all the top ecommerce platforms for dropshipping stores, Magento is the most sophisticated and professional. Like WooCommerce, Magento is an open source ecommerce system. This means that it is constantly being improved by a community of developers, and can employ more advanced technical solutions compared to hosted ecommerce platforms that are updated a lot less frequently. This makes Magento great for creating a professional, slick online store with immaculate design functionality. If you want the flexibility to add practically any type of feature to your site, look no further than Magento OpenSource. It is the perfect platform for dropshipping businesses that are in it for the long run, and is certainly the most scalable platform on the market. This is pretty impressive considering it is free to download. Just keep in mind that, despite the platform itself being free to download, the costs of getting set up are very high compared to other platforms.
Show moreless

Best for: advanced users who already have experience using an ecommerce platform to run a dropshipping business

Pricing from: Varies – full breakdown in the pricing section

Features

It is safe to say that out of all the top ecommerce platforms for dropshipping stores, Magento is the most sophisticated and professional. Like WooCommerce, Magento is an open source ecommerce system.

This means that it is constantly being improved by a community of developers, and can employ more advanced technical solutions compared to hosted ecommerce platforms that are updated a lot less frequently.

This makes Magento great for creating a professional, slick online store with immaculate design functionality. If you want the flexibility to add practically any type of feature to your site, look no further than Magento OpenSource.

It is the perfect platform for dropshipping businesses that are in it for the long run, and is certainly the most scalable platform on the market. This is pretty impressive considering it is free to download.

Just keep in mind that, despite the platform itself being free to download, the costs of getting set up are very high compared to other platforms.

This is because, even when selecting a ready-made Magento template for your website, you still need to give the team of Magento developers time to tailor the web pages to your preferences.

You have to pay them by the hour, and on average, they’ll need to spend at least 40 hours adjusting the main pages – which will cost you a hefty £1,300.

Here are some of the top dropshipping features you’ll get with Magento Open Source:

  • A huge number of payment gateway integration options. This means customers are never hampered by a lack of payment options
  • An impressive set of order management features, including assisted shopping and customised order status
  • Impressive catalogue management for your products. You can create different price points for different customer groups, such as wholesalers and retailers.

Magento pros and cons

Pros:
  • The platform itself is free to download
  • Hugely customisable – can add any feature you want (as long as you know how to)
  • The most scalable platform on the market
  • Because it’s open source, the platform is constantly being improved and upgraded
  • Because it’s open source, the platform is constantly being improved and upgraded
Cons:
  • Despite the platform being free, additional costs (including Magento site developer costs) actually make Magento one of the most expensive dropshipping platforms available
  • Magento isn’t a simple ecommerce platform to work with. You’ll need at least some coding knowledge to get started
  • Support is very limited unless you have lots of money to spend on the expensive Enterprise package

Pricing

Magento pricing is hard to calculate accurately, as the costs can vary when it comes to website design and development. But we have summarised the costs as well as we can.

  • Hosting – £75–£350 annually
  • Web design – £0 if applying a ready-made Magento theme. A custom theme can cost up to £3,600, depending on how long it takes Magento’s developers to create it.
  • Minimum website development cost – £1,300

BigCommerce

BigCommerce
4.2
With the most comprehensive range of sales features around, BigCommerce gives you everything you need to create a fully-optimised online store
  • Free trial 15-day
  • Price from £22 per month
  • Quality in-built sales features
  • Excellent SEO support
  • Great for scaling businesses
Summary BigCommerce is the big budget option for small businesses with big ambitions. Its plans range from £21.83/month to £218.60/month. Quite pricey, but for that you’re getting access to the most extensive range of high-quality, in-built sales features on the market. The costlier the plan, the more advanced the functionality, of course – you also increase your sales allowance. This ranges from an upper limit of $50,000 on the Standard plan to a maximum of $400,000 on the Pro plan. And if your sales are likely to be higher than that, BigCommerce offers custom enterprise solutions. Just get in touch with its sales team to find out more.
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Best for: using multiple channels to promote the products in your dropshipping store

Pricing from: £22 per month

Features

Like Shopify, BigCommerce is a hosted ecommerce platform that excels in the sales features department. In our latest round of ecommerce research, it achieved an overall score of 4.2 out of 5, largely due to its multi-channel selling capabilities.

When using BigCommerce, you can look forward to no transaction fees (depending on the plan you select). It also has the most advanced SEO tools available in the ecommerce platform space, which is ideal if you want to get your dropshipping store featured high up in consumer’s search engine results.

Keep in mind that the plan you choose will determine your sales allowance. This may not be a problem when you start out, as the standard plan gives you a substantial limit of $50,000.

But if you are planning to scale and want to sell higher-end products through dropshipping suppliers, then you’ll need to change your BigCommerce plan, which can become very expensive – unlike Shopify, which has no product limit regardless of the plan you choose.

Here are some of the top dropshipping features you’ll get with BigCommerce:

  • A wide range of product sourcing apps that can connect you with some of the top dropshipping suppliers in the UK, including AliExpress and Spocket
  • Access to the Modalyst app, one of the most popular and highly regarded dropshipping apps available. Keep in mind that this can only be used for European and US marketplaces (which isn’t a problem, seeing as BigCommerce itself is so great for international selling)

BigCommerce pros and cons

Pros:
  • Zero transaction fees mean you can make more profit in a low-margin industry like dropshipping
  • BigCommerce’s SEO tools are some of the best available to help your site and products appear in more searches
  • Sales and marketing features will help you reach more customers and make more sales – which is the name of the dropshipping game
  • There’s no product limit with BigCommerce – although there is a sales limit
  • Outstanding inventory and stock management tools
Cons:
  • Sales revenue cap means if you are planning to scale at pace, you’ll need one of BigCommerce’s expensive plans
  • Although good for dropshipping, BigCommerce doesn’t have as many dropshipping specific apps and integrations as its competitors - particularly Shopify and WooCommerce

Read our full BigCommerce review here

Pricing

0 out of 0
Ecommerce Plan
Price
Plan main features

Standard Plan

Plus Plan

Pro Plan

Enterprise Plan

£22 per month

£59 per month

£223 per month

Custom

Coupons and discounts
Reporting tools
Multi-channel selling

Customer groups and segmentation
Abandoned cart recovery
Stores credit card details

Google customer reviews
Product filtering
Custom product filtering

Express routing, priority support, and customer success management
API (application programming interface) support
Custom sales limit


OpenCart

OpenCart OpenCart is best for dropshipping business owners with experience in website building, who want to get going with minimal outgoing and support costs
  • Pricing from Free
  • Solid range of dropshipping apps
  • Unlimited products, unlimited categories and the ability to sell digital products
  • Large number of payment gateways and multi currency capabilities
Summary OpenCart is another ecommerce platform that is part of the open-source, self-hosted gang. A complete ecommerce solution, OpenCart provides all the features you’ll need to create a successful online store. These include the ability to add and manage products, leave product reviews and ratings, and pay via more than 20 payment gateways. There are no limits on the number of products you can sell or manufacturers you can work with, which is great if you have lots of stock available from your dropshipping suppliers. Again, because it’s a self-hosted platform, OpenCart gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of website design and features – although you’ll need some coding skills and experience to get any new elements up onto your site.
Show moreless

Best for: dropshipping business owners with experience in website building, who want to get going with minimal outgoing and support costs

Price from: free

Features

OpenCart is another ecommerce platform that is part of the open-source, self-hosted gang. A complete ecommerce solution, OpenCart provides all the features you’ll need to create a successful online store. These include the ability to add and manage products, leave product reviews and ratings, and pay via more than 20 payment gateways.

There are no limits on the number of products you can sell or manufacturers you can work with, which is great if you have lots of stock available from your dropshipping suppliers.

Again, because it’s a self-hosted platform, OpenCart gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of website design and features – although you’ll need some coding skills and experience to get any new elements up onto your site.

Out of all the ecommerce platforms we’ve reviewed today, OpenCart is the only solution that doesn’t come with any specific design templates. Instead a generic – and basic – store template is given to you when you install the platform.

Managing products in the back end of your OpenCart store is very straightforward and user-friendly, so you can confidently keep track of sales, total orders and your total number of customers.

Here are some of the top dropshipping features you’ll get with OpenCart:

  • A solid range of dropshipping apps that can help you optimise your dropshipping store and connect with some of the top dropshipping suppliers in the UK
  • Unlimited products, unlimited categories and the ability to sell digital products. In other words, you’ll have full control over items and quantities
  • A large number of payment gateways and multi currency capabilities. This means customers can make payments with zero hassle

OpenCart pros and cons:

Pros:
  • Opencart offers support to its users at no additional cost via ticket and email assistance
  • OpenCart is completely free to use, and you’ll only have to pay for hosting
  • It’s a complete ecommerce platform with multiple free plugins and themes for dropshipping
Cons:
  • OpenCart doesn’t provide any store template designs, unlike its competitors – and this limits your options when creating your online store
  • If you want to add specific features and customise your site, you will need knowledge and expertise in coding and web building
  • Great for a startup dropshipping business, but features become costly as you start to scale - so it’s not the best platform for growth

Pricing

OpenCart software – free
Hosting plan – around £2–£10 per month
A custom design/template – £80+


How to choose an ecommerce platform for dropshipping

It’s all well and good knowing the pros and cons of ecommerce platforms, but the most important thing you need to do is make sure the solution you choose will bring the best out of your dropshipping store.

There are a number of criteria you will want to consider when selecting an ecommerce platform for dropshipping:

Ability to support dropshipping plugins

Dropshipping plugins (product sourcing apps) are incredibly useful and will make your life much easier. These applications have been designed to enhance your store’s dropshipping capabilities and make the whole process more streamlined.

Choosing an ecommerce platform that doesn’t offer any dropshipping-specific apps will hinder your business's growth.

Affordability

One of the primary reasons to start a dropshipping business is to keep costs down. If you are paying for an expensive subscription or web development fees, you will struggle to make much profit.

Dropshipping typically has low profit margins – so make sure you either use a free ecommerce platform, or one that costs very little but still offers all the functionality needed to scale and grow your business.

Ease of use

This one is important for businesses that don’t have any experience in coding or web design. The last thing you want to do is to try to build a dropshipping store using complex software with no prior experience.

Be sure to check what level of skills are required for each ecommerce platform. Typically, hosted platforms like Shopify are far easier to use, especially for ecommerce beginners.

Efficient customer support

24/7 support and multiple contact channels are what you want to aim for. You don’t want to be missing out on vital sales because you don’t have the support necessary to fix a problem.

Hosted vs self-hosted ecommerce platforms – what’s the difference?

Hosted platforms are all-in-one solutions. They typically include hosting, SEO optimisation and technical support. They offer a range of sales features and provide you with online store template designs. Shopify, BigCommerce and Wix are all examples of hosted ecommerce platforms.

Self-hosted platforms differ in that you build them – you guessed it – yourself. You are in charge of hosting your website, maintaining its SSL security, and storing its data. You are required to set up your own server, and a much smaller number of templates are available (if any) – you typically have to design and create your website and all its features yourself.

The big difference between the two platform types is their ease of use. To get the most out of self-hosted platforms, you will need to have some prior experience in coding and web design. The benefit is that this allows for huge design flexibility and expandability for businesses looking to scale.

Hosted platforms are definitely preferable for ecommerce beginners. The templates are all set up for you, so you don’t need to have any prior experience in web design. Of course, even hosted platforms have different levels of design functionality – check out our review of the top ecommerce platforms for more information.

Next steps: choosing the best ecommerce platform for dropshipping

Your dropshipping store vision will determine what ecommerce platform is best for you. If you want an all-in-one ecommerce solution that does a lot of the hard work for you, look no further than Shopify.

Not only does it have excellent sales features and functionality, but it also has dedicated dropshipping apps and extensions to help you get the most out of your new business venture.

WooCommerce is the ideal platform if you want to get going right now with minimal costs. It is simple to install and has great dropshipping extensions and sales capabilities.

Magento is definitely our top choice for experienced web builders. The flexibility you have to customise your website with limitless features makes it the perfect choice for businesses planning to scale their dropshipping operations.

Regardless of our opinion, you should always compare ecommerce platforms before making a decision. The last thing you want is to be using a service that doesn’t fulfil the needs of your business, even if it is, generally speaking, a great product.

This is where our custom-built comparison tool comes in. We've partnered with some of the best ecommerce platforms to help you get the best service for your business.

Simply provide us with a few basic details, and providers will be in touch with bespoke personalised quotes for you to compare.

Dropshipping FAQs
  • Should I purchase a dropshipping extension for my store?
    Dropshipping extensions make managing your store easier. They add useful features to help you maximise sales, and streamline processes that can otherwise take a lot of time. Oberlo is a perfect example of this. The app works by using keywords to find a product (from a dropshipping supplier) that fits within your niche, then automatically imports the data into your Shopify store. It creates an instant listing with accurate images, prices, and descriptions without requiring any work on your end.
  • What should I avoid doing when dropshipping?
    There are a number of don’ts when running a dropshipping business. Don’t rely too much on your vendors, don’t expect easy money, don’t worry about shipping costs, and do NOT be unprepared when it comes to shipping issues, damaged items or return complications.
  • Can you get in trouble for dropshipping?
    No, dropshipping is perfectly legal. What is important, however, is checking the legitimacy of any suppliers you work with. Be sure that they are manufacturing products legally, and that they are not at risk of illegally using another company’s intellectual property. This could get you and your business in trouble.
  • Is dropshipping profitable in 2022?
    There is no simple answer to this question. Some dropshipping businesses have an efficient business model and are certainly profitable. Top dropshippers from around the web estimate that between 10% to 20% of dropshipping businesses succeed. But as we’ve mentioned previously, profit margin is low, so you need to be savvy in order to make your business a success.

Startups.co.uk is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Startups.co.uk to provide free advice and reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews.

Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website.

Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Conde Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism.

Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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