Hi all, I'm making a dropshipping store for shirts and hoodies. Here are some questions I have (I know a these aren't one-answer-fits-all questions):
How do you deal with the sizing discrepancy when it comes to Asian and American/UK sizes? I'm worried a sizing chart may lead to unnecessary confusion and end up making the customer leave.
How do you deal with shipping (using Aliexpress) pricing? I'm thinking of doing free shipping throughout my store, with no minimum price since shipping is inexpensive, and I already have (theoretically) a healthy markup.
Products with watermarks (even if they're barely noticeable), yay or nay?
Should I use products that variants have "your design here" on the shirt instead of the actual design? I think it's ugly, but I'm not sure where everyone else stands on it. Like this: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000059605796.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.b7aa30a1opGR6W&algo_pvi...
Sophia here from Shopify. You've asked some great questions here, and you're right - there isn't necessarily a one-answer-fits-all response for any of these, so I welcome other merchants and Experts here in the Community to join in on this discussion with any experience or advice! I'll address each of your questions here in the numbered order that you've listed them:
The best way to handle sizing discrepancies is to order product samples. Even if you only order one size in each product, you'll be able to compare it to other clothing you own or can find in your area and figure out whether it's true to size or whether to recommend that customers size up or down.
If it's not possible for you to order samples right now, try sending a message to the supplier to ask more questions. They might be willing to take a current photo with a measuring tape of one of the products they have in stock, or they might at least be able to answer questions about what they're willing to do when the product doesn't fit the customer. This also helps you to find reliable suppliers by giving you a good idea of how responsive the supplier is and whether it will be easy to communicate with them in the event of any order discrepancies.
Free shipping is a popular choice for dropshipping merchants because in many cases, you can select ePacket or AliExpress Standard Shipping for free or for a much lower cost than the other shipping rates. Some stores use free shipping as an occasional promotion, and in that case, there's a guide on what to charge for shipping.
Keep in mind that with dropshipping, you cannot use the Shopify Shipping calculated rates from carriers like USPS, UPS, or Canada Post as these are intended for products shipping from the US or Canada, so manual shipping rates are mandatory regardless of whether you charge or offer shipping for free. Price-based manual rates are your best bet for dropshipping (rather than weight-based) because the products will often import without an accurate weight attached. Once you've decided what to charge for shipping, you can follow this guide on How to Set Shipping Settings in Shopify.
I say nay on the watermarks. Ordering samples of your products also gives you a great opportunity to take your own product photos, giving your website a much more cohesive and professional look, and inevitably making it look more trustworthy to customers. Without ordering samples and taking your own product photos, you can contact the suppliers for permission to use the photos and they might be able to send you copies without the watermarks included.
"Your design here" photos
As long as the title and/or product description clearly indicates that the customer can personalize the product, I recommend using a custom image in this case. You can add a t-shirt image with your store logo or another custom image that fits well with your branding and the other images on your website. If you're not comfortable coming up with a design on your own, you can also hire a Shopify Expert to design something for you.
I've linked a few resources here from Oberlo, the most popular dropshipping app I see merchants using. If you're using a different app to source AliExpress products, let me know and I'll see if I can find any resources better tailored to that. I'm here if you have any questions.