Monday, August 31, 2020

Best VPN Services

The pandemic has changed work permanently. Before COVID-19, only 9.8 million (out of 140 civilian workers in the U.S.) worked remotely. Today, almost 70 million people are working remotely. 

Are you working remotely?

If you are, there’s a good chance that you’ll need a virtual private network (VPN). If you’re running a small business and your employees need to work remotely, you need a VPN as well. Today, we’re going to take a look at VPNs — what they are, why you need them, and how to find the VPN that’s right for you. 

What’s a VPN, and Why Do You Need One? 

A VPN is a private network that’s run through a public network — imagine that a remote worker sitting in Starbucks had an extra-long Ethernet cable. They plug one end into their computer, and the other end directly into their company’s servers at work. 

That’s basically what a VPN does; it creates a secure and encrypted tunnel from your computer to a server on the internet. This is great because it means no one can access the data you’re sharing with your computer and company server. You have privacy and data security. We’re going to look at seven of the top VPN Services, explaining the pros and cons of each service. 

Our 7 Picks For Best VPN Services:

  1. Perimeter 81 
  2. NordVPN Teams
  3. ExpressVPN 
  4. VyprVPN
  5. SurfShark
  6. Mullvad
  7. TunnelBear

How to Choose the Best VPN Service for You

When you’re looking for a VPN, the first thing you’ll want to do is identify your needs. What do you want your VPN to do for you? What kinds of things do you need from your VPN? In general, most people focus their attention on four specific criteria. 

Criteria #1: Speed and Reliability

If you’re planning on using your VPN for things that require a lot of data or activity, you’ll want to choose a service that’s optimized for speed and reliability. If you’re sharing large files routinely or you’re streaming video consistently, you’ll want to select a VPN that provides unlimited connections, unlimited bandwidth, and high download and upload speeds. 

When it comes to speed and reliability, there are factors you control and factors your service provider controls. 

  • Factors you control: Improving Wi-Fi stability, using a wired connection (which is always faster), upgrading your internet connection speeds, or upgrading your VPN. You can also choose a VPN service with more servers or servers closer to your desired location. 
  • Factors you don’t control: Number of servers, server load, or server location/distance – longer distance = slower speeds. International bandwidth restrictions (i.e., VPNs in Australia are slow due to underwater fiber optic cables carrying a set amount of data at any one time) and VPN protocols also impact speed. And another thing, complicated peering relationships between networks, also reduces speed.

You’ll want to test your VPN speed so you can verify the claims your provider is making. You’ll need two things to do that — an accurate testing method and a baseline for your tests. Here are some of the more reliable speed tests you can use to verify your VPN speeds. 

Next, run a speed test on the same connection, with and without your VPN. If you’re on Wi-Fi, stay on Wi-Fi for both tests. Run the tests twice to get an average speed. Run your tests using the same VPN server/location you plan on using with your service. 

Criteria #2: Security and Privacy

VPNs should be secure by default; the VPN service you choose should have the basics of security and privacy protection down. Here are the most important security and privacy requirements you’ll need to consider when choosing a VPN. 


  • Handshake encryption: This takes place at the beginning of the VPN session where you and the server you’re communicating with exchange private keys that encrypt or decrypt data and messages to acknowledge each other.  
  • Authentication: Reputable VPN services will use a hash algorithm to automatically verify the packets they receive, making sure that data from a middleman hasn’t been injected into your packet. They’ll also verify that your data hasn’t been tampered with or changed in any way. 
  • Ciphers: This is an algorithm, like AES, that encrypts and decrypts your data in a series of clearly defined steps. Using a key to encrypt your data makes it impossible for unwanted eyes to spy on your data unless they have the specific key that was used to encrypt the message. So the unencrypted message “VPNs made easy” would become “FVWWOluB9rHb5KUtyJYqlA==” using the AES algorithm. 
  • Encryption strength: 128-bit AES encryption is faster but less secure; 256-bit encryption is slower but more secure. Stronger encryption is obviously harder to break, so this is more of a priority if you’re focused on security. 


  • Activity logs: Many free VPN services track your activity — the websites and pages you visit, files downloaded, etc. These free VPNs sell or monetize your usage activity on their VPN without your permission or knowledge. 
  • Connection logs: Other VPN services track assigned IP addresses, connection start/end times, or bytes of data transferred. This typically doesn’t include your data, but it can be combined with other data (i.e., the IP address you used to log into your Slack account) to expose your identity. 

If privacy is important to you, you’ll want to stick with log-free VPN services that don’t track your activity or metadata. 

Criteria #3: Compatible Devices

If you have an iPhone, but you use Windows on your computer, you’ll want to verify that the VPN services are compatible with your devices. While most VPN services are compatible with the standard platforms — Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, and iOS, etc. some aren’t available on all platforms. The VPN that’s Windows ready may not be available on Android or iOS.

You’ll want to verify that your devices are all compatible before signing up. 

Criteria #4: Connections 

How many devices can connect to your VPN service simultaneously? The availability of connections tends to vary from service to service. Some providers allow just one; others allow up to three, while others are unlimited. You’ll need to identify what you need ahead of time. 

It’s not just connections that you have to worry about, though. You also have to take a look at the availability of countries and the availability of servers. If you have specific availability needs, you’ll want to verify this with your VPN service provider ahead of time, then confirm this during your free trial or guarantee period. 

Other important considerations include: 

  • Payment plans: The cost you’ll pay for VPN services varies considerably, and it depends on the features you choose and the length of your subscription. 
  • Customer service: If you need on-demand customer support (in case something goes wrong), you’ll want a VPN service that provides live chat or phone support (which will impact the price). If that’s not as much of a concern, then a provider who offers email support may be a better option. 
  • Free trial or money-back guarantee:  If you opt for a service that offers a free trial, you’ll want to choose a service that gives you enough time to try things out. Some VPN services’ free trial period is quite short, which may not be enough time to verify the service on your end. A money-back guarantee is ideal because you have a way out in case their service isn’t what you’ve expected. 
  • User friendly or tech-savvy: If you’re not comfortable with setting up and configuring your VPN, you’ll want to make sure you find a provider with a user-friendly interface. Some providers will configure your VPN for you virtually, so everything is done for you ahead of time. 

You must figure out what you’re looking for ahead of time. 

The Different Types of VPN Services 

It’s important to make a distinction between VPN technology and VPN services. As we’ve already discussed, a virtual private network boils down to a secure, private connection between your device and endpoint. That is VPN technology. The VPN service, on the other hand, uses VPN technology to provide you with a package of tools. Using VPN services, you can not only protect your internet connection and guard your privacy but gain access to extra customer service with configuration guides, automatic setup, and live chat support. 

Different types of VPNs:

  • Remote Access VPN – Provide a secure connection from a user to a remote server to gain entry to a private network.
  • Intranet-based Site-to-Site VPN – Provide a secure connection for various users in different, fixed locations to connect to each other’s resources. For example: With a site-to-site VPN, multiple local area networks (LAN) can connect to a single wide-area network (WAN). Think of one company with numerous locations sharing resources.
  • Extranet-based Site-to-Site VPN – Difficult to implement, these VPNs are common in large-scale business environments where you are looking for a secure connection between two separate intranets, but you do not want them having the ability to access each other directly. Think of two different companies working together. 
  • Cloud VPN – Also known as virtual private network-as-a-service (VPNaaS), is designed for organizations that rely on outsourced cloud data centers instead of in-house infrastructure. A traditional VPN doesn’t work if your organization stores all of your data in the cloud. A cloud VPN allows users to access a company’s resources — applications, data, and files through a website or via a native desktop or mobile app. 

As a user looking to secure your privacy and access the internet, or secure business data for your remote workforce, you’re most likely looking for commercial VPN Services, let’s take a look at our picks for the top VPN providers.

1. Perimeter 81 – The Best for Small Business Teams

  • Pricing: $8/mo. (annual), $10/mo. (monthly
  • Number of servers: 700+
  • Money-back Guarantee: 30-day
  • Support: 24/7 live chat
  • Single sign-on: Yes
  • # of Users: Minimum of 5 team member

Perimeter 81 is an Israeli-based business VPN service that’s unique because of its Cloud VPN architecture. It’s great for users on multiple devices. You don’t need external legacy hardware or tools. It comes with the business features you’d need to run your remote organization safely in the cloud. 

Perimeter 81 is ideal for remote businesses because it protects your business from unexpected mistakes. Their automatic Wi-Fi Security and DNS Filtering features instantly shield your data by automatically activating VPN protection when employees connect to unknown, untrusted networks. According to their website, “All outbound and inbound traffic is encrypted and routed through your dedicated private servers – concealing your company’s actual IP address with an IP mask.”

This protection shields your company from man-in-the-middle attacks and unsecure Wi-Fi networks. Their service keeps your business safe from data breaches, lawsuits due to negligence, and other claims. Employee training is important, but Perimeter protects your employees and your business when they’re working. 

They also provide you with the data you need to monitor network activity. You can audit resource access, monitor bandwidth consumption, and detect network anomalies remotely and at any time. All of this is important because more organizations have a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy in place.

The potential downside to Perimeter 81’s service is access points. As of today, they have 700 public servers in 36 countries. That might sound like a lot until you realize some of their competitors have double or triple that amount in twice as many countries. 


  • Single sign-on (SSO) functionality
  • User friendly and easy-to-use
  • Great for remote businesses
  • Auto-integrated with all cloud providers
  • Secure access to both managed and unmanaged devices


  • Higher price point
  • Fewer servers than their competitors

2. NordVPN Teams — New Service From Industry Leader

  • Pricing: $7 – $9 per mo. 
  • Number of servers: 5,000+
  • Money-back Guarantee: 30-day
  • Support: 24/7 response within 3 hrs.
  • Single sign-on: Yes
  • Multi-device support: Yes apps on all devices

NordVPN Teams is a new VPN service from an industry leader. NordVPN is known for its consistent performance, a strong stance on privacy, and aggressive security features. The company is based in Panama, where there are no mandatory data retention laws and no legal obligation to collect your data. It’s also important because Panama doesn’t participate in the five eyes or fourteen eyes alliances. 

They don’t track, collect, or share your private data — activity, usage, or metadata. They invited one of the big four auditing firms PriceWaterhouseCoopers AG, to run an industry-first audit of their no logging claims to verify that they’re telling the truth.

NordVPN is one of the few providers that offers double VPN, an advanced VPN security feature that routes your traffic through two VPN servers instead of one, encrypting your data twice. They provide two-factor authentication and single sign-on, which are standard features for top-tier VPN services. They also provide you with a kill switch, if your connection drops for even a second, the kill switch will cut off all the Internet traffic on your device, ensuring none of your information is exposed online.

For business customers, they provide you with a dedicated account manager that’s assigned to your account. Your Control Panel enables you to manage user accounts, control permissions, and create gateways. You can oversee user activity, monitor server load, add new users, and create custom teams from inside your control panel. 


  • A trusted brand name
  • Thousands of servers around the world
  • Single sign-on (SSO) functionality
  • Strong on security
  • Apps on all devices
  • Fast speeds
  • Cryptocurrencies and cash accepted


  • Slow app and server connections
  • Open VPN connection is not user-friendly
  • No split tunneling
  • Shared IP addresses

3. ExpressVPN – Consumer Favorite, Best-in-Class 

  • Pricing: $8.32 per mo. (annual), $12.95 (monthly)
  • Number of servers: 3,000+
  • Money back Guarantee: 30-day
  • Support: 24/7 live chat
  • Multi-device support: Yes

ExpressVPN doesn’t have a product strictly designed for businesses. They’re consumer-focused, which is great if you’re a sole proprietor or a remote, contract, or freelance worker on your own. Their apps are compatible with almost every device on the usual platforms; they also have apps for nontraditional platforms, including— Linux, Kindle Fire, Chromebook, and even Barnes and Noble’s Nook! 

Since they’re consumer-focused, their apps are user-friendly, easy to set up, and simple to maintain. They provide you with all of the standard encryption and security features you’d expect from a top-rated VPN provider. And, they also provide you with some unique features like split-tunneling or using their own DNS servers. 

Like NordVPN, they have a no-logging policy as their company is based in the British Virgin Islands. There’s no mandated government surveillance and no data retention laws. 


  • Consumer-focused
  • User-friendly and easy-to-use
  • Apps available on all devices and platforms
  • Strong reputation
  • Top-rated security and encryption


  • No VPN services for businesses
  • More expensive than their competitors

4.  VyprVPN – The Best VPN for Speed

  • Pricing: $2.50 per mo. (24 mo. plan), $3.75 per mo. (12 mo. plan), $12.95 per mo. (1 mo. plan).
  • Number of servers: 700+
  • Money-back Guarantee: 30-day
  • Support: 24/7 response within 3 hrs
  • Privacy: end-to-end
  • Multi-device support: desktop and mobile

Owned by Golden Frog GmbH and incorporated in Switzerland, VyprVPN focuses on a few areas — speed, anti-censorship, and privacy. They call their service the “most powerful VPN.” They offer more than 200,000 IP addresses and 700+ servers, across 70 locations internationally. 

Their platform resolves speed issues due to ISP bandwidth throttling. It’s common for users to state that their speeds are close to 100% of their original speeds. This is impressive when you realize that they rely on AES 256-bit encryption. They provide users with unlimited switching between servers and protocols without restrictions. 

VyprVPN provides some of the same features listed from other providers — kill switch, public Wi-Fi protection, and DNS protection. But they also offer a proprietary technology called Chameleon. In this protocol, VyprVPN scrambles your metadata, so it’s not recognizable via deep packet inspection, but it’s still fast and lightweight. As a result, VyperVPN can bypass restrictions from governments, corporations, and ISPs while fighting censorship and maintaining speed. 

VyprVPN also owns and operates their data centers to reduce any risk of a data breach. Other VPN providers route traffic to third-party servers, so they’re not as secure as a service that keeps things in-house. VyprDNS keeps your browsing history private. Their no-logs policy makes a breach unlikely. 


  • Unlimited high-speed bandwidth
  • 70+ server locations
  • Chameleon protocol
  • 5 Simultaneous connections
  • No activity or usage logs
  • Fast customer support
  • VyprDNS
  • Self-owned servers


  • Fewer servers than bigger competitors
  • Poor speeds in specific regions (EU)
  • Slower connection times in specific regions

5. Surfshark – The Best for the Price

  • Pricing: $1.99 per mo. (24 mo.), $5.99 per mo. (12 mo.), $11.95 per mo. 
  • Number of servers: 1,700+
  • Money-back Guarantee: 30-day
  • Support: 24/7 live chat, email tickets
  • Multi-device support: Desktop and mobile platforms

Surfshark is an award winning VPN service that offers incredible value for the price. According to, SurfShark is ranked 4th out of 357 VPN services. Their service provides users with 256-bit encryption, double VPN, an automatic kill switch, and a no-log policy. 

They’re headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, so like other VPNs in our list, they’re free from the five, nine, fourteen eyes alliances. While they don’t collect usage or connection data, they do collect your email address, password, and basic billing information. If you’d like to avoid sharing this info, you can use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. They also collect unique advertising identifiers from third parties for marketing purposes and user analytics.

One detail that stands out with Surfshark is unlimited connections. The number of devices that can connect simultaneously, per license is unlimited. This is great if you’re an individual, but it’s also great if you’re running a business. There are no additional licenses or requirements once you’ve signed up. Just set your VPN up, pay for the service, and you’re all set. 

Surfshark offers its Adblock VPN that blocks advertising and malware, counters phishing attempts, and boosts browsing speed. They offer premium features like private DNS on each server, camouflage mode to mask activity from your ISP, and Multihop – connecting via multiple countries at the same time to maximize footprint masking and ID protection. 


  • Best value for the price
  • Unlimited connections/devices
  • Built-in ad-blocker
  • Whitelister
  • Private DNS
  • Double VPN
  • No logging
  • Engaged customer support


  • Medium-sized network
  • Moderately reduced speeds in specific regions

6. Mullvad – The Best for Anonymity

  • Pricing: $5.50 per mo.
  • Number of servers: 315+
  • Money-back Guarantee: 30-day
  • Support: Email

Mullvad believes privacy is a universal right.

Privacy isn’t the same as security. If you’re looking for a VPN service that will go to extreme lengths to protect your privacy,  Sweden-based Mullvad is at the top of the list. They don’t require an email address or even a password from their customers. The company randomly generates a unique code for your username. You use this code to log in to the desktop apps or add credit to your account. They even allow customers to send cash in the mail to pay for your account!

They want to know as little about you as possible.

Mullvad will store your account number, your counts, paid time remaining, and the number of simultaneous connections that are used by your account. This data is kept in temporary memory, then purged once you log off. They log the total number of current connections for a given server, the bandwidth used per server, and the CPU load per core on each server. None of these items contain personally identifiable information.

Mullvad only offers connections in 38 countries, and they only have 315 servers. They don’t use virtual servers, so your VPN connections are running on physical hardware at the location specified. The speed varies based on your location. If you’re in Europe or North America, speeds are generally good. If you’re in Australia or Asia, the performance is generally much slower.


  • Privacy-focused
  • Simple and user-friendly
  • WireGuard support
  • More anonymity than most VPN services
  • No affiliates or resellers


  • Focused exclusively on privacy
  • Slower speeds in certain locations
  • No password protection

7. TunnelBear – The Best for Newbies

  • Pricing: Free, $3.33 per mo., $5.75 per user, per mo. for teams 
  • Number of servers: 20
  • Money-back Guarantee: 30-day
  • Support: 24/7 email support tickets
  • Multi-device support: Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android

TunnelBear’s service is designed to be incredibly simple for newbies.

They’re based out of Canada, which is a member of the five eyes, nine eyes, and fourteen eyes alliances. This means data that goes through or is stored in Canada is subject to intelligence agreements —they may be legally forced to share your data. TunnelBear states that they have a no-logging policy, so everything seems okay until you read this in their privacy policy. 

“TunnelBear makes good faith efforts to provide you with the ability to delete your Personal Data. However, there may be circumstances in which TunnelBear is unable to delete all your Personal Data. For example, we are unable to delete it where we are legally required to keep it, including where we need it to continue to offer you the service or if you are involved in litigation with us, we would be required to retain your personal data, which is limited to the fields we discuss above in 1.21.3 and 1.4.”

This data includes your email address, twitter id, paid user designation, operational data, and personal and financial data. If this isn’t a concern for you or your organization, TunnelBear is a great option for individuals and businesses that want to get started with a VPN but aren’t as knowledgeable as they’d like. 

TunnelBear includes the standard features you need to get started with a VPN — AES 256-bit encryption, tunneling (Android only), hashing, and more. Their service is reasonably priced and designed to help inexperienced people get started with a VPN. 

TunnelBear is transparent about its service, sharing the results of its independent security audits each year on its website. 


  • Designed for inexperienced users
  • Generally open and transparent about their service
  • Low cost
  • Built for individuals and teams
  • Offers a free plan


  • May share your data with governments
  • No phone or customer support


Whether you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur with a small team, or a growing business looking for options, a VPN will provide you with the security and peace of mind you need to keep your remote team connected and working safely. 

Your needs are unique, and they’ll dictate which VPN service will work best for you and your business. Weigh the options against your needs for speed, security, privacy, compatible devices and number of connects. Millions of people are working remotely, and that number continues to grow every day. If you’re not already using a VPN service, now’s a good time to start. 

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Best Purchase Order Software

A good purchase order software makes sure your business gets the inventory it needs from suppliers easily and quickly.

It streamlines the procurement process, allowing you to rest easy your business will get the products you need at a later date.

There are many different purchase order software out there, though. Which one should your business go with?

Luckily, we’ve taken a look at dozens of purchase order software and reviewed them for quality, efficiency, and reliability. Below are our reviews breaking down the top five purchase order software we looked at.

But before we jump into the list, it’s important to understand what exactly a purchase order software is.

• Flexible and easy-to-use
• Great interface
• Helpful alerts
• Email and mobile approvals
Try it today!

What is Purchase Order Software?

To understand the software, we must first understand what purchase orders are.

A purchase order (PO) is a document that buyers send to suppliers. The document is a request for products and/or services to be delivered and furnished by the supplier.

Here’s a good example of one below:

There are a few good reasons why businesses issue purchase orders.

For one, they’re legally binding. That means that once a buyer issues a PO to the supplier, and they receive their products and/or services, they must pay the supplier.

This allows the buyer to purchase items on credit then, which is very helpful for them.

They also help provide a record for exchanges between buyers and suppliers. These can be referred back to in case of any disputes—legal or otherwise.

Purchase orders can also be used by lenders and other financial institutions to provide loans and other types of financial assistance to the buyers.

A purchase order software is merely software that furnishes and sends purchase orders digitally as well as physically. This gives your business the opportunity to send POs over the Internet or, if you want, to print out the PO and send it via mail.

The 5 Best Purchase Order Software

Below are our reviews and recommendations for the five best purchase order software out there. Each one has its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

The one you ultimately choose might differ from another company. That’s okay. The important thing is you choose one that’s good for your process and needs.

#1. Coupa Procurement – Most flexible purchase order software

• Flexible and easy-to-use
• Great interface
• Helpful alerts
• Email and mobile approvals
Try it today!

Coupa Procurement is one of the most popular purchase order softwares on the market.

They offer a flexible, easy-to-use purchasing system that doesn’t sacrifice quality for affordability.

It’s simple: The interface walks you through the procurement process with its dead simple search bar. They even alert you to products being sold at discounted prices. This allows you to save even more money and stretch the value of your dollar.

It brings the simplicity of an ecommerce store you use daily like Amazon and brings it to the world of procurement.

For services, their statement of work forms are incredibly straightforward. Even your greenest employee can fill them out with ease.

Couple that with their email and mobile approvals process, and you can bet your workflow will be more streamlined when it comes to procurement.

Pricing is obscured on their website. However, Coupa offers a free live demo of their product including a live Q&A so you can have direct access to a representative. They’ll be able to provide you with more information regarding pricing. You could also contact their sales team through a form on their website.

#2. Quickbooks – Best for purchase order software for Quickbook invoice users

• Great for Quickbook invoice users
• Automated billing and invoicing
• Receive payment immediately
• Prices start at $12.50 / month
Try it today!

Quickbooks offers invoicing and payment solutions. However, they also have a great purchase order software as well.

As such, it’s a solid choice for any current Quickbook users.

Using their intuitive, user-friendly interface, Quickbooks allows you to easily create high-quality purchase orders. They even furnish unique purchase order numbers.

Each form can be customized to your business’s brand including logo, colors, and information.

Once the order is complete, Quickbook automates the process for you. They’ll turn your purchase order into a bill you can then send to customers complete with items, prices, and quantity of the orders.

And since it’s already integrated with their invoicing solutions, you’ll be able to receive payment from customers as soon as they receive the bill and make a payment.

It’s the automation that really makes Quickbooks shine, and why I recommend it so highly. Nothing beats being able to set it and forget it.

Pricing and plans start at $12.50 / month for the Essentials plan. The features included with each are as follows:

While the Essentials plan should be more than enough for smaller businesses, I highly recommend going with the Plus plan. That comes with more users and permissions, as well as inventory management and a very handy tool to help you handle 1099 contractors. Great for growing businesses.

#3. Procurify – Best purchase order software for customization

• All-in-one procurement solution
• Excellent and fun user experience
• Track budgets
• Free demo
Try it today!

Procurify offers a great procurement solution.

Their focus is primarily on tracking and managing your team’s spending. They do so through a very user-friendly dashboard and mobile interface.

Speaking of which, they easily have the most pleasant user experience of any purchase order software on this list. Billed as the “purchasing software your team actually wants to use,” their dashboards are simple, straightforward, while still offering all the features you’d want to see in a good purchase order software such as budget tracking, customized approvals, and metrics reporting.

Their approval flows are highly customizable. You and your team will be able to design an approval process that’s perfect for your business. You can also set customized notifications on desktop and mobile for an even more streamlined experience.

Of course, when it comes to purchase orders themselves, they have a great process for that too. Your entire team is able to see the status of each procurement order. This allows for more communication and breaks down potential roadblocks along the way.

And with their mobile app, you’ll be able to make purchase orders no matter where you are. Employees can even receive notifications for any updates or changes in orders. Perfect for remote and distributed teams.

Unfortunately, their prices are obscured on the website. However, your team can request a free demo from Procurify to try it out. A sales team rep will be able to give you a quote based on what your company needs.

#4. Xero – Best price for purchase order software

• Award-winning software
• Complete purchase orders quickly
• Automated invoicing
• Prices start at $9/month
Try it today!

Xero is an award-winning accounting software. They also offer a great purchase order solution that shouldn’t be slept on.

Using your inventory items, Xero helps you complete purchase orders quickly and efficiently. Like many of the other offerings on this list, they also allow you to customize your purchase order to reflect your company’s brand.

Like Quickbooks, they also help you convert your purchase orders into invoices or bills. The difference, of course, is that they do it through Xero’s accounting software rather than Quickbooks.

As such, Xero is a great choice if you were using Xero already. Plus, the price point at $9.00 / month is very lucrative.

They also offer a free-trial option. This allows you to dip your toes in the water before making the decision to jump in. The free trial lasts 30 days, which should be more than enough time for you and your team to get a sense of whether or not you’d like to go with it.

There are a few downsides though. For one, the learning curve for Xero is a little steeper than the other ones. A few reviews online from customers say that the interface can be difficult to use. Also, they sometimes throw unexpected upcharges on you if you’re not careful.

#5. ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus – Best for purchase order software for IT teams

• Great for IT teams
• Automates tech purchases
• All-in-one dashboard
• Free demo
Try it now!

ManageEngine is an IT management solution division of Zoho.

It’s no surprise then that they offer a great purchase order software as well.

ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus optimizes and automates your IT purchases. In a single dashboard, you’ll be able to utilize their massive product and vendor catalog to make orders and furnish billing for each one.

Of course, making purchase orders isn’t the only thing you can do with ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus. It’s also a fully-fleshed out IT help desk software that helps you with things such as:

  • Reporting/analytics
  • IT app management
  • ITSM workflows
  • Asset inventory reports
  • Help desk reports
  • Self-service portals
  • Project management
  • Service catalogs

…and more.

ManageEngine also offers two different types of solutions too. You can sign up for the service to be provided on the cloud, or you can download it for on-premise.

They do offer a demo for teams to test out and dip their toes in the water before jumping in. And you can also get a quote that’s “tailor fit” to your business’s needs and goals.

Methodology for Choosing Purchase Order Software

When choosing a purchase order software, there are a lot of different criteria you might want to consider.

In our reviews above, we took a look at three different factors we found were most important in a good PO software.


Automated features such as invoicing and billing, as well as notifications to all relevant stakeholders are crucial to a good purchase order software.

It’s the set-it-and-forget-it method of ordering inventory from vendors. You don’t have to worry about the minutes of the process. You’ll be able to easily facilitate the relationship between vendor and buyer with ease.

You’ll also be able to place a purchase order, and the software will automatically send the purchase requisition to the right stakeholder for approval. When it’s approved, it automatically goes to the vendor.

No more following up with people to see if it was sent. That’s the beauty of automation.

Comprehensive catalogs

To satisfy the needs of your team and employees, you’ll want a purchase order software that gives you access to the products you need.

(Also water is wet)

To that end, you’ll want a PO software with a comprehensive catalog of popular products. It’ll give your team a quick and easy way to get anything from office supplies to tech products. These catalogs can be furnished from suppliers, or they can be managed by a procurement team on-site.

Either way, you want to get access to the items that you need.


A good purchase order software shouldn’t break the bank. Not only does that mean its price point should be right, but the software itself should also help you and your business stay within your budget.

This can be done in a number of ways. The most common way is probably through a budgeting tool that’s customized to your business’s goals and needs.

You should be able to set the dollar amount for your budget, and the tool should be able to work with multiple different budget types as well. After all, your business doesn’t just have one budget for everything. It’s like subdivided by projects, teams, and divisions in your company.

Your purchase order software should facilitate that.

• Flexible and easy-to-use
• Great interface
• Helpful alerts
• Email and mobile approvals
Try it today!


Here’s the list of our recommendations again.

  • Coupa Procurement – Most flexible purchase order software
  • Quickbooks – Best purchase order software for Quickbooks users
  • Procurify – Best purchase order software for customization
  • Xero – Best price for purchase order software
  • ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus – Best purchase order software for IT teams

If you’re looking for the best one, we highly recommend Coupa Procurement. However, it ultimately depends on the needs of your business.

from Quick Sprout

Next on MarTech Live: Is this the time to be innovating with Your Martech stack?

Technologists weigh in on keeping your martech stack as is or experimenting in a time of huge change.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

from Marketing Land - Internet Marketing News, Strategies & Tips

The Best Dropshipping Companies

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best dropshipping companies for most people are definitely Modalyst for Wix and Oberlo for Shopify.

If you want to start an ecommerce business without having to deal with:

  • Shipping
  • Storing inventory
  • Having money to purchase inventory upfront

Get into dropshipping. Manufacturers ship products directly to your customer for you. You get all the upside without any of the ecommerce headaches.

In this guide, I list and review the best dropshippers to help you get started.

The 15 best dropshipping companies, suppliers, databases, and tools

Once you have your Wix or Shopify account and your store set up, you’re ready to link up with a dropshipping partner and get selling. But, it can be hard to break into dropshipping because most dropshipping businesses don’t like to share their items or their suppliers. The thinking is: you’ll just replicate their shop and eat into their market.

I’m here to help with this list of 17 dropshippers, databases and suppliers — along with their pros and cons.

1. Modalyst — Best Wix plugin and directory

Free Starter Plan
Basic Plan $35 per month
Pro Plan $90 per month
4.8 out of 5 stars

Modalyst seamlessly automates your dropshipping business.

They connect you with suppliers to get your customers the products they need. They also boast a massive of products including clothing, jewelry, accessories, and more.

Modalyst is also centralized—making it very easy to use. You’ll be able to connect with suppliers from a single dashboard, and they even have an app for easy communication.

Where Modalyst really shines is their highly rated integration with Wix. With just a single click, you’ll be able to install their app and get started selling to your customers.

Pricing starts free with a basic plan that includes a 25 product limit.

2. Oberlo — Best Shopify plugin and directory

Free Starter Plan
Basic Plan $30 per month
Pro Plan $80 per month
4.7 out of 5 stars

Oberlo offers an excellent plugin service that works with Shopify stores.

You’ll browse the Oberlo directory (which includes suppliers verified by Oberlo) to find inventory you’d like to sell in your store. It also shows you how many pageviews, sales, and star-rankings each item and seller has.

Once you make a sale, you’ll use Oberlo to order the item to be shipped to your customer.

Oberlo - How it Works

The product selection and fulfillment are handled for you. That frees up your time to focus on driving traffic to your store.

Oberlo has a forever-free Starter plan. However, to unlock shipment tracking and order fulfillment monitoring (which I recommend) you’ll need to upgrade to the Basic plan at $30 per month.

It’ll also raise your sales limit from 50 to 500. Once you crest 500, you’ll be in Pro territory, which is $80 per month and allows for multiple users as well.

Oberlo has 4.2 out of 5 stars from 2,000 reviews in the Shopify app store.

3. SaleHoo — Members-only database of 8,000+ suppliers

60 Day Free Trial
Annual Plan $67 per year
Lifetime Plan $127 one time
9.6 out of 10 stars

A $67 yearly membership grants you access to this database of wholesalers and dropshippers. There are currently 8,000+ suppliers on the site, and they’re all screened by SaleHoo before they’re added to the directory. There’s a 60-day free trial period, and the customer service gets high marks: 9.6 out of 10 with 300 reviews on TrustPilot.

4. Spocket — A Shopify database app with good reviews

Free Starter Plan
Pro Plan $49 per month
Empire Plan $99 per month
4.7 out of 5 stars

Spocket is a database app of dropship items that you can sort by country and simply upload into your Shopify store. Spocket makes it easy to find US and EU items that’ll ship within your country rather than from China, cutting down on slow ship speeds.

The Basic plan (25 products with unlimited orders) is forever free, and upgrading to Pro is $49 per month for 250 products and branded invoicing. The Empire plan unlocks unlimited products for $99 per month. The app has 4.5 out of 5 stars in the Shopify app store.

5. Wholesale2B — Versatile supplier and dropshipping hub

Browse for Free
Multiple Plan Options
$29.99 to $49.99 per month
DIY Plan $67 per year

You can do a lot of different things with Wholesale2b: sell its products on eBay, Amazon, on a Wholesale2B site, or your own WooCommerce / Shopify / Magento / BigCommerce site. Handle the orders yourself by becoming a registered reseller with each supplier or pay Wholesale2B a 3% fee to handle that for you.

6. Inventory Source — Timesaving dropshipping automation tool

Dropship Automation Solutions
Inventory $50 per month
Full Automation $150 per month
180+ Dropship Suppliers

An automation tool that allows you to either sync the suppliers products with your page (inventory automation) or to sync the entire customer purchase flow so that your orders are automatically placed with your supplier (full automation). Inventory automation is $50/month and full automation is $150/month.

7. Worldwide Brands — Budget-friendly database

Lifetime Plan $299
Direct Access to All Wholesalers
16+ Million Wholesale Products
BBB A+ Rated

For $299, you can get a lifetime subscription to this database of wholesalers and dropshippers. Worldwide Brands is a budget-friendly — but still great — solution for those competing to sell products on Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.

Worldwide Brands distinguishes itself with its extensive upper-market wholesale directory of certified dropshippers and its reliable and quick-to-respond support team. The lifetime membership certainly doesn’t hurt either. Worldwide Brands has 4.9 out of 5 stars from 171 reviews on Trustpilot.

8. Dropified — Popular Shopify app for AliExpress

14 Day Free Trial
Builder Plan $47 per month
Premier Plan $127 per month
4.8 out of 5 stars

This is another Shopify app for populating your store with items and automate your orders on AliExpress, including customer shipping address.

That said, there is no Dropified marketplace, but rather a browser plugin that’ll let you pull from anywhere on the web. You can set up margin parameters and rules for changing the price points in your store.

There’s a 14-day free trial; after that it’s $47 per month for the Builder plan, or $39 per month on the annual plan. The Premier plan, which costs $127 per month or $97 per month with annual billing, recently added a profit dashboard, Zapier integration, and an unlimited high-speed captcha solver.

The app has 4.4 out of 5 stars from 104 reviews in the Shopify app store.

9. AliExpress — China-based dropshipper with great user reviews

Free To Join
100+ Million Products
Worldwide Delivery
Seller Feedback Reviews

AliExpress is Alibaba’s online retailer and a popular dropshipping service worldwide. A Chinese online sales platform, AliExpress offers incredibly low prices on many products.

On their website, you’ll find lots of user reviews and analytics that are super useful during the product research phase.

But here’s my take: AliExpress offers the perfect model for starting out.

You don’t need an established business entity before starting your online store. You control your margins. And there’s limited investment upfront. You can get up and running for free in literally under an hour with access to millions of products. AliExpress dropshipping is possible even without contacting suppliers.

Because AliExpress is best for small order quantities and finding samples of items, it can be a low-risk option for testing out product ideas without a ton of investment.

10. DHgate — 1M+ products, but check user reviews

Free To Join
Products From Certified Sellers
Worldwide Delivery
Escrow Protection On All Orders

There are over a million Chinese suppliers on DHGate. Best practice for buying off DHgate: check user ratings and feedback. Just like you would when buying something off of eBay, be wary of anything that could be a knock-off or imitation, and be prepared for slow shipping and nuances like new-with-box items arriving with their boxes unassembled.

11. Doba — 2M+ products with so-so profit margins

14 Day Free Trial
Basic Plan $29 per month
Advanced Plan $69 per month
Pro Plan $249 per month

This 2 million product database doesn’t just bring a number of suppliers into one marketplace — you’ll also place your customer orders within Doda as well. That being said, it’s not cheap and we’ve read a number of negative reviews, many of which mention that the prices aren’t low enough to profit. Doba has a 14-day free trial, so you can log in and run the numbers to see if a membership (which starts at $29 per month) is right for you.

12. Wholesale Central — Best free dropshipping directory

No Membership Required
Free Directory of Suppliers
Free Directory of Trade Shows
Good Site For Research

This free directory lists suppliers you can work with individually to order products from. There’s nothing fancy about it — it’s like a phone book — but has useful information to use as you do your research.

13. Sunrise Wholesale Merchandise — Some of the best shipping speeds

7 Day Free Trial
$49 per month or $199 per year
Over 20,000 wholesale products
Ships to USA and Canada

A $99 yearly fee gets you access to Sunrise’s selection of goods. It’s a bit smaller than other databases, but the shipping times are pretty quick: typically 5–7 days. Packages arrive to your customers with a receipt from “Customer Service” that’s not branded.

14. Megagoods — US-based dropshipping supplier

30 Day Free Trial
$14.99 per month
$1.50 per order fee
Located in California

A California-based warehouse that will dropship your goods under your packaging and branding, typically in less time than it’d take to ship from an overseas supplier. Pro tip: check the added fees to make sure that your margins are good.

15. Dropship News – Extensive online directory

Online Directory of Suppliers
No Registration Required
Find US-Based Suppliers
Free Resources and Guides

This free online directory of suppliers is worth sifting through. We found some great US-based suppliers. Most of each supplier’s dropshipping information is on their profile, which saves you some clicking around.

The Worst Dropshipping Services

1. National Dropshippers — Difficult user interface and product search (not recommended)

You can give a try to see if there’s a product that’s only available here, but if you can find it elsewhere you’ll probably be better off going with the alternative. Products are hard to find and search for, and the returns and shipping policies aren’t favorable.

2. Dropwow — Negatively reviewed Oberlo competitor (not recommended)

An app that’s reminiscent of Oberlo and Spocket, but with more negative reviews. The tool claims to automate your orders and help you locate dropshippers located in the US and elsewhere. However, with only 3.8 out of 5 stars from 121 reviewers on the Shopify app store, and a monthly subscription of $29 per month, I don’t recommend it.

3. — Currently in hiatus

This site makes some enticing claims: 100,000 items in its inventory, a SaaS-approach to data, and quick shipping from its Michigan warehouses. However, the sign-up form is in private mode and the company seems to be on a year-long hiatus. We’ll keep an eye on Dropship Direct and report back.

Why Dropship?

Dropshipping solves a bunch of problems: no cash needed upfront, no boxes piling up in your store room, garage, or let’s be honest, in your spare bedroom. You never even have to touch the product or be responsible for the packaging or shipping. That means no more trips to the Post Office, either. Your dropship partner takes care of all that.

Today world’s largest cab company, Uber, does not own a single cab. World’s largest accommodation company, Airbnb, does not own a single hotel. Similarly, lot of ecommerce companies don’t own any inventory and just operate as a marketplace. If you ever had a dream to start a eCommerce business this is the best time.” —Saba Mohebpour CEO of Spocket, as told to Thrive Global

The benefits of dropshipping are also its drawbacks. You don’t have the inventory in your warehouse, so you don’t have control of a customer ordering something that’s out of stock. There’s no shipping work on your end, so you can’t control the shipping speed, or the packaging.

Long ship times = canceled orders.
Weird packaging = bad reviews.

And, you still need some money up front to build your website, put in the sweat equity of making that business take off, and all the other steps you’ll need to take to start your business.

Like any business partnership, you need to do your research on who you’re working with, what it’s going to cost you, and what you’re expecting to get out of it before you get too involved. This review will help you pick dropshipping companies that’ll work for your business — no matter your niche.

What’s the best dropshipping company for me?

Trying to find the best dropshipping company all up is a little bit beside the point. It’s like asking for the best eBay seller or the best store on Etsy. The things that make dropshippers great are a lot of the same things that make an eBay or Etsy seller great: They’re communicative and have fast shipping. The product arrives as promised. It looks like the listing and it shows up in one piece in packaging that looks nice and not chewed up by an alligator.

Just like an eBay seller, the best dropshipper for you is the one selling what you’re interested in buying (and reselling). They will reliably, communicatively, and quickly ship the product you’re after at a price that’s profitable for you — it’s about finding your best.

Most dropshippers use a Shopify or Wix store and an automation app like Modalyst or Oberlo. If you’re new to dropshipping, this is definitely the easiest way to get set up.

Why Shopify is the best way to start your dropshipping business

That means, you are basically setting up the equivalent to any ecommerce store. For ecommerce stores, the clear winner is Shopify. It’s been the frontrunner for a while. What’s most important about that for dropshipping is that the app store is super robust. Most stores use Shopify, so developers looking to make a high-quality app develop it for the Shopify app store.

So, if you haven’t already set up your Shopify store, that needs to go on your to-do list. We have a post that’ll walk you through the step-by-step process for setting up your Shopify store. It’s easy. There’s even a course in the Shopify Academy to learn how to start a dropshipping business with Shopify: Dropshipping 101.

I don’t recommend dropshipping with eBay

It’s compelling to set up shop with a marketplace — you don’t have to start a website, pay a subscription, etc. like you would with Shopify. But, I don’t recommend it. Unlike Shopify that’s super excited and helpful with new dropshipping businesses, eBay is growing more and more against them. Here are the sticking points for me:

  • Your store’s reputation is on the line — eBay is not forgiving and will downgrade accounts with reports of slow shipping
  • You’re probably not the only one selling that item
  • Your business case isn’t clear — why should someone buy that item from you, just another eBay store?
  • eBay has been cracking down on dropshippers and resellers, asking for proof of having the item in possession and freezing your store until you send in that proof. Proof could be a photo of your ID card with the item — not a photo of the item from a different listing. See this article from for more on eBay Aggressively Banning Drop Shipping / Arbitrage Accounts.

If you do want to build your dropshipping business with eBay, I’d spend a few weeks or months in the seller forums to understand the specific risks and challenges of dropshipping on eBay.

How to start a dropshipping company

1. Find items to sell

Find your niche.

There’s lots of chatter on the internet about finding your dropshipping niche, but this is just a trendy buzzword for product-market fit: are there people who want to buy your product? From you?

If not, you won’t have a successful business.

You’ll have the most success dropshipping a product if there’s an audience that wants to buy it and doesn’t have an easy way to access it. That’s where you come in.

Some ways to find your niche: brainstorm rabid fan groups or audiences with a common need or interest (dog lovers, anime fans, parents who love to dress up their kids in matching outfits, sailors, very tall people, people who love 90s throwback tees). These are purchase-ready populations looking to love and buy things that they’re interested in.

See what’s trending on Facebook.

Doing a quick search of a phrase like “Get yours here” or “Buy now” and look at the videos featuring items for sale that are getting traction. This can give you a sense of which products are interesting people on Facebook right now. Look for a high number of views in a short period of time, then search for the item at a dropship supplier like Oberlo or AliExpress. Consider the price-point of the item in the video and the assets you can create for it. Can you replicate — or improve on — the current trending video? If so, you may have an item worth dropshipping.

Don’t sell anything dangerous or copyrighted.

If you’re a beginner, don’t start with something that goes in or on a person’s body. If you do not know the quality and source of the ingredients, and something goes wrong, do you have coverage for that liability?

Also, if there’s a celebrity or character from a movie franchise on the item, it could get you in trouble. Steer clear of mice with big round ears.

Look at seller’s reviews and order a test product.

How long has the seller been selling? What feedback have they been getting. When you order a test product, does it meet your expectations? What do you need to tell your customers so they’ll be happy when they receive the product?

Consider dropshipping only some items.

Just because you’re dropshipping some things doesn’t mean you need to dropship everything. Perhaps it makes sense to use dropshipping for large, bulky, high-priced niche items.

Say, for example, you have an online store that sells nautical gear. You may want to personally store and ship some items, but dropship the anchors. For items like this, your customers may also be more accommodating to longer shipping times since it’s a large and more considered purchase. Same goes for home goods: perhaps you keep small items in stock, but dropship the couches. You can increase your inventory breadth very simply this way.

Go directly to a supplier and build a dropshipping relationship with them.

This is a killer plan: there’s guaranteed to be less competition. You’re basically creating a new audience for an under-marketed product that’s not getting seen by a ready-to-buy audience. If you use a database, every single other subscriber is using that same database.

2. Nail the basics

Invest in a good domain name.

We buy all our domain names from (You can read our full review on the best domain registrars.)

Set up your website.

If you go with Shopify, you’ll be up in minutes. Lots of dropshippers recommend the Shopify Brooklyn theme with a good font choice. You can also use another ecommerce option. Here’s our review on the best ecommerce platforms, if you’re interested in exploring.

Get a professional logo.

You can get one for a reasonable price (and no design expertise) with 99Designs. See my post about how to get your first brand identity on a budget for more details and how to run a logo design contest.

Use a professional email address.

It should be a sensible start (help@, support@) with your own domain name. I recommend getting G Suite for $5 a month per user. There’s nothing to trust about emailing a customer service that’s at or

Give your customer strong trust signals.

You can do this with high quality photos and unique item copy, a real and robust About Us page, and thoughtfully using things like discounted prices and pop-ups.

Ask yourself: Would I buy from this store? Would I feel comfortable suggesting it to a friend or family member? You’ll need some trust logos and some FAQs at minimum.

Set shipping time expectations.

Most dropshipped items aren’t going to get to the customer very quickly — and in world where Amazon Prime has set the standard at two days, that means dropshipments of 30 days feel extremely slow. If you don’t prepare your customers they’ll be very unhappy. We’ve seen very straightforward copy, like: All our items ship directly from our suppliers in China. Shipments are processed the day of your order and arrive in 25–30 days.

Make sure your orders go through.

Bundle credit card orders so your bank doesn’t cancel your numerous orders. Let your bank know what types of orders and in what quantities you’ll be placing, so they’re not flagged as fraudulent. There is no pain so rich as having to reorder orders you’ve placed. (You do have a business credit card, right?)

Prepare for returns and cancellations.

How will you deal with unhappy customers? What’s your return policy and how will you chargeback customer payments? Will returned items be shipped to you, or to your distributor? How will that work? Like with anything in business, it’s important to set it all up from day one like it’ll be a huge success.

Set aside money to pay taxes.

If you’re using Shopify as your payment gateway, once you get to a certain sales threshold, Shopify will automatically report your sales to the government. You’ll want to make sure you have money available to pay applicable taxes. We also recommend getting an accountant and a lawyer (we’ve heard good things about UpCounsel and LegalZoom) and setting up Quicken.

3. Differentiate yourself

Make your store listings and ads unique.

Remember, if you can quickly and easily set up a dropshipping order for a specific product, it’s likely another store will be able to do the same. You will need to find an edge: why would someone order from you, or find your store selling the product, and not your competitor?

Take your own pictures. Write your own copy. Shoot unique social videos. Really put thought into how to best convey the product and why a person would want it: What problems does it solve? Can it make them feel joy?

Import user reviews.

If you’re using AliExpress, you can import the user reviews. No one likes being the first to buy something.

Consider offering free shipping.

Do all orders have free shipping or only when a certain order spend is hit? What threshold or minimum spend works best?

I do not recommend offering “Free products — you pay shipping.” Many customers would rather know the price up-front than go through a purchase flow that says $0 the whole way through and then slaps on a $15 shipping charge. It’s 2019 and the norm is free 2-day shipping with Prime. People are catching on and aren’t happy about it. Read more from The Daily Beast in Instagram Influencers Dupe Their Fans With ‘Free’ Products.

Market your store.

Make sure people know about your store. This can be through word of mouth, social media ads, viral memes, influencer programs, SEO, a newsletter. You’re going to need visitors to make sales.

4. Iterate iterate iterate

Use ads to test and gather data.

We’re assuming that you’ll be buying ads. If you do, buy and use the data to test what’s working. What gets traction? Double down on it. What doesn’t? Trash it. This may lead you to changing your products, your ad style, your audience. Following the early traction means you head toward what’s working and away from what’s not.

Analyze your sales.

What’s selling well? What’s not selling at all? Is there any common theme in the items? Replicate what you can. Stop what’s not working.

Dropshipping vocabulary

Arbitrage – The simultaneous buying and selling of an item to take advantage of a difference in price for the same asset. Say there’s a board game for sale at Walmart for $20, but the lowest price on Amazon is $45. Arbitrage is listing the game for sale on Amazon and buying the Walmart game. For every sale you make on Amazon, you take advantage of a $25 price difference. If your arbitrage is online to online, with free shipping, the math suggests you could simply sell on one site, buy and ship from the other, and pocket all the profit. This does not take into account any hiccups: returns, merchandise not accurate, merchandise no longer in stock, price changes in either market, etc.

Dropshipping (DS) – The supply chain system in which a seller does not keep items in stock, but rather transfers orders directly to a manufacturer, supplier, or wholesaler who ships the item directly to the consumer.

Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) – Some sellers set a floor to how low you can advertise or display your product for sale. This is not the same as the price you can sell it for. So, the MAP price does not take into account coupon codes or sales, or other tricks like offering a gift card with a purchase, offering rebates, or doing things like showing an even lower price in the cart.

Dropshipping examples and press

You may have seen the posts we’ve seen — the ones about people starting dropshipping businesses and raking in the sales. We’re talking five-figures in a single day, six-figures every month. What is this magic sauce, we wonder.

The magic sauce is the same sauce as any other business: it’s a math equation based on margins. How big are your margins? How big is your customer base? What’s the conversion rate? How stiff is the competition?

Welcome to a little-known corner of the e-commerce world, where small entrepreneurs use social-media ads and hip virtual storefronts to entice people into buying products listed on online marketplaces such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s AliExpress.

The process often involves online storefronts transferring customer details to an AliExpress seller, which ships the goods directly to the customer; the storefront bills the customer. Called dropshipping, it is a twist on a fulfillment technique that major online retailers also use to send goods directly from their manufacturers to the customer.

The entrepreneur profits by charging a high markup, betting shoppers are unlikely to stumble upon the less-expensive goods on a marketplace site. AliExpress is the most popular such marketplace, but some entrepreneurs order from sellers on other marketplace sites like Amazon.

—“The Mystery of the $70 Hoodie That’s All Over Facebook,” Wall Street Journal

The mystery of the $70 hoodie is also not a mystery: it’s a one-time sale that’s not going to turn into repeat business. It’s a simple equation:

high price + low product quality + poor customer experience = repeat business

Dropshipping seemed cool because it made starting an eCommerce seem easy: I didn’t need to buy products in advance; I didn’t need to have space to hold them, and it didn’t require extra time and effort to ship the orders myself. Dropshipping does have disadvantages, but it really appealed to me, so I continued my online search.

There are numerous ready-to-use eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce or Squarespace. Most of them start at around $20 per month, which seemed like a good deal for a first-time entrepreneur like myself.

It took me two days to set up the store the way that I wanted it to look. Shopify is totally non-programmer friendly. All you need to do is open an account, select a look for your store, and that’s it – you’re ready to sell.

When I set up my store, I had no definite idea of what I should sell. I wasn’t sure if I should pick a product I was passionate about or just a random product I was able to find in dropshipping databases like or the like.

“This Guy Made $12K In One Month While Working Full-Time,” Huffington Post

“This guy” is Justin Wong, and he made his business work by studying Instagram marketing, set up affiliate partnerships with influencers, and matched his product with his marketing technique. And, he’s not confused about the pros and cons of that marketing strategy: when the posts age on a influencers feed, his sales go down.

My name is Jacky Chou. With my partner, Albert Liu (albeliu on Reddit), we launched a home decor dropshipping site that went from negative 3k to 250k a month in 8 months at 30-40% margins. We’re both first generation Asian-Canadians who moved from Vancouver to Berlin to work in marketing.

We started our dropshipping store as a ‘practice what you preach’ case study, as we’re both working as digital marketing consultants (Albert as a freelance Facebook consultant and I’m a founder of an SEO agency, Indexsy).

— “We made 250k USD last month with our dropshipping side hustle. Oberlo / Shopify reached out to us to do a success story. AMA!,” Reddit

Further reading

from Quick Sprout