Start an Online Store with WordPress

In this guide, I'll show you everything you need to know to set up an online store and start making sales.

Last year my WooCommerce website did over $3.7 Million dollars in sales and the content on this page shows you how to set up a store that is similar to mine.

My Story

Start an Online Store with WordPress 2022: Step-by-step

I have spent the last few weeks writing this COMPLETE Guide that covers EVERYTHING I can think of that you need to know to make a profitable ecommerce store with WordPress.

Why this is the BEST way to make an Online Store with WordPress

My first Ecommerce store was built using WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin and it was a dropshipping store.

Dropshipping is a business model where you contact suppliers and ask if you can sell their products.

If they say YES, you add their products to your website.

When a customer buys from your website, you send the details of the customer that bought on your website to your supplier and then your supplier ships the product directly to your customer behind-the-scenes (you never even have to see the product).

It’s a great business model and LOW-RISK to you because you’re only buying stock for products you’ve already sold to your customer.

When I first realised how lucrative this business model was, I quickly built a team and infrastructure that allowed us to build a lot of different online stores for different dropshipping products and niches.

At this point, I would guess I’ve created over 30 online stores.

While building these stores, I never knew if the products were going to sell well, so I needed to make AMAZING ecommerce stores while keeping costs down.

So, we created step-by-step systems that we would follow that gave us a VERY professional WooCommerce website without us having to do much work.

Once the website design was completed and the products were added, we’d run Paid Advertising for a week or so and if we made money, we’d continue adding more products and spending more on advertising.

The benefits of how I make Ecommerce stores

What I’m getting at with the above, is the fact that the focus of my Ecommerce websites is to make money as a business.

I actually studied design at university (specialising in Web Design) and worked solely as a web designer in an agency for about 4 years, and with that said – it might surprise you that…

The design of your online store matters LESS than what you think.

Choosing a name for your Online Store

When choosing a name for your brand, please please PLEASE consider this…

Always consider the possibility of you selling your business one day

When you are choosing a name for your online store PLEASE imagine yourself selling your store one day.

Here’s why…

I know how quickly something can go from just an idea to a full-blown business making lots of money and seeing a lot of growth.

It happened to me!

I first got into Ecommerce in 2017.

I built a WooCommerce dropshipping store, added some products from AliExpress and, after a day of building the store, I had Ads going to it the next day.

I got sales that first day and the first month exploded out of nowhere, as shown below.

It all happened so fast, that I had to quickly form a company and open all new stripe accounts etc otherwise my tax bill was going to be the end of me.

I literally built a WooCommerce store in a day, ran ads and (unexpectedly) had a new business.

The reason I am telling you this, is that I find sharing my real-lift experiences with you is more convincing than if I speak theoretical.

And recently, I sold my Ecommerce business!

I sold my Ecommerce business

As my Ecommerce brand grew, I found myself selling mainly into the USA and the person who bought my Ecommerce brand was from the USA.

One of the biggest benefits you have as someone who is starting an online business is that you can sell your products ANYWHERE in the world and th

The name of your Online Store and brand is important (BUT I don’t want you to spend too much time on this step).

Seriously – I can’t stress this enough.

My main WooCommerce website that I’ve made my full-time living off of since Jan 2017…

My Story

I spent less than 5 minutes coming up with a name for this online store.

I actually just put two names together so it sounded like a high-end fashion brand and so far it’s worked well and I have no regrets – I still love the name to this date.

Think: Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein etc.

There are many ways you can come up with a name for your Ecommerce website and on this page I have listed TWO methods you can use to help you decide.

But first… let’s cover Domain Availability.

How to see if your Domain Name is available

One rule I ALWAYS follow for my brands and online stores is that I ONLY buy .com domain names for my brands.

Here’s why…

Let’s say you’re Australian and you’re selling cosmetics ONLY to people in Australia.

You then go and decide to buy the domain name,

But I always have this thought in the back of my mind – what if my business grows and I start selling into the USA where there is a LOT more people and a larger audience (and thus larger potential for sales).

If that happens, if I can’t get the .com version o

Method 1: Put two names together that sound expensive

As I did with my Ecommerce Brand, you want to pick names that sound like a luxury brand

Cost of Goods plugin

Install the official Cost of Goods plugin so that you can track your profit and fulfill your orders easier.

The plugin currently costs $79 per year and I think it’s definitely money well spent.

Track your Profit and Loss for the current day

You can use this plugin to quickly get a rough idea of how much profit you have made during a specific period.

For example, let’s say today is the 14th of January and so I log into WooCommerce > Reports and I set the date range to be for just today, as show a (1) below.

From this report, I can see that I have made $9,028.53 in net profit here.

Then, I could check my facebook ads account. Let’s say I have spent $6,500 on ads there today so far.

Using this data, I could do some quick maths and estimate that I have made $9,028.53 – $6,500 = $2,528.53 net profit.

As you can see, it tells me a bit of a story as to how my day is going in the business.

But there are some drawbacks to this plugin.

Firstly, it doesn’t include my shipping costs that I pay to send out all these orders.

Secondly, this report can’t be used as an accurate profit and loss as it doesn’t factor in all the other costs of my business, such as hiring staff, buying software etc.

But it isn’t the end of the world.

What do is look at my overall sales for the last 30 days (let’s say total revenue was $100,000 for easy numbers).

Then I just look at how much I paid in shipping (let’s say it was $5,000) which equals 5%.

And I do that for all the other expenses of the business (work out what their % is of total revenue).

And then using that I can get an ESTIMATE of my daily profit / loss by doing something like:

$11,426.83 total revenue today
minus $2,398.30 cost of goods
minus $6,500 facebook ads
minus $571.34 (shipping costs, 5% of total revenue)
minus $342.80 (all other business expenses, 3% of total revenue)
= $1,614.39 net profit, 14.12% ROI

You could set up an easy spreadsheet to do that, too, so it’s super quick.

Speed up your Order Fulfillment

You can add your Cost of Goods (the price you pay your supplier per item) to each product inside WooCommerce and then have these prices export with your CSV file that you send to your supplier when fulfilling.

I have a whole dedicated section on this page about the different ways you can fulfill orders using WooCommerce, including the method I use with CSV files.

CSV files are what you might easily know as Microsoft Excel files.

Each day, my team log in to our website and export all our WooCommerce Orders to a CSV file and then we email this file to our supplier so they can then send these orders to our customers.

When you install the Cost of Goods plugin inside WordPress, you will see this new Cost of Goods ($) field when you are creating a product, as shown below.

Let’s say this product above is a T-shirt and we pay our supplier $10 in Cost of Goods to get this product fulfilled and sent to our customer.

When a customer buys this T-shirt from our website, we export that order to a CSV file and the Cost of Goods of this product is added to it’s own column called Item Cost, as shown below.

Then all we need to do is add our shipping costs in the shipping column, SUM together Item Cost and Shipping Cost, and that total is how much we need to pay our supplier to fulfill all these orders.

Again, I explain in LOTS of detail on this page how to fuflfill your WooCommerce orders using CSV files, so don’t get too worried if the above doesn’t make a whole lot of sense yet.

Just know that the ability for us to add the prices of our products into WooCommerce as Cost of Goods makes our life easier when we go to export our orders and send them to our supplier for fulfillment.

Please add your Cost of Goods now

If you are following along with this tutorial, please install the Cost of Goods plugin. Next, go ahead and add a Cost of Goods value to every product in your WooCommerce website (we’ll be using this a bit later in this tutorial when I show you how to fulfill your orders).

Fulfill WooCommerce Orders (options)

The way I fulfill orders in WooCommerce is to send my supplier a CSV file each day with all the order information from yesterday.

But this could be different to your set up, depending on what type of online store you have and the type of ecommerce business model you’re running.

One thing you could be doing is sending out the orders yourself. This is quite straight-forward and so I won’t go into detail on this one.

However, if you’re just starting to sell online you might be using a dropshipping ecommerce model, which has a low upfront cost because you don’t need to buy any stock upfront.

If you are a growing ecommerce brand and you’re starting to buy your products in bulk, you might be using a third-party logistics (3PL) company to send out your orders for you.

The way you’ll fulfill these orders and get the orders from your store over to your supplier will be different AND you actually have a few options for each of these.

Using a 3PL

If you are buying bulk of your product and want to send it to a warehouse that will pack and ship your products for you, you are using a 3PL and you have a few options.

Third-party logistics companies (3PL) might have their own WordPress plugin that you can install and then when an order is placed in your WooCommerce website is automatically gets sent to your 3PL’s database and everything is automated.

If they don’t have a WordPress plugin you can install, you could hire a developer quite easily OR just send them a CSV with your orders in there each day.

Fulfilling dropshipping orders

I dropship my products. This means I don’t have a warehouse where I store my products and it means I don’t use a third-party logistics (3PL) company to send out my orders.

When I get an order on my website, I give these details DIRECTLY to the actual supplier of my products and they ship the products to my customer.

To place these orders with my supplier, I export orders to a CSV File and email this to my supplier.

It’s a fast, easy system that you can set up for next to no-cost (and it has a few benefits that I will explain later on).

So this is the logic behind how my dropshipping store handles order fulfillment currently and has done since 2017:

  1. Customers place their order on our website and have up until midnight THAT DAY (As specified in our terms) to email us with any changes they need to make to their order.
  2. The next day, the first thing that my assistant does is to reply to all emails in our HelpDesk. She does this first so that any changes to orders in (1) above can be actioned before we export the orders to CSV and send to the supplier.
  3. Once the HelpDesk is cleared out and all orders have been updated as per customer requests from yesterday, we export all of yesterday’s orders in to a CSV File and then email this to our supplier.
  4. The supplier then emails this same CSV file back with a new column on the end named “Tracking Number” and each order has a value in here
  5. We upload this CSV file back into WooCommerce and, in doing so, our WooCommerce website automatically emails these tracking numbers to each customer

For this tutorial today, we will focus on how to send your orders to your supplier using a CSV file because that’s what I currently do for my website and I know a lot of my audience are people who own dropshipping stores.

Fulfilling Orders using CSV files

Sending CSV Files to my supplier is my preferred way of handling Order Fulfillment.

Here is why I prefer this method and why I’ve stuck to using it since 2017:

  • It’s EASY to notice any errors
    When we export to a CSV file, we sort the orders by Billing Email so all a user’s orders are grouped together. Once we do this, we can easily identify any errors. A good example of this is duplicate orders. Sometimes, our customers will purchase from our checkout form, then click the back button and then purchase again. We also have One-click post-purchase upsells and downsells and they’re notorious for duplicate orders. People clicking ACCEPT to an upsell and then using the back arrow, then clicking ACCEPT again. Sure, we can find these errors by looking through our WooCommerce Orders dashboard, but it really is a lot easier using a spreadsheet.
  • It’s extremely FLEXIBLE
    Take for example, my shipping arrangement with my supplier. Let’s say I pay $5 to ship my product to the USA, and each product after that costs 0 dollars in shipping. If a customer goes through my checkout and buys a product, then accepts 2 upsells and reaches the thank you page, there will be 3 orders in WooCommerce for this customer. When I export to CSV, I just sort all orders by billing address, and in the Shipping column in the CSV file, I put $5 shipping for 1 order and then put 0 for the others. Also, as we don’t process orders over the weekend, lets say a customer buys 3 products Friday night, then is subscribed to our mailing list, gets one of our emails on Sunday and clicks and buys again… when we export all orders over the weekend, we just sort by Billing Email and now we pay just $5 for all orders made for this customer over the 3 days they ordered. And it’s just so easy to do it in a spreadsheet.
  • All our orders are in our Google Sheet that we call our MASTER FILE
    If the sky were to fall one day and our WooCommerce website was hacked, deleted, and our backups were all gone, at least we would have all our orders off-site in our MASTER FILE in an easy to use format.

With that said, let’s look at how you would go ahead and setup CSV Order Fulfillment for your ecommerce brand.

Create your MASTER FILE in Google Sheets

Your MASTER FILE is ONE main Google Sheet that you will use to track everything related to Order Fulfillment.

Why I recommend Google Sheets

I’m on a Mac and there is something about the Numbers program that makes me squirm every time I accidentally try and open a CSV file on my computer.

Here is why I recommend you start using Google Sheets:

  1. Everything is online
    With Google Sheets, all your data is available online and you can collaborate and see what your staff are doing.

Creating your MASTER FILE

Create your MASTER FILE (aka the google sheet that your business will use for everything) with the same tabs that my one has below.

Here is what my business puts into each of the tabs at (2) above:

  • SUPPLIER – used to track our CSV Totals that we owe our supplier
    Each time that we create a new CSV for our orders, we will rename the file to be the date of the orders( i.e. 2022_05_05-orders.csv). In this SUPPLIER tab, we will put the CSV name and the total of that CSV so that we can keep track of how much we owe our supplier each day. I pay my supplier every week or so (i.e. 7 CSV files worth of orders in the 1 invoice that I pay) and the supplier just adds each CSV file name as a line item in the invoice and then the total at the bottom. I check that these totals match mine and if they do, I pay.
  • 2021 – this contains all of our past year’s orders in the 1 tab
    This is mainly just there in case we ever need it, but we rarely use it here. You could just move the contents of 2021 (last year’s orders) into their own Google Sheet file and store it separately – up to you.
  • COGS – The price of all our products in the 1 place
    This is mainly in case we ever just need to double check the pricing of products, make sure our export is exporting the correct prices as a safety check, etc
  • AliExpress
    We have a few rare high-margin products from AliExpress that are not from our main supplier. We don’t advertise these products but if we do get a sale for them, we use Dropified to fulfil them quickly and then add their details here separately into this tab so that they are not mixed with the orders we make with our main supplier.
  • WOO 2022 – Year Tab
    This contains all of this year’s orders in the 1 tab.
  • 29 – Day Tabs
    Day tabs are what we refer to as tabs that contain a specific day’s orders. For example, if it is the 30th today, we would export to CSV all orders in PROCESSING status placed on the 29th, then put them into this tab named 29. Once we tidy up this CSV, we would send this to our supplier. Once the supplier sends back this CSV with tracking numbers, we would then move these orders from the day tab 29 into the WOO 2022 tab.

Day Tab vs Year Tab

Orders stay in their Day Tab until we receive Tracking Numbers back from the supplier. Once we receive Tracking Numbers back for all orders in a Day Tab, we then move them into the Year Tab. That’s how we keep track of what orders are fulfilled and what orders are still waiting on Tracking Numbers from our supplier.

Export WooCommerce Orders to a CSV file

To export WooCommerce Orders to CSV, I highly-recommend that you use the official plugin from named WooCommerce Customer / Order / Coupon Export.

The plugin currently costs $79 for a year.

Once you download and install the plugin, you’ll see a new admin menu item under WooCommerce > Export.

Click on WooCommerce > Export and you should see the screen below.

Create a CSV Template

Next, you should customize the CSV Template and define what columns you want to export when your CSV is created.

To do this, click on the Custom Formats tab, as shown below.

Then click on Add new.

Leave the default settings as they are i.e. Export type = Orders and Output type = CSV, then click Add new.

Leave Load mapping set to Default and click Load.

Then we’re into the CSV template builder.

In the image below, I show you how I have mine set up. Under the image I’ll explain in further detail what everything is doing.

Here is a break down of the template above:

  1. A row represents a single line item
    This just means that if a customer buys 3 different products in their 1 order, we will export the CSV to have 3 lines (1 product per line). This way, we can easily add our Cost of Goods for each product separately so that we can work out how much we need to pay our supplier.
  2. Order Details
    Here I like to add as the first column the Order Status. This is so we can make sure we have only exported orders in the PROCESSING status and haven’t accidentally included REFUNDED orders, CANCELLED orders etc. Once we confirm that this column says PROCESSING in all rows, we delete this column when we’re processing the order.
  3. Shipping Details
    Hey, no surprises here. As you probably guessed, here is the name and address of the person we are shipping the order to.
  4. Billing Details
    This is the name and phone number of the person who paid for the order. We use these details for sending the tracking number to their email and phone with updates (like IN-TRANSIT, OUT FOR DELIVERY etc).
  5. Item and Shipping Costs
    The Item Cost and Shipping Cost columns are what we are going to add together to get the final cost of fulfilling all these orders. The values in the Item Cost column are from the Cost of Goods plugin we looked at in a previous section. Once we add up these two columns for all the orders in our CSV, we will get the total amount that we need to pay our supplier.
  6. Blank Field
    This is just used for formatting – to separate out all the columns in (1) to (5) FROM the columns in (7).
  7. Fields for the Advanced Shipment Tracking plugin
    All of these fields are specific to a plugin we will be using to send tracking numbers to our customers. So just make note of these for now and I’ll explain how they’re used later on.

Once you have created the columns as per above, click on Save.

Next, click on Manual Export (1) and then select the CSV Template you just created in the dropdown at (2).

You’re now all set up for when you start getting orders.

Cha-Ching! You just got some orders (congrats!).

Let’s start exporting them.

Starting the CSV Export

Let’s put this all together now and export our orders to CSV.

Previously, I mentioned that I give my customers until midnight the day they order to let us know of any changes they need to make to their order. Then, my customer service team come in, go through the tickets in our helpdesk and update any orders from yesterday that need updating and then we export all of yesterdays orders for fulfillment.

For this tutorial, let’s assume that today is May 3rd.

That means, we need to export all the orders for May 2nd (i.e. yesterday’s orders).

Here are the settings we use to do this:

  • (1) – Make sure you have selected your CSV Template that we created
  • (2) – I uncheck this. I have never found it useful
  • (3) – We want to export ONLY orders in PROCESSING status (i.e. the customer has paid us).
  • (4) – To and from days are yesterday’s date
  • (5) I uncheck this box. I haven’t found it useful

So click on the Export button at (6) above and it will begin generating your CSV orders file.

And you should see the below screen once the process has completed.

And a .CSV file should have downloaded to your computer.

Prepare your Order CSV file

This section shows you how to take the CSV file we just exported from WooCommerce, clean it up and send it to your supplier.

Add the CSV Order file into the MASTER SHEET

Go ahead and open up your new MASTER FILE that we created in a previous step.

Then, add a new Day Tab for today’s date.

Running with my previous example, today is the 3rd of May for me, so I will go ahead and add a new tab named 2, as per below.

Into this tab, we will copy and paste the orders that we just exported from WooCommerce.

Confirm you have exported the correct orders

Confirm that you only have YESTERDAY’s orders and that they are all in PROCESSING status.

After adding your CSV file that you exported into your MASTER FILE in the Day Tab, you should have something that looks like the below, where we have our Day Tab named “2” and inside our tab is all the orders made yesterday on the 2nd.

Confirm at (1) above in the Order Date column that all orders here were made on yesterday’s date.

You might be wondering why we do this – but you never know with WordPress. Maybe another plugin has conflicted with the CSV export plugin or something, so better safe than sorry.

Next, check that all the orders are in PROCESSING status.

We do this, because when you’re exporting – if you forget to add PROCESSING here…

You can see (below) that the default is to export all orders, including CANCELLED orders, REFUNDED orders etc – and you definitely don’t want to be fulfilling those and losing money on COGS.

Once you confirm all the orders you have in your Day Tab from the CSV file are YESTERDAY’s orders and that they are all in PROCESSING status…

DELETE the Status column so that the first column is now the Order Date column.

Format the Order Date column

Now, highlight the Order Date column and then go to Format > Number and select the date format shown below at (4).

Now the date should be much more readable.

Sort your rows by Billing Email

The orders below are in the order they exported in, meaning the orders at the top were placed at the start of the day and the order at the bottom was the last order made on this particular day.

If you review my two selected rows above, you can see that our friend Arnold placed order 222350 in the morning, then maybe we sent him some email marketing and later on at night he clicked that email and placed another order.

We should group these two items together and send them to him in the same package.

Doing this gives Arnold 1 package instead of two, but it also allows us to pay our supplier LESS to ship the items out (which means we make more profit).

To sort your orders, click at (1) below to select all the rows in your sheet, then go to Data > Sort Range > Advanced range sorting options.

And choose the following options as per (1), (2) and (3) below – then click Save (4).

And now you’ll see in (1) below that we’ve grouped Arnold’s two separate orders together and we can send him the 1 order with both items in the same package with the 1 Tracking Number.

Another benefit of doing this is that second sort condition we applied – Sort by SKU.

Logically, we are sorting by the person (billing email) and then by product (SKU) and doing this allows us to find duplicate orders and orders made in a strange way.

If you check the above image, you can see that Olivia has ordered 2 of the T-shirts in a size: small and they have different order ID’s.

Before we send them out, it’s best if we go into WooCommerce and see how she made the orders and reach out to her if we need to.

For example – maybe she said ACCEPT to an upsell for the T-shirt and then went to the next page, then clicked BACK to see the T-shirt upsell again, clicked ACCEPT again to go to the next page, and in doing so she created the duplicate order that we need to refund.

Separate out Quantities into their own rows

For items that have a quantity of more than 1, separate them out onto their own rows.

For example, in the image below you can see that Penny Lane has ordered 2 of the T-shirt in a size sm.

Duplicate this row and then set the Quantity to 1 for each, like below.

The reason I do this is so that it is a lot more obvious to the supplier that there are two items.

I just don’t like relying on them to check the Quantity field and see that 2 we had before – I like this way where they see two rows and there is no way they can miss it.

Doing this is a step I added to my process when I was working with a supplier many years ago.

For some reason, this supplier would often miss orders that contained items with multiple quantities and so using this system, we solved that problem.

Fixing Zip Codes with leading zeros

Some US states like Connecticut have Zip Codes that start (lead) with a zero.

For example, 06001, 06002 etc.

By default, Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets will strip (delete) leading zeros and we need to manually add them back in.

Firstly, select the Zip column and then go to Format > Number > Plain Text.

This ensure that when we write 0 now that it stays there and doesn’t get removed.

Now, go ahead and scan your orders for US orders that have a 4 digit post code and add back the leading zero.

I found this one below…

I’ll update it to be like the below.

Removing duplicate orders

The back button on your browser is obviously very useful, but it causes issues when you customers are ordering from your website.

Let’s take our customer Olivia below.

She ordered a Beanie in order_id 222888 and then I showed her a post purchase one-click upsell using the amazing WooFunnels plugin, where I sold her a T-shirt in size small.

She clicked ACCEPT to this upsell (which was order_id 22289) but then you can see she has this same item again under a different order id, order_id 222890.

Looking at this, I can see that she went through my checkout form and bought the beanie, said ACCEPT to my T-shirt upsell, went to the next page (which is my Order Receipt page), then clicked BACK to go to the T-shirt upsell and clicked ACCEPT again on the t-shirt upsell which created the duplicate order.

Another time you might get duplicate orders is when the same scenario happens, where a customer buys the beanie at checkout, says ACCEPT to the T-shirt upsell and chooses a size: small, then goes to the Order Receipt page, then clicks BACK and decided that they actually need a size: medium, then clicks ACCEPT again on this upsell with a different size.

If a customer does that, you’d end up with something like the below where you can see one order has the SKU T-shirt-sm and then the other order has T-shirt-med:

So, we need to do something with these duplicate orders.

It’s really up to you how you handle these, but if they are definitely duplicates, you obviously don’t want to ship them out and you need to refund the customer.

One thing that we do is create a new tab in our MASTER FILE called “Finalizing” and cut and paste these 3 orders into that tab.

Then we email the customer to confirm their order, refund / do whatever we need to do, then move these orders back into the CSV file of the next day to be sent to the supplier.

Doing that, you’d end up with something like this below.

Adding our Shipping Costs

The final part of this is calculating our total Cost of Goods that we need to pay our supplier.

As you can see below, our Item Costs are all worked out and exported because of the Cost of Goods plugin we used in a previous step in this tutorial.

Now we just need to work out our Shipping Costs.

Let’s say you pay the following for shipping (this is similar to what I pay):

  • $2.7 per order to the USA. each additional item is FREE
  • $4 to Canada, each additional item is FREE
  • $5 to Great Britain, each additional item is FREE

And yes, additional items for my orders don’t cost much because I am selling fashion accessories / jewelry, which are lightweight.

To do this, we just look at the Countrty code in (1) below and then enter the value in (2).

You can also hide columns temporary so that the Country and Shipping Costs columns are closer together, as shown below.

Now, as I said I only need to pay shipping once per order I am sending out to the customer, I put the shipping cost for 1 of the rows in the order and for the other rows I put an X, as you can see below.

I prefer to put the X instead of a zero. Both would work as when we SUM our columns the X is ignored, which is basically like writing 0 – but the X just makes more sense in my mind (it’s like I am crossing it off).

Calculating our Totals

All that’s left to do is sum these 2 columns together.

Firstly, let’s add up our Item Costs using the SUM function you should be familiar with.

Then do the same for Shipping Costs.

Now, for my specific situation I need to add a surcharge like the below.

During covid, the cost of metals has increased in prices and my supplier and I agreed that with his rising costs, I would pay an extra $1 per item, until pricing settles.

This is why I love the flexibility of spreadsheets like this. Once I export the orders from WooCommerce, I can customize totals and play around with things so easily, such as adding this surcharge fee temporarily.

Lastly, all that’s left is to add all our totals together to get our final figure…

So the total that we need to pay to our supplier to fulfill ALL orders made yesterday is $139.50

Sending your Order CSV to your Supplier

We need to do three things here – export our CSV file to our computer, email the file to our supplier and then add this total to our COGS master sheet where we track our payments to our supplier.

Export your CSV file

To download our orders as a CSV file to our computer, go to File > Download > Comma Separate Values (.csv).

And now the file should be on your computer.

Now, rename the file and I highly-suggest that you keep the same naming format to keep everything nice and neat.

I like to use something like the below:


if I have multiple suppliers, it allows me to easily identify by their last bit of the file, like below

Now, send this file to your supplier as an attachment.

Below is an example of the email we send to our supplier and as you can see it is very simple.

It has the total to be paid by me + the attached CSV file.

TIP! Add version numbers to the file name for revisions

If you send the supplier a CSV file and then realise you made a mistake, add something like -v2 at the end of the file name (which stands for version 2) so that if you and your supplier are speaking, you can reference the different CSV files by v1 v2 v3 etc in case you have to revise the same CSV file multiple times.

Just like the below.

Add this Day’s total to your Master COGS tracker

In your Master File, create a new tab called SUPPLIER (1) and add the columns as per the below.

Here is what each column is for and how we use it:

  • Date of Orders – (Today’s date)
    The date you are actually processing the orders. So if today is the 5th of May, you write the 5th of May here
  • Supplier – just write the supplier(s) name.
  • Amount – the total amount you need to pay your supplier for this order
  • Paid? – I put an X here once I pay the supplier so I can keep track of what I have and haven’t paid
  • CSV Name – use a consistent naming convention. The Dates you put in the file names should be the dates that orders took place.

If we review the image below…

You can see at (1) that this file name tells us that this CSV file contains orders that our customers made between the 3rd and the 5th (hence the 3-5 in the filename).

If we look at (2) we can see the last date we processed orders was on the 3rd and that on this day we processed orders for the 2nd, as shown by the 2 in the filename at (3).

This makes sense as we process yesterdays orders

Now, you might be wondering why some days we process multiple days in the 1 csv file.

For me, my team don’t work Sundays, so we process Saturday’s and Sunday’s orders together when we return on Mondays.

Paying your Supplier

You have a few options available to you in regards to how you pay your supplier.

Currently, I pay my supplier using (formerly known as TransferWise), but that wasn’t always the case.

Below, I will go through how I paid my first suppliers to how I pay my suppliers now (and why I made the changes along the way).

Paying AliExpress suppliers

If you are like me and you’re starting off your ecommerce store using the dropshipping from AliExpress business model, your store will have MULTIPLE suppliers and because of this I would HIGHLY-RECOMMEND the following:

  1. Use something like Dropified to auto-place your Orders with one-click so you’re not placing them one-by-one in AliExpress

TIP! For starting with AliExpress

Try and minimize the number of suppliers you’re using from the start. Try and pick suppliers that have LOTS of products so you can get a large catalog from only a few suppliers (this makes fulfillment WAY easier and your customer service will be EASIER as you only have to ask a few suppliers questions instead of 10. Oh, and make sure you get these suppliers on Skype / WhatsApp ASAP – don’t just message them through the AliExpress portal, its like sending emails VS chat – way too slow!).

Now, when you’re starting your online store, noone trusts you.

You can’t ask your supplier to send out orders before you pay for them – you have no relationship.

But, as you start selling more and more products from specific sellers and they realize you’re an actual person who pays their bills on time, here is where a few options start to open themselves for you.

Last time I checked, AliExpress charge your supplier 10% fees to sell their products on AliExpress, and guess who’s paying that fee?…



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