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    The Pros and Cons of Dropshipping in 2024: Is It Worth It?

    Written by: nur Islam

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    Time to read 16 min

    You're likely curious about dropshipping after coming across it online, wondering if it's as great as it seems.


    Don't worry! I'll provide a thorough and honest overview of the pros and cons of Dropshipping, covering everything without overlooking any detail.


    Not only will I be upfront about how this business model works, but I'll also share some tips towards the end on how to handle the downsides of dropshipping. But before that, let's define what dropshipping is.

    What is dropshipping?


    Dropshipping business is a retail method where the seller doesn't stock the products they sell. Instead, when a product is sold, the seller buys it from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. 


    This means the seller never physically handles the product. The pros of dropshipping include low initial costs, flexibility in location, and the ability to offer a wide variety of products. However, there are downside of dropshipping: profit margins can be low, there's limited control over stock and shipping times, and customer service challenges can arise if there are issues with an order.


    To explain it more simply, here's our infographic that does a great job of showing how dropshipping works.


    Dropship model 2024

    If you want to learn more about dropshipping, I recommend checking out the article linked below:


    "Dropshipping for Beginners: Dropshipping Business Ideas


    Now that you're familiar with the basics of this business model, let's dive into the pros of dropshipping.

    What are the Pros of Dropshipping?

    Why is dropshipping great? Let's discover the reasons!

    1. Test products without buying in large quantities or keeping stock


    Dropshipping is a way to sell products online without having to buy a lot of them at once. Normally, when you buy in bulk, you purchase many items of the same kind all at once. This is cheaper per item, but it means you need a place to store them all. If you're not sure whether these products will sell, you could end up with a lot of unsold items.


    With dropshipping, you don't face this problem. You only buy a product when a customer orders it from your online store. This way, you don't have to invest in a large number of products upfront. You can test if a product sells well without the risk of having unsold stock.


    However, once you find a product that sells well, it might be a good idea to start buying in bulk. Buying in bulk has its advantages, like lower prices per item, but you should only do this when you're confident about the product's demand.


    There's also a point where you should consider stopping dropshipping. If a product is consistently selling well, and you're sure about its market demand, then buying in bulk could be more beneficial.


    For more details, you can read our this article How And Where To Buy Profitable Dropshipping Stores

    costs for online stores

    2. Startup costs for online stores are lower than retail stores


    Starting a dropshipping store is cheaper compared to traditional online stores with their own inventory. The main reason is you don't need to buy products in bulk or pay for warehouse storage. This significantly lowers your startup costs.


    However, starting a dropshipping business does involve some expenses. It's important to understand these costs, which are detailed in another article we have. Remember, dropshipping is a real business, not a quick way to get rich.


    Compared to a normal ecommerce store with its own inventory, the costs of running a dropshipping store are much lower. But each type of store has its benefits.


    For example, if you open a dropshipping or an online store, you won't pay rent like you would for a physical retail store. Instead, you might use a service like Shopify, which can cost as little as $39 per month on their lowest plan. This is a big difference compared to the rent and maintenance costs of a physical store.

    3. You don't have to produce, store, and send the products


    Drop-shipping is great because the supplier does everything - shipping, storing, and making the product.


    All you need to do is market the product, and your dropshipping supplier will take care of everything else. Amazing, isn't it?


    However, not being able to see the product is a drawback because there may be problems with its quality. (More details below)


    You can add new products to your store easily without needing to find a place to store them.

    useful skills for dropshipping

    4. Learn useful skills


    Drop-shipping is a way to fulfill orders without keeping inventory.

    The rest of online shopping stays the same. You'll still learn skills like:


    • Digital marketing
    • Copywriting
    • Conversion optimization
    • Social media management

    Even if you stop doing drop-shipping, the skills you learn from it are still useful for other things.

    5. You can open a dropshipping store really fast


    Dropshipping is popular because it's much easier and quicker to start than a traditional retail store. Here's why:


    1. Less Upfront Investment: In dropshipping, you don't have to spend money upfront like in a physical store. You only pay for products when someone buys them from your online store.


    2. Time-Efficient: Setting up a dropshipping store is fast. You can create an online store, like one on Shopify, in just a few minutes and have it fully set up in a few hours. This is much quicker than setting up a physical store.

    Don't worry, I'm not suggesting you rush to create your dropshipping store. It's actually better to spend more time making your store unique. This way, you'll stand out from other dropshippers who quickly set up their stores in just a few hours. Taking time to build a distinct and appealing drop-shipping store is a smarter approach.


    If you want to learn how to make your drop-shipping store more unique, I recommend reading my article on the topic. It can provide you with valuable insights and tips.


    You can also purchase ready-made drop-shipping stores from Shopifico and start drop-shipping within a day. All Shopify drop-shipping stores are ready to launch, and each store is well-optimized for SEO. There's no need to hire an SEO expert to optimize your store. The choice is yours.

    6. Highly scalable


    With dropshipping, you have the potential to sell to customers worldwide. This is because your dropshipping supplier can ship products to almost any country. However, it's important to check with your supplier before you start advertising in a new country, just to make sure they can ship there. In rare cases, your supplier might not be able to deliver to certain locations.

    What are the Cons of Dropshipping

    What are the Cons of Dropshipping?


    Now that we've looked at the pros of dropshipping, let's discuss its cons. Often, people promoting dropshipping don't talk about these downsides. They tend to describe dropshipping as an easy path to wealth. This leads to the first major drawback – the mindset issue:

    1. The dropshipping mindset

    You might have heard a lot of people saying dropshipping is an easy way to get rich and live a great life without much work. But, there's more to it than just the good stuff they talk about.

    Realistic Mindset is Key:

    • First Big Challenge: Understanding that dropshipping isn't just about quick money and an easy life. It's important to start with a realistic view, not just the exciting parts you often hear about.

    I'm here to give you the full picture of dropshipping, focusing more on the challenges than the benefits. While these challenges aren't too big and can be handled, most people who promote dropshipping don't talk about them much. So, let's dive into what you really need to know to start a dropshipping business with a clear understanding.

    How to handle Dropshipping scams effectively?


    I'll give more than just basic info. I'll also give tips to overcome dropshipping challenges.


    Here's one important tip:


    Remember, drop-shipping is a genuine business, not a quick scheme to get rich. Treating it seriously and having the mindset of running a real business is half the battle. With the right approach and dedication, you can navigate the cons of dropshipping more effectively.

    2. Almost no control


    When you have a store, especially if you're dropshipping (where the products are sent directly from the supplier to your customer), there are things you can and can't control.


    What You Control:


    1. Pricing: You decide how much to charge for the items you sell.
    2. Product Selection: You choose what products to offer in your store.

    What You Don't Control:


    1. Shipping Time: If you're getting products from China, for example, it can take a while for them to arrive. You can only improve this a bit by choosing faster shipping options.
    2. Package Design: The suppliers who send out your products usually handle the packaging, so you can't customize it.
    3. Extras in the Package: You can't add personal touches like thank you notes or discount codes in the package because the supplier sends it directly to the customer.

    Why It Matters: If your customer has a problem with their order, like how long it takes to get to them or how it's packaged, you can't do much. This is because you don't handle the order processing, shipping, or refunds yourself - the supplier does.

    How to handle Dropshipping scams effectively?


    When you're starting with dropshipping and not making money yet, don't stress too much about things you can't change. For example, if you're using AliExpress, there are some limitations you can't do much about.


    What You Can't Change with AliExpress Dropshipping:


    • The way products are shipped.
    • The design of the package.
    • Adding personal touches to the package.

    But, There's Good News:


    • There are other options besides AliExpress. These alternatives can offer a better shopping experience for your customers.

    The Goal:


    • You want your customers to be happy, right? Exploring these alternatives can help with that.

    When You Start Making Profit:


    • If you start earning money from a product, you can consider buying it in bulk and handling the shipping yourself.
    • Or, you can use a fulfillment service like Amazon FBA.
    • Doing this allows you to control packaging, add personal touches, and usually ship faster than dropshipping from China.

    3. Potential quality control issues


    You're drop-shipping. You won't see the product. This means there could be problems with its quality, and you won't find out until it's too late. One day, you might wake up to lots of customer emails complaining about their product.

    How to handle Dropshipping scams effectively?


    If you're concerned about the quality of the products you're dropshipping, it's a good idea to order a sample first.


    What is a Sample?


    • A sample is when you order the product from your supplier and have it sent to your house.
    • This lets you check how long it takes to arrive (delivery time), how it's packaged, and how good the product is (quality).

    Why Order a Sample?


    • By getting a sample, you can see and feel the product yourself.
    • You can use the sample to take your own photos and make videos for your store. This can help show customers exactly what they'll get.

    Ordering a sample is a great way to make sure your customers will be happy with what they receive.

    4. Stock shortages


    When you're running a drop-shipping business, there are many things you don't have control over. One big issue is stock availability from your supplier.


    What Could Happen:


    • Imagine your product starts selling a lot.
    • Suddenly, your supplier might not have enough of it in stock.

    The Good News:


    • This problem is actually easy to solve.

    How to deal with this con of dropshipping?


    When you're dropshipping, it's important to keep track of how much stock your supplier has. Sometimes, if you're selling a lot, your supplier might run out of the product. But don't worry, there's a simple solution:


    1. Stay in Touch with Your Supplier: Regularly ask them about their stock levels and how quickly they can get more.


    2. Have a Backup Plan: If your main supplier runs out of stock, you can switch to another one. On platforms like AliExpress, you'll find many sellers offering the same or similar products. So, you have options.


    3. Prepare in Advance: Before you even face a stock issue, contact other suppliers. Ask them the same questions about stock and delivery times.


    4. Order Samples from Other Suppliers: This way, you can be sure of the product quality. If your main supplier runs out, you'll be ready to switch to a new one and keep your orders going smoothly.

    By doing these things, you can make sure you always have products to sell, even if one supplier runs out.

    5. Less profit


    Dropshipping has a hidden cost: you don't get the lower prices that come with buying in bulk.


    Here's How It Works:


    1. More Expensive Per Item: When you dropship, you buy items one at a time. This is usually more expensive than buying a lot of items at once (bulk pricing).


    2. Dropshipping vs. Wholesaling:


      • Dropshipping: You order single items from a supplier each time a customer buys from you.
      • Wholesaling: You buy a large number of items all at once, usually at a lower price per item.
    3. Why Dropshipping Costs More:


      • The supplier handles storage, insurance, and other costs for each individual item.
      • They also pay for staff to pick, pack, and process each order.
    4. Low Margins for Wholesalers: Wholesalers usually make a small profit on each item. So, when they add extra costs for handling individual orders, they have to charge more.

    What It Means for You:


    • Your profit margins will be lower with dropshipping. This is because you pay more for each item compared to buying in bulk.

    How to handle Dropshipping scams effectively?


    One way to make more money in dropshipping is to sell more products.


    Here's How it Works:


    • Selling More for More Profit: If you make $10 profit on each product, selling 10 products gets you $100. But if you sell 100 products, you make $1000. It's all about selling more to increase your total profit.


    • The Trade-Off: More sales mean more work. You'll have to handle more orders, and there's a higher chance of something going wrong with an order.

    Another Approach: High-Ticket Dropshipping:


    • Instead of selling lots of cheaper items, some people choose to sell expensive items.
    • Even though you sell fewer items, each sale brings in a lot more profit.

    So, you can either sell a lot of cheaper items for smaller profits per item, or sell fewer expensive items but make more profit on each one.

    6. Refunds can be complicated


    When you're doing dropshipping, especially from China, there are a couple of challenges you might face:


    1. Long Shipping Times: It can take 2-3 weeks for your products to arrive at your customer's place. This long wait can sometimes frustrate customers.
    2. Lack of Control Over Product Quality: Since you don't see or handle the products yourself, you can't be sure of their quality until the customer receives them.

    The Result?


    • These issues can increase the chances that your customers will ask for refunds.

    But remember, choosing the right suppliers can help reduce these problems. Good suppliers might have faster shipping or better quality products. However, there's always a risk of these issues happening in dropshipping.

    How to deal with this con of dropshipping?


    When you're dropshipping and need to handle refunds or returns, you have a couple of options:


    1. Send a New Product Without a Return: Sometimes, it's cheaper to just let the customer keep the faulty or unwanted product and send them a new one. This can save on shipping costs and hassle.


    2. Return to Supplier: If it's not too costly, you can have the customer send the product back to your supplier.

    Who Pays for Returns?


    • You'll need to decide if you or the customer will cover the return shipping costs.

    This decision depends on what's more cost-effective and how it might affect customer satisfaction.

    Conclusion


    Before starting a drop-shipping business, it's important to know the pros and cons. If you decide to pursue drop-shipping, good luck! If you're unsure, check out successful drop-shipping stores for inspiration. If you have any questions or suggestions about this article, feel free to comment or contact me directly.

    Pros and Cons of Dropshipping FAQ

    1. What are the pros and cons of dropshipping?

    The pros and cons of dropshipping present several advantages and challenges for those considering this business model. Let's explore the benefits and drawbacks.

    2. How does dropshipping impact the supplier?

    When engaging in dropshipping, the supplier plays a crucial role in shipping the products directly to customers on behalf of the online store. This shifts the inventory management responsibility to the supplier.

    3. What are the advantages of dropshipping for a business?

    The pros of dropshipping include reduced capital investment as retailers don’t need to maintain a warehouse or manage inventory. Also, the profit margins can be higher due to the dropshipping model.

    4. What are the challenges faced by dropshippers?

    While dropshippers benefit from not handling physical products, challenges such as high shipping costs, shipment delays, and potential customer service issues can arise.

    5. Can dropshipping involve multiple suppliers?

    Yes, dropshippers can work with multiple suppliers to offer a broader range of products. However, this may also introduce complexities in supply chain management and shipping.

    6. How does dropshipping impact the profit margin?

    Dropshipping can offer the potential for higher profit margins due to low overhead compared to traditional retail. However, fierce competition and the

    Is dropshipping legal?

    Dropshipping is a completely legal way to do business, but you need to be careful and do your research, especially if you're selling to people in different countries. Here's what you need to keep in mind:


    1. Choose Legit Suppliers: Make sure your suppliers are reliable and that their products are real and not fake.
    2. Follow Tax Rules: Know and follow the tax laws both where you live and in the places you're selling to.
    3. Consumer Protection Laws: Be honest about what you're selling (accurate product descriptions), and be clear about your shipping and return policies. These laws are there to protect your customers.

    It's important to understand these rules to run your dropshipping business smoothly and legally.

    How does dropshipping work?

    Drop-shipping is a way of selling products without keeping them in stock. When a store sells a product, they buy it from someone else and have it sent directly to the customer. This means the seller doesn't have to handle the product themselves. The main advantage is that it saves money because the business doesn't need to store products or manage a warehouse.

    How do you find dropshipping suppliers?

    Looking for dropshipping suppliers takes some effort and research. Here are some common ways to find them:

    1. Use Google: Search for the kind of product you want to sell. Then, contact the companies you find directly to see if they do dropshipping.

    2. Online Directories: There are websites like Zendrop, SupplierHQ, Syncee, or Spocket where you can find lists of suppliers. Some of these sites even let you use their suppliers directly for your business.

    3. Contact Manufacturers: Reach out to the company that makes the product you're interested in. Ask if they do dropshipping or if they can give you a list of their distributors. Then, you can ask these distributors if they do dropshipping and how you can work with them.

    4. Trade Shows and Networking: Going to trade shows for your product's industry is a great way to meet suppliers face-to-face. You can find new suppliers and build relationships with them this way.

    These methods can help you find the right suppliers for your dropshipping business.

    Is dropshipping right for my business?

    Drop-shipping is a good option for certain types of businesses, especially if:

    1. Limited funds for stock? No problem. With drop-shipping, you can avoid upfront inventory costs. Only buy products when they are being sold.
    2. Drop-shipping allows you to sell a wide variety of products without requiring storage space for all of them.
    3. Dropshipping is a low-risk option for selling new things without spending much on inventory. It allows you to test new products or markets.
    4. If you're fine with earning less money, drop-shipping is for you. Due to intense competition and lack of control over shipping and product quality, your profits may be smaller.

    However, drop-shipping might not be the best choice if:

    • You want to create a unique brand with exclusive products.
    • You want complete control over how your products are supplied and the overall customer experience.

    Nur Islam

    Nur islam

    About the Author: Nur Islam 

    Nur Islam has experience, in the world of e-commerce spanning over six years. Throughout his career, he has worked closely with businesses ranging from startups to well-established brands. 


    Nur possesses an understanding of the intricacies involved in running a retail business and is particularly knowledgeable about the Shopify platform. His insights are based on experiences ensuring that readers can benefit from his advice.


    Nur is an advocate for e-commerce innovation. Constantly stays up to date with the latest trends and technologies that shape the industry. He firmly believes in empowering entrepreneurs by equipping them with knowledge to navigate the complexities of the world and achieve their goals.

    Outside of writing articles Nur enjoys mentoring aspiring e commerce enthusiasts and sharing his expertise through industry seminars and workshops. His commitment to fostering a thriving e commerce community paired with his dedication to learning have established him as a trusted voice, within the realm of business.
     

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