How Does Dropshipping Work?

Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Welcome back to another blog. This article will discuss the topic in detail “How Does Dropshipping Work?”. Dropshipping provides e-commerce businesses with the chance to delegate product procurement, storage, and shipping to an external supplier, resulting in more efficient operations and cost savings. However, it may compromise customer experience. This guide explains dropshipping, and its operational dynamics and explores alternative options to enhance efficiency, reduce overhead, and simplify business processes.

In a dropshipping business model, you promote products and operate an online storefront. When a customer places an order, you forward the order to the drop shipper and notify customers that their products are en route. The drop shipping service takes care of the remaining physical fulfillment process. In certain dropshipping agreements, you may also handle customer service, while the dropshipping service oversees the management of physical goods and fulfillment.

How Does Dropshipping Work?

The dropshipping process generally includes the following stages:

  • The seller signs an agreement with a drop shipper.
  • The customer places an online order.
  • The seller receives the order.
  • The customer receives an order confirmation.
  • The seller forwards the order to the drop shipper.
  • The drop shipper ships the order.
  • The customer receives the product.

Entrepreneurs seeking to sell generic products often find dropshipping appealing. However, it can restrict the opportunities to establish a brand and differentiate products. Businesses that utilize dropshipping may end up competing primarily on price, resulting in lower profit margins.

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Involved key players in Dropshipping

To gain a comprehensive understanding, we will analyze the major stakeholders and their respective roles, beginning with your business as the primary seller.

  • As the seller of record, you are responsible for selling the product to the end consumer. You set the price, record the purchase as revenue, and assume the sales tax obligations for each sale. Even when a third party takes care of inventory management and shipping, you still maintain the role of the seller of record as you own the products prior to their delivery to the customer. Amazon sellers are generally allowed to use dropshipping services as per Amazon’s dropshipping policy, provided that they are the seller of record and clearly identify themselves as such.
  • Manufacturers are responsible for producing and selling products to wholesalers and retailers. While you can purchase goods directly from manufacturers, the large purchase quantities they often require can pose challenges when starting or expanding your business. Some manufacturers may also offer dropshipping services.
  • Wholesalers act as intermediaries in the product supply chain. They purchase goods from manufacturers and sell them to retailers at a slight markup. While wholesalers typically do not sell directly to end consumers, they may offer dropshipping services to retailers.

To find suitable wholesalers and suppliers for your business, consider your business model, fulfillment requirements, and other relevant factors. This will help you determine which dropshipping providers align with your needs.

Advantages of Dropshipping

Dropshipping in e-commerce offers advantages and disadvantages, depending on your goals and business situation. Here are some advantages to consider when evaluating if dropshipping is suitable for your business:

  • Lower overhead costs: Dropshipping eliminates the need for storage facilities and shipping expenses since you don’t handle the products directly.
  • Minimal starting costs: Entrepreneurs seeking low investment can opt for dropshipping as it doesn’t require resources or facilities to process orders.
  • Reduced risk: Without inventory costs, there is a lower risk of financial loss from damaged or excess merchandise.
  • Multi-channel selling: Dropshipping enables you to sell on various platforms, including your own website, Amazon, or social media channels.
  • Location flexibility: Fulfill orders from anywhere, regardless of your operating location, allowing for remote work possibilities.
  • Scalability: By leveraging suppliers, you can handle more orders without the need to increase your inventory storage, packaging, and shipping.
  • Wide product variety: With no requirement to pre-purchase inventory, you can offer a diverse range of items, expanding your earning potential.
  • Testing flexibility: Dropshipping allows you to experiment with different products to determine the best-sellers, without the fear of losing your investment.
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Limitations of Dropshipping

  • Dropshipping is a highly competitive field due to its low cost and easy entry.
  • Your ability to ensure product quality is limited in dropshipping since you have less involvement in the fulfillment process.
  • Differentiating your offering can be challenging as dropshipped products are often similar to those sold by other sellers.
  • Competing on price becomes necessary in a dropshipping business without unique product features, potentially reducing profit margins.
  • You lack control over order selection, packaging, and shipment when using a dropshipping service, affecting the fulfillment timeline.
  • Real-time inventory updates may not be feasible, leading to the possibility of customers ordering out-of-stock products and damaging your brand.
  • Special offers and promotions, such as bundling or free shipping, may be restricted when using dropshipping as you don’t handle fulfillment.
  • Low-quality drop shippers can make errors in fulfilling orders, resulting in poor packing, missing items, and dissatisfied customers.
  • Despite using dropshipping, you are still responsible for managing customer support and maintaining a good reputation.

If you want to reduce inventory management and order fulfillment costs, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) offers an alternative solution with many benefits of dropshipping but without drawbacks.


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