Dropshipping Pros and Cons: Does It Work in 2024? + Comparing 4 Business Models

March 1, 2024

dropshipping pros and cons

Dropshipping pros include hassle-free account creation, low startup costs, possibility of solid suppliers and products, and scalability. Dropshipping cons include cutthroat market competition, low profit margins, difficult brand creation, lack of control, and customer service issues.

Ultimately, you can start dropshipping with minimal upfront investment, focusing on building your brand and marketing your products without worrying about inventory management or shipping logistics. But you'll face unreliable suppliers and shifting market trends.

This article compares the pros and cons of dropshipping, discusses how the business model works in 2024, and compares dropshipping to other e-commerce models, such as traditional e-commerce, affiliate marketing, retail arbitrage, and Amazon FBA.

Dropshipping Pros and Cons

Dropshipping Pros

Hassle-Free Dropshipping Account Creation: You can create an account online with minimal requirements. This allows you to sell without significant time or big investment.

Low Dropshipping Startup Costs: Dropshipping eliminates the need for inventory. You can avoid the high costs of stocking products and renting space.

Reputable Dropshipping Suppliers: There are thousand of reputable dropshipping suppliers (AliExpress, Oberlo, and SaleHoo ). They make it easy for entrepreneurs to find suitable partners.

Wide Array of Available Dropshipping Products: Dropshipping offers various products. It includes high-ticket items like tech gadgets and luxury goods, as well as low-ticket essentials and accessories.

Dropshipping Business Scalability: Dropshipping is scalable because of its no-inventory model. It allows for easy product lineup changes without added costs. It works by fulfilling vendors.

Dropshipping Cons

Cutthroat Dropshipping Market Competition:
Dropshipping relies on low startup costs and easy entry, but entails intense competition. You must use effective marketing to stand out in a crowded market.

Low Dropshipping Profit Margins: Dropshipping saves on inventory costs, but lowers profit margins. This is because sellers rely on suppliers for shipping.

Difficulty Creating a Unique Dropshipping Brand: Dropshipping limits branding. Merchants sell standard items from third parties. This makes it hard for customers to connect the items with a brand.

Lack of Control Over the Dropshipping Supply Chain: You lack control over the dropshipping supply chain. Suppliers may lack quality controls, affecting cost-effectiveness.

Shipping and Customer Service Issues:
Any mistakes manufacturers and wholesalers make affect you. This results customer service issues.

Does Dropshipping Work in 2024?

Yes, dropshipping works in 2024 with a 20-30% profit margin, ideal for passive income and global expansion. This model allows quick adjustments to the product lineup. They align with market demands. 

Anthony Agyeman of Royal Clover started dropshipping at 18 with no money. He quit after 6 months due to a lack of progress. In an interview with Forbes, he said he hit a turning point. It happened after meeting a successful dropshipper who mentored him.

This mentorship improved his understanding of the industry and consumer behavior. He specializes in selling high-ticket items priced at $1,000 each, earning a profit margin of 30% to 40%.

How Does Dropshipping Work?

  • Choose Niche and Products: Find a profitable market and research in-demand products.
  • Find a reliable supplier: Look for suppliers with quality products, fast shipping, and reasonable prices. Consider platforms like AliExpress, Spocket, and SaleHoo.
  • Create an online store: Use platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce. Or, use marketplaces like Amazon for setup.
  • List Products: Include detailed descriptions and quality images. Set prices covering costs and profit.
  • Customer Orders: Collect payment from customer purchases.
  • Buy from Supplier: Use the payment to order from supplier with customer's shipping address.
  • Supplier Ships the product: Supplier sends the product to the customer under your brand.

Dropshipping vs eCommerce




Business Model

No inventory held. Products sourced from suppliers as orders come in.

You purchase, store, and manage your own inventory.

Upfront Investment

Lower upfront costs. No need to buy inventory in advance.

Higher upfront investment in purchasing and storing inventory.

Order Fulfillment

Supplier handles packaging and shipping of products directly to the customer.

You handle the storage, packaging, and shipping of products.

Profit Margins

Typically lower profit margins due to supplier costs.

Potential for higher profit margins since you control pricing and buy inventory in bulk.

Product Selection

More flexibility to change product offerings quickly.

Product selection may be more limited by inventory and upfront costs.

Branding and Control

Less control over product quality, shipping times, and the customer experience.

Greater control over branding, product quality, and the overall customer experience.


Easier to scale quickly since inventory isn't a limiting factor.

Scaling may require more investment in inventory and warehouse space.

Risk Level

Lower risk due to no upfront inventory costs.

Higher risk due to upfront inventory investment.


Shipping times and costs are dependent on the supplier.

More control over shipping speeds and options.

Ecommerce offers more profit and brand control than drop shipping. This business model is worth £137.38 billion in the UK in 2020 and $4.28 trillion worldwide. Predictions say it will become the main form of shopping. Cross-selling lets you offer a wider variety of products. You do this by suggesting related items from your suppliers. It boosts sales without stocking extra goods. 

The choice between dropshipping vs ecommerce depends on evaluating startup costs, profit, ease of use, branding, and risk. It means matching the choice to your business goals and resources.

Dropshipping vs Affiliate Marketing




Business Model

You set up an online store, list products from suppliers, and handle customer orders. The supplier ships directly to the customer.

You promote products or services of other companies/merchants on your website or social platforms. Visitors are redirected to the merchant's site for purchases.

Ownership of Products

You never take ownership of the products you sell.

You don't own or handle any products.

Profit Margins

Dropshippers earn a 20% to 30% profit margin per sale, with annual earnings up to $100,000 on average.

Affiliate marketing offers earnings from $1,000 to $10,000 monthly.

Startup Costs

Dropshipping startup cost is around $500-$1000.

Affiliate marketing requires a $1000 to $2000 investment for setup.


You have less control over product quality, shipping times, and the customer experience.

You have less control over products, pricing, and sometimes the sales process.

Customer Service

You handle all customer service inquiries and returns.

Limited customer service involvement, most inquiries are handled by the merchant.


Higher risk due to potential inventory costs, customer returns, and chargebacks.

Lower risk since you don't own inventory or handle shipping.


Can be scalable, but growth depends on finding reliable suppliers and managing increased order volume.

Scalability depends on your ability to find relevant offers and drive traffic.


Shipping times and costs are dependent on the supplier.

Affiliate marketing shipping times are out of your control.

Dropshipping vs affiliate marketing offer unique paths to online entrepreneurship. Each has specific benefits and challenges. Affiliate marketing requires a $1000 to $2000 investment for setup. It is accessible and allows promotion across various products.

You don't need to handle customer service or fulfillment. Success depends on choosing products that match personal interests. They must also offer good profits. But you will have limited control over customer relationships and risk program discontinuations.

Dropshipping vs Retail Arbitrage




Business Model

You partner with a supplier who ships directly to your customers. You never handle inventory.

You find discounted products from retail stores and resell them for a profit on online marketplaces (often Amazon).

Startup Costs

Dropshipping startup cost is around $500-$1000.

Retail arbitrage startup cost is around $100-$1000

Inventory Management

No inventory to handle or physical store.

You purchase, store, and ship the inventory yourself.


Dropshipping is easier to scale since you don't deal with physical inventory.

Scaling can be more challenging due to inventory sourcing and logistics.

Profit Margins

Dropshippers earn a 20% to 30% profit margin per sale, with annual earnings up to $100,000 on average.

You can earn $100 to 50,000$ per month in Online Arbitrage.

Product Control

Dropshipping has less control over product quality and shipping times.

Retail Arbitrage has control over product quality and shipping since you handle it.

Customer Service

You may need to handle more customer issues related to suppliers.

You have more direct customer service experience since you handle all shipping.

Time Investment

Dropshipping requires more upfront time for supplier research, product selection, and website setup.

You can see quicker returns but needs consistent effort to find good deals.

Dropshipping vs Retail Arbitrage offers a low barrier to entry than traditional businesses. Dropshipping has lower profit margins because of supplier markups and shipping costs. But, dropshipping competition can be more intense because of lower barriers to entry.

Retail Arbitrage has a quicker setup on platforms like Amazon. This is shown by 25% of sellers starting their businesses in under a month. The US Census Bureau reports that e-commerce sales in the US reached $873.8 billion in 2022. This shows the huge potential for both models.

Dropshipping vs Amazon FBA




Business Model

You market and sell products without physically holding inventory. Suppliers handle shipping and fulfillment directly to customers.

You purchase inventory in bulk, ship it to Amazon's warehouses, and they handle order fulfillment and customer service.

Startup Costs

Dropshipping startup cost is around $500-$1000.

Amazon FBA has higher upfront investment, $1,000-$5,000+ due to the need to purchase and ship inventory to Amazon.

Profit Margins

Dropshippers earn a 20% to 30% profit margin per sale, with annual earnings up to $100,000 on average.

Amazon FBA offers profit margins of 16-50%, potentially yielding annual profits of approximately $2,000 to $6,000.

Control and Branding

Limited control over product quality, shipping times, and the overall customer experience.

More control over product quality, shipping speed (Prime eligibility), and potential for building a strong brand.


Can be high, as you're often selling the same products as many other dropshippers.

Competition on Amazon is intense, requiring careful product selection and optimization.


Dropshipping is easier to scale quickly by adding more products and suppliers.

Amazon FBA can be more challenging to scale due to inventory management and shipping logistics.

Risk Level

Dropshipping has lower financial risk due to minimal upfront investment. Risk of unreliable suppliers and inconsistent product quality.

Amazon FBA has higher financial risk due to inventory investment. Risk of products not selling as expected.

Amazon FBA vs dropshipping are both eCommerce business models centered on online product sales. Amazon FBA enables fast order fulfillment. It provides exact inventory control, to ensure products are available. In contrast, dropshipping often results in longer delivery times and the risk of selling unavailable items.

Despite Amazon FBA's streamlined process, it demands a big initial investment. It usually ranges from $10,000 to $20,000. You need this capital to buy products in bulk and run Amazon PPC ads. Profitability with Amazon FBA may take a year or more to achieve.

Is Dropshipping Still Profitable?

Yes, dropshipping is still profitable. Noah Wickham of Idle Shopper reports high earnings. His gross profits are at 40% and net profits at 20%. Your profitability varies based on whether you’re dealing with high-ticket items. They can net $2,000 per sale. Or, you're operating in low-ticket products, with annual earnings averaging around $36,153.

These figures show the importance of picking the right products and using accurate SKUs. They let orders be processed faster by stopping confusion about product types. This leads to quicker deliveries and happier customers.

Why Local Lead Generation Outperforms Dropshipping in Every Aspect?

Dropshipping allows entrepreneurs to start businesses with low overhead and costs. It reduces financial risk by cutting the need for inventory. This model supports selling across many channels from any location. It enhances operational flexibility and scalability. But, dropshipping's low entry barriers often result in a crowded, less profitable space. 

Entrepreneurs struggle with a lack of control over supply and pricing. They face challenges from established competitors who can offer lower prices. Rebranded products carry legal risks. They also make it hard to build a brand. They make it difficult for new drop shipping businesses.

Local lead generation surpasses dropshipping because of its superior market potential and strategic advantages. Drop shipping businesses are often saturated. In contrast, local lead generation offers over 50 niches across 42,000 U.S. zip codes, creating approximately 700,000 viable niche markets.

Local lead generation excels because of its scalability, profitability, and control over digital assets. With potential earnings of $750 to $2,000 per site monthly. The model's low maintenance allows for managing up to 100 sites, amplifying your income.

This advantage of having many sites leads to a big revenue stream. It far outweighs the small return from a single site. With its targeted niche, recurring revenue models, local lead generation has the potential to be highly profitable.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

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