What is Reverse Dropshipping? Step by Step Guide + Top Products in 2024

June 5, 2024

reverse dropshipping

Reverse dropshipping is a business model that involves sourcing high-quality products from importing countries like the United States, Canada, or European nations. These products are then sold to consumers in countries known for exporting goods, such as China, India, or other Asian markets. This model capitalizes on the demand for premium products in emerging economies.

To begin reverse dropshipping, follow these steps:

  1. Market research and determine reverse dropshipping niche
  2. Source suppliers for reverse dropshipping
  3. Set up reverse dropshipping online store
  4. List products and market for reverse dropshipping
  5. Fulfill Orders for Reverse Dropshipping

BestFulfill states that reverse dropshippers can make an average of $10000 per month in the first few months of business. For instance, a reverse dropshipper with a $500 profit per sale needs 20 sales monthly to reach this figure. However the additional costs can complicate the logistics and increase the initial investment. And since reverse dropshipping is not well known, it can be hard to market and takes more effort to educate customers on your products' value. 

 Steve Chou

Steve Chou, founder of MyWifeQuitHerJob even points out that the biggest risk is relying on dropshipping suppliers for product quality and shipping. Subpar retailers and products can lead to customer dissatisfaction and harm your business reputation. Steve also says the low profitability of this business model compared to other e-commerce models requires high sales volumes.

This article covers all you need to know about reverse dropshipping. I will tell you how it works, the challenges and risks involved in this business model. Plus, I will also share top products trends you need to consider when choosing products. I also feature stories from real users and their experiences about this dropshipping business.

What is Reverse Dropshipping?


Reverse dropshipping is a variation of the traditional dropshipping model where retailers source high-quality, premium products from developed countries instead of cheaper alternatives from low-cost manufacturing regions. These products are sold to customers in markets where such goods are sought-after but scarce. The business model offers unique, high-value items, targeting a niche market that prioritizes quality and exclusivity over price.


Traditional dropshipping involves sourcing lower-priced items from suppliers and then selling them at a higher price. This model leads to lower profit margins due to the competitiveness and lower pricing of the products. Reverse dropshipping flips this model. You source high-quality items from established manufacturers in developed countries and sell them to high-paying customers. This allows you to potentially command higher profit margins due to the focus on quality and potentially higher priced products.

Sparkshipping states that dropshipping stores typically see profit margins of 10%-30%, affected by the business model, niche, and product types. A 10% margin is critical. Anything lower suggests the need for operational improvements. Beginner reverse dropshippers should target a 20% minimum profit margin, although higher is preferable.

Reverse Dropshipping Step by Step Guide

1. Market research and determine reverse dropshipping niche

Market research and determining reverse dropshipping niche minimizes the risk of choosing products with low demand or high competition. Aligning your products with customer needs and desires lets you charge higher prices. It also helps you earn better profits. Dropshippers can use Google Trends to identify rising search queries related to products or hobbies. This can signal an emerging niche with potential.

The search term "gym outfit" has shown a consistent search volume over the past year, with notable peaks around August 2023, November 2023, and January 2024. This steady interest indicates a stable demand for gym outfits, making it a viable market. The spikes likely correspond to seasonal trends or promotional periods, presenting opportunities for targeted marketing.

The interest over time graph backs up the trends in the trend data. It shows periodic spikes in search activity. This steady interest indicates a stable demand for gym outfits, suggesting it is a viable market. Understanding these fluctuations can help in planning inventory and marketing campaigns. Timing promotions around peak interest periods, dropshipping businesses can maximize their sales potential.

gym outfit reverse dropshipping 2

The geographic data shows that interest in gym outfits varies by region. Interest is highest in Idaho, Connecticut, California, Florida, and New Mexico. Targeted marketing in these high-interest areas can enhance ad effectiveness and customer engagement. Focusing on these regions can optimize marketing expenditure and improve conversion rates.

gym outfit reverse dropshipping 3

These Google shopping listings show a variety of gym outfits available on popular e-commerce platforms, with prices ranging between $30 and $50. Analyzing your competition helps find gaps in the market. It also uncovers potential ways to stand out. By offering unique designs, high quality, or low prices, reverse dropshipping businesses can position themselves well. This knowledge helps to select standout products. It enhances the appeal of the dropshipping offerings.

gym outfit reverse dropshipping 4

2. Source suppliers for reverse dropshipping

Sourcing suppliers for reverse dropshipping ensures your catalog contains products in high demand among customers in your targeted country. You are not making or storing the products. So, you need a reliable supplier. Your customers will perceive delays in their production as late delivery or subpar service. You must ensure your suppliers provide high-quality products. This stops returns and keeps customers happy.

reverse dropshipping suppliers

For new sellers, using marketplaces is the easiest path to starting a dropshipping business. These platforms automate dropshipping. They make it easy for entrepreneurs to both build and run a business. While established dropshippers prefer using wholesale suppliers to source their products.

Unlike traditional dropshipping, you must find suppliers that manufacture goods in the UK, USA, or Canada. Depending on your target market, you can pick a supplier, like Spocket, US Direct, or Easyship. Or, you can choose another that aligns with your goals.

To choose the right supplier for reverse dropshipping:

  • Research potential suppliers. Scour online directories, B2B marketplaces, and attend industry events to compile a list of candidates.
  • Test each supplier's reputation. Read customer reviews. Check their track record for reliability and product quality. Assess their communication responsiveness.
  • Request product samples. Order samples from the shortlisted suppliers. Inspect them to verify that they meet your quality standards.
  • Compare pricing and terms. Get quotes from many suppliers. Negotiate good prices, low order minimums, custom options, and shipping that fits your needs.
  • Discuss logistics and communication protocols. Set clear expectations for order processing. These include packaging, labeling, shipping timelines, and communication channels. They are to ensure smooth operations.
  • Conduct trial orders. Place small trial orders with your top choices. This will let you assess their performance, including product quality, shipping speed, and customer service. Do this before committing to a long-term partnership.
Michelle Bali

Dropshipper and YouTuber, Michelle Bali recommends thorough research using platforms like Alibaba, directories, and conventions to identify potential suppliers. Vetting should focus on the maker's credentials, longevity, and transparency. It should include direct interactions to ensure they meet your business's standards and ethics. After identifying suitable suppliers, Michelle suggests ordering samples to verify quality before full production. She highlights the need to negotiate good terms. These terms balance cost, quality, and delivery times. She advises having backup manufacturers to ensure that the supply chain is reliable.

sarah chrisp

Sarah Crisp, co-founder of Wholesale Ted, advises ordering samples to verify product quality and ensure that the items shipped to customers match the samples received. She also recommends checking reviews from other customers to spot product quality scams. Effective reverse dropshipping marketing needs a focus on niche markets. Reverse dropshippers need compelling product storytelling and social media for user-generated content and influencer partnerships.

3. Set up reverse dropshipping online store

To set up a reverse dropshipping online store, you need to choose an ecommerce platform like Shopify that caters to international sales. Consider factors like features tailored for dropshipping, scalability, and ease of use. Asian consumers seldom buy from American retail websites. They prefer platforms like Alibaba. But, you can still use Shopify to make your store and show your products.

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial so you can explore the platform and its features before committing to a paid plan. In the platform, you can choose a good domain name, website hosting, CMS, and engaging plugins. They will make your store stand out. Don't forget to translate all the content. Do it into the local language of the country with the customers you are targeting.

reverse dropshipping shopify account

Your domain name is your store's web address. To give your store a professional look and brand identity, you'll want to connect a custom domain. If you already own a domain name registered with another provider, you can connect it to your new reverse dropshipping store.

reverse dropshipping store domain

Some key considerations for setting up a warehouse or storage space for reverse logistics are location, size, and layout. Use a warehouse management system (WMS) to track inventory. Link the system to your online store and use technologies like barcode scanning for speed. Plan for enough staff and training for warehouse operations. Also, set up security and insurance to protect your inventory.

4. List products and market for reverse dropshipping

To list products in a dropshipping store involves adding info and images about the items you want to sell. The specific steps will vary depending on the platform you're using.

To list products and market for reverse dropshipping, navigate to the "Products" section from the main dashboard. This is where you can manage or add new items to your online store. Enter key details, like the product name and a description. The description should highlight the product's features and benefits. It should include relevant SEO keywords. 

Set your pricing information, including retail and cost price, to manage profitability. Ensure to account for tax if applicable. This process helps streamline inventory updates and maintain accurate product listings.

listing reverse dropshipped products 1
listing reverse dropshipped products 2

The kind of products that sell in reverse dropshipping are durable and high-quality branded products. This is because their established trust and perceived value, justifies their higher price points. These include luxury skincare, accessories, innovative devices, designer clothing, and premium home appliances.

Some effective marketing strategies for promoting a reverse dropshipping business are paid advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads and social media ads. These pay-per-click (PPC) provides immediate visibility and traffic. These promotions reach the most relevant audience that yield quick results and is useful for scaling your business. 

According to the World Advertising Research Center, PPC advertising generates an average return on ad spend (ROAS) of 2:1 across various industries.  This suggests that PPC can be a profitable marketing strategy for reverse dropshipping stores that are after quick returns.

ecom colins

YouTuber Colin Zekom outlines practical marketing strategies for dropshipping, focusing on understanding consumer behavior and targeting hedonic shoppers who are prone to impulse buys. He advocates using psychological triggers. These include FOMO and urgency from limited-time offers that help increase sales. Colin also stresses the importance of selecting appealing products and aligning marketing strategies with values that resona/ete with the target audience. He recommends adapting advertising content to fit the preferred platforms of specific demographics. Such as creating ads that mimic native content on TikTok for younger audiences.

5. Fulfill orders for reverse dropshipping

Fulfilling orders for reverse dropshipping starts after a customer places an order. The order details are captured, including the product selected and shipping information. This process is  automated through your e-commerce platform and integrated dropshipping software.

The next step is to forward the order details to your dropshipping supplier. You can do this manually by sending an email. Or, do it automatically through dropshipping software. These softwares sync with your online store.

reverse dropshipping
fulfilling orders reverse dropshipped product
fulfill dropshipping order

After the product is packaged, the supplier ships it to the customer. Shipping includes printing labels. Then, dispatching the package and providing tracking. Dropshipping software updates order status and tracking information. This keeps retailers and customers informed.

fulfilled items

Customers are notified about the status of their order, including shipping and tracking details. This step is crucial for maintaining transparency and customer satisfaction. Automated systems can send these notifications without manual intervention.

You can ensure customer satisfaction as a reverse dropshipper by prioritizing reliable suppliers with high-quality products. You offer clear communication throughout the buying journey. And provide a hassle-free experience with fast shipping and easy returns.

What are the Top Product Trends in Reverse Dropshipping in 2024?

The top product trends in reverse dropshipping in 2024 are:

  • Smart Home Devices - People crave convenience and security. Smart devices like voice assistants, smart locks, and connected thermostats offer both.
  • Travel Tech Accessories - People are traveling more and want to stay connected and organized. Gadgets like portable chargers, noise-canceling headphones, and universal adapters make travel smoother.
  • Luxury Cosmetics - There's a growing desire for premium beauty products with high-quality ingredients and a touch of luxury.
  • Advanced Home Exercise Equipment - Fitness is a priority, and home exercise equipment allows for flexible workout routines without a gym membership.
  • Premium Home Appliances - People are investing in their homes and want appliances that elevate everyday tasks. High-tech features, sleek designs, and improved efficiency make premium appliances desirable.
  • Designer Clothing and Accessories - Self-expression and a desire for status symbol products are driving the demand for designer labels.
  • Nail Décor and Makeup Jewels - Detailed nail art and sparkly makeup accents are trending, offering a way to personalize one's look. Offer a variety of options to cater to different styles.
  • Sustainable Products - Consumers are more eco-conscious and seek products made with recycled materials or with sustainable practices.
  • Gaming Products - Gaming is huge and growing. There is a constant demand for the latest consoles, powerful PCs, and great peripherals.
  • Organic Beauty Products and Luxury Cosmetics - This combines the trends for healthy beauty products. Highlight the organic ingredients and potential health benefits of the products you offer. 

One Reddit user described transitioning their solo business that went from initial profits of a few hundred euros to projecting a net profit of €60,000 to €70,000 within four years. This growth was driven by strategic improvements by improving their products and their online presence. This highlights the potential of a well-managed, high-value product market venture.

reverse dropshipping trends success story

What are Some Success Stories of Businesses that Use Reverse Dropshipping?

Reddit user civil-purpose-2364 reports earning $24,000 in a year from reverse dropshipping. They capitalized on market gaps and used organic advertising. They successfully promoted their online store without spending money on ads. They are now developing two more stores using the same model.

reddit Civil-Purpose-2364

Another user, dexblocks reports earning $1,200 in organic sales with a gross profit of $500, all within the first five months of launching their online store. They emphasized that this business model demands a considerable amount of effort and dedication to achieve such results.

reddit Dexblocks

Melodic-space-1536 reports earning $400 after four weeks in the dropshipping niche. They recommend repurposing content across platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to maximize reach. They noted that posting 50 times a day results in approximately 45,000 views, which helps drive some sales.

reddit Melodic-Space-1536

What are the Key Metrics for Reverse Dropshipping Success?

The key metrics for reverse dropshipping success are sales volume and average order value (AOV). Sales volume indicates the total number of units sold over a specific period. This helps you understand market demand and the effectiveness of your sales strategies. AOV indicate successful upselling and cross-selling strategies. The conversion rate measures which traffic sources result in sales, guiding focus to high-conversion channels. AOV shows the average amount spent per order, with upselling recommended to increase it. Returning customers show retention, while ROAS calculates revenue per advertising dollar spent. 


Ilaria from Yakkyofy states that the key KPIs dropshippers should monitor include sessions, conversion rate, average order value (AOV), returning customers, and return on advertising spend (ROAS). According to Llaria, following these metrics is crucial. They help refine marketing and ensure dropshipping business success. Sessions track user visits and their sources. Focusing on these KPIs helps optimize marketing strategies. Sessions track site visitors and their sources, while the conversion rate shows which traffic sources result in sales. Returning customers indicate retention, and ROAS calculates revenue per advertising dollar spent. Focusing on these KPIs helps optimize marketing strategies.

Does Reverse Dropshipping Require a Lot of Startup Capital? 

Yes, reverse dropshipping does require a lot of startup capital. The initial investment to start a reverse dropshipping business can range from $650 to $2,600. This depends on the chosen platforms and marketing strategies of reverse dropshippers. Here's a breakdown of the main cost components:

  • Supplier platform fee: $30 (estimated monthly subscription fee on a supplier platform)
  • Marketing cost: $2,000 to $7,000 (estimated monthly marketing cost based on Social Media Examiner data)
  • Ecommerce platform fee: $29 (monthly Shopify subscription fee on the basic plan)

What are the Challenges of Reverse Dropshipping? 

The challenges of reverse dropshipping are finding reliable suppliers and manufacturers that represent your store’s values and quality. WareIQ states that navigating cultural differences and ensuring quality control become more critical when working with geographically distant suppliers.

The risks of reverse dropshipping are centered around encountering scammers throughout the supply chain. Deceptive dropshipping agents may lure you with fake product listings, hidden fees, or unresponsive communication. This leads to wasted time, money and reputational damage. Fraudulent operations of suppliers might send inferior products or disappear with your payment after receiving your order. 

Hanoi woman loses $480,000 in dropshipping scam

Hanh from Hanoi was scammed out of VND12 billion (US$484,000) by the dropshipping site Supply Shops. After earning $572.63 on her first order, Hanh processed 46 more orders. However, she was blocked by the site and couldn't access her funds. The Authority of Information Security issued a warning urging dropshippers to be vigilant and vet online platforms. This aims to prevent similar fraud incidents.

Why is Dropshipping not Profitable?

Dropshipping is not profitable due to low profit margins and high competition. If you do it without differentiating your brand and offering unique value, you will struggle to stand out in a saturated market. Studies by BigCommerce show that a typical conversion rate for dropshipping stores is 2%.

Even if you hit that rate, the small profit can vanish after you add in supplier costs and the expenses to run your store. These include marketing and website upkeep. But, if you keep working hard, by picking a profitable niche, finding reliable suppliers, and using good marketing, dropshipping can be profitable in 2024.

Is Reverse Dropshipping Profitable on eBay?

Yes, reverse dropshipping on eBay can be profitable. With eBay's 149 million active buyers, you access a large customer base. This model emphasizes higher quality goods, which, combined with eBay's established reputation, can lead to higher profits. Thorough research, careful supplier selection, and a strong focus on customer satisfaction.

Conclusion: Why Local Lead Generation Offers Higher Conversion Rates than Reverse Dropshipping?

Local lead generation offers higher conversion rates than reverse dropshipping because it employs personalized and targeted marketing strategies. Which resonates more with the local community and address specific local needs and preferences. This increased personalization makes potential customers more likely to engage and convert.

Reverse dropshipping, on the other hand, casts a wider net. It targets a broad audience with a generic offer. It involves selling expensive items to distant markets. Building trust is harder there due to cultural differences and lack of direct interaction. Reverse dropshipping requires understanding and navigating international markets, which can be complex and risky. Adapting marketing to different cultures can increase costs and cut effectiveness.


Local lead generation focuses on nurturing leads to address their concerns and highlight your value. This increases the chance they become paying customers. It can earn you $5,000-$10,000 per month. Once it's established, a local lead generation website can provide a steady stream of passive income. It will keep generating leads with little effort if it ranks well in local searches. Small businesses' willingness to pay a premium for high-quality leads that convert underscores the profitability of this approach, making local lead generation a passive and lucrative business opportunity.

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