Choosing the Right Online Business Model: Dropshipping vs Ecommerce

Choosing the Right Online Business Model: Dropshipping vs Ecommerce

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding E-commerce
    1. Definition of E-commerce
    2. Types of E-commerce
  3. Exploring Drop Shipping
    1. What is Drop Shipping?
    2. How Drop Shipping Works
  4. The Difference Between Drop Shipping and E-commerce
  5. Pros and Cons of Drop Shipping
    1. Pros of Drop Shipping
    2. Cons of Drop Shipping
  6. The Rise of Affiliate Marketing
    1. What is Affiliate Marketing?
    2. How Affiliate Marketing Works
  7. Why Affiliate Marketing Might Be Better Than Drop Shipping
    1. Advantages of Affiliate Marketing
    2. Disadvantages of Drop Shipping
  8. How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing
    1. Finding Profitable Niches
    2. Building an Email List
    3. Choosing the Right Affiliate Products
  9. Providing Value and Earning Commissions
  10. Conclusion

Drop Shipping vs E-commerce: Which Business Model is Right for You?

In the world of online entrepreneurship, two popular business models often get mentioned - drop shipping and e-commerce. Many aspiring entrepreneurs are unsure of the differences between the two and which one would be more suitable for their goals. In this article, we will delve into the world of e-commerce, explore the concept of drop shipping, and discuss why affiliate marketing might be a better option for those looking to make money online.

1. Introduction

If you are new to the make money online space, it's important to understand the various business models available to you. Two commonly discussed models are drop shipping and e-commerce. While e-commerce is a broader term that encompasses any type of online business, drop shipping is a specific business model within the realm of e-commerce.

2. Understanding E-commerce

2.1 Definition of E-commerce

E-commerce is the umbrella term for conducting business transactions online. It involves buying and selling products or services through electronic means, primarily over the internet. With e-commerce, all aspects of the transaction, including payment and delivery, occur virtually.

2.2 Types of E-commerce

There are different types of e-commerce, each with its own unique characteristics. These include:

  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C): This is the most common type of e-commerce, where businesses sell products directly to individual consumers.
  • Business-to-Business (B2B): In B2B e-commerce, businesses sell products or services to other businesses.
  • Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): C2C e-commerce involves transactions between individual consumers using online platforms.
  • Consumer-to-Business (C2B): This type of e-commerce occurs when individual consumers sell products or services to businesses.

3. Exploring Drop Shipping

3.1 What is Drop Shipping?

Drop shipping is a specific business model within the realm of e-commerce. It involves a retailer selling products without physically stocking inventory. Instead, when a customer makes a purchase, the retailer purchases the item from a third-party supplier who then ships it directly to the customer. This eliminates the need for the retailer to handle inventory or shipping logistics.

3.2 How Drop Shipping Works

The process of drop shipping typically involves the following steps:

  1. The retailer sets up an online store and lists products from suppliers.
  2. The customer places an order and pays the retailer.
  3. The retailer forwards the order details to the supplier, including customer shipping information.
  4. The supplier packages and ships the product directly to the customer.
  5. The retailer keeps the difference between the retail price and the wholesale price as profit.

4. The Difference Between Drop Shipping and E-commerce

The main difference between drop shipping and e-commerce lies in the fulfillment process. While drop shipping involves outsourcing inventory storage and shipping to a third-party, traditional e-commerce involves the retailer managing their inventory and shipping processes directly.

In drop shipping, the retailer never handles the physical product, whereas in traditional e-commerce, the retailer is responsible for managing inventory, storing products, and shipping them to customers.

Despite the differences, drop shipping is essentially a subset of e-commerce. It is a business model within the broader concept of selling products and services online.

5. Pros and Cons of Drop Shipping

Before considering whether drop shipping is the right option for your business, it's essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

5.1 Pros of Drop Shipping

  • Low Startup Costs: Drop shipping allows for a low initial investment as you don't need to purchase inventory upfront or manage a warehouse.
  • Easy to Get Started: With drop shipping, you can quickly set up an online store and start selling products without the hassle of handling inventory.
  • Wide Product Selection: Since you are not limited by physical inventory, you have the freedom to offer a wide variety of products to your customers.

5.2 Cons of Drop Shipping

  • Lower Profit Margins: With drop shipping, you typically earn a lower profit margin as you are selling products at a higher price than the wholesale cost.
  • Lack of Control: As a drop shipper, you have little control over inventory management and shipping, which can lead to delays or mistakes.
  • Customer Service Challenges: Since you are not directly involved in the fulfillment process, you may face challenges in providing excellent customer service.

While drop shipping can be a viable business model, it's important to consider these factors before diving in.

6. The Rise of Affiliate Marketing

6.1 What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is another popular business model within the realm of online entrepreneurship. It involves promoting other people's products or services and earning a commission for every sale or lead generated through your promotional efforts.

6.2 How Affiliate Marketing Works

In affiliate marketing, you act as a middleman between the product creator and the customer. When you join an affiliate program, you are given a unique affiliate link that tracks the sales or leads you generate. Every time someone makes a purchase or performs a desired action through your affiliate link, you earn a commission.

7. Why Affiliate Marketing Might Be Better Than Drop Shipping

While drop shipping has its advantages, affiliate marketing offers unique benefits that make it a compelling alternative. Here are a few reasons why affiliate marketing might be a better option:

7.1 Advantages of Affiliate Marketing

  • Minimal Startup Costs: Affiliate marketing requires little to no initial investment. You don't need to create or ship products, allowing you to focus on marketing and promotion.
  • No Customer Service Hassles: As an affiliate marketer, you are not responsible for customer service or handling complaints. This eliminates the stress of dealing with unhappy customers.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: Affiliate marketing offers the flexibility to choose from a wide range of products and niches. Additionally, you can scale your business by promoting multiple products simultaneously.

7.2 Disadvantages of Drop Shipping

  • High Competition: Drop shipping is a popular business model, which means you may face intense competition from other retailers selling the same products.
  • Reliance on Suppliers: When drop shipping, your success depends on the reliability and efficiency of your suppliers. Any issues on their end can directly impact your business.
  • Limited Profit Margins: Drop shipping often comes with lower profit margins due to the additional costs associated with outsourcing fulfillment.

Considering these factors, affiliate marketing emerges as a business model with significant advantages over drop shipping.

8. How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

If you're interested in pursuing affiliate marketing as a profitable online business, here are some steps to get started:

8.1 Finding Profitable Niches

Research and identify niches that align with your interests and have the potential to generate revenue. Look for products that cater to market demands and offer solutions to common problems.

8.2 Building an Email List

Create an email list to build a relationship with your audience and promote affiliate products effectively. Offer valuable content and incentives to encourage visitors to join your list.

8.3 Choosing the Right Affiliate Products

Select high-quality products or services that align with your niche and audience's needs. Consider factors such as commission rates, conversion rates, and customer reviews before promoting any affiliate offers.

9. Providing Value and Earning Commissions

The key to success in affiliate marketing is providing value to your audience. By recommending products that genuinely solve their problems, you can build trust and increase the likelihood of earning commissions. Focus on creating content that educates, entertains, and helps your target audience make informed purchasing decisions.

10. Conclusion

In conclusion, while drop shipping is a viable business model within the realm of e-commerce, affiliate marketing offers distinct advantages for aspiring entrepreneurs. With its minimal startup costs, flexibility, and potential for scalability, affiliate marketing allows individuals to make money online by leveraging their marketing and promotional skills. By understanding the differences between these business models and considering personal preferences, anyone can explore the path that best suits their entrepreneurial goals. Start your journey today and build a profitable online business through the power of affiliate marketing.


  • Drop shipping and e-commerce are two popular business models in the online entrepreneurship space.
  • Drop shipping is a specific model within the broader concept of e-commerce, where retailers do not handle inventory or shipping.
  • Affiliate marketing offers unique advantages over drop shipping, including minimal startup costs and no customer service responsibilities.
  • By providing value and promoting relevant products, affiliate marketers can earn commissions and build a profitable online business


Q: Is drop shipping or affiliate marketing better for beginners? A: Both drop shipping and affiliate marketing have their pros and cons. However, affiliate marketing is often considered more beginner-friendly due to its lower startup costs and lack of customer service responsibilities.

Q: Can you make good money with affiliate marketing? A: Yes, it is possible to make a significant income with affiliate marketing. However, success in this field requires dedication, persistence, and effective marketing strategies.

Q: Do I need any technical skills to start affiliate marketing? A: While having technical skills can be advantageous, they are not essential for starting affiliate marketing. Many affiliate marketing platforms and tools offer user-friendly interfaces that simplify the process.