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Affiliate Marketing vs Dropshipping

Last updated: 22.08.2022
Author: Marija

If you’re pursuing a career in online marketing, affiliate marketing vs dropshipping is like a battle of the giants. With both having pros and cons, choosing one over the other is no easy feat. To aid you in your decision on which one to go with (or if you’re just curious what are those about), we’ll break down the differences. Stay tuned! 

Dropshipping vs Affiliate Marketing — Which Is Better?

Before figuring out if affiliate marketing or dropshipping is better, let’s get our definitions straight. Dropshipping is a business model where you sell products that you don’t physically have in stock. When a customer orders a product from your store, you simply contact the supplier, and they will ship the product. This eliminates the need for you to hold any inventory, and it can be a great way to get started in eCommerce.

Learn more: Dropshipping statistics

Affiliate marketing meanwhile is a business model that promotes other people’s products and earns a commission when someone buys them. This can be a great way to generate passive income, and it’s possible to start affiliate marketing with zero investment.

Learn more: Affiliate marketing statistics

Now, let’s see if dropshipping or affiliate marketing is the better option for you. Dropshipping is great for people who want to get started in ecommerce quickly and easily, without having to maintain any inventory. Affiliate marketing meanwhile works for those that want to generate passive income, and, ideally, already have an established platform where to promote products/services such as a website, social media profiles with multiple followers, or a podcast/YouTube channel with a solid audience.

Dropshipping vs. Affiliate Marketing — What Is More Profitable?

Dropshipping can actually be more profitable than affiliate marketing, especially if you are just starting out. Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money, but it can also be difficult to break into given the competition out there. Then, with dropshipping, you don’t necessarily need a lot of traffic or customers to start making money. You can also easily find products to sell in your store, and there are a lot of apps and tools that can help you manage your store. 

Dropshipping is also a great way to build your own brand. When you are an affiliate marketer, you are promoting someone else’s products which is the reason why people often wonder if affiliate marketing is a pyramid scheme. But when you are dropshipping, you are in control of your own store.

Dropshipping vs Affiliate Marketing: Pros and Cons 

The easiest way to decide on the affiliate vs dropshipping winner is to straight-up look at the pros and cons.

Affiliate Marketing Pros 

  • Easier to get started 
  • You don’t have to worry about shipping or handling products
  • No inventory required
  • Great for building a brand and creating a loyal following
  • You can partner with companies in your niche

Affiliate Marketing Cons

  • It may require some technical skills (especially if you plan on setting up your own website)
  • Competition is fierce
  • It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd
  • Can be time-consuming if you want to do it right
  • You need to have a solid understanding of both online marketing and your niche market

Dropshipping Pros 

  • No large up-front investment needed
  • Low overhead 
  • A rich selection of products 
  • You don’t have to worry about storing or shipping products yourself
  • You can also easily scale your business by adding more products and suppliers

Dropshipping Cons

  • It can be difficult to differentiate yourself from competitors
  • You’ll likely have to compete on price
  • No control over the quality of the products you’re selling
  • It can be difficult to find high-quality suppliers
  • You need a good eCommerce platform and shopping cart software.

The Bottom Line

Affiliate marketing and dropshipping are both great ways to make money selling products online. But which is the best option for you? In this article, we have pitched affiliate marketing vs dropshipping, and compared the two methods, so you can decide which is the better fit for your business. They are two very different business models, with different levels of difficulty, time commitment, and profitability. So, when it comes to choosing which is better — affiliate marketing vs dropshipping — there is no easy answer. Both have their own unique advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider before starting your business. 

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