At first glance, dropshipping and affiliate marketing may seem the same thing as the former follows the strategy behind the latter, but this is not the case. While both allow you to start your own business with low initial costs, the two online business models still have a fairly different approach.
Dropshipping: advantages and disadvantages (for sellers and suppliers)
Dropshipping presents itself as a business model more oriented to the world of eCommerce, but with the advantage of not having to have products in a physical warehouse.
In the case of dropshipping it is sufficient to choose which products or services to sell, so the advantages on the seller side are: low investment (the only cost necessary is related to the purchase of the domain and hosting), sell products without managing shipments, open one shop online pretty fast. Regarding the profit issue, it is important for those who do dropship to have a large number of visitors to their online store, this is because the profit margin is equal to the difference between the price at which the product was purchased from the supplier and the price at which it was decided to sell the product. Obviously, there cannot be too much difference between the two prices or there is a risk of non-sale, given the fairly competitive sector.
To benefit from dropshipping is not only those who resell, but also the suppliers who, in this way, pay a figure only on the products actually sold by the dropshippers, greatly increasing sales as well as the online reputation and knowledge of their products. a wider audience of users. All this, saving time and money.
But what are the disadvantages for sellers and suppliers?
More disadvantages are certainly present on the sellers side who, although they will not have to manage a physical warehouse, will find themselves having to manage an inventory and provide assistance to customers, sometimes updating them on delivery times. Furthermore, some problems could also arise due to shipments that are often not directly traceable by sellers. Finally, to be successful with dropshipping, in addition to having an important number of online visitors, it is also essential to sell the right products to the right niche and at the right price. In order to do this, it is advisable to have a well-defined strategy right away.
On the supplier side, however, some disadvantages could derive from having to provide support to the seller, allowing them to monitor deliveries or alternatively give information on the status of the shipment.
Affiliate marketing: advantages and disadvantages (for affiliates and companies)
Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, is a business model through which those who promote a company's products or services earn a percentage for each sale made.
For affiliates, and therefore for those who promote and sell online on behalf of others, the advantages are no management costs and less risk involved, no need to lend support to customers, no worries about shipments.
On the other hand, the main disadvantages are no traceability of the customer for remarketing purposes (possible instead with dropshipping) and, also in this case, investment of time to generate an important number of visitors on their online channels.
From the point of view of companies or those who want to review their products or services through a network of affiliates, the advantages are more or less the same as dropshipping, that is: to pay affiliates only and exclusively for the sales made and to promote their products and/or services also to new public niches through affiliates, saving time and money.
As for the disadvantages: cost of subscribing to affiliate marketing software to create and manage affiliate programs and, of course, time to do so.
Dropshipping or Affiliate marketing: which one to choose?
The affiliate marketing process is more "streamlined" than that of dropshipping, as it does not require any kind of customer assistance, let alone the management of orders and returns. Furthermore, unlike drop shipping, affiliate marketing undoubtedly involves fewer risks and responsibilities, but also lower initial costs.
Here the balance is definitely in favor of affiliate marketing (even more so if you sell services). Before you start designing your affiliate program, we recommend that you read the comparison article of 2 of the best software on the market (iDevAffiliate and OSI Affiliate)
However, in these cases, the choice always depends on the individual needs and the type of business that you want to start and manage.