The Difference between Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping [2024]
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What Is the Difference between Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping?

Last modified: April 17, 2024

What Is the Difference between Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping?
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Affiliate marketing and dropshipping are often confused with each other. This is something that is not surprising, there are similarities between the two, but there are also lots of differences. So what is the difference between affiliate marketing and dropshipping?

Key Takeaways
1
Dropshipping involves selling products to customers, managing orders, and handling after-sales issues.
2
Affiliate marketing focuses on promoting products and earning commissions without dealing with sales.
3
Both models require advertising and rely on third-party merchants for product supply.
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1
AutoDS
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2
Spocket-World Wide Suppliers
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3
Syncee - Global Dropshipping
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4
Printful-Sell Printed and Embroidered Items
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Sup Dropshipping
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Dropshipman: Dropshipping & POD
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9
AO - AliExpress Dropshipping by FireApps
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Trendsi - Fashion Dropshipping
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CJdropshipping
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DropCommerce
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13
Modalyst-Sell Brand Name Products
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14
Ali Orders-Fulfill Orders Easily
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15
Blanka - Private Label Beauty
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16
Dropified-Automate Your Dropshipping Business
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17
ProductPro
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18
Spreadr App
Spreadr App
19
Importify
Importify
20
Inventory Source
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21
Roxie
Roxie
22
Fulfillbot: Dropshipping Agent
Fulfillbot: Dropshipping Agent
23
KakaClo
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Oberlo-Get the Best Produtcts for Your Site
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What Is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping, whether you’re using Shopify or another platform, is the process where a brand creates a website that they list products on, and they take orders from customers. They then arrange for those products to be delivered to the customer. The brand doesn’t ever touch the products, the company that completes the fulfillment is the merchant/manufacturer of the product.

The manufacturer then charges the brand for the cost of the goods. The amount of money that the customer has paid the brand and the amount that the merchant/manufacturer charges the brand are the profits for the brand.

Any problems that are with the order are dealt with by the brand. The merchant/manufacturer does not deal directly with the customer, they are invisible. Even the order is sent out with the brand’s identity.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is where a brand advertises products on behalf of a third party. The customer needs to click through to the seller’s website from the brand in order to make a purchase. The brand does not get any money from the customer. Instead, for every conversion that happens, the brand gets a commission.

Commissions can be anything from 1–50%. This can make a big difference. The customer deals directly with the third party for all the after-sales and knows who is supplying the product. Once the customer has clicked through, then the customer has no interactions with the brand for the sale, they have no responsibility.

What Are the Similarities?

Both affiliate marketers and dropshippers are technically advertising products that are supplied to the customer by a third party. Both groups need to have merchants/manufacturers in order to have a product to advertise/sell.

On both groups, the brands need to advertise themselves. This can be done with blogging, SEO, social media and other options.

What Are the Differences?

There are two main differences. One is who pays the brand. In affiliate marketing, the merchant or manufacturer pays the brand when there is a successful sale. The amount they pay is a set amount based on the price that the customer pays. With dropshipping, the customer pays the brand and the brand pays the merchant for the goods that need to be sent.

Another difference is who is responsible for the order. With dropshipping, the brand is responsible for after-sales. If there is a problem, then the customer has to contact the seller, and they will deal with the merchant to solve problems. With affiliate marketing, the responsibility is with the merchant or manufacturer to service the customer.

Keep Reading

Expanded Insights on Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping

Understanding Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a model where you earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products. You don’t handle product creation, inventory, or customer support. It’s ideal for those who excel in marketing and content creation.

Exploring Dropshipping

Dropshipping allows you to sell products without holding inventory. You focus on marketing and customer service, while your supplier handles product fulfillment. This model offers higher profit margins as you set your own prices.

Utilizing must-have Shopify apps for dropshipping can streamline various aspects of your business operations, enhancing efficiency and helping you scale more effectively.

Comparing Profitability

Dropshipping typically offers higher profit margins than affiliate marketing. You have the freedom to set your own prices, leading to potentially greater earnings. However, affiliate marketing can also be lucrative.

Exploring strategies to become a millionaire from dropshipping requires a combination of effective marketing, product selection, and business scalability.

Key Differences and Similarities of Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping

Operational Differences

In dropshipping, you’re responsible for managing relationships with suppliers. In affiliate marketing, your role is for promoting products. Dropshipping gives you more control over your business, while affiliate marketing is more hands-off.

Getting started with Shopify dropshipping provides a platform where you can efficiently manage supplier relationships, streamline product listings, and optimize your business operations for success.

Understanding the dynamics of e-commerce is crucial for success in both dropshipping and affiliate marketing endeavors.

Financial Aspects

Dropshipping requires a more initial investment than affiliate marketing. You need to set up an online store and spend on marketing. Affiliate marketing can often be started with minimal upfront costs.

However, the potential for dropshipping to generate passive income over time makes it a worthwhile investment for many entrepreneurs.

Risk and Scalability

Both models present risks and opportunities for scalability. Dropshipping involves more risk due to customer service responsibilities and reliance on suppliers. However, it offers greater scalability as you build your brand.

Conclusion: What Is the Difference between Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping?

If you’re wondering what is the difference between affiliate marketing and dropshipping, we hope that you have learned what the key elements are above. The two platforms are excellent, and dropshipping is really easy on platforms like Shopify, where you can get all the tools you need.

Keep on reading about Dropshipping on Shopify. For example What Can You Dropship on Shopify? and Does Shopify Have Dropshipping?. Both part of our Shopify Dropshipping Apps and Shopify Dropshipping Themes lists. You can read more about Dropshipping on Shopify with our ultimate Dropshipping on Shopify guide.

FAQs
  • Can I do both dropshipping and affiliate marketing simultaneously?

    Yes, you can do both dropshipping and affiliate marketing concurrently. In fact, combining these two e-commerce strategies can be a smart way to maximize your online business potential.

  • Is it easier to scale in dropshipping or affiliate marketing?

    Scaling can be easier in dropshipping as you build your own brand, while affiliate marketing depends on the merchant’s product range and commission structure.

  • How does the return process work in dropshipping vs. affiliate marketing?

    In dropshipping, the store owner handles returns, while in affiliate marketing, the affiliate marketer plays a minimal role, and returns are managed by the product seller or e-commerce platform.

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