Affiliate Marketing vs Dropshipping for E-Commerce

Affiliate Marketing vs Dropshipping for E-Commerce

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Affiliate marketing and dropshipping are two of the most popular methods of ecommerce. Both have their pros and cons, but which is right for you? In this blog post, we’ll break down the differences between affiliate marketing vs dropshipping for e-commerce, so you can make an informed decision about which one is best for your business. Stay tuned!

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What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards an affiliate for each successful referral that they generate. The affiliate typically earns a commission, or percentage of the sale, for each successful referral.

For example, let’s say you have a blog about fashion. You could sign up for an affiliate program with a clothing retailer, and if someone clicks on one of your links to the retailer’s website and makes a purchase, you would earn a commission.

Affiliate marketing is popular because it’s a win-win for both businesses and affiliates. Businesses get more customers and exposure, while affiliates earn money for referring customers. It’s a performance-based model, so businesses only pay affiliates when they generate results.

What is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a type of e-commerce business model in which businesses sell products without carrying any inventory. When a customer places an order on the business’s website, the order is forwarded to the supplier, who then ships the product directly to the customer.

Dropshipping is popular because it’s a low-risk and low-cost way to start an ecommerce business. There’s no need to invest in inventory, and you can start selling products without any upfront costs.

However, dropshipping is not without its drawbacks. Because you’re relying on a supplier to ship products to your customers, there can be delays in shipping, and you may have less control over the quality of products that you sell.

Affiliate Marketing vs Dropshipping: Which is Right for You?

Now that you know the basics of affiliate marketing vs dropshipping, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is right for your ecommerce business.

Affiliate Marketing Pros:

-Can be started with little to no money

-No need to carry inventory or ship products

-You can be up and running quickly and start generating sales

-You can work with any type of product or service

Affiliate Marketing Cons:

-Sometimes affiliate commission can be very low

-You only earn a commission on successful referrals, so there’s no guarantee of income

-It can take time to build up a successful affiliate marketing business

Dropshipping Pros:

-Low start-up costs

-No need to carry inventory or ship products

-You can work with any type of product

Dropshipping Cons:

-Less control over product quality

-Can be difficult to find reliable suppliers

-Shipping delays can be a problem

So, which is right for you? If you’re looking for a low-cost and quick way to start an e-commerce business, dropshipping may be the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a more long-term and sustainable business model, affiliate marketing may be a better option.

One thing to look at is how affiliate marketing has fewer moving pieces. You don’t have to worry about the inventory of your supplier. You don’t have to worry about finding suppliers. Just find the affiliate offer you are looking for and start promoting that affiliate link.

On the flip side, there could be greater profit margins with e-commerce. If you get a good dropshipping deal in place you can earn a massive profit on each sale, depending on what type of product you are selling.

Combining Dropshipping and Affiliate Marketing

Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons of dropshipping vs affiliate marketing, let’s take a look at how you can combine the two to create a hybrid e-commerce business model.

The great thing about combining dropshipping and affiliate marketing is that you can get the best of both worlds. You can start quickly and cheaply, and you can eventually build a more sustainable and profitable business by adding your own products to the mix.

To get started, you can find dropshipping suppliers who also offer affiliate programs. This way, you can start promoting their products as an affiliate while also dropshipping them to your customers.

As your business grows, you can add your own products to the mix. This way, you can keep the low-cost and quick start-up of dropshipping while also adding the more profitable and sustainable element of selling your own products.Set featured image

Another thing you can do is insert an affiliate link when one of your dropshippers runs out of inventory. This way you will never miss out on a sale.


Affiliate marketing and dropshipping for e-commerce are both great ways to make money online. If you can find a supplier that gives you a great rate on a product, then give e-commerce a shot. If not, then take a long look at affiliate marketing. Both are paths to making some extra revenue in a relatively short amount of time if you put the work in.

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