Dropshipping has definitely changed over the years. I’ve written many articles about dropshipping and have noticed how it has shifted from selling cheap products from AliExpress to more branded products.
I still feel the same about dropshipping as I did back then. For me, it was never worth the time and effort. For others, it may be because they likely prefer selling physical products versus selling digital ones.
Like any online business model, dropshipping has its pros and cons. However, in comparison to other online business models, dropshipping is probably one of the most challenging to start.
Those that have found success with it are determined, persistent, and resourceful. I will share why I think dropshipping may or may not be worth it in 2022.
How Dropshipping Has Changed
Long gone are the days of simply throwing up a Shopify store and importing products from AliExpress.
In the past, it was common to source products solely from AliExpress. The products on AliExpress are often priced at cost and suppliers don’t mind shipping one item at a time.
In fact, they encourage dropshipping and are accustomed to working with dropshippers.
The problem was (and still continues to be today) long shipping times. Most of the suppliers on AliExpress are shipping from China.
If you are located in the U.S. or your customers are in the U.S., they would wait anywhere from 2 weeks to 90 days for their product to arrive.
Not much has changed in terms of shipping times and initially, dropship store owners were still having success.
However, the shipping times were causing issues and store owners were experiencing high refund rates and chargebacks.
From General Stores to One Product Stores
There was also a shift from opening general dropshipping stores that carried a variety of products to one product stores that focused on one trending product.
This strategy is still in use today. Many dropshippers are becoming savvier and find one product that is trendy and create a brand to sell it.
I’ve seen this done for products such as electric toothbrushes, meditation devices, soap, and more.
Testing Products and Locating One Reliable Supplier
Another tactic that some dropshippers use is to quickly throw up a dropshipping store with products from AliExpress.
Essentially, they do testing to find out what products sell well in the store. Once they find a winning product, they locate a supplier who can ship quickly and is reliable.
This is when they build a store dedicated to this product and create a brand behind it as well.
Buying Products in Bulk
Some dropshippers only use dropshipping to find highly trending products and then buy these products in bulk from a supplier on the Alibaba website.
They will then maintain their own inventory and ship the products themselves or send the products to an order fulfillment service that ships for them.
This strategy shortens shipping times which makes for happier customers and more profit for the dropshipper.
Why I Prefer Affiliate Marketing Over Dropshipping
Dropshipping is not an easy business to start and have success with. It requires a lot of trial and error, not to mention a lot of money spent to run ads.
It appears to be an easy business simply because it doesn’t take much to open a store and import products.
What is challenging is finding those winning products and running winning ads that enable you to make more money than what you pay in advertising.
Also, what many beginners don’t realize is that operating a dropshipping store is a real business.
It means you will have real customers that will have issues such as having questions about shipping, wanting refunds, processing chargebacks, and more.
Affiliate Marketing Has Way Less Hassles
Similar to dropshipping, affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to have your own product. However, that’s where the similarity ends.
Unlike dropshipping, you don’t have to open an eCommerce store. You don’t have to run paid ads (unless you really want to.) Best of all, there is zero customer service.
Testing is also easier. If you choose an affiliate product that isn’t working out, it is just a matter of choosing another and targeting the right audience.
Another benefit is that there are a number of ways in which you can do affiliate marketing.
One of the most efficient ways is to set up a sales funnel. A sales funnel automates the selling and converting of whatever product you promote.
Your only job is to send traffic to your sales funnel and that is easy to do when utilizing social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. A YouTube channel is incredibly helpful as well.
My Online Business Model
The most recent affiliate product that I’ve begun promoting only took me four days to make my first sale.
This was possible thanks to my sales funnel and sending traffic to my funnel using my YouTube channel.
Here is how my sales funnel works:
I use a basic two-page funnel. It consists of the landing page which is referred to as a “squeeze page” or “opt-in” page.
The squeeze page is the page where you collect a user’s contact information such as a first name and email address.
This is essential because each visitor that you receive who opts-in is added to your email database.
Your email campaign is the automated part of your funnel. I create prewritten marketing emails that are scheduled to send out at specific times to my email list subscribers.
After a visitor has opted-in, they are directed to a “thank you” page. On the thank you page, you can let the visitor know more about the affiliate product you are promoting.
It can be a simple video of yourself talking about the product or text on the page that outlines the features and benefits of the product.
The purpose of the thank you page is to warm your visitors up to the product so that when they click over to it using your affiliate link, they are more likely to buy it.
Those that don’t buy the product are on our email list so you have more opportunities to continue promoting the product.
Thus, a sales funnel works 24/7 and you only need to keep sending traffic to it.
The Benefits of a Sales Funnel VS a Dropshipping Store
There are many benefits to a sales funnel selling an affiliate product versus running a dropshipping store. Here are some that come to mind:
- Easier to set-up (you can launch in a day in most cases)
- No need to import anything
- Consists of a two-page website
- No experience needed (plenty of sales funnel software available)
- Create multiple funnels for different products
- Easy to send free targeted traffic
What’s even more of an advantage is that you can set up your sales funnel to promote high-ticket products.
These are affiliate products that have high commissions (anywhere from $500 to $1,000 and up.)
When it came to selling high-ticket products, I wanted to learn the process of how to do so effectively.
I searched for an online training course and found this one. This training course helped me to launch a successful sales funnel.
Summing Up – Is Dropshipping Worth It in 2022?
In closing, I will always prefer affiliate marketing to dropshipping. Dropshipping is still a viable online business model.
It’s important to keep in mind what is involved with dropshipping. The customer service portion of it is enough for me to not want to pursue it.
Learn how I went from working a full-time retail job to earning a steady income online. Click here to learn how.