Is Dropshipping Dead? Is it too Saturated?

It surprises me that this is a question many people have when it comes to dropshipping. Do they really want to know if it’s dead or if it’s just over-saturated? I mean it’s clearly not dead as millions of people are doing it right now. But is it too saturated?

Dropshipping is not too saturated. With billions of products, billions of potential customers and such a great business model, I’m surprised dropshipping isn’t more saturated. It’s definitely become more competitive in recent years but this only means dropshippers are having to innovate to become profitable. 

Why Do People Think Dropshipping is Dead?

There are two main reasons why people think dropshipping is dead?

1. People are resentful and bitter that someone else is having success and they’re not. It’s human nature to make up excuses as to why someone else has something they want. The people who are making millions of dollars every month dropshipping started at the exact same starting point as everyone else.

Before I wrote this article, I read on multiple online forums of people claiming dropshipping is dead. I would bet that all those people have had no success with dropshipping. Successful people don’t waste their time complaining on online forums.

2. Many people have tunnel vision when it comes dropshipping. They have limited knowledge about dropshipping and make assumptions on that limited knowledge. They hear people are selling cheap crap from China, with long shipping times, thin margins and poor customer service and assume that’s a poor business model that won’t last.

They would be correct if that’s the only method of dropshipping out there. Many dropshippers are using domestic suppliers with high-quality products and fast shipping. Platforms like Salehoo and Spocket are making it easier to find these quality suppliers.

Even those dropshipping from China have gotten resourceful and come up with solutions to all these problems as I discuss in this article.

The Future of Dropshipping – Will it Die?

Dropshipping has grown exponentially in the last 5 years and it will only continue to rise. More and more online retailers are implementing dropshipping into their business. Even some blogs have started using dropshipping in their business. It negates the need to hold stock, manage inventory and ship the products. Dropshipping will die the same day they prove the earth is flat.

Like everything else, however, dropshipping will evolve and dropshippers will need to change with it to stay relevant. Listing a bunch of random AliExpress products on your Shopify store and running cheap Facebook ads won’t cut it anymore and nor should it.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I expect the future of dropshipping and eCommerce will be focused on building a brand and providing a better customer experience. Creating a store with a theme that is extremely mobile-friendly will be essential for any new dropshippers.

All the largest eCommerce stores in the world have done this. It’s all about how a customer feels when they shop at a store. Gym Shark is a great example of this, they started as a dropshipping store and is now one of the largest online stores in the world. For some additional on Gym Shark, check out this article by Ecom Elites.

There’s a reason people are happy to spend $80 on a hoodie when you can buy a hoodie made of the same material for less than half the price.

If you’re concerned with the longevity of the dropshipping business model, check out this article.

Will Long Shipping Times Kill Dropshipping?

Yes, shipping times have been longer than normal since the pandemic, however, will this kill dropshipping, NO. Whenever there are huge sums of money involved, there will always be solutions.

Consumer’s shipping expectations have changed with Amazon’s fast shipping. This is why many people think to use Amazon for dropshipping which I would not recommend.

A few years ago the American Government threatened to eliminate the cheapest most efficient shipping method for dropshipping, ePacket, although this never ended up happening, China came up with a solution right away. AliExpress and China post came up with their own shipping method “AliExpress Standard Shipping”. This shipping method is very similar to ePacket in terms of shipping times and price.

If you’re new to dropshipping and concerned about long shipping times from China during the pandemic, there are several options:

  • Many AliEpxress suppliers have opened up fulfillment warehouses in other countries for faster shipping. When searching through AliExpress’s marketplace of products, you can filter which countries you want to ship from. You will then be given a list of all the products that can be dropshipped from your country. The shipping times are much faster at around 3 to 10  days.
  • If you have a product that you are confident will sell, you have the option of purchasing in bulk. This is generally done through Alibaba which is China’s alternative to AliExpress but used for bulk purchases instead of individual purchases. If you don’t want to be shipping products yourself, you can use a shipping fulfillment center to dropship the products for you.
  • If purchasing in bulk is a little risky, Zendrop is another great option, especially for beginners. Zendrop works directly with either manufacturers or suppliers and avoids the middlemen. They will generally find the fastest shipping rates possible for your products. Their express shipping rates will cost around $6, this is only really feasible if your margins make sense.
  • Another option is to not source from China at all and only use domestic suppliers. You won’t get the cheap products as you do in China but you will generally get higher quality products and faster shipping times. Platforms such as Salehoo and Spocket make finding suppliers and products in your country a much easier process than trying to find them yourself.

If you still want to dropship from AliExpress, always be as transparent as possible about the longer shipping times. Clearly state how long the shipping times are expected to take, this will eliminate a lot of the customer service. Have something next to the shipping times such as “Due to real-world problems, please expect longer than normal shipping times”.

Although it’s not ideal, if it’s a product the customer really wants, you will find the customer is generally ok with waiting. Yes, Amazon will provide faster shipping times, however, most people go to Amazon because they need something, AliExpress dropshipping is based on impulse buys of products they don’t really need. If they don’t need it, they may be happy to wait.

Is AliExpress Dropshipping Dead?

Many YouTubers are claiming AliExpress dropshipping is dead. That’s more clickbait than anything else as it’s definitely not dead or dying. There are however several problems with AliExpress which is why people are claiming it’s dead, but it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The main problem with AliExpress is the customer’s experience is definitely not what it should be in terms of:

  • Shipping times
  • Product quality
  • Packaging
  • Returns
  • Customer service

Even with all these problems, it’s still the go-to platform for dropshippers, why? Because it has such a low barrier to entry. Anyone can build a Shopify store and add a bunch of products from Oberlo and start trying to make sales. The problem is, it’s simple to start a dropshipping, it’s hard to be profitable. This is why so many people claim dropshipping is dead.

So the real question shouldn’t be is AliExpress dropshipping dead, it should be is AliExpress dropshipping ethical? This is a question only you can answer.

Summary

Dropshipping isn’t dead and won’t die anytime soon. There are aspects of dropshipping that might change, but the actual business model is here to stay. If you’re reading this as a person who considering getting into the dropshipping world but concerned that dropshipping is dead, don’t be.

Dropshipping accounts for around a third of all eCommerce sales online. eCommerce is consistently growing every year and the pandemic has only boosted that growth. It has turned many non-online shoppers into online shoppers.

Don’t let the people who claim it’s dead and saturated stop you from pursuing your dreams. People making millions of dollars from dropshipping every day and there’s no reason why you can’t.

So your question should be, am I willing to put in the time and effort to make dropshipping work?

Thomas Sleeth

I'm the owner of Dropshipping Hustle. I have over 5 years of experience and have created multiple successful dropshipping stores. This website is a free resource guide on everything I have learned over the years.

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