When most people think about dropshipping, they think of low-quality unbranded products from AliExpress. This is only a small part of what dropshipping can be. Dropshipping well-known and trusted brands can be a lucrative business and I’ll guide you through how it is possible.
Let me be clear, this article is focused on selling established brands on your dropshipping store. I’ll go through whether you are legally able to create a dropshipping store and sell other brands such as, Nike and Sony products.
Often this is confused with branded dropshipping which is generally when online retailers create their own brand within a niche or a single product and sell their own branded products.
I read through several related articles before writing this one and the type of dropshipping they were referring to wasn’t all that clear. This whole subject can be confusing for many beginners to dropshipping which is why I wanted to make the distinction clear.
- 1 Can you Sell Branded Products on your Dropshipping Store?
- 2 Can you Dropship Branded Products from AliExpress?
- 3 Can you Dropship Big Named Brands such as, Nike and Apple Products?
- 4 Where do you Find Suppliers who have Branded Products?
- 5 Which Brands are the Best for Dropshipping?
- 6 Brand Loyalty
- 7 Summary
Can you Sell Branded Products on your Dropshipping Store?
I was surprised how many people ask this question when they first get started in dropshipping. It’s a smart question to ask because the last thing you need is to risk being sued selling other companies’ branded products.
You can sell branded products on your Shopify store, as long as you have been approved by a supplier to do so. This generally requires you to sign an agreed-upon contract that permits you to become an authorized dealer of other brands.
These contracts are necessary as brand owners want to make sure your business is a good fit for their brand. A brand’s reputation is everything, therefore if approved as an authorized dealer you will be required to follow specific rules to ensure the brand/product’s reputation is maintained. Consider possible requirements such as:
- Brand owners may enforce MAP (Minimum advertised pricing) so the product doesn’t cause a price war between retailers and cheapen the value of their products.
- They may want to make sure you are going to provide a great customer experience when selling their brands so their reputation isn’t affected negatively.
- They may not allow selling on online marketplaces such as, eBay and Amazon, which can make some brands be perceived at a lower value.
Selling brands on your store can be a great choice as a dropshipper as the brand already has trust built around them which makes it easier for you to sell. Consider the risk and uncertainty a consumer feels when buying an unbranded product.
Selling other brands on your Shopify store is not only illegal, but it is also against Shopify’s Terms of Service.
If you’re ever unsure if you can legally resell another brand’s products or if the supplier you are dealing with is a legitimate distributor of another brand’s products, contact the manufacturer of the brand directly. They will tell you who their main distributors are and who you should contact.
Your other option is to use a platform such as Salehoo or Spocket to sell branded products. These platforms are essentially middlemen who have already been accepted by suppliers to sell their brands. This means you can sell these brands without having to be approved by the supplier.
Can you Dropship Branded Products from AliExpress?
Do not resell well-known branded products from AliExpress! It really is that simple. You can find any big name brands on AliExpress but they will most likely be counterfeit. If you try to resell these products, you could potentially be sued and be liable to pay back any profits and additional fines/damages.
Often the manufacturer in China will have their company name printed on their products. Manufacturers have done this legally as it’s their own line of products and therefore you can legally resell these products. If you see an unknown Chinese brand printed on the products, make sure it is the manufacturer’s company, and if so, you can legally resell these products.
I know it seems tempting. Type Nike shoes into AliExpress and see all these low priced shoes you could resell easily. I’ve seen many online retailers selling copyright, trademark or knockoff brands from AliExpress, but they never stay open for long.
This also goes for products such as, Pokemon, Harry Potter, Nintendo, Game of Thrones, Lego and even all your favorite sports teams.
As mentioned above, you need to be approved to sell branded products. This is very different from the suppliers on AliExpress, they allow anyone and everyone to resell their products. Some dropshippers are not bothering with legally binding agreements and contracts between themselves and the suppliers. Think of AliExpress as the wild west of the dropshipping world, anything goes!
Nothing really is officially branded on AliExpress, products are just being mass-produced and retailers can do what they please with them. This is the reason dropshippers are creating their own individual brands based on products on AliExpress.
For more info on creating your own brand, read my article on branding a store step-by-step.
Can you Dropship Big Named Brands such as, Nike and Apple Products?
Yes, you can technically dropship these products, but I’d be really surprised if you were authorized to. I personally don’t know of anyone legally dropshipping these types of products on their Shopify stores.
For starters, big named brands will never accept you as a dealer of their products. Their reputation is everything so they will only work with reputable retail stores and some authoritative online stores that can provide the best possible customer experience.
The next issue is that you will have so much competition which you can’t compete with. How can you compete with retail stores that purchase in bulk and can provide low prices when you’re selling one product at a time and you have to pay for shipping?
These companies are far better off selling their products themselves on their professional website than allowing you to sell them and take some of their profits.
Where do you Find Suppliers who have Branded Products?
If you want to work with suppliers who stock quality branded products, your best bet is to use Google and find domestic suppliers. Stay away from Chinese suppliers if you want to work with reputable brands.
This means if you’re in the US, work with US suppliers, if you’re in the UK, work with UK suppliers and so on. Many of these suppliers deal directly with manufacturers of brands and will be willing to work with dropshippers. I have a guide for finding domestic suppliers if you need some help.
The best way of finding these suppliers is to use Google and contact them directly. They may be difficult to find as many suppliers have websites that look like they were created before the Internet was created and don’t rank high on Google.
Use various keywords to find them, for example, type in your niche followed by keywords such as dropship, wholesale, distributor, manufacturer or supplier. You can then type in the country and major cities within the country to help find suppliers.
Your other option is to contact the brands directly and tell them you are an online retailer interested in stocking their catalog of products and want to know the best person to contact. This way you will have direct contact with their main distributors and avoid any unnecessary middlemen.
Which Brands are the Best for Dropshipping?
I have explained why the world’s bigger brands are not ideal for dropshipping, but which brands should you dropship then?
Branding is obviously very important for increasing the perceived value of a product. This is why products on platforms such as AliExpress have such little perceived value and why so many dropshippers have used the products to create a brand. I have 12 examples of branded dropshipping stores if you are interested.
The world’s top brands aren’t ideal and neither are unbranded or unheard of brands. You need the sweet spot in between where brands will trust you to sell their products and consumers will purchase the products with trust.
This really is most of the market and isn’t hard to find. You want the brands to be established and trusted as this will make your job much easier as an online retailer. It takes far less convincing to persuade a buyer into purchasing a product they already trust rather than a product they’ve never heard of.
The other point to note is you want to make sure the branded product you’re selling isn’t easily found at most brick and mortar stores. If you’re trying to sell a regular camping tent for example, it may be hard to be profitable when you have so much competition. You’ll be up against every outdoor store as well as department stores such as Walmart.
You need to get creative and think outside the box. Instead, you could sell pop-up tents, car top tents, inflatable tents, hammock tents, canvas tents and so on. Try and go for brands that people within that niche have heard of but products that aren’t commonly found in standard retail stores.
Brand loyalty is when a consumer feels a certain amount of trust and confidence in a specific brand and is therefore loyal to the brand. Generally, this is a product they depend on for its reliability and leaving it to go for another brand feels like too much of a gamble for them.
Products that have a strong brand loyalty are mobile phones, game consoles, cameras, headphones and so on. It is unlikely buyers will take the risk and purchase products such as these if they’ve never heard of the brand.
On the other hand, think of products such as patio furniture, kayaks, baby cribs and dog beds. All these products are branded but people care far less about the brands. They are far more concerned about the features, the practicality and how it looks.
As a dropshipper, it’s far easier to sell products that don’t have brand loyalty attached to them. You can still sell within these niches, however, you can sell accessories or variations instead. Do you have any idea how lucrative mobile phone accessories can be?
Another example is fridges, yes they have brand loyalty as families need to depend on the reliability of a fridge and won’t risk going with some unknown brand. However, you can sell bar fridges, outdoor patio fridges and portable camping fridges. These types of fridges have far less brand loyalty and can still be drop shipped.
Often dropshipping branded products involves dropshipping high ticket items. This is because most domestic suppliers deal with selling products in bulk at wholesale rates. It may not seem worthwhile for them to go to the effort of packaging and shipping a single product valued at $50. However, it may be worth their time and effort if that product is $500 or $1,000.
Don’t be scared of dropshipping branded products on your Shopify dropshipping store. This is an excellent alternative to AliExpress dropshipping which most people go for.
The reason it’s not as mainstream is that the barrier to entry isn’t as low as it is with AliExpress. With AliExpress, everyone gets accepted, you have unlimited products to choose from, you can throw together a website in a few hours and with platforms such as Oberlo, the whole process is simplified.
With dropshipping brand name products, you need to source suppliers, be accepted as a reseller of the products which can take some persuasion and you need a professional website. All of these steps require far more work initially which is why most people take the easy route and go for AliExpress. All this provides more opportunities for those willing to put in the hard work from the start.