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Affiliate Marketing Vs. Dropshipping

In this article, we’re going to be looking at the key differences between Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping and weighing up the pros and cons of both so that you can see which is right for you.

When it comes to making a living out of promoting and selling products online, most people who don’t sell their own goods fall into one of two categories: Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping. Both require the advertiser to promote the marketing of the products, with the crucial difference that dropshipping allows you to set your own prices. This means that with dropshipping, you get the profits, whereas, with affiliate marketing, you get a commission. This may sound like a huge advantage; however, it’s a little more complicated than that. Let’s first take a look at all the similarities between dropshipping and affiliate marketing.

Similarities between Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping

Low Cost at Outset


Both affiliate marketing and dropshipping allow you to get a small business up and running with relatively low costs when compared to other business opportunities. Because you can work from home, you won’t need to factor in things like renting a commercial space or buying and storing stock. You can look start out fairly strongly with around $3000, which for many won’t require taking out risky bank loans.

Low Risk

Because of the lack of need for major investment in capital assets and stock, both affiliate marketing and dropshipping are fairly low-risk pursuits. You will still need to invest in marketing strategies and if you don’t make returns on your investment, you can and will lose money. However, you won’t amass vast amounts of debt on loans used to start out. Or at least you certainly shouldn’t.



Both affiliate marketing and dropshipping require similar skill sets. To be successful in either you’ll need to be able to market your products by creating ads and driving traffic to landing pages where customers will buy the product. This might not sound too difficult, but it can take a while to start seeing any significant number of people actually buying products using your site or links.


Both businesses are really quick and relatively easy to set up, and if you do a bit of research beforehand, you can get to work quite comfortably within a day.

From the outset, both affiliate marketing and dropshipping do look similar. However, there are some striking differences. Now, being an affiliate network, we’re obviously biased towards affiliate marketing, but we do have good reasons for being so. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

Differences between Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping

Customer support


One of the major differences between affiliate marketing and dropshipping is that affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to take charge of customer support, whereas dropshipping does. Because dropshipping makes you the store owner, then you are responsible for your brand. Affiliates on the other hand simply link people to other people’s stores, meaning that they don’t take any of the responsibility when things go wrong.

This won’t be too much of an issue in the early stages, but if you are looking to scale up, then keeping track of customer satisfaction for hundreds and maybe even thousands of people, is going to take up a lot of your time.

Price Setting


Affiliate marketing doesn’t allow you to set your own prices and so you rely solely on commission. Dropshipping, on the other hand, enables you to set the price so that you can make as much profit off of an item as you want. However, it’s quite easy to get this wrong, and if you price your products too high or too low, then you will put people off.

In affiliate marketing, the commission rates are often very good, with rates often as much as 50%! It’s also possible to negotiate rates once you have a high number of conversions on a regular basis.

Network Support and Offers


There are a lot of offers available for both affiliates and dropshippers. Generally speaking, dropshippers can choose any items they want to sell from Alibaba and then sell them on their platform as if they were their own. This way you can create a store with a lot of different options for customers. However, with dropshipping, you are largely on your own and won’t have the support of a larger network.

Affiliate marketing gives you access to regular new offers, and you tend to spend more time promoting specific products. This enables you to focus more on a particular item and see your progress much more easily via tracking tools. You can also join an affiliate network and get help, advice and management for your campaigns, and it’s completely free.

We’ll be covering this topic again and many more in later articles. So stay tuned and until next time, happy converting!

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