There have been a few articles published lately discussing the “drop ship scam." It's a common question that I receive, along with "Is Dropshipping Dead?"
In fact, just the other day I was browsing through some articles on Google, when I came across one that I immediately knew would be a huge topic of conversation in our drop shipping communities. This particular article had me feeling that I needed to defend drop shipping and provide a bit of clarification for those new to eCommerce.
While they didn’t use the term ‘drop shipping’ in the headline, as soon as I saw "Why Weebly's CEO is Saying No to the Hottest Trend in E-Commerce,” I knew it had to be about dropshipping.
The Drop Shipping 'Scam'
First, a quick disclaimer this article is my response to the recent bad PR drop shipping has suffered. Second, I’m assuming that this CEO of Weebly doesn’t like the dropshipping business model and prefers to keep it off his platform.
In case you don’t know, Weebly is basically a platform that allows you to build websites. Their platform is similar to WordPress or Squarespace.
In a recent article on Inc.com, the company’s CEO David Rusenko claims that drop shipping is a scam that he wants no part in. In Rusenko’s eyes, dropshippers are essentially eCommerce middlemen.
And if you’ve been following me for awhile, you know how I feel about middlemen: I can’t stand them! It’s hard to be fond of those who automate the process of ripping people off.
Still, there are a few other things that stood out to me in this article that calls drop shipping “the newest scam”.
A few weeks before the Inc.com article, one of the writers at The Atlantic published an article expressing his feelings on drop ship scams. He told a story of buying a jacket he saw from retargeting ads on Instagram and feeling that he got it from a scammy dropshipper.
In the Inc.com article, Rusenko is talking about how more and more frequently dropshippers are sourcing their products from low-cost places like AliExpress. Usually these transactions take place in eCommerce stores built on Oberlo or Shopify.
Drop Shipping is a Broad Term
It’s kind of funny, even when I first started building Drop Ship Lifestyle and publishing under this brand, I knew using the term “drop ship” would be tricky.
There are many, many different models for dropshipping. The term itself is pretty broad but basically, drop shipping is a way to fulfill orders. Dropshipping could be fulfilling orders from China, it could be arbitrage, it could be selling on eBay, drop shipping on Amazon, etc.
And if you’ve seen any of our courses or information here at Drop Ship Lifestyle, you know we would never recommend dropshipping on eBay, working with suppliers direct from China, or building your eCommerce store on anything but a Shopify-hosted site.
Again as you probably know if you’re familiar with Drop Ship Lifestyle, the way that we do dropshipping is we are basically internet retailers where we sell for other brands.
- Step 1 You list the supplier’s product on your drop shipping store for customers to buy.
- Step 2 The customer purchases something from your eCommerce site.
- Step 3 You order that same exact item that the customer paid for from your supplier.
- Step 4 Your drop shipping supplier ships this item directly to your customer. So your customer receives the item that they’ve ordered from you.
So yes, we are technically a middleman. BUT, there is no middleman between us and the brands we sell for. So if I was going to sell something, let’s say if I was going to sell a pen, I would sell direct for this pen company. We’re obviously not selling our own pens, and hopefully this can kind of help you understand drop shipping.
In the article, David Rusenko claims that dropshippers are ripping people off when they dropship from China. Which is crazy! I really don't think anyone is ripping anyone off.
What I do think is that drop shipping from China is not a sustainable, long-term business model.
Unfortunately, after seeing articles that appeal to the masses like The Atlantic article, and now the Inc.com article, dropshipping is getting a bad reputation.
Because of these articles when the general public thinks of the term “dropshipping”, they might associate it with being a shady or scammy business model if they’ve come across these negative headlines.
Now, here's the thing about these drop ship ‘scams’. I mentioned this when I first started Drop Ship Lifestyle several years ago, but I hesitated putting the word drop ship in my company name. Back then people still associated dropshipping with usually shady business tactics.
And that's often because if you Google dropshipping or dropship suppliers you find middlemen. Back in those days there were so many people who basically exist to cut themselves in as a third party, only to make some money off you. And it's just not a long-term sustainable business model for either party.
My Final Thoughts on This 'Drop Shipping Scam'
I reinforced this in the original video I made talking about drop shipping’s recent ‘bad press’, but I’ll say it again because it is key to making money online successfully drop shipping. When you’re talking with drop shipping suppliers, you should not refer to yourself as a dropshipper or tell them you wish to dropship their products.
Remember what you are, and that is an internet retailer wishing to distribute a company’s products.
I can also understand why dropshipping might be getting some bad press right now. But I don’t believe that people dropshipping from China or AliExpress are outright scamming people. I just think that’s ridiculous.
Honestly, I wonder if the Weebly CEO behind this article might be jealous because Shopify is exploding and has been doing so for years now!
You know, forget about what Weebly’s CEO thinks and just remember that when you are doing business and when you’re talking to your suppliers, you are doing so as an internet retailer.
Even though there's technically nothing wrong with it, I don’t want you to use the term dropshipper because it now has a negative association.
So that’s what I think about this whole, “is drop shipping a scam” business. Again, here are the links to the two articles I talked about in this post. I want you to read through them yourselves when you have time and let me know what you think below in the comments.
- Inc. Why Weebly's CEO Is Saying No to the Hottest Trend in E-Commerce
- The Atlantic The Strange Brands in Your Instagram Feed
This topic was also covered in a previously recorded video on my YouTube channel.
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Do you recommend having just one big store or a couple of stores focusing on certain products
I recommend starting with one niche store and growing it to its full potential.
From there, I recommend building “niche related” stores and cross-promoting them to your audience.
I teach how we do this in the Drop Ship Blueprint.
Hope that helps!
I heard nice things about your course, and I am very interested in it, just wondering if you provide an action money back guarantee?
Yes, we do! You can see it on our enrollment form.
Drop shipping is dead or close to it, and here’s why.
I have to research every single time I see an ad for a product I like.
I’m so worried that I’m going to either A: never get the product, or B: It will not be even close to the same product advertised.
Drop shipping is a scammers dream come true and the entire business model is just horrible.
I’m 100% with you on dropshipping from China. However, as the article states there’s more than one way to dropship.
If you sell a product that cost $25.. example Nike sells a shoe for $25.00 ok then I sell the shoe on my site for $50. And pay Nike $25. And ship it to the person who bought it from me for $50. Directly from Nike. How is that not scamming Nike?
I would never recommend doing that.
We are authorized retailers for the companies that we sell for.
You can learn more in my free presentation here:
Hope that helps!
I agree with you… the guy at “Weebly”, (what a name!), is most likely jealous and he should be, because Shopify is rockin’ it! After reading all this information and the comments from Weebly and Inc., I’d like to say that I don’t know how in the world these so called business people think that commerce has existed all these generations! What’s the difference between “drop shipping”, (aka), internet retail and the “old-fashioned” way of doing business?! I’m referring, of course, to a brick and mortar store, (example; Penney’s, Crate/Barrel, etc., that sells products from the maker/manufacturer, to the public, except for the fact that as drop-shippers, (oh my! I used that term!), 🙂 no inventory is being held by the drop shipper. An example: A furniture store that sells Thomasville furniture to the public. The public cannot purchase items directly from the furniture maker/manufacturer, so the brick and mortar store offers the furniture for sale to the public and believe me, there’s a significant mark-up from the brick and mortar store!! So, I wonder if the Weebly “CEO”, would consider that situation a rip-off?! Stores, (business owners), have been using this business model for many years. The “mark-up” is part of the cost of doing business and might I add, being able to stay in business!… it’s called a PROFIT!! Hello! This is how businesses have been operating for many, many years. The “CEO”, or whatever he is, looks like he’s about 12 years old, by the way. Seriously, is there something I’m missing here?, because as someone who is new to drop-shipping, I’m actually somewhat offended by the comments from “Weebly”/Inc.! Their comments could be taken very offensively by ecommerce business owners, because they are essentially “calling out” all drop-shipping/ecommerce business owners and saying they are all dis-honest! I have not yet started my drop-shipping/ecommerce store, since I’m still learning about what needs to be done, properly, before launching my business. To sum this all up, Anton, I just want to let you know how very much I appreciate your kindness in teaching people about the right way to start an internet retail/drop-shipping/ecommerce business. Of all the people “out there” who are offering drop-shipping classes, I’m really thankful to have come across your classes. Thank you so much for having a heart to teach people this business. There’s so much to know about the right way to build a successful business and I believe you’re the best teacher.
As a person who has been involved selling a product that is dropped shipped let me give you a word of advise. First of all be very sure that you know the factories that you are dealing with. This means knowing their products and prices that you will be paying for the products that your will be offering. Example: if you pay for someone to do am elaborate website for you listing many products at fantastic prices online however the drop shipper is always out of stock on these items, you are out of business. Some companies chose to make their money off the site they provide and don’t care if you every sell a product at all.
I deal direct with the factories and know the prices and inventories up front and know that the products I am offering are available to my customers.
I want to be a drop shipper
So from what I am gathering from this article is that drop shipping is a former of affiliate marketing, correct? Why not just call it affiliate marketing people are ok with this term versus drop shipping
Drop shipping and affiliate marketing are actually 2 different business models.
You can check out this post I made that discusses the differences:
Hi, whats confusing is you say not to use the term drop shipping, but your website uses it?
We use that term so that people can find us.
When I say do not use it, I mean when you’re speaking to suppliers 🙂
Thank you very much for clearing the air. The Dropshipping business model is not a scam and can never be a scam.
You’re welcome, Keith!
Hi Anton, thank you very much for diffusing this thought from Weebly’s CEO about dropshiping.
If I order for bulk products from Aliexpress today and begin to sell them in my shop and via my website, will he also call it rip off? The difference between that method and dropshiping is that I don’t have to stock items in dropshiping.
Someone might need to educate him.
I enjoyed your clarification on it, great job.
As many of you already know I created Drop Ship Lifestyle after selling a network of eCommerce stores and then trying to find a community of other store owners to network with… What I found was a bunch of scammers who promised newbies they would get rich quick by following their push button systems!
This lead me create a new community along with online training that shares how to build a REAL online business.
I’d love to hear what you think… it’s 10 video training modules designed to help you drop ship profitably… all for free.
Be sure to click here to check it out and send me your feedback ?
If you go through the “What Is Drop Shipping?” mini-course and still have questions just contact me and I will help you out.
There impression I get from drop shipping is that it is a scam in the terms of the website platforms wanting you to give your information and start a free trial just to view products that you have no clue where they come from or they don’t carry what you want to sell. Im looking for platforms that ONLY deal with US suppliers and can prove that, but again, it seems like a scam much like anything else.
That’s a great point that I failed to address in this post.
There are many middlemen companies that only make money based on the fees which you pay them. Unfortunately, the products that they offer typically leave no room for profit.
The markup added to the products is the cost of doing business and that my friend is legit since the beginning of commerce.
Anton I know what drop shipping is and I have a store. I would love to talk to you about your experiences and which direction I should go from where I’m at. Could really use a trustworthy mentor.