Affiliate Marketing vs Dropshipping; Which One is More Profitable?

Raena Mazahernasab
Written by Raena Mazahernasab
Posted on February 17, 2022
Are you among those whose dream job is to work online? Do

Are you among those whose dream job is to work online? Do you enjoy representing the products and convincing people to buy them? Well, hop in! We’ll take you to the world of the most profitable online businesses, dropshipping, and affiliate marketing.

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about affiliate and dropshipping and will look into their similarities and differences. What if you could combine these two? Let’s find it out!

Affiliate Marketing vs Dropshipping: What is dropshipping?

Dropshipping is all about selling products on ecommerce platforms by connecting buyers to the suppliers, which means that dropshippers don’t buy products in bulk. They display the products on their platform. So whenever someone buys something from their online store, dropshippers order the same product from the supplier. Then the supplier will deliver the ordered product to the customer.

That is what dropshipping is about. It’s a profitable online job where you won’t be in charge of manufacturing, shipping, and delivering the products. It’s easy and cheap to start, and with great skill in marketing, the right ecommerce platform, and a bit of patience, it will work like magic for you!

Affiliate Marketing vs Dropshipping: What is affiliate marketing?

You join an affiliate program of a company, get an affiliate link, promote the company’s products on your platform, put the link in your content, and whenever someone clicks on the link and buys something from the company, you’ll get a commission. This is all about affiliate marketing! In other words, affiliate marketing means cooperating with a business and introducing its products to your audience. The more customers you refer to the company’s website, the higher commission you’ll get.

Affiliate marketing has become so popular in the past few years, and more businesses reach out to affiliates to promote their products and increase their sales.

How are dropshipping and affiliate marketing similar?

Now that you know what affiliate marketing and dropshipping mean and how they work, you can guess their similarities to each other. Let’s take a look at the similarities of affiliate marketing and dropshipping:

  • Marketing plays a vital role in both dropshipping and affiliate
  • Both of them don’t require you to buy products in bulk and have an inventory
  • Starting affiliate and dropshipping doesn’t cost you a lot
  • Both have nothing to do with shipping and delivering the products
  • Same skills are needed for both, such as getting traffic, copywriting, and advertising

Differences between dropshipping and affiliate marketing

With all the similarities mentioned above, dropshipping and affiliate marketing are two different fields of occupation and require various marketing tools. Affiliate marketing and dropshipping function differently in some of the areas explained below.

The earning

As a dropshipper, you can set products prices yourself. They should be higher than suppliers’ prices and compatible with the market. But as an affiliate, you get a fixed commission per month. So you’ll have no control over the amount of your income. Additionally, as an affiliate, you’ll get paid at the end of the month, while dropshippers make a profit whenever a transaction is carried out.

Customer service

Being an affiliate means introducing a product and referring potential customers to the merchant’s website. Then you’ll have nothing to do with the rest of the things, meaning that you’re not responsible for the customer service because customers are referred to another website and will be directly connected to the vendor. Still, it’s better to stay in touch with the customers. That is one of the things you should do to increase affiliate marketing sales that every affiliate should know.

However, a dropshipper is responsible for everything related to customer service. Because people buy their products from their online store, and if a problem comes up, they always refer to the dropshipper.


Well, if working independently from a retailer is such an important factor for you, dropshipping might be the one you choose. Let’s take a look at how they work again: a dropshipper has his/her online store, orders every product they want, sets the prices, and grows his/her business. But an affiliate has no control over the products available for the customers. They can choose their niche product, but still, they should stick to the company’s terms and offer what they want.

So affiliate marketing is tightly dependent on other businesses, while in dropshipping, one can grow their online store independently.

Dropshipping vs. Affiliate marketing

Definitions, differences, and similarities of dropshipping and affiliate marketing are what we’ve been dealing with so far. But let’s take a closer look at each business. It’ll help you make your mind about which one to start.

Which is more profitable?

Your profit in dropshipping is often higher than the fixed affiliate programs commissions. You can set the prices of the products and change them based on price fluctuations. Imagine having an online store where you get hundreds of orders per day. Then, your income won’t be comparable to the sale percentage you get from one affiliate program.

Which is easier?

Each dropshipping and affiliate could be easy, depending on your skills and background. But here’s an idea for you to figure out which one is easier. If you are experienced in SEO, web designing, or running an online store website, then you’ll have no difficulties starting your dropshipping business; however, if you already have your platform and audience, affiliate marketing will be a lot easier for you to start because you won’t need to devote lots of time building a community at the first place.

Generally, many people find affiliate marketing easier than dropshipping. Because affiliate marketers don’t need a website or an ecommerce platform, they also don’t deal with the customers.

Can you combine dropshipping and affiliate marketing?

Can you do dropshipping and affiliate marketing together? Well, why not?! That’ll make more money than doing just one of them. But the fact is that you can’t start both of them at the same time. Start with one of them and add the other one subsequently. As mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing is easier to start as it doesn’t require a website or an ecommerce platform. So it’s best to begin your job as an affiliate marketer then add dropshipping to your business; however, if you already have your dropshipping website, you can still do affiliate marketing and gain passive income. Let’s see how you can combine these two:

Starting with affiliate marketing

If you’re an affiliate, you have your own loyal audience and are familiar with the market. As your job is promoting and introducing products based on your audience’s behavior, you realize which products are in high demand and which ones are compatible with buyers’ tastes. So you can easily choose your niche product for dropshipping and set up your online store. With the audience you already have, you can drive lots of traffic to your dropshipping store and sell the products you buy from the suppliers.

Specification of a Good and Bad Dropshipping Supplier

Imagine that you promote every product related to the painting tools on your affiliate platform. From experience, you know that your audience is more into painting with watercolors. So while you introduce a website that sells watercolors, you can also refer them to your online store where you sell brushes and paint palettes.

Starting with dropshipping

Already have your online store? Well, there are still lots of chances for you to increase your income by adding affiliate marketing to your business. As a dropshipper, you’re responsible for customer service. Therefore you can collect their information like email addresses. Let’s get back to the previous example. Imagine that you sell many types of painting tools in your online store. But you can’t find a good supplier to buy high-quality painting brushes from. So here’s what you can do. You join an affiliate program that tells you to promote the company’s painting brushes. You already have your buyer’s email addresses. So you send them an article that includes an affiliate link. This way, you offer your audience what they’re looking for and send lots of potential customers to another website and get passive income through commissions.

Final Note:
We’ve talked about everything you needed to know about dropshipping and affiliate marketing. In fact, none of them is better than the other one. It all depends on your situation and preferences. If you choose to do dropshipping, you should know how to start it for free. But if you picked affiliate marketing, make sure you read lots of examples of affiliate marketing and get inspiring ideas for your business.

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Can you do affiliate marketing and dropshipping?

Of course, you can do affiliate marketing and dropship simultaneously, but you can start with one of them only. Because starting each takes so much energy and time that doesn’t let you focus on anything else! That said, combining dropshipping and affiliate marketing doubles your income.

Can you get rich with dropshipping?

Yes! Dropshipping is one of the most profitable online businesses to make thousands of dollars per month. With great strategies, so much effort, and proper marketing tools, you’ll be able to become one of the richest dropshippers!

Can affiliate marketing get you rich?

Can affiliate marketing get you rich? Many affiliates are making lots of money by joining just one affiliate program. As an affiliate, you get to earn passive income without needing so much maintenance. Choosing the right niche, building a community, and putting lots of time and effort into advertising the products, will make you a rich affiliate marketer.

Raena Mazahernasab
Written by Raena Mazahernasab
Published at: February 17, 2022 February 17, 2022

More insight about Affiliate Marketing vs Dropshipping; Which One is More Profitable?

More insight about Affiliate Marketing vs Dropshipping; Which One is More Profitable?