10 Common Dropshipping Mistakes Newbies Make

Making mistakes is common when you’re new and learning the ropes. While one can be patient and remedy mistakes gradually when following other business models such as affiliate marketing… but with ecommerce, you need a faster reaction time.

Since you’ll be spending money on advertising and may even be paying monthly for Shopify and other apps, it’s imperative that you remedy mistakes quickly so that you’re in the green instead of languishing in the red.

The best way to remedy mistakes is to avoid making them. Below you’ll find a list of 10 mistakes that most newbies make when they start a dropshipping business. By avoiding them, you’ll be in good stead and your business will see success sooner.

1. Expecting quick profits

The concept of dropshipping is easy in theory, but difficult in practice. You’ll need to go through a process of trial and error before you discover winning products and campaigns.

Let’s not forget the nerves of steel you must have to keep losing money on ads until you find a winner and scale it up to massive profits.

All of this takes time and if you’re expecting quick profits, you’ll be disappointed… and may not have the patience to stay on track until you succeed.

2. Selling trademarked products

Selling trademarked products such as plush toys with Disney or Pokemon images, etc. is a big no-no, especially when the manufacturers are not licensed to use these images.

Not only will your store be taken down immediately (by Shopify), but you may face litigation and so on. So be very careful when selling products with popular brand images and so on.

3. Not opening a niche store

All beginners to dropshipping should start off with a niche. Trying to run a general store is not only expensive, but also lowers conversions. For example, if you have an art store selling mini-sculptures and so on, someone who buys one piece may buy a few more.

But if your store has too much variety and your sculpture is being sold next to a posture corrector and a pet pooper-scooper, the customer will just buy the one art item and leave – and you’d have lost the opportunity to make more sales.

4. Slow loading site

Research has shown that 1 in 4 people will close a web page if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load. You definitely want a site that’s blazing fast.

5. A small budget

You’ll need 2k to 5k in funds to be comfortable when trying to get your dropshipping business off the ground. A lack of funds will hamper your ability to tweak and test until you find a winning product and ad.

6. Insufficient research

Exercise due diligence when choosing a supplier, products, ad platforms and so on. There are several moving parts to this business. All need to work seamlessly for your ecommerce store to operate as an efficient and reputable sales machine.

The only way to ensure that you’re getting it right will be to do your research well and choose the best options.

7. Selling low quality products

Selling low quality products will not only result in returns and complaints, but will also affect your reputation with your payment processor. You must ensure that what you’re selling is of high quality.
Order the product first or ask the supplier to send you a sample. This will allow you to know if the product is of good quality and worth selling.

8. Not checking shipping times

Long shipping times are a no-no. Sometimes, a product may have fast shipping times to the U.S. but may take a month for the same product to reach Australia.

You must be aware of the shipping times to the different countries. Making your customers wait ages for their product will result in refunds, chargebacks and other problems in your business.

9. Not having a system to handle returns

The problem with dropshipping is that the customer usually doesn’t know that you’re the middleman and not the manufacturer. So when they wish to return a product, you need to know where they’ll send it.

To your place? To the supplier? How will you handle the returns?
You’ll need a system for handling returns.

10. Quitting too soon

Last but not least, a dropshipping business is a marathon and not a sprint. Quitting too soon will mean your business dies a premature death. So give your business the time and attention it needs till it succeeds beyond your wildest dreams.

Avoid these 10 mistakes at all cost and your dropshipping journey will be faster and less painful.

Dropshipping VS Print On Demand (POD): Which is Better?

Many beginners to dropshipping often wonder if they should dropship existing products sold by suppliers on AliExpress and other platforms… or go the ‘print on demand’ (POD) route.

Since there are pros and cons with both business models, it’s crucial for the beginner to assess each business model on its own merits and decide for himself/herself which is suitable for them.

Dropshipping and POD are two sides of the same coin… and there are many marketers making good money with both models. So rest assured that both approaches are profitable. Now let’s see which one is right for you.


The biggest differentiator between dropshipping and POD is that with dropshipping, you’ll be shipping pre-made products created by manufacturers.

For example, if you’re dropshipping a sleeping bag, the manufacturer will decide the color, size, shape, etc. You’ll have no/very limited input and control in the process/designs.

While you could design a logo and ask the manufacturer to add your logo to the product, that’s about as far as you can go with the branding.

With print on demand, however, you’ll be able to create your own designs and/or outsource the process to professionals. Then it’s just a matter of getting your designs printed on POD products such as caps, mugs, backpacks, shirts and so on.

For branding, POD would be the way to go. You’ll build customer loyalty and your repeat customers will look forward to what new products you have to offer.

Lack of variety (with POD)

One downside to POD is that there’s only a handful of items you can print your designs on.

With dropshipping, you are spoiled for choice because there are thousands of products to choose from. Everything ranging from survival gear to baby care products are there for you to ship.

If you’re looking for variety, dropshipping is a better option.

Shipping times

This is a tricky issue. Generally, print on demand products need to be manufactured first before shipping out. If someone ordered a t-shirt from your POD store, the manufacturer would first need to print your design on the t-shirt before sending it out.

With dropshipping, the products will be held in inventory by the suppliers. So the moment the order comes in, the product can be shipped out. If China suppliers are used, the e-packet option will mean faster shipping times.

However, if you’re using dropshippers based in the U.S. for your POD products, your shipping time might be even faster than the dropshipped products from China.

So it all depends on the product, supplier, location, etc. You’ll have to assess the situation for yourself.

These are some of the main factors you should factor into your decision before setting up your ecommerce store. Do note that both business models are NOT mutually exclusive.

You can sell dropshipped products and POD products in the same store.

Learning to do both will give you more flexibility and your store will have a wider variety of products. That’s probably the best way to go about it.