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Dropshipping Success Rate: Why Dropshippers Fail & Success Tips.

20 min read

Dropshipping is an alluring way for aspiring entrepreneurs to enter the world of e-commerce. With its low upfront costs and minimal inventory management, no wonder it attracts so many. However, there are pitfalls, and the dropshipping success rate is low.

Though it’s easy to start, navigating the complexities of dropshipping might be overwhelming. From identifying trending products to securing reliable suppliers, every step impacts the trajectory toward success. In this article, we will explore what percentage of dropshippers become successful and get insights to help you become one of them.

What Is The Dropshipping Success Rate?

A dropshipping success rate shows what percentage of people starting dropshipping businesses succeed. The measurement is approximate. There is neither a specific formula to calculate it nor precise figures to base it on. There are only estimations. Also, there is no consensus on what to consider success.

So, what percentage of dropshippers become successful? If you define success as reaching $100 000 in sales during the first year of operation, then 90% of dropshippers fail. However, most eCommerce experts agree that between 10% and 20% of dropshipping businesses make it past the first year.

Why is the dropshipping success rate so low? Because of how easy it is to start dropshipping, this business attracts all kinds of to-be entrepreneurs. Most of them don’t take it seriously and drop quickly. But what about those determined?

10 Common Reasons Why Most Dropshippers Fail

why do most dropshippers fail?

Now that you know what percentage of dropshippers fail, let’s explore the most common reasons and how to counter them.

Here are the main reasons why the dropshipping success rate is so low:

1. Not Having a Plan

Starting a dropshipping business without a well-thought-out plan is akin to embarking on a journey without a map or compass. It’s a recipe for confusion, frustration, and eventual failure.

A comprehensive business plan is the foundation for your entire venture. It provides a clear roadmap for your decisions, actions, and strategies. Here’s why not having a plan is a surefire way to hurt dropshipping success rate:

  • Directionless Decisions: Without a plan, you’re making blind decisions. You might stumble upon a seemingly profitable product or niche, but how do you know if it aligns with your long-term goals? A plan helps you assess opportunities based on their fit within your overall business vision.
  • Undefined Target Market: Who are you selling to? What are their preferences, pain points, and behaviors? These questions are essential for tailoring your offerings and marketing messages. A plan forces you to define and understand your target audience, enhancing your chances of effectively reaching them.
  • Lack of Goals: A business without goals is like a ship without a destination. Your plan should outline specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. These goals act as milestones, keeping you focused, motivated, and accountable.
  • Inadequate Resource Allocation: Not having a plan makes it challenging to allocate your resources effectively. From budgeting to time management, a plan helps you allocate your resources and maximize their impact.
  • Adaptability Issues: A plan should allow for flexibility. The business landscape is dynamic, and your plan needs to adapt accordingly. Having a plan with room for adjustments helps you navigate changes without losing sight of your ultimate objectives.

2. Choosing the Wrong E-commerce Platform or Marketplace

Selecting the optimal platform for your dropshipping business is a pivotal choice. It can either steer you toward success or leave you stranded. The significance of this decision cannot be overstated, and here’s why:

  • Audience Mismatch: Each platform has its own unique customer base. Failing to match your products with the platform’s audience can make your offerings amiss.
  • Fee Fiascos: Platforms come with various costs – listing fees, transaction fees, and sometimes subscription fees. Opting for a platform with exorbitant fees can significantly diminish your potential profits.
  • Feature Fit: The features offered by platforms can greatly impact your business’s growth. Some platforms boast eCommerce SEO tools, extensive customization options, and a variety of payment gateways. Others provide only the bare minimum.
  • Navigation Nightmares: If an interface is difficult to navigate, potential customers might become frustrated and leave your store.
  • Platform Popularity: Popular platforms attract more customers but also have heightened competition. Conversely, lesser-known platforms might have a smaller audience, yet they offer a chance to stand out with less competition.
  • Responsive Reputation: In an era where mobile shopping reigns supreme, the responsiveness of the chosen platform is paramount. If your platform is not mobile-friendly, then you risk alienating many potential customers preferring shopping on their mobile devices.
  • Vendor Support: Adequate customer support is a lifeline when things go awry. Some platforms excel in providing prompt and efficient support. Others might leave you stranded without assistance when you encounter challenges.

3. Insufficient Research

When starting dropshipping, the temptation to dive into action is strong. However, rushing without product research is like sailing without a compass. Product research is the anchor that prevents your online business from drifting. For this reason, investing time in research is non-negotiable if you want your dropshipping success rate to be high:

  • Product Precision: Research helps you pinpoint products with demand. Skipping this step can lead to stocking items that fail to attract buyers.
  • Understanding Audience: Knowing your target audience’s preferences, pain points, and shopping behaviors provides invaluable insights. You can fail to tailor your offerings to customers’ needs by neglecting this step.
  • Competitor Clarity: By understanding what your rivals offer and how they market themselves, you can differentiate your business and identify untapped niches.
  • Price Point Perception: Proper research aids in determining the optimal pricing strategy. Prices too high can deter customers, while pricing too low might undermine the perceived value of your products.
  • Trend Tracking: The e-commerce landscape is very dynamic. Therefore, staying updated on the latest trends ensures our product offerings remain relevant and appealing.
  • Supplier Scrutiny: Research helps you identify reliable suppliers with quality products. Failing to vet suppliers can lead to shipping delays, subpar products, and unhappy customers.

4. Neglecting Dropshipping Policies

Successfully managing a dropshipping venture requires a solid understanding of business policies. They cover returns, shipping, and payments, thus guiding your business operations. 

Here is why creating proper policies is essential for your business:

  • Customer Confidence: Transparent policies bolster customer confidence. When shoppers know what to expect, they’re more likely to purchase from you.
  • Risk Reduction: Ambiguity in policies can lead to misunderstandings and disputes. Carefully composed policies reduce the risk of conflicts and prevent chargebacks.
  • Professionalism Promotion: Well-drawn policies showcase your professionalism. They signal that you’ve thought through every aspect of your business.
  • Return Roadmap: Clear return policies minimize customer frustration. Shoppers appreciate knowing the precise steps for returning items that don’t meet their expectations.
  • Shipping Certainty: Well-defined shipping policies give customers transparency on shipping times, the carriers used, and potential hiccups.
  • Payment Prowess: Transparent payment policies eliminate ambiguity surrounding payment methods, accepted currencies, and additional charges.

5. Underestimating the Workload

Starting dropshipping without recognizing the extensive work needed is akin to underestimating the ocean’s depth. A high dropshipping success rate requires acknowledging the full scope of effort needed.

Here’s why having a realistic grasp of the workload is pivotal:

  • Realistic Expectations: Understanding the workload prevents unrealistic expectations. Dropshipping isn’t a shortcut to instant riches but a journey that demands time, dedication, and perseverance.
  • Continuous Monitoring: The dropshipping business is very dynamic. Therefore, constantly monitoring market trends, customer preferences, and competitors is necessary to stay competitive.
  • Customer Connections: Nurturing customer relationships requires ongoing effort. Answering queries, addressing concerns, and providing top-notch service demand consistent attention.
  • Adaptability Agility: Markets evolve, and strategies that work today might not work tomorrow. Because of that, we must remain flexible, adjusting our approach as needed.
  • Marketing Marathon: Effective marketing isn’t a one-time sprint but a continuous marathon. Consistently engaging customers through various channels is crucial for maintaining visibility.
  • Learning Lifeline: Embracing the learning curve is vital. From product research to SEO tactics, dropshipping demands constant learning.

6. Poor Marketing Strategies

Imagine having remarkable products remaining unnoticed due to inadequate marketing. This situation shows the critical role that effective marketing strategies play in the world of eCommerce. Thus, neglecting marketing leaves your business stagnant and directionless.

Hence, understanding the significance of robust marketing strategies is vital:

  • Visibility Boost: Effective marketing catapults your product into the spotlight. It ensures that your offerings are visible to potential customers.
  • Brand Awareness: Marketing cultivates brand recognition. Consistent exposure creates familiarity, fostering trust and making customers more likely to choose your products.
  • Audience Engagement: Engaging marketing strategies resonate with your target audience. They spark interest, encourage interaction, and create a connection that translates into conversions.
  • Competitive Edge: A well-executed marketing plan sets you apart from competitors. It showcases what makes your products unique, giving you an edge in a crowded market.
  • Feedback Fuel: Engaging with your audience through marketing enables you to gather valuable feedback. Customer insights can guide product improvements and business decisions.

7. Unappealing Website

Think of your website as your virtual storefront. A poorly designed, lackluster website is like a dark, cluttered shop that customers would swiftly exit. The importance of an appealing website cannot be overstated.

Here’s why having a well-designed, informative website is fundamental:

  • First Impression: Your website is the first impression customers have of your brand. A clean, visually pleasing design leaves a positive imprint, while a lackluster site raises doubts about your professionalism.
  • User Experience: An intuitive, easy-to-navigate website enhances the user experience. Customers want a seamless journey from browsing to checkout, whereas a confusing layout frustrates them.
  • Credibility: A polished website bolsters your credibility. It signals that you’re a legitimate business, fostering trust and encouraging visitors to explore further.
  • Information Availability: Customers crave information. A website lacking crucial product details, pricing, and shipping can lead to frustration and abandonment.

8. Unreliable Suppliers

The reliability of your suppliers is another factor influencing dropshipping success rate. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of partnering with trustworthy suppliers.

To demonstrate, here’s why working with reliable providers is critical:

  • Consistent Fulfillment: Good suppliers ensure consistent product fulfillment. In contrast, unreliable suppliers lead to delayed shipments, negatively impacting customer satisfaction.
  • Reputation Impact: Supplier performance directly affects your reputation. Late shipments or subpar products reflect poorly on your business, eroding trust.
  • Customer Discontent: Unreliable suppliers can result in customer dissatisfaction. Disappointed customers might not return, and negative reviews can deter potential buyers.
  • Order Accuracy: Dependable suppliers ensure accurate order processing. Mistakes in orders can lead to returns, refunds, and increased customer service workload.
  • Communication Key: Effective communication with suppliers is essential. Unreliable suppliers might be unresponsive, thus leaving you in the dark about order status or potential issues.
  • Scalability Struggles: Scaling your business with unreliable suppliers is challenging. Increased order volume could hinder existing issues, affecting growth.
  • Consistent Quality: Reliable suppliers deliver consistent product quality. Unreliable ones might send subpar items, damaging your reputation and customer trust as a result.

9. Bad Customer Service

Customer service is another factor often ignored by dropshipping beginners. For this reason, understanding the role of excellent customer service is essential. Here’s how customer service impacts dropshipping success rate:

  • Positive Impressions: Good customer service creates positive impressions. Prompt responses and helpful assistance enhance customer perceptions.
  • Brand Loyalty: Satisfactory interactions build loyalty. Customers who receive attentive service are more likely to return for future purchases.
  • Issue Resolution: Effective customer service resolves issues swiftly. Ignoring problems or offering inadequate solutions frustrates customers.
  • Feedback Source: Customer interactions yield valuable feedback. Addressing concerns helps you refine your offerings and business processes.
  • Word-of-Mouth Impact: Dissatisfied customers spread negative impressions. On the other hand, excellent service leads to positive recommendations.
  • Repeat Business: Satisfied customers return to your store. A pleasant experience increases the likelihood of repeat purchases.
  • Brand Reputation: Customer service impacts your brand’s reputation. Poor service tarnishes your image, while great service enhances it.

10. Ignoring Dropshipping Automation

Automation can impact the dropshipping success rate. Ignoring the potential of automation is like dismissing a valuable tool at your disposal. Recognizing the benefits of integrating dropshipping automation is crucial. Automation can be a game-changer:

  • Time Efficiency: Automation frees your time from manual tasks. It allows you to focus on strategic aspects that drive growth.
  • Order Management: Automated systems manage orders seamlessly, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring a smooth process.
  • Inventory Tracking: Automation keeps tabs on inventory levels. Thus, it prevents stockouts or overselling, maintaining customer satisfaction.
  • Product Updates: Automated tools help update product information across platforms swiftly, keeping customers well-informed.
  • Price Monitoring: Automation can monitor competitors’ prices, enabling you to adjust your pricing strategy accordingly.
  • Customer Notifications: Automated communication keeps customers in the loop about order updates and tracking information.
  • Data Accuracy: Automation minimizes manual data entry, reducing the likelihood of mistakes.
  • Scalability Support: As your business grows, automation adapts to higher order volumes and complex operations.
  • Focus on Strategy: With routine tasks automated, you can dedicate more energy to strategic planning and innovation.

These are the most common reasons why the dropshipping success rate is so low. You might wonder, is it worth trying at all? That depends. Let’s consider the pros and cons of dropshipping, so you can decide yourself.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Dropshipping?

Pros And Cons Of Dropshipping

Dropshipping has a mix of advantages and disadvantages that we must carefully consider. Therefore, balancing these factors is vital for making informed decisions and maximizing dropshipping success rate.

Pros of Dropshipping

Here are the main perks of dropshipping that make it so popular:

1. Easy to Start

Dropshipping is a beginner-friendly business model. Getting started requires minimal expertise and has a small learning curve. Given that, you can set up your online store in a few days.

2. Little To No Upfront Investment

Unlike traditional retail, dropshipping doesn’t require significant upfront investments. You don’t need to stock products, so there is no need to restrain your capital.

3. Low Risk

Due to the lack of inventory and upfront costs, dropshipping carries lower financial risks. In case a product doesn’t sell well, you won’t end up with unsold stock and potential losses.

4. Flexibility & Freedom

Operating a dropshipping business offers you flexibility. You can work from anywhere in the world, provided that you have an internet connection. Thus, you can manage your store on your own terms.

5. Scalability

Because you don’t manage and warehouse inventory, scaling up is relatively easy. Also, your suppliers handle all the logistics.

Cons of Dropshipping

It is important to realize that dropshipping model is not perfect. Here are the main drawbacks that decrease dropshipping success rate:

1. Low-Profit Margins

One of the main downsides is slim profit margins. Dropshippers purchase products at wholesale prices and sell them at retail prices. This difference might be too low after factoring in marketing and operational costs.

2. High Competition

Competition is another key point to note. Because of the ease of entry, markets can become saturated quickly. As a result, high competition can make it difficult to stand out and attract customers to your store.

3. Dependency on Suppliers

Your success depends on the reliability and efficiency of your suppliers. If they run out of stock or face shipping delays, it directly impacts your business’s reputation. Also, you have little control over product and shipping service quality.

4. Customer Service Challenges

Dropshippers are responsible for customer service, even though they don’t control the entire supply chain. Therefore, we must address issues like shipping delays and damaged items, which can be complex and time-consuming.

Hopefully, this knowledge will help you to make the right decision. And while we can’t decide for you, we suggest you check what dropshippers have to say about their own experience.

Tips To Boost Dropshipping Success Rate

tips to increase dropshipping success rate

Increasing your dropshipping success rate requires careful planning and implementation. Follow these tips to improve your chances of achieving success.

1. Find Your Niche

Selecting the right niche is crucial for targeting the right audience. Identifying a niche narrows your target audience, allowing you to tailor your products and marketing efforts more effectively.

Firstly, research various niches to identify potential markets. Then, consider your own interests and passions. Choose a niche that resonates with your interests and has demand. This dual approach ensures that you not just tap into a profitable market but also engage with a niche that genuinely excites you.

2. Find Best-Seller Products

To maximize your profits, it is crucial to choose dropshipping products that offer a healthy profit margin. Furthermore, focus on products that are in high demand and align with current trends. This way, we ensure that our offerings have a strong customer base and are more likely to convert.

Additionally, conduct a thorough competitive analysis. It will give you insights into your competitors’ strategies, helping you identify unique selling points for your products.

3. Search for Reliable Product Suppliers

Partnering with reliable suppliers is essential for a high dropshipping success rate. Above all, consider providers with a proven track record of quality and timely deliveries. Additionally, prioritize suppliers with short shipping times to enhance customer satisfaction.

Moreover, constantly communicate and establish trust with your providers to ensure smooth operations.

4. Invest Time in Creating a Good Website/Store

Your online store is the face of your business, so investing time in its design and functionality is paramount. Firstly, opt for a clean and intuitive layout that makes navigation effortless. Additionally, focus on creating a seamless user experience by ensuring that your website loads quickly and is mobile-responsive.

Use high-quality images and compelling product descriptions. Captivating visuals play a significant role in driving customer interest and conversions.

5. Use Dropshipping Automation

Dropshipping automation streamlines various aspects of your business operations. Tools like AutoDS automate time-consuming tasks such as inventory management, order processing, and price adjustments.

Furthermore, automation enhances efficiency and reduces manual errors. It saves time and effort that you can invest in product research and marketing.

6. Use Marketing Strategies

Marketing is key to attracting customers and driving sales. Start by using organic strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO) and blogging to boost your store’s visibility. Additionally, explore paid advertising options like social media ads and Google Ads to reach your target audience.

Moreover, consider integrating video marketing into your strategy. Videos allow you to showcase products and engage customers more effectively.

7. Provide Good Customer Service

Exceptional customer service can help your dropshipping business stand out. First of all, ensure customers can reach you through various communication channels. Equally important is to respond to customer inquiries promptly. Consider incorporating a live chat feature on your store to provide real-time assistance, enhancing the overall shopping experience.

Additionally, resolve issues with empathy and a solutions-oriented approach. Strive to exceed expectations to build customer loyalty.

8. Be Consistent & Creative

Consistency will help your dropshipping success rate. Regularly update your product offerings to keep your store fresh and exciting. Experiment with different marketing campaigns to capture customers’ attention and maintain engagement.

Moreover, consider offering promotions, bundle deals, or limited-time offers to incentivize purchases and reward customer loyalty. Lastly, adapt to changing trends and customer preferences to stay competitive.

9. Monitor and Adapt

In the ever-evolving world of e-commerce, adaptability is crucial. Regularly analyze your business’s performance and adjust strategies as needed. Similarly, monitor which products are generating the most sales.

Experiment with different approaches and adapt based on the results. Additionally, stay informed about industry trends and update your offerings accordingly.

10. Stay Persistent

Starting a dropshipping business is not an overnight success story. Like any other business, it takes time to build a solid foundation and start seeing consistent profits.

Success in dropshipping takes time. Thus, don’t get discouraged by initial challenges. Stay committed, learn from mistakes, and keep refining your strategies. Also, remember that starting a dropshipping business requires dedication, research, and continuous improvement.

As can be seen, the dropshipping success rate depends on many things. Follow these tips to increase your chances of launching a successful dropshipping business. Consistent effort, innovation, and customer satisfaction are key to sustainable growth.

Increase Dropshipping Success Rate With Automation

Increase Dropshipping Success Rate With Automation

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, staying ahead of the competition requires innovation and efficiency. The key to sustained success lies in optimizing operations and maximizing profits. Automating your dropshipping business can catapult your venture to greater heights.

For instance, automation streamlines repetitive tasks, reduces human error, and accelerates processes, enhancing efficiency. Moreover, it opens up opportunities for growth by allowing you to focus on strategic decision-making rather than being bogged down by routine tasks.

Here is how dropshipping automation improves dropshipping success rate:

  1. Effortless Scalability: Automation helps scale your dropshipping business. You can manage a larger product inventory without manually updating listings, tracking orders, or adjusting prices.
  2. Time Savings: Time is a precious resource. Automation gives you more of it by handling tasks like inventory management, order fulfillment, and price adjustments.
  3. Enhanced Customer Experience: With automation tools, you can provide accurate and real-time information to customers. Automated order tracking and timely updates enhance the shopping experience, fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  4. Precise Price Management: Fluctuating market prices can be a challenge for dropshippers. Automation monitors price changes and adjusts your listings accordingly. Thus, it keeps your store competitive and maximizes profits.
  5. Reduced Errors: Manual data entry and management can lead to errors that impact your business. Automation significantly reduces the chances of mistakes, bolstering your credibility.
  6. Data-Driven Insights: Automation offers insights that can improve your decision-making process. By analyzing trends, sales patterns, and customer behavior, we can adjust product selection and marketing strategies for better results.

In conclusion, integrating automation into your dropshipping business increases your profits and overall success.

When it comes to automating your dropshipping business, AutoDS emerges as the top-tier solution. As the #1 recommended tool in the field, AutoDS offers a comprehensive suite of features tailored to amplify your profits and streamline your operations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dropshipping Still Profitable In 2023?

As of 2023, dropshipping can still be profitable due to its low upfront costs and flexibility. However, success depends on factors like niche selection and marketing strategies.

What’s The Average Dropshipping Success Rate?

The average dropshipping success rate is generally between 10-20%. Success depends on factors like market research, product quality, and effective marketing.

How Much Do Beginner Dropshippers Make?

Beginner earnings can vary significantly. Some may make a few hundred dollars a week, while others struggle initially. Success depends on effort and understanding of markets.

How Hard Is It To Start A Dropshipping Business?

Starting a dropshipping business can be relatively easy due to low startup costs and no need for inventory. However, mastering product sourcing, customer service, and marketing requires dedication and learning.


how to increase dropshipping success rate

In the realm of e-commerce, understanding what contributes to success is vital. While dropshipping success rate varies, a clear roadmap significantly increases your chances of triumph.

One can avoid the pitfalls by recognizing the significance of strategic planning, good marketing, customer-centric operations, and flexible approaches.

With these insights, you can steer your dropshipping business toward prosperous horizons. Therefore, set sails to success!

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Good luck!

Written by Artem Zmitrovich

Artem is a versatile person with a wide range of knowledge and skills, good erudition. With his technical and soft skills, Artem is always happy to help.

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