Amazon FBA vs Dropshipping: Understanding the Key Differences

Amazon FBA vs Dropshipping

Table of Contents

Amazon FBA vs Dropshipping

Chapter 1: Introduction

Amazon FBA and Dropshipping are commonly used approaches by e-commerce businesses. Here are the key differences that will significantly help entrepreneurs’ understanding of Amazon FBA and Dropshipping.

Overview of Amazon FBA and Dropshipping

Dropshipping and Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) are two e-commerce business concepts that have grown in popularity recently. Both approaches have benefits and drawbacks, and business owners can arrive at detailed and comprehensive decisions for their firms by considering these factors.

Importance of Choosing the Right E-commerce Model

E-commerce entrepreneurs must take a look at different models and approaches that will have an impact on their businesses. Factors like Convenience, Low Costing, and Guaranteed Trust must be highlighted in every decision-making, plus the model must fulfill your needs and demands as an entrepreneur. Choosing the right e-commerce approach will benefit your business’s growth and even your branding’s reputation.

Chapter 2: Amazon FBA vs Dropshipping: Explained and Compared

What is Amazon FBA and Dropshipping

What is Amazon FBA and Dropshipping?

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a method and approach provided by Amazon to assist and help in handling storage, returns, refunds, customer services, and fulfilling orders for sellers. On the other hand, Dropshipping is a business model for putting or listing products on sale, then sending the orders to the manufacturer. It simply follows this structure and no heavy investment is needed.

How Amazon FBA and Dropshipping Work

In Amazon FBA, they provide:

  1. Inventory Storage – it is where Amazon organizes everything and stores products that are shipped in bulks for faster processes.
  2. Processing of Orders – this happens when a customer orders and Amazon works on packaging, picking up products, and shipping them to the customer’s location.
  3. Customer Support – the customers’ concerns are also handled by Amazon FBA, giving them 100% customer support, from answering inquiries to assisting with Return & Refund Policies.
Dropshipping works

While Dropshipping works as:

  1. Online Storefront – an online store is present where a seller adds products for listing even without an upfront inventory.
  2. Order Placement – when a buyer places an order and settles the payment, it is when the order placement takes place from a third-party supplier.
  3. Direct Shipping – the seller does not need to store inventories or handle the shipping process as Dropshipping has it under control, from the supplier going directly to the customer.

Advantages of Amazon FBA and Dropshipping

Advantages of Amazon FBA and Dropshipping

When considering the Amazon FBA approach, know that you will benefit in:

  • Well-established Program
  • Multi-channel Fulfillment
  • More Inventory Storage Space
  • 24/7 Customer Service and Support
  • Logistics Support with Low Shipping Cost

Also, your business can prosper with Dropshipping’s advantages such as:

  • Wide Range of Products
  • Less Capital Investment
  • Flexible and Easy to Start
  • Easy to Test and Scale
  • Lower Overhead

Chapter 3: Comparing Costs and Fees

Comparing Costs and Fees

Amazon FBA Costs and Fees

If you are considering starting an Amazon FBA, you must know your responsibility as a seller in paying for costs and fees. There are four different types of expenses that you have to understand. First is the Referral Fee or Amazon’s commission, a required fee for every product or item sold.

Next is the Per Item Fee, which depends on whether you are an Individual or a Professional Seller. Also, there is the Fulfillment Fee that charges for the packaging of products, and the amount depends on the weight and dimension of the items. Lastly, the Monthly Subscription is mainly paid by entrepreneurs that invested in the Professional Seller Plan. Here’s a breakdown of the fees:

Costs and Fees

Individual Seller

Professional Seller

Referral Fee

6% – 45% on items sold

6% – 45% on items sold

Per Item Fee



Fulfillment Fee

Depends on Dimension & Weight

Depends on Dimension & Weight

Monthly Subscription



Dropshipping Costs and Considerations

Dropshipping is a trendy approach present in the e-commerce business because of the low investment needed if you are a starter. A business owner can start with only $100 as capital until the small business blooms into a full range of products. Here’s a quick presentation of how much dropshipping will cost you and the considerations you need to be aware of:



Online E-Commerce Platform

$39 / month

Website and Domain

Less than $100

Marketing and Advertisements

$30 – $500

Make sure to consider these things when planning to invest in Dropshipping:

  • Find the appropriate domain that fits your product.
  • Drive more organic traffic on your website.
  • Marketing and advertisements must be prioritized.
  • Design a professional and eye-catchy logo for your online platform.
  • Focus on expanding your experience instead of looking at the profit you’ll gain as a starter.

Chapter 4: Control and Customization

Seller Control in Amazon FBA

Amazon FBA Sellers have complete control in managing their inventory because of the Seller Central offered by Amazon. It is where the sellers monitor the sales, checklists, placed orders, and deliverables.

Seller Control in Dropshipping

In Dropshipping, the entrepreneur controls the website or domain where the products are listed since manufacturers only supply when orders are placed. But when it comes down to the quality control of the items, there must be direct communication between the suppliers to send samples to guarantee the quality of the products.

Scaling and Growth Potential

Chapter 5: Scaling and Growth Potential

Growth Potential with Amazon FBA

The growing changes in our advanced technology can affect the business performance in the e-commerce platform. Amazon FBA has a high potential and possibility of growth because of the Amazon Growth Opportunities program they provide for their sellers. It works with actionable insights and assessments of a business’s sales potential. Also, this tool can be very beneficial in improving traffic and discoverability of your product listings.

Growth Potential with Dropshipping

According to the Global Dropshipping Market, there is significant growth in the dropshipping industry. With the accessible marketplace, dropshipping is a great business, especially if entrepreneurs are after convenience and low cost. It would be best to know your business’s strengths in terms of branding since it’s the most significant investment in dropshipping to achieve the growth you envision.

Chapter 6: Risk Management and Profit Margins

With all the benefits and advantages of Amazon FBA vs. Dropshipping, they also come with a fair share of risks and challenges. To give you a quick insight into the possible drawbacks between the two, here’s a list of the disadvantages of the two business models:

Risks and Challenges in Amazon FBA

  • High Percentage of Amazon Fees
  • Wide Range of Competitors
  • Strict Inventory Management
  • Pressure on Price Listing
  • Intellectual Property and Counterfeit Concerns

Profit Margins in Amazon FBA

Starting an Amazon FBA business is a good investment, but it would be best to be aware of how the profit margins work and are influenced by different factors. If you are a starter, the profit margin range starts from 15% to 25%, depending on what product you sell and list. And once the percentage drops to 8%, it’s time to make better decisions, as it may be a sign of your Amazon FBA going to the ground.

Risks and Challenges in Dropshipping

  • Errors on Order Fulfillment
  • Legal and Compliance Matters
  • Price Wars and Competitors
  • Product Quality Control
  • Shipping Time & Costings

Profit Margins in Dropshipping

In Dropshiping, an entrepreneur can have a 15% to 20% profit margin from any product or industry. Most dropshipping businesses calculate their profits simply since the profit margin does not depend on the kind of products they sell as Amazon FBA does.

Chapter 7: Conclusion

Summary of Key Differences between Amazon FBA and Dropshipping

Summary of Key Differences between Amazon FBA and Dropshipping

Amazon FBA vs. Dropshipping has been an ongoing discussion whether which of them is the best business model to consider in the e-commerce industry. Both are popular, but the differences in how they operate seem apparent. Here’s a quick comparison of the key differences between Amazon FBA vs. Dropshipping:

  1. Regarding Inventory Management, Amazon FBA controls the inventory in their fulfillment centers for packaging and shipping. Still, in Dropshipping, the orders placed by customers will be purchased by the seller on a third-party supplier who will then ship the products directly to the receiver.
  2. In Product Selection, Amazon FBA offers a flexible and wide range of products, while Dropshipping only relies on the availability of the suppliers.
  3. Dropshipping has lower upfront costs, which benefits small-time entrepreneurs, while in Amazon FBA, there are costs and fees from storage, shipping, referrals, and fulfillment.

Considerations for Choosing the Right E-commerce Model

By understanding Amazon FBA vs. Dropshipping, the choice and decision depend on the preferred business model of an entrepreneur. Investing in long-term business goals will require a lot of factors to consider, and here are a few suggestions when choosing an e-commerce model:

  • Available Resources of the Business Model
  • Massive Customer and Audience
  • Flexibility and Detailed Operation
  • Meets Your Business Goals
  • Suits Your Branding

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

The Amazon FBA vs. Dropshipping topic has been around for years, especially with the growing e-commerce industry, and making a comprehensive comparison between their key differences can break the ice. Every entrepreneur has different preferences on approaches where they see potential profit and growth.

We highly recommend conducting thorough research and understanding how Amazon FBA and Dropshipping work to ensure that the investment’s next steps will meet your business’s goals and objectives. Learning the basics of the two approaches is excellent for starters instead of diving into them immediately. Observe the market and the industry, and ensure that your branding suits the business model and how it operates to avoid wasting your investment.

Mr. Still Zhu
Mr. Still Zhu

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