Selling Online
August 2, 2022

Dropshipping Profit Margin: An Informative Guide

This article will review everything related to dropshipping profit margin. After reading it, you’ll understand the definition & calculation of dropshipping profit margins, as well as 11 tips for boosting your own profit margin. Besides, you’ll know the good profit margins in dropshipping, and how to correctly calculate all related costs to see the bigger picture. 

Hien Tran
Table of Contents:

No matter if you’re just starting your dropshipping business, or you’ve been in the game for a while, one of the most critical metrics you need to consider is the profit margin

Simply put, the profit margin measures your profitability. A low profit margin naturally indicates low profitability. And you should find solutions to solve this problem as soon as possible. 

To help you have an overview of dropshipping profit margin, we’ve created this informative guide. You’ll learn everything about dropshipping profit margin, from definition to tips. 

Without any further ado, let’s explore now!

What is dropshipping profit margin?

As we mentioned above, dropshipping profit margin indicates the profitability of your business. It’s expressed as a percentage; the higher the number, the more profitable the product is. 

Your profit margin ratio is used to compare profit to sales and shows how well the dropshipping business is handling its financial health. In other words, it indicates how many cents of profit your dropshipping business has generated for each dollar of sale.

For instance, if your dropshipping business reports achieving a 30% profit margin during the last quarter, it had a net income of $0.30 for each dollar of sales generated. 

What is the dropshipping profit margin?

Businesses may compute profit margins at their own desired frequency. However, large companies often report it in accordance with their standard reporting timeframes (quarterly or annually). In addition, enterprises running on loaned money may be required to compute and report it to the lender (e.g., a bank) monthly as a part of standard procedures. 

What is a good dropshipping profit margin?

A number of factors (e.g., your specific industry, business size, growth goals, and the current economic situation) will dictate the definition of a good dropshipping profit margin.

However, studies show that dropshipping profit margins generally run around 20-40% on each product. While profit margins sometimes fall below these figures, staying in the 20-40% range ensures that you can maintain a profitable dropshipping store.

What is a good dropshipping profit margin?

Unfortunately, there is a popular misconception existing in the dropshipping world. Many dropshippers believe they must start with low-profit margins - as low as 10% sometimes - and only increase their margins once the store grows. 

In fact, starting small is not a requirement. Many dropshippers begin with 30-60% right off the bat and immediately make high profits. You can further raise your profit margins by trying strategies like high-ticket dropshipping or increasing prices after consistent sales. 

Besides, you don’t need to lower your margins if a product is not selling. If you’re having difficulty selling products, it is probably because they’re not appealing to your target audience. Similarly, your choice of suppliers, selling channels, and website experience can all account for poor sales. 

How can you calculate profit margins for your dropshipping business?

There are two common types of dropshipping profit margins that you can measure:

Gross profit margin

This metric is used to show the percentage of revenue that exceeds the COGS (Cost of Goods Sold). It reflects how successful your dropshipping business is in generating revenue, considering all relevant costs. The higher the number, the more efficient it is in generating profit for every dollar of the cost involved. 

Typically, gross profit margin applies to a specific product rather than an entire business. The formula for gross profit margin is:

The gross profit margin for dropshipping

Net profit margin

Net profit margin is what people often mean when they ask, “What’s your company’s profit margin?”

Unlike gross profit margins, net profit margins refer to an entire company’s profitability, not just a single product. The formula for net profit margin is:

The net profit margin for dropshipping 

There are a few reliable dropshipping profit margin calculators today, so you don’t need to calculate by yourself. All you need to do is fill out the required fields, and you will get results instantly. Some calculators include:

How can you price your dropshipping products?

Pricing is essential for several reasons. First and foremost - profitability.

The price of any item is based on the costs associated with it, including the wholesale price, shipping costs, and taxes. Your profit will be determined by these costs, as well as your income. 

If you set your price too low, you may end up with a small profit margin. However, if you set it too high, you may miss out on sales. 

While your profit margin may be the key driver behind pricing decisions, it is not the only consideration. 

Your price directly affects the ability to compete with other dropshippers. If your products are more expensive than those of your competitors, you are likely to lose potential customers. In contrast, setting your price lower than the industry standard may decrease your brand’s perceived value. Consequently, shoppers may be hesitant about purchasing from your store.

How can you price your dropshipping products?

So, how can you price your dropshipping products to optimize profit margins? Below are 4 significant factors that you should keep in mind.

1. Shipping fees

Shipping fees are another part of your business that does not necessarily have to bring in revenue directly. However, it has to be compelling enough so your customers don’t feel like they are being taken advantage of. 

It’s a standard practice for all products to “absorb” the shipping fees. For example, if your goods cost $20, but you charge $10 for shipping, aim for selling that item for $30 with free shipping.

2. Returns/chargebacks

Product returns are a pain. It’s hard to predict if a customer will return their goods. Also, you can get scammed by customers who create false chargebacks to receive free goods. Some customers even return products in such awful condition that you can no longer list them as new.

All of these things create a massive problem for sellers. If your dropshipping business wants to succeed, you should consider returns and chargebacks as one good way to protect yourself from fraudulent activities.

3. Advertising costs

One of the biggest reasons your dropshipping store fails or succeeds is staying afloat with their ad costs. 

Finding potential customers is almost impossible without substantial marketing expenses, especially when everyone is selling more or less the same product. 

Making more sales heavily relies on how you manage Google and Facebook ads. 

4. Product sourcing

Finding profitable products is vital in running a successful dropshipping business. You need to consistently find trending products and sell fast-moving stock to ensure you will not experience long periods without sales. 


Dropshipping fees and commissions

Dropshipping fees and commissions

Dropshipping has undoubtedly lowered the barrier to entry to starting a business. You can cooperate with suppliers from around the world and sell their items without ever holding inventory. That is an awesome setup.

So awesome that many people can get carried away, dreaming of a six-figure business that does not require any investment.

The thing is, running a successful business has never been free, and that is still the case. Even with dropshipping. 

Below are some of the startup and maintenance costs of dropshipping.

1. Selling on marketplaces or building your own store

Firstly, you need to define where to sell your products. There are two common options to this decision: selling on marketplaces or building your own store.

Selling on marketplaces

Amazon and eBay are common marketplaces to sell your items. However, we need to warn you that dropshipping goods sold on these marketplaces are often flagged, leading to account suspension and money loss.

Of course, just because it’s more problematic doesn’t mean you don’t sell on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other marketplaces. 

Before mentioning how much these platforms charge, you should be aware of this. Arbitrage selling isn’t accepted on most marketplaces. You’ll be banned if you get caught. So, to avoid sanctions, you have to fulfill the following conditions:

  • Be the seller of the listings - for all items
  • Eliminate any information that might lead to the 3rd-party seller before order shipment 
  • Accept & process returns from your address
  • Have your name included in all packing slips, invoices, and everything associated with your products

Amazon is the go-to place for many dropshippers. By using their Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), you’ll find sending goods to their logistics centers very convenient. You’ll have to pay for storage fees (if you use their delivery services) and referral fees, which might reach over 20% for more expensive products while they’re often claimed to vary between 8-15%.

Amazon charges $39.99/month, and you have to pay another $1 each time an item is sold. It’s quite a lot, especially if you are selling higher volume items with low profit margins. 

On the other hand, eBay charges a selling fee of up to 15% of your total amount of each sale, together with a processing order fee ($0.3/order). Of course, you should pay if you need to list more on eBay. You can also pay to get a subscription, but your price only increases with that.

While eBay is cheaper initially, it costs more in the long run than Amazon. 

Building your own store

When it comes to building your own store, Shopify is one of the most well-known names, with more than 1 million sellers worldwide. Customers are well aware of Shopify’s themes, and there are many conveniences for retailers. 

Shopify offers four pricing plans: Basic, Shopify, Advanced, and Shopify Plus. It charges based on your company size. If you are a small seller, you need to pay $29/month, while you may need to pay more for higher plans. 

You need to consider app costs and processing fees - if you have apps, you’ll have to pay extra. But even so, it does not come close to what you might have to spend on big marketplaces. 

2. Domain name 

You will also need a domain name for your online store. You can register one through Shopify, and it’ll cost you from $10 to $20 per year.

3. App for dropshipping products

You will also need an app/extension to import products from different suppliers and automate orders. 

Currently, the most common option would be Spocket, which offers a forever-free plan for entrepreneurs who want to browse Spocket’s catalog of products. However, if you want to scale, you will need to upgrade to the Starter package at the cost of $24.99. We encourage you to test the app first to see if it is a good fit for your business before you commit to paid plans.

Other great options include Dropified and Importify.

4. Marketing costs

Unlike the previous costs listed, putting a specific number on your marketing is trickier. That’s because these costs can vary depending on the scale and methods you choose for marketing your dropshipping business. 

However, below are some common costs that you should consider:

  • Facebook Ads. You can test a product for a few days with Facebook Ads to see if it’s a profitable item to sell, or a waste of time.  For a low-ticket item, consider spending $100 to see if it has potential. If you get sales, you should keep the adsets. If not, you should pass as soon as possible. For a high-ticket item, consider spending no less than $200 to feel the pulse. And just like a low-ticket item, if you get sales, you should keep the adsets and eliminate those that don’t.

  • Google Ads. For Google Adwords, consider spending at least $10/day, or roughly $300/month as a good starting point. If you want to focus on video ads, Youtube Ads is a decent choice. Or, you can try Google Shopping, which is now free to use. However, you may want to put some money in to get the most out of it.

  • Instagram influencers. Working with influencers is a great way to get some traction around your business. We highly recommend you work with micro-influencers first. And you’ll need to pay $500-$1000 depending on your requirements.

In addition, you can use other channels like email marketing or blogging to market your products.

5. Other expenses

You should also pay attention to other business expenses, like obtaining a tax ID or business credit cards. Carefully check your local laws to ensure you have everything needed to start your dropshipping business. 

11 tips to boost your dropshipping profit margin

There are a few ways you can maximize your dropshipping profit margins. Below are some quick tips that double up as best practices. 

1. Focus on a niche

Popular items like fashion wear, smartphones, tablets, and game systems are always in hot demand. That means you will face stiff competition when trying to serve these niches. 

Focus on a niche

So, instead of targeting massive, over-saturated niches, consider a sub-niche with a customer base whose needs are significantly going unmet. Focus on satisfying a small but evident customer base in order to gain the upper hand in your sector. Keep in mind that the less competition you face, the better your dropshipping profit margins will fare.

2. Choose your suppliers carefully

Some suppliers are much better than others, as the saying goes. Especially if your dropshipping business is enjoying a consistent influx of orders, you have to ensure to choose a supplier that can support you as much as you need. 

You need a supplier who can provide your products at B2B prices, one that can ship multiple products in the same parcel, so you can save up money on shipping costs. Suppliers weigh on your business more than you can imagine, and they can be one of the “X” factors that take your business to the next level.

So, when choosing your supplier, keep these things in mind:

  • Research. Depending on whether you are catering to local customers or dropshipping outside the US, you might need to choose between a domestic or overseas supplier. When selecting suppliers, you will need to dive deep into raw material sourcing, delivery times, and service potential. 

  • Contact suppliers. Talk with the supplier that suits your need and start a relationship with them. Maintaining a healthy relationship with them from the start means you'll have trust when you do business together. This will make it much easier to get questions answered quickly, and disputes resolved straight away. After all, you are on the same team. 

  • Check the supplier’s technology. Many quality suppliers invest in technology to help streamline client operations. For example, some features like customizable data feed, searchable order history, and detailed product catalogs make things convenient for online merchants. 

  • Order samples from the supplier. Once you have chosen your top 2-3 suppliers to do business with, order samples from them. Test their quality of service, packaging, and delivery times. By doing so, you can witness first-hand how your customers will experience your store. 

If you’re looking for a reliable partner who will assist you with a potential dropshipping niche (coffee), Dripshipper should be your go-to choice. 

Dripshipper should be your first choice when it comes to coffee dropshipping 

Here’s why:

  • Freshness is the first and foremost thing that they’re proud of. Dripshipper guarantees freshness by roasting their beans right after you’ve placed an order, and using UPS/USPS for super-fast 3-5 day shipping. That makes Dripshipper outstanding from other suppliers. 

  • Dripshipper sources coffee from some of the most well-known suppliers and farms around the world. All their facilities are certified and compliant with necessary regulations, including FDA. 

  • With more than 40 affordable and rich coffee blend options, Dripshipper can help you compliment every customer’s taste. 

  • Drisphipper offers a private label program for you to sell your own branded coffee. You just need to upload your logo or label design, and Drisphipper does all the hard work for you. 

  • You can buy in bulk and save big with Dripshipper. Whether you buy big coffee bags or buy small bags and sell them as retail, you’ll love the savings you get when buying in bulk.

  • You’ll enjoy their affordable and unbeatable prices. Plus, they make their pricing plans clear and public to help you quickly make your decision. 

  • It’s so easy to start dropshipping with Dripshipper. You just need to access their website, create an account, and place your order. Everything happens in a few minutes!

Don’t forget that you can also use their demo store to obtain samples. 


3. Think about upselling

You can offer products that come with premium counterparts or optional add-ons in order to net better profits. Consider upselling before purchase, while a purchase is being made, as well as even after a purchase has been made. 

The key to successfully upselling is to understand your customers’ needs and make shopping with your business a pleasurable experience for them. Try the following tactics when upselling:

  • Comparing products to highlight the value of your premium offerings
  • Rewarding customers who spend more at your store
  • Displaying an attractive (but not overwhelming) range of similar items to your customers

4. Cross-sell your dropshipping products

In addition to upselling, you should subtly suggest complementary products or related alternatives that would meet each customer’s needs based on what they initially chose to buy. 

That’s called cross-selling, and according to McKinsey, this technique can increase sales by 20% and profits by 30%. It also doesn’t require you to look for new customers to enhance your profit margins. 

5. Increase your selling price if possible

The goal here is to exactly charge as much as your customers are willing to pay. Of course, you don’t want to undercharge, as that would result in a loss for your dropshipping business. On the other hand, you don’t want to overcharge, as you would risk losing your customers. 

Increase your selling price if possible

If you are not sure what you’re doing, follow the market trends. Ask yourself:

  • What’s the standard market price for products like yours?
  • What is the standard for other dropshipping products?

Setting your own prices to match the market price may make your products seem more valuable to customers and improve your brand image.

6. Go multi-channel

Multi-channel retailing refers to selling your dropshipping products on more than one channel. That could include your website, social media, marketplaces, and more. Customers rarely practice channel loyalty anymore; that’s why you should consider going multi-channel.

In other words, you might find customers anywhere! With the multi-channel approach, you can reach customers at different stages of their journey. 

A potential customer might see your products on Instagram when they have no intention to purchase. Then, they can come across your product again through affiliate marketing or your blog. Finally, when they are ready to buy, they’ll seek out a marketplace, such as your store or a comparison website.  

7. Reshape your product portfolio

Some items in your product portfolio may need to be updated and replaced with items that offer better quality and value. 

So, remove any items that are difficult and costly to deliver, frequently returned, refunded, or plagued by negative reviews. Replace them with carefully chosen alternatives that will increase profitability and keep customers returning.

8. Don’t forget social marketing

Don’t forget social marketing

Chances are, your dropshipping business already has a digital presence. But you can market your products across multiple social media platforms to stretch your budget further and gain valuable exposure. 

Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are inexpensive to use for marketing purposes, while they provide excellent exposure of your wares to a global audience. 

9. Increase your trustworthiness 

Trust is vital for generating sales and boosting profit margins. Customers nowadays have endless options to choose from, most of which are tracked by store owners and marketers. However, trust is harder to measure and truly understand.

Below are a few key ways your business can build trust with new customers and sell more online:

  • Build a welcoming homepage that creates a good first impression for new customers
  • Make product information easy to find with thorough descriptions and search results
  • Share your brand story to help customers feel like you are an authentic business
  • Provide customers with social proof to show customer satisfaction
  • Make pricing and transaction costs transparent

Building trust between your business and a first-time customer encourages them to buy from you, and in turn, increase your profit margin. 

10. Automate operations 

Using automation software to cover most of the heavy lifting means that you can save money from hiring staff. Automating your business processes could help you save time and money.

11. Avoid back orders

This is really every dropshipper’s nightmare. 

A backorder occurs when your sole supplier runs out of stock for the selected product, and you have nothing to ship to the customer (who is waiting). Plenty of explanations to provide, and it makes you lose credibility. That’s why you need to have more than one supplier whenever possible.


There you go; you have all the knowledge about dropshipping profit margins

Take advantage of all information at your disposal to start building your dropshipping business today, as today’s investments are tomorrow’s returns. Besides, stay ahead of the competition by working with trustable suppliers and applying our above tips. 

There are no ceilings to achieving enormous success if you have all the correct information and reasonable effort. Good luck!

About the author
Hien Tran

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