Dropshipping began with mail-order catalogs in the sixties, then went into hyperdrive post Y2K, when marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and AliExpress went mainstream and words like “e-commerce” became inducted into our vernacular.
Now a $225 billion global market, dropshipping is ubiquitous, and held together by several key players that make it easy for online shops to send products all over the world without holding inventory.
Top Dropshipping Companies
- Worldwide Brands
- Inventory Source
What Is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a type of e-commerce business model that enables merchants to sell products online without having to stock inventory. Essentially, these sellers — either an individual or company — are virtual storefronts that never actually handle the products themselves. Instead, they outsource logistics to third party distributors that handle order procurement, fulfillment and shipment for them.
What Is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an e-commerce business practice that allows retail shops to sell products online without having to stock inventory.
This low-barrier-entry retail fulfillment method cuts costs and increases profit margins by eliminating the need to rent or own an operational facility, let alone manage a warehouse, storage, inventory and a staff. Typically, sellers are only responsible for marketing and selling products while overseeing their online shop — that’s it. Everything else is automated via drop-shipping platforms.
The downside of dropshipping, however, is that sellers may have little to no control over the quality of their products and, since products are delivered directly from suppliers, branding may be difficult.
As dropshipping continues its upward trajectory, new players enter the space. Here are some of the leading dropshipping distributors and companies keeping the e-commerce legacy alive.
Top Dropshipping Companies
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that streamlines the process of building a small business online. Merchants can house their web store on Shopify as they use other means, like social media feeds, blogs and digital marketplaces, to market products, directing traffic back to their homepage. This alternative to self-hosting comes with built-in marketing tools and customizable configurations that make it a one-stop-shop for online merchandising. According to HubSpot-sourced, data analytics site DemandSage, Shopify powers 4.15 million online stores in 175 different countries.
Recommended for: Overall online merchandising; beginner dropshippers and small business owners
Spocket is a dropshipping application that exclusively works with stateside and European suppliers to ensure top-of-the-line products delivered at fast speeds. The Vancouver-based company has a reputation for connecting merchants to reliable, high-quality distributors, which endure a rigorous three-phase screening process. By eliminating suppliers located in China, shipping time and costs are significantly cut, allowing for greater profit margin and two-week delivery window for nearly every item in their database.
Recommended for: United States and Europe dropshipping; beginner dropshippers
Printful is both an on-demand printing and fulfillment service as well as an online application, which easily integrates into any online web store. Its print-on-demand business model means that brands can scale their business without fronting inventory costs. How it works: sellers lay out a design using Printful’s web-based editing software onto one of the 331 warehoused items available. Once completed, the seller then imports that item to their web store. The product isn’t created until a customer places an order.
Recommended for: Apparel, logo and accessory dropshipping; beginner dropshippers
Printify is a print-on-demand platform that creates personalized products, chiefly apparel. With more than 800 items to choose from, sellers turn a blank item into branded merchandise using Printify’s built-in mockup generator. Printify allows store owners to do more than just curate — they can design everything from T-shirts and hoodies (in a variety of sizes) to mugs, bedding and smartphone cases at low to no risk. Since its 2015 debut, Printify has helped over six million merchants launch their business online, according to its website.
Recommended for: Apparel, logo and accessory dropshipping; dropshippers looking for region-specific printing partners
SaleHoo is an online directory that hosts a heavily vetted database of more than 8,000 wholesalers and dropshippers. The extra care of SaleHoo staff personally screening all suppliers before adding them to the catalog is a comforting guarantee that sets this New Zealand-based platform apart. Additionally, users have access to SaleHoo’s Research Lab, a market research tool that helps track trends and sift through data to sniff out profit from emerging niches.
Recommended for: Amazon and eBay dropshipping; AliExpress integration
AliExpress is an international online retail service and e-commerce platform headquartered in China that reaches over 150 million customers. Its marketplace stocks more than 100 million items spanning a wide range of product categories at some of the lowest prices among dropshipping suppliers — given its geographic advantage. While users enjoy free shipping and no membership fees, some reviewers have noted drawbacks.
Recommended for: Trending product dropshipping; beginner and experienced dropshippers
Doba is a dropshipping platform that connects sellers to United States-based suppliers with access to more than 2 million products. Its user-friendly dashboard integrates sales channels across major retailers — including Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Magento and Bigcommerce — while allowing sellers to customize their stores by pulling inventory from multiple distributors. Its 30-day free trial is just the cherry on top.
Recommended for: Niche market dropshipping; Amazon, eBay and Shopify integration
Dropified is a browser plug-in that simplifies the process of adding products from different platforms to a web store. By opening their shop account within the application, merchants can pull inventory from leading sites — such as eBay, Alibaba and AliExpress — without having to jump from site to site. Dropified claims that its dropshipping tool can save store owners up to 20 hours per week. Adding a nice touch, its website provides step-by-step video tutorial training on how to get started.
Recommended for: Dropshipping management and automation; Alibaba, AliExpress and eBay dropshipping
Offering unlimited product imports, Importify helps sellers build their online shops with over 10,000 suppliers, both domestic and abroad, on standby. Users can pull from more than 30 popular marketplaces leading the space, including AliExpress, Alibaba and Etsy, then sync their selection to any one of the e-commerce sites supported by the platform, exclusively Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce and Jumpseller. One of its standout features — a built-in editor for product descriptions — creates a fail-safe template covering all of the essentials to help sellers not miss a detail, from price and shipping weight to size variants, tags and categories.
Recommended for: Dropshipping management and automation; Alibaba, AliExpress and Etsy dropshipping
Inventory Source is an inventory management software company that offers fully automated dropshipping services. From its library of over 230 pre-integrated distributors, the platform automatically uploads product, syncs inventory counts and updates order tracking. Inventory Source has also launched an integration called US Direct, which provides users access to more than 100,000 products from pre-approved dropshipping suppliers partnered with the company.
Recommended for: Dropshipping management and automation; Amazon and Shopify dropshipping
Los Angeles-based Megagoods is a dropshipping distributor tailored to consumer electronics and video games, but also distributes kitchenware, beauty products, scooters and bar stools. Unlike most wholesalers, Megagoods does not have a minimum purchase requirement. All orders — despite their size — are subject to a fixed $1.50 drop-shipping fee.
Recommended for: Consumer electronics dropshipping
Oberlo is a beginner-oriented dropshipping platform that offers a comprehensive free plan. At no cost, users gain access to 500 products to get started, unlimited monthly orders and educational tools that span e-courses, e-books and mindset-related content. For its monthly subscription, users have access to a product-line that spans 30,000 items and services such as shipment tracking and multiple business accounts. The catch is that Oberlo exclusively works with Shopify-based stores and, although sellers can access leading wholesaler AliExpress, its distributor network is limited compared to competitors.
Recommended for: Shopify dropshipping; beginner dropshippers
Wholesale Central is a business-to-business directory connecting sellers to products and wholesale suppliers. No registration is required to search the website; however, users may want to take advantage of its free buyers network to access exclusive offers, industry trends, trade show announcements and monthly updates of new suppliers. According to its website, Wholesale Central screens each company it partners with and investigates complaints from sellers to maintain a fraudulent-free directory.
Recommended for: Free sign-up dropshipping; Amazon dropshipping
With a massive inventory holding more than one million products, Wholesale2B is a web-based dropshipping hub that provides unlimited order processing. It can be used as a directory to a readily available distributor database as well as a web-store management tool. Sellers can choose to either register as a reseller with each respective supplier they intend to partner with or pay a 3-percent fee to Wholesale2B per wholesale order. The platform was launched in 2004, making it one of the more established companies competing in this space.
Recommended for: United States, Canada and United Kingdom dropshipping
Founded in 1999, Florida-based Worldwide Brands provides direct access to wholesalers offering more than 16 million products. Unique to this dropshipping platform is its one-time fee of $299, granting lifetime access to its directory. Unlike younger competitors in this space, Worldwide Brands does not offer integrations and automations, however, so its value comes at a certain cost.
Recommended for: Established, direct-access dropshipping; Amazon and eBay dropshipping
Sunrise Wholesale is a wholesale dropshipping supplier that holds an A+ ranking with the Better Business Bureau. Established in 1999, the company boasts more than 30,000 products across 20 categories. For $49 per month, users can access the latest research trends based on product data, sales reporting tools, inventory updates and customer services, including automated returns and refunds.
Recommended for: Amazon, eBay and Shopify integration
Frequently Asked Questions
What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment practice where merchants list and sell products online without keeping inventory. With dropshipping, the shipping and handling of products is carried out by third-party suppliers.
Is dropshipping legal?
Yes — dropshipping is legal and used worldwide by various business owners.
However, regional laws and regulations must be followed in the case of selling certain products or using certain suppliers.
Is dropshipping profitable?
Dropshipping may be a profitable practice for merchants depending on the products being sold and the demand of the products' market.