How to dropship on Amazon

Entrepreneur jotting down notes

Dropshipping might be appealing if you’re looking to jump-start your business. This ecommerce solution can let you focus on marketing and promotion while a third party handles fulfillment. In this article, learn how dropshipping compares to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and find tips for success.

Dropshipping is permitted in the Amazon store if you follow applicable guidelines, including Amazon’s dropshipping policy. There are also alternatives to dropshipping, such as Fulfillment by Amazon, or affiliate marketing through our influencer program.

If you see dropshipping as a stepping stone to building a brand, here are some things to watch out for and ways to protect the customer experience. In this post, we’ll cover:

For more background, learn what is dropshipping.

Amazon’s dropshipping policy

Be sure to follow Amazon’s dropshipping policy to avoid losing your ability to sell in the Amazon store.

Here’s an overview of our dropshipping policy:

  • You must identify yourself as the seller on invoices, packing slips, external packaging, and other items included with the product.
  • Don’t include wholesalers, suppliers, or manufacturers in product packaging materials or Amazon store product descriptions.
  • You’re responsible for accepting and processing returns.
  • Comply with Amazon Terms of Service, according to the seller agreement (login required).

Find more details on the Amazon dropshipping policy here.

Amazon Basics about page as a lo-fi mockup

Tips for success if you use dropshipping to sell with Amazon

Let’s cover some common dropshipping guidelines to avoid mistakes.

1. Make sure you’re the seller of record

To dropship on Amazon without penalty, you must be the seller of record. The seller of record is the person who is registered to sell the product to the end customer.

You’re responsible for setting the price, recording sales and revenue, handling returns, and paying sales taxes. In this scenario, you own the products before the dropshipping supplier ships them to customers.

2. Avoid ecommerce or retail sites

It’s tempting to use an ecommerce or retail store to supply products for your dropshipping business. If you do, however, you won’t be the seller of record.

Retailers are unable to list anyone else as the seller of record. So when these products ship directly from their stores, the packaging, invoices, and other shipping materials will contain the retailer’s information.

This is against Amazon’s dropshipping policy because it causes confusion for customers.

3. Make the customer experience seamless

One mistake Amazon sellers sometimes make when dropshipping is not taking accountability for the customer experience. When you become a dropshipper, you’re not selling as Amazon—you’re selling as your brand.

You’re not anonymous, which means customers will attribute your great (or poor) customer experience to your brand. This can hurt reviews and sales in the long run. To prevent fallout with customers, ensure they know who to contact for support. Include your contact information (e.g., email and phone number) with the product packaging so customers don’t wonder whether they should contact Amazon or the dropshipping supplier.

Also, check to make sure any manufacturers, suppliers, and dropshipping companies you work with don’t mind putting you as the seller of record.

Note that it’s prohibited to create an Amazon product listing for an item already on another retailer’s site (e.g., Sam’s Club, Target), take the order through Amazon, and then enter the order into the third-party retailer’s system so they can then ship it.

What to look for when you select a dropshipping supplier

An illustration depicting 8 things to look for when selecting a dropshipping vendor

Once you’ve found a dropshipping supplier that’s willing to list your brand on packaging, mailing slips, and invoices, here are some other factors to consider.

A good dropshipping supplier...

...doesn’t ask for control of your Amazon account.

Once you know you’ll be the seller of record, it’s time to set up an Amazon account. Remember that you’re responsible for the account, so don’t give access to a third party. If you provide access and they remove you, then you’ll lose control over the account.

If a dropshipping company requests access, then shop for a different vendor.

...has proof of authorization to sell products from specific brands.

Next, make sure the supply chain is in order. Ask the dropshipping supplier where they receive products from and whether they have letters of authorization from the respective brands or manufacturers. Check the authorization to ensure it comes directly from the product source.

Before moving forward with the supplier, confirm authorization is legitimate. Third-party suppliers generally receive authorization to sell products. You can review purchase documentation (such as an invoice and letters of authorization) to confirm this. Letters of authorization commonly state something like, “Supplier ABC is authorized to sell products under XYZ brand name.”

If a supplier is unable to provide invoices or letters of authorization, then don’t take any chances. Ensure they can prove they’re legitimately selling products so you don’t end up suspended from Amazon or in legal hot water.

...has dropshipped with Amazon sellers before.

As a bonus, you can ask the supplier if they’ve worked with Amazon sellers before. If so, ask for shipment histories to prove it. Avoid headaches by working with a dropshipping vendor that has experience with Amazon sellers and is aware of the process and applicable policies.

...offers customer service support

You’re responsible for customer satisfaction, and you’ll likely need cooperation from the dropshipping company, so it’s cohesive.

When dropshipping products, you don’t have complete control over inventory, since it’s coming from elsewhere. However, you’re still responsible for processing customer returns and refunds. Check to see whether the dropshipping supplier can receive and document returns within Amazon’s returns policies.

If the supplier will be handling returns, check to make sure they have the ability to document the return accurately. That includes taking images, identifying any damage, and noting the reason for the return.

Did you know?
Seller University provides free training from Amazon
Seller University courses, videos, and webinars answer your questions about selling in the Amazon store with step-by-step explanations and strategies to grow your business. The catalog is updated regularly by a dedicated team of Amazon learning professionals.

Find Seller University in your Seller Central account by hovering over Learn in the main menu, or check out the Seller University YouTube channel.

What are alternatives to dropshipping?

If you try dropshipping and feel it’s not right for you, or if you’re interested in alternative sales methods, then consider FBA or affiliate marketing.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when you promote another company’s products through your own website or other sales channels. The affiliate marketer earns a commission by referring customers to the products for sale. This method can work well for those who already have websites, blogs, or social media accounts with steady traffic.

Affiliates can promote products using their own websites or by creating landing pages where they display links to products for sale in the Amazon store. Amazon pays commissions based on how much revenue is generated from each referral. Here’s how the Amazon affiliate program works:

  • Create an Amazon affiliate account
  • Receive a unique Associate ID from Amazon
  • Submit an application and, once approved, you can create affiliate links in your Amazon portal
  • Place affiliate links in blog posts, landing pages, and other areas
  • Receive a commission when someone clicks your affiliate link and makes a purchase

What is FBA?

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service where sellers store products in Amazon storage facilities. This means you don’t have to worry about shipping products to customers yourself. Some benefits of FBA include:

  • Sell more than one type of item at a time.
  • You don’t have to deal with returns or refunds, or worry about limited warehouse space.
  • Unlike with dropshipping, you can customize products through a manufacturer to sell under your brand with an Amazon storefront.
Fulfillment by Amazon allows us to provide a seamless experience and focus on what we’re good at—which is creating and curating products—and allowing Amazon to work on everything else.
Chad Rubin
Founder, Crucial Vacuum

FBA vs. dropshipping

Here’s a comparison of FBA and dropshipping with an Amazon store:

  • Dropshipping – No need to pre-purchase products and store inventory. Products ship directly from the supplier or manufacturer to the customer. Amazon provides a storefront for your business, helping to attract shoppers to product listings. You and the dropshipping supplier are responsible for customer service, refunds, and returns.
  • Fulfillment by Amazon – Requires you to purchase product inventory in advance and then ship to Amazon fulfillment centers. Then Amazon fulfills orders by shipping products to customers, and processes returns and refunds on your behalf.
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Watch
Intro to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
Learn how to use Amazon FBA to offer Prime shipping to your customers and have Amazon pick, pack, and ship orders on your behalf. In this video, you’ll learn how FBA works and where to access additional FBA tools and resources.

Key differences between dropshipping and FBA revolve around:

  • Who pays for and stores inventory
  • Who handles shipping
  • Shipping times
Did you know?
FBA can boost sales
Sellers see an average 20-25% increase in sales after adopting FBA. (Source: 2021 SMB Report). New customers have access to Amazon’s world-class customer service network, which comes with phone, chat, and email support in 15 languages.

How to combine dropshipping + Amazon

Ready to begin dropshipping? Here’s how to get started.

1. Set up an Amazon seller account

Before you can start selling, create an Amazon seller account.

how-to-sell-on-Amazon-tumbnail.jpeg
Watch
How to sell on Amazon for beginners
In this introductory video from Seller University, learn about the steps involved to sell your product in the Amazon store, including how to set up an account as a new seller.

2. Do product research

When you’re ready to start selling, it’s time to decide what products to dropship. There are various tools to help with product research. The goal is to find products with high demand, but low competition.

Here’s a guide for choosing products to sell. You can also find ideas using Product Opportunity Explorer on Seller Central. As you’re browsing for product ideas to dropship, keep these tips in mind:

  • Find what’s trending – Use Amazon’s Best Sellers list to see what items are popular now. This showcases the top trending 100 products and updates hourly. You can also look at the Movers and Shakers list, which updates daily.
  • Choose a niche – What do you want your brand to be known for? Select a niche and search for products within that industry (for example, baby products, children’s toys, or women’s exercise equipment).
  • Check the competition – Are there major brands selling similar products? Then it may be tough to compete. The same goes if there are lots of other sellers who offer the same type of item.

Check out this guide to finding wholesalers and suppliers for your business, along with guidelines for sourcing products from Amazon Seller University:

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Watch
Guidelines for sourcing products
Learn guidelines for validating suppliers, building relationships with brands, proof of purchase, drop-shipping, actions and liquidation sources. Note: Drop-shipping retail-to-retail is prohibited; auctions and liquidation are not valid sources of supply.

3. Find a dropshipping supplier

Choose a supplier that understands Amazon’s dropshipping policy to help ensure shipping and returns will run smoothly. Different suppliers have unique requirements, so ask about them to see if they align with your business needs.

For example, some charge a monthly fee or have a minimum monthly order requirement, which can be expensive or problematic if you’re just starting out.

Also, don’t forget to ensure you’re the seller of record.

4. Do keyword research

Keyword research can be a powerful tool for boosting product sales. The goal is to zero in on keywords related to the product. Preferably, the keywords will have low competition, with not too many other brands trying to rank for the same term. Then you can optimize product listings in order to rank in search results.

One way to do keyword research is with Amazon’s search bar. Try typing a keyword and you’ll see an auto-complete menu appear with more keyword ideas.

Amazon Search Result for 'leather loafer'

There are also keyword tools you can use to find keyword ideas based on what’s trending, such as:

Keyword research software can allow you to see the number of searches per month, the level of competition for a given term, and other information that can help you decide which keywords to focus on. Learn more in this guide to Amazon SEO.

5. List products

After selecting products to sell, a dropshipping vendor, and keywords, it’s time to create a product listing. This is what appears in Amazon search when shoppers type in keywords.

To make your listing stand out, you could add multiple photos, different color options, or offer a discount.

When shoppers click on a product listing, they’ll land on the product description, which shares details about the item for sale (for example, price, shipping time, product information, and product images).

6. Track sales in Seller Central or the Amazon Seller app

After listing a product, shift your focus to monitoring sales performance. You can do this using Amazon’s Seller Central and the Amazon Seller mobile app.

Use these tools to manage seller tasks in one place:

  • List new products or updating product details
  • Track daily sales and inventory
  • Handle payments, returns, and refunds
  • Monitor customer metrics to learn more about buyers
  • Respond quickly to customer messages
Amazon Seller Low Inventory Alert

Find the right fulfillment solution for your business

Building an Amazon storefront can help you reach millions of online shoppers. How will you get products to customers? If you choose dropshipping, keep track of the Amazon policies and best practices we’ve covered in this post to help ensure a positive customer experience and achieve success selling online.

Learn more about the steps of fulfilling a customer order in this guide to ecommerce fulfillment, or start from the beginning by learning how to start an ecommerce business.

Want to sell as a dropshipper or brand with an Amazon storefront? Explore Seller University videos for walk-throughs and tips.

Get Started

Pro Tip
Check out these ecommerce start guides
Whether you’re looking to start a new brand, expand an existing brick-and-mortar business, or increase ecommerce sales, here are some resources to help support your path to success.

Find profitable product ideas

Build an online store

Source products

Fulfill orders

Get product reviews


FAQ: Dropshipping on Amazon

Q:
Can you dropship in the Amazon store?
A:
Yes, dropshipping is permitted in the Amazon store if you follow relevant guidelines including our dropshipping policy.

For example, you must be the seller of record and include your information and branding on packaging and shipping materials, instead of Amazon’s or the dropshipping supplier’s.
Q:
Can I use FBA and dropship?
A:
Yes. For instance, some sellers make a selection of faster-selling products available to customers via FBA, while also using dropshipping as a way to get slower-moving items to the doorsteps of customers.
Q:
How much does it cost to dropship in Amazon store?
A:
Dropshipping fees may vary depending on the types of products you want to sell and the supplier, but there are no Amazon costs or fees specifically for dropshipping.

As an Amazon seller, you have a choice between the Individual plan ($0.99 per unit sold) and the Professional plan ($39.99 per month, no matter how many units sell).
Q:
Is it profitable to dropship with an Amazon store?
A:
It’s possible to make money dropshipping with an Amazon store if you can maintain healthy margins. This requires selecting low-priced but high-quality products, so you can sell at a rate that will entice customers to purchase. Follow Amazon’s dropshipping policy to enhance the customer experience and protect your account.
Q:
How do you dropship without money?
A:
Dropshipping can be an attractive fulfillment option for sellers seeking to operate with low overhead because you generally don’t need to purchase inventory upfront, and products ship directly from the supplier to the customer. To begin dropshipping with an Amazon storefront, find a dropshipping supplier that can follow Amazon’s dropshipping policy.
Q:
What are the best items to dropship in Amazon stores?
A:
In general, some products are better suited for dropshipping than others. You typically don’t have the ability to customize dropshipped products, because they ship directly from the supplier. So if you want to add a personal touch to purchases, such as including a thank you note or arranging units within a box, consider alternatives to dropshipping.


Learn more about dropshipping, and start by searching for trends via Amazon’s Best Sellers list, the Movers and Shakers list, and using product research tools like Product Opportunity Explorer. For more details on how this can work, here’s a guide to finding product ideas.

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Daisy Quaker
Daisy Quaker
Daisy Quaker is a Sr. Marketing Manager at Amazon who’s driven by helping entrepreneurs and brands discover opportunities to reach more customers through Amazon stores. She also enjoys the outdoors, art museums, and good food.