Merch by Amazon-What Is the Difference Between Drop Shipping and Third-Party Fulfillment?

Merch by Amazon-What Is the Difference Between Drop Shipping and Third-Party Fulfillment?

The term dropshipping might make you wonder it is a technical term for third-party logistics. Although both third-party fulfillment and drop shipping indeed require outsourced order fulfillment processes, they are two different eCommerce business models.


It does allow eCommerce businesses to ship products to customers. However, the services offered by drop shippers as well as the fulfillment services are different.

what is merch by amazon, and how does it work?

Merch by Amazon (MBA) is an online platform enabling individuals and businesses to design, merchandise, and sell branded clothing products without any inventory or upfront costs. It is a great way for content creators to expand their audience and monetize their creativity.

The process begins with the user uploading a high-resolution artwork or design onto the merch by amazon platform, which gets printed on demand onto apparel such as t-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, etc. Then users create a unique product listing to offer customers the preferred size while setting prices for each product variation. Items are typically fulfilled within 5-7 business days after an order has been placed; however, delivery time may vary due to increased customer demand or high volumes of orders being fulfilled simultaneously.

Once orders start rolling in, Amazon manages all printing & shipping and handles customer service inquiries so you can focus on marketing your designs instead of worrying about any logistic issues that might arise along the way. With Merch by Amazon, you can access a massive global market with millions of potential buyers worldwide since it is integrated into one of e-commerce's leading giants: Amazon! Furthermore, there are no monthly fees - earnings are generated from every individual sale made through your store profile on MBA, so potential payouts can be substantial if done successfully! To sum it up, MBA allows content creators an easy way to make money off their art while still having control over pricing & availability without worrying about stocking inventory or other logistics-related tasks associated with e-commerce stores such as Shopify.


Third-party fulfillment

It is an outsourced fulfillment solution. Here, you have to engage a service company for storing merchandise, preparing orders, and handling logistics work. Third-party fulfillment companies do everything on your behalf.


The easiest way to understand the concept of third-party fulfillment is that the seller buys the inventory in bulk. Afterward, they partner with the fulfillment warehouse to handle every aspect of fulfilling the order.


Third-party fulfillment is no doubt a good option, especially for the sellers who do not own a warehouse. However, they are interested in keeping their inventory. For example, you buy products from any distributor in bulk and list them in the online store.


Before listing the products, you must send the products to a third-party company. Once any buyer places an order, you have to contact the company for processing, packing, and arrange for the delivery.


Related article: 6 Key Factors for Choosing the Best Amazon FBA Prep Services


Advantages and Disadvantages of Third-Party fulfillment

Advantages of Third-Party fulfillment

Increased efficiency – Third-party fulfillment services often employ advanced technology and streamlined processes to get orders out faster, meaning customers receive their purchases more quickly. This increased efficiency can boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Cost savings– By outsourcing order fulfillment, businesses can save money on staffing, storage space, and necessary equipment such as packing materials and shipping supplies.

Focus – When businesses don't have to worry about managing their own order fulfillment services, they can focus more on what matters most – growing their business through marketing and innovative product/service offerings.

Disadvantages of Third-Party fulfillment

 Loss of control: When businesses outsource order fulfillment, they put their trust in the third-party vendor to accurately fill orders and get them out on time. This can lead to a loss of quality control.

 Limited customization: Third-party fulfillment services offer basic shipping options such as USPS, FedEx, or UPS but may not be able to provide customized shipping solutions like same-day delivery or white glove service that some customers may want.

Dependency on the vendor: Businesses become dependent on their third-party vendors for order fulfillment, which can lead to delays if there is a problem with the vendor's service or supply chain issues outside of their control. Additionally, businesses must ensure that third-party vendors comply with applicable laws, regulations, or industry standards.

Loss of personal connection: When businesses outsource order fulfillment, they lose a direct link to their customers, making it challenging to build meaningful customer relationships or provide personalized customer service. This can be especially problematic for companies that rely on positive customer experiences for success.


Related: Find the Best 3PL for Small Businesses


When it comes to the drop shipping arrangement, online sellers provide products for selling. These products include the items not purchased or listed on the inventory. Then, the seller comes to terms with the manufacturer to drop ship the orders to the seller's customer.


In this case, the seller does not have to spend money on having inventory for the eCommerce business. The manufacturer charges the seller a high wholesale price for every item to file individual orders instead of shipping them to the seller in bulk.


Seller handles the marketing as well as customer service, and the manufacturer offers shipping services. Suppose you placed products from a few drop shipping companies in your online shop. A customer then places an order, and you forward it to the manufacturer for dropshipping.


The manufacturer then processes the order and ships it directly to the customer. Therefore, dropshipping is indeed useful since the seller does not have purchase inventory. Besides, dropshipping is a good idea if you do not have the capital for buying storage or logistics.


Related article: Everything You Need to Know About Drop Shipping on eBay

Advantages and Disadvantages of Drop Shipping

Advantages of Drop Shipping

Low Startup Costs – Since there is no need to buy or store stock, the costs associated with starting a drop shipping business are much lower than those of opening a traditional brick-and-mortar shop. This makes it an excellent option for entrepreneurs looking to break into the eCommerce industry on a budget.


No Inventory Management – Another massive advantage of drop shipping is that you don't have to manage inventory. The dropshipping supplier handles all orders, returns, and refunds so that you can focus on other aspects of your business, such as customer service and marketing.


Flexibility – Drop shipping allows you to easily add new products to your store without worrying about stocking and storing inventory. This gives you the flexibility to offer various products with minimal overhead.

Disadvantages of Drop Shipping

Low Margins – Because drop shipping suppliers set their own prices, you may find that the margins on your products are much lower than what you would get from buying in bulk or even from other retailers. This means that sometimes it's better to avoid drop shipping if you want higher profits for your business.


Delayed Shipping – Another downside is that customers may experience delays in receiving their orders because most dropshipping suppliers are overseas and need time to process and ship orders. This can create customer service issues if demands are not accepted on time.


Product Quality – Lastly, because you don't have direct control over the product quality that your dropshipping suppliers provide, you risk getting low-quality products that may result in customer dissatisfaction. This is why it's essential to research and find reliable dropshipping suppliers who produce high-quality products.


Difference Between Dropshipping and Third-Party fulfillment

Recapping the difference, there are a few significant dropshipping and third-party fulfillment areas that you should know.



It is impossible to find a difference between dropshipping and third-party fulfillment. However, there is one case, perhaps, which is the return address on the received package. Sellers consider drop shipping as the tradeoff between profit margin as well as capital outlay on every sale.


Moreover, you would not need upfront cash while entering a drop shipping arrangement. Alternatively, while working with a third-party fulfillment provider, you have to invest in inventory before reselling the products to the customer.



Third-party fulfillment warehouses help in storing the inventory, which your eCommerce business owns. However, if you use a drop shipping arrangement, you won't have to hold a product inventory.


Hence, there are a few significant differences between dropshipping and third-party fulfillment that you must be aware of.


Tips for Choosing the Right fulfillment Method for Your Business

Size and nature of your business

‍Depending on the size of your business and the types of products you sell, you'll want to consider different fulfillment methods. For example, if you're a small business with just one or two employees, it might be best to use a drop-shipping service since this will require minimal resources and workforce. On the other hand, if you have a large inventory and need multiple suppliers in different locations, it might be best to outsource your order fulfillment.


‍The location of your warehouse will play an important role when selecting a fulfillment method. Consider how far away customers are from your warehouses when making your decision. If there is a short distance between them, shipping times may become reasonable for customers and help your brand's reputation. Additionally, different rules and regulations may need to be considered if you're shipping internationally.


‍fulfillment costs are an essential factor in which method to use. Make sure to research the cost of each option before making a decision. Consider the upfront costs and how much it will cost to maintain each fulfillment system over time. Compare the total cost of ownership (TCO) across all options before making a final decision.


‍How quickly do you need orders delivered? Depending on your customer's needs, speed may be essential when choosing a fulfillment method for your business. For instance, if customers require same-day or next-day delivery, you may need to invest in a more expensive option like air freight or express shipping. On the other hand, if your customers are okay with waiting a few days for delivery, less expensive options such as ground shipping may be suitable.


Finally, consider the needs and wants of your customers when choosing a fulfillment method. Customers value convenience and want their orders delivered quickly and accurately. Investigate each option to see how it best meets your customer's needs before making a final decision.


Related: How To Start An Amazon FBA Business Even With Little Money

Strategies for Selling Successfully on Merch by Amazon

1. The Power of Good Design: Invest in high-quality, eye-catching designs to make the most out of your listings on Merch by Amazon. Professional graphic design can help you stand out from the competition and attract more attention to your products.

2. Optimize Your Titles and Keywords: Make sure your titles and keywords accurately describe what your product is about to get found when customers search for items related to yours. Also, remember that Merch by Amazon performs better when titles, descriptions, and keywords are written using natural language instead of keyword stuffing.

3. Leverage Social Media Platforms: Use social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter to share photos or videos of your products with links back to your listing. This can help increase your listings' visibility and drive more traffic to them.

4. Utilize Paid Advertising: Consider utilizing paid advertising on social media platforms and search engine marketing with Merch by Amazon sponsored ads. These strategies can help you reach a larger audience and get your product in front of potential customers that may not have been exposed to it otherwise.

5. Analyze Your Results: Once you have implemented the above strategies, analyze their performance regularly and make adjustments as necessary based on what is producing the best results over time. This will help you to maximize sales and continue improving your strategy as market trends change.

6. Evaluate Pricing Strategies: Research competitive pricing for similar products within the same categories to determine the best pricing strategy for your products. When pricing competitively, consider offering discounts and promotions such as free shipping or buy one get one deal to increase sales.

7. Stay Competitive: Utilize Merch by Amazon's analytics tools to stay on top of competitors and trends within your category. This can give you a better understanding of what is selling well and how to adjust your strategies to stay competitive.

8. Use Customer Feedback: Always welcome customer feedback and use it as an opportunity to improve your product offerings over time. Being receptive and responsive to customer feedback can help you build more trust with potential customers, which could lead to higher conversion rates down the line.


Related: 9 Tips for Success Selling Amazon Merch Designs


Dropping shipping and third-party fulfillment are two popular options when it comes to sourcing products, stocking inventory and sharing products as an entrepreneur. It's up to you to decide which one is right for your business goals. Both methods offer advantages and come with their own unique risks, so you should weigh all of your options carefully before making a decision. Drop shipping cuts down on costs and reduces the amount of work needed on your end, while third-party fulfillment gives you more control over the quality of service provided to your customers. Whichever you choose, be sure that you consider the pros and cons in order to determine which method best fits your needs. The cost savings or increased control may vary from company to company - but ultimately what matters most is finding a solution that works best for you. Need help fulfilling eCommerce orders? Get in touch with Simpl today to learn about our specialized solutions for entrepreneurs just like you!

Recommended: Dropshipping Versus Third-Party fulfillment

Looking for eCommerce fulfillment partner?

Let's Chat

Looking for a FBAΒ Prep Partner?

Let's Chat
Recent Posts
We publish hundreds of articles monthly across a wide range of topics!
No items found.

Continue reading

No other blog posts found.