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Reverse Dropshipping Complete Guide & Market Analysis

8 Minutes Read
Complete guide to reverse dropshipping
Ana Gelevska

There’s a misconception that dropshipping is all about selling cheap goods at a profit.

Reverse dropshipping turns the tables, letting you sell premium, high-demand US-made products to wealthy Asian markets. This twist on the classic model has the potential to be incredibly profitable if done right…but only if you understand it.

This article covers everything you need to know about creating a reverse dropshipping website and will hopefully help you decide whether it’s the right dropshipping model for you.

What Is Reverse Dropshipping?

Reverse dropshipping is the process of finding goods from evolved countries like the United States and selling them to Asian countries where these goods are in high demand but low supply.

Consumers from Indonesia and China think that products with “Made in the USA” labels are of higher quality than the common products they deem to be of lower standards.

China is a leading global manufacturer. It takes up over 28% of manufacturing output based on added value. It’s also been one of America’s leading export partners since 1985.

As of 2022, the value of exports to China from the USA exceeded $153 billion. These two countries already have a well-established relationship. Thus, reverse dropshipping can be a highly profitable opportunity.

Learning what is reverse dropshipping is simple. However, many people still don’t understand whether this business model is effective enough to replace traditional dropshipping.

After all, it seems like a risk, doesn’t it? Selling high-ticket products to poorer countries.

Before getting into reverse dropshipping, you must consider many cultural nuances, international shipping practices, and understand your market your niche and the risks and opportunities within them. Once you understand the advantages and disadvantages, and can find the right products, you are on to a winning store.

Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of reverse dropshipping.

Reverse Dropshipping: Advantages and Disadvantages

List of the advantages and disadvantages of reverse dropshipping

This business model like anything has its advantages and disadvantages that you need to understand if you want to have a chance at success. 

Targeting clients from Asian countries who can afford more expensive products seems complex and unfamiliar. You need to weigh the pros and cons of reverse dropshipping before dedicating time, effort, and expense.

Sourcing unique products may be challenging for some dropshipping suppliers. Success in this business means identifying the problems people have faced so you don’t make the same mistakes. However, using the right resources and research may take a long way.

Let’s look at the advantages of reverse dropshipping.

Reverse Dropshipping Advantages

By understanding and taking advantage of the following benefits, your business can offer something special that stands out, meet the particular needs of your customers, and develop a lasting and profitable business model that’s different from the usual online selling and dropshipping approaches.

Better Margins

One main advantage of reverse dropshipping is there are better margins on products than traditional dropshipping.

Chinese consumers prefer to spend more money to get premium products. They are also prepared to pay taxes and shipping fees, so adding a higher margin won’t have a huge impact. 

On the other hand, US and UK consumers are less likely to pay full price for the same product. They don’t deem the exact goods to have high-end quality.

For this reason, you must identify which products are in high demand and start capitalizing on them. High-profit margins in reverse dropshipping give this business model the potential to become better than standard dropshipping.

Huge Market

When it comes to reverse dropshipping, there is a huge market to target across multiple niches. 

China is the second most populated country in the world after India. It reaches around 1.41 billion people, so it’s safe to say this is a huge market worth targeting. Even more so because China leads the e-commerce market revenue by accumulating $1.3 trillion in 2023 and a retail sales share of over 52%.

Data on GDP shows that China is the richest country in East Asia. New generations are more tech-savvy and demand high-value products, so why not use the chance to offer this audience premium goods and make a profit?

Indonesian consumers are also interested in purchasing good-quality products. With a population of over 277 million inhabitants as of 2023 and a 5.31% rise in GDP in 2022, it is the wealthiest country in Southeast Asia.

The technology is ever-evolving, and new products are emerging every day. The affluent population of these Asian countries will always be interested in owning top-quality goods, even if that means paying a hefty sum of money. So, don’t hesitate to use the enormous size of their market to your advantage!

Less Competition

In 2024, reverse dropshipping has far less competition than traditional dropshipping.

Traditional dropshipping is all over the internet, creating saturation in certain markets. This overexposure creates competition and decreases the chance of profit if you are just starting to take an interest in this business model.

However, only some people have discovered reverse dropshipping because they haven’t come across it or didn’t do enough research, or maybe they believe it can’t be more effective than regular dropshipping.

Poor interest on their part can result in higher profits for you. 

Lower Startup Costs

Reverse dropshipping has lower startup costs than traditional dropshipping, letting you experiment with products and target markets with your budget.

The most common reason people give up on dropshipping is the demanding upfront cost. You must pay to operate your Shopify store and spend money on ads and a domain. The cost-per-click is lower in exporting countries like Indonesia and India than in the US or UK. Due to the small-scale SEO competition, the business and advertising campaigns can also do better in these countries.

The largest search engine, Google, is not accessible in China. To target their market, you can use their Baidu service and budget the same amount for ads as you would for your country. 

With less competition, the CPC for ads in China will get you more traffic than you are likely to get from Google Ads in the US for the same products.


Having a successful dropshipping business means you need to expand your reach regarding what types of products you are going to sell. With reverse dropshipping, you don’t have to stick to only one specific niche. 

Focus on supplier sourcing for unique products that make sense for your reverse dropshipping business, experiment with different and innovative marketing techniques, and grab the attention of non-traditional markets.

Reduced Risk

Other types of businesses find the issue of limited inventory very challenging. Luckily, here, you don’t have to worry about handling inventory, facing a lower risk of holding onto unsold items.

Ultimately, reverse dropshipping is a low-risk business opportunity. When you don’t need to pay for inventory, you can offer more products, and even branch out into expectations of new trends.

Reverse Dropshipping Disadvantages

While reverse dropshipping advantages seem tempting already, it also comes with its own set of challenges and disadvantages.

Slip-ups are bound to happen for everyone willing to take a risk in exchange for a higher reward. But that doesn’t mean that if something doesn’t go as planned, the only solution is giving up. Instead, you can identify the problems, discover potential solutions, and make them work for your business. 

If you decide to give up before trying, you may never be able to witness the potential outcome. 

Here are the 6 biggest disadvantages and challenges of reverse dropshipping.

Limited Control

One of the most stressful aspects of dropshipping is giving up control over products and shipping procedures. And this is much the same with reverse dropshipping. You won’t be able to resolve any issues that may arise during the process easily.

What you need to do is put the time into choosing a trusted manufacturer with a strong and proven reputation for shipping products promptly.

Dependence on Reliable Suppliers

When working with a certain manufacturer, you are relying on their responsibility to deliver the goods on time. If they make a mistake during the process, you are the one held accountable and to suffer the consequences. 

What we recommend is to shop around and test some lower ticket items from different suppliers at first, and then invest into the ones you are happy with.

Strict Regulations and Complex Customs

Although the Asian target market may be profitable, it’s also foreign. To avoid problems, you must familiarize yourself with their import regulations, trade rules, and even legal practices. 

These may seem complex to tackle, but doing proper research and even asking for some legal help is well worth it before starting to avoid potential stress down the line.

Slow and Expensive Shipping

Fast and dependable shipping is key to retaining your clientele, ensuring both sides are satisfied and your business gains a good reputation. But, shipping products to Asian countries also means they will travel longer distances, so shipping delays and additional tariffs are inevitable.

Processing certain paperwork is required to prove the legibility of importing your product into their country. This is the most common reason clients complain about late orders. Working with a legal representative or an experienced professional will help you run the process as smoothly as possible.

Returns and Warranty

Returns and product exchanges are a risky aspect of not dropshipping, but ecommerce in general that store owners must deal with daily. 

The disadvantage with reverse dropshipping is, returning a product from an Asian country to its original source is complex, lengthy, and often costly.

A Western World supplier may have a better return policy and offer excellent customer service. This way, both you and your customer will potentially be satisfied, and the process will be carried out quickly and efficiently.

Language Barriers

A significant language difference between Asia and the United States makes it difficult for a dropshipper to understand the rules for operating a business legally.

Many Asians are only interested in purchasing online goods if the product description can be translated into their language. 

For this reason, research their policies online and work with a bilingual translator, or a trusted translation app like Weglot, to make a correct and clear translation when reaching a wider audience.

How to Start Reverse Dropshipping

How to start reverse dropshipping

The next step is learning how to start reverse dropshipping the right way and kick off your entrepreneur era. We provide a step-by-step guide and some extra advice on succeeding.

Find Your Niche and Target Market

Brainstorming ideas is crucial to finding a niche and choosing a location where you want to sell your products. If a specific country sparks your interest for whatever reason, research their business-operating practices and determine whether that is your target market.

Source with Reputable Suppliers

Before getting your hands in reverse dropshipping, understand one crucial aspect – the supplier you choose will work for your business. So, make sure you pick a respectable one.

Initially, it would be ideal for you to choose one worthy supplier to make the returns and exchanges process easier to handle. Ensure their catalog contains products in high demand among customers in your targeted country.

Set Up Your Online Store

Asian consumers rarely use American retail websites to purchase goods. Instead, they use marketplaces like Alibaba. But you can also use Shopify to set up your store and display the products you offer.

Ensure you choose an appropriate domain name, website hosting space, CMS, and interesting plugins to make your store stand out from existing ones. Don’t forget to translate all the content into the local language of the country whose customer base you are targeting.

Legal and Regulatory Compliances 

The passion for operating an online business may not be enough to guarantee success and smooth management flow. You must also deal with legal considerations to ensure your business complies with the particular country’s payment processing rules and regulations.

Information on import regulations and legal compliances you find online may be old and inaccurate. Thus, seek professional consultation from a legal representative to confirm you have entered the foreign market legally.

Check Your Competition 

Analyzing what’s trending in the market you want to target is vital to gaining valuable insight into your competition. Recognizing what other businesses are doing may also help you identify what products sell best based on the customers’ preferences.

You can also discover what strategies other e-commerce enthusiasts are doing to make their stores victorious. Use the Koala Inspector as your business partner in finding top-selling products, prosperous themes, and the performance history of your competitors.

Marketing and Customer Service

Practices like advertisement and promotion are crucial for any business. It is what sells your product and makes your store more recognizable. Invest in paid ads, explore celebrity endorsements, and offer exceptional customer service for every client’s personalized needs.

What Kind of Products Sell Well in Reverse Dropshipping?

Branded products do best in reverse dropshipping because they are regarded as high-end, valuable goods. These include luxury skincare, accessories, innovative devices, designer clothing, and premium home appliances.

Choosing the right products for your reverse dropshipping business can create a far-reaching business and broad public recognition. Research what the emerging markets expect and use this input to your advantage.

Top 10 Reverse Dropshipping Products in 2024

Best reverse dropshipping products

Below, we provide some ideas on reverse dropshipping products that are expected to dominate the market this year:

Smart Home Devices

Technological advancements are constantly evolving, resulting in an increased demand for smart home devices. Modern security systems, remotely operated house locks, and smart lighting bulbs from brands like Phillips are currently very popular.

Fitness Trackers

Nowadays, more emphasis is put on maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Consumers are frequently on the lookout for fitness trackers like Garmin and Fitbit. These have smart features that will help them monitor heart rate, distance, and the number of steps they take during the day.

High-end Fashion

Sunglasses, wristwatches, and branded jewelry are considered sophisticated fashion items. They are also characterized as having unmatched quality and value. Find high-end fashion pieces from recognizable brands you can sell to consumers in developing countries.

Best brands for high-end fashion:

  • Ray-Ban
  • Rolex
  • Tiffany & Co

Organic Beauty Products

Many beauty brands started to sell products with unnecessary chemicals. For this reason, it may be difficult to find additive-free solutions. Finding products with organic ingredients is crucial if your niche focuses on selling skincare, haircare, or body care products.

Designer Shoes 

Customers are constantly drawn to designer shoes’ unique designs and premium quality. Not only are these items sought-after, but they are also highly profitable because you can sell them for a good price.

Best brands for designer shoes:

  • Gucci
  • Prada
  • Louis Vuitton

Gaming Consoles

A potential moneymaking dropshipping business idea is selling gaming consoles. The most popular include gaming equipment like PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch hardware.

For reference, last year, it was reported that there were around 550 million online gamers in China. This country’s video game industry’s revenue increased by 14% from 2022 to 2023.


Advanced appliances with modern designs and intelligent features, like drones, can be used for more than just a hobby. Professional photography studios can benefit from cutting-edge technology drones with camera qualities that can’t be found in their country.

Kitchen Appliances

Certain cookware pieces can also be recognized for their unique features and durability. Western countries are known for having reputable brands of mixers, blenders, and smart ovens. So, why not offer emerging nations the chance to try high-performance household tools?

Best brands for kitchen appliances:

  • Vitamix
  • KitchenAid
  • Bosch

3D Printers

The revenue expectancy of the printing industry in a country like China is expected to reach $2.3 billion this year. Thus, they will likely be interested in 3D printing machine models known for their quality and ease of use.

Best brands for 3D printers:

  • Prusa
  • Anycubic
  • Elegoo

Luxury Bedding Sets

If you want to focus your business on selling high-end bedding sets, think about some famous brands used in luxury hotels. This way, you will know what materials have the highest quality and are recognized for their comfort.

Best brands for luxury bedding sets:

  • Matouk
  • Frette
  • Saatva

How Do I Pick a Good Supplier for Reverse Dropshipping?

Finding suppliers for reverse dropshipping can be trickier than picking a supplier for a regular dropshipping business. The supplier must manufacture goods in well-developed countries and ship them to more undeveloped nations.

Calculate how much money a supplier requests for ordering in bulk. Multiple distributors can sell the same products for different prices. Then, choose one based on your budget allowance.

Suitable suppliers for reverse dropshipping include:

  • Sprocket
  • US Direct
  • Easyship

Can I Work With Different Suppliers in My Dropshipping Business?

Working with one supplier to handle inventory and shipping is the most convenient approach and the easiest to manage. However, in some cases, certain suppliers may offer a limited selection of products you want to sell. This is when you can start thinking of working with different suppliers in your reverse dropshipping business.

The process is simple: you send your orders to each supplier instead of just one. However, many people avoid this practice because a customer may order several products from different suppliers. This way, they may receive only some of the goods they ordered at the same time.

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Ana Gelevska
Ana Gelevska
Ana is a creative and customer-oriented freelance writer with over 5 years of experience working with eCommerce global clients. Ana enjoys breaking down the latest eCommerce trends and diving into the needs of today’s merchants.

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