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Drop Surfing vs Drop shipping: What’s the Difference?
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Aleksandra -
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Chief of Content Marketing
Aleksandra teaches marketing and management at various levels in High School. She writes about marketing, the economics and logistics of the dropshipping business and ecommerce in general.
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Chief of Content Marketing
10 minutes

You have constantly been reading about the dropshipping world, what it is all about, how dropshipping works, although, have you ever stopped to think more about drop surfing?

Maybe you have read a few articles where you see dropshipping vs drop surfing comparisons or read a few basic things about drop surfing.

In every article we wrote, we have been speaking about what is dropshipping and everything related to it.

Although, today, we are going to change things up and see an in-depth comparison of dropshipping vs drop surfing.

You will find out exactly which business model is the right fit for you.


What Is Drop Surfing?

Drop surfing is the process of looking for the best price for a dropshipping order. Through drop surfing, online sellers seek to maximize their profits when seeking for best prices.

Example of drop surfing: You find a product and seek which supplier or website offers the lowest price possible.

When you multiply the profit margin of the product you are selling, you see that your profits can double or triple when searching for the lowest prices.

Drop Surfing vs Dropshipping – What’s the Difference?

You get the whole idea that dropshipping and drop surfing is not the same.

Let’s take a look at a quick comparison of drop surfing and dropshipping before you decide which business model is the right one for you:


Dropshipping is an e-commerce business model that ships products directly to consumers from suppliers. Since your products get shipped directly, it is a huge long-term cost-benefit because you don’t need to hold any inventory.

Every dropshipping business operates as a third-party seller and doesn’t focus much on lower prices as drop surfing does.

Dropshipping is more about just delivering the product and the quality, while drop surfing focuses more on profit margins from low prices.

Dropshipping can be less time-consuming vs drop surfing, as it doesn’t require researching manually for suppliers as drop surfing does.

Automation software can do the job, but whenever there are price changes, you will have to search for new suppliers at lower prices with drop surfing. This isn’t the case with dropshipping.

Something dropshipping dislikes is lack of quality. If you don’t fulfill orders at high-quality rates (shipping time, product quality, etc.), you may lose lots of money compared to drop surfing.

Drop Surfing

To get the whole idea, drop surfing is dropshipping put together with the cheapest prices of products.

When we take a look at drop surfing, it seems very attractive to many dropshippers who are seeking to increase their profit margins. Although, there is always a downside to everything, and that counts for drop surfing as well.

Drop surfing requires lots of time and energy to keep up with. If you are not willing to sacrifice time, then you might end up losing more profit by hiring someone to do the job for you.

Find the top 20 general & niche UK-based dropshipping suppliers, so you can try Dropsurfing immediately.

How Much Time Does Drop Surfing Cost You?

When starting drop surfing, many resellers will only think about maximizing profits, but they will forget about a few downsides associated with that.

Selling at the lowest prices you can find is a great thing to do, don’t get us wrong. But, let’s not forget that for every product price, you may not always be speaking to the same supplier as you do with dropshipping.

Product suppliers may change prices and this may consume excessive time from you when you are trying to search for the lowest prices.

There are 2 ways to look at this:

  • You waste time searching for the best deal while you could have already sold more products and made more profit.
  • You hire someone else, where you have to pay them to do the job. Might end up just losing you even more money.

Even though automation software can handle this, many suppliers will change their prices and this may result in you having to search for other suppliers.

Sites That Allow Drop Surfing

Here are the major sites that allow drop surfing:

  • AliExpress
  • AliBaba
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Walmart

There really isn’t much limitation to sites that allow drop surfing, since it requires you to manually search for suppliers that offer the lowest prices.

Learn how to start dropshipping with our Ultimate Alibaba Dropshipping guide


Just like with dropshipping, you can also use automation for your online business with drop surfing. Although, automation isn’t the same with dropshipping and drop surfing.

Here is the most popular automation software for drop surfing:

  1. Oberlo
  2. Dropified
  3. uDroppy

The best thing you can do with automation software is to select some suppliers that offer low prices. The automation software will select products automatically based on the cheapest prices.

Even though suppliers may change prices, the software will inform you of any latest changes made.


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What Does Automation Software Help You With in Drop Surfing?

Since drop surfing may be time-consuming, here are a few things automation software can make easier for you:

  • Price changes – automation softwares will always update you once a supplier you choose has any price updates. This may occur often depending on the supplier, especially when you are drop surfing. You can always change the suppliers once you get frequent updates on price changes.
  • Shipping time – Automation software can predict shipping times fairly accurate. However, this counts more for long-term customers vs new customers.
  • Order Fulfillment- especially when you are drop surfing, the automation software can save you lots of time in automatically fulfilling orders.

The Process of Dropsurfing Explained

Before you begin with drop surfing, you will want to tackle its main 3 issues:

  • Finding the right supplier with the lowest prices
  • Having the sufficient funds to start drop surfing
  • Having the right tools

Depending on which country you wish to do drop surfing in, choose a site to drop surf on. Easy sites to drop surf on are:

  1. AliExpress
  2. Walmart
  3. Alibaba
  4. Amazon

The starting fees of drop surfing are low, which is a huge advantage. However, depending on which platform you choose to drop surf on, other costs will depend on which plan you choose.

Overall, it is an easy setup process. Don’t forget to research suppliers and trending products as you would with dropshipping.

Drop Surfing Suppliers

You are a reseller that is looking to sell jeans online. Drop surfing software assists you in navigating through online suppliers to see who offers the lowest prices for jeans. You can search without the software but it will be difficult and cost you lots of time. There are too many suppliers to scroll through.

Finding suppliers will depend on which platform you are using. Cheaper suppliers usually operate on Alibaba or AliExpress.

Drop Surfing Products

Research for trending products for drop surfing is just as profitable as dropshipping. This is where you take advantage of making huge profit margins with low prices.

You can either search for trending products through Google Trends or checking the best sellers on the platform you are using.

If you want to use online tools for product sourcing, Oberlo and Dropified are great options.

The Pros and Cons of Drop Surfing E-commerce

Low cost

High demand in trending products

No warehouse full of stock


High competition

Low quality delivery

Shipping complications

Inventory complications

Drop Surfing Pros

Just like dropshipping, drop surfing has many advantages and disadvantages. Here are its advantages:

  • Low Costs- Low start up costs along with low-risk. Businesses wanting to always try new trending products helps in keeping your risk and costs lower.
  • High demand in trending products- If you constantly look for trending products, you will have consumers begging to buy, and guess what? You managed to get these at the lowest prices, so that means more profit for you.
  • No warehouse full of stock- because you are trying to sell trending products all the time, drop surfing can help you in avoiding left over stock. The only time this will happen is if you fail to stay up to date.
  • Flexibility- you can use drop surfing as a side hustle, to try a new product, or a way of getting into business.

    Bonus Tip: How to Earn Passive Income with Dropshipping.

Drop Surfing Cons

Here are drop surfing biggest downsides:

  • High competition- Especially when you are trying to buy products at the lowest prices and resell them, competition will be high. Sometimes it can turn out to be good, but sometimes you might just struggle to sell.
  • Low-quality delivery- orders are not tested or as quality as they would be with dropshipping. This is difficult because you are seeking low-prices, and with low-prices can come low quality.
  • Shipping complications- there are cases where 1 customer can order different items from different suppliers.
  • Inventory complications- if you aren’t using an automation software, there are cases where orders might be complicated when dealing with manufacturers.

Is Drop Surfing a Better Alternative than Dropshipping?

Okay, so let’s come to the question you have been waiting for. Should you become a drop surfer? And is it a better alternative?

Drop surfing indeed does provide low start costs and very low risk attached to it, with the option to generate high-profit margins or even a side income.

Drop surfing automation software has now made it easier to search for suppliers that offer the lowest prices. It is a great way to save funds and avoid investing in inventory.

Let’s not forget that 90% of drop surfers fail at the beginning. However, don’t be afraid of this high percentage since these are usually resellers who fail to give the attention needed to drop surfing.

They usually have poor customer service, terrible user experiences, and bad shipping quality. Even though drop surfing is easy to set up, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require time and consistency.

It isn’t only drop surfing, dropshipping has its dropshipping pros & cons but nearly 90% of drop shippers also fail in their first months since there are dropshipping risks associated with it.

Most of them quit and don’t want to give effort into trying to make it work. There are many other reasons behind these failures.

So, our final answer is if you should be a drop surfer or not? We say, yes! But only if you are willing to give the time and consistency for product sourcing and finding the best prices from the suppliers you are searching for.

No, would be our answer if you are someone that is not serious about this, gets burned out quickly, doesn’t want to commit, and doesn’t want to find new approaches each time something changes (like price changes from selected suppliers).

This would be the same answer we would give you for dropshipping too.

Thinking about different business models? Here’s the ultimate comparison: Shopify Dropshipping vs Amazon FBA.



These were our in-depth comparisons and reviews about drop surfing. Now, you may have gotten the idea if drop surfing is for you or not. You can now choose if you should be a dropshipper or drop surfer.

Either way, it is important to know how both work so you can start your new online business in 2024.

About the Author

Profile picture of Aleksandra
Aleksandra Miteva
Aleksandra teaches marketing and management at various levels in High School. She writes about marketing, the economics and logistics of the dropshipping business and ecommerce in general.