A lot of people who are wanting to start their own business consider dropshipping and affiliate marketing as two very different opportunities. One involves a lot of product sourcing research, and one drop ship directory after another, but could deliver better margins and higher profits.

The other is almost as easy as simply registering and then you're ready to sell, but might not make as much money. But the reality is that using both techniques in your ecommerce venture might mean better profits, as well as a wider choice and better service for your customers.

Affiliate marketing is generally regarded as a way to make money, and selling dropship products is seen as a way to build a business but what's wrong with wanting both. Here's how you can use the major retailers and their affiliate programs, to complement your dropship business.

Building a dropshipping business as well as using affiliate programs

Most dropshippers would probably say that the product sourcing research, or knowing which drop ship directory you can trust to provide reliable suppliers who offer good prices, is the hardest part of being successful. This can be one reason why a lot of people prefer the ease of affiliate marketing, but unlike a dropship business, it doesn't give you the same potential to develop a customer base of repeat buyers.

If you've done your product sourcing research right, or chosen from the best drop ship directory, you should have a successful and profitable dropship business, attracting lots of happy, buying customers. When your dropshipping business gets a new customer, you have the potential to continue marketing to that customer, to try and get them to buy more from you and affiliate schemes can be a great way of doing this, without significantly increasing your workload.

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How dropshippers can use affiliate programs to their benefit

Internet Marketers talk about the power being in the list, and what they mean by this is that when you have a customer's contact information, you have an opportunity to market to them over and over again - to keep them spending money. After all, they bought from you once, and as long as you provided a good service, they should buy from you again.

While Affiliate Marketing on its own doesn't offer this potential, if you use affiliate programs for all the customers you generate through your dropshipping enterprise, it could help you build quite an efficient and profitable business.

For example, if a customer buys one of your dropship products, you have their contact information, and a week or two later you could send them a link to a relevant Amazon accessory that has just been reduced in price.

They are going to think you really value them as a customer, and are probably going to go and have a look at the item you've recommended. If they buy it, you get a commission from Amazon all for just looking after your customer, and sending an e-mail.

As long as you use the right approach, you could keep marketing to your dropshipping customers, using Amazon or any other affiliate program, recommending different accessories or complimentary products for the item they bought. You get a commission from every sale, without having to do any real product sourcing research or find new suppliers from a drop ship directory.

More choice for customers, and more profit for you

Another great benefit of this approach is that you don't have to source a huge inventory of accessories or alternative products from dropshipping suppliers, in order to be able to market to your existing customers you simply recommend items from the big merchants.

If that item is out of stock, or isn't quite what the customer was looking for, and they buy something else, you still get the commission on the other item without having sourced it or recommended it!

Starting an affiliate marketing business may seem like the easier option, but it could mean you having to work harder in the long run, to keep generating new customers. If, on the other hand, you invest the time and effort to establish your dropship business, using affiliate programs to continue marketing to your customer base could give you the best of both worlds.

>> Combining the Benefits of Dropshipping & Affiliate Marketing