Drop it Like it’s Hot: The Dark Side and Negative Effects of ‘Dropshipping’

A new trend in online commerce stands to become yet another potential scam for unsuspecting internet citizens.
Dropshipping is taking over TikTok. Now, users feel forced to buy the internets latest fad
Dropshipping is taking over TikTok. Now, users feel forced to buy the internet’s latest fad

If you have been scrolling on Tiktok recently, you have probably noticed people discussing the newest “must have product.” 

The same behavior can be seen on Instagram and Facebook, where it seems like every video is an advertisement. 

It’s tempting to purchase these advertised items, given how they often promise to solve any problem known to mankind, but beware: many of them are sold by “dropshippers,” a new form of online retailer who has little skin in the game regarding product authenticity and the whole process’ environmental impact. 

Drop The Info

If you have never heard of or don’t know what a drop shipper is, it’s someone who sells products for a company through online advertisements, but they don’t actually have the products they’re advertising on hand. 

These products are stored in a warehouse, and are usually shipped straight from said warehouse to the buyer. 

This process sounds seemingly innocent: the dropshipper advertises the product, a netizen buys it, and they arrange for the product to go straight from a warehouse to the buyer.  But the old addage, “buyer beware” really applies to any consumers looking to engage with this practice.

Dropshippers have been around for a while, but they are becoming more popular on social media such as with Tiktok’s new feature, Tiktok Shop

On Tiktok Shop you are able to buy whatever these influencers are advertising with the click of a button; there is always a link to the product at the bottom of the video if you are interested in said product. 

TikTok Shop supposedly started as a way for creators to advertise their small businesses and promote their own products, but it’s mutated into a big cesspool of dropshippers.[A statistic about TikTok Shop / Transition into next section regarding the few positives of the process]

Dropping In-Person Shopping for Dropshipping

Shopping online is much more convenient than going out to the store to buy a product. This is a major appeal of dropshipping, since it is solely internet-based.

Dropshipping can be very convenient for buyers, as you can buy it and have it sent straight to your house. In some cases, dropshipping can even be more eco-friendly than other options since the sellers only purchase the inventory that they need or think will sell.

From a seller standpoint, dropshipping is a great business to invest in if you find the right product. It is a good way of doing business, as you get to make your own schedule, you have lots of flexibility, there is usually a low starting cost, and the seller doesn’t even have to leave their home. 

Although it may be a nice little business for the seller, there are some bigger, more serious downsides that come along with it.

Convenience over Sustainability

This convenience may be nice, but is it worth all of the downsides? Dropshipping is slowly taking over users’ feeds on big social media apps like Tiktok, Instagram, and Facebook. 

South student Jay Faig said, “I see at least two dropshipper ads a day, and I don’t even scroll on TikTok that long.” 

This is overpowering small businesses as there are a lot more dropshippers than small businesses. Dropshippers have also been caught stealing designs and product pictures from small businesses. 

But social media marketing has skyrocketed over the past few years, and these marketing tactics are leading to more sales of these products, which are usually trend-based items

Since retailers are selling so many items so quickly, the items tend to be poorly made or cheap quality. 

South student Zane Phelps said, “People tend to think that because [a product] is cheap it is better, even though that is not the case.” 

These products usually end up getting thrown away or donated once they are no longer on-trend. This also causes unnecessary waste from the packaging they require for shipping.  

“Mass production generally has always had a bad effect on the climate,” saidFaig.

As sellers also get to decide how much they want to charge for a product, dropshippers tend to be known for scams, unreliability, and unexpected product delays. 

They might end up selling you a cheap product for an unnecessary amount of money, depending on how much profit they want to make from it. 

Its Time to Drop Dropshipping

Yes, dropshipping has its pros and cons, but in the long run there are more negatives than positives. 

It is negatively impacting consumers due to the poor quality of the products, which usually end up being a waste of money, and can also be overpriced or outright scams. . 

Although dropshipping can be a good starter business for aspiring entrepreneurs, it is something we may want to drop as buyers, and choose to stick to the verified retailers we all know and love.

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About the Contributor
Zoe Phelps
Zoe Phelps, Staff Writer
Zoe Phelps is so excited to be a part of The Bird Feed this year. She is currently in her junior year at South Forsyth, and it is her first year with the Bird feed. She has been in love with writing since she was a kid, so she is really looking forward to writing and getting involved with The Bird feed this year. She loves writing about most everything! She is involved with South Forsyth’s theater program and has performed in two shows doing aerial silks. She also does aerial silks outside of school and has been training and performing for four years. In her free time she likes to crochet, write, make jewelry, and play games like Minecraft. She loves listening to music in her free time, her favorite bands and music artists include Pierce the veil, TVgirl, Taylor Swift, and Gorillaz. She also loves a good movie or TV show, her favorite movies are Scott Pilgrim Vs the world and The Labyrinth. Her goal for this year at The Bird Feed is to win an award for one of her articles and to grow as a writer!