10 Products to Avoid Dropshipping in 2020

Video transcript: In today’s video, I’m going to present you with 10 products to avoid dropshipping in 2020 or even 2021 for that matter. Honestly, we could have retitled this video, “Ways Not to Get Sued When Dropshipping,” or, “How to Reduce Customer Complaints and Returns Substantially While Dropshipping”. Because […]


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Video transcript: In today’s video, I’m going to present you with 10 products to avoid dropshipping in 2020 or even 2021 for that matter. Honestly, we could have retitled this video, “Ways Not to Get Sued When Dropshipping,” or, “How to Reduce Customer Complaints and Returns Substantially While Dropshipping”. 

Because ultimately, those fears and those challenges, they stem from choosing the wrong product. And I totally get why you would choose some of these products because some of these products you’ve seen all over the internet. You’ve probably seen them perform really well on Facebook ads. 

That’s why today, I’m not only going to list down 10 products to avoid dropshipping, I’m also going to break down why each product isn’t good to sell and give you some hints on how you can find similar products, or angle products in a different way so that you can get sales. 

Dropshipping is not easy, but you can make life a lot easier on yourself if you choose the right products to sell. So, let’s get started.

Products to Avoid Dropshipping #1. Rhinestone Emoji Pendant

Rhinestone emoji pendant is the first item on the list of products to avoid dropshipping

I’m gonna jump right into it. The first product on this list of products to avoid dropshipping looks harmless enough. It’s a rhinestone emoji pendant and it has this “100” emoji on it. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this product on the face of it. But where I have concerns is actually in the reviews.

If you look at the reviews, you can see that this product got over 300 orders and yet the average review is 4.4. That raises a flag for me because I usually look to sell products that have an average review of about 4.8. I wanted to dig into this. So I actually went to the customer reviews on the AliExpress product page. When you’re looking at customer reviews, you can filter these reviews for the reviews that were negative, to see if they provide more detail. I did that, and I didn’t like what I saw. 

Based on these descriptions, it sounds like this product is not good to dropship. Not only might this product be of low quality, but the bigger concern is that a lot of people said they never received this product at all. Now, remember, with AliExpress dropshipping you don’t hold any inventory. So when your customer makes a sale, you order from your supplier, and then you just trust that your supplier ships that product to your customer.

Now, the vast majority of times, this works without any problems and when it doesn’t work, usually people on AliExpress are very quick to point that out so that other customers don’t fall into the same trap.

You don’t wanna be caught in the middle of customers who feel like you’re scamming them. So when you’re doing product research, just look at those star reviews and look at customer reviews to make sure you’re selling a product that is in the clear. 

Products to Avoid Dropshipping #2. Cycling Helmet

Avoid dropshipping bicycle helmets in 2020

The next product that I recommend you do not sell is a cycling helmet. Now, of course, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t wear cycling helmets. It’s smart to wear cycling helmets and I would advise others to wear them too. But I wouldn’t sell, and here’s why: When you’re selling a product that’s meant to really protect someone’s life and especially their head and their spine, if that product doesn’t work, you could get in trouble. That’s why you never want to sell safety equipment where you could be held liable if something doesn’t work. 

Now that said, one of the things I love about this product is that it’s in the cycling niche and we’ve seen dropshippers have a lot of success selling to this passionate crowd of cyclists that usually have a little extra money on their hands because cycling is not cheap. In fact, I interviewed six-figure dropshipper Chris Wayne and one of his winning products was cycling glasses.

So to sum up: cycling, yes, but cycling safety equipment, no. And in fact, general safety equipment, don’t do it. 

Products to Avoid Dropshipping #3. Waterproof Cell Phone Pouch

Waterproof cell phone pouches are also on the list of products to avoid dropshipping this year

Okay, if you saw this next product, I know you would be really tempted to sell it. This is a waterproof pouch for your mobile phone and it has over 2500 orders, which sounds great and it has an average review rating of 4.8, which, just a few products ago, I told you was what you should look for. But this is one of the products to avoid dropshipping!

The problem with this product, and it’s similar to the one with the helmet that we just talked about, is that it promises to protect something really valuable. That means that if this product doesn’t work, you’re gonna be on the line for damaging someone’s cell phone. 

Now, I love the cell phone accessories niche. That is definitely a niche that you should explore but just be careful that you’re not promising a certain cell phone accessory that will protect the cell phone, especially if you’re dunking it in water. It’s one thing to protect from falls, you know, that happens all the time. I feel like this product would make someone reckless want to test it, and if they didn’t like the results, they would come complaining to you. If you want a better cell phone accessory for your store, then check out our list of best products to sell in the winter. Because there is a cell phone accessory that I recommend there, that I think has a ton of potential, especially for the holiday season. 

Products to Avoid Dropshipping #4. Ab Simulator

The inability to post before and after photos on Facebook ads make the ab simulator difficult to sell

Okay, if you’ve been in dropshipping for more than, like, 24 hours, you’ve probably already seen this next product. No, not the fidget spinner. The ab simulator. I still don’t really know what this product is. I think it promises to help you burn ab fat with electronic pulses or something like that. It is a proven product, in the sense that we know this product gets sales. 

However, I still recommend that you stay away from it, especially if you’re a beginner. That’s because if you’re beginning to dropship, what you really wanna do is learn a lot about Facebook ads because once you get Facebook ads right, you can scale them easily and start to make money in your sleep and that’s why we’re in this right? 

The tempting thing to do if you’re advertising this product would be to show a before and after photo. After all, this is claiming to help people lose weight and get six-packs. You wanna show that, right? 

Here’s the problem. Facebook doesn’t let you publish before and after photos in ads. So that’s taking away a big tool that you would have had in your advertising toolbox. I actually go through more of the Facebook criteria in depth in Oberlo 101. And Oberlo 101 is our new dropshipping course and it’s meant to help you build a dropshipping store and get sales step-by-step.

Now, there is a sneaky way around this. You can’t guarantee that someone will lose weight if they use this product, but you can promote weight loss products. You might wanna do some research on Facebook ad guidelines before you get into that niche because, while there’s a lot of profit to be made there, there are a lot more tricky products there, and again, you don’t want to get in trouble if someone consumes something or attaches something to their body and something goes wrong.

Products to Avoid Dropshipping #5. Drones

Drones feature on the list of products to avoid dropshipping in 2020

Moving on to the next of 10 products to avoid selling in 2019 or 2020, or probably beyond. It’s drones. Now, this product is trending for sure. And I’m sure a lot of people will get drones over the holidays so that they can take those glamorous aerial shots of their vacation. 

The problem with selling a product like this is that it’s complicated, and a lot of things go wrong. Products like this, while you can price them high and make a lot of margins, will take a lot of energy in customer relations. You’re going to need to be in your inbox every day, answering customer questions, responding to customer problems and dealing with returns.

Now, we talk a lot about dropshipping returns in Oberlo 101, so I’m not gonna go over that here, but honestly, the most cost-efficient way to take care of people who don’t like their product is to just give them a refund. And that’s no big deal when you’re selling products that are between $10 and $25. But it is a big deal when you’re selling these high-ticket products. 

That’s why I suggest that you stay away from complicated electronic equipment like drones. But because everyone’s going to get drones over the holidays, start a store selling drone accessories. Especially if you know a lot about drones as it is, you can really do a great job of describing why different accessories are great additions to drones.

I don’t know if I’m saying that right, I don’t know anything about drones, but if you go to AliExpress and search drone accessories, you’ll see a lot of products and you’ll be able to tell which ones are selling the best. 

Products to Avoid Dropshipping #6. Diet Tea

Avoid selling products that people ingest

The next on this list of products to avoid dropshipping in your Shopify store is diet tea. Now, I know this is another popular product, and especially in the new year, people are going to flock to diet teas. But whether you’re a beginner dropshipper or a pro dropshipper, I would avoid any product that people ingest. 

There are whole regulatory bodies in countries set up to review things like this to make sure that they’re okay for people to digest and you don’t wanna go around that. You could get in big trouble if someone has an allergic reaction and you don’t want that on your conscious. So if you know a lot of people are going to be drinking diet teas in the new year, don’t sell them diet teas, but sell them tea accessories. 

For example, there are a lot of mugs now that change color when you pour hot water into them, and there are other accessories like mug warmers and such. That would be the perfect thing to target to people who like diet tea brands, while safely making sure that every product you sell is totally harmless. So on its face, this next product would be a great dropshipping product.

Products to Avoid Dropshipping #7. Marvel Hoodie

Do not sell products that could bring you copyright trouble

It’s a Marvel hoodie, and you know that everything Marvel is just flying off the shelves. If you’ve been following our content, though, I bet you already know why you can’t sell this. This product is for sure copyrighted. You cannot legally sell it. At best, Shopify would find out you’re selling it and shut down your store. At worst, you could be facing big fines for selling products like this.

So, while it’s easy to target Marvel fans and you know that they would buy something like this, you just have to resist selling it. Now, that said, if you’re on AliExpress, you may notice some home brands, in other words, things that look like a brand, but they aren’t brands you recognize. Usually, those are brands that are owned by the supplier themselves, which means it’s totally fine if you dropship those products. I usually don’t because those brand names can be kind of goofy. But hey, if you find a really cool hoodie with some weird name on it that you think will sell, then go for it, test it out. 

Products to Avoid Dropshipping #8. Boring Watches

Boring watches should definitely be on the list of products to avoid dropshipping

Hey Roberta, do you know what time it is? Time to sell something more exciting than this watch! This watch is so boring. I’m sure you’re tired of people telling you that you can sell just any old watch or pair of sunglasses online. It’s not true. Can you sell watches and sunglasses online? Yes, can you sell any watch or sunglasses online? No, there has to be something special about the product and there’s nothing special about this watch. 

You can still add it to your store, because with dropshipping you never pay for inventory and so it costs you literally nothing to drag and drop this watch into your Shopify store. And if you have a Shopify store selling men’s wear or accessories then, heck, this watch would blend right in. If someone is browsing and they buy something else and then they add this watch to their cart, you’ve made a sale. That’s great, but will you get rich selling this watch through Facebook ads? No, you will not, I can promise you that. 

So if you’re starting out, and you’re just deciding on a dropshipping niche and you’re looking for winning products, then avoid really run-of-the-mill products that people can find anywhere. Actually, you know what I really like? If you want to sell watches, Mordechai recommended a great watch with a really unique hot feature to it. So, check this video if you’re wondering what that is.

Products to Avoid Dropshipping #9. Tight-Fitting Christmas Shirt

Tight-fitting Christmas shirts should not be dropshipped

Another one of the products to avoid dropshipping is this tight-fitting Christmas shirt. Now, part of me wants to say, you shouldn’t sell it because I don’t think anyone should be wearing a tight-fitting Christmas shirt, period. But if that’s someone’s style, that’s on them. 

What you don’t want to be caught in between is someone ordering a tight-fitting shirt and finding out it doesn’t fit. Because that happens a lot with slim-fit clothing. If you don’t really nail your measurements and have that little table in your product page, people are going to buy the wrong size or they’re gonna bombard you with emails about what size they should buy. I’ve had this experience myself, trying to sell clothing, and a lot of times I would get emails from people asking me what size they should buy. I would respond and I would think this is great, I’m very close to getting a sale.

But no. Never did these emails result in a sale. That’s because I put an obstacle between someone and the object they wanted and that obstacle was a big old question mark regarding what size they should get. Don’t make my mistake, don’t sell tight-fitting clothes. However, selling seasonal clothing is not a bad idea, especially if you’re thinking of setting it up for some hot sales before the holidays. The seasonal clothing that you want to sell is ugly Christmas sweaters. I know, you’ve seen these before. That’s true, but the brilliance of ugly Christmas sweaters is that, first, they’re not size sensitive, oversize works just fine, and second, it’s really hard to find the right ugly Christmas sweater on Amazon.

Think about it, if you see a Christmas sweater so indescribably ugly, that you don’t even know what words you would use to search it, you can’t find it on Amazon. That’s the kind of product that people will just go to your store and buy from your store within seconds of seeing it and that’s exactly the kind of products that we dropshippers look for. 

Products to Avoid Dropshipping #10. LED Badminton Corks

LED badminton corks should not be sold in the US due to a lack of popularity

For the last item on this list of 10 products to avoid dropshipping, I’m actually gonna flip it on you, because I do recommend selling this product, but not to the audience you’re thinking of selling it to. These are LED badminton balls. And a lot of people, when they start dropshipping, immediately start thinking of US audiences. 

Now US audiences are great. The US is full of ecommerce shoppers and they are primed to buy. However, every country has its own interests and that holds true for America. Badminton is just not a very big sport in the US. But you know where it is a big sport? 

Neither did I. That’s why I Googled, “where is badminton popular.” And I got a list of countries that included Sweden and the United Kingdom. Now those countries are awesome because they have ePacket shipping, which means I can dropship from China to those countries cost-effectively and they also have a large number of ecommerce shoppers that speak English. That’s right, most Swedes speak English. So if you’re gonna sell this product from China and it doesn’t matter where in the world it’s going to, go ahead and sell to people who already love badminton in Sweden and the UK. This is one of those products that you shouldn’t sell just anywhere, but if you find the right target audience, you can get sales with it. 

Okay, that is it for my list of products to avoid dropshipping in 2019 and 2020. But here’s a thing; we have tons of content to help you decide what to dropship, so don’t get too bummed out by this list. Until next time, learn often, market better and avoid  product-related dropshipping mistakes.

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