"Drop shipping is a form of retail business wherein the seller accepts customer orders but does not keep goods sold in stock. Instead, in a form of supply chain management, it transfers the orders and their shipment details to either the manufacturer, a wholesaler, another retailer, or a fulfillment house, which then ships the goods directly to the customer. As such, the retailer is responsible for marketing and selling a product, but has little or no control over product quality, storage, inventory management, or shipping. This eliminates the costs of maintaining a warehouse – or even a brick and mortar storefront, purchasing and storing inventory, and employing necessary staff for such functions. As in any other form of retail, the seller makes their profit on the difference between an item's wholesale and retail price, less any pertinent selling, merchant, or shipping fees accruing to them."
The problem is that most of the dropshipping shops (especially in fashion) sell very cheap stuff from china with a huge markup. For the end-consumer it seems like they are getting quality stuff because the price is so high. Additionally the shops use positive slogans or market their products in a intensive way, while hiding that it's actually just dropshipping from China. The chances are high that the store owner themselves never had any of their products in hands, so they can't really tell how the quality really is. Often times it's hard or impossible to send the pieces back, because the shipping back to China is so expensive, so in the worst-case you need to keep the stuff even if you don't like it. It's not rare that the shops lie and tell you they produce the clothes themselves and give you wrong product information about the material (e.g. cotton percentage, which other cloth is used, ...). So you should be wary of the information that shady stores gives you and stuff like "100% cotton" doesn't tell you that it's a reputable store.
<aside> ♻️ We won't cover any ethical or enviromental aspects that arise from buying cheap stuff from china here. There are enough other resources out there about that topic.
The is no absolute formular to detect a dropshipper but there are certain indications that can help you.
If a store has a huge selection of products, but most of them lack a photo of a model wearing them OR there are mostly Asian models there is a great chance that it's a dropshipping shop that just lists all the products that it's Chinese sources has available. Product pictures are just copied over from there.
If a shop has their products always on sale you should be wary. That's a typical trick to make the customer believe that he gets a great deal and is very common in the dropshipping area.
If the shop specifies shipping time to be 10 - 30 days for most countries in the world that's most likely a result of them shipping from china with the least expensive shipping method and can be a clue about the shop being a dropshipper. If you don't find any information about the country from where the products will be shipped, or the shipping time doesn't match the location of the companies headquarter, you should be wary!