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AliExpress Dropshipping | A Complete Guide

Dropshipping is a relatively simpler method to start an eCommerce business. With dropshipping, you can sell products from an online store without worrying about inventory and shipping responsibilities. With this approach, a customer orders a product from your website, you forward the order to the supplier, who then ships it directly to the customer.

Due to the simplicity and convenience of the process, dropshipping has gained significant popularity in the ecommerce world. As a result, several platforms are now offering drop shippers opportunities to maximise their profits.

Now, you can participate in AliExpress dropshipping, Shopify dropshipping, Amazon dropshipping and more.

However, the ensuing guide elaborates comprehensively on dropshipping with AliExpress. It discusses the benefits of dropshipping, comparison with other platforms, as well as the ways in which you can set up an AliExpress dropshipping store.

What is AliExpress?

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Before getting into the details of AliExpress dropshipping, it can be helpful to gain an insight into the AliExpress platform.

AliExpress is an online marketplace, which features over a million products. Being part of the Alibaba Group, the Chinese-owned platform has become one of the largest e-commerce websites that operate at a global level. In fact, its websites are running in eleven different languages, which are English, Spanish, Dutch, French, Italian, German, Polish, Turkish, Portuguese, Indonesian and Russian.

Due to its wide customer reach, AliExpress has become one of the most sought-after platforms chosen by drop shippers in the UK. Essentially, the website exposes you to a variety of product categories, which are manufactured by overseas sellers. Due to this, you are able to select products from AliExpress and list them on your own online store.

If you are planning to dropship with AliExpress, explore through the wide range of categories available on the platform. If you find a product that is appealing, its product content and photographs can be added directly to your eCommerce store. With certain online tools, such as Oberlo, the products can be imported to your store directly from AliExpress.

Once the products are listed and the customer places an order, you can forward their details to the supplier, who can ship it directly from their warehouses to the customer.  If you are pursuing the venture of dropshipping for the first time, AliExpress is an ideal option, as it is relatively easier and has a reduced degree of risk.

To set up AliExpress dropshipping, you can take the ensuing steps:

Step #1: Import the products you wish to sell from AliExpress to your store

Step #2:  List the retail price of the product. Make sure that the price set is higher than the price of the product on AliExpress. This is because the profit you earn would be the difference between the retail price and the wholesale cost

Step # 3:  Once the order is received, you pay the wholesale price to the supplier and forward them the customer’s details

Step # 4:  The AliExpress seller would ship the order to the customer directly

Benefits of dropshipping with AliExpress

As stated earlier, dropshipping with AliExpress is extremely advantageous, especially for individuals who are just starting out in the industry. This is because the platform offers convenience, low risks, higher chances of profits and a range of products to choose from. If you are thinking about choosing AliExpress as your primary dropshipping platform, take a look at the ensuing benefits it offers.

Economical Pricing

In dropshipping, the profit earned is the difference between the retail price and the wholesale price. Considering this, AliExpress is an ideal platform to maximise your earnings. With AliExpress, you can collaborate with China-based vendors who have priced their products at a significantly low rate. These vendors can handle the manufacturing, storage, as well as delivery of products. Moreover, you can also cut the cost by making bulk purchases from the manufacturer, while charging your customer the listed retail price, even for bulk orders.

Better ROI (Return on Investment)

It is a well-known fact that the products supplied by AliExpress are significantly more affordable than other such eCommerce platforms. Taking that into account, you are able to increase the amount of revenue generated by listing the products at a markup, while still keeping the product pricing affordable for your target demographic of customers. In doing so, the store would still be able to feature products that are priced at a lower rate than its competitors, while you can earn a larger profit.

Wide Range of Products to Choose From

One of the concerns for dropshippers is choosing a niche for their store that allows them to feature a variety of products. However, AliExpress presents a diverse range of items that can be added to your eCommerce store. There are thousands of vendors available on the platform, who offer a range of different products. Considering this, you can thoroughly explore the variety and add the best items to your store. Moreover, most vendors on AliExpress extend delivery services to a range of countries all around the globe. As a result, you can expand your target market even more.

AliExpress vs. Amazon FBA Dropshipping

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While dropshipping is available on numerous platforms, Amazon’s FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) program and AliExpress dropshipping have been the most attractive options. If you are experiencing difficulty choosing from the two, take a look at the following comparison.

Essentially, Amazon’s FBA program is a service provided to Amazon sellers. In this, the products are stored at the Amazon fulfilment centre, which is in the closest proximity to the target customer demographic. When the order is placed and payment is made, the team at Amazon packs and ships the order. One benefit of FBA is that it also manages customer service, which makes it a convenient option for most dropshippers.

In addition to taking care of customer service, there are several other reasons why Amazon’s FBA appears to be an attractive option for dropshippers. Essentially, the range of products offered by the program is wide, which are stored in large quantities.

Moreover, Amazon FBA reduces the possibilities of human errors, as well as the chances of delay in shipment. This is because the eCommerce giant has invested a lot of money in warehouse automation technology. Therefore, the chances of errors are minimised. In addition, Amazon has acquired a large team to provide quality customer service.

That said, Amazon’s FBA program does have a small fee for its sellers. Considering this, if you are starting out in the dropshipping industry, choosing this option may not be viable, as the additional cost could impact your overall profit. The pricing system for Amazon’s FBA is dependent on the size of the items. Hence, if you wish to sell an oversize item or a product that requires special care, the fulfilment fee for the storage, removal or disposal of the unit would be more.

In contrast, AliExpress does not have a storage or disposal fee. Instead, the investment required to set up a store on this platform would be relatively low. You would not have to pay an additional charge for inventory.

Moreover, as most of the products featured on the platforms are manufactured in China, the prices are relatively low. This allows you to set affordable pricing at your store to attract a larger customer base.

Another advantage of using AliExpress is that you do not have to deal with a financial loss in the unfortunate case that the product demand has decreased. Instead, if an item in your store fails to sell well, it can simply be removed.

However, there are some drawbacks to using AliExpress as well. While Amazon’s FBA extends customer service, if you are using AliExpress for dropshipping, you would have to respond to customer queries yourself. Additionally, you may face instances where the information provided by the seller (about the product) may not be complete. In such situations, the opportunity to make a sale may be lost.

As AliExpress is a more affordable option, you may experience a lot more competition. Keeping that in mind, it is crucial to plan and strategies your sales to ensure a higher customer retention rate.

Taking the aforementioned into account, choosing between the two options depends entirely on your objectives as a seller. While Amazon offers a large network and customer service management, AliExpress presents you the opportunity to carry out dropshipping with a limited budget. Therefore, consider your budget, as well as your goals, prior to making a decision.

How to succeed at dropshipping with AliExpress?

As AliExpress is a popular platform, it tends to attract a lot of scammers as well. Taking that into account, it is imperative to educate yourself on the following.

Which vendors can you trust?

If you are using AliExpress, it is important to note that not every vendor can be trusted. Therefore, it is essential to carry out comprehensive research on the vendor you are choosing to work with. Picking the wrong supplier can put your store’s reputation at risk, which can result in the loss of customers.

Taking that into account, you can check the vendor’s credibility by requesting the following:

  • Supplier financial claim: Make a request to the supplier for bank records that serve as evidence for financial stability. In case the vendor is uncomfortable sharing personal information, you can reach out to their previous customers (by checking customer reviews) to learn more about the products/service provided
  • Sample of products: If you are adding a product to represent your brand, it is extremely important to check its quality beforehand. Prior to adding the product to your store, place a request for a sample to review it thoroughly. This way, if you do end up adding the item to your store, customer queries can be effectively and confidently answered
  • Production capacity: Oftentimes, vendors can deceive you by claiming a production capacity that they are unable to offer. In such cases, it is expedient to reach out to their regular customers to learn more about the authenticity of their operations

In addition to this, you can also read AliExpress dropshipping reviews to highlight the problems that most dropshippers face. Moreover, consider the following before choosing a supplier:

  • Make sure the vendor extends different logistic channels to cater to international orders as swiftly as possible. The time frame of three to five working days is ideal
  • Certify that the prices offered are the most affordable for the same category of products. Check out different suppliers to ensure the best price
  • A supplier that provides a logistic tracking number within 24 hours can be considered more reliable

How to manage refunds and returns with AliExpress Dropshipping?

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Even with rigorous research on your suppliers, it is still possible to get requests for refunds and returns. However, these requests can be turned into an opportunity to improve customer relationships.

In order to do this, you can devise a return policy to attract customers into forming a trusting relationship with your store. Essentially, customers are more likely to place an order if you cater to refunds and returns.

However, before establishing the requirements for refunds, take the following areas into consideration:

  • Does your AliExpress supplier allow you to return the products after the sale? If yes, how long after the sale can the products be returned?
  • What are the acceptable conditions for catering to returns?
  • What is the procedure followed in the return/ refund process?
  • Is the shipping fee for the returned package paid by the supplier or the customer?

Once the aforementioned questions are answered, you can jot down a return policy, which can be published on your store’s website.  It is extremely important to write comprehensive return criteria in clear and simple language. Additionally, in order to avoid paying out of your own pocket, be sure to reduce the time frame for the return. For example, if your AliExpress supplier provides 40 days return window, make sure that your store offers a 30 days’ timeframe. This way, you can cater to the customer’s return/refund, even if there is an unexpected delay in shipping.

How to increase traffic without investing money?

Similar to all other eCommerce stores, you can increase traffic by engaging with online communities via different channels. To acquire quality traffic, without heavy investment, start with social media marketing, threads on Reddit and promotional campaigns on different online platforms. The key to attracting more customers is to create engaging content, which is published on a regular basis.

How to set up an AliExpress dropshipping store?

If you have decided to use AliExpress as your primary dropshipping platform, you can move onto the next stages of setting up the store.

The following presents a comprehensive guide for the creation of AliExpress dropshipping custom store in a step-by-step procedure.

Step # 1 Choose the right products to sell

Like all eCommerce stores, dropshipping with AliExpress should start with the selection of products you wish to sell. Hence, deciding on a niche should be the first step. As stated earlier, the platform has thousands of products to choose from, which can help you decide on the category of items that you are comfortable selling.

When you have decided on the niche, you can select a number of products to sell in your store. To explain the procedure proficiently, an example of clothing (as a niche) can be used.

Although the large variety of products featured on AliExpress is mainly a plus point, it can also become a detriment if you have trouble in making decisions. If you struggle with deciding on a product, you can consider the following factors to decide which products you can add to your store:

  • Choose original products: In order to run a successful dropshipping store, be sure to select original items. Avoid popular brands, fake goods and replicas. This is because, as you are not a licensed reseller, choosing replicas of branded products may expose you to lawsuits on the grounds of an absent or illegal partnership. Therefore, choose products that do not feature a logo or items where a logo does not play a significant role, such as generic clothing
  • Select suppliers who offer ePacket delivery and free shipping: It is recommended to choose suppliers who offer ePacket delivery. As a large number of products featured on AliExpress are manufactured in China or Hong Kong, ePacket delivery is a feasible option. This mode of delivery is relatively quick and also affordable. The products can be sent to the UK within 6 to 10 days
  • Prefer products with over 300 orders: It is recommended to choose products that have already acquired an ample number of orders. This can symbolise that the supplier is effective at their job, whereas the product offers good quality. Essentially, a product with over three hundred orders shows that it is in-demand
  • Choose an item with good ratings: Ratings play a major role in the product selection process. It is ideal to feature products with 4.5 stars rating. This stresses the quality of the item. Additionally, you can also assess the rating of the seller by using the Chrome Extension called AliExpress Seller Check
  • Products priced low with a high margin potential: Essentially, the pricing should also be considered. Select an item that is priced low but has a high potential for a profit margin. For instance, if you find a shirt that is listed for £5, it can be listed on your store for £20, leaving you with a strong 75% profit margin!
  • Add items with a multitude of pictures: Product images can help you determine the authenticity of the item. You can carry out a reverse Google image search to check if the featured photos are original or copied

Step # 2: Setting up the store

Once your Shopify store is set up and you have decided on the items you wish to sell, the next step is to add the listings.

While it is possible to just import the product description and images directly from AliExpress, you must elevate your store by adding your own personal touches:

  • Write informative product descriptions: The product descriptions featured on AliExpress are written in poor-quality. Oftentimes, the information included is also limited. Therefore, it is recommended to write keyword-infused and informative descriptions to educate your customers. Feel free to contact the manufacturer to learn more about the product
  • Mention the delivery timings: It is extremely important to let your customers know about the time it would take for the items to reach them. Be sure to mention the expected delivery time for each product, especially if you are working with multiple suppliers
  • Add an order tracking application: As AliExpress suppliers are mostly situated in China, it may take longer to deliver the products to the customers. Therefore, be on top of your customer service by using an order tracking application, so you can inform your customers about the location of their package. You can get any tracking application from the Shopify App Store
  • Provide free shipping: Stores that offer free shipping are more likely to attract large number of customers
  • Add product pricing: It is important to price the products adequately. A 50% profit margin is recommended

How to grow your business with AliExpress?

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AliExpress dropshipping works are similar to any other platform. Once the order is placed, the customer details are forwarded to the AliExpress supplier, to whom the wholesale price is paid. Subsequently, the supplier packages and delivers the product to the customer.

Essentially, AliExpress dropshipping is quite simple. Therefore, in order to beat the competition, it is important to promote your store. To do this, you must enhance your relationship with the suppliers. Communicating via WhatsApp or Skype can facilitate a better conversation, and it can also enable you to get to know the seller.

If you are frequently using the same supplier, you can request them to place your store’s logo on the packaging. This can help you grow your brand.

Moreover, you can further promote the store on Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms to attract more customers.

Conclusion – Is it right for you?

Dropshipping with AliExpress is an affordable and simple option for individuals who are new to the industry. The process enables you to buy affordable products and sell them with a high-profit margin. However, if you are using this platform, be sure to select reliable suppliers, who can provide quality products.


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