What is AliExpress
AliExpress is a gigantic marketplace with a wide selection of products you can sell in your store. Because most of the AliExpress sellers are overseas manufacturers, their prices are very competitive.
While AliExpress may position itself as an online retailer, most sellers on AliExpress understand that a large number of their customers are resellers and are much more interested in dropshipping. Dropshipping with AliExpress is very easy. There’s no upfront cost or fee, so you can test out products without any financial commitment.
Many sellers on AliExpress have great product photos that you can use on your website, as well as detailed product descriptions to help you describe the product in your store.
Lastly, dropshipping using AliExpress is as simple as ordering the product on AliExpress after getting an order, and inputting the customer’s address.
I’m going to go over in more detail how this all comes together, what to look for in a product and seller, and how to position yourself for success, but it’s really not any more complicated than what I described above. Dropshipping using AliExpress is a great way to get started selling online once you have everything setup.
How it Works
With an AliExpress dropshipping business, your competitive advantage won’t be your price or unique proprietary products. Your competitive advantage will be reaching your customers before competitors do. It’s retail arbitrage. Good marketing and reaching customers first can be a competitive advantage. You can also add more value to your customers by building a brand, creating content and providing awesome customer service.
The first part of setting up your store is deciding on your niche. If you don’t know where to start, start with the product categories AliExpress has and begin deciding what interests you the most or what you’d feel the most comfortable selling.
- Low price with a high margin potential: Depending on the product I want to resell, I like to stick with purchasing products within a $1-$20 price range. This makes it less risky when I lose money on a sale, and these products generally can be priced at $20-$50 or more. For example, I can find running shoes on AliExpress for around $20 and sell them for $50. This provides me with a 60% profit margin.
- Lots of great, unbranded, product photos: Do your due diligence to ensure the photos are actually from your manufacturer and not stolen from another retailer online. Doing a quick Google image search will help you see if the product photos are a real brand and retailer or from the manufacturer themselves.
Advantages of Dropshipping from Aliexpress
- Buy products for cheap
Many of the items on Aliexpress are sold and shipped directly from China. Aliexpress sellers also have the option to provide free shipping worldwide – so you do not have to calculate the cost of shipping into the price markup of your listed product, or have it calculated during the checkout process.
This could really a positive effect on your profit margin as your cost per item is significantly more competitive than if you were to source products from other local suppliers with various shipping rates based on region.
Disadvantages of Dropshipping from Aliexpress
- False advertisement
There are many different suppliers that sell a variety of products for competitive prices – although sometimes, these products do not match the customer’s quality and size expectations (i.e., the pictures on their store do not match those of the actual product). There is very limited information on how stores are verified on this platform.
- Check the store’s seller feedback for a positive rating.
- Check the product feedback for the specific product you are looking to purchase, and take a look at the reviews.
- Ensure that the seller offers AliExpress buyers protection in the case of order disputes.
In short, you will have to do your due diligence in researching different stores through the Aliexpress platform to ensure that you are sourcing good quality products. Failure to do this could result in sourcing products that do not fit the expectations or your customer base, and therefore, can negatively impact your eCommerce business.
- Much longer shipping times
While some sellers on Aliexpress may provide free shipping, the turnaround time very much varies anywhere from 1 week to 30 days, or even 60 days, to have the order shipped to your customer. All products on Aliexpress are sourced and shipped from manufacturers in China.
Turnaround time for orders is truly a large factor in serving your customers through the eCommerce space, and what Aliexpress makes up in price, they certainly do not make up for in faster shipping times.
- Returns or exchanges become a hassle for the buyer
Since all products on Aliexpress are sourced and shipped from China, it becomes a real hassle to return your customer’s order to the original seller. The original seller may offer a small refund for the customer to keep the product – as taking the return and shipping the product would be more costly and take too much time.
If you cannot resolve the issue directly with the seller, you could escalate the dispute by filing a claim with Aliexpress. Depending on the product, Aliexpress may be able to offer a refund.
Things to Consider
- Don’t always go for the lowest price
Don’t get overly excited when you find the same product at a fraction of the price. Typically, the price of a product on AliExpress.com is comparative with the product’s quality. If you’re looking for dropshipping suppliers who offer high-quality goods for your store, you may need to spend a little more money when you’re sourcing products.
When you’re sourcing products, you’ll find that there are a lot of AliExpress suppliers offering similar products. It’s a great idea to compare the prices which various different dropshipping suppliers have set. If a number of sellers have similar prices for the same product, but you find that one supplier has a drastically lower price, this could indicate that the product is of a lower quality. Another key point is to check out the AliExpress supplier’s reviews to determine if there has been any negative reviews about their quality – this will help you to find the best dropshipping suppliers for your store.
Although a lower price does not necessarily mean that the dropshipping supplier’s products are of a lower quality and vice versa, we highly recommend that you avoid the following situation:
- Buy from suppliers which have 95%+ positive feedback
Two of the most important factors while evaluating AliExpress dropshipping suppliers are their Feedback Score and Positive Feedback Rate. The Feedback Score indicates the seller’s sales volume, while the Positive Feedback Rate represents the feedback rate which the dropshipping supplier has received. When you’re choosing AliExpress dropshipping suppliers you should always aim for 95% and higher positive feedback rate and at least a 2,000 feedback score. Always try to bear this in mind when you’re searching for dropshipping suppliers.
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