How to Start Dropshipping with AliExpress?

Sharline Shaw
Sharline Shaw

Last updated on

May 7, 2024

Dropshipping is a really popular business model in 2023. It’s very easy to start because you don’t have to worry about product inventory, order fulfillment, or shipping. You set the price and market the product, and your supplier takes care of the rest. You need a reliable supplier, which can be challenging to find on the internet. If you are thinking about dropshipping, AliExpress is a good option.

AliExpress makes it easy to find the right products to sell in your store. It is the most highly rated and credible platform for e-commerce sellers wanting to dropship across the globe. It has a wide selection of items you can drop from AliExpress with Oberlo or SaleHoo.

There’s no upfront fee with AliExpress, and with Oberlo, you can easily upload AliExpress products to your store in a couple of clicks. You will get beautiful pictures and detailed product descriptions, and you can use these original products in your product listing. You can test a wide variety of products without any financial commitment.

It’s easy, but a few tips and tricks will help. This blog will help you on the road to success and give you the best tips to start your business.

What is AliExpress?

AliExpress is an eCommerce website owned and operated by the Ali Baba Group of China. It’s the second largest eCommerce platform in the world, just behind Amazon.

AliExpress was launched in 2010 as a retail platform of Ali Baba to target the B2C marketplace. In 2012, it had over a million users. Today, AliExpress sells various products in over 200 countries, mainly in the Easter European region.

Part of AliExpress’s success depends on its unique marketing strategies. One such strategy is popularizing M-commerce, using smartphones to purchase products. Moreover, AliExpress has developed a fine discount coupon strategy, which is part of its loyalty program, that has helped popularize it.

Does AliExpress allow dropshipping?

Before telling you whether or not AliExpress allows drop shipping, we will first discuss what dropshipping truly is.

Dropshipping is an order fulfillment business model that outsources the procurement, shipping, and storing of products to a supplier. The seller only runs an online shopfront that accepts orders, informs the supplier of the order, and provides details to the customer about their order.

Dropshipping is popular among eCommerce entrepreneurs who want to avoid huge overheads and want efficiency in fulfilling their customers' demands. Another reason for their popularity is the ease with which dropshipping sites can be bought or sold. There are online marketplaces specifically designed for buying and selling dropshipping online businesses.

Now, coming back to the main question: does AliExpress allows dropshipping? Yes! AliExpress is extremely popular among seasoned drop shippers because AliExpress allows them to avoid huge overheads related to procurement, storage, and shipping, and allows them to solely focus on customer experience and relationship management.

Is AliExpress safe and reliable?

Yes. AliExpress is a completely legitimate business that connects third-party sellers to consumers. However, there have been a few instances where sellers have scammed customers by sending unsatisfactory products. But AliExpress has a Buyer Protection Program that can help resolve any issues related to sales.

How much does it cost to dropship on AliExpress?

While some eCommerce platforms charge a monthly fee for allowing dropshipping, the main edge AliExpress has over them is that it charges zero percent on dropshipping. This allows sellers to have higher profit margins.

AliExpress Dropshipping: Pros and Cons

Where AliExpress has a lot to offer to eCommerce entrepreneurs, there are a few things that might work against them if they don’t no about them.

Here is a list of all the pros and cons of AliExpress dropshipping that can help you decide to be a dropshipper or not.

Pros Cons
Don't need to hold stock High competition
Low startup cost Varying shipping times
Minimal risk Non-branded and knock-off products
Unlimited inventory Complicated refund process
Flexibility Slim profit margins

How to Start Dropshipping with AliExpress?

How to start dropshipping on AliExpress?

1. Choose your niche on AliExpress

First and foremost, you have to consider your niche and products. You need to determine what you will sell in your store. There are millions of products on AliExpress to choose from. Ideally, pick something you know very well, such as products related to your hobbies and interests. Or you can look at what’s trendy. For example, if you take skincare seriously, skin creams, moisturizers, and makeup tools could be options for your business. Picking something you know well will help your business.

Use the internet for inspiration; look at online stores, product listings, promoted products, and bestsellers across different platforms such as Amazon, eBay, etc.

Moreover, visit social shopping sites such as Pinterest to look for customer product ideas. You can create an account and subscribe to the categories and lists of interests and groups to monitor real-market product needs.

Once you determine your products, search for them on AliExpress. Remember to avoid branded products, fake products, and knockoff items. If there’s a logo or tagline on the product, prevent them. To ensure a legal business, try to avoid these potentially harmful products.  Only consider items with over 4.5 stars rating.  Last but not least, seek products with a high-profit margin potential.

Choose your AliExpress dropshipping niche

2. Identify a reliable supplier

Next, you have to determine your dropshipping supplier. It’s a tough task for a beginner. These tips will help you:

2.1. Check the product price

It’s not all about price. On AliExpress you will find several suppliers who offer the same product. You have to seek the best price for the best margin, but you have to keep the product quality in mind. Research and compare suppliers. Note that a lower price on AliExpress means typically reduced quality.

2.2. View the suppliers’ feedback and ratings

Choose suppliers with higher positive feedback. You can evaluate the supplier via their feedback to determine product quality, service quality, and reliability. Viewing the supplier feedback helps you narrow down your options.

2.3. Look for ePacket delivery

The product shipping time for dropshipping is significant. ePacket, the AliExpress Premium Shipping, is the best balance between cheapness and speediness. Look out for suppliers offering ePacket.

2.4. Pay attention to the responsiveness of the supplier

What if there is something urgent? How will the supplier respond to resolve the issue? Test their response. Raise an urgent issue and check how he/she responds. Pay attention to the response time, his/her communication skills, and the ability to understand the problem and figure out the most effective solutions within a limited time. A supplier who responds with a generic and meaningless message will never help you.

2.5. The main questions you have to ask your supplier:

What’s the final price?

How long will it take to receive my order?

What’s the minimum order quantity?

How much will it cost to ship the product?

Do you offer samples?

Do you have any references?

image of a handshake representing synergy between all business stakeholders

3. Set up your dropshipping store

Once you have chosen your products and supplier, it’s time to set up your dropshipping store. You can choose the platform and build your store by creating product listings. The most popular ecommerce platform is Shopify. It offers several templates, tools, and plugins to build and manage your shop. For beginners, it offers a free 14-day trial. It works well with SaleHoo. If you are using BigCommerce, you can use the AliExpress Dropshipping app to set up your store. The app offers a free 3-day trial and $10 monthly.

To set up your store, you have to write product descriptions. Make them unique, use high-quality images, use product retouching services if needed, and be clear about the product shipping policy; including availability, price, and shipping. You can use the tracking plugins to track your orders and keep the customer informed.

Here's a comprehensive guide on how to power your dropshipping store with Shopify and Aliexpress.

4. Use tools to automate your business

There are a number of tools that help you automate dropshipping on AliExpress. Use these tools, and you will save lots of time and energy. You can use the automated order tracking tool to help you track and update the order info for the customer automatically. Integrate the system into your business, and you will also get the order info in the system.

How about using an email autoresponder? You can customize the content based on your business needs and send emails automatically to your subscribers. It will save you time with email marketing and surveys.

You can integrate the inventory management tool to keep up to date with stock levels.

Besides, some tools help you forward the order to the supplier and prioritize the supplier automatically. Technology can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your business. There’s a solution for whatever you need.

5. Be clear about the payment methods of AliExpress

You need to be able to pay your supplier, and AliExpress offers a worldwide service and several eCommerce payment methods for suppliers. The most common way is using a credit card. You can use Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, and American Express. Credit card payment offers protection in case of returns, refunds, or poor-quality products; you can file a dispute with the credit card company, which is a significant advantage.

Otherwise, AliExpress offers a wide range of additional payment methods, including Wire Transfer, TEF, Webmoney, iDeal, West Union, Sofort Banking, DOKI, QIWI, Mercado, SMA payment in Russia, Boleto, Cash Payment, Bancontact, and AliExpress Pocket.

Generally, it will take two to five days for AliExpress to verify your card details when you first sign up, so remember you can’t start placing orders during this period.

6. Determine the shipping method for your orders

As a drop shipper, you must determine the shipping method for sending products to your customers. Generally, the faster, the better. On AliExpress, there are two major methods to manage product delivery.

6.1. The AliExpress Standard Shipping

The shipping time differs depending on where the parcel needs to go. It can range from 12 days to about two months or more. For instance, if you want to ship the order to the United States, it may take 19 to 39 days, which is too long. However, it’s usually free or costs little.

6.2. AliExpress Premium Shipping

AliExpress Premium Shipping is the ePacket delivery option. It’s quicker than the typical shipping method, and it’s the one we recommend. Faster shipping means happier customers and a more successful dropshipping business. The service is cost-effective and reaches more than 30 countries.

Remember to be clear with your customers about shipping, and don’t forget to take into account the time for order processing as well as shipping.

label packaging

7. Know the return and refund policy of AliExpress

There is an AliExpress Buyer Protection designed to ensure your orders and your legal rights. However, the fact is that many suppliers will not offer returns or refunds. In this case, you must create a plan to deal with returned orders and refund requests.

Your customers will likely ask for a refund if they don’t get what they ordered. Contact the supplier to resolve this issue and figure out a way to diffuse the customer’s anger. Give them a refund or replacement.

What if a product is damaged during product transportation? Ask the customer to take photos of the damage. Figure out the possible reason for the issue, speak with the supplier, and show them the pictures. You have to compensate the customer or negotiate a solution for your customer.

8. Promote your dropshipping business

When you’re set up, it’s time to market your business. Your target customers should be aware of the products you offer, so target your promotions toward them. If you are a full-time drop shipper, you get lots of time to promote your business.

Create a multi-channel marketing plan to promote your business across different channels. Utilize social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. Create content that brings value; you may check the writing website's ratings to pick the one that best suits your needs. Build your social media footprint to reach out to customers to increase sales. Advertising is another way to help you gain a wide range of customers instantly. You can advertise on different platforms like Google, Facebook, etc.

It’s very easy for you to become a dropshipper with AliExpress. You don’t need inventory, an order fulfillment process, or a huge budget. We’ve covered what you need to understand related to dropshipping on AliExpress. Now, it’s time for you to go ahead and start your own dropshipping business online.

How to choose which AliExpress dropshipping products to sell?

We know choosing the right product to sell can be a hassle. So, we have a checklist you can follow to find the right product for your business.

  1. Choose products specific to your niche on Amazon, Etsy, and AliExpress
  2. Look at the number of items sold. This will give you an idea of how popular the product is.
  3. Use Google Trends to double-check the popularity of the product
  4. Choose those that are high in demand. These will bring in high profits.

Moreover, you can find consumer-favorite products on product-hunting tools such as

  1. Pexda
  2. Product Mafia
  3. Thieve

Also, you can check out Facebook groups such as Shopify Dropshipping and Product Research Lab, where you can find winning products and also engage in discussions with drop shippers about their campaigns.

What are some of the best AliExpress dropshipping products?

As mentioned above, you can get a fine idea of what’s a good dropshipping product if you look at Google Trends. So, here are five dropshipping products you can turn your hand to.

1. Ring Lights

With the rise of social media platforms like TikTok, the number of content creators has grown immensely. So, in order to make their content look and feel better, they have started to use ring lights. Consequently, ring lights have become enormously possible. Here’s what Google Trends show about the popularity of ring lights.

2. Knitted Dress

Knitted dresses become popular during the winter season, and gradually lose popularity after winter. This is what Google Trends shows:

3. Wireless Security Cameras

Wireless security cameras are also a popular dropshipping product. According to Google Trends, their popularity has remained constant, globally, for the last five years with the occasional boost in popularity.

4. Unisex T-shirt

Unisex t-shirts are also extremely popular these days. For the last five years, Google Trends has shown consistency in popularity, especially during autumn and winter, and a great rise in the spring season.

5. Rice Cooker 

Rice cookers are another commodity popular with drop shippers. With its consistent popularity, you can have substantial profit margins by selling it in bulk. Here’s how the graph looks on Google Trends.

What mistakes to avoid with dropshipping?

Dropshipping on AliExpress can have a good profit margin, provided you don’t commit these five mistakes.

1. Not doing enough product research

A good drop shipper always knows what a good selling product is. And they know it by extensively researching each and every product they come across.

Before deciding on a product, check how well they do on festive occasions. Moreover, check the latest Google Trends. Also, join drop shipping forums to discuss the viability of your products.

2. Selling too much variety

If you don’t stick to a particular niche and continuously change it, then it can reflect poorly on your reputation as a seller. It’s good to have variety, but overdoing it can harm your reputation. Just stick to a particular niche, find relevant products, and create a marketing and selling strategy that works for you.

3. Not having a good marketing strategy

Marketing is equally important as having a good product. If you don’t leverage email marketing and automation, you can miss out on a lot of revenue.

Email marketing tools like Mailmunch can help AliExpress drop shipping fairly easily. With its suite of email marketing features such as email automation, email templates, and drag-and-drop email builder, you can cast your net to a broader customer base and increase your revenue tenfold.

4. Picking the wrong niche

Niche selection is an important part of drop shipping. Before you find a supplier, make sure you have picked the right niche. The selection of the niche should depend on your expertise and your experience. This way, you can ensure that you understand your business's contours and create a marketing strategy accordingly.

5. Undercutting price

It’s good to offer a market competitive price but undercutting it to the extent that it starts to disrupt your profit margins isn’t a great idea. So, study the market extensively before setting a price for your products. Get in touch with your suppliers, discuss what margins they expect, and then set the price accordingly.

Conclusion

All in all, AliExpress dropshipping is still a viable business in 2023, provided you do extensive market research, have chosen the right niche and products,  have a good and reliable supplier, and have a marketing strategy that can help you bring in lots of customers. 

So, by following the tips mentioned in this article, you can succeed in making your dropshipping business a success.

Frequently asked questions

Is dropshipping via Aliexpress still worth it?

Yes. AliExpress is a great step-stoning for entrepreneurs looking to break into the eCommerce market. AliExpress offers good profit margins and is extremely easy to use, provided you do your research.

What is the AliDropship?

AliDropship is a plugin that helps businesses monitor inventory, create product lists, and track orders.

Why is AliExpress so cheap?

AliExpress sells directly to the consumer without having to pay a middleman, and with China’s supplier-friendly eco-system making supplies readily available, AliExpress is so cheap.

Can you get in trouble for Aliexpress dropshipping?

As there are many advantages of dropshipping, there are also a few risks. This can include fraudulent customers, unreliable suppliers, and poor management. 

But if you don’t face any of these risks, you cannot get into trouble for dropshipping on AliExpress.

Do I need an LLC to dropship?

Yes. If you want to build your online store lawfully, then having an LLC is necessary. An LLC can help you protect your dropshipping company and personal assets.

Can you dropship products from AliExpress to Amazon? 

Yes. You can dropship products from AliExpress to Amazon. You simply need to get in touch with your AliExpress suppliers and list your products on Amazon to let your customers know that you also sell on Amazon. Once the purchase is made, your AliExpress supplier will deliver the products to your customer.

Author Bio

Sharline Shaw

Sharline Shaw, the founder of leelineSourcing.com, is an expert on Chinese export trade. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, she is familiar with all relevant regulations and laws about China's exporting. She loves to share her experiences with people and has written many helpful articles.

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