With a platform full of dropshipping suppliers, many online stores use AliExpress to start their dropshipping business. AliExpress is very popular, but also increasingly criticized. What makes AliExpress such a good fit for those starting with dropshipping? And what are the disadvantages of using this platform?
- Advantages and disadvantages of AliExpress dropshipping
- Selecting a trustworthy supplier on AliExpress
- Things to keep in mind
- Integrating products in your online store
The advantages of AliExpress dropshipping
With thousands of dropshipping suppliers listed on the platform, it’s easy to fill your online store with the products you find on AliExpress. There are suppliers in almost every segment of the market. Because of the large range of products, many business owners who are looking to start dropshipping turn to AliExpress.
Many business owners who are looking to start with dropshipping turn to AliExpress.
Products on the platform are usually a lot cheaper than the ones from European suppliers. Most suppliers on AliExpress don’t charge any shipping costs, making the processing costs of your orders very low.
Disadvantages of using AliExpress suppliers
The fact that AliExpress is accessible to so many resellers, means that you’re not the only one dropshipping through AliExpress. You will have to deal with a lot of competitors, which can be difficult.
Additionally, because of its popularity, many consumers are now also buying products on AliExpress. This makes it harder to build a client base with products coming from AliExpress, as your customers can directly buy them themselves.
Another disadvantage is the long shipping time. Most customers want their orders to arrive within a couple of days, but shipments from China usually take at least a couple of weeks to arrive. Clearly stating that shipping will take a couple of weeks, can help prevent negative customer reviews.
Selecting a trustworthy supplier
When you’re choosing a supplier, there are several factors to keep in mind. The quality of the products and shipping time of your supplier is of course a very important factor. But before you start selling their products, you should also gain information about their level of service.
Try to ask them about how much of their products they keep in storage. How large is their stock? What if you get a large number of orders, will they be able to keep up with the demand? Ask the supplier whether there are periods in the year when they don’t process orders (with Chinese new year for example).
Things to keep in mind
As you may have heard already, there are often reports of customers receiving products sold through AliExpress that were very different from the information that was posted in the online store. Sometimes products were dangerous, while others caused fires or were toxic.
How can you make sure that these problems won’t arise with the products you sell? The first thing to do when you’re looking through the many dropshipping suppliers on AliExpress is read through their reviews. What are their rankings? What do others say about their logistics and the quality of their products?
It’s also wise to order their products before you add them to your online store. That way, you can try them out yourself, see the quality, and see whether the provided product information was correct.
As in any business, there will always be customers with complaints. Don’t forget that if complaints arise, you will be the one that needs to solve them (through customer support). Even though you don’t handle the shipping, you’re the one responsible for the shipment. Choosing products with a large price margin will give you the space to meet your customers’ needs.
If complaints arise, you need to solve them. Not the AliExpress dropshipping company.
Also, keep in mind that the European warranty period is longer than in China. If the product breaks during the European warranty period, you’re accountable for it. In this case, having a price margin on your products will again give you the leeway to deal with return costs.
Check the regulations of the countries your online store is shipping to. In many countries, depending on the total price of the order, customers will have to pay taxes or import duties. This could cause complaints from customers if you don’t notify them beforehand.
And don’t forget to think about your product information and product photography. Suppliers often provide text and photos, but this means that your competitors will probably be using the same ones. To set yourself apart from the competition, write your own product information and make your own photos.
Integrating products in your online store
If your online business is run by Shopify, you can use the dropshipping-plugin Oberlo. It grants you access to thousands of suppliers on AliExpress. The selected products will automatically be uploaded to your store.
Other platforms like Wix and BigCommerce also have plugins with AliExpress. WooCommerce-users can use the AliDropship and Ali2Woo plugins. If you don’t want to create your own online store, you can also use AliDropship Custom Store. This provides you with a ready to use online store, with products already uploaded for you.