AliExpress has gotten a lot of publicity in recent years. It’s been touted as a magical site that lets anyone open a dropshipping store at no cost.
While that’s partially true, not everything about AliExpress is amazing. It has pros and cons.
Luckily, in this post, we’re going to tell you exactly how to dropship on AliExpress, step by step. We’ll also run you through the good and bad so there are no surprises.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
What is Aliexpress?
Started in 1999, the company was a result of Ma not being able to find Chinese products online easily. The resulting platform enables Western buyers to connect with Chinese and Asian sellers and has revolutionized eCommerce around the globe.
Alibaba, the original site, is built for wholesale purchases. You can directly connect with Chinese factories and manufacturers to place orders, usually with minimum bulk order requirements and payment is usually via bank transfer.
Aliexpress is their sister site. It’s made for smaller retailers and they can accept credit cards. Think of it as Amazon, but cheaper and with a two week delivery time..
Instead of buying directly from the manufacturer, the sellers are actually third party individuals or companies who are reselling to you. You won’t get the best price, but the buyer protection and ability to make single orders makes it perfect for dropshippers.
How Dropshipping With AliExpress works
Dropshipping simply means when your customer makes a purchase from your site, you order the item from your supplier and they ship the item to your customer. You don’t need to hold any inventory or worry about packaging and shipping.
To use AliExpress as a dropshipper, you first set up a store or have a place to sell your goods, like Amazon or eBay.
When a customer makes a purchase, you place the order with the seller on Aliexpress. The seller ships the items and you keep the difference in prices as profit.
Once the item is sent to your customer, they believe it’s from you. There’s no reason to know it’s a dropshipping process.
As you get bigger and scale your store, you can send in bulk orders to these suppliers for better rates and terms. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right suppliers from the start and build a relationship with them.
But what about returns?
We’ll discuss those later in this guide. For now, let’s talk pros and cons.
Aliexpress Dropshipping: Pros and Cons
There are good and bad things to using AliExpress for dropshipping. Here they are:
- Aliexpress has a database of hundreds of millions of products. You’ll be hard-pressed to not find the item you’re looking for.
- Starting a dropshipping business with Aliexpress is 100% free. Other services like Worldwide Brands and Doba charge hundreds of dollars in startup and monthly fees. This can be a huge burden for someone who is trying to get their business off the ground with minimal funds.
- You control your own margins. Aliexpress prices are extremely low and allow you plenty of profit.
- Product trends appear on Aliexpress overnight. When a product like Fidget Spinners shows up, you can bet that you’ll be able to find them on AliExpress.
- Shipping can take more than a month in some cases. However, Epacket shipping to the USA and a few other select countries takes 12-15 days. Packages no longer have to be transported by boat, so transport time is coming down.
- You cannot bundle items. If a customer orders 3 items from 3 different suppliers, there is no way for them to arrive at one time.
- It takes a few days for your credit card to be verified at first. If you set up a shop, make sure you build enough time into your first sale so you don’t have angry waiting customers.
- Suppliers on AliExpress may not speak the best English, which causes communication issues.
Is AliExpress safe and reliable?
The great benefit of working with AliExpress is that they offer a lot of protection for buyers during ordering, shipping, and in case of returns. The site’s functions have been well designed to keep the buyer in mind through every phase of the sale.
It’s in the best interest of AliExpress to make sure that their sellers are legitimate and deliver the goods which they advertise.
However, It’s important when you’re choosing a seller on AliExpress that you take into account their ratings and number of orders sold. There will be a lot of merchants selling the same item, so read what people are writing and only purchase from those sellers who have the best ratings.
One thing you should always do as a dropshipper is reach out and contact the seller directly. Start a conversation with them, talk to them about the product and make sure you’re working with someone reliable.
What is AliExpress’ Standard Shipping?
There are multiple shipping options on AliExpress, but Epacket delivery offers the best balance of price and shipping time.
Previously, items shipped from China were sent by sea, requiring up to 2+ months for delivery in some cases. As a dropshipper, you can’t keep your customer waiting that long. If you did, they’d either cancel their order or leave bad reviews, neither of which is good.
Thankfully, ePacket shipping has been introduced for Hong Kong and China, allowing for your customers to get their goods in 12-14 days. ePacket delivery is available for goods up to 2kg in weight and with a value less than $400.
Other than the shipping time reduction, the other benefits of ePacket shipment are that you can provide your customers with end to end tracking and also that customs duties are already paid allowing for quicker delivery.
ePacket delivery was once only available to US customers, but has now been expanded to a growing list of more than 30 countries.