AliExpress dropshipping has gotten a lot of publicity in recent years, with established businesses sharing their success stories about how it helped them grow. It’s been touted as a magical ecommerce site that lets anyone to dropship from China at no cost.
While that’s partially true, not everything about dropshipping with AliExpress is amazing. It has pros and cons.
In this post, we’re going to tell you exactly how to dropship on AliExpress from the ground up, step by step, with little to no money. We’ll also run you through the good and bad of the dropship model so there are no surprises.
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. Sellers usually have minimum bulk order requirements. You can directly connect with Chinese manufacturers to place orders, and payment is usually via bank transfer.
Aliexpress is its sister site. It’s made for smaller retailers who don’t stock the products they’re selling, and it accepts credit card payments. 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.
Why do I not need any start up money or capital?
Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, in this case, it actually is true. Let me explain:
Because these manufacturers mass produce goods, they can sell them for pennies on the dollar.
We’re talking fancy jewelry for under $0.30 a piece, nice shirts for $1, and even electronics for a few bucks that you can resell for $50 or more.
“But I still have to buy products, so I need some money!”
Actually, you don’t. That’s where the drop shipping comes in.
You don’t have to buy a thing until you get an order on your website (which you can set up with SaleHoo Stores). So you pay for your products with the money your customers pay you.
Now, you might be thinking…
“What about shipping costs? It’s coming from China – it must cost a ton!”
Nope. With the invention of ePacket shipping, you can get these items from China for free. (Or at the most, a dollar or two.)
The only startup money you need is enough to buy a domain and hosting. So less than $20.
Now, let’s talk about what you actually need to do.
How Dropshipping With AliExpress works
Dropshipping simply means when your customer makes a purchase from your site, you order the item from your Chinese supplier and they ship the item to your customer. You don’t need to hold any inventory or worry about packaging and shipping.
Dropshipping from AliExpress requires you to 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 percent 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 ecommerce business off the ground with minimal funds.
- You control your own profit 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 it on AliExpress.
- Shipping can take more than a month in some cases. However, ePacket shipping to the United States and a few other select countries takes 12-15 days. Packages no longer have to be transported by boat, so transport time is faster now.
- You cannot bundle items. If a customer orders three items from three different suppliers, there is no way for them to arrive at the same 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 may result in communication issues.