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The ultimate guide: How to do dropshipping with AliExpress

Dropshipping is a great way to start an ecommerce business without having to worry about things like inventory or shipping. It can be so simple: You offer a product on your website and send an email to your supplier in order to then send the corresponding item on your behalf when an order is received.

Starting a dropshipping business is a great way to get started in ecommerce. However, doing extensive research on the Internet to find a reliable supplier can be quite challenging. However, Oberlo and AliExpress have a convenient marketplace that you can use for dropshipping.


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Table of Contents:

  • 1. What is AliExpress?
  • 2. Why dropshipping with AliExpress?
  • 3. Set up your shop
  • 4. How to use AliExpress for dropshipping
  • 5. Grow your dropshipping business
  • 6. Get started with dropshipping
  • What is AliExpress?

    AliExpress is a marketplace with a large selection of products that online retailers can offer in their shops. The prices asked are often particularly competitive. Although AliExpress positions itself as an online retailer, AliExpress sellers know that many of their customers are dropshipping. AliExpress makes it easy to find products to sell through your store without worrying about inventory or shipping. You can shop here at wholesale prices and then have them delivered directly to your customers via dropshipping.

    Reading tip: From the beginning again - what exactly is dropshipping? We explain it to you here.

    Why dropshipping with AliExpress?

    AliExpress is a huge marketplace with a wide range of products that you can offer in your shop. Since most AliExpress dealers are overseas producers, their prices are particularly competitive. While AliExpress positions itself as an online retailer, most of the merchants on the platform know that a large proportion of their customers are resellers and are much more interested in dropshipping. Dropshipping is also possible with AliExpress very easy. There are no up-front costs or fees, so you can test products with no financial commitment. With AliExpress or Oberlo, you can start dropshipping today - for free. Many merchants on AliExpress have high quality product photos that you can use on your own website. In addition, there are often detailed product descriptions that can help you present the products in your shop.

    Reading tip: A really good product presentation in the online shop? These 20 Shopify stores are leading the way.

    Last but not least, dropshipping with AliExpress is child's play: After you have received an order, you order the corresponding product on AliExpress and enter the address of your customer. In the following we will explain in more detail how all this comes together, what you should pay attention to when choosing a dealer and how you can position yourself with a view to sustainable success. In fact, it's not much more complicated than what we described above. Once you've got everything set up, AliExpress dropshipping is a great way to get started selling online.

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    Why should someone shop through your store when they can get the same products through AliExpress?

    With a dropshipping business on AliExpress, your competitive advantage will not be your price or your unique branded products.

    Your competitive advantage will lie in the ability to reach your customers before your competitors.

    It's called retail arbitrage. So good marketing and reaching customers before anyone else can be a competitive advantage here. You can also add more value to your customers by building a real brand (read here how to do it), creating unique content, and providing great customer service.


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    Set up your shop

    Now we know how dropshipping with AliExpress can work and how you should position your shop. Next, let's set up your shop before we place your first order.

    Choosing your niche and your products

    The first part of setting up your store is deciding on your niche. If you're not sure where to start, the first thing you should do is take a look at the product categories on AliExpress. Look what interests you most or find items that you would feel good about selling.

    Once you've discovered a niche for yourself, it's time to pick some products to repurchase on your shop. In this example we have chosen running shoes as a niche for a shop.

    Reading tip: Not sure about AliExpress? We present 12 dropshipping apps to find products here.

    As you will find, there is a huge variety of products to choose from on AliExpress. That can be pretty overwhelming. In addition, if you don't choose a quality product from a trusted retailer right from the start, it can be a serious headache. Even if it is definitely not perfect, we have developed a list of criteria for choosing a product. This is certainly not a science, but so far the list has served other dealers well in selecting reliable dealers. So here are a few things to look out for when choosing products for dropshipping on AliExpress:

    No brands, fakes or imitations: Avoid any branded products to avoid reselling counterfeits and imitations. Be on the lookout for no-name products. If there is a logo on the product, then it should also be avoided, even if it seems legitimate at first glance. Since you are probably not a licensed reseller, you shouldn't take any chances here. In addition, you can never know whether the product is actually real. This can significantly limit your choices. So find a niche where the brand doesn't matter. Examples of this are electronic accessories or clothing.

    ePacket delivery with free shipping: If possible, try to only sell products that come with free ePacket shipping. Since a large proportion of the products on AliExpress come from China or Hong Kong, ePacket delivery is not only the most economical shipping method, but also one of the fastest for delivering small goods overseas.

    More than 300 orders: A product with many orders says different things: First of all, it shows that there is a demand for the product. Second, it says the supplier has to be reliable because some of those orders are likely to be repeat orders. When looking for products, you can sort items according to the number of orders.


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    A rating better than 4.5 stars: You should also make sure that the products you want to sell have a high product rating (over 4.5 stars) and that the seller also has a lot of positive feedback. To get a second opinion on product sellers, you can use the Chrome extension AliExpress Seller Check use.

    This gives you a detailed overview of the ratings that are obtained via an external app. In our experience, this is far more reliable than just relying on AliExpress' rating system.

    Reading tip: We did the test and made more than € 900 in sales with a new online shop in 3 days. You can read the full story here.

    Low price with a large profit margin: Depending on the product, you should keep within a price range of 1 to 20 dollars when shopping for products. This reduces the risk should you ever lose money on a sale. In addition, you can usually set the retail price for these products at $ 20 to $ 50 or more. For example, you can find running shoes for around $ 20 on AliExpress and sell them for $ 50. This means a profit margin of 60 percent.

    In this article, we explain how to correctly calculate your sales prices in dropshipping.

    Lots of high quality, unbranded product photos: Do your research to make sure the photos actually come from your manufacturer and have not been stolen from another online retailer. With a quick Google image search, you can check whether the product images are from a real brand and retailer or from the manufacturer itself.

    Communicative, helpful salespeople: Don't be afraid to ask a seller questions before placing an order. A good and reliable dealer will answer all of your questions quickly. However, if a salesperson doesn't respond to questions, that's already a pretty clear red flag.

    Adding products to your shop

    Once you've set up your Shopify store, it's time to add your first product. It is important that we look at this step in detail. The whole thing is not as simple as simply copying the product images and descriptions from AliExpress and then placing them on your website. If you want to set the course for success for your shop right from the start, there are a few things that you should consider instead:

    Write your own product descriptions. The product descriptions for many of the products listed on AliExpress were not written by copywriters or intended to fully explain the benefits of the product. Your own and unique content will bring you more benefit in the long run (Google ignores duplicate content) and help achieve better conversion rates on your product pages.

    Let customers know about your delivery times. It is advisable to point out on your product pages (or elsewhere in your shop) that your customers may have to wait at least 20 days (depending on the supplier) for their order. Since most of the suppliers on AliExpress are located in China, delivery times can be longer than average.

    Use an order tracking app. With delivery times longer than most people are used to, you will often receive emails from customers asking where their order is going. Use an order management app from the Shopify app store to keep your customers informed about the status of their order. (Image: Tracktor)

    Offer free shipping. This can become one of your primary competitive advantages. We therefore strongly recommend that you offer your customers free delivery using the free / low-cost shipping offered by many AliExpress sellers.

    Set reasonable prices for your products. Consider selling your products for twice the purchase price. A 50% margin will make the business worth running and also cover marketing expenses.

    Add products to your shop with Oberlo. Instead of manually adding products from AliExpress to your website, you can use Oberlo to quickly add products to your shop.

    Whether it's a dropshipping store or not - you will learn from Shopify retailers how your online business can be successful

    The best thing to do is to subscribe directly to the Shopify Podcast and never miss an episode!

    How to use AliExpress for dropshipping

    Now you have stocked your shop with products and are ready to sell. But what do you do when the first order comes in?

    Dropshipping with AliExpress works much like any other dropship company. When you receive an order, you buy the corresponding item on AliExpress and enter the customer's name and shipping address. The AliExpress seller will then take care of the rest. It makes perfect sense to create a table with a list of all the products offered on your website, the corresponding offer and purchase prices and a link to the offer entry on AliExpress. If you then receive an order, it will be easier for you to find the supplier on AliExpress and to keep track of any price changes.

    Alternatively, you can use Oberlo which can do all of this for you. In addition, the tool makes it easier to refer orders to AliExpress and to track price changes. When ordering on AliExpress, it is always a good idea to let sellers know that they are dropshipping their products. The dealers will not enclose their own invoice or other advertising material with the parcel sent to the customer. At the checkout you can simply attach a message to the retailer. I recommend z. For example, leave a message like the following: “We're dropshipping. No promotions & invoices, please! ”

    As already mentioned, you should try to choose shipping via ePacket (if the provider is in China and offers this shipping option). Many providers offer this at no extra charge. Depending on the merchant's processing time, you will shortly receive an email informing you that your order has been shipped.

    Click the link in the email to view the order. You can then use it to call up the tracking number for the order.

    Go to your Shopify administration and process the order. Make sure that you also include the tracking number.

    That was it! Now all your customers have to do is wait to receive their order. Then, when the order arrives, AliExpress will send you an email asking you to confirm the order has been placed. Give customers some time to contact you in case there are any issues with their order. In this way, if in doubt, you can report the problem to the supplier via AliExpress so that they can take care of it.

    What about refunds and returns?

    Many suppliers on AliExpress don't offer returns. This means that you will need to process returns and refunds in one of several ways. If there's a problem with an order your customer placed on your website, it is usually because the order never arrived or the customer is unhappy with their purchase. In the first case, the problem of an undelivered order should be placed with the AliExpress supplier. In such a case, contact the supplier to resolve the problem or use AliExpress' buyer protection.

    However, if your customer is simply not happy with the product, we suggest that you offer a refund. If the product is damaged, ask your customer to take photos. You can then send this to the AliExpress seller.

    Expand your dropshipping business

    Once you've booked your first few sales, you can start thinking about how you can grow your dropshipping business and make more money.