This is a great question that seems like nobody really wants to answer.
So first off, let’s talk about AliExpress. What is AliExpress? If you were like me, the first time you discovered the website AliExpress, you were pretty wowed! It was full of products and everything was really cheap!
AliExpress was probably the first site (platform) that for the most part was easy to navigate, find and discover millions of products that could be purchased relatively easy & safely no matter where you lived + it was translated to your native language (from Chinese).
AliExpress is owned by Alibaba which essentially was a bulk wholesale directory of goods in China. So how the heck had you never heard of this site? Should you tell anyone? This can’t be real? Will they ship products to where you live? Look at how much stuff you can buy! .. And everything is at COST!
Or is it?
Possibly if you live in North America or some other more developed country, products on AliExpress would, in fact, be much cheaper or affordable than you were used to, but AliExpress is really just a convenient platform of retail products. Yup, the sellers on AliExpress are for the most part NOT wholesalers. Sellers are sourcing, finding and listing products from wholesalers, multiple middlemen or even retailers!
AliExpress could probably best be compared to a platform like Ebay or Amazon where a business person (like you) has a catapult or platform to showcase their products to the end consumer.
One thing I was pretty amazed about when doing some research was that AliExpress sellers usually don’t even have ANY inventory, even though it says they have XX,XXX units in stock. There really is no verification on any of these products, it’s just a number that the seller manually inputs. In fact, a lot of sellers are purchasing the product that they sold to you at a place called AliExpress Row! Millions of products in a huge market called AliExpress Row that sellers can re-sell. How crazy is that?
Think about this… Are the products that you are sourcing for your eCommerce site to be drop shipped being purchased from another seller that's dropshipping??
So knowing all of this, is Dropshipping on AliExpress a viable business?
Dropshipping will always be. In fact it always has been, even before the internet. Mail Orders, catalogs, even storefronts have and do DropShip products from another location/ source.
BUT – is it a Viable long term business dropshipping from AliExpress? Unfortunately NO.
It has actually NEVER been a viable business. AliExpress has never structured or set up to be a wholesale site that Dropships products to your customers.
I’ve sold tens of thousands of products that were drop shipped from sellers on the AliExpress platform and for the most part it was incredibly profitable. Most of the products arrived in my customers' hands within the first 7-10 days and for the ones that didn’t, I offered a refund or a discount for the inconvenience.
Many businesses that are in it for the long-term will have started as AliExpress drop shipping products and eventually transition to selling private label products using their own stock.
AliExpress really should be used to “test” potential products that you’ve researched and think that you can sell. It’s relatively easy to do this and your customers really will get the product that they ordered. You can also do this on eBay, Amazon or any site that offers the product that you’re testing.
Once you’ve proven that the product your drop shipping is a winner, it’s time to “up the game” Give your customers what you’d expect! Fast Shipping, a Place to Return Defective Products and an overall great experience with your company! (+ your margins will soar!)
Is Dropshipping Dead on AliExpress?
Dropship “Testing” is not dead on AliExpress or any platform for that matter (eBay, Amazon, WalMart, etc)
Aliexpress drop shipping is an amazing gateway for many successful eCommerce stores. It truly is and was a catapult for almost anyone building a real brand. There will be plenty of businesses that do this. And a LOT of them will have amazing success!
If you want to make sure you’re one of them, you have to focus on building a real brand rather than a “get rich quick” store. There are plenty of stores that currently ONLY focus on drop shipping products from AliExpress and doing EXTREMELY well (heck we see the numbers!!) but I do highly encourage you to only use AliExpress drop shipping as a catapult or testing arena for products you plan on selling.
If you choose the route of hard work, creativity and branding, you will have plenty of success in the eCommerce space.