There’s a reason that most dropshippers get started by selling products found on AliExpress. As a subsidiary of Alibaba, the world’s largest merchant platform, there are thousands of vendors and millions of products you can choose from to sell.
They also make it very easy to not only do business with their vendors, but they also integrate with numerous eCommerce platforms and automation programs that make product imports and sales setup simple and easy.
If you’re not that familiar with AliExpress yet, let’s take a look at some things you should know about using AliExpress for your dropshipping business.
1. AliExpress Is Great For Testing Products
One of the biggest advantages to running a dropshipping business is that it doesn’t require you to make any investments into products or inventory out of pocket. Yes, your eCom platform and any other automation software, hosting, apps, email system, etc will need to be covered, but you won’t need to spend any money on products until after your customers pay you.
That makes it really easy to stock your store full of pretty much any product you want to because it won’t cost you anything to do so. That means you can test as many products you like to see if they will sell or not.
Now, while you can test as many products as you want, it would be smart to have a testing plan in place. After all, while there might not be a hard monetary cost with physical inventory, there is an opportunity cost for potentially testing carelessly.
So be sure to do your product research so that you can narrow down your products intelligently and you maximize your product testing time. We’ll get more into product research in the next section.
2. Proper Product Research Is Key To Your Success
As was mentioned in the previous section, proper product research is critical to the success of your business.
Let’s assume that you know the types or themes of products that you’d like to sell.
(If you’re stuck trying to figure out what niche you want to be in, check out the list of blog posts at the end of this post for more help.)
Now, once you know the types of products you want to sell, it’s time to locate the specific products you want to try selling.
While you can certainly go to AliExpress and manually search through all of their product listings, there is a much faster way.
There are a lot of software programs that will help you “power search” AliExpress results to help you sort through thousands of products in just minutes and even seconds.
If you’re a Dropified user, you already have access to one of these power tools, which is our AliExtractor software that’s included with your membership.
When you open up AliExpress and run a product search and then run AliExtractor, the software will display the results of all the products from that page and will show you at a glance what each products is, how much it costs form AliExpress, including final costs with all fees associated, total profit (based on the total margin you select), then vendor and vendor ratings and much more.
That means in just seconds, you see everything you need to quickly locate products that could be perfect to test in your store. Even better, you can set your own personal filters, so only the products that meet your criteria are returned.
A software like AliExtractor will save you dozens and even hundreds of hours in research time and is a must-have in your product research arsenal.
3. Vet And Verify Trading Partners
While this should go without saying, many new dropshippers learn this one the hard way.
Yes, you may think that you’ve found the perfect product to sell, the price is right and you’re chomping at the bit to sell it and make a ton of money.
So you add it to your store and start selling it.
Then disaster strikes!
The product quality is terrible.
Or the shipping is extra late.
Or the product is out of stock.
Then you go back to the vendor and they don’t respond.
Now you’re stuck having to refund your angry customers and your out of pocket a lot of money because you paid the vendor. Now you have to try to work with AliExpress to see what you can do from here.
All of this could have been avoided had you really read through the vendor reviews that AliExpress provides.
Or had you personally reached out to the vendor prior to selling the products to see how responsive they were… or if they offered Seller Protection… and a number of other potential areas that red flags might have shown up.
So, don’t let this happen to you. Spend a lot of time digging through each vendors ratings, their reviews and communicating with them.
And order product samples for yourself so you can see the actual product quality for yourself.
Yes, even after great research, things can happen. But you greatly reduce this potential with solid, proactive vendor and product research.
4. Avoid Products That Do Or May Infringe On Copyrights
While it can be really tempting to jump in and cash in on the Star Wars Baby Yoda craze… it’s also the quickest way to get you store shut down, your merchant processor to ban you and for the deep pocket lawyers of Disney to sue you.
And trust me, there are no shortage of vendors on AliExpress willing to sell you counterfeit Baby Yoda products.
Even if it’s an artist rendering, I’d run far away in the opposite direction.
When it comes to ANY established brand, unless you are working directly with the brand or their official licensing, do not attempt to sell them, no matter how small you think you are. They will Liam Neeson on you and they find you and they will deal with you.
At the end of the day, if you DO really want to sell products from an actual brand, then you must go through their official licensing programs and you must be licensed.
If not, steer clear.
5. Be Clear And Honest About Shipping Times
This is another area where many dropshippers learn the hard way.
You MUST be clear and upfront with your customers on the realistic shipping times for your products.
However, many sellers think that by being honest, they won’t get any sales, so they either omit shipping times, bury it, or outright lie about the true shipping times.
They quickly find out that was the wrong move.
Whether it’s angry emails and calls, or refund requests to even chargebacks, not being straightforward will bite them in the end pretty quickly.
And high refunds and chargebacks are the quickest way to lose your merchant accounts.
Instead, you need to be clear and upfront about how long it will take for them to receive their orders.
It needs to be in your listings, order forms, terms and conditions, and even on your receipt emails.
In fact, the more places you place it, the more likely you are to win any chargeback ruling if they claim that you didn’t tell them how long it would take.
So, how do you combat any negative sales impact that long shipping times may have?
People will be willing to wait for a known longer shipping time for a number of reasons, including:
- Your marketing gets them excited to make an impulse buy and they aren’t shipping around…
- They don’t want to miss out on a special deal that you’re offering…
- Your item is unique and it’s hard to find elsewhere…
- After they buy, you stay in good communication with them about the status of their order and provide them with tracking…
Basically, just good, solid customer support will win and preserve sales for you and will overcome any shipping resistance you may encounter.
If you’re just getting started with dropshipping and AliExpress, hopefully this quick overview will help you get started a little easier.
We also have a number of other blog posts we’ve put together that you’ll probably want to check out to help you cut down on your learning curve:
How Can I Find The Best Products To Sell In My Store From AliExpress?
AliExtractor, The #1 Tool For AliExpress Product Research, Now Free For Dropified Users!
Why Will Consumers Buy From My Dropshipping Store When They Can Buy The Same Product Cheaper?
What Do I Need To Know About ePacket Shipping and Delivery?