AliExpress is a renowned ecommerce platform that everyone in the industry is familiar with. But is AliExpress safe if you want to start dropshipping?
Perhaps you learned about the benefits of dropshipping through our YouTube videos or maybe a friend suggested you try selling third-party products owing to its huge potential down the road?
Either way, it’s safe to assume that you are keen to know how safe AliExpress is when it comes to pursuing dropshipping opportunities.
In this comprehensive guide, we cover the pros and cons of dropshipping via AliExpress, along with how to get started.
Let’s start with the most important information:
Is AliExpress Safe for Dropshipping?
Our no-nonsense answer would be: Yes, AliExpress is safe for dropshipping.
However, owing to the enormity of the platform and the fact that it hosts millions of users from across the world, it’s not as simple as that.
AliExpress is an online retail service based in China. It was launched almost a decade ago and is owned by Alibaba Group – a Chinese multi-nation technology company that specializes in ecommerce and internet services.
Although it initially started as a B2B buying and selling portal, AliExpress has now expanded into a B2C service as well. As of March 2019, the platform has almost 780 million active users!
AliExpress is a hub of activity for more than 60 million buyers. Almost one in every five online buyers uses AliExpress for one thing or another.
Put simply, it’s a huge marketplace with a wide variety of products to choose from. As someone looking for ways to make money online, this is potentially a huge opportunity to sell those products through your own online store.
AliExpress is completely safe in terms of placing orders and making payments. The only thing you need to stay cautious of is the suppliers you choose to deal with. Some of them might not be too dependable when it comes to fulfilling orders on time. Always run a test order yourself to be 100% sure of whether or not you can rely on a manufacturer.
Why Dropship Using AliExpress?
Dropshipping with AliExpress has many benefits, one being that inventory management won’t be a concern.
There is little to virtually no risk involved in dropshipping with AliExpress. Since you don’t need to hold inventory, you don’t incur warehouse costs.
AliExpress offers hundreds of thousands of products to choose from. From clothing items and fashion accessories to household goods, pet products, electronic gadgets, and more. The choice of what to sell is yours.
Another big advantage of using this ecommerce platform is that shipping is very reasonable. So, you might be able to earn relatively higher profits compared to alternative sites.
Moreover, AliExpress gives you the chance to try out products before you dropship them. Even if you don’t have access to a large amount of capital, it’s not a problem. You can order a small sample for yourself, and if all seems in order, you can sell the product on your online store.
Last but not least, dropshipping with AliExpress is a must-try because it’s easy. All you need to do is set up an online store and import the relevant products, that’s it.
How to Start Dropshipping with AliExpress
Dropshipping with AliExpress is quite easy once you have figured out the types of products you want to sell. If you already have an online store, the process becomes even easier.
Note: If you are starting from scratch with no online store, you might want to skip this section for now. Read the next part on setting up a dropshipping store on AliExpress first and return to this later.
To start dropshipping with AliExpress on your Shopify store, you can use Oberlo.
Oberlo is a special dropshipping app that helps users connect with product suppliers and is available as a Chrome extension. Once you install it on your browser, you can seamlessly import products from the manufacturer directly to your Shopify store. Here’s how:
- Visit AliExpress via your Chrome browser
- Navigate to the product you wish to import
- Add it your import list by clicking the Oberlo icon in the bottom-right corner of your screen
- Open your Oberlo dashboard
- Go to ‘Import List’
- Click on ‘Import All to Store’ or click ‘Import to Store’ next to each item in the list to import the products one-by-one
If you’re new to Shopify, here is a walkthrough tutorial for you:
Here’s an article for anyone interested in dropshipping with shopify, it explains the process in more detail.
When selling products from AliExpress on Amazon, you should carefully read through Amazon’s terms and conditions.
According to the Amazon dropshipping policy, you can fulfill orders through a third-party, BUT you must identify yourself as the seller of the product. As such, you will be responsible for accepting orders and processing returns.
BigCommerce offers different integration solutions for store owners who want to set up and automate AliExpress dropshipping.
Typically, you will have to pay a small fee to install the plugin or sign up for a monthly subscription to use the app.
For instance, this BigCommerce dropshipping app by AppFreaker allows you to fulfill orders with one click. Just search for the product within the application and import it to your site.
Dropshipping and order fulfillment with WooCommerce and AliExpress works pretty much the same way as Shopify and BigCommerce. You need to download a Chrome extension from the Chrome web store to get started.
Take note that to use the WooCommerce dropshipping extension, your site must have an SSL certificate.
Setting Up a Dropshipping Store Using AliExpress
Step 1: Set up an online store
If you haven’t created an online store yet, you can set one up using any of the big ecommerce platforms. This includes Amazon, Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce – AliExpress is compatible with them all.
Step 2: Pick a product niche
This step is the most important. It can have a major impact, or in most cases, be the deciding factor in how much you are able to earn through dropshipping. So, think carefully before you pick a niche.
The following tips might help:
- If you need ideas on which product to sell, check out the product categories on the platform itself
- Select a product that would interest your potential customers or choose one that you feel the most confident selling
- You might want to avoid products with an existing brand. For example, with clothing brands and electronic accessories, there’s a chance it might be a copy. Since most of the suppliers are based in China, this isn’t unusual
- Check the seller’s reviews and ratings. For this, you can even use third-party tools such as the Chrome extension for AliExpress Seller Check. It gives you a more reliable overview of suppliers
- Get in touch with the seller directly if you have questions
A smart approach is to order product samples before you import the item to your online store. This gives you a fair idea of the product quality and the order fulfillment time.
If for any reason, you are still not completely sold on using this site for dropshipping, there are other options.
Here are the best AliExpress alternatives:
If you are looking for something bigger and better than AliExpress, why not check out its parent company, Alibaba? Alibaba generally has a faster shipping process than AliExpress itself. You can sign up for free and find bulk supplies at incredibly low prices.
Worldwide Brands is highly-rated for dropshipping. Since it only offers certified wholesale products, you won’t have to worry about quality issues. Worldwide Brands has been serving online buyers and sellers for more than 20 years now. The catch? Great things come at a price. Dropshipping via Worldwide Brands requires an annual subscription that some store owners are not willing to pay for.
Salehoo offers more than 25 million products from suppliers you can trust. Sites like Huffpost and Forbes speak highly of this platform. Salehoo has a simple and sophisticated layout which makes the site really easy to use. The only drawback of Salehoo is that it does not easily integrate with Shopify sites.
Doba has a large group of manufacturers and wholesalers to choose from. Here, you can effortlessly discover new products and streamline the ordering process to make it more efficient. If you are using Oberlo, you might have some difficulty integrating Doba with your online store. Other than that, it’s a great platform to consider for your dropshipping needs.
DHGate comes close to AliExpress in terms of product collection, user-friendly interface, and hassle-free navigation. Setting up an account is easy, and you can build a strong dropshipping relationship with several suppliers. The one thing that current DHGate users often complain about is that it takes a considerably long time to ship the products. So, keep that in mind when giving your customers an estimated delivery time.
So, is AliExpress safe for dropshipping?
AliExpress has received a lot of positive publicity in recent years, it requires little to no capital and it’s extremely easy to get started.
Since you don’t have to deal with physical inventory, you don’t have to worry about storage space, warehouse costs, and the logistics involved with order fulfillment.
There’s also a wide selection of products to sell. So, if you don’t do well in a given niche, you can always switch without incurring any heavy losses.