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If your research has brought you to the AliExpress dropshipping methods then naturally, you will want to know if it works. Is this a legitimate way to source products and most importantly, is it profitable. I have run numerous dropshipping stores over the years so I would like to share my experiences and what I have learnt.
So, does AliExpress Dropshipping work? Yes, it is possible to safely source inventory from AliExpress and get them delivered successfully to your customers at a profit. However, you are going to want to ensure you are purchasing from established/ and reputable sellers and suppliers and that you are selling in demand and profitable products for it to truly become a success.
With dropshipping, the fact that you are purchasing products that you never physically see or ever own makes your sourcing strategy imperative. You need to be careful what marketplaces you use, what suppliers you purchase from and your eCommerce processes in general.
Thankfully, I’ve worked with the AliExpress platform for some time now, and there are some tips and recommendations which I would like to share with you that will help it ‘work’ for you too.
What Is AliExpress?
AliExpress is an online marketplace based in China.
It enables thousands of suppliers and manufacturers to list their products for sale on the platform and sell to an international audience.
In fact, it is the most visited e-commerce website in Russia and was the 10th most popular website in Brazil.
Due to the Chinese economy and favorable exchange rate, AliExpress offers us, as buyers, fantastic and cost-effective prices with many promotions and deals that we can benefit from and use to boost our profits.
AliExpress also provide complete buyers protection and a variety of safe payment methods.
Visa debit/credit cards, MasterCard credit cards, Maestro debit cards and American Express are supported. But for peace of mind, if you did not want to use any of these you can purchase prepaid cards or use virtual cards which are also accepted. These are purchased from AliExpress directly, and means that you do not need to share your card information. Instead you simply use the money you have previously deposited.
There are thousands of products in hundreds of categories. From clothing to electronics, indoor to outdoor, beauty products to health supplements – there are countless options, niches to enter and inventory to source. Plus, AliExpress makes it easier to find high selling and trending products through their ‘Flash Deals’, ‘Top Selection’ and ‘Featured Brands’ pages.
Where AliExpress differs from other online marketplaces like Alibaba (even though it is owned by them), is that you can purchase items individually and not in bulk nor in wholesale.
You pay a fixed price per unit, and then will select a shipping method to get that product to the location that you specify. There are a number of different shipping methods which each come with a different time to delivery and as such come at different price points.
How Does Dropshipping Work With AliExpress?
AliExpress is comprised of individual sellers, manufacturers and suppliers.
In many ways the platform works like eBay, so you are directly seeking out and working with those businesses compared to the organisation itself.
If you are not aware of what dropshopping is, it is basically where you run an eCommerce store online and sell products to your customers that you do not ever stock as inventory. You do not produce the products and only place an order with the supplier once your customer has done so on your store. You will do so at a markup and this will be your profit and how you earn.
So, in essence you need to seek out products before you advertise them, and know who you are going to source those products from at the outset.
Dropshipping is great for cash flow as you purchase products directly with your customers money. It also prevents the need to organise and send deliveries and shipments yourself. Its very hands off.
AliExpress is one of those marketplaces that you can seek out products to sell. In fact, its one of the best to use because how cheap you can acquire products, how widely used it is, and that it offers buyers protection and safe payment.
So, this is how the process works if you was running a dropshipping store and were sourcing products from AliExpress:
- Research for a niche and products to sell
- Build an eCommerce store with a platform such as Shopify.
- Visit AliExpress and research for those products. Seek out reputable suppliers with good feedback scores.
- Contact suppliers, negotiate rates, set expectations and undrstand your delivery times etc.
- Optional (but advised): get product samples sent to you to inspect and review
- Build your products pages and listings using information provided by the manufacturer. Use photos provided or take your own using the sample
- Market your products through free and paid advertising
- Make sales and take customer payment
- Visit AliExpress and place the order with the supplier. Be sure to state that you do not want any invoices or receipts in the package.
- Provide your customers address as the shipping address so that the product gets sent directly to them.
- Rinse and repeat.
This is the basic workflow of the dropshipping model whem working with AliExpress. Steps may be completeled in a different order and there be some extra steps that you want to include.
However, it does give you a good basic understanding of how the process works.
Generally, products will take between 7-14 days to arrive at your customers. This is why it is important to be transparent and clearly state this on your store.
Lets say in the worst case scenario that your product never arrived at your customer (rare but can happen). Then you would need to:
- Confirm with the customer that they have checked around their property thoroughly and asked any neighbours if a parcel has arrived.
- Contact the manufacturer to see when the parcel was sent and to obtain and tracking details and information
- Provide that information to your customer/investigate yourself with the service providers used.
- Identify what happened to seek a resolve
- Contact AliExpress support in the rare case that the supplier could not resolve your query or that you suspect foul play.
Unfortunately, you will get customers from time to time who claim their package never arrived. You’ll also get suppliers you want to steer clear from.
Thats just the nature of dropshipping and the risks that come associated. Thankfully there isba lot of money to be made whereby this does not affect your bottom line by much.
This is also why it is very important to do your research and due diligence ahead of time. Work with only the best suplliers with proven track records.
Does Anyone Make Money Dropshipping With AliExpress?
By now you have an understanding of what AliExpress is and how you can use it to source products and sell to your customers. But is it actually worth your time and effort. Can you actually make money?
Dropshipping can be very profitable and there are many individuals and small businesses that have made, and continue to make 6-7 figures with this business model.
Just like any business opportunity – not everyone will be successful and you will hear horror stories about how individuals burnt through a lot of money on failed marketing campaigns without any real retun on investment.
This is why it is so important to know what you are doing. To not enter this busienss model blindly and just hope that it all works out for you.
Dropshipping is no different to other businesses; it requires a lot of knowledge, a lot of planning and a lot of careful setup and consideration.
While it is easy to just throw up a store and start running paid ads, this rarely if ever works. Its generally the reason why you hear people fail with dropshipping because this is their approach. No consideration for whats involved. Don’t be like them.
If I could offer you any advice it would be to seek out an expert and someone with years of knowledge within the field. A practitioner who has learned by doing.
One of the best decisions I made was to sign up to eCom Elites.
This training course includes so much information on what you should and shouldn’t do when dropshipping. You’ll learn exactly how to work with and leverage AliExpress along with a number of methods and strategies when it comes to product sourcing.
Its very comprehensive (30 hours of material) at a very reasonable one off price. There are multiple in-depth modules on various advertising strategies including Facebook Ads, SEO, Google Ads, Sales Funnels and Email Marketing.
Using this course I have been able to scale my store all the way to $10k per month. You can read my experiences of the course and whats included here.
Sure its not the crazy figures you see pasted over the internet but it has significantly changed my life and my income and earning potential.
So back to our original question, does AliExpress dropshipping work?
- Does it work in being able to source products? ✔️
- Does it work for being able to source products cheaper? ✔️
- Is AliExpress a safe and legitimate platform? ✔️
- Can you make money with AliExpress dropshipping? ✔️
Of course there are ways of working and things you must be aware of.
However with the right strategy, processes and approach there is no reason in why you cannot build a successful eCommerce business using AliExpress to acquire your products.