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"The Art of Finding Winning Products"
AliExpress dropshipping is one of the most popular ways to start a dropshipping business. With millions of suppliers, based in China, on the platform, you’ll have access to affordable products from an endless number of niches. In this dropshipping on AliExpress guide, you’ll learn how you can start selling products from AliExpress from your very own website.
Let’s get started!
The suppliers on AliExpress can easily ship products directly to consumers, making AliExpress dropshipping easy for business owners.. You can find products at near wholesale prices and sell them to your customers at retail price. All you’re doing if you’re dropshipping with AliExpress is replacing the retail store in a standard supply chain.
Yes, you can dropship products from AliExpress.
For many of the suppliers on AliExpress, dropshipping is a growing part of their business model as eCommerce stores buy their products to sell to their customers. That’s why products like AliScraper are allowed to directly connect with AliExpress. AliScraper is an AliExpress product import tool made by Spocket, so that you can sell products from AliExpress in only a few clicks.
You may have heard about legal issues stemming from dropshipping with AliExpress, but those are just internet myths. Buying products from AliExpress and selling them to a different consumer is completely legal and encouraged within the global economy. In fact, when you’re dropshipping you’re doing the same thing that retail stores do, just on a smaller scale.
Instead of buying hundreds of copies of a shirt and storing them in a warehouse, you’re buying the exact number of products that have been ordered by customers. Both you and the retail stores are buying a product from a supplier and getting it to the customer. Your supplier will take care of product manufacturing, storing, and shipping, whereas you manage customer service and marketing.
First things first, product prices are at near wholesale cost, allowing you to earn a sizable profit on what you sell. The products you find on AliExpress are often going to cost less than similar products you can find from Amazon or other sources, even if they are the exact same quality.
Second, AliExpress has millions of winning products on their website. Every popular product you can find online is likely available on AliExpress. You can easily find products from Instagram, TikTok, or Amazon on AliExpress using AliScraper’s reverse image tool. As long as you have the AliScraper Chrome extension installed, you can simply right click any image online and click “Search AliExpress by Image.” That way, you can sell the same popular item on your own website.
Additionally, like we mentioned above, dropshipping is a growing source of revenue for a lot of the suppliers on AliExpress, which means they are very accustomed to working with dropshipping businesses and are dedicated to making the process smooth as can be.
A lot of customers just don’t know about AliExpress, and even people who know about it aren't knowledgeable about the products you can find there. If you stumble upon AliExpress during a random Google search it can be intimidating and difficult to navigate, so a lot of people avoid it for that reason.
The biggest reason customers shop from you is marketing and presentation. Often, customers don’t know a product they need exists, until they see it. Without someone marketing the right product at the right time, they’ll never know to look for it, especially if the product is an impulse buy instead of a search-based product. Once a product is found on TikTok or Instagram, customers realize they want it. But it’s rare to find AliExpress running ads for trending products. So, that’s where you come in.
To top it all off, AliExpress doesn't have any guarantees or customer service. Meaning people are basically taking a risk on buying something they might not be able to return or exchange. At least not easily.
This can also be a pain point you can leverage for your dropshipping business.
AliExpress dropshipping isn’t exclusively upside. Like almost everything in business there are advantages and disadvantages to using the platform. That’s why services like Spocket also allow you to sell products from North American or European suppliers.
One of the main disadvantages of dropshipping with AliExpress is the shipping time. With most products coming from China, longer shipping times are unavoidable. These longer shipping times can sometimes be too much for a customer, and faster shipping methods are more expensive.
If you’re dropshipping with AliExpress it’s essential to set customer expectations early and often so they aren’t expecting the product earlier than you can deliver it. Many customers are understanding about shipping times, and are willing to wait longer to get a great price, but they need to know in advance that they will be waiting.
In a world where people are accustomed to 1-2 day shipping, long shipping times are frustrating if you weren’t warned about them.
It’s important to note that this disproportionally affects seasonal and holiday stores.
Any business that is looking to run with a particular timeline in mind needs to consider the shipping times when they’re establishing a business plan. A Christmas store dropshipping from AliExpress won’t be able to sell products on December 15th, they have to start promoting October at the latest. Also, with Chinese New Year during the end of January or early February, businesses that rely on special event such as Valentine’s Day are usually not a good fit for AliExpress dropshipping.
Finally, it’s sometimes hard to separate the good from the bad on AliExpress.
Like we mentioned above there are some imperfect products and mediocre suppliers that appear on AliExpress from time to time. We’ll touch more on how to avoid those products and make sure you’re delivering high quality to your customers.
AliExpress suppliers come in all shapes and sizes, so one of the best ways to start your dropshipping on AliExpress is to find several suppliers to work with and stick with them. This will ensure that you’re never running into supplier issues for a single product while the rest of your store is running smoothly.
When looking for a supplier on AliExpress there are 3 main categories to pay attention to: Supplier Reviews, Shipping Times and their Products
All of this information and much more can be found on a suppliers store page.
Supplier Reviews are often referred to as Feedback on AliExpress, and can be found under the ‘feedback’ tab of a store’s page. This page shows every review that a supplier has gotten for their products on AliExpress. These pages are often a conglomerate of thousands, or tens of thousands, of reviews, all in one place.
Conveniently, feedback on AliExpress is split into three categories:
For customers, Item as Described is the most important, but for business owners like you, all three are equally important.
Unlike Amazon, AliExpress is a world where the overwhelmingly positive stand out. 4.5-5 stars are essentially the only acceptable ratings for a store you want to dropship with. Fortunately, using Spocket’s AliScraper tool, you can choose to “hide” products based on their star rating. That way, you’ll only find proven products with reviews and excellent ones at that to help you select the highest quality products for your online store.
If a store has less than that, or doesn’t have thousands of reviews, you can try using them as a supplier, but we’d suggest you order some test products first to make sure that they’d get five stars from you.
The Shipping times offered by a store can mostly be determined on a product by product basis. Opening up products on AliExpress will let you see the estimate for how long that product is going to take to get to your country. These estimates can be pretty broad, but it’s essential to keep them in mind.
Generally it’s important to make sure your supplier offers a method of shipping called ePacket. ePacket shipping is the most economical and fastest way to ship products from China or Hong Kong to North America. If your supplier offers ePacket shipping, you’re going to have a much easier time determining shipping times and rates for your store.
Finally it’s important to shop around within any given supplier and ensure that they have the kinds of products that you’re looking for, and that they have a lot of those products in stock. The last thing you want is to get a lot of sales and then have your supplier let you know they can’t fulfill all of your orders.
Once you have a good supplier on AliExpress, narrowing down specific products is easier, but there are still important things to mark off the checklist before committing to selling a certain product.
Expert tip alert! As a rule of thumb, you can use Aliscraper to identify items that have ePacket and ship to the USA (or your preferred country). From there, an easy but efficient hack would be to sort by Orders, and only choose highly rated suppliers and products with 4.5 stars and above. Keep an eye on those reviews!
This is important enough that we’re touching on it again.
ePacket is the best way to ship products and is going to remove a lot of headaches for you. If a product doesn’t have an ePacket shipping method it’s a big mark against its viability for dropshipping as other shipping methods are less consistent when it comes to both time and cost.
Even though AliExpress is a marketplace from China, there are a lot of suppliers on there that have warehouses in the US that they can ship products from. Now, products on AliExpress that can ship from US Warehouses are relatively rare, and one product being available from the US doesn’t mean that all of a suppliers’ products will be.
Like we mentioned above, the long shipping times is one of the biggest weaknesses of AliExpress dropshipping, products shipping from US Warehouses avoid that weakness, so they’re fantastic if you find products you’d like to sell.
On AliExpress, there are two main aspects to seeing a product's reputation, the amount of times it’s been ordered and its reviews.
If a product has a lot of orders that tells you that it’s popular and that it’s already selling. This is a fantastic way to ensure you’re adding winning products to your store. Additionally a lot of orders means more customer reviews.
Product reviews on AliExpress are very similar to store reviews in that they need to be overwhelmingly positive. It’s common to see products with 5/5 stars and those are the products you want to add to your store.
If you find a product that you’ve fallen in love with that doesn’t have a lot of reviews, you can order a sample and see if it’s the right fit for your store. Afterall, managing quality control on your end will result in fewer customer complaints and will be easier to market.
Product presentation comes down to 2 categories on AliExpress:
Descriptions and Photography
Product descriptions on AliExpress are always going to need some editing so that they match your business story and voice. Additionally, some of the information included in these product descriptions, like serial numbers or gender, are better suited for selling to business than selling directly to consumers.
That said, even if you’re completely rewriting the product descriptions it’s great to find informative and detailed descriptions of the products you’re selling. The better the original product description is, the better the foundation is for your tailored description.
Product photography on AliExpress is important because not all products are photographed equally. Products with great photos are going to pop on your store and will offer great material for ads and website banners. Products that don’t have good photos will make your store look worse.
When it comes to photos, you can always buy a sample product and take your own pictures, but when you’re just starting a business and looking to keep costs down that can be difficult. It’s fantastic when a product comes with awesome images for you to use right off the bat.
Finally there are a lot of suppliers on AliExpress that add their name to the top right or left hand corner of a product photo, which looks unprofessional on your store. Those logos can be removed with a bit a free background remover, Photoshop, or via image cropping. Alternatively a lot of suppliers offer versions of the product photos without their logo if you look in the product description, or email them asking for a copy.
The easiest way to add AliExpress dropshipping products to your store is by using the AliScraper Chrome extension. AliScraper will let you add products to your store directly from the AliExpress website, which is a lot faster and easier than trying to manually move back and forth from AliExpress and your store.
AliScraper comes with a number of features that allows you to automate many processes, easily select high quality products, migrate your AliExpress products from DSers or Oberlo, and more. Plus, AliScraper works with many ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, BigCommerce, Ecwid, WooCommerce, and more.
With AliScraper, you can automate everything from product importing to fulfillment in only a few clicks. There are multiple ways to add products to your online store. For example, you can search for a product and add a product directly from the listings page on AliExpress. However, the fastest and most popular way to add products involves clicking on a collection on AliExpress’ homepage under “Featured Categories,” such as “Fashion.” You can add products from the entire collection in only one click by clicking on “Bulk Import to Spocket.” That way, you get the most popular featured items added to your store, without having to manually add them there. Keep in mind, it can take a few minutes for products to be added to your store. But don’t worry, you can keep browsing other pages on AliExpress while this is happening.
Nearly every product you can find online can also be found on AliExpress due to its expansive inventory of products. Like mentioned earlier, you can use AliScraper’s reverse image search tool to find products from social media, Amazon, or any popular website. All you need is the image link.
Using AliScraper, you can find recommendations for other products. For example, if you found a necklace you’d like to sell, you can click on the “Show recommendations” button to find products similar to the one you’re currently viewing on AliExpress.
As your store starts growing in popularity, you can benefit from AliScraper’s automated order fulfillment. Since the supplier is managing all of your customer orders, all it takes is a single button click to send all your customer orders to every product supplier. If you’re generating hundreds of orders a day, the whole process takes under one minute for work on your end, completely eliminating the need to contact each supplier on an individual basis.
If you’re looking to change your dropshipping app from DSers or Oberlo to Spocket, you can do this easily on your Shopify store. You can learn how to migrate your DSers products to AliScraper or how to migrate your Oberlo products to AliScraper. If you need help with this, Spocket offers 24/7 customer support, which is also accessible via AliScraper.
First things first, when on the AliExpress website, you’ll want to click the AliScraper icon in your toolbar. Once you’ve downloaded Aliscraper, it will ask you to login to your Spocket account.
As soon as you’ve done that, AliScraper is charged up and ready to go! You’ll be able to see the ePacket items highlighted in a green border, so you can easily identify items with fast and reliable shipping.
You’ll also be able to select your preferences right away, such as the country the item is shipping to, and the shipping option you prefer.
Now that AliScraper is turned on, you can search for products you’re looking to sell on your store. If you have a niche in mind, you can simply type in the keywords to discover the products you can sell.
AliScraper can save time through its filter options. AliScraper allows you to filter products by shipping destination and shipping method.
You can use this feature to ensure you’re only searching for products that ship with ePacket, or making it so you only see products that can ship to Canada. The filters are a fantastic tool for streamlining the product search process.
When you have found a product you’d like to import. You can add it to your Spocket account’s import list with one easy step. Just click the Spocket logo on the right hand side of the product listing to send the product to Spocket, where you can review it and officially add it to your store.
Once you’ve added products to your import list there are two paths you can take for adding the products to your store.
The first is adding the product directly from the import list right away. Once you’re comfortable on AliExpress, and you’ve found some suppliers you’re a fan of, this is something you can do quite often to add products to your online store quickly and easily.
The second path takes advantage of the ‘order sample’ button on Spocket. This button will automatically bring you to checkout on AliExpress so that you can have products shipped to your door as fast as possible.
Ordering samples is a fantastic way to ensure you’re selling high quality products. You can also use sample products for product photos, Instagram posts, social media giveaways and more to ensure you get the most out of every dollar you spend while starting your dropshipping business.
Finally the last benefit of using AliScraper and Spocket in tandem is that it can organize customer orders that include multiple products. Rather than manually going to AliExpress to track down each product you offer, you can fulfill an order from Spocket and it will automatically grab each product from AliExpress for you.
All you have to do is click ‘Checkout.’
Additionally, if you have too many orders on your plate, there is a new option within Spocket to fulfill bulk orders on your store, which is a massive time-saver during the busy months of the year.
That’s it! You have a whole new business model to leverage or to build a new business from. AliExpress dropshipping is a huge market and a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, but there are a lot of steps involved in ensuring that your store is the best it can be.
Luckily, Spocket and tools like AliScraper make the process easier and faster, so there is less guesswork when you’re dropshipping from AliExpress. We're here for you 27/4 if you ever want to chat.
Jackson Haime is a professional e-commerce nerd specializing in everything startup and small business related. After working for Shopify for two years he transitioned to writing about e-commerce full time. Check out his website Jacksonhai.me for more information.