Best Dropshipping Suppliers: Why Choose AliExpress?

November 16, 2016 Category: Marketing tips
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Starting a very own dropshipping venture may actually be seen as quite a challenging task. This is the reason why entrepreneurs who have a limited experience of running such a business start their activities with searching for a middleman.

The most typical aspect where a middleman’s help is required is assortment strategy – even if newcomers in this business know what exactly they are going to sell, they will most likely have some difficulties with their search for the best dropshipping suppliers.

Therefore, beginners tend to ask for a professional advice of dropshipping services providers. These middlemen own a database of trusted suppliers and provide an access to it on a paid basis. The terms can vary significantly, but the algorithm is usually the same:

  • A dropshipper makes a payment to the dropshipping services provider;
  • A dropshipper gets an access to the suppliers’ database;
  • A dropshipper chooses the desired items from any of the suppliers available and adds these products to the webstore.

These items can be imported to a dropshipper’s website along with their full description and images. Therefore, when customers visit this store and place an order, they actually make their purchase from the supplier.

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Suppliers, in turn, basically provide the full range of services traditionally associated with dropsipnning business: they store items, arrange shipments, provide sellers with tracking codes and, if required, customize the delivered packages by designing them in style of the dropshipping store they work with.

In other words, dropshipping services providers make it really easy for a webstore owner to establish the necessary business contacts with suppliers.

It doesn’t mean, though, that these providers have no downsides: some of the features they possess make them quite uncomfortable for dropshippers, who, in turn, begin paying attention to sensible alternatives. One of them is AliExpress – a platform of global reach that contains selling offers from millions of suppliers worldwide.

What benefits make AliExpress stand out of the competition?

  • Product range. Generally, it is typical for suppliers to mostly concentrate on a narrow product segment or, in the best case scenario, on a limited amount of related categories – for example, children clothing, toys, and stationery; or consumer electronics, gadgets, and gadget accessories, etc. It is uncommon for suppliers to offer more than several million items, which is understandable – managing such an extended stock is quite complicated and resource-consuming. This is not the case for AliExpress – the website is just a platform, designed with the sole purpose of facilitating the interaction between sellers and buyers. Any manufacturer can post their offers on the platform, and this is the reason why the number of products currently presented on AliExpress is estimated to be over 100 million. These products fall into various categories, which makes it possible for dropshippers to choose any items they fancy and adjust their webstores to a specific target audience’s interests.

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  • Free access to the database. It is not uncommon for dropshipping services providers to limit the access to their databases. As the result, dropshippers can’t browse the list of manufacturers and their products before making the necessary entry payment. It surely causes a significant inconvenience for dropshippers since they can’t estimate whether buying an access to this supplier’s catalogue will be a waste of money or a worthy purchase. At the same time, AliExpress doesn’t have any limitations of this kind. The registration on the platform is free, and it’s not even necessary to be registered in order to view all the products available. What is also important, the platform provides some data that is exceptionally valuable for dropshippers since it gives the ground to evaluate the seller’s performance and reliability, and lets businessmen source only the best dropshipping suppliers. These indicators include the length of this business operation, the percentage of positive feedback left by buyers, the number of orders placed by visitors, etc.
  • No fees. It is standard for dropshipping services providers to charge monthly and/or yearly membership fees that vary depending on each separate seller. They can also ask for a restocking fee – a compensation of stocking and delivery expenses occurring in case a customer returns a previously bought item that has no actual defects. None of this is the case for dropshippers who work with suppliers directly through AliExpress. To start working with the sellers who post their offers on the platform, dropshippers don’t have to pay any entry fees, and they certainly don’t have to make any additional payments during the whole process of business collaboration. All the expenses associated with refunds and returns are solely borne by the seller.
  • No limits on markup. Unfortunately, dropshipping services providers put the purchaser’s possibilities of making a considerable profit at risk. It happens because this type of business interaction implies some limits on markup. When dropshippers start working with a seller, they are advised to set a so-called recommended retail price on the seller’s items. In other words, the initial price can only be increased on a given value which normally constitutes not more than 15-20% of the starting cost. In case this requirement isn’t met, the partnership agreement can possibly come to an end. In turn, the sellers who are contacted directly through AliExpress don’t insist on a specific price. Given that the items on AliExpress are known to be very low-priced in comparison to identical products sold elsewhere, the possible markups, and, therefore, the profits, can be quite impressive. Even several-fold price increase in this case will not affect end buyers negatively and will result in adequate financial gains for a dropshipper.

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  • No limits on sales volume. Again, it’s quite a popular practice in this type of business to make a dropshipper reach a certain amount of orders. In case this sales threshold is not met, suppliers can refuse to continue collaboration with this dropshipper. It never happens if you’re contacting a seller via AliExpress. It’s not even necessary to formally address sellers and let them know you are ordering their products for dropshipping purposes.
  • No legal requirements. It’s not a rare thing for dropshipping services providers to only work with officially established entities. Some of them even prefer only USA-registered businesses. None of this is required to contact a manufacturer on AliExpress – the platform is exceptionally popular among private individuals who make purchases for their own use and not for reselling, which is why local suppliers gladly work with everyone regardless of legal status.
  • Customer service. Customer service is a crucial aspect of every business. This is something that gives your webstore an additional value, and builds trusting and loyal community of clients. Sometimes it is not that easy to reach a seller via email or a message in a contact form, and it is inconvenient for dropshippers and surely unwelcomed by purchasers. Placing an order on AliExpress, you can get in touch with the supplier any time you fancy. Even if suppliers you are trying to contact are not online at this very moment, they will get a relevant notification on their email. Additionaly, in case of any technical issues take place, it is also possible to ask dedicated AliExpress support team for a professional advice.

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  • Global reach. The ultimate benefit of starting a dropshipping business is the possibility to reach an unlimited number of customers who weren’t able to get these products in their own countries. As AliDropship support team mentions, the majority of clients who order various goods from the company’s own dropshipping webstores are representatives of Arab and Asian countries. Therefore, it is crucial to make these items available for people across the globe. While general suppliers mostly offer shipping within Europe or the US, AliExpress makes it possible to arrange a delivery literally to any corner of the world without narrowing your target audience to a specific geographic segment.

AliExpress vs dropshipping services providers: general overview

As we can see from all the points mentioned above, the choice of dropshipping suppliers should depend on the following considerations:

  • If you are building a massive-scale enterprise and prefer to make business reputation one of the core benefits of your venture, you should probably go for the help of dropshipping services providers. The point is, sometimes they can even provide an access suppliers who are legally allowed to distribute costly branded products. It means that you will be able to create your own brand and make yourself a prominent business figure in case you have the necessary resources. You should remember, however, that due to the already given reasons you won’t be able to secure a solid profit, and the competition in this segment will be fierce.
  • If you are fine with running a relatively small business and would like to start your venture immediately and with low entry costs, you should go to AliExpress and contact the best dropshipping suppliers by yourself, with no help of middlemen. This is probably the best strategy for newcomers who don’t have the idea of the preferred product range yet. Ordering items for your clients from AliExpress, you will be able to test a huge number of various niches and finally make up your mind on the most promising ones. The best part is that you won’t have to bear any excessive costs and will be free to choose the suitable suppliers for as long as you want!
7 Comments
C. November 18, 2016 14:12:22

My biggest problem is shipping. How do you go about letting the customer know that since the item is coming from mainland China that their package has a solid 3-5 week lead time to the US?

    yaros November 19, 2016 9:38:49

    It is not a problem at all when you use epacket shipping option. It’s free (or costs only $2-$4), takes 10-20 days to deliver and always provides tracking.

Harry Aloof November 20, 2016 11:00:32

Excellent Advice.

Thank You!

Mohsin November 25, 2016 11:52:09

That’s a good article right here. Thanks for writing.

I have a question help me out. Wouldn’t the customer freak out when he sees logo of other company or price tag of different amount from what we sold them the product for??

    yaros November 28, 2016 5:20:03

    We usually ask supplier not to include any promo materials or invoices into the packages.

Michael January 6, 2017 20:17:38

Well, do we have to contact every single supplier that we would like to dropship from them, or it’s fine to order it and put a message to ‘not put invoices and promotions’?

    yaros January 9, 2017 6:53:57

    You don’t need to contact AliExpress suppliers asking about dropshipping. Leaving a message like ‘not put invoices and promotions’ is enough.

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