Thanks to My Aliexpress Dropshipping Store, I Enjoy a Carefree Life in the World’s Richest City

February 10, 2017 Category: Success stories
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Bringing dropshipping to Dubai

Please welcome Michael – one of AliDropship clients ready to share his amazing success story. This one is really fabulous!

Hey everybody, I’m Michael, and for the last 5 years I’ve lived in Dubai, UAE.

I guess you know that Dubai is an insanely expensive city to live in. It’s known as the top favorite residing spot for Arabian sheikhs and billionaires from all over the globe. Still, I really like the living standards of this city, and my girlfriend feels really safe and comfortable here.

However, even though the cost of living is incredible, I found a way to secure us a high quality of life. It turned out, I don’t even have to become an oil tycoon. I can even go without selling my soul to the devil! 🙂

 

How I first stepped on the dropshipping road

Bringing dropshipping to DubaiI spent several years living far away from my family, and in some time I decided I am ready to help my girlfriend relocate and start living together.

I was sure my salary will be enough to provide for both of us, but unfortunately I was wrong. The money was barely enough to pay for accommodation and food, and we were basically struggling to make both ends meet. My girlfriend couldn’t get a job since she wasn’t fluent in English at the time.

To put an end to this misery, I started my search for additional sources of income.

I was already familiar with the concept of dropshipping with AliExpress, and I’ve read a number of stories about this.

For several reasons, the scheme seemed really appealing:

  • I didn’t have to create stock;
  • As a beginner, I didn’t need a significant money investment;
  • The money would promptly go on my account – in affiliate business, for example, I would have to wait for months for this money to come;
  • I could start such a business on the spot even though I’m a newcomer – I considered the scheme to be really simple and clear;
  • My solid previous experience in trade and retail would help me a lot.

So I started monitoring this issue closely. One day I was reading quite a reputable and influential international forum on internet marketing, and this is where I stumbled upon a thread created by Yaros from AliDropship. His story was something; I enjoyed the way the thread patiently described all the steps he had to take in order to create and promote his own dropshipping stores.

I was so impressed I immediately contacted Yaros via Skype. We had a number of counseling interviews, and then I placed my order. I’ve ordered my very own AliExpess dropshipping store – AliDropship develops fully functioning webstores that are ready for operation. I’ve always been working in trade & retail, so I had no experience in building a website. Needless to say, the service hit the spot!

 

How I’ve chosen my niche

The niche choice plays a huge role in the success of your store. I’ve been looking for a proper idea for a long time, and I have started my search even before placing the order on a store. I have considered a bunch of various factors and finally decided that I will sell beach accessories.

Bringing dropshipping to Dubai

I made a decision to promote this store in Dubai – I already know the local mentality, and I can profit from the affluent citizens.
My niche choice was based on the following factors:

  • Roughly speaking, summer lasts all year round in Dubai, so beach accessories are always in demand;
  • A huge amount of these thematic items is sold on AliExpress;
  • The demand on these items is astonishing. As the result, they are sold with a large premium. Even if I add 300-500% to the price set by AliExpress seller, my offers will still be cheaper than the identical ones sold in regular local stores.
  • I love beaches! I’m really passionate about beach leisure so I know what kinds of items will be sought after, and which ones of them I’d like to sell.

The current growth of my business helps me understand that I was totally right with my choice!

 

What I did to promote my store

It took AliDropship about 10 days to fully develop my store, and I’m really grateful to the team – the work was done quickly and professionally. I also paid for creating and integrating the necessary social networks, so when the webstore was handed over I was ready to begin its promotion. It turned out to be a wonderful time saver!
I started with identifying my target audience. I decided it will consist of young expats, as well as expats who have kids. Basically that’s the people who, aside from tourists, are the most common beachgoers in Dubai.

Bringing dropshipping to Dubai

For a number of reasons I initially didn’t think that I will include native Dubai citizens in my target audience:

  • I thought they buy stuff only in premium luxury stores;
  • They represent only 10% of Dubai citizens since all the rest are expats;
  • My store is in English, and they prefer Arabic language.

But it turned out later that I was actually mistaken. A considerable part of my customers is Arabs.

Bringing dropshipping to Dubai

So I made up my mind on the target audience, and after that I started making a list of online media that is relevant for my potential customers. This list included:

  • Groups on Facebook;
  • Local forums;
  • Expats’ forums devoted to Dubai;
  • Local blogs;
  • Local classifieds;
  • Instagram and Twitter;
  • YouTube.

When you know who is your target audience and where to find it, the whole promotion proves gets really simple. I went through all this list of media to leave the info about my store by:

  • Creating threads and leaving comments on forums;
  • Making announcements in Facebook groups;
  • Writing guest posts in various blogs;
  • Creating ads with my items on classifieds sites;
  • Managing Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

Apart from this, I get about 30% of traffic thanks to thoughtful search engine optimization.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s not that difficult to promote your webstore. If you know your products and are passionate about them, if you understand your target audience, if you know how to spread the word about your store – you will be more than fine!

 

What are the results?

I ordered my store in the beginning of April, and I got my first customers in the first 3-4 days after it was handed over. I was still working full-time on my regular job, and my working day was about 10-12 hours per day, one day off per week. Sounds crazy, I know. So basically I only had 2-3 hours per day to promote my store and handle all the orders.

In May, I already enjoyed 3-5 client orders per day, and my profit was about $3000. So I decided it’s time to involve my girlfriend in this business. She couldn’t find a decent full-time job in Dubai, but she was perfect dealing with my store. I made her responsible for adding new products to the store and answering clients’ letters.

Bringing dropshipping to Dubai

Long story short, in June my turnover reached the mark of $11,000, and net profit amounted to about $7,000. So I thought that maybe I don’t need to be employed full-time – my current job consumes 70 hours per week, and I’d prefer a bit more freedom, you know :-). Anyway, I’m still considering the thought of quitting and the decision is not made yet.

In September, my turnover hit the mark of almost $ 25,000. So I decided to tell this story in full detail since I wanted to thank this exceptional team for everything they did for me. I am so grateful to the company because they show how to run dropshipping business on their own example. AliDropship support managers were helping me out a lot, and the advice I got from them on the initial stage was priceless.

I am currently working on 2 more shops in other niches, and I hope that I will able to write my success stories about them in the nearest future as well.

I hope the story of my business will be very useful for many people, and I hope it will motivate them to create their own stores. I’m not afraid of competition because there are million niches similar to mine. It’s just a matter of your imagination to pick one!

Wishing you the best of luck,

Michael P.,
Dubai, January 2017

53 Comments
Ty February 11, 2017 1:54:34

Great article Michael, I look forward to following this story more and your progress! Best of luck and great work

    john lennon February 28, 2017 17:56:25

    theres a store with beach stuff in dubai that reports only 1.9k visits, according to similarweb. in comparison, worldofharry reports 113k.

    Hazel August 11, 2017 4:03:18

    Hello, may I ask if you ordered a custom store? was it the 299? 499? or 899? I’d truly appreciate your reply. Thank you.

Barry Shields February 13, 2017 17:28:50

Great story Michael, going to look into this myself, Any help you could throw my way would be greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work. Cheers

Helos February 17, 2017 4:17:54

Hi Michael do you use Ali standard free shipping 25-40 days to deliver to UAE?

    Michael February 20, 2017 5:42:45

    Hey, I am using only free shipping by epacket (when possible) or China post.

      john lennon February 28, 2017 17:52:48

      no sellers on aliexpress offer epacket deliery to UAE.

Ivanilson Ribeiro February 20, 2017 16:33:01

Huuu… i can t wait the build my shop… good job, i loved your history.. I m in Brazil, but want to sell to all world.. Congratulations Michael, more success!!!

Carlo February 22, 2017 16:30:16

Hi Michael, can I ask why you targeted specificly Dubai people and not worlwide? How you targeted them specificly? WIth SEO ?
Sincere compliments and best regards

    Michael February 23, 2017 6:00:30

    Hi Carlo!

    I decided to target Dubai, because I live in this region, I am familiar with demands of this market and know that people have money here:) I am using social media generally and advertise on local groups.

Mo February 23, 2017 20:33:50

Hi Michael, could you describe your payments setup? How are you receiving payments? Paypal, Stripe, or which other processor? Did you setup a business entity in Dubai or elsewhere? Thanks!

    Michael February 27, 2017 4:28:14

    I am using both PP and 2CO. I have not opened any business yet.

      sarah July 19, 2017 7:54:15

      how did you begin receiving payments without a formal business set up? Doesn’t setting up an account with 2CO require a business banking account (therefore a trade license)? I am trying to start the same with very little money, and curious to know how you accomplished this in Dubai.
      thanks!

Elod February 24, 2017 11:37:30

Hello Michael!
It is nice that people have a success and never give up on their goals and dreams. Wish you success also in future. 🙂

I have one question regarding customs and one about accounting.
1. Do you pay custom duties to Dubai or it is stated on your website that the customer will be responsible for his/her product when he/she buys it?
2. If it is possible to get an invoice from AliExpress for you accounting purposes?

Best Regards,
Elod.

    Michael February 27, 2017 4:31:24

    Hi Elod!

    1. I mention on my store that a customer is be responsible for any customs.
    2. I am usually using invoices given by PayPal and credit card processor.

Debbie February 24, 2017 19:31:36

Michael

So I am just in the beginning stages of this business opportunity of drop shipping.
The more i read, the more i get confused.
It started out with Shopify/Ali Express drop shipping, creating my website, etc.
Now i am reading there are businesses that will build your website for you!!
As i go further, they will do the marketing/advertising for you.
So now i am at the point where i am totally overwhelmed and what i thought
would not be a big monetary investment could be especially if i do not really
understand the whole picture. So long story short, i sure could use some advice
and guidance if you have time.

    yaros February 27, 2017 5:48:19

    Hello,

    AliDropship plugin works only with WordPress and can’t be used with Shopify platform.

    To start your dropshipping business with AliDropship you have two options:
    1. Buy the plugin and build your store yourself: https://alidropship.com/plugin/
    2. Order a custom store development service and AliDropship will create a store for you: https://alidropship.com/start-new-business/

      Prudence May 17, 2017 10:58:00

      Hey Yaros. I live in South Africa, is it possible for me to operate an AliDropshipping business and must I worry and stress about delivering products to clients who are from around the world? Thank you as your response will be highly appreciated

        yaros May 17, 2017 11:27:32

        We have clients from Africa and they are operating dropshipping businesses, however there are issues with credit cards payment gateways. There are few processing companies that work with the country. But now we are integrating Dusupay system that should help.

      Kal June 27, 2017 23:43:51

      Hi Yaros,
      I live in the US and I am interested in drop shipping business. However, the prices at Aliexpress is kind of comparable to Amazon which has faster delivery services. How can some one set up a profitable drop shipping venture for the US?

        yaros June 29, 2017 5:08:58

        Yes, there are some items which might indeed be cheaper on Amazon, but I don’t find many.

        It should be noted that there are tons of AliExpress suppliers offering the exact same product for a different price. So I recommend devoting some time to searching for the same product from a different supplier and with a cheaper price.

        As for shipping, AliExpress offers free shipping for almost all products that Amazon does not. Besides, you can also import products from suppliers with storages based in Europe and North America to offer you the faster delivery. I would also recommend using ePacket shipping option that is free (or costs $2-5) and provides fast delivery.

      John August 2, 2017 15:45:34

      Hi Yaros,
      what do you recommend to use for shipping to UAE as epacket isnt available?
      Thanks

rima March 9, 2017 16:21:12

hi micheal, congratulations for your stores and great article. I want to start an online drop shipping business and Im totally confused still researching a lot. How is the delivery for your customers done, is th supplier shipping directly to ur customers and how long it takes, do u need any trade license in dubai to start or no need. thank you appreciate your help

    Michael March 10, 2017 7:03:55

    Hi, right, suppliers ship directly to my clients and it takes from 10 to 30 days. I don’t have any trade license.

Kenny March 14, 2017 15:49:02

Congratulations Michael! I just ordered my website and looking forward to seeing it! It’s like witnessing the birth of your child and seeing him/ her grow up.

Anyway congrats once again and wishing you greater success in your two new niches. Cheers mate.

Dickson March 26, 2017 15:47:16

Hi Micheal,Congrats on your drop shipping business with alidropship. I always love to join the train into the world of online business. But l’m having 5 major challenges
1 Profitable Niche selection

2 Payments Solution since l live in a country where papal isn’t working and don’t have the resources for other payments gateways.

3 You targeted your local,in my world online shopping is an upcoming venture where most locals prefer brick and motar shopping.

4 How much work did you put in to attain such level of success,always we are made to taste the juice forgetting the pain,struggles and failures.

5 Did you need to write chains of articles on your store to draw in buyer?

I live in Ghana west africa and really need to start this business model.

    Wale July 14, 2017 5:42:10

    Hello Dickson,

    Ecommerce is without boundaries so you can actually target customers outside of Ghana.

    There are numerous payment gateways you can incorporate in your store that will serve international market and which you don’t have to make an upfront payment for. E’g, 2CO.

    And expect to do some hard work, at least initially to get your store off the starting line.

    Best of luck

Fahad March 29, 2017 9:28:37

Great article Micheal, I was wonderful if you require a License to open a webstore in the UAE.

    Michael March 30, 2017 6:35:41

    Thanks! I did not apply for any.

Abdur April 14, 2017 23:06:04

Hi Michael,
I am in Dubai, I have a question, do I need to do any registration with Dubai government to startup any dropship business.

    suleman July 5, 2017 10:51:34

    You need to get Lisence for any business kinds you want to started in UEA.

Rahim Bashir May 8, 2017 1:42:19

Gr8 Article Micheal .. is 2CO is the best option to recive payments in Uae . Or is there anything else which is simple n best .
Guys we can make whatsapp group for UAE people to share knowledge with startups in UAE .
Feel free to contact me through My FB Id . Jus search my Name .

Rami Chehab May 9, 2017 3:01:19

That’s a great inspiring story. Wish you more success. I’m in Abu Dhabi and hope to get a chance to meet you one day!

Asfar June 22, 2017 7:53:53

Hi Yaros and everyone,

Is it possible to start dropshipping store for USA, UK or Australia target market, while i am located in Pakistan and don’t have any physical address in USA. Will this effect in term of customers’ trust ?
Also any details for tax issue in USA would be helpful.

Thanks

    yaros June 22, 2017 7:59:15

    Hi, yes, it’s possible, many dropshippers target these markets without having any physical address. As for tax questions we are preparing materials about this topic.

nath July 1, 2017 19:20:15

Hi Michael..

Congrats for ur success in this field.
I m researching a lot for a good platform for such an opportunity..

I live in India, can I enter into this . Does they ships to remote areas.?

Ur reply will be highly appreciated.
Thank you….

suleman July 5, 2017 10:49:08

Good days
I come just to got my freezone license company in Dubai
I have build my website myself and I will launched my website soon but I would like to know how can find a drop shipping in Dubai

    yassine September 18, 2017 14:48:18

    Hi suleman, I want to know how to set a business in freezone like u did..and did u have it in dubai or other emirate? and what will be the total fees? thank you

Karla July 8, 2017 6:38:32

Hi Michael, great story and congrats.
Can you clarify if you have a business/trade license in the UAE in order to operate your drop shipping store with Aliexpress? If so, which freezone are you currently using and why?
Many thanks.

Michael July 8, 2017 11:29:15

Actually, I started without any license, but now I am registering company in JLT free zone.

    Karla July 10, 2017 8:02:23

    Thanks. And what made you get the license in the end?

George July 8, 2017 13:43:15

Congrats Michael. Can you name your online portal ?

Marcus July 13, 2017 12:31:50

Hi yaros

I from the Philippines. Is it possible to do dropshipping here? Do you have existing clients here?
If i buy custom store will you help me find profitable niche?
Thanks in advance

    yaros July 13, 2017 14:20:48

    We have many clients from Philippines. Actually you can dropship from any part of the world. Regarding a niche, honestly saying, you never know what niche is profitable until you try it. What we can do for you is to select several promising niches and do a niche research for them. But if you take your business seriously, I always recommend choosing a niche you are interested in yourself.

Marc July 18, 2017 0:34:26

I have a quick question: taxes, how is that working?
VAT is due to start in January and my target audience will be in the US.
Also, did you have to create a business in a Free Zone or equivalent to get started?

sarah July 18, 2017 5:51:35

hi Michael, great story.
I am trying to figure out the payment process. if you first started without a business license, how did you receive the payments from customers orders? (did you use your personal bank account?)
many thanks.

melissa July 20, 2017 10:11:35

Hi Michael,
Congrats on the successful venture.
As far as my research shows, epacket is not servicing the middle east. Can you confirm how you are using epacket?? Also, if you did not have a business license, then you could not open accounts with 2CO or any other payment gateway company, therefore i imaging that only COD is available, however how would COD work if using drop shipping business model – how do you collect your money?
Thanks for any clarification as I am also trying to start a small drop shipping business with very little startup funds.

    Mudit July 27, 2017 15:58:04

    Hi Michael,
    Congrats on your successful venture and inspiring story.

    I’m studying the business behind dropshipping myself now and am located in Dubai. I too, like Melissa, wish to inquire how you collected your money without registration of business. If possible, I’d like to have a skype conversation with you.

    Like you, I have very little start-up funds – hence I’m trying to get this aspect of the information clearly to understand my full investment in a dropshopping business.

      Dan August 6, 2017 5:35:32

      Hi Michael, could you provide the contact details of the people who help you create/setup your webstore Thanks!

John August 2, 2017 11:54:33

Hi Michael,
Very inspiring story and thanks for sharing. what are you doing interms of the long lead times since epacket isnt available in the UAE. is there an alternative method without paying extortion amount of money for delivery
Thanks

Dan August 2, 2017 13:36:34

Hi Michael, could you provide the contact details of the people who help you create/setup your webstore Thanks!

Ahmed August 13, 2017 6:25:40

HI MICHAEL,

CONGRATS BRO FOR THE INSPIRING STORY ..

i am still searching about the whole dropshipping idea and i would appreciate if i can contact you anytime on skype to understand more about the whole process ,, i hope u reply for this because iam really interested in starting Drop shipping business ,, let me know if we can skype anytime

Kelvin September 16, 2017 6:48:57

Great inspiring story..
I want to know how you withdraw your payments without a trade license in dubai? is there any way to withdraw PayPal or 2co balance…

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