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AliExpress Dropshipping 101: The Ultimate Guide [+Expert Tips]

by Irene Leander
AliExpress Dropshipping 101: The Ultimate Guide [+Expert Tips] - OneCommerce

Dropshipping is booming like never before. Millions of people are jumping on the bandwagon of this lucrative online business model. But not all of them succeed. Why? Because they don’t know how to find the best suppliers for their products.

That’s where AliExpress dropshipping comes in. AliExpress is the ultimate destination for dropshippers who want to source high-quality products at low prices and ship them fast to anywhere in the world.

In this article, we’ll show you everything you need to know about AliExpress dropshipping, from A to Z. You’ll learn how to start, run, and grow your own profitable online store with AliExpress.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

💡 Recommended reading:

What is AliExpress?

AliExpress is a Chinese e-marketplace that has a massive range of small businesses ready every minute to ship orders worldwide from China and Singapore.

AliExpress was launched in 2010 and has since grown to offer over 100 million products, ranging from electronics and clothing to home goods and beauty cosmetics. These products are relatively cheap and affordable because they come directly from China, where manufacturing costs are low.

Many online sellers have discovered the potential of AliExpress as a source of products for their dropshipping businesses. Dropshipping with AliExpress has been widespread and helped millions make their best living from home with little investment.

What is AliExpress Dropshipping?

AliExpress dropshipping is a business model in which the dropshipper sells products from AliExpress without worrying about upfront costs and inventory.

The dropshipping model-OneCommerce

There are 3 main players in the AliExpress dropshipping process:

  • AliExpress (as the supplier)
  • Dropshippers
  • Customers

When a customer orders from you (the dropshipper), it’s your responsibility to forward the customer’s order and address to AliExpress. Then, from its warehouse, AliExpress delivers the products to the customer accordingly.

When dropshipping, you always go back and forth between your customers and suppliers. You’re in the middle of this trading relationship, meaning you’re on behalf of AliExpress to solve the customer’s problems.

While AliExpress can help you do the returns or refunds, you’re in charge of marketing the products to push sales.

It’s a win-win business with AliExpress dropshipping. Sometimes, a wise dropshipping strategy can help you leverage the marketplace to its fullest possibilities, and you’ll just win more.

Below, we’ll show you the benefits of AliExpress on dropshipping so you’ll know why it’s truly promising.

7 Reasons To Start AliExpress Dropshipping Business

AliExpress bears a reliable resource of suppliers ready to ship worldwide. This already makes it an excellent destination for dropshippers.

Plus, with these advantages, the marketplace should maintain its top position for years to come. The benefits of AliExpress dropshipping include the following:

  • It’s free. Unlike many other platforms, AliExpress doesn’t require resellers to pay any fee to dropship with it. This means you can kickstart a profitable online business with zero upfront cost. Maybe little capital is needed to fuel your marketing attempts, and that’s all.
  • No need to handle inventory and shipping. The whole meaning of dropshipping would fade away if you had to take care of inventory and shipping as a dropshipper. AliExpress ensures those tasks belong to the professionals only, so you’ll have more time for the sales and marketing duties.
  • A broad selection of products to choose from. The number of products listed on AliExpress was estimated to be over 100 million in 2020, and it’s been increasing. This impressive number beats popular platforms like CJDropshipping, SaleHoo, and Amazon.
  • Almost everything can be found. AliExpress offers over 10,000 product categories in just about any industry. The most profitable niches are phones, ring lights, smartwatches, USB chargers, headphones, and jewelry. This means your business is scalable with AliExpress dropshipping.
  • Available product images and descriptions. Creating media materials for the items yourself might be a headache. Rest assured, AliExpress encourages dropshippers to use images and content from its site for marketing purposes. However, making some tweaks before publishing is critical to position yourself as a branded store.
  • Many warehouses are located in the USA and Europe. Congrats if you’re looking to dropship to the USA or Europe. Though the marketplace is from China, these warehouses help to cut down the delivery time and speed up the return process.
  • It’s easy to get started. You can start a dropshipping business with just a few hours of work. Use a platform like Shopify or WooCommerce to set up an online store, and several dropshipping apps can help you integrate your store with AliExpress. We’ll give you a step-by-step guide at the end of this post.

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How to Find The Right Suppliers on AliExpress?

AliExpress has lots of suppliers in different shapes and sizes. Hence, it’s essential to detect suitable suppliers to work with. Once you’ve found the right ones, keep in touch and consider doing long-term business with them.

Avoid looking for different suppliers all the time when it’s possible to just stick with one or a few. This keeps your store’s product quality consistent to customers—one of the important reasons they will keep coming back.

But what makes an AliExpress dropshipping supplier potential? Take these five factors into account:

  • Customer reviews
  • Products
  • Delivery time
  • Customer service
  • Pricing

1. Customer reviews

Reading reviews is a must to quickly determine if the supplier is trustworthy. Those reviews can give you an idea of the product quality, shipping time, the supplier’s responsiveness, and more.

You’ll figure out why you should partner with the supplier from the Customer Reviews section on AliExpress. Only one bad feedback might say little, but pay attention to it. Such can indicate a situation you may find severe for your business.

Also, be careful with fake reviews. New merchants usually have this type of trick to sound more legit. It’s easy to spot fraudulent reviews just by looking at how unnatural they say. They’re often repetitive or exaggerated while lacking needed clarity.

With positive reviews, AliExpress gives prominent tags filtered from all reviews to show what’s noteworthy about the item. These tags are made from repeated phrases in testimonials. Having a glance at these helps to learn about the supplier in seconds.

Customer reviews on AliExpress

Customer reviews on AliExpress

2. Products

Regarding products, we recommend you answer these questions when studying dropshipping suppliers.

  • Do they have the products you need?
  • Are their products always in stock?
  • Would they give you low-priced samples to test before you decide to have them as the main resource?
  • How is the product quality?

Products are the core of a business. So, unless you miss at least one of those questions, your business can run nicely.

Like other marketplaces, AliExpress products are inconsistent in their quality and quantity. This means you can have quality items to dropship, but at the same time, you couldn’t be sure about the supplier’s ability to fulfill all orders.

Fortunately, most merchants on AliExpress know the platform is mostly for resellers. Feel free to contact them directly to introduce you as a dropshipper, ask for samples, and discuss their return policies and fulfillment ability.

3. Delivery time

Short delivery time can increase customer retention rate. Make sure your AliExpress dropshipping suppliers offer a delivery method called ePacket, a reliable and affordable shipping option for small, lightweight packages from China and Hong Kong.

ePacket allows consumers to receive their purchases faster and more affordably from online stores based in China and Hong Kong. It is a joint initiative between the United States Postal Service (USPS) and China Post and is available to customers in 44 countries.

ePacket shipments are typically delivered within 10-20 days. The exact delivery time, however, will vary depending on the destination country and the shipping method.

4. Customer service

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing an AliExpress dropshipping supplier is their responsiveness.

You don’t want to deal with a supplier who ignores your requests or complaints, especially when you have a return or exchange issue. This can damage your reputation and customer satisfaction.

To check the supplier’s responsiveness, you can:

  • Read the reviews from other buyers on AliExpress. Look for any feedback on how fast and helpful the supplier was in resolving any problems.
  • Contact the supplier directly and ask them some questions about their products, policies, or shipping methods. See how quickly and politely they reply.
  • Order something from the supplier yourself and test their service. You can also try sending them some critical feedback and see how they react.

Another factor to consider is how the supplier treats you after you buy their products.

  • Do they have clear and fair return and refund policies?
  • Do they handle your returns quickly and smoothly?
  • Do they care about your satisfaction or just your money?

❗Unfortunately, there is no easy way to know these things in advance. However, what you CAN do is conduct some research and compare different suppliers and products on AliExpress. After all, finding a good AliExpress dropshipping supplier on AliExpress may take some time and effort, but it will pay off in the long run.

5. Pricing

Last but not least, suppliers with pleasant pricing should jump to your top list.

Why? You can give your customer a better markup to get more competitive than your competition. Or, keep your current selling price still, and enjoy higher margin profits.

However, don’t just look for cheap commodity products. If everyone wants suppliers with the lowest pricing possible, they have to adjust their costs by decreasing the product quality. Over time, it could be harder to find a supplier with promising pricing on good items.

It’s easy to find products within your budget using the price filter on AliExpress. Simply enter your favorite price range (min to max) and/or choose Sort by Price to see items with higher or lower prices first.

How to look for items in your affordable price range for AliExpress dropshipping

How to look for items in your affordable price range on AliExpress

How to Find Dropshipping Products on AliExpress?

Finding reliable AliExpress dropshipping suppliers is hard if you don’t start with products first. By exploring products in general, you can hopefully find the best items from the best suppliers.

Below are common ways dropshippers find and select winning products for AliExpress dropshipping.

1. Search by keyword

This is the most straightforward method to find your products. Type your product keyword (e.g., necklace for women) into the search bar on AliExpress.

The more detailed the keyword is, the more precise results you’ll get. For example, “stainless steel tumblers with straws for kids“.

The search bar on AliExpress

Type the product keyword into the search bar on AliExpress

2. Browse by category

Another quick way to search for products is by hovering over the category sidebar on the AliExpress homepage. Click on your category and start exploring all products listed.

While browsing products, remember to consider decisive criteria like the number of sold items, rating, percentage discounts, store names, etc.

Browse your product categories

Browse your product categories

3. Use filters

Earlier, we talked about the pricing filter to help search for products within your budget range. There are more filters to narrow down your search for products as well.

Use filters to narrow down your AliExpress dropshipping product search

Use filters to narrow down your product search

For example, AliExpress allows you to filter your search results by shipping, sale, rating, number of items sold, and more.

There are millions of products on this big eCommerce platform, so once you’ve been adept at using these filters, you can save time for other tasks.

4. Follow stores

Want to know the secret to finding hot and trending products for AliExpress dropshipping? It’s simple: just follow the best sellers! They will give you insights into what customers are crazy about and what products are flying off the shelves.

If you find a favorite store, you can follow it to see any new products they add. This is a good way to stay up-to-date on the latest trend as well.

On the store page, you’ll know when it’s established, the percentage of positive reviews, and how many followers the store has. These factors will let you know whether it’s worth it to follow a store or spend time browsing its offerings.

💡 Need some recommendations for which store to follow? Here are some highlights:

5. Use product discovery tools

To cut through the noise, one of the best tools to find AliExpress dropshipping products is Ali Hunter.

Over 200,000 people are now using it with excellent feedback as an easy-to-install extension from the Chrome Web Store. Plus, it comes as an intuitive web application as well!

Find winning products from AliExpress with Ali Hunter

Find winning products from AliExpress with Ali Hunter

The tool works by providing insights into AliExpress suppliers’ and competitors’ stores, such as price history, order history, and similar products.

It also allows you to track the performance of products over time, so you can see which ones are trending and which ones are losing popularity.

Here are some additional details about the features of Ali Hunter:

  • Price history: indicates how the price of a product has fluctuated over time. You can identify products that are currently underpriced or overpriced.
  • Orders history: shows how many orders a product has received in the past 30 days. This can help you gauge the popularity of a product and its potential for sales.
  • Similar products: presents you with other products that are similar to the one you are researching. You’ll find new products to sell or to expand your existing product line.
  • Who sells on Shopify: informs if the product you are researching is also sold on Shopify. This helps you identify potential competitors and see how they are pricing their products.
  • Supplier summary: gives you a holistic view of the supplier’s best-selling and trending products. Based on that, you may find suppliers that are selling high-quality products that are in demand.

Overall, Ali Hunter helps you find products to win big in your online business with AliExpress. It takes you just one click away to install, a few minutes to learn how to use it, and less than a day to grab the best items to sell.

💡 If you’re serious about starting an AliExpress dropshipping business, we recommend checking it out.

A Step-by-Step Guide to AliExpress Dropshipping

You now know the general concept of dropshipping on AliExpress, and how to find suppliers and products from this marketplace. However, the overall AliExpress dropshipping business involves many other steps to follow and succeed.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to dropship with AliExpress:

Step 1: Find your niche

Setting out with a specific niche makes later tasks such as finding products and suppliers easier. With the diverse categories ranging from fashion to electronics, it’s possible to determine your niche.

To come up with a profitable niche for AliExpress dropshipping that could go with you in the long run, we recommend you answer these questions:

  • What is your passion? What is that one thing you’re really passionate about that you just can’t get tired of?
  • What are the current trends and opportunities in your passion, expertise, or interest area? How can you capitalize on them?
  • What are the problems or pain points that your potential customers face in your niche? How can you solve them with your products or services?
  • What are the unique selling points or benefits of your products or services? How do they stand out from your competitors?
💡 What are some good niches for AliExpress dropshipping?

  • Tech supplies: includes products such as smartphones, headphones, cables, laptops, power banks, and so on. These products are always in high demand and have a large customer base.
  • Accessories: includes products such as bags, backpacks, belts, bracelets, earrings, etc. These products are popular among fashion lovers and can help you create a loyal and engaged audience.
  • Home and garden: includes products such as furniture, decor, tools, plants, etc. These products are suitable for people who want to improve their living space and enjoy their hobbies.

Step 2: Find products and suppliers

It’s better to log into your AliExpress account when finding products and suppliers. An account allows you to save browsing history and follow stores.

If you haven’t had an account yet, go to the AliExpress official website, and click Register at the upper right corner of the site. Enter the required information and start logging in once you’ve registered successfully.

In addition, it’s crucial to test out products before you sell to avoid unwanted disputes with both suppliers and customers. Testing samples also give you a sense of confidence when selling because you know exactly how excellent your products are.

Step 3: Open a Shopify store

If you just tap into dropshipping and need to kickstart FAST, you’ll need a Shopify store to begin your AliExpress dropshipping business. Consider Shopify’s 14-day free trial if you’re new to the platform.

After creating a Shopify account, start by choosing a theme. Shopify comes with a variety of free and paid themes you can use to customize the look and feel of your Shopify store.

The next step is to build critical pages on your store site such as the About Us page, Contact page, Homepage, Product page, etc.

Then, set up Shopify Payments so that customers can pay for your products. Shopify integrates with a variety of payment processors, such as PayPal and Stripe.

Finally, you will need to configure shipping for your store to let customers know how much it will cost to deliver their orders. Shopify integrates with shipping carriers such as UPS and USPS.

💡 Learn from our step-by-step guide on how to use Shopify!

Step 4: Integrate AliExpress with your store

To automate your business process, you need to integrate AliExpress with your Shopify store. The most time-effective way is to use a dropshipping app.

These dropshipping apps can help you import products from AliExpress to your Shopify store and fulfill orders automatically:

  • Ali Orders
  • Oberlo
  • DSers
  • Spocket
  • CJ Dropshipping
  • AutoDS

Step 5: Market your business

Once your store has been set up, it’s time to promote it to the public. Social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising are two optimal marketing tactics for new stores.

You can create social media pages for your store and post regular updates about your products, promotions, and blog posts. You can also run social media ads to target specific demographics and interests.

When you market your AliExpress dropshipping business, remember that you are the face of your brand and you should never reveal your supplier to your customers.

You are responsible for every stage of the sales funnel, from attracting customers to delivering products. Therefore, always provide excellent customer service and value to your customers and make them loyal and happy.

💡Want to master social media marketing and boost sales? Learn from these articles:

Step 6: Take good care of your customers

Running an AliExpress dropshipping business isn’t only about offering products to your customers.

If you want a better reputation, pay serious attention to customer service. Remember that excellent support speaks volumes about the quality of your business.

It’s not just for show, though. By delivering services such as live chat support, FAQ pages, returns & refunds, exchange policies, phone numbers, etc., you increase the chance of getting more re-purchases.

shopify free trial


1. What are some common mistakes to avoid when choosing products and suppliers on AliExpress?

  • Going for the lowest price without considering the quality, reliability, and reputation of the supplier. You may end up with poor products, unhappy customers, and negative feedback.
  • Buying from suppliers that have low or no positive feedback. This may indicate that the supplier is new, untrustworthy, or fraudulent. You should look for suppliers that have at least 95% and higher positive feedback, as well as a high number of orders and reviews.
  • Selling brand products without verifying their authenticity. Some suppliers may sell counterfeit or infringing products that violate intellectual property rights. This can get you into legal trouble, as well as damage your reputation and customer satisfaction.
  • Running out of stock or having long shipping delays. Some suppliers may not update their inventory or shipping status regularly, or they may run out of stock due to high demand. This can cause you to lose sales, customers, and profits.

2. How much does it cost to dropship on AliExpress?

100% free of charge. You don’t have to pay any fees or charges to access the products or suppliers for AliExpress dropshipping. The only fee you have to pay is for the products you sell when you receive an order from your customer.

Final Thoughts

Dropshipping is not without its challenges. One of the biggest mountains to climb over is finding reliable suppliers. You need to make sure that yours can deliver high-quality products on time and that they have a good reputation.

Whether you’re new to the eCommerce industry or not, AliExpress dropshipping is a worthwhile option. With over 100 million products produced by merchants worldwide, AliExpress will make a sturdy base for your online business’ prosperity.

We hope this guide has been helpful. If you want more articles like this, please check out OneCommerce Blog. Thank you for reading!

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