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How to Start Dropshipping with AliExpress (2024 Playbook)

How to Start Dropshipping with AliExpress (2024 Playbook)

Dropshipping has become a popular trend in the e-commerce industry, allowing entrepreneurs to run their own online stores without managing inventory or handling shipping. In this article, we will delve into the world of dropshipping and provide a guide on how to start with AliExpress, one of the most reliable platforms in the market.

What is Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a retail fulfilment method that allows businesses to sell a wide range of products without having them in stock. Instead, they take orders from their customers and buy the products from a third-party supplier, who then ships them to the customer. In dropshipping, the supplier is responsible for storing the inventory, packing, and shipping the product to the customer. The business only needs to focus on marketing and making sales.

what is dropshipping?

Advantages of Dropshipping

Some of the advantages  of dropshipping include:

Low Startup Costs
Dropshipping requires very little upfront investment compared to other business models. Since you don't need to purchase inventory in advance, you can start selling products without much capital.

No Inventory Management
With dropshipping, you don't have to worry about managing inventory. This means you can focus on other aspects of your business, such as marketing and customer service.

benefits of dropshipping

Wide Product Selection
Dropshipping gives the advantage of selling a wide variety of products to your customers since there is no need for inventory management. This makes it possible for you to attract more customers and increase sales.

Location Independence
Dropshipping allows you to work from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. This means you can run your business from home, while travelling, or from a co-working space.

Easy to scale
Dropshipping is very easy to scale. As your business grows, you can increase the number of products you offer without worrying about storage space or additional inventory costs.

Disadvantages of Dropshipping

As with  every other thing with  advantages and disadvantages, dropshipping has its own disadvantages, which include the following:

Lower Profit Margins
It involves relying on a third-party supplier to fulfil orders, which means that you do not have control over the pricing of the products. This can lead to lower profit margins as you must pay the supplier's prices.

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For higher profit margins, you can decide on what you want your profit to be, get the retail price, and add your profit to the retail price to create your sales price.

Limited Control
You have limited control over the products' quality and how they are shipped. This can lead to negative customer experiences and damage your reputation if the quality of items is subpar or if shipping takes longer than expected.

Shipping Issues
Dropshipping often involves sourcing products from different suppliers, which can lead to complications with shipping. This can result in delayed or lost shipments, leading to negative customer experiences.

Increased Competition
Dropshipping has become an increasingly popular business model, which means there is a lot of competition in the market. This can make it harder for you to stand out and attract customers.

Lack of Branding Opportunities
There are limited opportunities to brand or package the products as yours since you do not get to handle them before they are shipped. This can make it harder for you to establish a unique brand identity and stand out from competitors.

AliExpress is a popular choice for Dropshipping for several reasons:

Wide Product Range
With millions of products available, AliExpress makes it easy for dropshippers to find products that fit their niche. This means you can easily find products that meet your customers' needs and preferences.

Competitive Pricing
AliExpress prices are usually lower than those of other platforms.  You can sell products at a competitive price while still making a profit. Additionally, they offer free shipping on most products, which can significantly save costs.

Easy to use
AliExpress is easy to use, and the platform is user-friendly.  You can find products, place orders, and manage your business with a few clicks. 

Reliable shipping
AliExpress has a reputation for reliable shipping, so you can rest assured that your products will arrive on time and in good condition. In the rare case that your package gets missing in transit, they will issue a refund.

No MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity)
Minimum order quantities are the bane of most offline businesses. With  AliExpress, you do not have to bother about minimum order quantity as you can order whatever number of items you want. This helps you avoid large capital investments and allows you to test new products for your business.

Supplier Ratings and Reviews
AliExpress allows customers to leave ratings and reviews for suppliers. This transparency enables you to evaluate the reliability and reputation of potential suppliers before entering into partnerships. 

Getting Started with AliExpress

The first step to starting dropshipping on AliExpress is creating an account. To do this, head to AliExpress.com and click Sign In/ Register at the top right corner of the screen. 

aliexpress homepage

If you already have an account, click on Sign In. if you do not have an account, click Register to begin the account creation process.

sign in/register on aliexpress

Follow the prompts shown on the screen to create your account. You can use your email, Google, Facebook, or Twitter accounts to create an account as well.

aliexpress registration page

Navigating AliExpress can be overwhelming initially, but the platform is designed to be user-friendly. You can use the search bar to find specific products or browse different categories to see what's available.

aliexpress product page

One of the best features of AliExpress is its product recommendations, which are based on your browsing history and can help you discover new products to sell.

aliexpress product recommendations

Setting Up Your Store

Now that you’ve understood dropshipping and setting up your  AliExpress account, what’s the next step? In the next few minutes, we will give you a step-by-step guide to launching a profitable dropshipping store. Let’s go!

Researching and Identifying Profitable Niches 

When it comes to setting up a dropshipping store, researching and identifying profitable niches is one of the most important steps. A niche defines the specific market segment your store will target. By choosing the right niche, you can meet the needs of your potential customers, make sales and eventually profit. 

To choose a niche, you have to consider the following: 

Market Research
You can start by doing market research to see products in demand. You can use tools like Google Trends, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, Amazon Best Sellers and Google Keyword Planner to see what people are looking for.

Competitor Analysis
You can look at the competition in your niche and what they are doing. Analyse their product offerings, pricing, and marketing strategies. You can also view their customer engagements and reviews to identify gaps you can capitalise on.

Passion and Knowledge
Consider your own interests and passions.  What can you do every day for the rest of your life without getting tired? What’s that one thing that can keep you awake all night? A niche that aligns with your own interests can be motivating and enjoyable to work on, making it easier to stay engaged and committed even when the tide is low.

Another thing to consider is your expertise or knowledge. You can leverage your knowledge and monetise it. Your understanding of the niche can give you a competitive edge.

Target Audience Needs
Who do you intend to sell to? You need to understand their demographics, interests, behaviours, pain points and needs. Knowing this will guide your product selection efforts and further help you improve your marketing.

Supplier Availability
Check if there are reliable suppliers on AliExpress for the products in your chosen niche. Assess their reputation, product quality, and shipping times to ensure a smooth dropshipping process.

Testing and Validation
One of the important steps in user experience design is to test the prototype with the proposed audience to gauge their reactions and see if there will be a need for improvement. You can do this by revealing a few products you intend to sell to your audience to see their reaction. This feedback can then help you make informed decisions.

Choosing a niche is like fishing in a big river. You need to understand the river (the market) and where it has a large concentration of fish (market segment). After which, you must position your bait strategically (your product offering and marketing efforts) to catch a fish (make a profit). 

Creating a Business Plan

A business plan is important to your business success because it serves as a roadmap that outlines your goals, strategies, and operational details. Here's a breakdown of what your  business plan should look like:

Executive Summary
This should highlight your business concept, including the products or niches you intend to focus on. It should also highlight your unique selling points, mission, and vision. Another thing you want to include is the core values that will guide your business operations.

Business Description
This will describe your business in detail, including its name, legal structure and location. 

Market Analysis
A market analysis will cover an industry overview, target market, competitor, and SWOT analysis. The industry overview thoroughly analyses the dropshipping industry, highlighting trends, growth projections, and challenges. Target market means defining the audience you are selling to while considering demographics, psychographics, and purchasing behaviour.

The competitor analysis will have you identify key competitors in the dropshipping space and analyse their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Your  SWOT analysis will evaluate your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for growth, and threats.

Products and Services
Clearly define the products or niches you plan to focus on in your dropshipping store. Another thing you want to do is describe your strategy for establishing and maintaining relationships with reliable suppliers on AliExpress. After you have defined your products and supplier relationships, you need to outline your pricing strategy.

Marketing and Sales
This will detail your marketing, customer acquisition and sales strategy. Marketing strategy will include online advertising, social media promotion, and any other channels you plan to utilise. Customer acquisition strategy will expatiate how you intend to attract and keep customers. On the other hand, your sales strategy will include your approach to converting leads into customers.

Operations
This will include how you intend to handle and process customer orders, customer service and any technology you intend to use to manage your business. Your operations plan will also address legal and regulatory considerations, such as business licenses, tax obligations, and compliance with consumer protection laws.

Financial Plan
Startup Costs, revenue projections, profit and loss statements, cash flow projections and funding requirements are needed here. Whew, that’s a lot!

Implementation Plan
How do you plan to implement your business? What are the key milestones you want to track? What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) to show you’re on track? Do you have a contingency plan if things don’t go as planned?

Your implementation plan should include a timeline that covers your business start date and the date you intend to scale your operations. The KPIs you want to track include conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, and average order value.

Conclusion
The conclusion should summarise the key points of your business plan and restate your vision for the business. It should equally outline the next steps for implementing the necessary activities needed to launch.

Choosing a Dropshipping Platform 

Choosing the right dropshipping platform can help you streamline your business operations, enhance efficiency, and ensure a smoother workflow. Here are some popular dropshipping platforms:

Shopify

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows businesses to create and run their online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. It was founded in 2004 and has since grown to become one of the most popular e-commerce platforms. The platform has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and requires no programming knowledge.

One of the standout features of Shopify is its extensive customisation options. You can choose from various professionally designed templates or create your own custom design using its drag-and-drop website builder. The platform also offers a wide range of plugins and apps to enhance your website's functionality, from marketing and SEO to payment processing and shipping.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a free, open-source plugin for WordPress that allows businesses to create online stores easily. It presents a  flexible and customisable platform to help you sell digital and physical goods, manage inventory, and process payments and shipping. If you’re already familiar with WordPress, using WooCommerce will be easy.

One of the great things about WooCommerce is its versatility. It integrates with various payment gateways, shipping providers, and other plugins to provide a seamless shopping experience for your customers. This means you can customise your online store to fit your specific needs and preferences and give your customers a good user experience.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is one of the leading e-commerce platforms that allows you to set up an online store and sell products to customers worldwide. It offers a wide range of features and functionalities that make it easy to manage your online store. From product listing and inventory management to payment processing and shipping.

One of the key benefits of BigCommerce is its scalability. It provides the tools and resources necessary to grow your business.  It offers a range of customisable templates tailored to fit your unique needs and branding. It also has a drag-and-drop editor that allows you to customise your website without coding knowledge.

Another advantage of BigCommerce is its ease of use. The platform is designed with the user in mind, and its intuitive interface makes it easy for even novice users to set up and manage an online store.

BigCommerce also offers a range of marketing and SEO tools that can help you increase your online visibility and attract more customers. Its built-in SEO features allow you to optimise your online store for search engines, while its marketing tools, such as email marketing and social media integration, allow for easy promotion and customer engagement.

Integrating with AliExpress

Once you've chosen a Dropshipping platform, integrating it with AliExpress is important to fulfil orders and manage inventory. Here are some tools you can use: 

Oberlo
Oberlo is a popular e-commerce platform designed to help entrepreneurs easily find and import products from AliExpress directly into their online store. One of the main benefits of using Oberlo is the convenience it provides. With just a few clicks, you can import thousands of products into your online store, set your own prices, and start selling right away.

fulfill your  dropshipping dreams with oberlo

Another key advantage of Oberlo is its integration with Shopify. With Oberlo, you can easily integrate your AliExpress products into your Shopify store and take advantage of all the benefits that Shopify has to offer.

AliDropship
AliDropship is a powerful e-commerce platform designed to help entrepreneurs build and manage their own online stores. This platform lets you easily import products from AliExpress to your online store.

start your dropshipping business with AliDropship

One of the best features of AliDropship is its ability to automate the dropshipping process fully. This means you can set up their store, import products, and fulfil orders without doing anything manually. This saves time and allows you to focus on growing your business.

Additionally, the platform offers SEO optimisation tools to help your store rank higher in search engine results and attract more customers.

Dropified
Dropified is a powerful software platform designed to make e-commerce easier and more efficient for online entrepreneurs. With Dropified, you can easily find and import products from multiple suppliers, manage inventory and orders, and automate your fulfilment processes.

making dropshipping easy with AliExpress

One of the key features of Dropified is the ability to connect with multiple suppliers, allowing you to source products from all over the world and access a wider range of products.

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Are you team mini importation or team dropshipping? Read this article to pick a side.

Finding Reliable Suppliers on AliExpress

Your products are the core parts of your dropshipping business. To get quality products, you must first source from reliable suppliers on the  AliExpress platform. Here’s how you can go about it:

Evaluating and Selecting Trustworthy Aliexpress Suppliers
When searching for suppliers on AliExpress, you must do your due diligence to ensure they are trustworthy. Start by checking the supplier's rating and feedback score. Look for suppliers with high ratings and positive feedback from other buyers. You can also check if the supplier is a Gold Supplier, which means they have been verified by AliExpress and have a good track record of fulfilling orders.

Another important factor to consider is the supplier's communication. A reliable supplier should be responsive to your inquiries and provide clear and concise answers to your questions. You can also ask for samples of their products to evaluate their quality before making a purchase.

Assessing Product Quality and Shipping Times
Product quality is key to customer satisfaction and repeat business. Before adding a product to your store, check the product description and reviews to ensure it meets your standards. You can also order a sample to check the quality yourself. Additionally, consider the shipping times of the products you want to sell. Long shipping times can lead to customer complaints and negative feedback.

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Negotiating with Suppliers for Better Terms
Once you have found a reliable supplier and assessed product quality and shipping times, it's time to negotiate for better terms. Suppliers are often willing to negotiate prices and MOQs to secure a long-term business relationship. You can also ask for discounts on bulk orders and negotiate payment terms.

Optimising Product Listings

You’ve chosen a niche, created your business plan, found suppliers and chosen your dropshipping platform. How do you ensure that your business appears on search results when people are searching for related products?

Writing Compelling Product Titles and Descriptions
The first step in optimising your product listings is to write compelling product titles and descriptions. Your product title should be descriptive and include relevant keywords. This will help your product appear in search results when potential customers are looking for similar products. Your product description should be detailed and informative. It should highlight the features and benefits of your product and answer any questions a potential customer may have. Use persuasive and engaging language to encourage customers to make a purchase.

Selecting High-Quality Images and Multimedia for Product Listings
The next step is to select high-quality images and multimedia for your product listings. Your chosen images should be clear and show the product from different angles. This will help customers get a better idea of what they are purchasing. You should also consider using multimedia such as videos or 360-degree images to showcase your products. This will help customers better understand the product and increase their confidence in purchasing.

Setting Competitive Prices and Offering Promotions
The final step in optimising your product listings is to set competitive prices and offer promotions. You should research your competitors and set your prices accordingly. You can also offer discounts or free shipping promotions to attract customers. Highlight these promotions in your product listings to encourage customers to purchase.

Related: AliExpress vs Sellvia: Which is better for Dropshipping?

Marketing Strategies for AliExpress Dropshipping

Your store is set, and your prices are set. You’ve optimised your product listings and want to get the word out about your dropshipping business. Here are three key marketing strategies you can use to promote your AliExpress dropshipping business and reach your target audience:

Utilising Social Media 
Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your AliExpress dropshipping business. You can reach a wider audience and engage with your customers by creating social media accounts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can share posts about your products, offer exclusive promotions, and even collaborate with influencers to help spread the word about your business.

Implementing SEO Techniques for Better Visibility
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an essential strategy for improving the visibility of your AliExpress dropshipping business. By optimising your website and product listings with relevant keywords, you can improve your search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your site. This can increase your sales and revenue as more people discover your products through search engines like Google.

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Running Targeted Advertising Campaigns
Another effective marketing strategy for AliExpress dropshipping is to run targeted advertising campaigns. Using platforms like Facebook Ads or Google Ads, you can reach your ideal audience with highly targeted ads designed to convert. This can help you get more product visibility and increase sales and revenue over time.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, starting a dropshipping business with AliExpress can be lucrative if done correctly. By following the steps outlined in the 2024 Playbook, you can set yourself up for success and avoid common pitfalls. Conduct thorough research on your niche, select reliable suppliers, and provide quality products to build a loyal customer base. Continuously improve your marketing strategy to stay ahead of the competition. 

Stay updated with the most recent dropshipping trends and receive valuable insights on growing your business by joining the Heroshe community. As a member, you can explore exclusive content and stay ahead of the competition.


Ilaya Teejay

Ilaya Teejay

Ilaya Teejay is the Content Marketing Associate at Heroshe. She believes words can shape user experiences, and she's turning this belief into a career that helps people and businesses succeed.