A 20-Step Getting Started Guide


In this article, we will cover everything that you need to know when you want to get started with AliExpress dropshipping.

We will start by answering some questions you might have regarding this business model, and then after that, you can follow our step-by-step on how to create your own AliExpress dropshipping store in 2024!

What is dropshipping and why do people do it?

Let’s start by understanding what starting a dropshipping business means.

If you’re already familiar with it, feel free to scroll down by clicking here! If not, don’t worry, we’ll explain it in a simple way for you:

  1. You have an online store where you sell products, but you don’t keep any of them in your storage or house.
  2. When someone places an order on your store, you place that same order directly with your dropshipping supplier. Don’t worry, though! There are a lot of apps out there that help you with automating this. For example, DSers, or these 14 DSers alternatives.
  3. Your dropshipping supplier takes care of packaging and shipping the order directly to your customer.
  4. Your customer receives the package directly from the supplier, and you never handle the product in between!

To make it even clearer, here is our infographic that effectively explains the concept of dropshipping:

The dropship model - Infographic

Now, you might be wondering, ‘Won’t my customer know that the package didn’t come from me?’

‘Aren’t there any advertisements, phone numbers, or receipts from the supplier in the package?’

Well, here’s the good news — no!

You just need to make sure that your supplier accepts dropshipping and blind dropshipping.

Sample message to suppliers

You can learn more about blind dropshipping by reading this article here.

Alright, but why are people interested in dropshipping? And why do people want to dropship?

Most people that are researching dropshipping and want to start/are running a dropshipping store do this for one or more of these reasons:

  • Earning more money. If done right, dropshipping could earn you a lot. Just take a look at these success stories!
  • Being their own boss. Some people prefer not to work for a boss and explore alternative ways to earn an income.
  • Location-independent work. A dropshipping store can be operated from anywhere with an internet connection. As long as you can easily communicate with suppliers and customers, you can run and manage your business. This lifestyle is also referred to as being a Digital Nomad.

If you’re interested in learning more about dropshipping, we suggest reading this article written by me:

Dropshipping for Beginners: What Is It & How to Start Today?

And check out this article if you want to know some amazing dropshipping statistics.

AliExpress dropshipping: Most asked questions

Alright, let’s kick off this complete guide to AliExpress dropshipping by answering some of the most commonly asked questions about it!

Don’t worry, these are just basic questions that people usually have before they start their own AliExpress dropshipping store.

Once we’re done with the FAQs, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of opening your own AliExpress dropshipping business.

We’ll cover everything from choosing the best suppliers on AliExpress to finding those winning products!

1. What is AliExpress?

Homepage of AliExpress

In 2010, Alibaba, which is a goods wholesale platform, launched AliExpress.

AliExpress helped pave the way for dropshippers largely because they don’t require a MOQ (minimum order quantity) which their parent company requires on most of their products.

This is a great concept that, in theory, doesn’t require you to hold any stock physically and to act as a middle person within the supply chain.

Should you have a great deal of buying (and selling) power, you should certainly consider buying in bulk with Alibaba for much lower cost prices.

Fun fact: Did you know that you can also do dropshipping with Alibaba? Check out this article here to learn more.

2. How does AliExpress dropshipping work?

Let’s learn how AliExpress works, specifically how dropshipping with AliExpress works.

First, you build your own online store.

Then, you head over to AliExpress to find the products you want to sell in your store (product research).

Different moon lamps on AliExpress

Once you find a few products that you want to sell, you use a dropshipping app like DSers or AliDropship to import them into your store.

We suggest having between five to 20 products in your store. (Source)

Now, it’s time to make your product page look awesome, where people can buy the products you imported from AliExpress.

Take a look at this example for inspiration:

Product page of a moon lamp
Source

Alright, now you have your online store and some products from AliExpress.

Of course, don’t forget to pay attention to the design of your store. You don’t want to look like a scam site, right? (You can use our Shopify checklist here.)

Next, you start advertising one of these products using Facebook Ads or an Instagram Influencer.

For instance, here’s an example of a Facebook Ad.

When someone visits your store and purchases a product, you go to your dropshipping app, place the order, and the app takes care of the rest.

It adds the products to your AliExpress cart, fills in the customer’s details, and you simply press pay!

Now, after deducting product costs, advertising expenses, and other costs, what’s left is your profit!

If you want to learn these steps in more depth, keep reading below and follow our step-by-step guide!

2. Can you make money dropshipping with AliExpress or is it too late to start in 2024?

Yes, you can still make money dropshipping with AliExpress.

Check out these success stories on the AliDropship blog.

AliDropship success stories

Or you can read these success stories on Oberlo.

Oberlo stories

These are real people who have made money through dropshipping, many of them using AliExpress!

There’s just one more thing we want to add to this.

Please don’t rush into opening your store and immediately start advertising your products.

It’s 2024 now.

A lot of people are interested in dropshipping and starting a dropshipping business.

Dropshipping search term on Google Trends

The only way to beat them is to put time and effort into your AliExpress dropshipping store.

Make sure your store looks legit! This will build trust with your potential customers and improve your conversion rates.

Want to know more about the profitability of dropshipping? Check out our article Is Dropshipping Still Profitable Today in 2024? or Are You Too Late?

3. How long does the AliExpress dropshipping shipping take?

The typical shipping times at AliExpress differ a lot, ranging from 12 to 60 days.

The specific duration depends on the country you’re shipping to and the shipping method you choose.

So, for example, if you want to ship to the United States, it will typically take between 19-39 days. If you choose ePacket as your shipping method, it will take between 12 to 20 days.

Here’s the thing: long shipping times aren’t a big issue if your product is worth the wait. That’s why you must communicate this to your customers, so they understand that the delivery won’t happen overnight.

If you still think that’s a long time, then keep reading to learn ways to deal with the long AliExpress shipping times.

We will also show you how to effectively communicate the extended shipping times to your store visitors and customers.

4. How to handle customer service and refund requests when dropshipping with AliExpress?

It may seem like a small question, but many people get stuck at this point.

In fact, some people even give up on dropshipping because they struggle to understand how to handle refunds and returns with AliExpress dropshipping suppliers.

But what about those who still open a dropshipping store, even if they don’t understand customer service?

Well…

Unfortunately, what often happens to these people is not a pleasant experience, as you can see from these examples:

Customer complaints on TrustRadius
Source
Comments on Attitude Today's Facebook post

But don’t worry! Understanding how to handle customer service and refund requests is not as difficult as it may seem.

We suggest reading the articles we’ve linked below to learn more about these topics:

5. Should you inform AliExpress suppliers before dropshipping?

AliExpress message center example message to supplier

This is a common question that many people ask: Should you tell your suppliers that you intend to dropship their products?

And will they treat you differently after you have told them?

Well, here’s the short answer: Yes, you should let your AliExpress supplier know that you’re dropshipping.

By doing so, you can avoid any invoices or promotions being included in your customer’s package.

Another advantage is that you get to build a relationship with your supplier. With good communication, you will be able to ask questions, solve problems, negotiate discounts, and much more!

If you want more details on this topic, check out the article we’ve linked below:

Should You Inform AliExpress Suppliers Before Dropshipping?

It also provides a message template that you can use when contacting your AliExpress suppliers (more about how to find them below).

So, don’t hesitate to inform your suppliers and build a strong working relationship with them.

6. Does AliExpress allow dropshipping?

AliExpress homepage

Yes, AliExpress allows dropshipping!

However, you should know that AliExpress is just a platform with different sellers.

So, before you start dropshipping from a particular AliExpress seller, you need to ask them if they accept dropshipping.

Otherwise, it might cause you trouble later on when people find advertisements and receipts in their packages.

When sellers accept dropshipping, you can ask them to do blind dropshipping (click here to learn more about that).

7. Does Alibaba do dropshipping?

Homepage of Alibaba

Yes, Alibaba does dropshipping!

Initially, AliExpress was the go-to place for dropshipping, but now Alibaba has also opened its doors for dropshipping.

If you want to learn more about Alibaba and determine if it’s the right choice for your business, check out the article we’ve linked below:

Can You Do Dropshipping With Alibaba? (The Answer Is Here!)

Plus, take a look at this infographic to understand the main difference between AliExpress and Alibaba:

Alibaba vs. AliExpress - Infographic

Interesting, right?

Get started with AliExpress dropshipping in 20 steps

Now that you know what dropshipping is and we’ve answered your frequently asked questions, let’s dive into AliExpress dropshipping.

Follow these 20 simple steps to set up your own online store and turn your dreams of running a successful online business into a reality!

In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know, from preparing your mindset to registering a domain name and launching your store.

Let’s begin this exciting journey into AliExpress dropshipping together!

1. Put your mindset right

Finding dropshipping stores

First, let’s start by getting your mindset in the right place.

If you’re new to dropshipping, you probably have thoughts like ‘dropshipping with AliexPress equals getting rich fast’ or ‘dropshipping equals easy money.’

Well, we hate to burst your bubble, but that’s not the reality.

Many so-called ‘YouTube gurus’ talk about this, but they all have one thing in common — they’re selling cheap courses.

Maybe you should buy their course and follow them step-by-step to get rich, right?

Please don’t fall into that trap!

Here is more information about these ‘gurus’ and why they are selling courses. And if you’re in the mood for a funny rant, you can also read this article:

6 Things That Dropshipping Gurus Do Not Tell You As A Beginner

So, what can you do instead?

You can learn dropshipping for free. We have plenty of free resources available like below:

Now, let’s change your mindset to the right one for opening an AliExpress dropshipping store.

Instead of thinking you will be rich the next day, you need to start treating your dropshipping store like a real business (which it is)! And you need to focus on what your customers want, not what your pockets want.

Put in the time and effort rather than rushing through the process by quickly opening a store, importing a few products, and starting advertisements without trying to be unique.

If you’re interested in learning more about having the right mindset before opening your dropshipping store, then check out these six tips here.

If you’re worried now, please don’t be!

We will guide you below on how to create your first (or maybe second) successful AliExpress dropshipping store!

By the way, if you were considering buying a premade dropshipping store, we recommend you read these articles:

2. Let’s get some inspiration from other AliExpress dropshipping stores

3D print moon lamp product page

Before we get started with the most important steps of opening your own AliExpress dropshipping store, we suggest you take a look at some of our dropshipping example articles first.

Most of these dropshipping stores use AliExpress to source their products.

Plus, this one is entirely focused on AliExpress dropshipping stores:

6 Real AliExpress Dropshipping Store Examples | Inspiration

These resources will provide you with inspiration for your own AliExpress dropshipping store!

3. Decide if you want to have a general or a niche AliExpress dropshipping store

Someone searching for a niche for their business

There are upsides and downsides to having both a general store and a niche store.

However, we have a tip for you: if you decide to go for a niche store, please pick a niche that you have at least some interest in.

This is another big reason why people fail with their dropshipping store. They pick a niche for their dropshipping store just because they can earn money with it.

They don’t think about the future, ‘the grind,’ the time that they need to work, and work on their store before they see success (if they ever do) — for example, the time before you see your first sale might be a while.

If you’re not interested at all in your niche, then this period will be really hard for you.

A lot of people give up after some time, simply because they are bored with their niche.

For example, don’t pick gardening as your dropshipping niche if you hate gardening yourself.

You will have a hard time communicating with your customers, maybe making blog posts, coming up with newsletters, or simply writing product descriptions that convert your target audience (people that love gardening).

If you feel stuck on this step, then we suggest reading our other article here.

That article covers all the pros and cons of having a general vs niche store.

If you have decided to go for a niche dropshipping store, we suggest reading the articles we’ve linked below:

Now, it’s time to move on to the next step!

4. Decide if you really want to dropship from AliExpress

AliExpress homepage

This step is here for you to make you aware of all the upsides and downsides to dropshipping with AliExpress.

Let’s see if you still want to follow this business model; here are the pros and cons of AliExpress:

Pros of AliExpress dropshipping

Let’s start off with the positive things!

  • Super easy to get started with. You open your dropshipping store, get an app that has a connection with AliExpress (like DSers), import your products from AliExpress, and you can start selling already.
  • It’s cheap. Not everyone has a big budget to import products in bulk. That’s where dropshipping from AliExpress comes into place. The products on AliExpress are cheaper in comparison to the products you find in retail stores in the Western world. Just check out AliExpress, and you will find this out yourself.
  • Low startup costs. AliExpress dropshipping has low startup costs compared to Alibaba. Unlike Alibaba, there is no minimum order requirement or deposit. You only pay for the products you have sold, making it more affordable for beginners.
Product pricing tier
  • Minimal risk. Unlike a traditional brick-and-mortar store, dropshipping eliminates the need for holding inventory. If your business idea doesn’t work out as expected, you won’t be stuck with unsold products. With dropshipping, your main expenses are the products you sell, advertising, and hosting, requiring very little capital to start.
  • Unlimited inventory. With AliExpress dropshipping, you don’t have to hold any inventory. The best part is that your suppliers on AliExpress usually have a large amount of inventory available. They can also access even more inventory if needed.
AliExpress stock level
  • So much choice. AliExpress offers a wide range of products, often at much lower prices compared to Amazon. In fact, many sellers on Amazon source their products from the same AliExpress vendors.
Comparing the same product on AliExpress and Amazon
  • Flexibility. You have the freedom to run your business from anywhere since you don’t need to hold any stock. Plus, if your initial product selection doesn’t perform well, you can easily pivot your business in a different direction due to the huge choice of products available on AliExpress.

Cons of AliExpress dropshipping

Despite having many advantages, AliExpress dropshipping has a few disadvantages you should be aware of.

  • Very competitive. Competition in the dropshipping industry, including those using AliExpress, has significantly increased over the past decade. AliExpress has a unique issue where trending products are easily visible to everyone, leading to a saturated market for those trying to sell those products. If you’re not staying ahead of the trends, it can be challenging to succeed in such a competitive market.
Dropshipping search on Google Trends
  • The quality of the products. Most products that are sold on AliExpress will be made in China. China is not that high on the list when it comes to product quality. You probably know that yourself as well; although a lot of products are made in China! We suggest you check your AliExpress suppliers and their products carefully (learn more here).
  • Non-branded and knockoff products. AliExpress is known for selling non-branded and knockoff products of low quality. The truth is, this is the result of bad dropshippers who keep suppliers like this in business. Selling such products can lead to a high return rate and customer dissatisfaction. It’s better to avoid these products to save yourself from potential trouble.
Knockoff porduct on AliExpress
Look closely, it isn’t what you think
Delivery time of ePacket
  • The suppliers. This counts for most AliExpress sellers. English is not their first language, and you will see that when you try to communicate with them; there are expectations everywhere! That’s why we suggest you contact your AliExpress supplier first before you import their products to your dropshipping store.
  • Complicated refund/return process. The returns process with AliExpress can be horrible, and in the worst-case scenario, it could take up to three months to get your money refunded. It helps to have a conversation about returns with your supplier before you start using them; you can then cover this in your returns policy.

Now, should you dropship from AliExpress?

That’s a personal call. But here’s what we’ll say:

AliExpress has gotten a bad rap for poor-quality products, but as a seller, it’s up to you to ensure that you sell high-quality items. Many businesses are selling the same AliExpress products through Amazon, so it’s not all bad.

The financial risk of dropshipping through AliExpress is minimal, and the capital required to start is tiny compared to most other businesses.

If you do your due diligence, as you should with any business, your problems will be minimal, and your ecommerce store’s potential can be limitless.

In case you don’t want to dropship with AliExpress anymore, or you just want to see some alternatives, we have a great article for you here that includes 14 alternatives to dropshipping with AliExpress.

5. Come up with an awesome store name and register your domain name

You’ve got three parts to this step! Let us quickly outline the steps below before diving into the details of each one:

  1. Firstly, you’ll need to come up with a name for your dropshipping store and check if that name is available as a domain name.
  2. Next, it’s time to register your domain name.
  3. Lastly, you’ll create one or more professional email addresses with your new domain name. For example, support@mystore.com.

5.1. Come up with an awesome name for your dropshipping store and check if it’s available

The .com bubble

The first step may seem obvious, but we would still like to provide you with some tips!

Now that you have decided whether to go with a general or niche dropshipping store, it’s time to start brainstorming for a suitable domain name. Click here if you want tips on how to brainstorm.

Here are some tools that can help you with the brainstorming process of finding a good domain name.

Just enter a word, and these tools will provide multiple domain name options.

For example, if you’re in the garden niche, try entering related words such as ‘garden,’ ‘trees,’ or ‘flowers’ to see the generated results.

If that’s not enough for you, then click here to explore additional tools.

If you prefer to brainstorm without these tools, you can check the availability of your domain name on Namecheap here.

We suggest you check for the .com domain extension, as it is one of the most popular extensions. (Source)

However, if your domain name is not available, but you truly like the store name you came up with, you can consider exploring other variations of that name or restarting the brainstorming process.

Another option is to check other domain extensions like .store instead of .com.

There’s even a chance that you like that domain extension more than the .com version. For example, here’s one of the benefits of having a .store domain:

.store domain explanation

One last tip, don’t forget to check in your country if that name is already taken as a business name. This way, you won’t encounter any future legal troubles.

So, don’t name your store ‘NikeBalls’ or ‘PokemonWorld’ or anything with a trademark! Here is more information about domain names and trademarks.

If you want more tips on choosing the perfect name, we suggest reading 10 Tips to Choose the Best Name for Your Dropshipping Store!

5.2. Register your domain name

Namecheap homepage

As you saw earlier, we recommend using Namecheap as your domain registrar. We personally use them as well, and we find them great (and cheap).

Click here to register your domain name on Namecheap.

Another excellent option, if you’re looking for a domain registrar with cheaper renewal fees, is Porkbun. (Usually, the second year is more expensive than the first year).

Lastly, don’t forget to search for coupon codes (for example, take a look at Honey). This way, you can hopefully get an even lower price for your domain name!

5.3. Let’s create a professional email address

The last step is to create a professional email address with your new domain name.

By ‘professional,’ we mean something like support@mystore.com, not something like support-mystore@gmail.com

We suggest you take a look at Zoho Mail. With Zoho Mail, you can create a professional email address for free.

Zoho Mail homepage

If you’re looking for more information on how to get a free business email address, we recommend reading the article we’ve linked below:

How To Get a Free Business Email Address for Ecommerce?

6. Decide how you’re going to host your AliExpress dropshipping store

Next, you need to decide whether you want to host your AliExpress dropshipping store yourself or not.

You have two options: you can go with an ecommerce platform that includes hosting, or you can use WordPress or WooCommerce and host it yourself.

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

This step is important because, without any hosting, your dropshipping store can’t be online, and you can’t sell any products!

If you want to learn how to pick the best ecommerce platform for your store, then we suggest reading The 5 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Dropshipping in 2024

Pros and cons of using an ecommerce platform like Shopify

Shopify free trial page

Opening a dropshipping store on an ecommerce platform is like renting a stand at a flea market.

That brings us directly to the first downside to using an ecommerce platform.

If you stop ‘renting the stand,’ you can’t use it anymore because it’s not yours!

The same applies to your store if you cancel your subscription. You won’t be able to use it anymore. If you’re using Shopify, they will remove your store if you stop paying them.

If you host your dropshipping store yourself, you have full control over it, and nobody will remove it.

The biggest advantage of using a platform like Shopify is that you don’t need to stress about things like hosting. They provide lots of ready-made features that are super easy for beginners to use.

But the downside is that it is expensive, definitely when you’re just beginning.

You’re looking at around $39 per month for the cheapest Shopify plan.

Shopify plans
Click here to see the full pricing table for Shopify

Another upside is that there are a lot of Shopify apps available, but you will need money for these apps. (Except if you read this article.)

If you’re looking for an ecommerce platform, we highly recommend Shopify. Most people that are dropshipping use Shopify!

You can click here to get a free 3-day Shopify trial!

Shopify free trial call to action

If Shopify isn’t the right choice for you, but you still want an ecommerce platform for your dropshipping store, then we suggest reading this article:

The 5 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Dropshipping in 2024

Pros and cons of hosting your dropshipping store yourself

The big upside to hosting your dropshipping store yourself is that you have fewer monthly fees compared to Shopify.

You just need to pay for hosting.

The only downside is that hosting companies typically require yearly payments rather than monthly payments like Shopify. (Some hosting companies will let you pay monthly like Kinsta.)

SiteGround page for managed WooCommerce hosting
Source: SiteGround

This means you will need a bit more upfront investment.

But if you see, Shopify for one year will be around $39 x 12 = $468 or around $351 if you pay yearly.

On the other hand, hosting costs range from $50 to $100 per year, depending on the hosting provider you choose.

Another advantage is that you will have way more freedom if you host your dropshipping store yourself with WooCommerce.

If you have a Shopify dropshipping store, you need to live by Shopify’s rules on how something is supposed to look.

It’s hard to make changes without the help of expensive developers unless you’re fortunate enough to find the perfect theme.

However, with WordPress and WooCommerce, you have the flexibility to create something amazing on your own terms.

WooCommerce homepage
Screenshot of their homepage

Click here for more information about which host to pick for your dropshipping store!

7. Pick your ‘AliExpress connection’ app

Dropshipping with AliExpress is much easier to do if you have a ‘connection’ app.

If you compare using such an app to manually filling in all the information yourself, the app is the clear winner! It saves you a lot of time.

Otherwise, you would have to go to AliExpress every time, add the products to your cart, and enter the customer information yourself for each order you receive.

And that’s for every single order that you get.

Just imagine dealing with thousands of orders every day!

Most people that start with AliExpress dropshipping have a Shopify store using DSers because they offer free unlimited orders (previously limited to 50) on their free plan.

Homepage of DSers

However, if you don’t want to use DSers, we suggest reading our other article that provides 14 awesome alternatives.

One alternative is Dropshipping Copilot, which is also an official AliExpress partner:

Dropshipping Copilot homepage

If you’re planning to host your AliExpress dropshipping store yourself using WordPress or WooCommerce, we highly recommend taking a look at AliDropship.

AliDropship homepage

AliDropship is just a one-time payment. No monthly fees at all!

Click here to read our full in-depth review of AliDropship!

That article also contains a discount code in case you’re interested in purchasing the AliDropship plugin.

8. Let’s do product research

A woman researching US-based products on her cell phone.

This is the step that many people get stuck on when starting their AliExpress dropshipping store.

They often ask themselves questions like, ‘What should I sell?’ or ‘How do I know if that product will sell or not?’

If you find yourself asking these questions, don’t worry. We’re here to help you!

There are two options to do product research for your AliExpress dropshipping store.

The first option is to do it yourself, and the second is to use a (free) product research tool.

We’ll break down this step into two parts, explaining both options mentioned above.

But before we get started, please remember that certain products are better avoided when dropshipping. For example, products that could cause you (legal) troubles in the future or products that have a high return percentage.

You can click here to see a list of 13 products that you should avoid dropshipping.

Also, you can click here if you want to learn what a ‘winning product’ is. That article also provides some product examples!

8.1. What if you want to do product research yourself?

5 Characteristics of a winning product - Infographic

This step, doing product research yourself, is what most people go for, but it’s also the step where most people get stuck.

We have a complete guide for you that you can refer to anytime you want. It contains 15 awesome winning product research methods.

This way, you’ll know exactly how to find products that have the potential to sell well!

Do you know what the best thing is about that article?

Most of these product research methods are free to use. So, it’s perfect if you’re on a budget and don’t have much money to spend!

You can click here to learn how to find awesome winning dropshipping products!

We have another article that specifically helps you find dropshipping products on AliExpress!

The article shows five different methods and helps you save time by reducing the hours spent scrolling through AliExpress

You can click here to learn how to find AliExpress dropshipping products!

And don’t forget to do product research on social media platforms. These articles will help you in discovering some fantastic dropshipping products for your store for free:

8.2. What if you want to use a dropshipping product research tool?

Thieve

Doing product research yourself is great and often free, but it can be time-consuming.

That’s where a product research tool could come in handy.

These tools help you find the best products for your dropshipping store, often called ‘Winning Products.’ For example, a free tool from AliExpress called the AliExpress dropshipping center. (We’ll talk more about AliExpress dropshipping center below.)

Note: Interested in finding winning products on AliExpress? Here are three free and paid product discovery tools you should use!

We suggest reading the article we’ve linked below. It contains the best AliExpress dropshipping product research tools in 2024:

AliExpress Product Discovery: 6 Great Product Research Tools

Last but not the least! You should take our product research tools quiz here to find the best tool for your needs!

Not sure which product research tool to pick

9. Select the best AliExpress dropshipping suppliers

Older man reading the Chinese news

After you have found some AliExpress products that you want to sell in your store, it’s time to learn how to find the best AliExpress dropshipping suppliers.

Let me ask you a question first: Do you want the person handling the production of your products and the shipment to your customers to be reliable or not?

Most people who start with dropshipping pick their suppliers based on price. They go to AliExpress, sort by price, and pick the lowest one.

Because this will make you rich, right? Not really.

Although this may work for you in the short term, it will definitely haunt you in the long term.

What if your supplier doesn’t respond to your messages asking where their package is? What if your supplier cannot keep up when you’re getting hundreds of orders each day?

If you want to learn how to find the best AliExpress suppliers, we suggest reading the article I’ve linked below:

Dropshipping with AliExpress: How to Find the Best Suppliers?

Plus, we suggest reading this article here if you’re interested in finding local dropshipping suppliers on AliExpress, specifically from the United States.

One more thing, if this is becoming too overwhelming for you, you can consider hiring an AliExpress agent to help you with tasks such as sourcing, negotiating, and shipping.

Before you make a decision, we suggest reading the article below to learn everything about hiring AliExpress agents for dropshipping.

Should You Do Dropshipping With an AliExpress Agent in 2024?

10. Create your marketing and budget plan

Understanding your target market

Another big step is going to be creating your marketing and budget plan. Both are equally important for the success of your AliExpress dropshipping store!

Firstly, if you are unsure where and how to advertise your products, it will lead to the failure of your dropshipping store.

Secondly, it is not beneficial for you or your dropshipping store if you are unaware of the available funds for your store (your budget).

And it’s even worse when you’re online and selling, and you are unaware of the amount of money coming in (sales) and going out (such as advertisement costs).

But don’t worry, we will explain it to you below!

10.1. Decide where you’re going to advertise your dropshipping store

This step involves deciding which platform you will use to advertise your products.

But don’t worry.

You can always change the advertising platform for your dropshipping store or even advertise on multiple platforms!

However, if you’re a beginner and have no experience in ecommerce, it’s best to start with one platform and learn that one really well before expanding to other platforms.

Here’s an infographic that will help you pick the right marketing method:

How to pick the right marketing method for dropshipping - Infographic

Alright, to begin, you need to decide whether you will focus on free traffic or paid traffic at the start of your dropshipping journey.

If you want to start with paid advertising, having a budget of around $250 – $2000 is recommended.

The budget depends on your skill level and, to some extent, luck. If your first product is selling well, you can use the profit from those sales to cover the upcoming advertising costs. You can read more about this here.

On the other hand, if you choose free traffic, keep in mind that while free traffic is great, it will take time and dedication before you see any results.

If you’re interested in learning more about advertising your AliExpress dropshipping store, be sure to check out the articles we’ve linked below.

Firstly, here are some articles on how to get free traffic:

And secondly, here are some informative articles about paid traffic:

Note: If you’re experiencing high traffic through advertising but low sales in the future, we recommend reading our article on how to increase sales.

10.2. Do you want to do any opening specials?

Two people shopping on their cell phones

Now that you’re thinking about how to advertise your AliExpress dropshipping store, it’s also a good time to think about whether you want to do anything special for the store’s opening.

For example, you could host a giveaway featuring one of the products you’re selling on your dropshipping store.

You don’t need to do anything special with the opening of your store, but it could be an awesome sale booster if you come up with something unique.

For example, your giveaway goes viral because a lot of people are tagging their friends, and now you have a ton of emails that you can later use to promote your products! (I will explain more about email marketing below.)

I will link two great articles about giveaways below:

10.3. Decide how you’re going to price your products

Someone trying to figure out what a good profit margin is

You have a couple of options when it comes to pricing your products.

Firstly, you can go for normal retail prices, which are similar to what you would find in regular stores.

You can learn here how to price your products correctly if you decide to sell your products at normal retail prices.

Another option is to use the Free Plus Shipping method.

If you’re interested in offering Free Plus Shipping on your AliExpress dropshipping store or want to learn more about it, we suggest reading these articles:

Now, here’s a crucial tip for you: please don’t put all your products on sale.

Do you know why?

Well, if you put all your products on sale, your sale won’t be meaningful anymore because everything is already discounted. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, such as a site-wide Black Friday sale.

One more thing: make your sale look real. Create a sense of urgency by providing a reason why these products are on sale for a limited time.

10.4. Begin to create your budget plan

A women throwing money in the air

This step is so important!

If you’re unaware of how much you can allocate to your Aliexpress dropshipping store, it could be a recipe for failure.

Imagine advertising your products and suddenly realizing, ‘Where did all my money go?’

Or, looking at your money, you see that most of your budget is gone, perhaps without considering the costs associated with Shopify itself.

Bottom line, please know how much money you have available for your store! And more importantly, when you’re online and selling, know what you’re spending and what is coming in.

We’ll provide a link to an excellent article below that will undoubtedly assist you in creating your budget plan:

Complete Guide: Can You Start Dropshipping Without Money?

This comprehensive guide covers all the possible costs that you might have with a dropshipping store, from app costs to logo design and everything in between!

Plus, we suggest reading this article here if you want to learn more about handling taxes for your dropshipping store and this article to learn how to save fees when dropshipping.

11. Learn how to import AliExpress products & process orders

DSers product importer chrome web store

This subject may be easy for some people, but others really struggle with it and don’t understand it at all.

In the article we have linked below, we will cover everything, including importing AliExpress products and explaining what happens when you receive an order on your dropshipping store.

We’ll also guide you through the steps to take when someone purchases a product in your dropshipping store, so you won’t have to worry about anything.

Dropshipping with AliExpress: Importing Products & Processing Orders

And if you have a Shopify store, check out this article to learn how to add and import products from AliExpress to Shopify:

How To Add & Import Products From AliExpress To Shopify? (2024)

12. Make 1-3 products perfect for advertising

Someone writing a product description

Now that you know how to import products to your AliExpress dropshipping store, we have an important tip to share with you!

When you’re just starting out, we recommend importing five to 20 products to your dropshipping store, but focusing on one to three products. These products will be the first ones you advertise. The rest of the products are there to make your store look alive and real!

That’s why this step is called ‘make one to three products perfect for advertising.’

You can learn more about this in this article here!

This article provides our suggestions for making these products perfect and, more importantly, unique! Because you will need to be unique in order to beat your competition.

It also includes why it’s important to not focus on too many products at the same time when you’re just starting with dropshipping.

We’ll also explain what to do with the rest of the products that you’re importing to your AliExpress dropshipping store!

Hint? Don’t leave them with the default product descriptions.

13. Learn how to deal with the long AliExpress shipping times

AliExpress delivery data from China to the US

Next up is learning how to deal correctly with the long AliExpress shipping times.

As you might know, shipping times from AliExpress can take between two to four weeks.

That’s a long time!

But don’t worry, in the article below, we will cover five methods for dealing with long shipping times when dropshipping with AliExpress:

Dropshipping with AliExpress: Deal With Long Shipping Times

If you have already researched AliExpress shipping times and you’re not comfortable with making your customers wait that long, we suggest reading our article here.

That article discusses how to achieve fast delivery times on AliExpress and explains why fast delivery times matter in 2024.

14. Learn all the ways to increase your dropshipping profit margins

A person tracking his profits

This one is really important if you want to keep your dropshipping store alive. You will need to understand why your profit margins might be tight when you’re dropshipping.

If you read our article below, you will learn all the ways to increase your profit margins. That means you will have more money in your pocket.

How awesome is that?

Dropshipping with AliExpress: Increasing Your Profit Margins!

15. Enable AliExpress Dropshipping Cashback

Admitad homepage

One way to increase your profit margins, as mentioned in the previous article, is by enabling AliExpress dropshipping cashback.

Not many people are aware of this option or how to set it up.

That’s why we’ve dedicated a separate step in this complete AliExpress dropshipping guide to explain it!

Information on AliExpress

You can get around 4.3% – 5.9% cashback by just signing up for a cashback program like Admitad.

Isn’t that awesome?!

In the article below, we will teach you how to sign up for the AliExpress cashback program and how to add it to your dropshipping app (such as DSers):

How Do You Get AliExpress Cashback in 2024? (Full Guide)

16. Enable the AliExpress Dropshipping Center or Booster Program

AliExpress Dropshipping Center

The AliExpress Dropshipping Center (or Booster Program) is the tool that AliExpress made to make dropshipping with AliExpress easier.

You will get a lot of amazing tools inside the AliExpress dropshipping center.

Find Product to Sell section on AliExpress

In case you don’t know anything about the AliExpress Dropshipping Center or you don’t know how to enable it on your AliExpress account, then we suggest reading our other article here.

The best part is that it’s free to use and offers basic product research options!

Sponsored products on AliExpress

17. GDPR compliance

Flying on a package in Europe

GDPR compliance applies to businesses located and/or operating in the EU.

Even if there’s only a small chance of receiving EU visitors (for example, through Google), then you need to be compliant.

Yes, you could choose to lock down your site to not be shown in the EU (as you can read in the first article we’ve linked below), but achieving compliance is a better approach.

We can’t say it better than him:

Will your Shopify store be a target? Probably not… but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Source

If you want to learn more about GDPR compliance, we have some great articles for you to explore:

You can also watch this video from Flying Start Online:

One last thing, if you’re using Shopify, we recommend using this app to help you with GDPR compliance.

18. Keep testing!

If you’ve reached this step, congratulations!

Many people don’t make it this far because it requires a lot of work. But if you’re reading this with strong motivation, we’re proud of you!

This step is all about testing new things until you find a product that works for you and your dropshipping store.

Keep doing product research, testing new products, and tweaking your dropshipping store to get higher conversion rates.

Think about using a Heatmap tool like Hotjar to see what your visitors do on your store, split testing things like colors, descriptions, and so on! (More information about how to keep track of your store visitors here.)

Hotjar homepage
Screenshot of their homepage

We’ll write more articles about this in the future, but for now, we’ve got some great resources for you from other people:

19. Found a product that is selling?

A dropshipping agent doing a presentation

That’s awesome!

Then it’s time to scale the product and maximize your earnings from it!

While we haven’t covered this topic extensively on the blog yet, we do have some fantastic YouTube videos for you to watch if you want to learn more about scaling your AliExpress dropshipping store:

In the meantime, keep testing new products because that product could become unpopular in seconds. It could all change the next day!

Someone can discover your product, copy everything (but at a lower price), and run similar advertisements.

If your product is selling well, you might consider importing it in bulk to your location or using a fulfillment center like Amazon (although other options are available).

Buying in bulk provides more flexibility, such as customizing the package design, adding additional products, and adding a business card.

If you want to learn more about going from dropshipping to buying in bulk, we suggest watching this informative video below:

20. Didn’t find a selling product yet? Don’t give up!

A woman losing money

One of the biggest reasons most people fail with dropshipping is because they give up.

If you’re in that stage right now, then we suggest reading this article here before you give up!

That article also includes other reasons why people fail with dropshipping. Maybe it’ll give you some motivation!

Taking action

Reading and absorbing information and knowledge is great (definitely if it’s free!), but do you know what’s even better?

Taking action!

So, to help you with taking action with what you have learned in this article, take a look at the bullet points:

  • Treat dropshipping as a legitimate business and avoid purchasing courses from self-proclaimed ‘gurus.’ Instead, learn from reputable blogs and free courses mentioned in our article!
  • Take inspiration from other AliExpress dropshipping stores we’ve linked in our article.
  • Decide between a general store or a niche store. We recommend a niche store as it offers more advantages over a general store.
  • Understand the pros and cons of dropshipping with AliExpress properly so that you have no regrets later!
  • Register your domain name through reliable and cost-effective domain registrars mentioned in the article.
  • You have two options to host your AliExpress dropshipping store: you can go with an ecommerce platform that includes hosting, or you can use WordPress or WooCommerce and host it yourself.
  • Select an ‘AliExpress connection’ app to import and process orders automatically.
  • Do product research using free product discovery tools, as they save you valuable time that you can utilize while starting out.
  • Prioritize trustworthy suppliers, even if they may be slightly more expensive, as they ensure timely product delivery and minimize returns.
  • Creating a budget is vital to the success of your dropshipping store. Decide the advertising platforms you will use based on the provided infographic in the article, and establish pricing strategies.
  • Learn how to import AliExpress products & process orders.
  • Focus on adding one to three unique products and invest time in perfecting them to differentiate your store. The remaining products can be more generic.
  • The way you handle refunds and returns with dropshipping suppliers can significantly impact the success of your venture.
  • If your business operates in or caters to customers in the EU, ensure compliance with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) guidelines.
  • Enable AliExpress Dropshipping cashback to increase your profit margins.
  • Enable the AliExpress Dropshipping Center or Booster Program to make dropshipping easier.
  • Continuously conduct product research, test new products, and make necessary adjustments to your AliExpress dropshipping store to improve conversion rates.
  • If your product is selling well, consider importing it in bulk to a fulfillment center like Amazon.

Dropshipping with AliExpress: Conclusion

So, there you have it! The complete guide to dropshipping with AliExpress for beginners.

We hope this guide helped you to get started with your AliExpress dropshipping business.

If you want to learn more about how to set up your Shopify store correctly, we suggest reading these articles below:

The first one will go into more in-depth on how to create a successful Shopify dropshipping store. For example, we will cover how to pick a name for your store and how to advertise your dropshipping store.

It’s like a complete dropshipping course, but for free! Sounds good, right?

Additionally, if you think you’re stuck in the research phase and not sure if you can start or not, then check out this article here.

And last but not least, if you don’t have a Shopify store yet, then you can click here to get a free 3-day trial + 1 month for $1!

Shopify trial call to action

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog. It contains everything you need to know to start your own successful dropshipping store.

If you’ve got any questions regarding dropshipping, let us know by commenting below or contacting us directly by pressing the ‘Contact Us’ button at the top!

Good luck with your AliExpress dropshipping store!

Want to learn more about AliExpress?

Ready to move your dropshipping store to the next level? Check out the articles below:

Plus, don’t forget to check out our in-depth how to start a Shopify store guide here.



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