Ecommerce is a growing industry. In the United States alone, ecommerce revenues are projected to reach a whopping $1.4 trillion by year 2025 (Oberlo). This means that it brings a massive growth potential even to those who are just planning to start their journey. And if you are looking into ecommerce as an option, one business model that’s worth looking into is Shopify AliExpress dropshipping.
“But isn’t dropshipping complicated?” You ask.
Well, it actually isn’t – especially if you take your time into studying it and learning everything that you should know. And with the availability of hundreds of ecommerce and dropshipping apps designed to make online business easier, dropshipping has definitely just got easier!
So if you’re determined to start your ecommerce business, buckle up. Because in this article, you’re in for a ride towards your first dropshipping business. Let’s get started.
- How Dropshipping Works?
- Shopify AliExpress Dropshipping Apps
- Final Words
How Dropshipping Works?
Dropshipping with AliExpress using a Shopify store is one of the most efficient ways to do your online business. Here’s why:
AliExpress lets you access more than 100 million AliExpress dropshipping products through their platform all straight from the source – China. Because of that, this is the place where you can find the best price deals on any item that you want to dropship. Many, if not all, AliExpress sellers are experienced in doing business with dropshippers.
Here’s where Shopify comes in. Shopify will give your business the ecommerce platform it needs in order to list products, reach customers, provide a secure payment method, and more importantly, flexibility and scalability, among other things.
So, how does the process of dropshipping with AliExpress look?
The Dropshipping Model Simplified
To provide a simpler explanation, the dropshipping model looks like this:
- You list up products from AliExpress to your online store
- Whenever someone places an order to your store, they pay you the retail price (as listed in the website)
- After they paid the product, you then forward the order to your AliExpress supplier
- In turn, you will pay the wholesale price to your supplier and you pocket the difference (profit)
- You supplier will then handle the fulfillment until the package reaches your customer’s doorstep
In a way, you are acting as a sales agent of a supplier – you take orders, forward it to them, and they fulfill the order.
It’s that simple in theory. But in reality, dropshipping requires more patience, understanding, and knowledge so you can execute it properly.
Where most of the complications lie in the business are in:
- Looking for winning products
- Finding reputable suppliers
- Running your ecommerce business
- Returns and refunds
Based on our experience, most of the challenges dropshippers face occur during the first few months of their business.
Because this is the stage where they are still learning the process, building relationships with suppliers and at the same time learning how to use the tools necessary to run the business.
So, if you’re going to start your dropshipping with AliExpress, expect that the first few months will be tougher than what you expected. But after you’ve gained traction, things will be smoother sailing.
Pros & Cons of Dropshipping
This business model may not be for all types of entrepreneurs because despite all the automations and convenience, dropshipping isn’t without flaws.
Here are the pros and cons of dropshipping:
- No need for a physical store - dropshipping is a fully online-based business
- Low startup cost - the cost to start this business is practically very low
- Easy to pivot - it’s very easy to pivot to a different niche if the first one didn’t work
- Flexible and scalable - a Shopify-based dropshipping business provides massive room for business growth
- Automations - dropshipping is an automated process that doesn’t require much manual processes
- Branding - in print-on-demand (POD) dropshipping platforms, you can customize products according to your brand
- You don’t control the supply chain - because you don’t necessarily stock products, you can’t allocate products exclusively to your store
- Quality can be hit or miss - since these are mostly mass-produced products, quality may differ – so it’s best to order samples before selling them
- Customer service issues - some AliExpress suppliers aren’t particularly known for their customer service efficiency.
- Return and refund policies - another thing that dropshippers commonly complain about AliExpress dropshippers is their return and refund policy – most of the time, it’s non-existent
- Marketing slugfest - you need to consistently spend on paid ads to continue generating sales
Shopify AliExpress Dropshipping Apps
There are two ways to do a dropshipping business:
- Do things manually - The first way is to go to AliExpress, sign up for an account and manually search the platform for the products that you want. After that, you can sift through tens or probably hundreds of suppliers of those similar products.
And then, when you narrow down your list of suppliers, you can start negotiating for prices and for a dropshipping business model, that is, if they would agree. If not, you’d have to look for other suppliers.
After all that, you can manually add the products to your Shopify store and monitor everything using a spreadsheet.
- Use dropshipping apps - dropshipping apps are designed to simplify all the things that are manually done. When you use a dropshipping app, you don’t have to negotiate for a dropshipping arrangement as most likely, the suppliers listed in the apps are already open to that arrangement.
Additionally, you no longer have to manually download products and reupload them to your store and use a spreadsheet to track suppliers and all the orders that you should place to them. All these are also automated when using dropshipping apps – thereby removing all the intricacies of manually running a dropshipping business.
With all these in mind, using dropshipping apps is your safest and most efficient choice if you want to do this business.
As such, here are some Shopify AliExpress dropshipping apps that you should take into consideration.
DSers-AliExpress is the most downloaded dropshipping app in Shopify. It offers a large platform for users to find all kinds of AliExpress dropshipping products and push these products to their Shopify stores in easy steps.
DSers is an official AliExpress partner and it has pre-vetted dropshipping suppliers in its platform so that new dropshippers don’t need to go through the tedious process of manually seeking suppliers and negotiating wholesale prices.
- Supplier optimizer - find the best suppliers that offer the best prices for a specific product
- Bulk order - bulk placement of customer orders to different suppliers in a single click
- Bundle products - combine products from different suppliers in a single order in order to increase cart value
- Auto-sync tracking numbers - track fulfillment status of all your product orders in order to make sure all orders are handled
- Stock management - automatically pulls out a product from Shopify store when the supplier runs out of stock – minimizing refunds and customer frustration
With more than 16,000 reviews on Shopify, DSers-AliExpress amazingly got an excellent score of 5 stars. The five-star feedback impressively outnumbered the one-star reviews. This says a lot about how users are satisfied with the app.
You’ll be happy to know that you can use DSers-AliExpress for free if you want to start dropshipping through this app. However, features and functionalities are limited.
Nevertheless, the Free plan gives new dropshippers time to familiarize themselves with the platform before committing to a periodic payment. The most optimal plan, in our opinion, is the Advanced which costs $19.9 per month.
- Wide selection of products
- Always find the best prices with supplier optimizer
- Customer support responds promptly to inquiries
- Can be overwhelming for first-time users
- Shopify users reported difficulties in processing return requests
Spocket is a dropshipping platform specifically marketed as US and EU focused. However, upon accessing its Shopify app, we figured out that it doesn’t just ship exclusively to US and EU territories. Instead, it also ships to countries in other continents as well.
Additionally, what makes Spocket so unique is that it gives dropshippers the choice on where to source their products – be it from the US, Italy, Russia, Singapore, and other countries. It’s actually impressive, to say the least. This means that entrepreneurs who are dropshipping in a country where Spocket can ship from enjoys a faster delivery time.
In the US, Spocket can deliver products as fast as 1 to 3 days (perhaps if originating from the US) which is really fast for a dropshipping business.
- Access to US and EU suppliers - unlike other dropshipping apps which only allows sourcing from Chinese suppliers, Spocket allows you to import products from suppliers across the world – this means access to more high-quality and unique products
- Ali Scraper - if you can’t find a product from within the Spocket platform, the Ali Scraper chrome extension will help you import products from AliExpress to your Shopify store through Spocket
- Private label - exclusive only to cosmetics and beauty products, this feature allows you to imprint your brand name on your products
- Branded invoicing - Spocket allows dropshippers to send branded invoices to reflect their unique brands on every order that they ship to customers
- Fast shipping times - with the availability of US warehouses, shipping to US customers can be fulfilled within 1 to 3 days
Spocket got an average of 4.7 stars in its Shopify reviews.
Aspiring dropshippers can use spocket for Free – however, all they can do is browse their products and nothing else. If you want to start an AliExpress dropshipping store, you should be subscribed to a plan that starts at $39.99. At that price you can only push a maximum of 25 products to your Shopify store.
The most optimal plan is Pro ($59.99) which will allow you to list up to 250 unique products and 25 premium ones.
- Great focus on American dropshippers and customers
- Access to various dropshipping suppliers around the world other than just AliExpress suppliers
- Fast shipping time because of warehouses scattered across several countries
- Does not transparently show supplier inventory on its product listings
- Free plan is available but all you can do is browse, if you want to push products to your Shopify store you have to subscribe
- The pricing plan is expensive and the most optimal plan one should have starts at $59.99
CJDropshipping is an AliExpress dropshipping platform that allows users to find a unique product from its more than 1,000,000 product listings. This platform stands out because of its fast order fulfillment to US customers – only taking one to three days to deliver from China via DHL.
CJDropshipping is continuously expanding its presence by setting up warehouses in strategic locations around the globe, including:
So if you want to dropship in different countries, CJDropshipping is a viable option that you should consider.
- Custom packaging - choose from different types of materials to create your unique, branded packaging
- Product photography - if you aren’t satisfied with their stock photos, you can request for new product images that are exclusively for you (for a fee)
- Product sourcing - if you can’t find a product within the platform, you can post Sourcing Requests in your dashboard so they can look for reputable suppliers to fulfill your needs
- Print-on-demand - sell branded and unique products through CJDropshipping’s POD feature
CJDropshipping got an impressive 4.9 stars from more than 4000 reviews on Shopify.
CJDropshipping is Free. They do not charge monthly fees or sign-up fees. However, they charge a series of service fees on each transaction.
- Intuitive and functional app dashboard
- Free to start
- We like the POD feature
- Although the dashboard is functional, it is sluggish and thus needs optimization
- Bulk importation to Shopify is still tedious as some products still fail on getting listed
Zendrop is a dropshipping platform that gives users access to more than 1,000,000 products spread out across different product categories. This platform simplifies the process of simultaneously dealing with multiple suppliers, negotiating prices and managing fulfillment methods through its own Shopify app.
Additionally, Zendrop reduces the risks of dropshipping by only listing pre-vetted suppliers in their platform. For US dropshippers, Zendrop is a compelling choice as it allows for bulk purchase and storage of products in their US warehouses – thus making shipping times faster leading to a more enjoyable and satisfying customer experience overall.
- Private labeling - Zendrop allows dropshippers to imprint their own brands and logos in the products that they sell
- Custom branding - personalized “Thank You” messages to customers every time they order from our store
- Automated fulfillment - orders are automatically forwarded to suppliers as soon as the customers pay the retail price, this can be turned off if you want to validate each order
- Fast US shipping - two to five days shipping time for products originating from US warehouses
- Zendrop select - exclusive access for high-volume dropshippers
Zendrop got a high overall rating of 4.7 stars from more than 6,000 Shopify reviews
Zendrop’s pricing plan extremely favors new dropshippers as they can use the platform for free – although with limited functionalities. This presents an opportunity to learn using the platform with minimal financial risks while being able to do all the dropshipping processes.
- Pushing products to Shopify is extremely easy
- US warehouses cut down shipping time
- Enables branding through private labeling
- No live agent promptly available
- $49 per month requires commitment
- No reporting tools within the app
When it comes to dropshipping, AliExpress has become an indispensable entity that makes almost all dropshipping businesses possible. Acting as a direct gateway to large Chinese manufacturing entities, this platform gives entrepreneurs access to more than 100 million AliExpress products.
But there’s one obvious challenge that all aspiring dropshippers face when dropshipping with AliExpress – finding the best suppliers. Not all AliExpress suppliers are the same. There are those that can help you grow your business and on the other hand, there are those that will make you rethink your choices.
It all boils down to patience.
But once you get past the initial challenges, a whole world of financial possibilities will open up for you and if you do the right things, it will pave your path to financial freedom.
Lastly, using the right ecommerce platform is just as important as finding the best suppliers for your dropshipping business.
At the end of the day, your platform of choice will be the one you will heavily rely on to reach your customers and to do the things it’s supposed to do – sell and make a profit. So make sure that you are using a Shopify dropshipping store.