Start Dropshipping Now on AliExpress: 2023 Playbook

AliExpress dropshipping guide

Dropshipping with Aliexpress is an excellent way to start an ecommerce business without worrying about inventory or shipping. It’s as simple as listing a product for sale on your website and sending an email to your supplier to ship the item on your behalf whenever you get an order.

While starting a dropshipping business is a great way to launch an ecommerce business from scratch, digging deep through the web to find a reliable supplier can be tough. However, with a dropshipping tool like DSers, you can find millions of products to dropship, including products from AliExpress.

Template Icon

Free Webinar:

How to Get Started with Dropshipping in 2023

Learn how to find high-margin products, add them into your store, and start selling—fast.

What is AliExpress?

AliExpress is an enormous marketplace, with more than 100 million products available for sale. It was founded in 2010 and is owned by China-based Alibaba, one of the world’s largest ecommerce companies

AliExpress homepage

Because most of the AliExpress sellers are overseas manufacturers, you can find trending products at a lower price. Within, you’ll find products ranging from women’s clothing and jewelry to electronics and home décor. It’s a great place for sourcing products if you want to sell stuff online. Unlike other marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, AliExpress has a unique infrastructure, ideal for the dropshipping order fullfillment method. 

Does AliExpress allow dropshipping?

Yes! AliExpress makes it easy to find products to sell in your ecommerce store without having to worry about inventory or shipping. You can start dropshipping today, for free, by using DSers or other dropshipping apps to find and add AliExpress products to your store in only a few clicks. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. You add the products you’d like to sell from AliExpress to your store.
  2. You set a price with a markup.
  3. When you receive an order, you pay for that product at wholesale prices.
  4. The AliExpress seller ships the order directly to your customer.

How much does it cost to dropship on AliExpress?

It’s 100% free to dropship through AliExpress. Competitor marketplaces like Doba and Worldwide Brands charge monthly fees to access their suppliers. If you’re starting a dropshipping business with no money, it’s easy to find products to sell on AliExpress with zero startup costs. 

What are the benefits of dropshipping on AliExpress?

While AliExpress may position itself as an online retailer, most sellers on AliExpress understand that a large number of their customers are resellers and are much more interested in dropshipping.

Dropshipping with AliExpress is also pretty easy. There’s no upfront cost or fee, so you can test out products without a big financial commitment. 

Many sellers on AliExpress have existing product photos you can use on your store, and basic product descriptions are provided as well. However, when selling a commodity product, don’t forget the importance of differentiation through positioning and how you polish the small details—it’s usually worth your time to invest in better photos and product descriptions.

Lastly, dropshipping is as simple as buying a product from the site and inputting your customer’s address after receiving their order.

Below, we’ll share in more detail what to look for in a product and seller and how to position yourself for success. But truthfully, it’s not any more complicated than what I described above. Dropshipping through AliExpress is a great way to get started selling online once you have everything set up.

Why would someone buy from your store if they can buy the same products on AliExpress?

With an AliExpress dropshipping business, your competitive advantage won’t be your price or unique proprietary products. Your competitive advantage will be reaching and serving your customers faster and better than your current competition—in other words, marketing, operations, and support are how you win.

Good marketing alone is a competitive advantage. Marketing is how you help customers find, evaluate, and buy your product—it’s meant to improve a customer’s experience with your store, in addition to driving revenue. Marketing is also the umbrella of activities you do in pursuit of building a brand, like creating content that’s helpful and entertaining.

Last, but certainly not least, is your customer support—a key differentiator, especially if your current competition provides lackluster service or provides a frustrating shopping experience. You can significantly improve your level of service by quickly answering customer questions and making it a priority to help them fully solve any issues they run into when buying from your store.

Can you dropship products from AliExpress to Amazon? 

In short, yes. One way we’d recommend selling AliExpress dropshipping products on Amazon is:

    1. Use an ecommerce platform like Shopify to create an online store and connect it to DSers (which sources inventory from AliExpress).
    2. Import products from DSers to your Shopify store. 
    3. Add the Amazon Sales Channel to your store. 
    4. Create and manage Amazon listings from your Shopify admin. 

Once you set up DSers, you can also create Amazon listings out of existing products in your store or create offers for existing Amazon products if you’re already selling on the platform. Shopify will automatically update your Amazon listings to match your inventory in your store. 

Setting up your AliExpress dropshipping store step by step

Now that we understand how AliExpress can help you source products as a dropshipper and why it’s important to correctly position your store, let’s move on to getting your store set up.

How to choose which AliExpress dropshipping products to sell

The first part of setting up your store is selecting a niche, or the selection of dropshipping products you’re going to sell. If you don’t know where to start, start with the product categories AliExpress has and begin listing options based on what interests you the most or what you’d feel the most confident selling.

AliExpress dropshipping

Once you have a distinct niche in mind, it’s time to start choosing a few products you want to resell on your store. In this example, I chose running shoes as my store niche.

As with many categories on AliExpress, there’s a huge selection of products to choose from. This can be overwhelming and may lead to headaches if you don’t select a high quality product from a reliable supplier.

While it isn’t perfect, I’ve developed a list of criteria for choosing a product. There’s no science to it, but so far it’s helped me select reliable sellers. Here are a few things I look for when selecting a product on AliExpress to dropship:

  • No brands, fakes, or knockoffs: I skip products with any existing branding to avoid accidentally reselling fakes and knockoffs. Since you won’t be a licensed reseller unless you work out a legal partnership with the brand in question, the risk of selling a product with anyone else’s logo on it is not worth it, even if the product is legitimate. Yes, this may ultimately limit your choices, but it will also save you a lot of trouble, so stick to product categories where a recognizable logo doesn’t matter so much, such as with electronic accessories or clothing.
  • ePacket delivery with free shipping: Wherever possible, focus on reselling products that offer free ePacket shipping. Because a majority of product listings on AliExpress come from China or Hong Kong, ePacket delivery is not only the most economical but also one of the quickest options to ship small goods to the United States. It’s important to mention that even if a seller offers ePacket shipping that’s not free, I’d rather choose a seller that offers it over a seller that doesn’t. It’s simply the most cost-effective and reliable shipping option currently available to get products from China to the Americas and Europe.
  • Over 300 orders: A product with a lot of orders tells me a few things. First, that there’s demand for the product. Second, that the supplier is more reliable than average, as that volume of orders means it’s likely at least a few are repeat purchases. Sometimes I’ll start looking for a new item to sell by sorting products by the highest number of match on aliexpress
  • More than a 4.5-star rating: I also like to ensure the products I plan to resell have a high product rating (over 4.5 stars) and that the seller has mostly positive feedback. Just to get a second opinion on product sellers, I use a Chrome extension called AliExpress Seller Check. Using a third-party tool, I’m able to get an at-a-glance overview of a seller that’s more candid and unbiased. I’ve found this to be much more reliable than simply using AliExpress’ rating system.
  • Low price with a high margin potential: Depending on the product I want to resell, I like to stick with purchasing products within a $1 to $20 price range. This gives me more wiggle room around spending marketing dollars to acquire a customer, as these products can be priced at $20 to $50 or more. For example, I can find running shoes on AliExpress for around $20 and sell them for $50, which leaves me with a 60% profit margin before accounting for my marketing costs.
  • Lots of great product photos: Do your due diligence to ensure the photos are actually from your manufacturer and not taken from another retailer online. Doing a quick Google image search will help you see if the product photos are of a real brand and retailer or from the manufacturer themselves.product image on aliexpress
  • Communicative, helpful seller: Don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions before placing an order with them. A good reliable seller will answer all of your questions quickly. If a seller doesn’t respond to messages, that’s a big red flag.

Adding products to your store

Once you set up your Shopify store and have a product category and supplier in mind, it’s time to start adding products. This step is important to cover in detail because it’s not as simple as taking the images and description of an AliExpress listing and placing it on your website.

Instead, if you want to position your store for success, there are a few things you should consider:

  • Write your own product descriptions: The product descriptions for many of the products on AliExpress were not written by copywriters or with the intention of fully explaining the benefits of the products. Having your own unique content will serve your business better in the long run and will help you better convert visitors to customers on your product pages. Finally, you’ll avoid any duplicate content risks if you write original copy across all of your store’s pages.
  • Let customers know about delivery times: It’s a good idea to include on the product page (or elsewhere on your store) that your customers may need to wait up to 20 days, depending on the supplier, for their order to arrive. Since most suppliers on AliExpress are located in China, shipping times can be longer than average.
  • Use an order tracking app: With longer shipping times than most people are used to, you may receive emails from customers asking where their purchase is. Use an order tracking app from the Shopify App Store to keep your customers up to date on the status of their purchase.
  • For example, use an app like Tracktor on the Shopify App Store that can enable real-time order tracking and status lookup for your online store
  • traktor
  • Offer free shipping: Low shipping prices can become one of your competitive advantages, so I highly recommend offering free shipping to your customers via the free/low-cost shipping offered by many AliExpress sellers.
  • Price products appropriately: Consider pricing your products at about twice the cost. Shooting for a 50% margin will make running the business worthwhile, as well as cover necessary expenses like marketing and support.
  • Add products to your store with Dsers: Instead of manually adding products from AliExpress to your website, you can use DSers to add them more quickly. 

AliExpress and DSers plug in

You can also download the Dsers Chrome plug-in to add products you see on AliExpress to your store. This helps automate importing new products as you look for items your customers will love. The DSers app does the work for you, you just need to browse and click.

How to use AliExpress to dropship

Now that you have your store filled with products ready to sell and dropship, what do you do once you get your first order?

Dropshipping with AliExpress works similarly to any regular dropshipper. When you receive an order, purchase the item on AliExpress and enter your customer’s name and shipping address. The seller handles the rest.

If you want to do this manually, it might be a good idea to have a spreadsheet handy with a list of all the products on your site, the amount you’re selling them for, the amount they cost on AliExpress, and a link to the AliExpress listing. This way, whenever you get an order, it will be easier for you to find the supplier on AliExpress, as well as keep track of price changes.

tracking in sheets

Alternatively, you can use DSers, which can handle all of this on your behalf, making it easier for you to purchase orders on AliExpress and watch for product price changes. This approach is not only easier, it saves you a lot of time—your most valuable resource. It lets you grow without worrying about having to manually order dozens (or more) of products on AliExpress.

How does it work? It’s as simple as having the DSers app installed in your Shopify store and adding products. From there, DSers does the rest. It will buy the product from AliExpress for you and insert your customer’s details.

DSers and shipping info

DSers will even let you know when a supplier on AliExpress has changed their price or run out of stock and suggest other dropshipping suppliers

Dsers supplier optimizer

Also, DSers can be a dashboard for your AliExpress dropshipping business, allowing you to track all your orders and monitor the status of deliveries.

When ordering on AliExpress, it’s a good idea to let the seller know you’re dropshipping. This way, the supplier won’t include any invoices or promotions in the package being sent to your customer. On checkout, you can leave a message for the seller. I recommend leaving a simple message such as: “We’re dropshipping. No promotions or invoices, please!” DSers can do this for you when you’re making a purchase on AliExpress.

Try to select ePacket shipping if the supplier is in China and offers it as an option. Many suppliers will offer it for free. DSers allows you to automatically choose ePacket shipping on checkout for all orders on AliExpress.

If you’re using DSers, the order will be fulfilled for you automatically, including the tracking number, and your customer will know their order has been shipped. Feel free to skip the above step if you’re using DSers.

That’s it! Now it’s just a matter of waiting for your customers to receive their order. When the order arrives, AliExpress will send you an email asking for confirmation that the order was received. Allow for some time so the customer can contact you if there were any issues with the product or with delivery. This way, you can bring up the issue with the supplier through AliExpress, encouraging them to correct it and hopefully solving the problem for any future orders.

What about refunds and returns?

Many AliExpress suppliers don’t offer returns. This means you’ll have to handle returns and refunds in one of a few ways. When there’s an issue with an order a customer placed on your store, it’s usually because the order never arrived or your customer is not happy with their purchase.

For the first case—an order never arriving—you’ll need to bring up the issue with your supplier. In this situation, contact the supplier to resolve the issue or use AliExpress’ Buyer Protection.

If your customer is simply not happy with the product, it’s usually a matter of expectations—what they received wasn’t what they expected. I suggest providing a refund and seeing if there are any changes you should make to your marketing to address their feedback (in many cases, the customer simply may not have fully understood what they were ordering). If the product is damaged, ask your customer to take photos and send those photos to the AliExpress seller and go from there.

What are some of the best AliExpress dropshipping products?

Here is a list of the best dropshipping product listings we’ve identified:

  1. Kids’ face masks
  2. Electric toothbrushes 
  3. Bamboo toothbrushes
  4. Interdental toothbrushes
  5. Sleep eye masks 
  6. Sleep gummies
  7. Yoga mats
  8. Massage gun
  9. Jade rollers
  10. Vitamin C serum
  11. Acne patches 
  12. Squat-proof leggings
  13. Mom jeans
  14. Tracksuit
  15. Overshirts
  16. Balaclava
  17. Silk pajamas
  18. Slides
  19. Silicone rings
  20. Backpacks
  21. Air fryers
  22. Portable blenders
  23. Electric kettle
  24. Oat milk
  25. Fasting tea
  26. Wine fridges
  27. Doormats
  28. Air-purifying plants 
  29. Ceiling fans
  30. Dog bed
  31. Soap dish
  32. Air purifiers 
  33. Blackout curtains
  34. Blankets
  35. Orthopedic pillows
  36. Duvet covers
  37. Boho pillows
  38. Bedside lamps
  39. Pencil cases
  40. Mechanical pencils
  41. Blue-light glasses
  42. Podcast microphones
  43. Mechanical keycaps
  44. Smart lights
  45. Automatic soap dispensers
  46. Smart plugs
  47. Smart locks
  48. Ring lights
  49. Portable green screens
  50. iPhone tripods
  51. Mobile skins 
  52. Gaming monitors
  53. Gaming mouse pads
  54. Gaming headsets
  55. Ergonomic chairs
  56. Ceramic coating 
  57. Socket wrenches
  58. Digital tire-pressure gauge
  59. Portable power stations

Growing your AliExpress dropshipping business

Once you’ve made your first few sales, it’s time to start looking at how you can grow your online business and make more money.

Build supplier relationships

Eventually, you’ll begin to figure out who are the reliable and quality suppliers and who are not. One of the best dropshipping tips I have: build relationships with the reliable suppliers. This will help you get better prices and priority order processing.

I’ve found most of the suppliers on AliExpress use WeChat or WhatsApp. If you see yourself frequently ordering from the same seller, it’s a good idea to ask them for their Skype username to develop a business relationship. Once you’ve demonstrated you can bring in recurring sales, some sellers will allow you to place your logo on products or include custom invoices and branded inserts into shipping packages.

Market your business

Marketing any online business can be challenging. Fortunately, there are many different marketing strategies to test and apply to your business. 

Some top tactics include:

  • SEO 
  • Email marketing 
  • Influencer marketing 
  • Social media marketing 
  • Referral programs
  • Google Ads

Start your dropshipping business with DSers

The best part about AliExpress dropshipping is that it allows store owners to quickly test and validate product ideas. Unsure if you’re capable of selling a certain product? Add it to your store and test it! And if it doesn’t work out, you can simply remove the item and start testing something else.

Because you’re not carrying or managing any inventory and there’s no upfront cost, there’s little risk to setting this all up. And as I mentioned, you can start for free with DSers.

AliExpress Dropshipping FAQ

Is AliExpress dropshipping dead?

AliExpress dropshipping is by no means dead. It’s still a profitable and popular business model for people who want to make money online. The big difference is that there’s more competition than in previous years. Get started with Shopify

How do I start a dropshipping business on AliExpress?

  1. Choose a dropshipping niche for your business.
  2. Find dropshipping suppliers.
  3. Prepare the questions you’ll ask suppliers.
  4. Create your online store. 
  5. Promote your new dropshipping business.
  6. Get your first order.
  7. Follow up with customers. 

Get started with Shopify

What is the AliDropship?

AliDropship is a solution for entrepreneurs that want to start a dropshipping business. You can have AliExpress build you a dropshipping store or use the AliDropship plug-in to easily import bestsellers and new products to an existing store. Get started with Shopify

Why is AliExpress so cheap?

Items are so cheap on AliExpress because all merchants selling on AliExpress source merchandise from Chinese manufacturers. This drives costs down and helps them offer free or cheap shipping costs, too. Get started with Shopify