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How to Find the Best Dropshipping Suppliers in China from AliExpress with No Money (2021 Guide)

How to Find the Best Dropshipping Suppliers in China from AliExpress with No Money (2021 Guide)

What is AliExpress?

By now you’ve probably heard of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, or at least his $307 billion-dollar company Alibaba. He’s considered the Asian version of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Started in 1999, the company was a result of Ma not being able to find Chinese products online easily. The resulting platform enables Western buyers to connect with Chinese and Asian sellers and has revolutionized eCommerce around the globe.

Alibaba, the original site, is built for wholesale purchases. Sellers usually have minimum bulk order requirements. You can directly connect with Chinese manufacturers to place orders, and payment is usually via bank transfer.

AliExpress is its sister site and is made for smaller retailers who don’t stock the products they’re selling, and it accepts credit card payments. Think of it as Amazon, but cheaper and with a two-week delivery time.

So the main difference between AliExpress and Alibaba is that Alibaba is used for buying directly from the manufacturer, whereas on AliExpress the sellers are actually third-party individuals or companies who are reselling to you. You won’t get the best price, but the buyer protection and ability to make single orders makes it perfect for dropshippers.

AliExpress vs. Alibaba – Which one is better for beginners? 

AliExpress is set up more for dropshippers who are after single items as there are no minimum order requirements. Whereas Alibaba is focused on the purchase of bulk items. The payment methods reflect this too. The methods in AliExpress are a lot more desirable for beginners. Whereas, Alibaba focuses on payment methods for wholesale markets and buying in bulk.

However, Alibaba does provide cheaper product prices and can customize products as they work directly with manufacturers. But there is more admin involved with time spent organizing what you can get and figuring out licenses.

So the answer is it really depends. Some dropshippers start out on AliExpress and move to Alibaba when they increase their sales volume. Perhaps this is the best option!

Why do I not need any start up money or capital?

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, in this case, it actually is true. Let me explain:

Because these manufacturers mass produce goods, they can sell them for pennies on the dollar.

We’re talking fancy jewelry for under $0.30 a piece, nice shirts for $1, and even electronics for a few bucks that you can resell for $50 or more.

“But I still have to buy products, so I need some money!”

Actually, you don’t. That’s where the drop shipping comes in.

You don’t have to buy a thing until you get an order on your website. So you pay for your products with the money your customers pay you.

Now, you might be thinking…

“What about shipping costs? It’s coming from China – it must cost a ton!”

Nope. With the invention of ePacket shipping, you can get these items from China for free. (Or at the most, a dollar or two.)

The only startup money you need is enough to buy a domain and hosting. So less than $20.

Now, let’s talk about what you actually need to do.

How Dropshipping With AliExpress works

Dropshipping simply means when your customer makes a purchase from your site, you order the item from your Chinese supplier and they ship the item to your customer. You don’t need to hold any inventory or worry about packaging and shipping.

Dropshipping from AliExpress requires you to first set up a store or have a place to sell your goods, like Amazon or eBay.

When a customer makes a purchase, you place the order with the seller on AliExpress. The seller ships the items and you keep the difference in prices as profit.

Once the item is sent to your customer, they believe it’s from you. There’s no reason to know it’s a dropshipping process.

As you get bigger and scale your store, you can send in bulk orders to these suppliers for better rates and terms. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right suppliers from the start and build a relationship with them.

But what about returns?

We’ll discuss those later in this guide. For now, let’s talk pros and cons.

AliExpress Dropshipping: Pros and Cons

There are good and bad things to using AliExpress for dropshipping. Here they are:

PROS

  • AliExpress has a database of hundreds of millions of products. You’ll be hard-pressed to not find the item you’re looking for.
  • Starting a dropshipping business with AliExpress is 100 percent free. Other services like Worldwide Brands and Doba charge hundreds of dollars in startup and monthly fees. This can be a huge burden for someone who is trying to get their eCommerce business off the ground with minimal funds.
  • You control your own profit margins. AliExpress prices are extremely low and allow you plenty of profit.
  • Product trends appear on AliExpress overnight. When products like Jade Rollers, show up, you can bet that you’ll be able to find them on AliExpress.
  • No minimum order requirements. Unlike other dropshipping suppliers that have MOQ, AliExpress allows dropshippers to purchase 1 item and have it shipped directly to their customers.

CONS

  • Shipping can take more than a month in some cases. However, ePacket shipping to the United States and a few other select countries takes 12-15 days. Packages no longer have to be transported by boat, so transport time is faster now.
  • You cannot bundle items. If a customer orders three items from three different suppliers, there is no way for them to arrive at the same time.
  • It takes a few days for your credit card to be verified at first. If you set up a shop, make sure you build enough time into your first sale so you don’t have angry waiting customers.
  • Suppliers on AliExpress may not speak the best English, which may result in communication issues.

Is AliExpress safe and reliable?

Yes!

The great benefit of working with AliExpress is that it offers a lot of protection for buyers during ordering, shipping, and in case of returns. The site’s functions have been designed to keep the buyer in mind through every phase of the sale.

It’s in the best interest of AliExpress to make sure that its sellers are legitimate and deliver the goods as advertised.

However, it’s important when you’re choosing a seller on AliExpress that you take into account the company’s ratings and number of products sold.

There will be a lot of merchants selling the same item, so read what people are writing and only purchase from those sellers who have the best ratings.

One thing you should always do as a dropshipper is reach out and contact the sellers directly. Start a conversation with them, talk to them about the product, and make sure you’re working with someone reliable.

Also Read: AliExpress Alternatives: SaleHoo vs. AliExpress

What is AliExpress’ Standard Shipping?

How to Find the Best Dropshipping Suppliers in China from AliExpress with No Money (2021 Guide)

There are multiple shipping options on AliExpress, but ePacket delivery offers the best balance of price and shipping time.

Previously, items shipped from China were sent by sea, requiring up to 2+ months for delivery in some cases. As a dropshipper, you can’t keep your customers waiting that long.

If you do, your customers will either cancel their order or leave bad reviews, neither of which is good for your online business.

Thankfully, ePacket shipping has been introduced for Hong Kong and China, allowing for your customers to get their drop shipped goods in 12-14 days. ePacket delivery is available for goods up to 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) in weight and with a value less than $400.

Other than the shipping time reduction, the other benefits of ePacket shipment are that you can provide your customers with end-to-end tracking. Customs duties are already paid for, allowing for quicker delivery direct to your customers.

ePacket delivery was once only available to U.S. customers, but has now been expanded to a growing list of more than 30 countries.

Meeting your customer’s shipping needs will be one of your customer’s biggest priorities as a dropshipper. That’s why it’s especially important that you spend the time to find a good supplier and change suppliers if they aren’t using ePacket delivery.

Your customers are used to Amazon and other services where they can get their goods overnight. This is one of the biggest reasons they’re so successful.

The more you can lower your shipping time, the greater your customer satisfaction will be. So make sure you spend the extra fees for ePacket delivery and ensure your customers get what they want in a timely manner.

How to find and choose products (niche) in AliExpress?

How to Find the Best Dropshipping Suppliers in China from AliExpress with No Money (2021 Guide)

Firstly, let’s discover how to find a niche.

Choosing a niche and selling online should be a relatively simple process and can be broken down into easy steps. However, implementing them in real life can be a lot of work.

The easiest way to narrow down your niche and start selling products is to find a hot market. You need to find a market where people are spending money and which they are passionate about. As well as solve problems for your customers.

The next thing to think about is to figure out what your customers are having trouble with.

Then. Offer your customers what they want!

Simple right?

Well, maybe not in practice. When you first start an online business, the hard part is finding a product, or coming up with an offer that meets customers’ needs and creates a strong impulse to click that buy button.

People want more than a product in their shopping cart. A product is a commodity that can be easily replaced with something similar or cheaper.

When entering a niche, try to stand out.

In any business model, it’s important to offer something of value other than just the product. For example, if you are selling coconut oil, give people a recipe book with different ways they can use your product.

If you can create long-lasting value for your customers, they will buy from your eCommerce store over and over again.

To recap, in order to determine what kind of niche you should be in:

  1. Find a hot market.
  2. Ask your customers what they want.
  3. Give your customers what they said they wanted.

So how exactly do you find products for your niche?

The great thing about AliExpress is that you can complete Steps 1 & 2 on its site.

You can find hot markets and come up with product ideas by going to AliExpress’ bestselling page. Here you can see all of the top AliExpress products in different categories and look for an item or similar items that you might want to bundle together.

In the product listings you can delve further into customer reviews, view pictures they took, and discover any differences there may be between the product listing and the actual product upon delivery.

This last point is extremely important; many pictures or descriptions can be deceiving, so it’s absolutely important that you verify through reviews or by buying the product yourself.

A few ways other ways to find products for your niche: 

-Use Google Trends to see what the search volume is for your potential product. Perhaps your niche could be home decor. Some items you could look at selling include doormats, wall art and pot plants.

 

-Take advantage of social media to reach out and ask your customers what they’re having trouble with, then think of how you can help them using products from AliExpress.

-Think about a problem you are having. Do you need a swimsuit for the upcoming summer season? Or are you struggling to find the perfect gift for your significant other? These are all real struggles that you and many other people go through every single day. If you listen to people, they will tell you what they need, even indirectly.

-SaleHoo has a Market Research Lab, a dropshipping tool similar to search engines that displays AliExpress’s best sellers, along with Amazon’s and eBay’s best sellers, to show you the hottest products on the market.

You can also use it to see how often the dropshipped products are selling, and find the best suppliers for those products.

China is a Gold Mine For Dropshipping

You’ve likely heard that a lot of your competitors are using Chinese suppliers and you want to know why. The first reason is that China’s economy is booming and has been for many years.

China’s GDP is second only to the United States. But, using Chinese dropshipping suppliers is often more economical for American businesses.

There are four main reasons for China’s impact on dropshipping:

  • Materials are easy to get
  • China are experts at mass production
  • China has refined, organized, and fast production lines
  • China has great shipping services

Because of all these factors, China is now the world’s leading exporter at $2.59 trillion a year. Do you know where $499 billion of those goods get exported to? The United States.

How to Find the Best Dropship Suppliers in China

You may be thinking, “How do I find dropship suppliers in China?” It’s an important and valid question. In fact, knowing how to find the right Chinese dropshipping suppliers is the most important information you need.

It’s not as easy as Googling “best Chinese dropship suppliers.” There are precautions you need to take so you don’t end up losing customers, money, and your eCommerce store.

Visit Trade Shows

Chinese suppliers attend some trade shows in the U.S. like The International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But, you’re limited in the products that these few suppliers showcase.

If you’re able to attend a trade show with Chinese participants, you can speak to them directly. This gives you insight not only about their products but their company values. You’ll also learn about their processes such as production capacity and quality control measures.

In China, the Canton Fair and the East China Fair are very popular. Both of these trade shows attract thousands of participants including suppliers. They also feature a variety of exhibits and products.

The downside is that traveling to China isn’t cheap and you need to plan it well in advance.

Search Online Then Cross-reference

It sounds simple, but you can search online for Chinese dropship suppliers. This comes with the most risk. You have to do extensive research of all companies to make sure they’re legit.

Look around at their site for:

  • A business license
  • The company location
  • Their ownership status
  • Photos of the factory
  • Any certifications
  • Contact information

Doing business with a Chinese company is much different than you’re used to, as you might expect. They may not be forthcoming with their information and you may have to pick up the phone and call them yourself.

There are some well-known marketplace sites but use these with caution. Fake companies post products on these sites and don’t take credit cards, meaning you have to wire the money. Once they get your money, you’ll never hear from them again.

Legitimate suppliers use these sites as well, but it’s tough to sift through the good from the bad when they’re all bundled together. A smart thing to do is to place an order for one or two items to see firsthand how their process works.

Use Dropshipping Software

You can use one of the two traditional sources above, or you can use software designed for connect your store with Chinese famous eCommerce, like Aliexpress.

These softwares allow you to scrape and import product from Chinese eCommerce stores and sell them on your store with a margin.

This system is really fast and easy on the practical side, but has many flow on the business side, because you will buy products directly from store like Aliexpress, so:

  1. You’ll buy products at B2C price, from a store that already sell products to final customers, so if a user is smart enough, he can find the same product on Aliexpress for a cheaper price.
  2. You’ll have to buy one by one your items on Aliexpress
  3. If there is some problems you have to contact the supplier, that is not Aliexpress, but the merchant that put the items online, so if you sell many products you’ll have to be in contact with countless suppliers.
  4. You can’t Customize your products
  5. You can’t control your shipments

 

How to prepare your dropshipping business

How to Find the Best Dropshipping Suppliers in China from AliExpress with No Money (2021 Guide)

Here are 5 strategies you can use to prepare your dropshipping business for higher shipping costs from China to the US.

1. Use Chinese suppliers that have US warehouses

Here’s a little known fact. You don’t have to ship products from China to work with Chinese suppliers.

Many Chinese dropshipping suppliers and manufacturers have warehouses in the US now.

Companies like AliExpress are stocking up warehouses in the US with bulk products and setting up a fulfillment service to compete with Amazon FBA.

This was done so that Chinese suppliers could offer US customers faster shipping

So it’s definitely possible to dropship products within the US using Chinese suppliers.

However, not all Chinese suppliers have inventory and order fulfillment in the US, so you’ll have to do some digging.

I expect this will become more common, especially if shipping from China becomes more expensive.

If you do decide to dropship from a US warehouse, don’t expect prices to be quite as cheap as you’re used to.

You’ll be absorbing the cost of shipping products to the US and storing them in warehouses.

But prices will still be competitive, and you’ll have the benefit of offering your customers faster shipping.

You can start by simply searching “USA warehouse” or “US warehouse” on AliExpress and making contact with suppliers in your niche.

Or when you search for a product you can choose to filter products by where they are shipped from.

How to Find the Best Dropshipping Suppliers in China from AliExpress with No Money (2021 Guide)

2. Start using US dropship suppliers 

This is a great time to start thinking about using domestic product suppliers and manufacturers within the US.

There are a lot of US suppliers that offer dropshipping services.

Of course, US suppliers won’t be as cheap as Chinese suppliers. 

But, you can charge a premium for “Made in the USA” products. You’ll have the benefit of fast shipping, which your customers will love.

It’s also easier to work closely with the supplier and develop a more personal relationship. 

We’ve got a whole post about finding American dropship suppliers.

3. Diversify your market 

If anything, the US threat to leave the UPU and the resulting changes have revealed the problem with having all your eggs in one basket.

If all your customers are in the US, you’re going to be hit hardest by these potential changes to shipping from China.

Now’s a good time to start diversifying your market. 

Yes, the US is a big market. But you should also look at selling into the United Kingdom, Europe, Australasia, and even parts of Asia.

If you’re running Facebook ads, you can experiment by targeting groups in those markets.

If you can build a customer base in other countries, you can simply continue to dropship using your Chinese suppliers.

At the very least, it will buy you some time (and income) while you work out how to adjust your operations in the US to account for higher shipping costs.

There’s also less competition in these markets than in the US, so your ad spend should be lower and conversion rates might be higher.

4. Renegotiate deals with Chinese suppliers 

If cheap shipping from China really is over, but you’re still set on using Chinese suppliers, you should try and negotiate a better deal for yourself.

Chinese suppliers will be keen to hold on to valuable customers and may be open to dropping prices to account for higher shipping costs.

Here are some tips for negotiation with suppliers.

Basically, you want to try and get the per unit price down so the increased shipping costs don’t eat into your profits too much.

This might be tough to pull off for low-cost items, but you may be able to cover shipping costs entirely by negotiating better rates for high-ticket products.

5. Adopt a different business model 

How to Find the Best Dropshipping Suppliers in China from AliExpress with No Money (2021 Guide)

The end of cheap shipping from China might have you thinking about trying a new business model.

Dropshipping is a fantastic low-cost way to get started with ecommerce, but if you’ve been doing it for a while you may want to try something different.

For instance, buying bulk products at wholesale prices may be more viable. 

That way you only pay for shipping whenever you place a large order. That might be once a month, or a few times a year.

Once you have bulk goods in the US you can offer customers better domestic shipping rates and times.

This requires a greater investment of capital up front, but it can result in greater profits.

You’ll also avoid having to pay higher shipping costs every time you sell an item, which might be what happens if you continue dropshipping from China.

You can check out our guide to the different ecommerce business models here.

Dropshipping is here to stay

Being in business is all about being adaptable and responding to change.

The potential end to cheap shipping from China will be a major change for a lot of dropshippers.

But there’s no reason to panic. Dropshipping isn’t dead. In fact, these changes could be better for dropshipping in the long run.

More Chinese suppliers with US warehouses? More business for US suppliers? More competition in the dropshipping space?

This is all good news.

We’ll be watching developments closely and will keep this article updated when we learn more.

In the meantime, make sure to prepare your dropshipping business for potential changes. 

That way, no matter what happens, you’ll continue to be successful.

If you’ve got any questions or thoughts on this topic, or ideas for how dropshipping businesses can adapt to the proposed changes, please comment below.

Dropshipping from Chinese Suppliers Myth:

Low-Quality Products:

People tend to believe that when you work with Chinese suppliers you will be working only with low-quality products, which can lead to negative feedback, and higher return rates.

Well, this is partially right, but not really.

There are many tools that can help us find and sort products to dropship from China. Also if the seller that you are willing to dropship from has over 95% positive feedbacks and he is a long-time seller on AliExpress you can get an idea if his products are actually high-quality products or not.

Also, you can check the product’s reviews because you only wanna work with products that have more than 3.5 stars.

Dropshipping from Chinese Suppliers Will Lead to a Suspended Account:

The account suspension has nothing to do with drop shipping from China. It’s all about listing quality products based on the market research that you conduct before considering listing products.

Your selling account can still get closed even if you are working only with the American suppliers.

Buyers Will Not Buy From You:

Many people are saying that buyers will not buy from you because you are dropshipping from China and your shipping time is long, this is not true.

A lot of buyers across the globe prefer to wait a bit longer (2 weeks and even more) in order to get products at much cheaper prices.

If you give better prices but the shipping time is a bit longer it will still worth it for these buyers.

Conclusion:

In the end, we recommend you to start working with Chinese suppliers because the prices are cheaper. Also, customer support is not that bad as people are saying. And you can make much higher profit margins while Dropshipping from Chinese Suppliers.

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