Why You Should NOT Dropship From AliExpress: My Experience

Do Not Dropship From AliExpress

I tried Shopify dropshipping from AliExpress, and had a terrible experience.

Here’s why you should not dropship from AliExpress…

Do not dropship from AliExpress


My Experience Dropshipping from AliExpress

I was a total beginner to dropshipping and had never dropshipped on Shopify before. I created a Shopify website and connected it to Oberlo, as I had the intent of dropshipping from AliExpress due to the cheap prices!

In case you are wondering, I had created a niche website in the home decor niche which was targeted at cat lovers.

I was also new to Facebook ads, but after watching A LOT of YouTube videos about different ad strategies, I decided to get started. My first few ads were bringing in sales, but not enough to cover the total costs. Given that I was a complete beginner, I had expected this, and decided to stick at it. After approximately 3 weeks, I started getting a lot more sales, and it looked like things were all going OK, until that all turned around and went dramatically downhill.

I went onto AliExpress and found products that offered 2-4 week shipping and had very positive reviews and feedback. I decided that the 2-4 week shipping time was not a problem, provided I was very upfront and open about it. So I imported some products into my Shopify store and updated the descriptions, and made updates to the site to make it look pretty and professional.

Then I started creating the ads for them. I created a combination of video ads and picture ads that I made myself through Canva and basic editing apps.

During the second month, when things were starting to be profitable, I was very happy and was ready to start scaling. I continued to spend money on ads, and continued to bring in sales.

Everything is sounding great up until this point! So WHAT is wrong with dropshipping from AliExpress???

Let me tell you…

Approximately 6 weeks into it all, I started receiving A LOT of emails and messages from customers asking where on earth their orders were.

When I looked into the tracking numbers, the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of orders had not even left China yet! And it was already 4 weeks in, which was the shipping time I had provided my customers.

Given that the items had not even arrived in their country yet, I hardly wanted to promise them that it would arrive soon, because I had no idea! I contacted the supplier but they didn’t provide any information. Therefore I did what I believed was right and started issuing refunds for the orders that had not arrived yet. After all, my website had said 2-4 weeks, and they had not even arrived yet.

I ended up issuing a total of $604.91 in refunds, which was equivalent to 1 in 5 orders. The scarier thing is that not all of the customers had requested a refund, meaning this number could have been a lot higher!

I was quite disappointed, given that it had seemed like I was beginning to have success, but decided this was definitely not a profitable way to move forward.

In addition, I was having to monitor the Facebook ads very regularly for comments where people had looked up the product, found the actual price on Wish, and then posted that in the comments. So I was finding I had to delete comments such as these a lot. This is rather time consuming and frankly, not very fun!

I also had a couple negative experiences with the supplier, where they sent out the wrong size and color of the item and they refused to help.


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What about AliExpress Buyer Protection?

AliExpress does offer buyer protection for a maximum of 60 days. This means that if 60 days is up and the item still hasn’t arrived, the buyer can open a dispute showing proof of the tracking showing that it hasn’t arrived yet. In those instances, the seller will issue a refund. There were a few orders that had still not arrived after the 60 days, which I was able to get a refund on. I got $131.69 back from AliExpress.

And that definitely is great, as I was able to get some money back, but that still left me out of pocket $473.22 for other orders. This is because although they didn’t arrive within their stated time of 2-4 weeks, the majority of orders still did arrive typically at the 6-8 week mark.

So I eventually decided to just let it go, sit back and take the experience as a giant learning exercise for what I will not do next time, which is  to not dropship from AliExpress again.

Alternative Dropshipping Suppliers

If you have been considering dropshipping from AliExpress, I would highly recommend not doing so.

Do Not Dropship From AliExpress

Or if you have also had a similar experience dropshipping from AliExpress, and you are wondering who you can use as an alternative supplier, then read on!

I recommend SaleHoo.

They provide a directory of suppliers that dropship as well as who are located within the country you are selling in. This removes the issue of slow shipping times that AliExpress has as they dispatch from China.

In fact, many people who do dropshipping onto Amazon use Salehoo as a supplier in order to accommodate faster shipping times.

It costs an upfront fee of $67/year, but you get reliable, trustworthy, and local suppliers to dropship from!

In addition, they have a 60-day money-back guarantee.

If you would like to learn more about SaleHoo, click here.

Alternative eCommerce Business Model

The profit margins in dropshipping overall tend to be quite slim. In addition, you need to dedicate A LOT of time towards running Facebook ads, monitoring them, and then making additional tweaks whenever something isn’t working.

An alternative eCommerce business model is private labelling products, and then selling them on Amazon via Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).

There are a lot of Amazon FBA courses out there which are quite expensive, often charging between $1000 and $4000.

I’ve tried out the Aussie Online Entrepreneurs Amazon FBA course by Neil Asher, and it’s only $77 (AUD) per month, making it much easier to get started with a step-by-step guide.

I wrote a review of this course if you would like more information.




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About the author 

Corinna Jacqueline

Hi! I'm Corinna, and I have experience making money online through investing, creating Etsy shops, dropshipping, social media marketing and affiliate marketing.

I'm always testing and learning new things, and so it is my hope that through my experiences and recommendations that you will be able to find something of use to you!

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