AliExpress is a wonderful marketplace for dropshipping stores. Its prices, guarantees and shipping options let entrepreneurs resell goods to almost any country in the world with decent margins. But what about other dropshipping sources? In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and pitfalls of dropshipping products from other platforms.
Let’s suppose you started a dropshipping business with AliExpress. It’s a good platform that meets all the needs of a dropshipping entrepreneur. You make money and everything looks fine.
But then you found a product, say, on Amazon which you cannot find on AliExpress. It’s really popular, and you wouldn’t mind adding it to your inventory.
So, is it a good idea to dropship products from sources other than AliExpress? And if yes, how do you do it?
I’ll try to answer these questions.
Pitfalls of using other dropshipping sources
Unfortunately, dropshipping from alternative sources carries a number of risks and disadvantages. Certainly, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea and you should forget about it. Still, there are objective facts one has to keep in mind.
1. Quality of goods
Some people have doubts about the quality of AliExpress products. But it’s a common misconception. In fact, many goods on AliExpress come from the same manufacturers who produce and keep stock for the globally known brands, and are the same items that are offered on popular online marketplaces and in brick-and-mortar stores. When you’re dealing with other platforms, however, you can’t always be sure about the quality of their offering.
2. No benefits from the AliDropship plugin
The AliDropship plugin works only with AliExpress. If you import products from other dropshipping sources, you won’t be able to use all the benefits of the plugin.
Yes, you can create a product page that will look identical to those made by the plugin. But when you start getting orders from customers, you’ll have to process them manually.
It’s not that difficult though. You simply need to export the list of your orders, delete all orders except for those addressed to your non-AliExpress supplier from the CSV file, and send it to the supplier.
The same is true for all the other management operations that AliDropship plugin can easily automate: changing product prices, updating stock availability together with the supplier’s product info, updating shipping status, etc. If a product is imported from a marketplace other than AliExpress, sadly, you’ll have to do all these tasks manually.
3. Compatibility issues
Although it is possible to dropship goods from other suppliers, you can face all kinds of compatibility issues. Since the plugin is not designed to work with data from other sources, anything can break. In some cases, you will have to use unfamiliar plugins or tools.
4. Many dropshipping sources are resellers
When looking for dropshipping companies, you will find that some of them sell goods that look very similar or identical to the ones you see on AliExpress. But the price is higher.
It’s because these “suppliers” actually resell the same products from the most famous Chinese platform.
5. It’s hard to find reliable dropshipping sources
The four pitfalls I have described above are just minor nuisances compared to this one. When you work with other suppliers, there’s nothing stopping them from deceiving you.
Let me explain. It can be time-consuming to find enough niche-specific reliable suppliers on AliExpress, too. However, if they fail you, you can at least return the money. That’s how AliExpress works: a seller doesn’t get the money until the customer confirms that the package was received and everything is fine.
But when you work with other suppliers (at least some of them), there’s no such guarantee. Whenever you ask the supplier to send an item to your customer and pay the money, the supplier can simply disappear. After all, in dropshipping you don’t even see the products you sell.
There are other ways to deceive you. Our team was looking for other dropshipping sources and found a supplier company which claimed their warehouse was located in the US. The team wanted to use this advantage to provide more favorable shipping options to the buyers, and agreed to cooperate. But later we found out that this company shipped the goods from China, which meant no time or money savings for the shoppers.
Of course, the supplier refused to return our money.
Benefits of using other dropshipping sources
Despite all these pitfalls, dropshipping businesses can definitely benefit from working with other suppliers. At least if they manage to find a reliable one.
1. Better prices
If your potential supplier isn’t lying about manufacturing original products, his or her wholesale prices can be very attractive. Besides, when working with a reliable company, one can haggle over the prices.
When advertising goods on Facebook or other social media, you have to cover the cost of conversion. That’s why it’s important to find affordable products.
2. Other dropshipping sources can have rare items
Finding promising products on AliExpress is not that difficult. But finding something unique may be challenging considering the competition on the dropshipping markets. Suppliers from other countries can offer rare products that’ll give your online store an advantage over other businesses.
3. Better shipping
Long shipping time is one of the most commonly discussed features of AliExpress. Some sellers have warehouses in the US and Europe, which shortens delivery. Besides, many of them use ePacket – a relatively affordable and fast delivery method. So, this issue isn’t that much of a problem.
Still, being able to deliver dropshipping products even faster is an advantage. And suppliers located near or inside the countries you sell goods to can provide that. Additionally, alternative sources can send several products in a single package.
How to find dropshipping suppliers?
Look for dropshipping sources on supplier directories
There are lots of supplier directories that provide access to wholesalers. By registering on one of such sites, you can contact them and ask for cooperation. Here are some of the most popular platforms: SaleHoo, Wholesale Central, Doba, Wholesale2b.
Note that most directories charge fees for allowing you to browse their databases. On the other hand, they also check the companies on the list. So, the risks here are minimal.
This method is useful when you’re not sure what niche to choose or have no idea how to get started. But after you find your supplier, there’s actually no need to keep paying the directory.
Call the manufacturer
If you have found a product you want to resell, it’s a good idea to contact the manufacturer and ask for their wholesaler’s contact information. Then you call the wholesaler and ask if you can dropship the product.
Search directly in Google
This is the most straightforward way to find a potential supplier. But at the same time, it’s the riskiest method.
As a rule, wholesalers and distributors aren’t that good at marketing, promotion and search engine optimization. You will hardly find one on the first or second pages of the search results. It’ll take a lot of work and time.
Here’s a tip! If you find a good-looking website, chances are this is just a reseller. If the site looks awful, it’s probably safe to work with the company. As I said, these guys are terrible at marketing.
Contact AliExpress sellers directly
If you don’t like the idea of working with companies outside of AliExpress, you can also contact some of your most trusted AliExpress suppliers. Of course, this way you can’t get new products other than what the seller already has. But you can haggle over better prices, or shipping or packing terms, etc.
Finding additional dropshipping sources can substantially enrich your offer. On the other hand, there are many items on AliExpress that sell extremely well. If you’re having trouble finding such goods, simply subscribe to AliDropship’s Premium Products and get new top-selling products each week.
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