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Alibaba Dropshipping

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Alibaba Dropshipping Guide

Venturing into the dropshipping business comes with a lot of risks and challenges.

You will be faced with the tasks of finding reliable suppliers as well as high-quality products.

Table of Contents Brief hide

If your business is focused on Alibaba dropshipping, you must make sure you avoid bad wholesalers. Selling low-quality products will drive your customers away and attract bad reviews.

What Is A Dropshipping Supplier?

A dropshipping supplier is a retail store or wholesaler who goes into agreements with more established wholesalers. This agreement typically divides the costs of marketing and order fulfillment between the buyer and supplier. These individuals or companies save costs by leaving the expense of product advertising for the dropshippers to handle. This, in turn, saves costs on inventory, packaging, and shipping for the dropshippers. The partnership ensures that the overall business cost is low.

What is Alibaba and AliExpress?

They are two large online marketplaces owner by the Chinese company, Alibaba Group. These platforms relieve the stress of finding reliable suppliers and good products; however, they feature different integration, profit model, payment methods, and mode of shipping. Before you choose the option to go for, you may want to consider your business goals and how the platform of your choice will align with them. So, evaluate their various strengths and weaknesses to find out which to pick.

Difference Between Alibaba and AliExpress

Although the two platforms are owned by the same companies, some certain features differentiate them. While Alibaba pays more attention to businesses than individual customers, AliExpress is designed to cater to the needs of individuals who wish to purchase single units of a product. In a survey carried out, we were able to find the differences between both platforms based on the following factors;

Pricing – The prices of products in Alibaba are low, whereas that of AliExpress is moderate because most products are sold individually.

Minimum Order Quantity – In Alibaba, you can only make bulk purchases, but the case is different is AliExpress, you can order for products individually.

Product Rating – Alibaba only allows suppliers to be rated, but users of AliExpress can rate both the suppliers and products.

Cost of Shipping – The shipping cost in Alibaba is high due to the unavailability of ePacket shipping. Shipping fees are regulated in AliExpress, and there are options for replacement and refund.

Which Is Better Alibaba Or Aliexpress For Dropshipping?

There is no better platform between them. Each of them has its perks, which makes it unique. Therefore, you just have to check your needs and opt for the platform that best suits them.

Pros and Cons For Alibaba Dropshipping

Every platform has its good and bad sides. This is what we will be evaluating in this section; let’s get to it.

Suggested reading:How to Buying From Alibaba : Ultimate Guide 2020


Low Startup Costs

The best thing about Alibaba dropshipping is that you don’t need large startup capital. It has lower pricing when compared to retail. All that is needed is a hosting and domain which costs less than a hundred dollars. Also, you do not need to have an inventory to kick start; therefore, you do not bear any extra costs.

Minimal Risk

The risks involved in dropshipping with Alibaba are minimal; in fact, they are almost insignificant. You only bear the cost of the products you sell, and you need not worry about bulk orders or leftover stock. In addition, if the market demand for a particular product drops, you can easily switch to another one without many processes.

Flexible Location

Dropshipping is location independent; therefore, you can conduct your business from any part of the world. The only things you need are a solid internet connection and a computer. Feel free to work from home or even at the beach.

No Inventory

As we all know, warehousing can add some costs to your business; however, Alibaba dropshipping totally eliminates that factor. You don’t have to bear the costs of inventory, packaging, or leftover stock.

Low Overhead Costs

Having a retail store comes with incurring a lot of overhead expenses like rent, utility bills, salaries, etc. Dropshipping removes that from the picture. Everything you need to work with is on your computer, and you can also hire freelance virtual assistants if you want. This eliminates the burden of having full-time employees.

Sell Unlimited Products

Since there is no inventory, it means you can market and sell as many items as you want. Product possibilities are limitless, and Alibaba dropshipping allows you to tap into it. Also, you can have multiple product categories, even if you’re just starting out. With this, you can discover the product which sells the most.


Highly Competitive

Dropshipping is not a new business; the industry hosts millions of entrepreneurs around the world. Whatever niche you choose, it is most likely that you will be faced with some serious competition. Since there is a low startup capital involved, anyone can easily join the business, and this heightens the competition. However, since most dropshippers don’t bother to build a brand, you can exploit that and give yourself an edge in the industry.

Reduced Control

The biggest disadvantage faced by Alibaba dropshipping is the lack of control over the suppliers. You have to depend on them for everything ranging from production, packaging, and shipping, as well as quality assurance. In some cases, it might turn out to be catastrophic, especially if the supplier is incompetent and makes a mess of the delivery. You need to bear in mind that customers don’t hold the supplier responsible, you will be the one to take the hit.

Shipping Time

If you’re involved in Alibaba dropshipping, your products will be shipped to your clients directly from China. In some cases, this can take weeks or months, depending on your clients’ location. However, some suppliers go the extra mile by using DHL and FedEx to deliver faster, although they are quite expensive.

Suggested reading:Alibaba Shipping Costs From China to US : Super Guide 2020

Complicated Refund/Return Process

When a customer has an issue with the delivered product and asks for a refund, you will have to ship it back to China and discuss with the supplier on their behalf. This is quite complicated compared to regular retail, and it can get extremely difficult if there is a language barrier.

Pros and Cons For AliExpress Dropshipping


Convenient Product Search

The truth is, navigation is Alibaba can be difficult in some cases; however, AliExpress is not the same. Try searching for the same keyword on Alibaba and AliExpress, and you will understand what we are saying. AliExpress has a better and more convenient product filtering system.

Low Prices Even For Retail

AliExpress is reputed for its low pricing. This factor makes the platform more appealing for individual buyers across the world. Additionally, it is an ideal reason to add affordable products to your e-commerce store. You don’t necessarily have to make a bulk order to get competitive prices.

No Minimum Order Requirements

This is the best appealing factor about dropshipping with AliExpress. On the platform, you can purchase as many products as you want, and they will be dispatched directly to your buyers. This means you do not have to keep or maintain a physical inventory.

Customer-Oriented Communication

AliExpress was created to connect end-users directly to the manufacturers. Therefore, it permits regular customers to communicate freely and conveniently with suppliers. Also, AliExpress sellers are known to give prompt responses to buyers, and as a dropshipper, the money-back process is easy in the event a faulty package gets delivered to you.

Less Official Terms Of Interaction

The description boxers of many product pages on the platform; you will see a statement like “Welcome, Dropshippers.” The descriptions are explicit, and most sellers have no problems working with dropshippers. With the partnership, they get a constant flow of orders, which is more beneficial than the single purchases from the typical end buyers.


Longer Shipping Period

In some cases, it takes more than a month before purchase products get to their destination. However, dropshippers would use ePacket shipping can deliver products to the United States and some other countries within 12-15 days. Products are no longer transported by boat; therefore, shipping is faster.

Items Cannot Be Bundled

Assuming a customer orders three products from three separate suppliers, it is not possible for them to arrive at the same time.

Slow Credit Card Verification

For first time payments, credit card verification might take a few days. If you set up an ecommerce store, make sure you build enough trust with your first customers to avoid getting bad reviews as a result of delayed verification.

Communication Barrier

Most suppliers on AliExpress are not English speakers, and this might result in communication issues. However, you can suggest to the supplier to get an interpreter, or you can stick only with suppliers that have basic English communication skills.


How Does Dropshipping Work On Alibaba?

1. Find The Niche Product

If you have been trying to generate product ideas, Alibaba will give you some creative ideas to tap from. This has made it an interesting destination for most dropshippers. The products on the website will most likely give you bright ideas for a moneymaking dropshipping niche.

2. Search For Products On Alibaba

To find the right product to sell, you need to carry out some research and pick the best niche product which has a high demand. There are resources online which teach you how to find the right niche product. Also, we recommend that you start with items that are small in size to avoid high shipping costs. Also, pick a product that does not demand complicated paperwork or certification. We advise that you avoid products like chemicals, baby food, industrial items, foods, and beverages. The products require a certain level of certification.

3. Select and Contact Alibaba Suppliers

Often times, manufacturers are willing to do business with both companies and end customers. To this effect, they employ different marketing channels to target and reach both buyer personas. As a rule, they utilize Alibaba for company interaction, while AliExpress is used to interact with private individuals.

Therefore, if you love a particular range of products of an Alibaba seller, contact the supplier and make inquiries to know if he has a store on AliExpress. It fosters easier communication in terms of dropshipping. You can find out if it is possible for the manufacturer to produce customized items on your request and dispatch them.

4. Negotiate Price

Have you checked the average level of retail prices for products displayed on Alibaba? If you research products with small minimum order quantities, you will gain a general insight into the typical price levels, which are regular for a certain product type. This will help you set up your own pricing system.

5. Ask For A Sample

Never forget that Alibaba is not Amazon, refunds are not allowed. Therefore, you shouldn’t venture into buying any product without seeing different samples. The majority of suppliers do not have a problem with providing samples. If a supplier refuses to provide samples, take your business elsewhere. Always use Alipay or PayPal to pay suppliers. Ensure the products are inspected properly. Recognize and write down every flaw or defect noticed and ask the supplier to correct them.

6. Place the order

Although this goes against what dropshipping business stands for, it is highly necessary. If you wish to do a successful business, your dropshipping suppliers must be reliable and deliver quality products. This is essential if you will be selling on Amazon because if your clients are dissatisfied with your products, your business will crumble. Blindly sending products to customers is highly detrimental to your business.

It is normal for a supplier to make mistakes; it is natural with manufacturing. Having your customer get angry as a result of a wrong or defective product isn’t what you want. It will hamper your reputation while you are still starting up.

To avoid this, you can order a small quantity of the products before venturing fully into dropshipping. This gives you an opportunity to assess different suppliers, correct any errors, and also know what the shipping cost is. As a starter, you need not order thousands of units to start. You need to bear in mind that there is fierce competition on these platforms; therefore, you won’t have any issue with finding a supplier that offers low minimum order quantities. You only need to place a request.

7.Ship Your Order Directly To Customer

After testing the product, the next step is to start shipping the products to your customer. The supplier handles the cost of shipping, which means you make more profit.

How Does Dropshipping Work On Aliexpress?

AliExpress is a big retail marketplace filled with Chinese suppliers. It is also one of the favorite dropshipping websites for entrepreneurs. AliExpress makes it easy to sell products without having an inventory or paying shipping costs. In addition, the platform offers loads of product categories, and there is a lot of varieties to choose from. These product categories include office supplies, clothing, household items, and beauty products.

For any product you wish to buy, there is a supplier for it. All you need to do is to pick a supplier, list and advertise his products on your store. When a customer makes a purchase, the supplier ships the product directly to him. So, the supplier gets paid when you make a sale, and the profit goes to you.

How To Find Dropshipping Suppliers From China?

AliExpress Dropshipping

Multiple plugins can be used to automate your AliExpress dropshipping process. You can use any of AliDropship, Dropship.me, or WooDropship to import your products from AliExpress. First, open AliExpress and pick a product of your choice. You will find multiple vendors selling that particular product. If you think it is affordable and the supplier’s terms are acceptable, then you can go for it. Mention below is how you can find AliExpress dropshipping suppliers.


You can get affordable prices on AliExpress. Every product has its prices, and it is dependent on the supplier.


Different product niches can be found on AliExpress. The platform offers a plethora of products ranging from pencils to car parts. These products are manufactured in China or Hong Kong; therefore, the shipping rates vary.


This is the only reliable way to find out if the supplier is reliable or not. The ratings are given by buyers who have done business with the supplier—the AliExpress Team rates buyers with Gold, Silver, and Bronze category.


One of the most appealing reasons why people use AliExpress is because of the ePacket shipping option. You can also enjoy the free shipping option on AliExpress, and this is a great way to save costs.

Payment Method

The final reason that makes AliExpress enticing is the multiple payment options which it offers. The platform supports Mastercard, Visa, Web Money, Western Union, American Express, etc.


Alibaba Dropshipping

Although Alibaba is popular for wholesaling products, there are some suppliers who offer products with Minimum Order Volume (MOV) of one. Only these types of products can compete with AliExpress because they have an MOV of one or in simple terms, they offer individual purchase option.


Unlike AliExpress, you can bargain the price of each product with the supplier. Simply start the ordering process and then move to the ‘Negotiate with Supplier’ section.


Alibaba has over 20 million products ranging from bike mirrors to trucks and buses. But for dropshipping, it offers considerably low prices in comparison with AliExpress, if we keep the shipping cost out of the equation.


Alibaba doesn’t allow rating of products; instead, it only rates suppliers. Alibaba rates products by checking how satisfied buyers are from a supplier. It has a complete form that the buyer has to fill to rate any supplier. Alibaba doesn’t allow rating of products; instead, it only rates suppliers. Alibaba rates products by checking how satisfied buyers are from a supplier. It has a complete form that the buyer has to fill to rate any supplier. Suppliers who have higher trade volume and verified product line can get ‘Verified Supplier’ rating, instead


Alibaba doesn’t offer the facility to track your shipment. You have to contact the supplier using the ‘message’ section in Alibaba and ask the supplier for all these details. You should also know that Alibaba shipping is not free, so you should add it to the price of the individual product you want to buy to get to know about the full price. You can also get the quotes of the shipping cost for each product by clicking the Ocean Shipping Quote under the product detail section.

Payment Method

Alibaba offers multiple payment options, including credit cards and Western Union. So for dropshippers who would like to use Alibaba as their wholesaler, payment isn’t a big issue.

Alibaba vs. AliExpress – Things You Should Ask Supplier

While both the platforms are transparent and offer complete verification of the sellers, it doesn’t mean that you should not assess them yourself. We have put a list together to ask the sellers to ensure they offer the fastest delivery times and lowest costs and protect your interests.

Q. What’s The Final Price Of A Product On Alibaba Or Aliexpress?

You may already know the answer to this question when it comes to AliExpress, but in Alibaba, you have the bargain option. So, bring the price down to a level that you can pay, and only then order the product. In most cases, buyers will be reluctant to decrease the price, and that is okay. But it is always better to try.

Q. What Is The Production Time For Order From Alibaba Or Aliexpress?

You should know how much time the supplier will process your order so that you can provide an estimated time to your customer. Things go downhill when dropshippers have no idea about the delay in the order shipment. They only get on their toes when the customer shoots them an email to enquire about the order tracking process.

Alibaba and Aliexpress

Q. What Are The Shipping Cost Estimates For Product From Alibaba Or Aliexpress?

You may not have to ask the shipping cost from the suppliers on AliExpress because that is already provided on the product page, but do ensure to ask it from suppliers on Alibaba. This way, you will have a rough idea of how many days it will reach the customer.

Some Tips for Dropshipping by Alibaba vs. AliExpress

  • Buy a single product to note the shipping time and assess its quality and packaging. This way, you will also know how the whole process works and in what condition the package will get to the buyer.
  • Only work with suppliers who have a positive rating
  • Make sure to check out the prices of products from multiple sellers and go with the one that is offering the lowest price.
  • Automate the dropshipping process so that you can process orders faster. Use any good dropshipping plugin for this purpose.
  • Monitor your competitor(s) and follow their best practices

How Do I Dropship From Alibaba To Shopify

To import products from Alibaba, follow the steps below:

  • First, make sure you installed Importify and subscribed to one of our plans.
  • Make sure you are using the Chrome browser and installed the free app.
  • Visit the Alibaba website.
  • Find a product you would like to import and visit the product’s page.
  • Click the “add” button on the top left of your browser.
  • Edit the product information, such as the title/description/price/ etc., scroll down, and click “add product” to import the item to your store.

How Do I Dropship From Alibaba To Amazon

Alibaba dropshipping Amazon is one of the most popular marketplaces for e-commerce dropshipping business models. You can import the product details and images from Alibaba directly to your Amazon store, choosing from millions of different items just at your fingertips.

You are also free to set your prices. The best part is that after you dropship a product, you purchase it from a supplier on Alibaba, and then they will ship it directly from their warehouse to your customer. Alibaba dropshipping Amazon is simple, easy, and low risk for new e-commerce starters. Although we have already covered a lot of benefits of dropshipping from Alibaba to Amazon, this process can still be a bit difficult to understand.

In fact, Amazon never sees the real product during the process of dropshipping from Alibaba to Amazon. Now let’s talk about some other related information.

  • As the front platform, Amazon is in charge of collecting customers’ orders which are Alibaba to Amazon dropshipping;
  • Then Alibaba will get the request immediately. The preparation from now on shall be responsible by Alibaba;
  • During the preparation, that’s the trouble spot as the first paragraph mentioned. Products stock, delivery time, if delay, which party shall take responsibility, etc.
  • Ignoring all the problems, in assumption, we are doing a case smoothly. Now Alibaba will deliver the products directly to the customer;
  • Finally, the customer receives the product. And confirm the order. The case is completed.

Now, let’s explore how it works step by step of how Alibaba dropshipping Amazon.

  • The customer places an order in your Amazon store, pays you retail price $200;
  • Then your store will keep $50 profit and forward the order to your supplier and pay wholesale $150;
  • Alibaba will ship the product directly to your customer.

How Do I Dropship from Alibaba To eBay

Go to Alibaba and search for items that you are interested in selling. You can get some inspiration by visiting the Alibaba bestseller or by browsing through different categories and viewing which items get many orders.

When you find a good potential item, determine the value of the product based on the average price on Alibaba, and calculate or estimate if the price will allow you to make a profit. Don’t buy the product which price is very high or very cheap.

Create a new listing for the items and list these SKU to your store on eBay with only some clicks. Don’t worry; there are some tools of eBay you can use to list them. You can copy and paste the details and description of the product, but I will take a few minutes to edit it, making it more attractive and persuasive.

If the pictures are good and unique, you can use them. But most of the time, the pictures are used by other sellers that are your competitors. If you want to differ from them, you can take a better picture.

Suggested reading:Sell Amazon vs Ebay – Which is Better : Ultimate Guide 2020

FAQ About Alibaba Dropshipping

Does Alibaba Offer Dropshipping?

Yes, they do. Dropshipping from Alibaba is not an easy task, as you think. But also, not an impossible thing. I have tried to dropship from Alibaba.

Can I Dropship from Alibaba To Amazon?

Yes, you can. It requires a bit of knowledge to get that done.

Suggested reading:How To Sell On Amazon For Free Step By Step Guide 2020

Can I buy from Alibaba and sell on Amazon?

Yes, it is possible to do that as a dropshipper.

Can you trust Alibaba suppliers?

Every supplier cannot be trusted because they send the sample, and when we officially order from them, the item is totally different.” “No, most non-Chinese suppliers have not proved to be trustworthy.” This is a good point, not all suppliers on Alibaba are Registered in China.

Suggested reading:How to Avoid Alibaba Scams: Ultimate Guide 2020

Is Alibaba cheaper than AliExpress?

Alibaba is the best way to go depending on the quantity you are looking for. Aliexpress will do smaller numbers but for a higher price. It might be a little late in the year to order from either one of those sites; shipping times can be pretty long depending on where you live.

How Leeline Sourcing help you find dropship suppliers on Alibaba

The major problem for every dropshipper or importer is finding a reliable supplier. If you get this process wrong, there is a high tendency that you will have unsatisfied customers, and this is bad for business. This is where we step in as a sourcing company. With our great team of experts, Leeline Sourcing will help you get the most reliable suppliers on Alibaba.

Final Thoughts On Alibaba Dropshipping

Have you been searching for Alibaba dropshipping suppliers to do business with? We are sure that this guide has educated you on all you need to know about that. So, go ahead and start raking in some cash from your business.

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