Three Pitfalls in AliExpress Drop Shipping

I’ve recently started AliExpress Drop Shipping in my store using the Oberlo app on Shopify. If all that is Greek to you, I get it. It was to me too last year. It’s a steep learning curve, but I’m finally feeling fairly on top of things. At least so much so that I have a clearer idea about the things I *don’t* know.

With that said, I’m still getting caught out with learning this whole gig. And in the interest of saving you some of the frustrations I’ve had (because I’m nice like that)…

…Here are three pitfalls I fell into while learning AliExpress Drop Shipping.

(and if you have no idea what drop shipping and AliExpress is, I’m going to do another post on that next – it’s too long to do in one post)

  1. Not checking shipping pricing and times

    For a while, I just assumed that everyone used ePacket. Not so. I also assumed that the pricing and times to ship to Europe would be the same as to the US. Also not so.
    Before you push a product to your store, check the shipping times and amounts for the places where most of your customers are located. I wound up eating $9 in shipping on a $7 notebook (priced at $14) because I hadn’t checked it first. Not a good look.

  2. Forgetting to mention that I’m drop shipping in the order.

    There is nothing worse than a customer getting promotional materials from a Chinese store in their order from my shop. Except when they also get an invoice that says how much I paid for the item.

    Yes, we all know that everyone *can* order from AliExpress. We aren’t performing brain surgery or rocket science here. AliExpress is a public site, and anyone can buy from them. But they don’t. They either don’t know about it, or they forget. I recently experienced this myself. I went to buy an LED lightboard – I want one in my office with inspirational sayings on. And so, I checked Amazon first, as one does. It was only after I’d added it to my cart that I thought, “hang on, I bet these people are just drop shipping from AliExpress.” Sure enough, I found the exact same model – same images and everything – for half the price on AliExpress.

    When placing an order, ALWAYS remember to include a note to the seller. You can say something like, “I’m drop shipping this item – please do not include promotional materials or pricing information.” Then they know, and that whole discomfort can be avoided.

  3. Not being completely transparent about shipping times in your product description pages. 

    We live in a world where most people in the US have Amazon Prime, and expect to get things in two days. When you’re shipping via AliExpress Drop Shipping it’s going to take longer than two days. More like two weeks. And if you don’t tell them this, they can be confused, and wonder what happened. Then they can dispute the charge, leading to a negative score for you in PayPal or Shopify Payments.
    All of that can be avoided if you CLEARLY state – in BOLD – that you are shipping the item via an affiliate in China, and it takes up to three or four weeks.
    I also go one step further, and include that in the thank you notes that Kit sends for me (Kit is the automatic marketing assistant provided by Shopify). I add in a reminder saying that if you ordered a product coming from China, as described in the item information, that it will take a few weeks to arrive.
    People are generally VERY okay with this. You just need to tell them in advance.

So there we have it – three pitfalls to AliExpress Drop Shipping, and how to avoid them.

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