In this article, I’m going to show you how to find fast and reliable Aliexpress suppliers. If you’re starting an online dropshipping store, you’ll be importing and selling products from suppliers on Aliexpress. But how do you know which products will be high-quality and reach your customers quickly? That all depends on the trustworthiness of your supplier.
Today, I’ll explain the methods I use to find reliable suppliers on Aliexpress.
By the end of this article, you’ll know:
- How to navigate Aliexpress to find the best suppliers for your product
- What to look for when reading reviews to evaluate the supplier
- What you need to ask your supplier before dropshipping their product
Before I get on with the list, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about dropshipping. Dropshipping is one of the easiest ways to start an online business. Instead of buying tons of inventory for your online store, you only order products when you get sales. Your supplier shift your orders for you, so you can sell all over the world. But being a successful dropshipper requires constant learning. So make sure you subscribe to newsletter and never miss weekly lessons.
But hold on, a lot of times you’ll find similar products available from multiple suppliers. So which suppliers should you work with?
While many suppliers have proven to be extremely trustworthy, some should be avoided. It’s your responsibility as a store owner to do your research first.
Oberlo Google Chrome Extension
There are a few methods today that I’ll show you that will help you choose reliable suppliers on Aliexpress. Before you get started make sure you installed the free Google Chrome extension.
Once you’ve installed the Chrome extension, you’ll be able to see the processing times and ePacket delivery options for each supplier. I’ll touch more on these later. Now, let’s dive into Aliexpress itself. I’ll show you how to find reliable suppliers for beach bags.
First, go to Aliexpress, in the search bar enter the product you’re searching. For in my case, beach bags.
Once you enter your search term, you’ll be shown all products related to your keywords. First make sure to click the grid icon on the right to see all the products in a grid format rather than a list. This will make it easier for you to browse your options.
When you hover your mouse over a product, you’ll see a hyperlinked name at the bottom. That’s the supplier.
Many Aliexpress suppliers carry the same product. This is a huge advantage for you as a merchant because it allows you to be selective about what supplier you work with.
1. Order Quantity
The first thing to look for when searching for a reliable supplier on Aliexpress is order quantity. This is the number of orders a supplier has received for a particular product. You can find this number in the parenthesis next to the word orders. You’ll want to see that the supplier is actively selling and shipping this product. There’s no specific order quantity that you should look for.
After all, if you wait for a product to have hundreds of orders, you might miss out on a new trend. But on the other hand, if a product doesn’t have any orders or reviews, it doesn’t automatically mean that the supplier is unreliable. It may be a completely new product. But with thousands of suppliers to choose from on Aliexpress, you can feel more confident sticking with suppliers that have shown that they can sell and ship their products.
I want to warn you of one pitfall beginner drop shippers fall into all the time. They see a large order quantity and they think that then the product is too saturated to sell. That’s not always true. A large order quantity shows you that this product is in demand and that there’s a market for it. Competition is a good sign.
Let’s move on to the next thing to look for when researching Aliexpress suppliers.
2. ePacket Shipping Option
ePacket is a cheap and fast shipping option from China. With a packet shipping, suppliers can ship to customers in over 40 countries within 12 to 25 days. All orders shipped with ePacket delivery come with free tracking. ePacket is the most economical shipping option and a dropshipping essential.
To see shipping options easily click on the overload icon in your Chrome extension bar. Make sure you turn on show shipping info. In the first drop-down menu select ePacket shipping.
In the second menu, select the country you’re selling to. And in the third, you can select the currency you want to see Aliexpress search results in. Turn on show processing times too – for this example I’ll turn off hide items without this option. You can turn that option on once you start doing your own product research.
Now Oberlo extension outlines products with ePacket available in green and the processing times at the bottom.
Let’s talk about this information. The cost of shipping might vary a little depending on the destination of your package. Even so, I suggest dropshipping products only if they have ePacket available and are highlighted in green.
Other shipping options are expensive or don’t offer tracking, and should be avoided.
3. Processing Time
On the bottom, you’ll see the listed processing time from the supplier. Processing time is the time it takes your supplier to receive the order, package it, and ship it. It’s not the same as shipping time nor is it included in the average shipping time.
You’ll want to add processing times to shipping times to determine how long it will take for your customers to receive their order after they hit buy.
Most processing times are between two and seven days. Avoid dropshipping products with longer processing times.
Example: How to Choose Supplier
Let’s start putting all the theory into practice. Say I want to dropship this bohemian woven beach bag that’s being sold by two different suppliers.
How do I compare them?
The first factor to consider is the order quantity. As I mentioned, it’s important to choose a supplier who’s actively selling and shipping products. Well, there’s no minimum order quantity to look for. I look for an order quantity of about a hundred or more.
Both bags check out so far. The first bag has 321 orders. And the second bag has over 1000 orders.
The second thing that sticks out on my radar is that ePacket is available for both of these bags.
I can see that if I go to shipping options and I click this little drop-down icon here I may have to choose ePacket as a separate option. But I can see that it’s available for this bag and I can see that it’s available for free to the US with this particular bag.
Now let’s consider processing times. Once you’re on the product page for a supplier within Aliexpress, you’ll see this estimated delivery time. The estimated delivery time includes the shipping time and the processing time. So we see for the first bag estimated delivery time is 25 days. If you hover over the question mark icon you’ll see Aliexpress explains this. If you finish the payment for this order today, your order will arrive within the estimated delivery time. In other words this 25 days includes processing and shipping to the US.
Second beach bag we see that it’s estimated delivery time is also 25.
4. Product Reviews
If everything about it supply looks good so far it’s time to check out the product reviews. The reviews on Aliexpress are made by real customers who bought the product themselves on Aliexpress. They have the same concerns about quality shipping and communication as your customer as well. The reviews they leave for a product are genuine feedback about their experience with the product and the supplier.
You can use these reviews to help you compare suppliers. So let’s do that now. I’ll take a look at the first bag first. Once you’re on the product page scroll down, and click feedback.
I can see here that this product has an average rating of 5 stars and that’s a great indicator. The next thing I want to look for is what customers actually said about this product. 2 comments mentioned that the bag arrived in 18 days. That’s great to see because it’s proof that the supplier is processing and shipping orders quickly. The other reviews of promising as well. There’s positive feedback about the quality and the pictures that the customers took shows the product quality.
Now it’s time to compare this first bag with a second bag to see which supplier I should work with. On the second bag‘s product page I’ll scroll down again and click feedback.
This product has just shy of 5 stars average feedback but it has way more votes and customer reviews then the first product. Let’s take a look at the comments themselves. I’m looking for comments that speak to the quality of the product or shipping times. Here I see both we’ve got the first comment about the high quality of the handbag with the customer photo that proves exactly what she’s talking about. And the second comment from a customer in the U.S. mentions that the customer received the handbag in 10 days. That is a great processing and shipping time and something that I would love customers in the U.S. to experience as well.
The reviews for both of these bags show that the supplier is selling a high quality product and shipping it quickly.
So how do I choose?
There’s one more strategy that I recommend for reviewing suppliers —take a look at their Aliexpress rating.
5. AliExpress Rating
Although you’ll be using Aliexpress to dropship, many people are on Aliexpress shopping for themselves. Whenever they purchase a product Aliexpress asks them to rate the supplier based on whether the product matched the description, whether the item arrived on time, and whether it was easy to communicate with the supplier. Aliexpress averages these ratings and lists then for each supplier. These ratings include feedback from all the products of suppliers sold so they can provide more information than just the reviews from the product you’re looking to dropship.
So let’s compare these two suppliers ratings and see if one stands out over the other.
Scroll up and look for the suppliers name under the Aliexpress logo. Hover your mouse over the name and you’ll see a pop up with the supplier review information.
The supplier of the first beach bag has 100% positive feedback. That’s extremely reassuring to see in all categories they’ve received an average rating of 4.9 from customers. This supplier has been on Aliexpress since December 2018. That’s not very long but based on the reviews it looks like this supplier knows what they’re doing. One thing to note here is the information to the right of the rating. Aliexpress lets you know if this rating is above or below the average. The supplier has scored above average ratings in every category.
With this information in mind, I can head back to the other tab and compare the other suppliers ratings. I’ll scroll up, hover my mouse over this suppliers name.
I see that this supplier only has a 95.9% rating compared to the other suppliers 100%. Also the ratings for their description, communication and shipping speed are all a little below average. Shipping speed is sitting at the lowest at 4.5. This is a red flag. You want your customers to receive their orders as quickly as possible.
While the reviews for both bags are similarly positive, the reviews for both suppliers are not. So the best decision is clear. The first supplier with a 100% rating is the one I would feel most confident sourcing products from.
6. Suppliers Communication Skills
But your research isn’t done yet. Now it’s time to test your suppliers communication skills. While hovering your mouse over the suppliers name, you’ll see a contact now button in the bottom left corner.
Click it to send a message directly to the supplier. It’s important to see how well the supplier communicates in case you have questions or anything goes wrong. You don’t want to learn that your supplier doesn’t respond to emails after your customer reaches out to you with an issue.
Now you might be wondering what to ask them. As the seller of their own product, they most likely won’t speak negatively about that product even if you ask. That’s okay because you’ve already gone through the reviews of what other customers have said.
What I suggest asking them is if they allow dropshipping with their products. Some suppliers answer this question in the product descriptions but others don’t. It’s important to ask because some suppliers don’t allow their products to be dropshipped. If you’re wondering how they’ll know, it’s very simple.
Every time you place an order with your supplier, they’ll see that you have the same billing address but are always changing the shipping address to match your customer’s shipping addresses.
Contacting your supplier will also give you a chance to test how fast the supplier responds to your messages. You need to make sure that if there’s a problem in the future. They’ll respond right away.
7. Order a Sample (Optional)
There’s one more strategy I suggest to make you feel confident before you sell the suppliers product. Order a sample. Yes ordering a sample will require you to purchase the product and yes you will need to wait for it to be delivered. But this is one of the best ways to verify your product and your supplier.
When you order a sample, you can see exactly how long shipping takes for yourself. You can also see the product quality and assess whether or not it’s to your standard. You can also see the quality of the packaging and make sure that your products are arriving in good condition.
Here’s an added drop shipping bonus for you. You can use this sample product to take photos and videos for your own website’s content or for Facebook ads.
I know you’re excited to get your business going but that’s just it. You’re starting a business. If you’re serious about succeeding with it ordering a sample makes sense.
Muammer is a Marketing Analytics Manager at Turkcell. His mission is to empower entrepreneurs and to help them achieve their goals. He also has a passion for illustration.