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The dropship nation is filled with a wide range of people looking to build e-commerce brands. Now creating a successful dropshipping brand requires hard work and dedication. You need to know how to find and partner with effective, trustworthy suppliers. The e-commerce landscape is rife with competition, and everyone is racing against each other to provide the best deals to the customers. And with the rise of Chinese suppliers, international product sourcing has never been easier.
Now, sourcing products from the other side of the world isn't as easy as it sounds. There are many problems to get around, like time zones, language barriers, and unreliable suppliers. The Chinese company Alibaba changed the entire game when it entered the supply business. It's a wholesaler of products and goods that dropshippers and other e-commerce hopefuls use to source products at cheaper rates.
We here at Dropship USA work with dropshippers from all over the US and help them create highly optimized platforms that generate traffic. Our innate experience working with dropshippers gives us a unique insight into building all types of dropshipping operations. We thought we should let you know how to use Alibaba for dropshipping. Here in the following, you will find an Alibaba Dropshipping guide that will help you source the best products and offer the best deals to your customers. In the guide, you will find:
- The difference between Alibaba and AliExpress
- Vetting Alibaba dropshipping suppliers
- Finding great Alibaba dropshipping suppliers
This guide will help you create a dropshipping operation with products sourced from Alibaba. So without further delay. Let's check it out!
What Is Alibaba?
Alibaba is the largest e-commerce company in the world, and it houses Chinese e-commerce online marketplace powerhouses like Alibaba.com, AliExpress, Taobao, and Tmall. Alibaba.com from the Alibaba group is the torchbearer and is one of the most popular marketplaces for dropshippers, making it a fantastic place to find suppliers.
Overall, Alibaba is a massive place where you can find suppliers and source any type of product you need. Now, we've come across many who are think Alibaba and AliExpress are both the same thing, but they are not. These are two distinctly different companies, and you will find the differences in the following passage.
What Are The Differences Between Alibaba & AliExpress?
If you are looking up dropshipping suppliers, then the odds are you've come across plenty of different content on AliExpress dropshipping. Even Dropship USA has covered the topic. So we know there are differences between Alibaba and AliExpress. You have to remember that these are two different platforms with different approaches to e-commerce. Here are the key differences:
- Alibaba is a business-to-business (B2B) marketplace
- AliExpress is a retail marketplace
Unlike AliExpress, the dropshippers who use Alibaba use it to source large quantities of products from manufacturers, wholesalers, and traders. That makes it the perfect platform for finding a manufacturer to produce an original design or source private label products. However, for AliExpress, it is a platform for both consumers and small businesses to purchase existing products individually or in small batches.
Many sellers on the platform offer ePacket shipping, which is a fast international shipping option, and that's one of the reasons why it has become the "go-to" destination for dropshippers. Now, if you are only starting and want to work with a small batch of products, then AliExpress is the ideal platform for you. AliExpress is also highly versatile and works with many dropshipping tools like Shopify and Oberlo as well. So you can check them out.
Can You Dropship With Alibaba?
Well, the answer is a resounding "YES!" You can quickly start dropshipping with Alibaba. However, it is a bit tricky to find suitable dropshipping suppliers to partner with on Alibaba. The suppliers on Alibaba are usually set up to sell large quantities of products to wholesalers and retailers. Therefore, it's a bit hard to find suppliers who will be interested in selling and shipping individual items to consumers abroad. That is one of the reasons why Alibaba takes a lot more work than dropshipping tools like Oberlo.
However, if you are looking for unique products and suppliers, then Alibaba is the platform you need because it holds products that aren't listed on AliExpress. That means Alibaba is the perfect platform to differentiate yourself from the competition. So now that you know that you can dropship with Alibaba, let's check out how you can vet your dropshipping suppliers on Alibaba; let's check them out!
How To Vet Dropshipping Suppliers On Alibaba?
For all the upsides of Alibaba, we have to tell you that there is a dark side. There are plenty of different suppliers who will take your business to the next level, but there are some who will dupe you out of your money. That is why we suggest you complete your due diligence before working with a supplier. Here are steps you can use to vet a dropshipping supplier on Alibaba:
- Make sure to choose Verified Sellers who offer Trade Assurance. Check out Alibaba's built-in payment protection that safeguards your orders.
- Always check for legitimate documentation. Ask for documents like licenses, compliance certificates, and photos of the factory or warehouse.
- Verify the supplier by asking for the supplier's business address and phone number. You can use Google Earth to ensure the address is accurate and call the number to check its legitimacy.
- Make sure you check out Alibaba's dropshipping supplier's reviews. Also, ask for references from previous customers.
- Always be wary of deals that seem way too good to be true. Make sure you walk away from the deal if something doesn't feel right.
These are the steps you can use to vet your dropshipping suppliers on Alibaba. When you follow these steps to find the right supplier. Remember finding the right supplier is one of the answers to knowing "How to use Alibaba for dropshipping?"
Steps On How To Dropship With Alibaba
If you are looking at Alibaba for dropshipping, then the odds are you want a step-by-step breakdown of the process and how you can get started. Here is a list of steps you can use to source your products of Alibaba and start your dropshipping operation. So let's check them out!
The first step is to search for suitable dropshipping suppliers on Alibaba. Start by searching for the product you want to sell on Alibaba. Then use the left sidebar filters to hone in on a suitable supplier. Make sure the suppliers you choose have "Trade Assurances." Also, check for dropshipping suppliers with "Ready to Ship" and "Fast Dispatch." Remember, the suppliers who fulfill these criteria fulfill these criteria are more likely to dropship products.
The second step of the process is to check the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) and the price. When you find a potential listing, make sure to check out the product page and note the minimum order quantity or MOQ. Often you will find the MOQ is visible front-and-center, but sometimes you will have to scan the page to find it.
To simplify the process, you can just hit "Control" and "F" on your keyboard to search the page's text, then try writing "MOQ," "minimum," or "order." Also, make sure to check the unit price and look for price drops when you order more. There will be suppliers who won't include shipping in the order value and might have stipulations like "To Be Negotiated." So make sure to look out for that.
The third step is to compile a list of dropshipping suppliers from Alibaba. You might come across suppliers who don't work out for you for one reason or another. That's why working with a few different suppliers always helps keep your business flowing. Here are some common reasons why suppliers fall out:
- They may be unable to meet your verification requirements.
- May not have enough stock or capacity to take on more work
- May offer unacceptable payment terms and refuse to negotiate
These are the reasons why you should compile a list of potential suppliers and start reaching out to them. That way, you will be able to create a transparent supply chain of products for your dropshipping brand. Here are some factors that will help you find suitable dropshipping suppliers on Alibaba:
- The supplier sells the product you want.
- Offers MOQ of 1
- Only lists reasonable prices
- Is verified and offers Trade Assurance
- Has good reviews on Alibaba
Once you have a complete list of 5-10 suppliers that fit these requirements, you can start connecting and setting up your supply chain.
The fourth step is contacting the supplier and asking about their dropshipping fulfillment capabilities. Remember, not everyone will clearly list the unit prices and MOQs. That's why you have to reach out to many suppliers to find out if they're open to dropshipping products to your customers in whichever country you plan to sell in. You can use the platform's messaging service to connect with the suppliers.
However, you will find many who prefer you call, email, or use WeChat. Regardless of the communication platform, it is imperative that you talk to them about your needs and whether or not they will be able to fulfill yours. However, you should always keep in mind that the suppliers are usually based in China, which means you are talking to someone in a different timezone.
Sometimes unless you speak fluent Mandarin, communication can be challenging. To bypass the communication gap, many suppliers use tools like Google Translate to translate your messages. You can try and avoid miscommunication by using simple words, short sentences and checking for spelling errors. Also, framing your queries in bullet point questions makes it easy for suppliers to reply to each one individually.
The fifth step in the process is to agree on a payment method. Before you start working with dropshipping suppliers in Alibaba, make sure to know about the most common payment methods used on the platform. It's always better to find a supplier that's open to the payment method you are comfortable with. Here is a rundown of the most popular payment methods of dropshipping suppliers on Alibaba:
- Bank Transfer: Most Chinese supplier payments are made using Telegraphic Transfer or "T/T payments. This type of payment is where the supplier will require the full payment before starting production. Now, banks are a relatively slow and cumbersome way to send money, making it an unsuitable option for drop shipping where everything is fast. Also, it boils down as a risky option for transfers, especially when dealing with unknown suppliers.
- Alibaba Trade Assurance ( ESCROW): Escrow services are a third-party service that is often used to hold a buyer's money and only pay it to suppliers when the buyer confirms satisfactory delivery of an order. It is one of the most secure options when it comes to money transfer, but like bank transfer, it is prolonged.
- Credit and Debit Card Payment: You can use almost any major card processor in Alibaba like MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. However, you should be aware of the transaction fees involved. It can be costly for buyers and impact your margins.
- PayPal: PayPal is now a global payment processing service, and it should be no surprise that there are dropshipping suppliers on Alibaba who offer the consumers this payment method. It's easy to use and offers relatively good buyer protection. Now, some suppliers don't like to use PayPal because of some logistical challenges like platform fees, the difficulties of withdrawing money, and the possibility of chargebacks by unscrupulous buyers. However, it does seem to be the best option for dropshippers and suppliers to use in Alibaba.
The last step in the process is where you finalize everything. Now you need to shortlist suppliers, order samples, and then select a supplier. First, choose a couple from Alibaba dropshipping suppliers that seem like a good fit. Now you should know that you may need to repeat the process outlined above a few times before you land on a suitable dropshipping supplier on Alibaba. Here are some key factors that should help you create your list of dropshipping suppliers:
- The unit cost
- The payment terms
- The communication from the supplier
- The time it will take for the supplier to fulfill orders.
Once you find your suppliers, you need to move on to ordering samples. Make sure to compare each supplier's samples and test them properly thoroughly; when you do that, you will land on the supplier that best fits your dropshipping needs. Now, when you are done with this process, you may end up with two or more suppliers that are a great fit.
If that happens, you should look for additional opportunities to capitalize on. For example, check if one of your suppliers also offers a private labeling option. As an e-commerce brand, you may prefer to use this supplier because it provides an opportunity to expand and develop a unique brand in the future.
You Need The Right Website To Succeed
So there you go, this is our simple guide to dropshipping from Alibaba. Make sure you follow the process, vet your suppliers to ensure they meet your every requirement. Now, once you have your suppliers at the ready, you will need the best website to ensure your dropshipping operation's success.
That's where Dropship USA comes in. Our years of expertise working with entrepreneurs who knew how to use Alibaba for dropshipping gives us a unique vantage point when creating highly optimized dropshipping websites. Our expertise is focused on providing you with the best platform for sustainable organic growth.
So if you are looking to take your dropshipping business to the next level, then feel free to get in touch. You can also drop your questions on Alibaba dropshipping or drop shipping in general in the comments below or hit us up on our socials, and we will get back to you with the answers. Your feedback is vital to our improvement, so please do send them in. And with that being said, that's about all we have for you today. We will come back with something new for you soon. Until then, see ya!
Don't forget, you can get a fully automated USA based dropship website, built for you, in whatever niche you want, in 72 hours or less. Go to https://learn.dropshipusa.io/webclass to register for our free webinar that will teach you our secret dropship model, and how you can get it built for you in only 3 days!