If you’ve ever wondered how quickly you can launch an eCommerce store and how much money it will require, here’s the answer:
Less than a week for less than a $100.
I did it in a day without any cash at all.
Modern tools have reduced eCom entry barriers to the lowest of the lows. Opening and managing a store is not any harder than creating and managing your Facebook account.
Part of this trend is credited to dropshipping, and in particular AliExpress dropshipping.
How does it work?
Dropshipping is an eCommerce fulfillment model where you don’t need to buy any products in advance.
Instead, you display products in your store, and once you receive an order, you purchase the item from your supplier and have it shipped directly to your customer.
AliExpress is the place where you find dropshipping suppliers and dropship products.
Why is it important to me?
There are two kinds of people reading this article:
A. People who want to open a store.
B. People who already have a store.
If you’re in group A , dropshipping will help you save money and time.
I myself have closed two non-dropshipping eCommerce stores. And those were definitely the last non-dropshipping eCommerce stores I’ll ever bother with.
However, if I had opened a dropshipping store, I wouldn’t have bought those products in advance – and if I had noticed that my business wasn’t working out, I could have closed it or opened another store, all without losing any money.
Dropshipping is flexible, dropshipping doesn’t require up-front money, dropshipping is motivating.
OK, but what’s so cool about AliExpress dropshipping?
AliExpress took dropshipping to a whole new level. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, you also have instant access to millions of different products. And with tools like Oberlo, it’s almost fully automated.
AliExpress Dropshipping is not perfect, but it has a number of indispensable features to launch your store in the most effective way possible.
For those of you who are in group B, check out this blog post: How to test products ideas with dropshipping when you don’t dropship.
Does it work?
It does. I work at Oberlo (the aforementioned dropshipping automation tool).
Oberlo users receive over $9,000,000 worth of orders every month, all from AliExpress dropshipping.
That is some pretty solid evidence that it works.
What’s even more interesting is that 63% of Oberlo users had 0 products in their stores when they started using Oberlo.
How can I make it work for me?
There are four main elements in a launching a dropshipping store: building an eCommerce store, finding products and suppliers, and creating ad campaigns to make sales.
Each of these elements require more than one article to describe fully, which why I include links for further readings. Use them!
Launching your first eCommerce store:
One thing to keep in mind is You Can Do It (no matter how difficult it may sound).
The days when you had to rent a server, pay someone to administrate it, code a storefront and maintain it are long gone.
Finding the right products:
For product selection I suggest you browse the best selling charts of AliExpress, Amazon, eBay and LightInTheBox. There are thousands of products out there and millions of people have voted on what they like the most with their purchases.
Look for narrow product categories that serve a specific niche and make sure they don’t cost over $60 with your markup.
If you want to go deeper into product research, read this great post about how to find trending products.
But what I’ve mentioned so far is just the minimum you can do to get the maximum value. In fact, AliExpress dropshipping allows you to test new product ideas without buying those products in advance.
Finding AliExpress dropshipping suppliers:
It takes time to find a trustworthy business partner. AliExpress dropshipping is no different.
To avoid unprofessional suppliers on AliExpress, I suggest you follow these simple guidelines:
A) Work only with the highest-rated suppliers
Ratings are the only trust measure on any marketplace. Keep your eyes on them when considering any supplier.
B) Look for fast delivery options
People think that shipping from Asia takes ages, but not so with ePacket shipping. With this popular shipping option, it takes only ~15 days to get packages delivered to the US.
Pro Tip: Use the free Oberlo Chrome Extension to easily identify products with the ePacket delivery option.
C) Look for professional communications
Test your supplier with a fake emergency situation. Write him that you placed an order weeks ago and you still haven’t received it or it arrived broken, then see how he responds – is it a real solution or just an automated message?
D) Watch out for copyright infringement
Never sell knockoffs. If you find a Western brand-name product on AliExpress, most likely it’s fake, although AliExpress does have many official brand partnerships such as Kingston, Lenovo or Megir.
Generating traffic and making sales:
Marketing is the tricky part. While you can launch a store with products in just a few days, generating the first sale will probably take longer, so prepare for that by keeping the following in mind:
1) People often think that it’s enough to launch a good looking store. It’s not. People won’t happen to just walk by your store and come inside like they do in real life. More than 100,000 websites are launched each day – you have to make sure customers notice you. Advertising is a must, the Traffic Booster is what you need to drive traffic.
2) Be eager to learn. Everything you need to know about any advertising channel is on the web (in audio, video and text formats). Google and consume this information.
3) We see a lot of people trying to do it all, but in reality the most successful store owners focus on just one marketing channel (whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or Affiliates). Invest all your efforts in one or two marketing channels.
3) Invest in free or direct response advertising. If you’re not a great content writer, or SEO marketing specialist, then don’t do it. It takes a lot of time and effort. Direct response campaigns like Facebook Ads are much easier to master and give instant results. And they’re free, which is always a good thing.
This was just a brief introduction to AliExpress dropshipping. It is by far the easiest way to launch your online business, and it’s totally awesome for testing new product ideas.
If you’ve already heard about and rejected this model before, you might want to reconsider it again. If you’re eager to try it, we just extended our free trial period:
Tomas Slimas has recently sold his $3M dropshipping business and now helps store owners automate their dropshipping stores at Oberlo as its co-founder and CMO.
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