AliExpress is one of the best-known marketplaces in the world, not just for consumers, but for businesses too. With AliExpress, business leaders can create valuable companies selling products from a variety of different categories. Most importantly, with the help of an app called Oberlo, these entrepreneurs don’t have to stock or manage any of the products themselves.
For many innovative companies, AliExpress is a crucial part of a complete dropshipping strategy. It’s affordable, easy to use, and it’s diverse, with countless great products to chooses from. The question is, how do you know whether AliExpress is the right solution for you?
Today, we’re going to give you a complete insight into AliExpress.
AliExpress Reviews: What is AliExpress
AliExpress is a huge marketplace offering a wide selection of products around the world. You can purchase items in wholesale packages, or one at a time. Because AliExpress sellers are usually overseas manufacturers, you often get very competitive prices. There’s even Alibaba for companies that want to stock gigantic numbers of products.
For customers, AliExpress can make a good alternative to marketplaces like eBay and Amazon when they want to buy new, but affordable products. You can find items ranging all the way from women’s jewelry and clothing, to electronics and home décor.
For business leaders, AliExpress is also an excellent place to source items that you want to sell online. AliExpress.com is the go-to solution for dropshipping, which is the art of selling products when order fulfillment is managed by a third-party. With a tool called Oberlo, for Shopify, you can find millions of products that you can dropship through AliExpress for your eCommerce store.
With AliExpress dropshipping, you don’t pay for what your customer’s don’t buy, which makes it much easier to build an effective business fast. The suppliers you work with through Oberlo will handle the shipping and packaging for you whenever a customer makes a purchase. However, it’s still up to you to deal with things like customer support.
AliExpress stands out among consumers and business owners for being cheap, easy to use, and convenient. However, it’s not always the best choice for everyone.
Aliexpress Customer Reviews
Take a quick look around the web and you’ll notice that AliExpress doesn’t have the best reviews. A lack of customer support, and issues with Aliexpress products being sub-par in quality are two very common complaints. Product reviews often say that they feel the items are a ripoff, or that they think they got scammed because a product never arrived.
The Better Business Bureau revoked the AliExpress license because of how poor the customer reviews actually were. Consumer concerns often included things like the receipt of damaged products, or the wrong product. Another common issue was difficult receiving refunds. When AliExpress received a rating of “F” on the BBB, their accreditation was removed.
The most common issues that we see in a large number of reviews include:
- Problems with shipping: Because you’re purchasing items from overseas, there’s no guarantee that the shipping time is going to be great. Often, receiving your online shopping can take months, rather than just days or weeks.
- Issues with the product quality: Although AliExpress products often come with low prices, they can suffer from quality issues too. Many people complain that their items were either broken, or just badly made, leading to low star ratings.
- Incorrect products: There doesn’t seem to be a lot of effort from the AliExpress sellers to ensure that the right product gets to the right customer. Countless reviews talk about receiving the wrong item. Many products are completely different to what the customer ordered.
- Refunds: If you do complete an order with AliExpress and have a problem with it, getting a refund can be very difficult. This makes it harder for business owners to give their customers a good level of support. A lot of consumers end up feeling scammed.
- Missing items: Sometimes, buyers complain that they never receive their items at all. When this happens, it can be difficult to receive a full refund. This means you’re left feeling as though you paid for nothing.
AliExpress Reviews: Pros and Cons
Many of the reviews for AliExpress are negative, but there are some positive reviews out there too. For instance, the marketplace does make it a lot easier for business owners to get their start in the digital world. If you’re a retailer who wants to sell products without having to worry about handling the post office and other shipping suppliers, AliExpress is a good choice.
Thanks to dropshipping, you can get items to your customers without having to address the fulfillment part of running an online store.
AliExpress Pros 👍
1. Low startup costs
For businesses, AliExpress offers a quick and affordable way to start selling products online. You can choose from a wide selection of potential items for your customers. There’s no need to pay anything until your customers start ordering things too. This means that there’s minimal risk if your startup idea doesn’t work out the way you hoped.
AliExpress allows companies to launch without investing tons of money into inventory. All you need is a Shopify pricing plan with the Oberlo plugin to get started, and a domain name. If any product you choose to sell from AliExpress doesn’t attract customers, you can always replace it with something new.
Companies investing in AliExpress products don’t need to operate a brick-and-mortar store, which reduces their overheads significantly. You can sell from anywhere and increase your portfolio whenever you choose.
There’s no inventory to worry about, so you can always just change the items that you offer your customers if you feel like something isn’t working for your brand. If your store doesn’t seem to be working, or you decide that you want to take a different approach to selling, there’s nothing preventing you from changing your entire business plan. You’re not tied into anything.
3. Minimal overheads
As well as making it cheap and easy to start your business, AliExpress also ensures that you have minimal overheads to worry about as you progress with your store too. You can sell thousands of products without having to invest a penny into inventory or stock management.
You don’t have to pay for any real estate or warehouses, and employee salaries are unnecessary, as you don’t have to worry about paying for people to pack and pick your orders. Everything you need is already sorted for you on the other end.
One of the major positives of AliExpress for both businesses and consumers, is how many diverse products it actually has to offer. This incredible marketplace is packed full of all the products that you could think of, from electricals to fashion and beauty items.
The versatility means that there’s nothing to prevent you from running any kind of store you choose as a business owner. As a consumer, you also have a lot of excellent purchase options to choose from, often for cheaper prices than you’ll get elsewhere.
AliExpress Cons 👎
1. Highly competitive
For companies AliExpress dropshipping isn’t exactly a new thing. That means no matter what niche you choose to sell in, there are going to be a lot of other companies just like you, competing for the same share of the market. It’s difficult to really make your business stand out this way.
With various players in the game to consider, the key to building the best dropshipping business is making sure that you can brand your company. There are tons of dropshipping organizations out there that don’t bother to do any of the marketing and branding work.
2. Not much control
With AliExpress, neither consumers nor business owners have much control over the people they’re going to be working with. Although you can choose your supplier, you can’t get them to speed up deliveries if they’re not arriving on time. You don’t have control over the way that your suppliers package and fulfil orders either – you’ll just have to trust them.
The only way to ensure that you’re not going to lose money is to do your due diligence and learn as much as you can about the supplier and their policies before you begin investing. As a business owner, remember that if your supplier turns out to be a bad apple, you’re the one that will take the blame.
3. Shipping times
Shipping times are a problem that comes up over and over in the AliExpress landscape. Customer orders are delivered from somewhere else in the world, so the amount of time it takes to receive a product can be astronomically high.
You can sometimes look for suppliers that offer faster shipping options. However, the more you request from a shipping perspective, the more expensive your purchases become. Make sure you take your time to weigh the pros and cons of investing in faster shipping options.
3. Low profit margins
For business owners, AliExpress doesn’t offer the best product margins. You can buy relatively cheap products from the marketplace, but your customers will expect you to sell those products at a low rate too. The quality of the items that you purchase will determine how much you can reasonably charge.
Remember that since the marketplace is quite competitive, you’re going to need to ensure that your prices are similar to that of your competitors – especially if you’re selling the same products. This can make it a lot harder to make a significant source of income.
4. Difficult returns and refunds
As mentioned above in the customer review section, when there’s a problem with one of the items that you sell or buy through AliExpress, getting that issue resolved isn’t easy. The return process is very difficult. It can take months before you can get an item back to a supplier, and then even longer to wait for a refund to come through.
Many people end up complaining that they never receive a refund at all. If you’re a business selling products, you’ll need to manage the cost of the refund yourself and wait for your supplier to eventually give you the money back.
How Does AliExpress Work?
For consumers, AliExpress is a simple enough concept. On AliExpress, you can search for any kind of product. On the website, articles are divided into different categories to help the client navigate options. Each category comes with other subdivisions to make the search faster, easier, and more intuitive.
Each product is equipped with a detailed card, accompanied by photos and feature explanations. If a customer sees a product they want to buy, they can click on it, enter their credit card details, and proceed with the payment. Usually, you’ll get an insight into delivery time and tracking number details within the cart.
AliExpress accepts a variety of payment options, from prepaid cards, to credit cards, PayPal, and Western Union. The preferred payment method is AliPay – a system that’s similar to PayPal but located in China and part of the Alibaba group.
In terms of reliability, it’s easy to find customers that consider AliExpress to be a scam, or dangerous to buy from. There isn’t as much buyer protection as you get from other marketplaces, and not every seller is verified to give you a high quality item.
It’s important to take your time in finding the right suppliers if you’re buying from AliExpress as a business or a consumer. While there are some good suppliers out there, you might come across various companies that aren’t nearly as reliable.
Notably, buying counterfeit products is a criminal offense, and the fault lies with both the seller and the buyer in this case, so it’s important to be careful.
Is AliExpress Dropshipping Any Good?
Even before consumers started shopping more regularly online due to the coronavirus pandemic, businesses were spending a lot of money with companies like AliExpress. That’s because AliExpress offers an affordable way to stock up on bulk items for your store.
As long as you know how to avoid poor quality items, AliExpress can be a great marketplace for small businesses, with minimal shipping costs. However, it’s up to you to ensure that you’re choosing the right supplier. Looking for things like CE trademark details, RoHs, and REACH certifications will help to give you more protection when you’re shopping for the first time.
The good news is that although there are many marketplaces out there, including Banggood and various others, AliExpress is generally the most popular for dropshipping because it’s so easy to use. If you have an online store with Shopify, then you can use the dedicated dropshipping app Oberlo to dropship with AliExpress.
Oberlo is a handy solution for people who want to streamline their online selling (read our Oberlo review for more info). You can begin importing products from AliExpress marketplace and sync all your imports from AliExpress with the Shopify storefront. Shopify will then notify you of any price changes or inventory changes from your supplier, and it can help you in sending tracking codes to customers.
When a customer places an order with your store, you can go to your supplier and look in your “my order” section to place the exact same order.
What About AliExpress Shipping?
The biggest problem that both customers and businesses have with AliExpress, is that the shipping is often much slower than they might like. A lot of customers are fine with waiting as long as you make the shipping times more apparent on your website, so they have a good idea of what to expect from your retail store.
However, there’s always a risk that your customers won’t be happy with the shipping times you list on your product page. If that’s the case, then you might need to spend more time looking for a supplier that can offer you a faster delivery with a better shipping company. There’s a premium shipping option from AliExpress for businesses that ensures you only have to wait up to two weeks to have your items delivered to places like the US and Canada.
Obviously, these shipping times are still a lot longer than some people might like, but it’s a lot better than waiting weeks at a time. If you’re concerned about charging for these lengthy shipping times, you might be able to attract more customers on your site and social media by eliminating the USD cost for shipping. Offer free delivery for anyone willing to wait.
Is AliExpress a Good Platform?
AliExpress has various positives and negatives to consider. On the one hand, you get a wide range of products available in bulk for a reasonably low price. On the other hand, the excessive shipping times can make it difficult to find customers for your store. If you’re a consumer, there’s always a chance that you may never receive your order at all.
For both businesses and customers, AliExpress can be a tricky platform to work with. It’s important to make sure you understand what you can expect before you go ahead.