where to get products from in a dropshipping business is a tricky question. a good supplier can make you a fortune, while a bad one can burn a hole in your pocket.
alibaba is one of the most popular dropshipping providers in the world. but is it a good option to get your products?
Reading: How to connect shopify to alibaba
In this article, we will decipher the above question. Along with that, we will also tell you how to find your winning product and how to import alibaba products to your shopify store.
so let’s get started!
- what is alibaba?
- alibaba vs aliexpress: what is the difference?
- choosing the right dropshipping providers & product with alibaba
- alibaba integration with shopify: a step by step guide
me. what is alibaba?
Jack Ma founded Alibaba in 1999. The platform quickly gained popularity and became the world’s largest b2b e-commerce marketplace.
It’s also the most popular destination for online shopping in the world’s fastest growing e-commerce market.
the alibaba group operates four main sites. all of them are Chinese online marketplaces:
They have a huge user base and are home to millions of merchants and businesses. it currently claims 80% of online sales in china and has an international market capitalization of $291.05 billion, more than that of ebay & combined amazons. The company, which started with 18 people, now has more than 22,000 employees.
alibaba is a b2b online marketplace that helps connect exporters in china (or any other country) trading with companies in more than 190 countries worldwide. the structure allows e-commerce stores around the world to find manufacturers around the world and get products made, packaged and shipped worldwide.
now most people consider alibaba & aliexpress as the same market. But this is not the case! let’s see how.
alibaba vs aliexpress: what’s the difference?
alibaba & Aliexpress are sisters of the same parent company: Alibaba Group. however, both offer unique buying and selling experiences. each has different characteristics for different types of buyers and sellers.
aliexpress dropshipping is a cross-border retail or b2c marketplace that deals with individual customers like amazon and ebay. comes with no ordering support and fixed prices – no negotiations! the platform provides faster delivery than alibaba drop shipping. also offers several services to improve the user experience, such as:
- automatic translation into 18 languages
- conversion to currencies of 51 countries
- support for 38 local payment channels for secure payments and transactions
- custom storefronts for sellers
- buyer protection
- aliexpress university offers learning resources for new sellers
On the other hand, alibaba is a b2b marketplace, which means potential buyers are other dropshipping companies. Businesses primarily use it to source bulk products from manufacturers, wholesalers, or dealers. and that’s why it has a minimum order limit that avoids its most essential feature: minimum order quantity!
minimum order quantity (MOQ) is the minimum number of units a manufacturer or supplier is willing to sell to customers.
Since Alibaba is a b2b marketplace, the minimum order limit allows you to receive bulk orders from other companies at wholesale prices, rather than attracting individual customers who are more likely to order a single unit.
alibaba also offers services like:
- international logistics
- onboarding support
- alibaba trade insurance – free order protection
- product inspection and tracking
Now that you know what alibaba is really all about, let’s dive deeper to understand how you can build a profitable business with alibaba dropshipping in 2022.
ii. how to dropship with alibaba in 2022
alibaba dropshipping is a great way to stand out from the competition. here you can find exclusive products and suppliers that do not appear in any other list.
every dropshipping store’s journey begins with choosing the right product. this is how you should choose a product from alibaba.
01. choosing the right dropshipping providers & product with alibaba
With proper product research, you have a better chance of finding your winning product and avoiding risky situations for your business in the near future.
These are the 7 factors to consider when choosing the best dropshipping products.
1.1. variety of products
The product assortment generally consists of two product forms: Hobbyist products and Hobbyist products. commercial products.
As the name suggests, hobby products are those based on hobbies that people love. For example, many serious golfers have golf clubs that cost more than their cars, and people who love to bike can spend a fortune equipping their bikes.
people love hobby products!
These people don’t care about money, all they want is a great product that serves their hobby well. Therefore, if you target the right hobbyist niche, you can find the best dropshipping products that benefit you.
while commercial products are more price sensitive and have low profit margins because they are ordered in bulk. small businesses or corporate companies make these requests, and they are indeed tough negotiators!
but once people establish and trust you, you can make a profitable business with these two types of dropshipping products.
1.2. products with repeat purchases
recurring income is the best part for any dropshipper!
If you sell repeat products often, you can grow as you build a base of loyal customers who often come back to buy. here are some of the benefits why regular customers are better than new ones:
- Depending on the industry you’re in, it could cost you 5%-25% more to hire a new customer compared to a regular customer
- Regular customers are loyal and they do word of mouth marketing for you
1.3. light/small products
In the age where free shipping is not limited to a price cap and is a must-have for any eCommerce platform, it can be a challenge to sell big, heavy equipment that costs a fortune to ship. Unlike large items, smaller items are more affordable for transit to your customers and often make for the best dropshipping products.
so while choosing a product to sell, try to pick one that is lightweight and small in size (if your niche allows).
It’s always easy to get stuck on pricing when launching a product. your price should always cover all your costs with an extra markup for you.
If you plan to set up your own online store for high cost dropshipping, make sure you can offer personalized customer service: pre-sale support, after-sale service, etc. But if you want to open a regular dropshipping store, the $50-$300 price range is a sweet spot to maximize revenue without providing extensive pre-sale support.
1.5. get products you can sell more & cross-selling
selling a product with additional accessories is a great way to increase your profit margin.
Suppose you are shopping for a smartphone at a retail store. You’d rather check multiple online stores to find the best deal, right?
but, would you do the same to buy a mobile case? no, you will not. instead, you will buy the case from the same store without a second thought. that’s human psychology at play!
When it comes to profitability, upselling and cross-selling are the two most important aspects of any dropshipping store. So much so that Amazon has reported that 35% of its revenue comes from upselling and cross-selling.
1.6. sell a product that is hard to find
Selling a product that is hard to find in retail stores often turns out to be one of the best dropshipping products. Most people in need of a garden sprinkler would simply run to the local hardware store. but where would you buy a 90s costume or a horse halter? you’ll probably dive into google and start searching.
If you target products that are “lesser known” but in demand, you can make a lot of money!
1.7. price map
map refers to the mminimum advertising price that rice manufacturers set for their dropshipping products. the map acts as a price floor and allows resellers to price their products at or above the same level.
This minimum price prevents frequent price wars, especially for dropshipping products, and helps ensure that merchants can make a reasonable profit when selling a manufacturer’s product.
If you can identify a niche where map manufacturers impose map prices, it’s a win-win situation, especially if you plan to create a very attractive and information-rich site.
02. alibaba integration with shopify: a step by step guide
Until now, we have understood how to choose winning products from alibaba.com.
Now what? Wouldn’t it be great if you could integrate your shopify store with alibaba drop shipping? The supplier will automatically receive a copy of the receipt of the requested products and will start the dispatch process. all you have to do is sit back and monitor things.
Here’s a step-by-step guide, from finding the best alibaba suppliers to importing products to your shopify store, all in one place. let’s dive in.
step 1: visit alibaba.com
please visit alibaba store and sign up/login with your account.
step 2: start your search for suppliers
type the product name or keyword in the search bar to find the products you want to sell. you can then choose from the options on the left sidebar to zero in on a suitable provider.
It’s a good idea to filter providers based on:
- verified brand
- trade assurance
- stock ready to ship
- fast shipping
suppliers that meet these criteria are the good ones.
step 3: compile a list of possible providers
Finding the right suppliers is a big job! you may not find the perfect provider all at once. for example, some might:
- unable to meet your verification requirements
- lack of inventory or ability to accept bulk orders
- has unacceptable terms or refuses to negotiate
Therefore, it is best to compile a list of potential vendors that meet your company’s requirements. a good supplier is one that:
- sells the product you want
- offers a minimum order quantity of 1
- offers affordable prices
- provides trade assurance
- is open to negotiations
- has good reviews
step 4: contact with suppliers
Once you have 5-10 providers on your list, it’s time to contact them. you can send your query by clicking the contact supplier button, as shown in the image below.
or, scroll down and send a personalized message to your provider from the message box as shown.
here is a message template you can use to connect with vendors and ask about products
we are looking for a great supplier who can supply us with [product name]. our dropshipping store is based in the united states and we target the american market.
I’m [name], [your designation] from company xyz.
These are some questions I would like you to answer:
- what is the minimum order quantity (moq)?
- what is the cost per unit you can provide if we order [x] units?
- the shipping costs and how long it would take?
- what payment method do you use?
- do I get a commercial guarantee with your products?
we can start with a sample order. let me know how much it will cost to send it to [your address]
step 5: payment method agreement
alibaba uses 4 payment methods:
- bank transfer: t/t payments made to Chinese banks
- alibaba trade assurance (escrow): pays the supplier only when the buyer confirms the satisfactory delivery of the product
- credit/debit card: includes all major processors like mastercard, visa, and american express
- paypal: not all, but some dropshipping providers accept payment via paypal
step 6: import products from alibaba to your shopify store with importify
importify is a dropshipping app that allows you to find a variety of products from various wholesale markets and manufacturers globally, add them to your shopify store and sell them online.
It saves you a lot of time and allows you to focus on generating more sales and running your business. this is how you can integrate importify with your shopify store.
Visit the shopify app store, search for importify and click ‘add app’ to add it to your store.
Install the import app and subscribe to the plan that best suits your business requirements.
pro tip: the importify premium plan is the most recommended plan to start your dropshipping business.
step 7: select products to import
Go back to alibaba.com and select a product you would like to add to your store.
Suppose you want to sell electric bicycles. search for electric bikes on alibaba and click on the product you want to sell.
When the product page appears, click the add tag at the top left of the page.
The import editor will open, as shown below. You can change the product title, description, or price based on your business requirements.
You can also link the product to a specific collection in your shopify store.
step 8: add products to your shopify
Once you’ve finished customizing the product description, scroll down and click the add to your shopify button to add the product to your store.
step 9: customize your product details
Since the products are now imported to your shopify store, make sure to customize them according to your business requirements. change title, price, description, moq and more.
and with that, your shopify store is successfully integrated with alibaba.
repeat the process to continue adding high-quality products to your store.
iii. advantages & cons of using alibaba
Many companies have achieved success with alibaba dropshipping. however, like any other platform, there are pros and cons that you should be aware of.
- Low Manufacturing Cost: Manufacturing costs in Asia are competitively low, giving you a good chance of finding a product for your eCommerce store with a high markup. benefit
- product varieties: it’s hard not to find a product on alibaba that comes to mind when dropshipping
- verified suppliers: an extensive database of verified suppliers from around the world to fulfill your order requirements without getting stuck
- negotiable prices: unlike other platforms dropshipping, alibaba allows you to negotiate product prices with suppliers and find the best deal</li
- trade assurance protection: if there is a conflict of interest between you and your supplier, alibaba acts as a mediator to solve the problem in the best possible way
- Longer shipping time: It may take longer to ship products via alibaba compared to other dropshipping platforms
- complicated return process : despite the trade guarantee provided by alibaba, it also has a long return process that can take months and a lot of documentation to resolve
iv. is it safe to use alibaba?
When it comes to dropshipping, the platform is completely secure.
Yes, there are some downsides associated with the platform, but the same can be said for any other online platform. after all, perfection is a myth!
alibaba dropshipping provides a cost-effective way to find products to sell online. you can find almost every product idea you have there.
However, be cautious and do business with reputable vendors. rest assured alibaba has your back.
v. Ready to start your alibaba dropshipping business?
Getting products for your alibaba dropshipping business can be challenging and time consuming. but, once mastered, it can provide you with fantastic deals on bulk b2b purchases.
You should make sure to verify the legitimacy of any dropshipping provider before placing orders. If things don’t feel right, move on to the next best supplier: With alibaba, there’s always a way to find a quality product your audience will love.
So put your foot on the gas and start a successful alibaba dropshipping business today!