AliExpress is a great way for novices to dip their toes in the water of the practice of dropshipping, as it’s both low-cost and user-friendly for low-level sellers. As one of the biggest retail websites around, it offers a way for those new to dropshipping to get started in any niche with no upfront cost and make a small margin for themselves into the bargain.
For beginners, Alixexpress dropshipping ticks all the boxes, however, it’s not all great as it also comes with a number of limitations. In this blog, we look at 5 AliExpress dropshipping disadvantages so that you can avoid the common barriers that come along with using AliExpress for dropshipping, and get your dropshipping venture off to a good start.
By reading on, you’ll find out about AliExpress’s:
- Lack of delivery transparency
- Uncompetitive individual non-bulk pricing
- Complicated fulfilment process
- Unscalable nature
- Difficult and lengthy goods return lead times
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Disadvantage #1 – A Lack of Delivery Time Transparency
The first of the AliExpress dropshipping disadvantages is that the tracking provided by its ePacket service is only offered on a ‘milestone’ basis, meaning that it’s not full tracking. The typical delivery turnaround time is around 2 to 4 weeks and when delays occur – which they often do – it can lead to very frustrated customers who aren’t able to gauge when their goods will arrive with any degree of accuracy.
This is compounded by the fact that no signature service is offered by AliExpress, meaning you don’t even get to know when final delivery has been made. Dropshipping success is often built on return customers, but with such uncertainty of shipping, it’s not hard to see why serious sellers choose other dropshipping alternatives.
Disadvantage #2 – No Bulk Order Pricing
Another way that the platform falls down when compared to others is that there are no wholesale pricing options offered for bulk orders. Whilst it’s great that there are no minimum order quantities (MOQs) with AliExpress, your profits are not to going to increase in line with your ability to place bigger orders.
An additional AliExpress dropshipping disadvantage is that sellers on the site are mostly resellers and also out there to make their own profits. Resellers usually don’t own any inventory which potentially cause fulfillment crisis if your website makes more daily sales.
Disadvantage #3 – Complicated, Time-consuming Fulfilment
Whilst the AliExpress order fulfilment process for customers is relatively simple and easy to work out, it can be rather laborious and overly time-consuming. Typically speaking, you will order from the platform, pay for the goods yourself, and then provide your customer with the relevant tracking number/s.
Sounds pretty easy, right? That is until you start getting multiple orders from multiple customers that need to be managed from multiple AliExpress sellers. This can add up to literally dozens of separate transactions that need to be monitored, which even with the best will in the world, often leads to human error and all the subsequent correspondence related to trying to sort those problems out. Far from ideal and yet another of the AliExpress dropshipping disadvantages that make it a bad choice.
Disadvantage #4 – Difficult to Scale
Growing your operation is an important aspect to your dropshipping enterprise and unlike other, more automated alternatives, the platform’s listing procedure makes scaling pretty difficult. It’s recommended that you add between 5 and 10 new items to your store on a weekly basis, with each product needing to be fully researched.
Unfortunately, AliExpress sellers doesn’t provide quality control service or video shooting service, which would cause potential issues.
Another scaling issue relates to the fact that AliExpress doesn’t support bulk purchases for sellers either, often resulting in each order having to be placed one at a time. In addition to the time aspect, this can lead to credit card charges for high volumes of transactions and even having your credit card suspended as a result.
Disadvantage #5 – Poor Customer Care & Difficult Returns
The last AliExpress dropshipping disadvantage on our list relates to customer care and the return of goods. Building a customer base for your dropshipping business is vital for its long-term success and using AliExpress over the others available is not something that helps this a great deal.
AliExpress sellers are not known for providing the kind of customer service that we’re accustomed to in the West and not only that, returning products can take an awfully long time and you’ll have to cover refunds to your customers yourself long before you yourself are reimbursed.
Essentially, asking a customer to wait several weeks for goods to be returned, exchanged or refunded when they’ve may have already waited over a month for initial delivery is not realistic. Just one of the many reasons why AliExpress dropshipping alternatives should be researched for your operation.
In Conclusion – AliExpress is Just Not a Scalable Option
Spend just a small amount of time trading on this China-based platform as a reseller and you’ll soon discover that there are a variety of AliExpress dropshipping disadvantages that need to be overcome in order to grow your customer base and your business with it. Delivery times of several weeks, convoluted listing procedures and a lack of bulk pricing and ordering make AliExpress a very difficult proposition for serious dropshippers.
However, it’s perhaps the lack of scalability that is the biggest obstacle to your success, as the whole aim is to spend less time working, whilst making more profit. The fact that nothing about AliExpress seems to support this goal means that just a little research will quickly reveal much more scalable options.
We hope that reading it ultimately saves you the time, trouble and expense of experiencing the limitations of AliExpress for yourself.
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