Dropshipping from AliExpress to Shopify: A Complete Guide
Shopify dropshipping from AliExpress is a business model that has taken the world by storm in recent years. Basically, you find a supplier on AliExpress, list their products on your Shopify dropshipping store. When someone buys something, you place an order with the supplier and they ship it straight to your customer.
It's simple, low-risk, and can be extremely profitable. So, it’s no wonder dropshipping is worth it - if you do it the right way.
But there is more to dropshipping than meets the eye.
In this blog post, we'll provide a complete guide on how to start dropshipping from AliExpress to Shopify. We've put together a step-by-step beginner guide to equip you with all the knowledge, tools needed, and successful dropshipping stores to get started.
Overview of AliExpress
AliExpress is an online retail service that has a wide variety of products that cater to every need. The best part? A lot of the products come straight from the manufacturers. So you can think of AliExpress as Amazon, but at a cheaper price and with a minimum two-week delivery time.
Learn more: The Complete Amazon to Shopify Dropshipping Blueprint: From Beginner to Expert
Why Dropshipping from AliExpress to Shopify?
With AliExpress dropshipping, the supplier does all the heavy lifting for you. Once you get orders, they will take care of storing, packaging, and getting the goods straight to your customer's door. This means you can focus on what really matters - building your brand and bringing in more sales.
Here are some pros and cons of dropshipping from AliExpress to Shopify:
- AliExpress has an endless list of products to choose from and the product price is quite low.
- There are many AliExpress dropshipping apps on the Shopify App Store that help to find suppliers and import products from many sources to Shopify easily.
- You don't have to worry about bulk orders or stocking inventory either.
- Slow delivery times from AliExpress may leave customers dissatisfied (minimum two-week delivery)
- It’s hard to control the quality of the products because the suppliers will ship products straight to your customer’s doors.
- If your customer orders different items from different suppliers, there is no way for them to arrive at the same time.
- You may have communication problems with suppliers because they may not be fluent in English.
Learn more: Dropshipping Tips: 15+ Proven Strategies to Skyrocket Your Sales
How to DropShip from AliExpress to Shopify?
We’ve known all the advantages and disadvantages of dropshipping with AliExpress and Shopify. Now, let’s deep dive into 6 step-by-step guidelines on how to dropship from AliExpress to Shopify.
Step 1: Find Winning Products for Your Niche
A winning product not only makes you money but also solves your customers' problems and keeps them coming back for more.
So what makes a dropshipping product “perfect?”
The secret to success lies in finding the best dropshipping products that are not only in high demand but valuable to your target audience, easy to convert into sales, and have a high-profit margin.
Choose Your Niche Market
First thing first, let’s talk about a niche market. A niche is basically like little sub-markets within a bigger market. These sub-markets have their own special set of needs, preferences, and identities that set them apart from the larger market.
If you want to start a Shopify jewelry store, then selling jewelry is a large market. To narrow down the market, you can start with handmade clay jewelry, body piercings, zodiac necklaces, or helix hoop earrings.
Let’s take a look at Zèra Jewels, a successful jewelry business on Shopify. Their niche is selling jewelry for women who want to feel fabulous and look expensive.
Zèra Jewelry niche down their market by selling jewelry for women that look expensive at an affordable price.
To make it easier, here are some tips that are especially helpful for finding the most profitable dropshipping niches:
- Pay attention to any common pain points. Take notes of any problems and start a business that caters to a specific group of people with a unique and effective solution.
- Choose the niche that you are really interested in. Just write down all the things you like.
- And then from there do market research on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. These are the best place to start brainstorming and understanding what other online business owners are doing.
Find Winning Products on AliExpress
Once you find the market niche, the next step is to go to AliExpress and find what products your target customers may want.
On AliExpress, you can get a glimpse of the trendiest and most popular products in different categories.
You can find any products in different categories on AliExpress
To find the winning products, keep an eye on the order number and product rating. Focus on products that boast at least 300 orders. Another important tip is the star rating. The higher the rating, the better the quality.
Don't forget to also peek at the seller rating, aiming for a score above 90%. This clearly indicates that this AliExpress dropshipping supplier is trustworthy and the product is in demand.
Another dropshipping tip that helps you find out the winning products easier is using AliExpress Dropshipping Center. It's free and provides everything you need for product research, including a top-notch list of products with their sales history, rating, and ranking.
AliExpress Dropshipping Center
So how to access the AliExpress Dropshipping Center?
From the AliExpress website, head to Account > On the bottom left sidebar, select DS Center.
Now, let’s take a brief look at the product below.
The winning jewelry dropshipping product on AliExpress
With over 240 reviews and 1,000+ orders, this personalized name necklace is clearly a favorite. Plus, the supplier has a 96% positive feedback rating.
Scrolling down, you’ll see many 5-star reviews from customers. There is no difference between the product listing and the actual product upon delivery. So you know you're getting a quality product.
Now, let’s check out the Custom/Personalized Nameplate Necklace from Evry Jewels.
As you can see above, on AliExpress, this necklace is US$0.74. Meanwhile, the brand is currently selling the same necklace for US$45, which means 40 times more expensive. This is a good example of a winning product for dropshipping from AliExpress to Shopify.
Step 2: Create AliExpress and Shopify Accounts
So, you've found some awesome stuff to sell in your dropshipping store, right? The next step is to set yourself up with accounts on AliExpress and Shopify. This is important because it's what you need to do before you learn how to link AliExpress to Shopify later on.
Get Registered with AliExpress
The first step is to head to the AliExpress website > Hit up the Register button > Fill in some information.
Create A Shopify Account
Once we're all set up, it's time to get our Shopify store up and running. This step is quite simple. Go to the Shopify website > Create an account with Shopify.
Shopify offers 3 days of free trial with no credit card required
Shopify is currently offering a 3-day free trial and then only $1/month for the next 3 months. And setting up an account is super easy - all you need is your email address and some basic information. It'll take you just a few minutes.
Step 3: Set Up Your Shopify Store for Dropshipping
Your free trial will activate immediately and take you straight to the Shopify admin panel. If you're a newbie to Shopify, take a little time to explore all the tabs and settings available and how they function.
In addition, there's a Setup guide section that lays out essential tasks to accomplish for your shop. You'll be able to track your progress as you complete each task.
The Setup guide section is packed with important steps to help you get started easier
We understand that you may feel overwhelmed with the long list of options. That’s why we’ve curated a detailed Shopify tutorial on how to create your Shopify store with helpful tips and resources. Don’t hesitate to check it out!
Here, we’ll walk through a quick summary of what it takes to build a well-set Shopify store for dropshipping from AliExpress.
3.1. Customize Your Theme
When you start your store on Shopify, you'll automatically have the Dawn theme in place. But, if you're looking to add some personality and style to your shop, check out the Shopify theme store.
Shopify has tons of choices - both free and paid - so you can pick a theme that fits with your brand vibe and business goals. To check out all of their options, just head to your Shopify admin > Click on Online Store > Themes. From there, you'll be able to see what's popular, and keep exploring from there.
With the Shopify theme store, you can find the style that reflects your brand
How to Choose The Right Shopify Theme for Your Store?
For further customization, head to Online Store > Click on Themes > Select Customize or Add theme from the theme library to start customizing it.
In the Shopify theme editor, you can customize your online store's content, layout, typography, and colors. You can also add, remove, or hide sections until your store looks exactly how you want it to.
Using different sections and blocks to structure the layout of your store in the Shopify theme editor
However, the Shopify theme editor gives you basic sections and blocks available in your theme. If you want to have full control over your store design and customize your Shopify pages to detail, try a powerful yet easy-to-use page builder like GemPages.
Whether you're using the latest Shopify themes or Online Store 2.0, you can install GemPages and effortlessly perform advanced Shopify theme customization.
GemPages is trusted by over 137,000 Shopify merchants
With GemPages, you can create any page type that you need, from landing pages, product pages, collection pages, coming soon pages, about us pages, and everything in between.
Moreover, with over 80+ ready-made templates to choose from, you can get started right away. Just pick a professionally designed template, upload your products, add some killer content, and add some eye-catching product images, videos, animations, and effects. It’s code-free, so you can be stress-free!
The extensive Shopify page templates library from GemPages
Not only that, GemPages let you go beyond limitations by modifying the pre-made sections to make your page layout uniquely yours.
3.2. Set Up Your Domain Name
Setting this up is easy. Just head to Settings > Click on the Domains section.
You can either purchase a domain name directly from Shopify or snag one from a third-party platform like GoDaddy.
From there, you can choose to purchase a Shopify domain (which usually costs anywhere from US$15 to US$100 annually) or you can buy a domain from a third party like Namechip or GoDaddy and connect it to your store.
One more important note is to keep your domain name brief that truly represents your niche.
For example, let’s take a look at Humiah, a successful Shopify dropshipping store built with GemPages.
Their domain name is spot-on, considering they sell humidifiers.
3.3. Set Up Payment Methods
Now, head back to Shopify admin > Go to Settings > Click on Payments.
There are multiple payment options that make shopping easier for your customers.
If you want to activate credit card payments:
- Click the Activate Shopify Payment button to use Shopify Payments without worrying about fees.
- Or click on Sell all providers to select a different third-party provider for your store.
Shopify Payments enables customers to pay using a credit card.
If you do not want to accept credit card payments, there are plenty of other options. Scroll down to the Supported payment methods section:
- Click Activate PayPal or Activate Amazon Pay to enable customers to pay online via PayPal or Amazon Pay.
- Or hit the Add payment methods button to search and select additional payment methods that suit your needs.
And if you want to provide additional payment methods like Cash On Delivery (COD) or bank transfers, scroll down to the Manual payment methods section > Click Add manual payment method > Select the options.
Shopify offers a variety of payment providers and methods.
Learn more: Shopify Payments vs. Paypal: What's Best for You in 2023?
3.4. Set Shipping Costs
In dropshipping from AliExpress to Shopify, you have to pay shipping fees for the suppliers to ship your products.
Here are some dropshipping shipping cost strategies that you can use to tackle these fees:
- Offer free shipping and cover the product costs by decreasing profits or increasing prices.
- Opt for a low flat shipping rate and slightly increase the product costs, or charge the customer a flat rate.
- Pass on the exact cost of shipping to the customer.
- Or implement different strategies for different products.
To set up the shipping rates, go to Settings > Head over to the Shipping and Delivery section to start setting your own shipping rates.
Learn more: Shopify Shipping 101: Easy Set-Up Guide, Tips and Tricks (2023)
Step 4: Add Products
Once you've done your research on the winning products and your store is basically set up, it's time to learn more about how to add products from AliExpress to Shopify for dropshipping.
To import products to Shopify, hop onto your Shopify admin > Go to Products. Here you have three options.
4.1. Add AliExpress Products Manually
Click on the Add your products button > Select Add products. This is perfect for those who have a small number of products.
4.2. Import AliExpress Products In Bulk
Import your products in bulk from a CSV file by clicking on the Import button. Just remember to adjust the file following the Shopify CSV template before uploading.
On Shopify Admin, you can either add products manually or import through a CSV file.
4.3. Use Dropshipping Apps
Two methods above are quite time-consuming. Meanwhile, using Shopify dropshipping apps will reduce your workload and free up your time to focus on what matters most - like brainstorming creative marketing campaigns or building stronger relationships with your customers.
These dropshipping extensions help you add products from AliExpress to an existing Shopify store with ease.
For example, we’ll go with Dsers, which is the official dropshipping partner of Shopify.
To add dropshipping products from AliExpress to Shopify:
- Simply install DSers - AliExpress.com Product Importer on the Chrome web store.
- Look up potential items on the AliExpress website.
- Click Add to DSers to seamlessly transfer your finds to your Shopify store.
With DSers, you can import your products directly from AliExpress to Shopify with just a few clicks.
Step 5: Market Your Products
Here are some tried-and-true marketing methods to maximize brand awareness and drive customers to your Shopify site:
- Utilize search engine optimization so that potential buyers find you through online searches.
- Consider Pay Per Click campaigns as well.
- Entice users with discounts or freebies.
- Display customer reviews/testimonials to gain trust.
- Promote your store on social media platforms.
- Run ads on Google Ads, Tiktok ads, and Facebook ads.
- And lastly, never underestimate the power of a well-crafted email marketing campaign.
Now, check out the successful home decor dropshipping called FLUFEL and see how you can implement their marketing strategies in your store.
FLUFEL sells mattress beds that provide ultimate relaxation by perfectly adapting to the body and ensuring optimal support while sitting or sleeping.
The brand has a strong social media presence with 40.4K followers on TikTok. As you can see below, Flufel has many video contents going viral that attract and retain customers in an implicit way. It focuses on short-form video content that highlights how its products benefit customers.
Not only keeps viewers engaged, but this type of content also brings organic traffic to your website and makes it easier for customers to hit that “add to cart” button.
Move on to its product page. There is a detailed product description which is good for SEO.
Start Building Your Business With Dropshipping
Since you're not stocking any inventory or shelling out any cash upfront, AliExpress Dropshipping is the perfect way to start building your online business with a limited budget.
However, it’s no secret that converting traffic from your store into sales can be a difficult task. And the solution?
Creating a unique, conversion-friendly storefront is key, and the GemPages Page Builder will help you build, design, and optimize your Shopify dropshipping store without any coding skills.
With the user-friendly interface and customizable templates, you can create a Shopify store that's uniquely you. Plus, with over 80 conversion-focused templates to choose from, you can get your store up and running in a fast and easy way.
So what are you waiting for? Get ready to ride the dropshipping wave!