Today, I’m going to be giving you the 10 things that you need to do before you start dropshipping with AliExpress. If you do these 10 things, then you will easily be able to overcome some of the common stumbling blocks that I see new drop shippers face. So to find out what these 10 things are and how to overcome them for yourself.
One, check shipping times before choosing which countries to ship to.
A big mistake that I see new drop shippers make is they see on AliExpress that items ship worldwide, and so they’re like, “Oh, yeah. I’ll put that item in my store, and I’ll ship it out to a global audience.” Amazing, right? What could possibly go wrong? Well, I’ll tell you what could go wrong. When it comes to shipping, not all countries are equal.
For instance, shipping to the United States is really great, because they have a fantastic shipping option. For just an extra one to two dollars, you can get an item shipped out from China to the USA, and it will take only 12 to 20 days. On the other hand shipping from China to the UK is dreadful. The best you’ll usually find for low-cost shipping options is an estimated delivery time of 20 to 40 days.
Two, create your own store.
Do not dropship on Amazon or eBay. A lot of newbies want to start out by dropshipping products on eBay or Amazon because it means that they don’t have to spend money setting up their own Shopify or WooCommerce store. This is a terrible thing to do because the competition is insanely fierce on those platforms for AliExpress products because the barrier to entry is so low.
So you are going to risk them leaving negative reviews even if you were super upfront about the shipping times. On both of those platforms, negative reviews are the kiss of death. If you sell in your own store, then unlike eBay and Amazon, your competitors can’t come and create a listing on it, and then get into a pricing war with you. So don’t even try dropshipping on eBay and Amazon. Instead, dropship in your own store, and focus on driving your own traffic to it.
Three, protect yourself and set up a company.
A super common question that we get asked here at Wholesale Ted is whether you need to set up an LLC, or in other words, a company when you’re dropshipping. The answer to that is no. You don’t need to. You could start dropshipping right now. You would be considered a sole proprietor, and there is no legal paperwork required to become a sole proprietor. It’s just what you are by default if you don’t form a partnership or a company.
Another common question we get asked is if you’re selling to customers in the USA, but you live in another country, for example, Australia, should you set up your company in Australia or in the USA? The answer here is pretty simple. Set up your company in your local country of residence, not the USA. Now, there will be fees for setting up a company. Here in New Zealand, it’s around $250 to set one up, so I understand that not everybody watching this video is going to be able to do that, but if you can afford it, it’s well worth it.
Four, create happy customers by making shipping times very clear.
For fun, I like to click on the ads that my competitors to drop shippers are showing me in my Facebook feed to check to see if they are being very clear about their shipping disclaimers on their product page. I can tell you now that most are not. So I will usually click onto the cart page to see if they’ve at least put a disclaimer on there, but nope, nothing.
That is not okay. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a shipping policy page somewhere on your website that customers could find and read. It is not okay. As I’ve said before, don’t be afraid to advertise that there’s going to be a two to four week shipping time period on your product page. It’s going to hurt conversions less than you might think. If you are not upfront about it, then you are going to upset customers.
If your customers have a good buying experience from you, then you increase the chances that they’re going to come back and buy from you again. So don’t upset your customers. Be very clear about shipping times.
Five, have a rock-solid refund policy.
Here’s a quick tip. When you’re setting up your refund policy page, make it very clear that you will only give refunds for products that are faulty or broken. Don’t give refunds simply because people have changed their minds. Now, in the USA, a lot of big retailers have very generous return policies, but as a small retailer, you do not have to do this.
In fact, for smaller retailers, it is standard practice that the customer has to ship the item back to you at their own expense before you will give them a refund. It’s something I talked about in my video, How to Not Lose Money When Dropshipping. It was a bit controversial, and some people disagreed with this on an ethical level. If you think it’s too harsh, then you can set your own rules around this.
For example, requiring that the customer give you photographic proof that the item was broken or faulty. But no matter what you end up doing here, be sure to include a link for your refund policy page in the footer of your website so that it is on every page on your website so that customers have no excuse for not having seen it.
Six, keep customers happy with follow up emails.
Now, the reason why most people are interested in collecting customers’ emails is that the fact that they want to send out newsletters promoting other products in their store so that they will come back and spend more money. You know what? That is a fantastic thing to do, but it is not the only purpose of sending out emails.
What you should be doing is setting up a two to three-week email sequence where customers are getting support emails from you after the sale. It’s good practice to send out three to four emails during this period. In these emails note the following things. Firstly, remind them that when they purchased from you they agreed to the shipping times of two to four weeks.
A really great excuse for this is saying that it’s due to high demand. Secondly, tell the customers that you care about them and that if they are having any problems, that they are free to email you. Thirdly, in these emails, remind them that they can always track the orders online, and include a link to a website that they can use to track their orders.
What these emails will do is they will encourage opening a dialogue between you and unhappy customers, so that you can then go in and turn them into a happy customer. Plus, of course, it will greatly improve the buying experience that they have with you, which will mean that they will be more likely to come back and buy from you again in the future.
Seven, run a like campaign to your Facebook fan page before testing products.
If you’re running ads on Facebook, then it’s a really good idea to run a simple three day like campaign first. Spending an extra $16, $20 will give your fan page more authority, which means that people are more likely to trust you. By increasing trust, you will have higher conversions, which means you will make more money.
Eight, add 20 products to your store before testing products.
A really common mistake that I see drop shippers make is that they’ll get really impatient, and they’ll add a handful of products to their store, and then start running tests. Again, creating trust is very important when you’re converting sales, and quite honestly, a store with only a handful of products does not look very trustworthy at all. Now, some customers won’t bother flicking through your store. Instead, they’ll just by immediately on the product page, but some customers are going to go through your store to check out and see if it’s legitimate.
If they only see a few products, it makes you look unprofessional, and it almost makes it look like your store’s still in development. Now, you don’t have to add 20 exactly. It isn’t a magical number. It’s just a good number to aim for. So don’t jump ahead. Add plenty of products to your store to that you will increase the trust between you and potential customers so that they’re more likely to click that add to cart button.
Nine, have either a credit card or money set aside to pay for the items that customers buy.
Remember that when customers purchase items from you, you aren’t going to instantly get the money that they paid you. PayPal will often hold this money for one to three weeks, and Stripe pays out weekly. So if you’ve been relying upon this money to pay for the items that the customer has purchased from you, you are sunk.
So make sure that you have either a credit card or a few hundred dollars on a debit card set aside so that you can purchase the items that the customers have bought from you while you’re waiting for their money to clear. Don’t make the mistake that I see a lot of new drop shippers make where they spend all of their startup money on setting up the store and marketing. Make sure that you’ve got a plan on how you’re going to be able to purchase the items that the customers buy from you.
Ten, be prepared to spend money to make money.
Finally, before you get started, if you plan to take advantage of fast paid traffic in the form of ads, then be prepared to spend money to make money. Dropshipping is all about testing. You add a bunch of products to your store. You run ads for them. You see which ads make you money, and which ones don’t. You then take the profitable ads and you scale them way up. As we’ve discussed on this channel, oftentimes, the items that you think are going to be profitable turn out the be flops.
Then the products that you least expect turn out to be huge winners that by themselves earn you $10,000 a month. People rarely admit this, but the truth is is that most people go into dropshipping with the hope and almost expected that the first product that they’re going to advertise and the test is going to be a huge winner. When it isn’t, they get so disappointed that they declare that dropshipping doesn’t work and they give up, which is a real shame, because, hey, perhaps the next product that they had been planning to test would have turned out to be a $10,000 a month product.
But they are never going to find out because they gave up too soon. The people that succeed in this industry are the ones that don’t see failed product tests as a bad thing, and instead choose to embrace them. They embrace them because of the fact that they know that each failed product test makes them one step closer to finding their winning golden item.