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Checklist: How to Find a Reliable Dropshipping Supplier on Aliexpress

11 min read

Part of the eBay market research process when dropshipping is to source good products from reliable suppliers. The quality of the product you are dropshipping can reduce the return rate and the supplier you are going to purchase from must deliver in time.

Dropshipping sellers are sourcing products from different websites, the dropshipping software DSM Tool,for example, is integrated with over 50 suppliers for dropshipping. This guide will use, as an example, the process of choosing a supplier when dropshipping from Aliexpress.

Let’s see why and how it is possible to pick a good supplier on Aliexpress.

The most reliable supplier vs. the most profitable supplier

The beauty of dropshipping from Ali Express is that in the process of finding profitable products to dropship on eBay you can optimize the profit.

You do that by locating a high-quality product and then sourcing it from a cheaper, and yet still reliable supplier. It is possible because just like other marketplaces, there could be many sellers for the same item on Ali Express.

In the example below the seller of this product sold it 6420 times and generated 2216 reviews. That is the most popular supplier for this product and probably also the most reliable one.

But in the process of product sourcing using the sniping technique (I put a link to it a few sentences above) you can locate not only the most popular supplier but also many other suppliers.

The guide shows this example of how to find the cheapest supplier for the same product

This is where your judgment in choosing the cheapest and yet most reliable supplier comes in place.

There are no rules on what to choose, the highest profit vs. the highest reliability. But in order to be able to evaluate you first have to understand the implications of sourcing a bad product or working with a bad supplier.

Why is it important to find a reliable supplier on Aliexpress?

Your seller level on eBay has a direct effect on the amount of organic traffic you get when you dropship on eBay. It is determined by parameters that are related directly to the level of service you provide to your customers.

ebay seller level
The eBay seller level metrics from the seller hub

A bad product or an unreliable supplier can end up in more open cases, returns requests, and late shipments. The math here is simple: lower seller level equals lower-traffic equals fewer sales.

Aliexpress suppliers are those who will handle your orders, logistics, and product quality. Besides, in case your customer would get some additional questions about your item, your supplier will be the one who would answer these questions (to you). 

Ideally, as a dropshipper you want to deal only with good suppliers. And it is in your power, you just need to know the parameters that will help you to carefully choose the good ones. 

The parameters that help to find a reliable supplier on Aliexpress: 

The following steps on how to choose a trustworthy Aliexpress supplier are commonly used by dropshippers.

Many online sellers, who just recently started to dropship, are driven by only one criterion in choosing the seller. They are guided by price. Although, there are many other more important parameters that help to find reliable suppliers on Aliexpress. 

Following these tips you would be able to detect if a seller on Aliexpress is trustworthy or not: 

Let’s dive into them. 

#1 Verify the quality of the product 

Like in other marketplaces, you can check the reviews the product has on the Aliexpress product page. Every product has a score section and a section with the written feedback. The score section is usually situated below the product title on a product page. The score is built on the range of 0 to 5 stars. 

Drop shipping from Aliexpress supplier

In the meantime, the section with the feedbacks has the messages from people who already ordered this product. Frequently it also contains photos taken by buyers. It’s very useful to look through them to know if the product corresponds to the description and product images. 

Checking the Customer reviews section as a step to find a trustworthy supplier on Aliexpress.
Customer reviews section on Aliexpress product page

The best practice for beginners in dropshipping is to focus on products with a score of 4 stars and above, at least a couple of written reviews, and at least 50-100 orders.

Tip: check also the bad buyers’ reviews left on this item to sort out the doubts about the product quality, real shipping time, and communication issues. Keep in mind that the buyers can be picky. If you meet the same issue described a few times in the product feedbacks, consider checking another seller for this product. 

Checking the Aliexpress seller reliability trough checking the product images from the customers.
Click on the photo to zoom it and see the product better.

Tip: Learn how to find and save pictures from the reviews section, you will need them later when you optimize your listings for eBay SEO

#2 Check the offered Shipping methods

A supplier that doesn’t offer a good shipping option is typically out of option when dropshipping on eBay. 

This means that first, you actually have to check the price + shipping to determine the cheapest supplier. Second, to be able to tell what will the shipping rate be you have to know the minimum requirements for those.

Let’s see what you should pay attention to: 

The best practice for dropshippers is to pick the fastest and most reliable shipping service that also would be free or quite affordable.

Shipping solutions the good Aliexpress seller offers
Shipping solutions that the seller offers. Click to see more

The best way to tell that a shipping method is reliable is when it offers a tracking number.

The rule of thumb is that trackable shipments are shipped via air cargo, like the ePacket delivery option, and shipping options that don’t offer tracking numbers are shipped via sea-cargo.

It’s super important that you avoid shipping methods that don’t offer trackable tracking numbers. Buyers can win cases claiming the order never arrived when you don’t offer them a tracking number.

Moreover, the seller level metrics on eBay counts valid tracking numbers that were uploaded on time. Not providing tracking numbers harms your seller level and the lower the seller level you have, the less organic traffic you get from the eBay search engine.

Drop shipping from Aliexpress supplier
Aliexpress shiping options

Tooltip: You can even use the ePacket finder Aliexpress extension and set it to show you the sellers who offer ePacket shipping.

However, ePacket is not the only shipping method that provides a relatively fast and reliable service. Other carriers such as UPS Expedited, e-EMS, or YW Fast Line also offer a relatively fast and reliable shipping time. Aliexpress standard shipping is also rather reliable, but it tends to ship slower.

If you ship to different countries, before listing the item, make sure your seller ship there. To do so, click on this box with countries.

Aliexpress shipping companies and countries
Aliexpress shipping companies and countries

#3 Check the offered Returns and Buyer protection

Be attentive: some suppliers on Aliexpress cooperate with local return services in the country of destination and can offer free local returns. Nonetheless, they are in the minority. In case you find such a seller, check him/her on other parameters for reliability to be sure you can trust this supplier. 

The buyer protection and return conditions on Aliexpress
The buyer protection and return conditions on Aliexpress

It’s highly recommended: work only with those sellers who offer the buyer protection.

The buyer protection on Aliexpress offers a money-back guarantee in case the item didn’t arrive, was shipped damaged, or not as described. In such cases, you can open a dispute in Aliexpress and demand a full refund. Furthermore, if the item doesn’t match the product description the seller has provided, you can ask for a partial refund. 

Reliable sellers on Aliexpress offer the buyer protection.
Buyer protection section in Aliexpress

#4 Review the seller’s store perfomance

The last step would be to look through the Aliexpress sellers overview. You can do it by holding the mouse on the seller’s store title. You will see the seller performance that includes the positive feedback rate and the communication, shipping speed, and “item as described” rate they got from their buyers.

Aliexpress sellers overview

The best practice for beginners in dropshipping is to avoid any seller with less than a 95% positive feedback rate.

It would be perfect if all 3 criteria are green in the seller’s performance.

Another good indicator is the Top Brands sign near the store name. The top brand sellers are the Aliexpress best sellers. They get this sign if they sell the best quality products, very good seller rating, and awesome customer service. 

Tooltip: Install a free Aliexpress chrome extension, AliTools, to check the seller’s accumulated supplier score, it appears automatically at the bottom left corner of the screen. Besides, if the seller rating is lower, it will offer you the sellers with better ratings for the same item you were looking for. 

The seller rating that helps to find a reliable seller on Aliexpress
The seller rating

Moreover, you can even write an Aliexpress seller and put him/her questions that worry you. For example, what is his handling time, or how much time does it take to renew the stock for your product. Except for receiving the answers, you also will get an idea about the time this seller takes to answer customers. 

Final lines

That’s it! Now you are familiar with the important criteria, thanks to which you can find a reliable seller on Aliexpress. Cooperating with the trustworthy Aliexpress sellers will surely help you in building a successful dropshipping store and establishing your own good seller rating. 

Want to learn more?

Written by Diana Velyka

Diana joined DSM Tool in 2019 as a Customer Success Manager and helped thousands of e-commerce owners to run their online shops. Today, she is a part of the content team of Dropship Academy where she focuses mainly on the drop shipping research to help the global entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. In her free time, she enjoys traveling the world, playing the guitar and learning languages.

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