Dropshipping Orders: How to Place Orders and Handle Product Returns

18 min read

If you just recently started dropshipping from Aliexpress and got your first dropshipping order or product return, this guide is for you. This article is written because processing dropshipping orders and handling returns and cancellations can cause beginners much confusion and anxiety.

Worries away! This article will guide you through all the necessary steps you need to do once you get a dropshipping order on eBay, showing you:

This article will demonstrate the process of order processing and cancellation for Aliexpress products. However, the shared steps and tips are also applicable to other websites you might be using as dropshipping suppliers

Processing orders

The steps to process a dropshipping order in Aliexpress: 

#1 Getting an order 

Congratulations! You made a sale on your eBay dropshipping store! It’s a good beginning since it might generate positive feedback that scales up your seller rating and, as a consequence, the amount of traffic you get from eBay.

Actually, the more you understand how traffic works on eBay and you know that in terms of eBay SEO when your eBay listing gets views and sales, the eBay search engine starts to push more traffic towards your listing.

More traffic provides you more chances to get new sales. Besides, if you just recently started to sell on eBay, getting the orders is one of the requirements to increase the eBay selling limits

Tip: When you get a dropshipping order, it’s recommended to start to process it as soon as possible. Don’t postpone the eBay order processing to avoid facing the fact that the product is out of stock or has its price increased on the supplier site.

It’s crucial for your seller rating to process orders and update their tracking information in time. There is a metric in the eBay seller hub under the seller level section dedicated just for evaluating your tracking uploading performance on a monthly basis.

The next move will be to locate the order. 

#2 Fining the dropshipping order

 Once you get an eBay order, you can see it in the eBay Seller Hub > Orders section > Awaiting shipment:

Orders section on eBay to start eBay order processing
Orders section in the eBay Seller Hub

You would see the number 1 there for Awaiting shipment orders. 

Don’t worry there is no chance to miss it. You will see the message you got an order on eBay, on your email, on your PayPal, and if you use the eBay dropshipping software DSM Tool, there as well.  More precisely you can find all your orders information in the section Sales&Orders on DSM Tool: 

DSM Tool Sales&Orders section for processing orders
DSM Tool Sales&Orders section

On each sale row, you’ll find the order information, including the buyer’s name and address. It’s the information you will need to provide to your seller. 

Automation tip: Use DSM Tool Chrome extension to copy the buyer address, it will help you automate the next step: adding the buyer address to the Ali Express shipping address book.

DSM Tool order infromation
DSM Tool order information

After locating the order. Start to purchase it on AliExpress.

#3 Adding the buyer address to the Ali Express shipping address book

Processing the dropshipping order on Aliexpress is the same process as for any other dropshipping supplier. You will need to purchase the item in your supplier’s shop providing the address of your buyer

To start ordering the item, log in to your Aliexpress account, and open the product page of the item you sold on Aliexpress. 

If you use DSM Tool software, click on the Target ID or the item title in the order row in Sales&Orders.

Go to your Aliexpress account settings > My shipping Address to add your buyer’s address.

Aliexpress account settings

Ali Express allows up to 10 shipping addresses per account and if you reach the limit you won’t be able to process change the address during the checkout. If you reached 10 addresses remove one of them and add the new one.

Automation tip: Use DSM Tool Chrome extension to paste buyer’s address in a matter of one click:

Aliexpress shipping address section for adding the buyer's address when placing the order on Aliexpress
Aliexpress shipping address section

When everything is done, click to save.

Automation tip: Add your payment method in the account settings > My Orders > Cards & Bank Accounts to make the ordering process faster. This way, you won’t have to enter your credit card details every time you process an order in Ali Express. 

Card settings in Aliexpress account
Card settings in Aliexpress account

If you prefer to use PayPal to pay for orders, since the middle of 2020 Ali Express accepts PayPal as a payment method for most of its products.

#4 Placing the order

After you checked Aliexpress settings and added a new address, you are ready to purchase the product. Come back to the Aliexpress product page and choose the necessary variation of it (in case your listing has multi variations).

Tip: If the product you sold on eBay has variations and you aren’t sure which variations you need to order. Go back to this listing on eBay, click on the Sold button and see the sale details. 

eBay product page to check which variaiton was sold
One way to check which variation you’ve sold on eBay
Variation infromation of the order on eBay
Variation infromation of the order

After you picked the necessary variation, choose the best Aliexpress shipping method, and add the product to the cart.

Product page on Aliexpress for placing the order
A product page on Aliexpress for placing the order

Tip: pick only the shipping option that includes a trackable tracking number, ideally free and fast shipping like ePacket

 Then locate this item in your Aliexpress cart and click Buy from this seller button. 

The product on the Aliexpress cart view.
The product on the Aliexpress cart. Click Buy from this seller button to purchase it.

Then proceed with the checkout.

Choose your buyer’s address among the addresses you have in Aliexpress. Make sure it’s correct. If you noticed an error, there is a button to edit the address.

If you added your card for payment in the Aliexpress account settings, there would be no need to input its data again there. In case you don’t have there a payment card, look at the previous step or add it right there.

When it will be ready, click on the Place order button.

Final stage of placing the dropshipping order on Aliexpress.
Aliexpress checkout page. Final stage of placing the order on Aliexpress.

That’s it! You placed the order on Aliexpress. Now you need to mark the order as ordered on eBay. If you use Dsm Tool, do it on the Sales&Orders page. Then you will not see this item among the pending orders.

Button to mark the item as ordered on DSM Tool.
Button to mark the item as ordered on DSM Tool.

When it is done, you need to wait to get a tracking number from your supplier and update your buyer about it. Let’s see how to do it.

#5 Updating the tracking number of Aliexpress item on eBay

You can find out that the supplier fulfilled and shipped your order from the Orders section in Aliexpress (My Aliexpress > My Orders).

Locate this order, click on the Track order button. There you can also get the tracking number of this order to update your buyer. 

Gettinh the tracking information for a dropshipping order in Aliexpress.

Click on the Copy button near the tracking number.

Now find this order on your eBay orders: eBay Seller Hub > Orders > All orders

Locate this dropshipping order on your eBay orders and click on the Add tracking button (below the listing title and custom label). You will see the next fields: Tracking number and Carrier. Paste there the tracking number and carrier name given on the Aliexpress order information.

 The add tracking button in the Orders sections for providing the tracking information for the dropshipping  order.
The eBay add tracking button in the Orders sections
The fields for providing the tracking number and shipping company in eBay order processing.
The fields for providing the tracking number and shipping company on eBay

You can make sure everything is done and you don’t have pending tasks on eBay by checking your eBay Seller Hub. First of all, the task of “Print label and ship” will disappear from the Tasks board. Besides, in the Orders section.

Automation tip: Use DSM Tool Chrome extension to automate the copy and paste process of the tracking numbers updating.

When you click on the extension button in the AliExpress tracking page the Sales&Orders page will open in a new tab. Locate the order and click on the yellow envelope button

The button for updating the tracking number  for a dropshipping order from DSMTool.
The button for updating the order tracking infromation from DSMTool

Then, click on the Auto-Paste tracking number and the order will be updated on eBay automatically.

DSM Tool tracking infromation section to finish the eBay order processing.
DSM Tool tracking infromation update section

Auto messages for positive feedbacks generation

I would like to stop on one of the most useful features DSM Tool has to offer. It’s called auto-messages.

Once you get a dropshipping order on eBay, your customer would be grateful not only for receiving a good quality item and fast but also for getting amazing customer support.

Small details such as “thanks for the order” or “your order was shipped. I attach the tracking information in case you would like to track it” messages implicitly show your buyers that you care, that you take your business seriously and you are not a scammer.  Exactly such a small thing as a message to your customer can bring your dropshipping store positive feedback. They consequently will boost your eBay SEO.  And you get more traffic and more new sales. 

That’s why consider sending such following-up messages to your buyers.

If you want to save your time and automate your dropshipping business, setup the auto-messages on the DSM Tool settings.  There you can set the text of the messages that will be automatically sent to your eBay buyers when you mark the item as ordered or shipped. Besides, it can send a message asking your buyers for feedback. Remember, the more feedbacks on your selling account, the better. 

DSM Tool auto messages features
DSM Tool auto messages features

How to Handle Order Cancellations and Product Returns

It might happen that your buyer can change his mind and cancel an order on eBay. The shoppers are allowed to cancel their orders within the first 60 minutes after the purchase was made. If it happens, you will notify you about the order cancellation in email. 

If you were so fast to order the products in Aliexpress, you are able to cancel this order as long as the seller did not update the tracking number. That is around 24 hours to process the cancellation. 

ebay cancellation email message
eBay’s order cancellation email notification

How to cancel the Aliexpress order? 

All actions connected with the orders on Aliexpress like cancelling, tracking, opening a return/refund dispute are managed from the My Orders section (My account > My Orders). 

Well, if you need to cancel your order on Aliexpress, open the My Orders section, locate your order there. Then click on View Details at the top left corner of the order to process the cancellation or open a return request.

Request Order Cancellation button on Aliexpress
Request Order Cancellation button on Aliexpress

In the page that opens, you will find the option to cancel the order in case that it was not yet shipped. If the product was already shipped, the only thing you can do is open a dispute/return request.

After submitting your cancellation request, you will see the information about the cancellation on the same View Details of the order page. The money will be refunded on the payment method which you have used normally within 5-7 days (20 days as maximum). You can see the details of the refund in the Financial section of the Order details.  

The dispute infromation for Aliexpress cancellation
The cancellation dispute infromation in Aliexpress
Refund processing infromation in Aliexpress
Refund processing infromation in Aliexpress

How to handle product returns and disputes on Aliexpress? 

Another possible situation you can face with your customers is if the dropshipping product doesn’t arrive or arrives with some kind of damage or doesn´t correspond to the product description. In such a case, ask your buyer to send you all the necessary proofs (e.g. photos, videos of the damaged product). If your supplier offers free returns, you can open a return request on Aliexpress.

Automatic returns vs. by-policy returns

The returns I mentioned are automatically approved by eBay, and as long as you follow the guidelines on how to choose a reliable dropshipping supplier on AliExpress you should be covered too according to the AliExpress buyer protection.

But advanced dropshippers that source products from AliExpress set up their return policies on eBay in such a way that they accept returns “for any reason” on top of the automatic returns in order to gain a competitive advantage and gain more traffic.

They accept returns for 60 days, which is great for the buyer, but they also setup that the shipping fee for the return is paid by the buyer. I never heard of a case of a buyer that agreed to ship an item back to China on their expense… But of course using this method is on your own risk.

Anyway, make sure you set up the optimized eBay business policies for Ali Express dropshipping

The biggest problem of Ali Express returns when dropshipping on eBay (and its solution)

Unfortunately, you will have to approve the refund for the buyer on eBay before you get refunded on AliExpress. eBay cases only take a few days and AliExpress about 14 days. This means that there is always a small risk that you have to take into account that the case on AliExpress will get closed in favor of the seller and you will not get a refund.

The solution is your ability to communicate fast with your buyers. Make sure they send you pictures, videos, and whatever possible proof for the problem they describe before you refund them. Contact them via private messages and even call them if you have to.

I never heard of a case with sufficient evidence on AliExpress that was not refunded.

Processing the return

Locate the item in your Aliexpress orders section, click on the button Open Dispute under the status column in the order details table after you open the order page (by clicking on the View Detail link on the order page). Then, choose whether you like to open a return request or a dispute, fill up the form, and submit it.

order return ali express
Order return on Aliexpress

Important: I already mentioned it, but this is so important that I want to make sure no one misses this: Make sure you provide as many as possible proofs filling the dispute request on Aliexpress. Attach the photos/videos of the product your customer sent you, write the written explanation, provide the screenshot of the shipping details you see in the order information if the product didn’t arrive on time. These proofs help to win the dispute in Aliexpress. 

Dispute status in the Aliexpress order infromation
Dispute status in the Aliexpress order information

The bottom line

I hope this post was useful and now processing the dropshipping orders and product returns is a piece of cake for you. The most important thing is to do it on time and your selling rating will grow along with your sales. 

I invite you to join the Dropshipping Community on Facebook where you can participate in the discussions and network with other drop shippers. Besides, I suggest you check the DSM Tool Youtube Channel where you can find weekly best-selling product recommendations and a lot of useful dropshipping tips aimed to help you to grow as an eCommerce seller. 

Have you already got your first dropshipping order? How was it? Share it with us in the comments section below!

Written by Artem Zmitrovich

Artem is a versatile person with a wide range of knowledge and skills, good erudition. With his technical and soft skills, Artem is always happy to help.

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