Many starting resellers find selling through AliExpress to be a useful way to launch their businesses. And for those looking to expand their current business, getting familiar with this e-commerce retail platform can lead to even more opportunities.
Like any selling marketplace, it has its pros and cons. You will need to do your homework before testing out the international waters. Explore the site and carefully understand its features. If you’re following a dropshipping model, you’ll want to know all the terms and potential pitfalls, as well as best practices for success.
AliExpress started in 2010 as a subsidiary of the Alibaba Group. It started as a global marketplace designed to connect Chinese manufacturers directly to consumers around the world. This means incredibly low prices on thousands of products including clothing, electronics, home goods, toys, and more.
Since then, the platform has opened up to sellers from several other countries. Now you can sign up and become an AliExpress seller from places like Russia, Spain, Italy, Turkey, and France. But is it the best place for a liquidations reseller to make a profit? Let’s take a look.
Just like any other online marketplace, to become a seller on AliExpress, you’ll have to go through a registration process. This means you’ll need to enter your business details and make some decisions about what you want to sell and where you want to ship your products. You’ll also want to decide whether you want a free account (great for beginners) or a Gold Supplier Membership, which comes with more strict standards, but affords you an extra degree of trust with buyers on the site.
It’s free to set up a basic AliExpress seller account. Still, you will need some business details like a VAT Number, Company operating license, and ID information for a “legal representative” of your business (probably yourself).
Pricing for seller accounts on AliExpress seems fairly simple, at first. According to the site, a “commission fee is only charged on the actual store transactions, in the range of 5-8% depending on items and categories.” Unfortunately, this does not tell the whole story. Once you get through the registration process, you’ll find that there are also annual technical fees, payment platform fees, and other expenses involved.
AliExpress states that they have over 150 million active buyers on their platform. They also sell in 220 regions across the globe. If you’re looking for a broad customer base and the ability to expand into foreign markets, you’ll find it here.
Many platforms will charge you extra to have a branded shop front on their site. On AliExpress, this comes free with every seller account. This means you can collect your products all in one place, upload your own logo, and cultivate repeat business through this platform.
As mentioned above, this site started as a way for Chinese manufacturers to gain direct access to consumers around the world. This means you’ll be competing against other sellers who have their own manufacturing in-house, and they will likely be able to undercut your price. Anything trendy or popular will probably have dozens of knock-offs on the site. Because of this, getting a reasonable price for name-brand merchandise can be difficult.
Because of the number of knock-offs and cheaper-version brands, in some markets, consumers simply don’t trust AliExpress sellers until they have an established track record. This can make it a challenge for new storefronts to get going. Paying for the Gold Supplier seal on your shop can help, but for many shops, gaining buyer trust can still be a challenge.
Many marketplaces are pretty quick to register. Not so here. According to the site, the estimated registration process time is only two days, but that’s assuming you have all of your paperwork in order before you start. You’ll need to apply for a trademark qualification through the site, which can be an arduous process if you don’t already have a Chinese trademark.
For some international sellers, this is still a great opportunity to break into new markets and reach customers worldwide. Need some inventory to sell in your brand new AliExpress storefront? Check out our liquidation auctions for plenty of overstocks and returned merchandise.